Besides going into the business of prawn and fish crackers, Kg Sungai Bunga has made it possible for the One Village, One Product initiative to allow tourism to be part of the initiative with the presence of the village’s homestay programme.
One of the significant visits that they have received was from the wives of the leaders of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation members, where the Consultative Council of Kg Sungai Bunga had created a homestay programme.
According to Zaini Haji Salleh, secretary of Kg Sungai Bunga Consultative Council, there was a boost in sales of homestay packages from tourists, which led to the establishment of Seri Tanjung Homestay and Perkhidmatan Inap Desa.
Since 2013, over 3,000 tourist from about 40 different countries have gone to Seri Tanjung Homestay and experience the Bruneian culture firsthand.
“The general interest in homestay packages led to a discussion with the villagers at Sungai Bunga to join in and provide homestay programme themselves – eventually families started to open their home for the tourists,” said Zaini.
The homestay programmes at Kg Sungai Bunga enable tourists to experience life in Kampong Ayer, and staying with local families in the vicinity. Each household are equipped with their own activities, depending on what they are skilled at such as the different fishing techniques like rambat and bintur.
Tourists are also exposed to our local cuisine and shown how to create certain dishes and delicacies such as ambuyat and kueh sapit.
The village council organises a cultural night, where the guests are exposed to Brunei’s cultural dances, as well as traditional games like congkak and batu simban. Guests are also encouraged to showcase their own culture, making it a cultural exchange between countries.
Along with the cultural activities and showcase of the various Brunei food, the homestay visitors can even buy raw materials used to make the dishes such as fish crackers and ambulung for them to bring as souvenirs to their country.
At the moment, there are nine families that usually follow the homestay programme with another three families that will only take part in the programme if needed by the council.
The village council will continue to add more activities in future. In 2016, they added long boat racing for tourists to experience the feeling of being in a Regatta.
Some of the activities that they plan to introduce are kupang (mussels) tour, jungle trekking and a tour of the surrounding areas, such as Sultan Hassan Royal Mausoleum.
Other than that, the village council is in discussion with the Ministry of Home Affairs to build a bridge around the island to enable connectivity and promote the biodiversity that is available on the island. This will hopefully increase the activities available to potential visitors and create further revenue for the village.