Interesting Museums to Visit in South-East Asia

I grew up in a country where museums were treated irrelevant. Museums were marked as boring and dull. That was how I saw it when I was little. Then when I got a little older and ventured out from my home country, I saw a lot of interesting museums in other countries. This confused me as it seemed to be out of my norm, “this isn’t right, museum are meant to be boring!”.

Fast forward to present day, my home country, Indonesia has seem to changed its mind too about museums. You can see a lot of museums being promoted more and more now, leading to a greater appreciation for them. This is good! We have so many things to showcase in Indonesia, we are a huge country with a fascinating history, our museums should be engaging and help travellers to understand our country better. I really have high hope for the future of museums in my country.

Anyway, speaking of museums, I have encountered some interesting museums during my travel in Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia so here are some of those museums, be sure to check it out yourself!

Singapore Art Museum

If you love contemporary art, then Singapore Art Museum is a must visit for you. First of all the building itself is quite exquisite. It was once the building of an all boys’ school. You can still see the original structure though most of the rooms have been renovated to house the art museum. Be on the look out for the gorgeous alley at the front of the museum, the huge doors and of course its beautiful tiles. The museum itself has some remarkable and interesting art works, some are even interactive, letting visitors join in the fun. This museum is free for entrance every Friday from 6PM – 9PM.

Address: 71 Bras Basah Road, Singapore 189555

That alley is so gorgeous!
That alley is so gorgeous!

Museum of Siam

If you are in Bangkok and want to get to know more about the history, culture and people of Thailand, head to the Museum of Siam. This museum is surprisingly engaging with many interactive games that are enjoyable to both children and adults. I think this place is great to learn about the Thai culture, and you will be surprised that the exhibitions here are far from boring. Each room is dedicated to a special topic, ranging from games about battle in the past to trying on some clothes from the previous era. I especially love their exhibition on street food, which is an especially important part of the Thai culture. If you happen to be near Wat Pho (I mean, who could miss this amazing temple anyway?!), make your way down to the Museum of Siam, you won’t regret it.

Address: 4 Sanam Chai Road, Phra Nakhon, Bangkok 10200

One of the exhibitions at Museum Siam
One of the exhibitions at Museum Siam

National Museum of Indonesia

Housed in the popular “Elephant Building”, National Museum of Indonesia contains many collections important to the history of Indonesia’s culture and tradition. The building itself is quite huge and I have to say that I was pretty impressed with this museum. There are so many collections from all over Indonesia, thus you can see how relevant it is to our county.

Look at all those artifacts!
Look at all those artifacts!
I found the collection of Hindhu-Buddhist statues and relics of ancient Indonesia to be intriguing, especially as it was showcased in the beautiful inner courtyard. There are also many more to see like artifacts, precious treasures, ceramics collection to prehistory collection – it truly makes me appreciate more of my country’s diverse cultures.

Address: Jl. Medan Merdeka Barat No.12, Jakarta 10110

My favourite place
My favourite place

Baba Nyonya Heritage Museum

When travelling in Malaysia, it is easy to see the Baba Nyonya or Peranakan culture in its daily lives. Peranakan Chinese are the people whose ancestors are from China and came to the Malay archipelago. This museum, or rather house museum, is the house of the Chan family since 1861 (the family still manages this house) and is the perfect example of life of the rich Baba Nyonya in the past. To visit this museum, you must take the guided tour, which will help you to understand the house better and photos are not allowed inside the house. It was an enjoyable tour for me since I love old houses and the things inside are still exceptionally well. It actually seemed like I was transported into the past. Don’t miss this place when you are in Melaka!

Address: 48-50, Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock, 75200 Melaka, Malaysia

I am not the only one who loves museum, check out Noni of Nyonya Sepatu’s post on museum travel.

And if you’re heading to Antwerp, Febby of Jalan2Liburan has written the top 7 museums you must visit there.

What’s your favourite museum in South-East Asia?


#CeritaJalanAsik is a weekly travel theme where we share our travel stories based on a certain theme by Jalan2Liburan, Nyonya Sepatu and Dream Explore Wander. Check out our posts every Wednesday!

This week’s theme: Museum Travel

2 Comment

  1. Selama 6 tahun tinggal di Jakarta, ga ada sama sekali niatan masuk museum Gajah (Museum Nasional), dari depan ga menarik gitu soalnya. Setelah nikah, karena suami museum mania, pas kami ke Jakarta, saudara mengusulkan untuk kesana. Setelah masuk, whoaa bagus bangeeett ya. Museum Ullen Sentalu di Jogja membekas bagusnya dan pengen balik lagi kesana. Itu museum bener2 bagus dari lukisan2 yg ada maupun cerita2nya.

    1. Iya mbak emang bagus yaaa dalemnya. Aku ama Museum Ullen Sentalu agak kecewa karena dia ceritainnya ttg Keraton aja, padahal “janjinya” tentang rakyat Jawa, kok aku rasa kurang tentang sejarah masyarakat Jawanya. Tapi suka ama gedungnya yah, terawat banget

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