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Video series rediscovers ASEAN through architectural lens

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Cambodia's Le Bokor Palace / Courtesy of ASEAN-Korea Centre

By Kwon Mee-yoo

In honor of World Tourism Day, which falls on Sept. 27, the ASEAN-Korea Centre has released a fresh series of videos that spotlight the unique architecture and lifestyles of Cambodia, Indonesia and Vietnam.

These videos do more than simply guide viewers through scenic locations, but also provide a deeper insight into the rich culture of each country.

For Cambodia, the focus is on its capital Phnom Penh, often dubbed as the "Pearl of Asia," and the coastal town of Kampot. The video highlights the New Khmer architecture that characterizes modern Phnom Penh, featuring buildings that are grand in scale and bold in aesthetics. Landmarks like the National Sports Complex and Phsar Thmey (Central Market) exemplify this. Also showcased is the regenerated Le Bokor Palace in Kampot, demonstrating the country's innovative spirit.

Indonesia's Istiqlal Mosque / Courtesy of ASEAN-Korea Centre

Indonesia's capital Jakarta and the cradle of Javanese civilization, Yogyakarta, are the key features of the second video. From the ancient Javanese architecture at Fatahillah Square to symbols of Indonesia's national identity like Monas and Istiqlal Mosque, the video explores Indonesia's pluralistic society. It also includes a glimpse into modern cultural arts spaces and sustainable architecture, underlining the nation's progressive approach to inclusive urban development.

The Vietnam video takes viewers to Hanoi, a city with 1,000 years of history, and Ninh Binh, known as the "Ha Long Bay on Land." Covering ancient royal style and European influences as well as modern sustainable architecture, the video showcases a blend of European flair and traditional elements in iconic structures such as the Opera House, St. Joseph's Cathedral, Phat Diem Cathedral and Bai Dinh Pagoda.

The respective countries' national tourism organizations recommended the architecture to be featured in the videos and architect-writer Oh Young-wook provided the commentary.

Vietnam's Bai Dinh Pagoda / Courtesy of ASEAN-Korea Centre

Initiated as the "ASEAN Familiarization Tour" in 2019, the program transitioned to a virtual format after the outbreak of COVID-19. In 2022, the "Architecture and Culture Tour" shed light on Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand and the center aims to complete this 10-country series with plans to release videos for Brunei, Laos and Myanmar in January 2024.

The videos are available to view on the center's YouTube channel.

Kwon Mee-yoo


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