Step right into Asia’s wackiest, weirdest museums
IF YOU LOVE MUSEUMS, your travel plans are about to get more interesting.
Museums are wonderful places to visit because there’s so much a traveler could learn from the cultural and historical exhibits. Walking the halls of a museum while looking at the collection of art, artifacts, and specimens is a unique experience, as it can either transport you back in time or give you an idea of a country’s ideas and values.
There are so many incredible museums in the world.
The Louvre in Paris, France; ArtScience Museum in Singapore; Sistine Chapel in Vatican City; Guggenheim in New York City, US; The Terracotta Army in Xi’an, China; Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum in Madrid, Spain; Chichu Art Museum in Naoshima, Japan; Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, the Netherlands; Dongdaemun Design Plaza in Seoul, South Korea; National History Museum in London, UK; and many more.
Fun fact: In 2001, the UK abolished most museum admission charges. To date, there are over 50 free national museums across the sovereign state.
But instead of artifacts, maybe you’d like to giggle like a child at some teddy bears. Instead of looking at a replica or an artist’s impression, maybe you’d like to look at the real thing. Or maybe you’d prefer a museum that approves of gluttony as part of the whole experience.
In parts of Asia, there are museums housing the wackiest, weirdest, but also most interesting and educational things. Remember to hit up one of these strange museums the next time you’re in town.
Japan: Shin Yokohama Ramen Museum
Located in the Shin Yokohama district of Kōhoku-ku in Japan, the Shin Yokohama Ramen Museum is a food court which opened in 1994. Entirely devoted to the Japanese ramen, the museum features a small recreation of Tokyo circa 1958, the year instant noodles were invented.
The ground floor houses ramen restaurants where you can either order full-size or small size ramen dishes. It’s a one-stop destination to try various types of ramen as there are different flavors available, including some from far away regions such as Hakata in Kyushu and Sapporo in Hokkaido. So go with an empty stomach and embrace the inner glutton in you.
And in line with inclusivity, the museum also features ramen dishes from Germany, France, and the US, as well as pork-free ramen for those with dietary requirements.
Once you’re done slurping up bowls of ramen in heartwarming broth, head on upstairs where there are ramen displays and a souvenir shop. You can even make your own customized ramen.
Address: 2 Chome-14-21 Shinyokohama, Kōhoku-ku, Yokohama, Kanagawa Prefecture 222-0033.
India: Sulabh International Museum of Toilets
There’s a museum in India dedicated to the global history of sanitation and toilets. Yes, you best believe it.
Established in 1992 by Dr. Bindeshwar Pathak, a social activist and founder of Sulabh Sanitation and Social Reform Movement, the museum was voted one of the weirdest museums among The 10 Weirdest Museums in the World by Time magazine. Pathak’s objective is to highlight the need to address the problems of the sanitation sector in the country.
What can you expect from the museum? A rare collection of facts, poems, pictures, and objects detailing the historic evolution of toilet from 2500 BC to date.
There’s likely nowhere else in the world where you’d be able to see an extensive display of privies, chamber pots, toilet furniture, bidets and water closets, including ornately carved and painted urinals, in use from 1145 AD to the modern day.
Address: RZ-83, Sulabh Bhawan, Palam Dabri Road, Mahavir Enclave, Sulabh International Social Service Organisation, New Delhi, Delhi 110045, India.
Thailand: Pattaya Museum of Bottle Art
One of Pattaya’s many tourist attractions, the Bottle Art Museum was originally started by a Dutch expat bottle art enthusiast. It is the only bottle art museum in the world, with works of art dating back fifty to hundreds of years.
The museum is home to painstakingly constructed models of boats, houses and famous landmarks from all over the world in bottles. Expect to see miniature versions of a traditional Thai wooden house, windmills from Holland, ornate Japanese pagodas, and many more. The bottles are a true test of precision and patience of the artists who worked on them.
In case you’re wondering how it’s done, there’s a video tutorial that tourists can sit through. You can also learn how to make your own bottle art while you’re there but it’ll probably take you more than just a couple of minutes to complete.
Visitors are given a little bottle with a display of two birds as a souvenir for every ticket purchased.
Address: 10 247/89-94 ซอย สุขุมวิทพัทยา 61 Muang Pattaya, Amphoe Bang Lamung, Chang Wat Chon Buri 20150, Thailand.
South Korea: Joanne Bear Museum
About five minutes away from the Jeju International Convention Center by car is the Joanne Bear Museum. Located on Jeju island’s Jungmun Resort Complex, the museum is essentially an exhibition hall for Joanne Oh, a world-famous teddy bear artist.
Oh’s claim to fame came when she created bears based on Bae Yong Joon’s character in 2002’s hit Korean drama, Winter Sonata, which are on display at the museum alongside a variety of teddy bears and polar bears. More importantly, the bears are eco-friendly as they made of all-natural materials. Oh herself is known for her efforts to preserve nature and help the environment.
Feel free to hang out at the museum’s cafe for a quick spot of coffee and ice cream before watching Oh’s teddy bear making process in person. After that, get on the rooftop to take in the view of Jeju’s enchanting nature and snap some pictures.
There are “joon” bears for sale at the museum’s souvenir shop so you can even take one home with you if you’d like.
Address: 1959 Daepo-dong, Seogwipo-si, Jeju-do.
China: The Sock Culture Museum
Located in Beijing and the second of its kind, China’s Sock Culture Museum is dedicated to what else? Socks.
The building covers an area of 3,200 sq.m and features a collection of over 1,000 items in several exhibition halls demonstrating domestic sock culture, sock development history, and literature about socks.
The museum’s sock history hall, socks making technology hall, experience hall, and future hall are all open to the public. If you’ve always wanted insight into sock fashion etiquette and color-matching schemes, craftsmanship, and sock trends in China, this is the place to be.
Visitors can even get their hands on sock-making course. Because where else would you learn how to make socks, right?
Address: Yancun County, Fangshan District, Beijing.
Source: Travels travelwireasia.com