It’s a lovely experience walking around a museum by yourself. You can move at your own pace, allow yourself some solitude to mentally engage with carefully curated artefacts, and welcome inspiration from introspection and self-reflection. Travelling can sometimes end up in a flurry of things to do, see and taste, without having the time to really take in the subtleties of the foreign environment you’ve entered. Museums can empower you with archives of knowledge, and give you the opportunity to pay respect to the extraordinary cultures and histories of thousand year old cultures . As noble peace prize recipient Orhan Pamuk put it, a museum should not just be a place for fancy paintings but should be a place where we can communicate our lives through our everyday objects.
To pay our respects to International Museum Day this Friday 18 May, we’re uncovering what we think are the most underrated Museums in South East Asia. We believe that the following historical archives pay due to the liven experiences of, and beauty of South East Asian cultures.
To best summarise Hanoi’s Vietnamese Woman’s Museum, the word “inspirational” would suffice. Although the Museum features the word “Women”, don’t be fooled into thinking it’s not equally fascinating and enjoyable for both men and woman. The gallery offers a fascinating introduction to the life of Vietnamese women, their hardships, achievements, and historical milestones which assisted in progressing Hanoi into Vietnam’s magical capital of today. Besides displays on everyday life, marriage and childbirth (which are far from banal) it also brings to life the lived experiences of women in the wars against the French and Americans.
Other rooms deal with contemporary phenomena like the roving merchants of Hanoi, and the cult of the Holy Mothers with Mother Goddess. The museum’s final floor features traditional clothing of women from each of the 54 ethnic minorities in Vietnam. Another floor exhibits a collection of agricultural and domestic tools used by women throughout the country. The exhibits in this one museum will begin to open any traveler’s eyes to much that is compelling and special about Vietnam.
As the largest religious monument in the world, it’s no surprise that World Heritage listed Angkor Wat is the most popular tourist destination in Cambodia and in everyone’s top 5 must see places to visit in South East Asia. The once in a life time experience can be quite overwhelming in the humid Cambodian tropics, crowded with millions of patrons each year, all trekking through miles and miles of fascinating temple, Fully absorbing all Ankor Wat has to offer can be an arduous if not impossible feat while immersed in the ancient temples. Take some time to explore Angkor National Museum before heading to Angkor Wat.
Angkor National Museum is an archaeological museum dedicated to the collection, preservation and presentation of Angkorian artefacts. The museums 7 galleries feature collections mainly dated from the Khmer Empire‘s Angkor period. There is an extra gallery dedicated to history of hundreds of years of Buddhism, with 1,000 Buddha images highlighting the religion’s significance in Cambodian culture.
Travel to one of the most-loved cities in Malaysia is always a good idea, especially when it has some of the best food, festivals, street art and museums. Some of these include the Upside Down Museum, Camera Museum and Ghost Museum, but here at chozun 途赞 we think one of the most underrated museum in not only Penang, but the whole of Malaysia, is Penang House of Music. Located in vibrant George Town, the museum hits the sweet spot between meticulous research and an engagingly fresh vibe.
Penang House of Music vividly display a plethora of traditional Malaysian musical instruments, holds jam sessions with respected local musicians, live sets, and has interactive exhibits to fully immerse yourself in rhythmic sounds of Malaysia.
Laos is the super chill capital of South East Asia, with awesome food, stunning sunsets, copious amounts of roaring waterfalls, and world-class hand crafts. Weaving, silk work and dyeing run deep in Laos culture, and The Ock Pop Tok Living Crafts Centre offers insights into these age old tradition. The centre is a cultural hub of artisans where Lao textiles truly come alive. Ock Pop Tok is a wider community of talented artisans, founded 18 years ago with 5 weavers and has expanded to provide employment for over 500 women in Luang Prabang and nearby villages. Fifty percent of the revenue from Ock Pop Tok goes back into the government and NGO supported Village Weaver Projects.
Set in the grounds of a thriving tropical garden on the Mekong, it’s the perfect place to absorb the fascinating culture Laos has to offer while learning more about this unique art form. Free guided tours are available where you can meet the weavers, immerse yourself within the artisan community, and even observe the silkworms. Unforgettable classes are provided for a small donation, specialising in traditional weaving and dyeing techniques. On site they have the Silk Road Cafe, where you can grab a coffee or refreshing sugar cane or coconut juice to. They’ll even pick you up in a tuk tuk and provide a scrumptious Laos lunch.
老挝是东南亚超级放松的首府，拥有美味的食物，令人惊叹的日落，大量咆哮的瀑布以及世界级的手工艺品。编织，丝绸作品和晕染技术等在老挝文化的深处运行，Ock Pop Tok Living工艺中心提供对这些古老传统的洞察。该中心是老挝纺织品真正活跃的工匠文化中心。 Ock Pop Tok是18年前由5位织工创立聚集具有精湛技术工匠的社区，并已扩展到为琅勃拉邦和附近村庄的500多名妇女提供了就业机会。 Ock Pop Tok 50％的收入回归给政府和NGO支持的Village Weaver项目。
Christmas is just a western thing isn’t it? Well, not entirely. If you find yourself not wanting to succumb to hosting a dinner for 500, and wanting to escape any family arguments that may just escalate over who has control over the TV remote, you could always fly over to Asia for a different kind of Christmas. Right?!
Asia currently has the highest proportion of Buddhists, however, there are still millions of Christians home to Asia, as well as the East being more and more open to adopting western practices and celebrations. Whether it’s just for commercial capital or a serious sequence of morning mass, we’ve looked into how Christmas is celebrated across Asia:
It’s the air of a bustling, big city but with an intimate, dense vibe that will draw you into falling in love with Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC), lying in the south of Vietnam. You can’t help but to immerse yourself within its tight, close-knit community beaming with warm locals who will do anything for you. They’re humbling, modest, and hard working.
It’s a city that doesn’t stop; you could be walking home from a bar at two o’clock in the morning and the locals will invite you for a drink with them to watch the sun unearth over the many sky rises. HCMC, AKA Saigon, has a true heart and a majestic soul beating through each and every compact, busy street corner.
这是一座不停歇的城市。 你可以在凌晨两点从酒吧回家。当地人会邀请你喝一杯，看日出。 胡志明市西贡，拥有真正的心灵和雄伟的灵魂，冲击每一个紧凑繁忙的街角。
But where do you start? At chozun 途赞, we’ve explored the area in and out and have hand picked our favourite providers in the city of Ho Chi Minh to help you out; from where to brunch, where to relax, and where to do your dirty laundry.