Museum day in Hong Kong and it was great! [YQrtw Day 129 Aug 17]

dragon at hk museum

Location: Hong Kong

As I went to bed the night before at 6pm, I woke up at 2am.

Since almost everything is closed at that time and I don’t want to walk around the streets in the middle of the night and meet those scary gangsters featured in 60% of Hong Kong movies, I did a bit of blog updating and Facebook game playing.

Slightly before 7am, I decided it was time to head out for breakfast. I found out that there’s a porridge place nearby that serves food at 7am. Yum yum.

It was quite easy finding the place with a combination of Foursquare and Google Maps. However, it was 5 minutes before 7am when I reached the doors so I didn’t dare enter.

Instead, I walked around for two blocks before deciding that I really need something to eat.

I had porridge with a cup of hot soy milk. The porridge was really good as it was silky smooth and not chunky.

[See this video http://instagram.com/p/dF92nQD5gN/]

After breakfast, I decided to see more of Hong Kong. What better time to sightsee that early in the morning where you don’t have crowds of people to deal with?

I took the tram to one of the Hong Kong MTR station exit and let Foursquare and Google Maps do my travel planning. According to the apps, I was near the famous Central Mid-Level Escalators.

The apps were right but it was before 10am so all the escalators were going down. One of the downward escalator was also being fixed so I decided not to head to the top to take them all the way down.

Riding one of the Central Mid-Level escalators
Riding one of the Central Mid-Level escalators

A trip to Tsim Sha Tsui

Once the escalator was off the To-Do List, I made my way to the land opposite Hong Kong Island–the New Territories. This is where the famous Avenue of Stars and most museums are.

View of Victoria Harbor from Avenue of Stars
View of Victoria Harbor from Avenue of Stars

It was really cloudy and I could see heavy clouds sitting on top of Hong Kong Island, waiting to let out a flood of rain. I imagine that it’ll be a lot prettier if it was sunny or even at night when all the lights are on. (I love city lights.)

Visiting the Hong Kong Museum of Art

Looking across the narrow block of water and smelling ocean air got a bit boring so I turned my back and headed to the Hong Kong Museum of Art. The museum wasn’t open yet at that time so I waited a long while before I could get in.

I’m usually less of a fan of art museums because I find that having just paintings is kind of boring. I’ve seen enough painting during this trip and I didn’t think I would like those at the HK Museum of Art that much.

But I was surprised by how much I liked the collection there. Maybe it’s because it has a lot of Chinese art which I didn’t get to see while travelling.

Chickens at the Hong Kong Museum of Art
Chickens at the Hong Kong Museum of Art

After 2 hours at the museum, it was time to feed my tummy. Luckily there was one of the branches of a famous ramen place nearby. I heard that there is usually a long queue at the Butao stores but there was only 5 other people in front of me.

Since I was eating alone, they found me a seat really fast. I accidentally ordered an extra serving of charsiew. The soup was very good but I ordered the wrong type of noodles and it felt like I was eating wanton noodles instead of ramen noodles.

Butao ramen in Hong Kong
Butao ramen in Hong Kong

Visit to the Hong Kong History Museum

After lunch, I was feeling the effects of waking up at 2am. I was tempted to go back to my hostel but I ploughed on. Next on the To-Do List was the Hong Kong History Museum.

The Hong Kong History Museum was great. The timeline starts waaaay back when there doesn’t seem to be any living organisms on earth to the time when Hong Kong is reunited with China.

Touch this rock
Touch this rock

The prehistoric parts were a bit dull but I love the second floor that talks about the different cultures in Hong Kong. They actually built houses inside the museum!

Dragons!
Dragons!

There were also audio visual halls where they show videos. I like that part because I can sit down and rest.

After visiting the permanent exhibition, I was very drained and wished to sleep. But I still have tickets to the temporary exhibition featuring clothes from the Qing royal family.

Emperor's new clothes
Emperor’s new clothes

While looking at the oversized clothes, I can’t help thinking how amazing it is that we’re able to see the clothes so near. Back in ancient China, a commoner might not even be able to see it from 1km away.

After a quick stroll through the exhibition, I decided to go back to the hostel. I took a bus that went through the undersea tunnel and saw lots of concrete walls.

Back in my hostel, I set my alarm for 8pm, thinking that I should check out Hong Kong at night. Unfortunately, when the alarm rang, I was still very sleepy and went back to bed.

Caturday: Cat in the museum

museum cat

[This post isn’t exactly up on a Caturday but my brain is still jetlagged in a Caturday time zone. Let’s all pretend it’s still Caturday. Meow!]

Cat from Hong Kong Museum of Art

One of the exhibitions at the Hong Kong Museum of Art was about sunken treasures from ancient Chinese ships.

Among the collection was this marble cat. It’s very catlike but the color’s a bit off. It looks like it has skin disease.

I didn’t realize that we couldn’t take photos so that’s why we see it on Caturday. It might also be the oldest cat in the Caturday series.

El Salvador is back in business! This means museum time [YQrtw Day 119 Aug 7]

art museum in san salvador

Location: San Salvador, El Salvador

[I have been binge-watching The Lizzie Bennet Diaries and I’ve almost forgotten to write today’s post.]

After 6 days of holiday in El Salvador, the country is back into school and business mode. For the tourist, this is much better news as it means shops are finally open and there aren’t too many people on the streets.

For me, this means I can finally visit the museums.

Since there were only two museums on my to-visit list, I left the hostel at around 11am. Unfortunately, proper restaurants do not open until noon so I had to settle with a few mini pastries from a bakery and a cafe latte from a cafe.

I strolled back to Zona Rosa (the tourist area) to see the museums. Roads in San Salvador are kind of strange. The vehicles need to follow the road and make a big turn before it goes back to what should have been directly in front. That’s why I do not take the buses to Zona Rosa and prefer walking.

Big bug!
Big bug!

Walking in the El Salvadorian heat is quite a torture. Luckily, I have my umbrella from Sri Lanka or else I think I might get sunstroke. Umbrellas are also useful as defence weapons but luckily I haven’t needed to use it that way.

My first stop was the Archaeology Museum. For US$3, there wasn’t much to see there although I quite enjoyed the exhibit on religion in the country.

Exhibit at the museum
Exhibit at the museum

After the museum, I dropped by the restaurant in the compound. They have US$7 set lunches during the weekend. While eating, I started reading Love with a Chance of Drowning.

After the satisfying lunch, I had to trek up the hill to the art museum. I couldn’t figure out the entrance so I had to sit on the steps and stare out into space for a while.

El Salvador art museum
El Salvador art museum

I was glad to find the entrance in the end because the art museum is deliciously air conditioned. The exhibits were quite nice too.

Finding change for a bus ride

After the requisite museum visits, I was free (and quite bored). I initially planned to take the bus from Zona Rosa to the shopping malls but I realized that I only had 22 cents in change and US$10 and US$20 bills.

The buses that stopped had the fares written on their windows. One mini buses listed 32 cents and I remembered that the other mini bus I took was 25 cents. I don’t have enough!

So I had to walk a long way to the malls. However, I stopped to catch my breathe at one of the bus stops and found a big bus that charges only 20 cents. I hopped on, asked about the fare, gave my money and sat next to a fat man who decided to spread his knees even more after I sat down.

By the way, the big buses in El Salvador has turnstiles on them! TURNSTILES! I took a sneak shot of the object.

El Salvador bus with a turnstile!
El Salvador bus with a turnstile!

I bought some soap at the supermarket. Then I bought a local SIM card even though I would only be in the country for another 5 days. You never know when it’ll come in handy.

After the malls, I walked back to the hostel. I decided that I would visit Santa Ana tomorrow for 3 nights because I’m rather bored with San Salvador.

I searched for rooms in Santa Ana but strangely, they were all booked out on the online accommodation sites. In the end, I had to SMS one of the hostels. Fortunately, they arranged a room (through SMS!) so I will not be roofless tomorrow.

Eating Japanese in El Salvador

For dinner, I visited a Japanese restaurant I found on Foursquare. The restaurant was located in the residential area and was actually in a house! There wasn’t a proper sign outside and they only had a fluttering stand-sign near its door.

Sushi King, San Salvador
Sushi King, San Salvador

To enter, you have to ring the house doorbell and they will show you in. The interior was a dark mysterious red. The food was also mysterious since they only had sushi rolls.

I chose the OMG roll which had some unagi-like meat on top of my roll. The taste wasn’t something I was familiar with but it wasn’t as bad as the supermarket sushi I had in San Francisco.

After dinner, I head back to the room for some LBD watching. Now it’s time to go to bed since I need to wake up early tomorrow for check out.

CIao!

This little piggy went to San Camilo Market in Arequipa [YQrtw Day 95 Jul 13]

san camilo market

Location: Arequipa, Peru

View of the inside of San Camilo market in Arequipa
View of the inside of San Camilo market in Arequipa

It’s Saturday and I have no class! (Although I still need to get on with memorizing my verbs, never mind that for a moment.) I checked out San Camilo a little past lunch time.

The market is very near the city center. Like many other buildings in South America (OK, maybe just this other one in Arica), it was designed by Gustave Eiffel.

From the outside, the market doesn’t look that impressive. It’s kind looks like Kuala Lumpur’s central market. But the inside is something I’ve not seen before.

Tall metal poles support the metal roofs and sunlight pours in from the side. I have a feeling the inside of the market is modern.

For me, the most impressive part of the market was the fruit stall lane. The fruits were stacked really high on a sloped display.

Fruit stalls at San Camilo market
Fruit stalls at San Camilo market

[Fruit stall photo source: Foursquare]

At the market, I ate ceviche and drank mix fruit juice. I’ll leave the food entry for one of the #FoodFriday but you can check out the photos in my Chinese blog.

Juice stalls at San Camilo market
Juice stalls at San Camilo market
Official scale in the market. Reminds me of ancient Rome.
Official scale in the market. Reminds me of ancient Rome.

Other important news

I’ve moved out of my host family’s place. I’ve discovered that I’m not very good at host families.

Yes, it’s a good chance for language practice but only if I’m willing to talk. Most of the time, I’m more willing to sit in front of my computer.

Taxi in Arequipa
Taxi in Arequipa

Today was moving day. I called one of the taxi companies in my broken Spanish for a cab. The cab never came.

In the end, the host-sister helped me call for one and shared what the usual price of a taxi ride is.

My room at the hostel has 3 beds, enough for 7 people and all that for me. That is just AWESOME. I’ve also made myself at home, which is I’ve made a mess of the room. Just in one day!

How was your weekend?

Getting my fill of museums in Santiago [YQrtw Day 84 Jul 2]

yq at art museum

Location: Santiago, Chile

Sunday was election day so no museum was open while Monday was the day all museums close so I only had Tuesday to visit Santiago’s museums.

Museum of Memory and Human Rights in Santiago
Museum of Memory and Human Rights in Santiago

The Museum of Memory and Human Rights was the #2 tourist attraction in Santiago on Tripadvisor. Being the sheep that I am, I went to the museum just to see what the fuss was about.

There wasn’t an entrance fee for the museum which was “dedicated to commemorate the victims of Human Rights violations during the Military Regime led by Augusto Pinochet between 1973 and 1990″ as noted by Wikipedia.

I shed big fat tears when I watched some of the interviews of those who were around during the coup. Luckily I was wearing glasses and a scarf so the tears could be hidden away.

After the sad museum, I went across the street to the contemporary art museum. I lied that I was a student and paid the 400 peso entrance fee instead of the 600 peso.

Unlike the Museum of Memory and Human Rights, the contemporary art museum made my laugh. Some of the works on display were clearly just trolling the audience and the organizers.

My favorite was a tiny glass bottle with eraser shred. The piece was titled something like “Copy of someimportantdrawing but erased”.

Who am I?
Who am I?
Balls of steel
Balls of steel

After the museum, I got on a bus to the city center. However, the bus stopped halfway and I had to take another bus. I realized much later that everyone got out of the bus because the terminal was nearby.

View from a Santiago bus
View from a Santiago bus

I hung around some sort of rundown mall and had a lunch of hotdog. Even though it was a fast food stall, the queue took forever to end and the food took even longer to come.

My hotdog was garnished with avocado and tomato, an interesting combination that was destroyed by the limpy hotdog bun.

Doggi's hotdog set meal
Doggi’s hotdog set meal

After heading back to my hostel for another round of honey lemon drink, I went out for museums. This time, it was the Museo de Bellas Artes near my hostel.

I went to the wrong direction of the museum and entered another branch of Santiago Museum of Contemporary Art. After this round of modern art viewing, I decided that contemporary art is not my cup of tea.

The collection at the real Museo de Bellas Artes was pretty good. However, there was a large exhibition on Gordon Matta-Clark so I thought the museum had a bit of a confused identity.

The night ended well since I got to try out Pineapple Champagne! (Just regular sparkling wine with pineapple pulp.)

Pineapple Champagne
Pineapple Champagne

Italy day 10: Seeing the Capuchin crypt [YQrtw Day 36 May 13]

yq in rome

Location: Rome, Italy

I had quite enough of museums and art galleries after my three full museum days in Florence so I decided to focus only on one museum in Rome–the Vatican Museum.

I read somewhere online that if you want to skip the queue at the Vatican Museum, it’s best to go after lunch time when the tour groups are out to eat.

I decided to follow that advice so my morning was pretty free.

While I was on the underground heading to nowhere in Rome,  I spotted a rather interesting attraction on my mobile travel guide app.

The Capuchin Crypt has skeletons and skulls used as decoration and the whole thing fascinated me.

Luckily, my train was just nearby the train station so got off  I made the stop at Bernini.

Looking at the facade of the church, you can’t tell that inside it hides a hauntingly beautiful corridor of bones.

There was an entrance fee of 7 euro to the museum and the crypt.

The museum is small but had interesting information on the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin. Actually, I was most excited to learn that the Capuchin friars live like a hermit (and also hel people along the way) since The Hermit is one of the cards in tarot.

The museum section is small and at the end is the crypt with its decorative skeletons and skulls.

Unlike the Paris catacombs, the crypt was small. It’s more like a 20-meter long corridor where one side is a wall and the other side with small rooms that do not have a wall.

Even though the photos of the crypt make it seem like a huge place, the rooms are rather small, each about 2 meters wide and 3 meters long.

in the small “rooms”, the bones are decorated in themes. The themes are:

  1. Crypt of the Three Skeletons
  2. Crypt of the Leg Bones and Thigh Bones
  3. Crypt of the Pelves
  4. Crypt of the Skulls
  5. Mass Chapel (no bones here)
  6. Crypt of the Resurrection.

Almost every empty space on the ceiling was decorated with bones. One had a skull framed by pelvis bones on its two sides, making it look like a rather scary butterfly.

Walking pass bones and skeletons

At first, it was a little scary walking into the corridor with skulls grinning at me. Then I asked myself, “What is it that is scary?”

I concluded that these were just brown bones of humans so there is nothing to be afraid of. It was then that I started to admire the arrangements as art.

Aptly, in the first room, there was a sign in multiple languages. I copied the English version here:

WHAT YOU ARE NOW WE USED TO BE; WHAT WE ARE NOW YOU WILL BE

Yes, one day we will become bones, or ashes if you are cremated. Until then, we’ll need to live life to as best as we can.

Halfway during the walk, I realized that I was face to face with another Tarot card: Death. Later in the day I would meet “Judgement” in the form of Michelangelo’s Last Judgement in the Sistine Chapel.

Italy day 5: Ufizzi Gallery and how my shoes ate my feet in Florence [YQrtw Day 31 May 8]

Galileo's finger

Location: Florence, Italy

[I am writing this slightly tipsy from a 3.60 euro bottle of Italian sparkling wine. Hangovers await me.]

The morning was dedicated to the Ufizzi Gallery. The art museum is described as “one of the oldest and most famous art museums of the Western world” by our go-to resource, Wikipedia.

I was planning to take the light rail from the hostel to the train station to save my feet from too much walking but I found out that I would still need to walk if I take the train and that the travel time would be the same.

In the end, I walked to the gallery with the Taiwanese newlywed and a Chinese couple who came yesterday. The journey to the gallery is a 2km walk but with my crazy shoes, it felt like I was walking in hot coals.

I wore the 5 euro fake leather, made-in-China shoes I bought yesterday at Florence’s Tuesday market. I knew I should not wear new shoes when I need to walk but I convinced myself that I will never be able to wear it anytime during the trip anyway.

The shoes were narrow at the toes after I wore my socks. The sole was a terrible rubber that was a far cry from my darling Crocs. I had a few blisters at the end of the day.

When we got to the Ufizzi at around 8:30am, the line to queue for tickets didn’t seem very long. As I have the Firenze Card (72-hour museum pass), I could skip the lines and go straight in.

I got to the second floor (4 long flights of stairs) before realizing that I could not rent the audioguide there. It was another 4-flights down and 4-flights up before I got to start my tour.

Besides the gallery’s official audio tour (6 euros), I also brought along Rick Steve’s audio guide for Ufizzi. I had to juggle using both audio guides during the visit but it was quite worth it.

The museum was packed with great works. It took me about an hour to finish the very crammed first seven rooms.

I particularly loved the Botticelli room because all his female figures are gorgeous. Leonardo da Vinci’s helping hand in the Baptism of Christ, when he was an apprentice, is lovely. Leonardo drew the angels on the left.

No photos were allowed in the Ufizzi and I didn’t even bothered sneaking any photo. I did see many people not-so-secretly snap pictures.

By the time I was done, it was almost 12:30pm. I dropped into the Galileo Museum right next door since it was covered by the Firenze Card.

In the Galileo Museum, the most impressive things were Galileo’s fingers and the terracotta model of fetuses in difficult delivery conditions.

Galileo's finger
Galileo’s finger

Lunch time in Florence

After the museum, my feet were hurting really badly but I still had to drag myself around.

I stopped by tourist restaurant famous for its Florentine steak but ordered the cheaper lunch menu.

Lunch was lasagna and roast chicken. The lasagna was creamy and thick while the roast chicken pale but well-seasoned.

The bad thing about dining out in Italy is that they don’t serve tap water. Instead, they serve sparkling or still water at cheapest 1 euro a pitcher.

After lunch, I had another awesome cafe latte at the pastry store near Duomo.

The next part of the day was filled with a lot of aimless walking. Correction, I was trying to find obscure museums but my Google Map and physical map and internal map wasn’t coordinating.

Even when found sites with signs of Museo XXX, there wasn’t a counter in sight or the counter person said to come back another time. The mystical Italian business hour at work, I suppose.

I ended up visiting only the Opera del Duomo Museum to hide from the rain and to use the bathroom. In Italy, public restrooms can cost 1 euro a go or 50 cents at the nice coffee shop I like.

The greatest piece in Opera del Duomo was the restored Gate of Paradise. The golden panels were too small and high up so I didn’t really give it a good look.

Afterwards, I was hoping to visit another museum before I call it a day. Thanks to my terrible map skills, I ended up in a library with a nice courtyard. That wasn’t where I wanted to be but I spent about 10 minutes trying to read my book.

In the end, I decided to use Rick Steve’s Renaissance Florence tour but I walked in the opposite direction of its starting point.

I did go to one of the points in the audio tour so I stayed there and listened to the file all the way until Piazza della Signoria. Then I followed the audio guide right till the end. It began to drizzle halfway during the tour.

Since I was at the opposite bank, I walked in the drizzle for the cheap gelato. I picked chocolate chip and coffee in a cup. The gelato melted a little while I walked.

From the gelateria onwards, I gave up on humility and took off my shoes. I walked part of the journey with only my socks and a major part of my journey using my shoes as sandals.

When I got back, I realized that a huge blister formed on my toe and even on the soles of my feet where the skin is deep. Why!!

Singapore for museum lovers (Part 2)

Bukit Chandu

Welcome to part 2 of Singapore for museum lovers. Last week I shared what I thought about the Asian Civilisation Museum, National Museum of Singapore, Singapore Art Museum and Peranakan Museum.

Today, I’ll be talking about three less visited museums: Reflections at Bukit Chandu, Memories at Ford Factory and Singapore Philatelic Museum.

The first two museums are dedicated to World War II so if you are a WWII fan, be sure to check those places out. The only down side about these two museums is that they are really far from other sights. Bummer.

Memories at Ford Factory

Memories at Old Ford Factory

Out of the three museums I will be talking about today, Memories at Old Ford Factory is my favorite. In its past life, the museum was the Old Ford  Motor Factory. I became interested in it because there were rumors that the place is haunted.

The museum was the location where the British signed its surrender contract (?) to the Japanese. The room where the signing is part of the museum collection. You can stand behind glass wall to see the room.

What I like the most about this museum is that it’s not full of artifacts (even though I do love reading). Instead, it has transcription of people telling their experience of what happened during the days of the Japanese occupation. [Or as the website says: “first-hand oral history accounts, archival records and primary documents”.]

Memories at Old Ford Factory

There’s also a theatrette at the museum (same as at Reflections at Bukit Chandu) and the film made me shed tears.

I like this museum a lot but just thinking about getting there gives me a headache. There are public buses to the museum but it’s pretty much in the middle of nowhere. If you do not have a lot of time in Singapore, I think you should skip this place.

Nitty gritty: Memories at Old Ford Factory
Website: http://moff.nas.sg/moff/public/html/
Where: 351 Upper Bukit Timah Road, Singapore 588192
Opening hours: Mondays to Saturdays, 9.00am to 5.30pm; Sundays, 12.00pm to 5.30pm
Entrance: S$3 for adults

Reflections of Bukit Chandu

Reflections at Bukit Chandu

Another museum focused on World War II. This time, it’s more about how the Malay community help defend Singapore against the Japanese army.

The museum is located at the top of Bukit Chandu (or Opium Hill). If you are walking, be prepared for the very hilly walk from the Pasir Panjang MRT station. On breezy days, it’s very relaxing to walk uphill since most of the route is shaded.

The museum is very small. A old mansion “close to the former battle site – the Battle of Pasir Panjang, where 1,400 brave soldiers from the Malay Regiment heroically defended the last stand against a 13,000-strong Japanese army”.

The best part about this museum is the little theater where they have great sound and light effects to show how it was like when the Japanese invaded. Be prepared to shed plenty of tears (more tears than Old Ford Factory).

Reflections at Bukit Chandu

The museum was different from the rest since it focused a lot on how the Malay Regiment defended Singapore. In other museums, it seemed like it was mostly the British work (and terrible work at that).

It’s also rather interesting since in the Peninsula Malaysia, Malay gave their bicycles to the Japanese army, giving them a chance to reach Singapore from a direction that wasn’t expected by the British.

One of the artifacts of the museum is drawings by a local Chinese who survived the war. It showed how cruel the Japanese soldiers were during the period.

A large part of the museum is dedicated to Lieutenant Adnan bin Saidi who was portrayed as a hero who never gave up. Honestly, I haven’t heard of Lieutenant Adnan until the visit, I hope he would be upgraded to the position of national hero in other places and not just this museum.

More photos and detail of Reflections at Bukit Chandu can be found at remembersingapore blog.

Nitty gritty: Reflections at Bukit Chandu
Website: http://www.nhb.gov.sg/NHBPortal/Museums/ReflectionsatBukitChandu
Where: 31-K Pepys Road S(118458)
Opening hours: Close on Mondays (except public holidays) Tuesdays to Saturdays, 9.00am to 5.00pm
Entrance: S$2 for adults

Singapore Philatelic Museum

Singapore Philatelic Museum

I’ve collected stamps when I was in primary school. The only reason I did it was because in the books I read, stamp collecting was a good hobby. The books never told me that watching TV, playing video games or reading can be considered hobbies.

My mom was writing to my grandfather back in Taiwan so we had many pretty stamps with the words “Republic of China”. I never knew then why they didn’t just write Taiwan but I accepted it and filed it in my stamp book.

But I’ve never really liked stamp collecting. It was most boring to me since the stamps just sat there and did nothing. At least books told me stories and running around makes my heart beat faster. I pretty much gave up stamp collecting when I was older.

Oh, where was I? Ah, the Singapore Philatelic Museum. The reason I gave a short history of my liaison with stamps is to tell you that I really do not like stamp collecting.

My introduction of the Singapore Philatelic Museum will be marred by my experience with stamp collecting.

Singapore Philatelic Museum

I visited the museum as part of the Free Museum Entrance Month. My head was already full of other exhibits in the other museums so the exhibition at the stamp museum was rather disappointing.

There is a room on how stamps are made. To me, a room showing how cookies are made is a lot more interesting.

There are blown up stamps for different occasions. I saw the Olympic Games stamp when I was there.

Surprisingly, there is a room about different cultures in Singapore. They must have ran out of stamp-related artifacts.

I was quite bored out of my mind at the museum. So I will stop here.

Nitty gritty: Singapore Philatelic Museum
Website: http://www.spm.org.sg/
Where:  23-B Coleman Street S(179807)
Opening hours: Mondays 1.00pm to 7.00pm; Tuesdays to Saturdays, 9.00am to 5.00pm
Entrance: S$6 for adults  (Seriously? I would rather take a bus to Old Ford Factory than pay this price for entrance.)

Have you been to the three museums I talked about? How was your experience?

Trip to Pinang Peranakan Museum

Pinang Peranakan Museum

What do you do when you are planning a trip to a place where you’ve been to with Person A but now you need to Person B to the same place.

That was the question I had to answer when I was planning my parents’ trip to Penang. Previously, I went to the Pearl of the Orient once with L. I didn’t really want to visit sites which I’ve visited because it would be a waste of time for me.

However, I made an exception for the Pinang Peranakan Museum.

Background of Pinang Peranakan Museum

Pinang Peranakan Museum's facade
Pinang Peranakan Museum’s facade

The museum was previously the house of a rich Peranakan family.

Even though the mansion is big, it doesn’t seem be to big enough for a family with 3 generations, including the multiple concubines and their kids. Perhaps the lower ranking people lived in the compound and not the main house.

Pinang Peranakan Museum's interior
Pinang Peranakan Museum’s interior

The museum is divided into two levels. The lower level is the place where guests visit. It includes a gigantic dining table, a room for card games and loads of antique.

Many of the wooden panels or carvings were decorated with a layer of gold (probably only paint) which made the whole floor look a little like the showfloor for houses targeted at the nouveau riche.

Deco of Pinang Peranakan Museum
Deco of Pinang Peranakan Museum

The upper floor is similarly packed with antiques but is more “personal”.

The wedding room is a little ominous with the red lighting which made the room feel like a brothel instead of the suit of a newly wed couple.

Pinang Peranakan Museum
Pinang Peranakan Museum

After seeing Singapore’s Peranakan Museum, the Pinang Peranakan Museum feels like everything was thrown together in haste for the exhibition. This isn’t a bad thing because it feels more approachable. It’s easier to imagine how the family might have lived..

I’m a star

Peranakan-related movies
Peranakan-related movies

Based on the fading movie posters at the entrance, the house was the filming location for multiple period dramas.

A popular Singapore period drama, Little Nyonya, might be filmed here. I’ve never watched the drama but after reading the character bios, I think I might like the show because it doesn’t have a “Happily Ever After” ending.

The parents and I at Pinang Peranakan Museum
The parents and I at Pinang Peranakan Museum

The compound of the museum had a few bamboo-like plants. They were decorated with the entrance stickers which were stuck on by tourists. I like that it gave the green tone of the wall and plants a pop of color.

Comparing Pinang Peranakan Museum and Singapore Peranakan Museum

If I must choose between Pinang Peranakan Museum and Singapore Peranakan Museum, I would choose the museum in Penang as my favorite.

The site feels more friendly and human because all the wares are right in front of you.

If you like reading explanations in museums then Penang’s peranakan museum might not suit your taste.

Singapore’s Peranakan Museum is housed in a beautiful building but the content of the exhibition is a little sterile. It played up the peranakan nostalgia to the highest volume.

Visiting information:

Location: 29 Lebuh Gereja George Town, Penang, Malaysia
Entrance fee: RM10
Time required to look around: ~1 hour

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Visited: Mint Toy Museum, Singapore

I had the chance to visit the Mint Museum of Toys courtesy of a Groupon which made the entrance fee slightly less than half price.

The museum is located right opposite the Raffles Hotel, there’s a sign pointing to it right where the street begins. It’s not that difficult to find since the sign is pretty big.

The place has five floors–entrance on first floor with four exhibition levels. The levels are themed and you start from the top floor: Outerspace, Characters, Childhood favorites and Collectibles.

The floor space is really cramped and half the time I have to wait for someone and their date to finish staring/photgraphing/commenting on the exhibitions before I could politely look at the stuff.
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