Newly opened in the Haeundae area is the ASEAN Culture House, offering a glimpse into the traditions and customs of the SouthEast Asian nations. Not only is it a great learning experience, but one that is totally free of charge to the public.
While this museum (of sorts) isn’t very large, we went along and spent a good hour walking around the exhibits, housed over two floors, and found the whole experience extremely interesting for the whole family. They bring together visual pieces showing the lifestyles and habits of Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, The Philippines, Lao PDR, Cambodia, Myanmar, Indonesia, Vietnam, and Brunei Darussalam and will rotate their main exhibition hall every few months to depict a different aspect of Asian culture.
Enter at the ground floor and you’ll be greeted at the Information Desk by staff who will give you a few details regarding the flow of the exhibition and set you off on your way. The ‘Special Exhibition Gallery’ will be your first port of call which is currently displaying ‘Celebrating the Beauty of Marriage’ giving a colourful look at wedding procedures across the ASEAN countries.
See beautiful ceremony clothes from Thailand and Singapore, decor and offerings, as well as being able to watch and listen to recordings of music and examples of wedding festivities from around the region. This particular exhibit is running until November 2017 but will then be replaced by a new exhibition.
Also located on the ground floor of the Culture House is their Virtual Reality Room that was an absolute highlight of the visit, particularly for our children. Sit and watch images of some beautiful landmarks from across South East Asia and then try out their VR set-up, which will take you on an intricate tour of Angor Wat. Having recently been to Cambodia, this was truly fascinating and extremely life-like. You’ve gotta give this a go!
The Culture House exhibits continue upstairs where there are a number of different display and also some fun interactive ‘games’ to try out. Stroll through wicker baskets from Brunei Darussalam, learn about the Barong Dance of Bali, Indonesia, see examples of puppets, masks and tapestry pieces, and enjoy a look into the life of so many different cultures in South East Asia.
The ASEAN Culture House is located very close to Inje University Busan Paik Hospital in Haeundae, on Jwadong-ro. They are currently offering free parking underneath the culture house, although I’m not sure if this will be a long-standing offering. While there’s no metro station in the vicinity, any bus that goes to Paik Hospital would get you very close to the building to be able to walk over. Entry to the Culture House is completely free.
They are open from 10am to 6pm, Tuesday to Friday with extended hours, staying open until 7pm, on weekends. They are, however, closed on Mondays and public holidays. They are also equipped with a locker room, nursing room, offer wheelchair access, and have a coffee shop on the lower floor.
They also welcome tour groups (or 15-40) people and are happy for school groups to make the most of their centre with prior arrangement for the visit.