Brunei Darussalam


Panoramic view of Kampong Ayer from the pontoon boat with the iconic Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddien mosque in the centre.

Last week while doing a shoot for September edition of Singapore Airline’s SilverKris magazine, I found myself riding on a pontoon boat down the Brunei River to photograph parts of water village and the Royal Palace at sunset. What started off as a relatively calm and collect ride off Kampong Sungai Matan Jetty quickly morphed into a landscape of exciting yet dizzying array of river boats shuttling passengers back and forth in the heart of Kampong Ayer (where RMS Portview restaurant overlooks).

Pontoon boat operated by Sunshine Borneo Tours photographed at the end of the evening. Thank goodness no need to row this one.

No sooner had we departed from the chaos than I discovered a much calmer world further upstream. I had heard about the SARAWAK REGATTA 2009 which starts tomorrow later today (it’s 1.33 AM now) July 30th. I have a full day schedule of  food photography assignment in 8 hours and here I am too excited about this post I cannot retire this exhausted body of mine.

Sarawak Regatta has been a premier event with a distinct historical and cultural significant. It was held as early as before 1872 and was organized as an annual event taking place during the New Year. Sarawak Gazette had recorded in 1872, that the annual Regatta that year was held, on 29th February 1872 at the Sarawak River in front of the Astana. The European community in Sarawak and in the neighboring countries were invited to the Astana – for breakfast – before the race. Keen competition were also recorded for the Rajah Cup.

So I learned from a source that Brunei is participating in the race although I found very little information online pertaining to this event except for a 2007  Brunei Times story. This lone kayak was a far cry from the bustling “water taxis” until I reached Damuan where the national team was about to begin their rowing practice. Not having much to go on and simply basing the team’s participation in the Sarawak Regatta on these practice runs, I wish them all the best!

One of my favourite shots of the evening. Something about a lone kayak within a stone's throw from the bustling water taxis that makes the scene so out of place yet interesting at the same time.
A glimpse of the golden dome of Istana Nurul Iman from the Pontoon boat as rowers continue their practice. I suspect this vantage point may make this image a favourite for the designers. We shall see when the magazine is published.
Other than the water taxis in Kampong Ayer, the Brunei River isn't rich in water activities unlike the rivers of Temburong. I was so fascinated by this unbelievable opportunity that I took a series of images from various vantage points. Goes without saying, I had fun.
I love this one! Something about our State colour on the paddles that makes instils pride in their efforts to do Brunei proud.


  1. These are very good shots. I especially like pic no. 1 and 7…colors are so vivid that it’s hard to imagine Brunei River is anything less than interesting or lively.

    Is it appropriate to say “congratulations!!” here? =D


  2. Mister, love your stunning photos again, no. 2 & 7, especially 2, love the golden sunset over the sea with the kayak

    I always fancy about the sunsets could be that beautiful at your country 🙂


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