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Published on December 8, 2014

In Brunei’s homestays, you’ll find yourself living like an ordinary Brunei citizen – experiencing the country’s unique kampong culture first-hand.

1.1.  Baitul Wajihah

Brunei homeowner Haji Muslin Haji Salim of Kampong Limau Manis welcomes visitors to his own home, a cozily-appointed domicile named Baitul Wajihah Homestay after his daughter. Guests at the Baitul Wajihah are welcomed as warmly as Haji Muslin’s own family, and treated that way throughout their stay.

Haji Muslin introduces visitors to unique aspects of Brunei culture, including visits to local rice paddies, fishing villages and handicraft centres; several sessions playing traditional Brunei games; and meals that include traditional Brunei cuisine like the thick sago palm staple known as ambuyat. Many of these learning experiences take place in Haji Muslin’s sizeable garden.

1.2.  Kampong Sungai Matan

For Kampong Sungai Matan’s village head Pengiran Haji Abdul Rahman, “our lifestyle is our product.”  He’s now cannily packaged their product into a homestay experience set in one of Brunei’s busiest fishing villages. As a guest of the Kampong Sungai Matan homestay, guests can venture into the water on a fishing boat to see local fishermen at work, or come home to a traditional meal after dark.

Guests visiting at the end of May can participate in the Kampong’s famous “Matan Carnival”, with dozens of booths selling local products and activities including tours of the village, a walkathon and kids’ competitions. At any time of year, homestay guests can hire tours of the Brunei River and nearby mangrove forests.

1.3.  Melilas Longhouse

SinggahRuai Resort arranges homestay experiences at an authentic Iban longhouse at Kampong Melilas. Longhouse guests get a unique look at Iban life through experiences like rice-harvesting demonstrations at a nearby rice paddy, visits to local markets and schools, and musical performances like gulingtangan and ngajat.

The longhouse itself looks formidable, a large construction built on stilts with accommodations for 14 families. It’s an ideal jumping-off point to explore the nearby jungle – trekkers can reach waterfalls and hot springs within an easy hike from Kampong Melilas.