An undisputed asset of any place is its architectural heritage. The variety or perhaps the uniformity of structures appeal to tourists and locals alike. Beauty seen in edifices come alive though when these buildings are still either used or in good condition. But alas, other hallmarks that give a structure added value are age and of course, aesthetic appeal.
In my two international destinations this recent summer, I could confidently say that one common feature that I found most charming was the shophouse. Siem Reap, on the one hand, boasted on the ancient Angkor temples while on the other hand, Singapore had its highrises, high-tech amenities and fantastic attractions to lure in the tourists. But both destinations actually have something in common, and that was the shophouse.
A shophouse is a common structure found in Southeast Asia. Basically, a shophouses is a house that has a shop. Most of these though are found in Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam and Cambodia.
What makes them charming?
Well first are there sizes. They are typically not imposing and massive. Secondly, they sport intricate and sometimes, flamboyant facades which truly appeal to the visitor. Finally, in these modern times, it’s the mixed use that truly interest tourists, historians, urban planners and the like. How once simple affairs have now turned into clubs, boutique hotels, and the like are really inspiring.
Here below are just some of the photos I took of some shophouses in Siem Reap and Singapore.