MAIIAM Contemporary Art Museum, Chiang Mai
Overview: Located 20 minutes from the city centre, the museum is dedicated to Chiang Mai’s illustrious legacy as a centre for art and culture in Thailand. The private collection of the Bunnag-Beurdeley family, who established the museum in 2016, forms the basis of the permanent exhibits.
Exhibits: “Lalan: The Cosmic Dance of the Paintbrush” features abstract watercolour paintings by Paris-based Chinese artist Lalan. “Patani Semasa” sees 27 artists – ranging from photographers to architects and poets – creating works that respond to the violence that has been taking place in southern Thailand’s Patani province.
Facilities: Kampangkaew Café dishes up Thai and international cuisine, while the shop offers everything from rare artist books to limited-edition prints.
Things to do after: Visit the city’s countless temples, enjoy an ethical experience with gentle giants at the Elephant Nature Park or venture further afield to the Sankampaeng Hot Springs.
Design Society, Shenzhen
Overview: A collaborative effort between London’s famed Victoria & Albert Museum and the China Merchant Group, this highly anticipated gallery opens this month. It looks to explore the impact of design on people’s lives and how it influences innovation.
Exhibits: “Minding the Digital” tackles questions arising from a digitally saturated world and how it has changed the way we interact. “Values of Design” features over 250 objects from V&A’s permanent collection and investigates the importance we place on design.
Facilities: There’s a theatre, a multi-purpose hall and creative spaces such as Extra Time, which is both a café and a new-media gallery.
Things to do after: Visit Shekou Sea World Plaza, a hotel and entertainment complex inside a luxury yacht, or hike up the nearby Nanshan Mountains.
Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum
Overview: The museum’s main building may be closed for quake-resistant reinforcement works till mid-2018, but its revamped east building, opened in April 2017, comes with new installations that examine the devastating effects of the 1945 atomic bomb.
Exhibits: Learn more about pre-war Hiroshima, World War II and the dangers associated with nuclear weapons. A 90-second multimedia projection, “White Panorama”, is a visually arresting reconstruction of the day the bomb fell.
Facilities: The library is stocked with books, magazines and video testimonies of survivors, while the museum shop sells trinkets like keychains and T-shirts. For boxed lunches, ice cream and locally made snacks, head to the Peace Park Visitor’s Lounge.
Things to do after: Visit the Atomic Bomb Dome, or check out the equally iconic Itsukushima Shrine on nearby Miyajima Island.
Overview: Re-opened in July at the School of Arts after a two-year renovation, the museum possesses a vast collection of archival and photographic material on the history of the city and Far North Queensland in general.
Exhibits: You can learn about the evolution of Cairns from an industrial port town to a holiday hotspot at its four permanent galleries.
Facilities: Kick back at the museum veranda, or visit the temporary gallery to read about some of the quirkiest characters in Cairns’ history.
Things to do after: Savour tropical fruit from Rusty’s Market, try ziplining at the Cairns Zoom and Wildlife Dome or go snorkelling at the Great Barrier Reef.
Museum Keris, Surakarta
Overview: A two-hour drive from Yogyakarta, the museum is dedicated to the keris (or kris), a ceremonial Javanese dagger. Spanning four floors and a basement, it was officially opened in September 2017.
Exhibits: Many of the 360 keris currently on display are centuries old, and range from curved to straight-bladed designs. A diorama also portrays the keris-making process.
Facilities: Besides holding keris-making workshops, the museum also houses an audio-visual library and a children’s room.
Things to do after: The Surakarta Hadiningrat Palace, built in 1744, is a treasure trove of Javanese cultural artefacts. Fort Vastenburg, meanwhile, is an 18th-century Dutch fort which regularly plays host to music- and art-related concerts and festivals.
This article was originally published in the December 2017 issue of Silkwinds magazine.