As the largest continent in the world and home to infinite different language isolates and cultures, it’s safe to say there is much to discover in Asia.
For museum enthusiasts, a visit to any of the excellent institutions listed below will be worth the dive into some of Asia’s richest cultures.
Definitely, positively, don’t miss the National Palace Museum in Taipei, Taiwan. One of the most visited in the world, the museum grounds are massive. Within them are the largest collection of priceless Chinese artefacts in the world, including ancient scroll paintings, jade, and more than 690,000 possessions of the imperial families, spanning across the dynasties. To think that all of these were almost lost in the Cultural Revolution!
Leave it to the Japanese to have a museum entirely dedicated to poop. But don't worry, there's no real excrement inside, just vibrant and colourful dung-shaped displays and attractions. From all accounts, the exhibits and experiences aren't shitty (heh) at all!
Stunning by day and magnificent by night is the Museum of Islamic art, situated along a seafront cornice in Doha, Qatar. Designed by the same man behind the Louvre glass pyramid, I M Pei, its geometrical architecture draws a deep connection between the essence of Islamic Art and modernity. The collection of intrinsic Islamic textiles, artworks across different reigns and iconic artefacts encrusted with precious stones – obtained from all around the world – makes this museum one the most extensive of its kind.
A UNESCO world heritage site, the mausoleum of the First Qin Dynasty Emperor (a title he conferred upon himself after rejecting the title of king borne by previous Shang and Zhou rulers) stands on China’s largest preserved ground. Visitors can find on their visit, a whooping 7,000 life-size terracotta figures of warriors, war horses and weapons arranged in neat columns. This museum is lauded for the careful archaeological works carried out to restore the exquisite funeral artefacts to their original form.
For an immersive experience, this museum will not disappoint. Its exhibits use human interactions; visitors get to sit, touch and experiment with most exhibits. The highly interactive installations, such as Leandro Erlich’s “swimming pool” and James Turrel’s blue Planet Sky keeps visitors thoroughly entertained during their visits.
Nestled humbly in the middle of Iran's largest city, the unassuming concrete outlook of the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art houses the largest collection of modern art in the whole of the Middle East, valued at over two billion (USD). Keep a lookout for famous works by Picasso, Monet, Matisse, Van Gogh, Warhol and even the self-portrait of Edvard Munch, all put on display for the first time in more than 30 years.
For vintage junkies, the oldest and largest multi-purpose museum in all of Asia is a must-go. Gothic, neoclassical architecture and vintage interiors define the museum. Get close up with a wide range of exhibits, such as the 4,000-year-old Egyptian mummy, dinosaurs fossils, and India’s largest collection of antiques. Don’t miss the urn speculated to contain the Buddha’s ashes! Fun fact: locals often call this museum ‘House of Magic’ or ‘Jadu Ghar’, roughly translated to ‘Magic Man’.
Forget about museums on islands; Japan has a whole island dedicated to the arts. Littered all around the island are state-of-the-art galleries, architecture and outdoor installations for culture vultures out there. This newly developed art island is founded upon the principles of simplicity and minimalism. Some notable museums include Teshima Island Museum, the giant pumpkin sitting along the sea, Ando’s Chichu Art Museum and the Benesse House Museum.
The Asian Civilisation Museum in Singapore is a must-visit if you’re here to learn all about ancestral cultures in Asia and be awed by the collection of some 1,300 artefacts from China, South and West Asia from over 5000 years of recorded history, (compared to other world-renowned museums) small space of 14,000 square metres. Auditory devices and visual aids are handed out to visitors for a more immersive experience. The Empress Place Building where the museum resides in, is a neoclassical building from the British era in Singapore and a National Monument.