Today we went on a boat trip around the water village, Kampung Ayer, and out a bit from Bandar along the river. We started out at 8 am, to beat the heat, but actually today has been perfect since it's been a bit overcast, so it wasn't too hot at all. Plus, it's quite windy on the water, so it was ok.
I have done this trip once before, but I must say that we were even more lucky today, with our animal spotting.
We saw a big monitor lizard up in a tree, a black snake (also in a tree) with pink and yellow stripes, and loads of Proboscis monkeys in different places, loads!
We could go all the way in through the roots of the trees, and came really close to the monkeys, who weren't bothered at all about us visiting their "home". They just sat there and chewed away at their mangroves.
Unfortunately, I had brought my camera without a charged battery (duh), so all today's pics were taken by my parents. Try and see if you can spot the animals!
(This is just cool roots, no animals here:)
Not only did we see lots of exciting animals, we also went around to see some of the sights. Like the view of the Sultan's palace from the river, the two old Royal main palaces, the Royal burial site, the Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque and of course - the water village.
The Sultan's palace, Istana Nurul Iman:
The Royal burial site:
The water village in Kampung Ayer, often also called 'Venice of the east', is home to about 30,000 people and it's completely self sufficient. It has it's own fire station, police station, petrol station, power station, museum, several schools, shops and everything else you might need out here.
Both the kids were extatic, as they were allowed to drive the boat:
We also got to visit a house out in the water village. It's quite amazing and hard to believe you are actually in a house on stilts, over the water. Mind you, 12 people are living in this house, it's a big household and I'm sure they are pretty well off with this water taxi business of theirs.
Lucas found a friend (or more like it, a TV) right away, and so did Linnea, she was fascinated with their baby mice:
We posed nicely in their little "show room":
Outside. You can get around most of the water village on these board walks. It's very well connected. Otherwise you take a water taxi which is very cheap.
After our tour, we went for a stroll in the capital. There is not much to see (there is some museums, the Royal Regalia building and a market - but we will do those next week without the kids...), but we took some pictures outside the main mosque:
The Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque just celebrated 50 years this year, and it's named after the present Sultan's father. This mosque is considered by most Bruneians as the country's major landmark.
It sits on an artificial lagoon and is the largest mosque in the far east. It stands at 52 m high and is topped with a gold dome made out of 24 ct gold, that virtually can be seen from anywhere in Bandar seri Begawan.
The dome is supported by walls of Italian marble, which also forms the mosque's columns, arches, and towers. The stained glass and the chandeliers were hand made in England, the granite shipped in from Shanghai and the carpets are Saudi Arabian.
Next week we will go and see it inside too.