Location: Brunei Floating Village Gym, Kampong Ayer, Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei
Opening hours – 9am to 7pm
Price – $1 (approx £0.57)
Review: One of the main tourist attractions in Brunei is the Floating Village, otherwise known as Kampong Ayer, which is in Brunei’s capital city, Bandar Seri Begawan. Situated over Brunei Bay, Kampong Ayer is home to about 39,000 people, which represents roughly ten percent of the tiny nation’s total population.
Whilst the houses were originally wooden shacks built over the water, thanks to government support the houses in Kampong Ayer are now mainly concrete, with indoor plumbing and electricity. As part of His Majesty’s plans to improve the standard of living for the population in Kampong Ayer, King Hassanal Bolkiah decreed to build modern, two story stilt houses made of concrete in the centre of the Kampong Ayer in around 2013-2014. These houses were then given to the people in need of a new house who did not wish to move onto the land.
After visiting the Kampong Ayer visitor’s centre, we decided to have a walk around the houses. Whilst traversing the walkways and exploring the local area, we came across the Brunei Floating Village Gym. Run by one of the local families in Kampong Ayer, the gym is actually pretty well equipped for what it is and promises a once in a lifetime workout on the water. The gym is on the smaller side, and a little cluttered, but there is a lot of equipment here, including dumbbells up to 45kg.
Despite its small size, this gym has:
- Dumbbells up to 45kg
- Adjustable benches
- Easy bars
- Olympic bars
- Chest press / fly machine
- Dips / pull up bar
- Incline barbell bench
- Flat barbell bench
- Leg extension bench
- Smith machine
- Lat pulldown machine
- High cable
- Shoulder press bench
- Seated low row machine
Looking in the doorway of the house opposite the gym, I did see water and protein on the table so these may be able available if you can manage to explain what you are looking for. I did try to ask, but I think I was speaking to the families daughter and her English seemed somewhat limited.
The gym is open sided and built in a little cage over the water, so the breeze helps keep the gym nice and cool. This really is a unique place to train, so if you get a chance whilst in Brunei I would highly recommend training here.
Who is it for? Whilst the gym is mainly for the local villagers, it is open to the general public. The staff here are friendly but they have limited English. The gym has a decent amount of weight training equipment, but no cardio equipment, so it might not be the best place for cardio bunnies.
Despite the need to take a boat to this gym, it remains the closest gym to the central tourist area. Whilst the locals seemed very friendly, the remote location means that female travellers may feel somewhat vulnerable training here after dark. Whilst Brunei is a safe place, but you should take the usual precautions when travelling alone.
Tips: To get there this gym you need to take a water taxi to pier 3. This should only cost $1 in a water taxi. Once at pier 3, head straight down the walkway and turn left at the end. The gym is about 20m ahead on the left. It is in a cage. You can see the gym in the back left hand corner of this shot. You need to pay admission inside the shop on the other side of the walkway, directly across from the gym itself.