Singapore has long since cultivated its arts scene, and, as a result, there are numerous museums and galleries dotted all over the island. From video installations to group sculptures, here are a few of the must-see art exhibitions in Singapore this summer.
Sculptured Vol:1 at the Yavuz Gallery
Sculptured Vol:1 is a group sculpture exhibition that features four artists from Thailand and Myanmar. Beginning on the 24th of June and running until the 23rd of July, the pieces that you will see here put a twist on conventional modes of creation, blurring the lines between sculpture, painting, and installation.
Yayoi Kusama: Life is at the Heart of a Rainbow at the National Gallery Singapore
Yayoi Kusama is one of the most influential artists in the world today and has played a significant role in the development of the art world through the 20th and 21st centuries. The exhibition being held at the National Gallery Singapore will feature 120 pieces by the renowned artist, many of which have never been seen before. These pieces include the artist’s most recent, along with installations that have been specially prepared just for the exhibition. This exhibition follows on from extremely successful versions in Tokyo and Washington D.C., and is one of the most highly anticipated art exhibitions in Singapore this summer.
Ghost Nets of the Ocean at the Asian Civilizations Museum
Marine life is increasingly being endangered by pollution, with fishing nets playing a huge role in this. The Ghost Nets of the Ocean exhibition at the Asian Civilizations Museum aims to bring attention to this, by featuring artists who have transformed this local debris into incredible art installations. The thought-provoking pieces tell the story of the plight that today’s marine life faces, and really makes you think about how humans are impacting the world in such a negative way.
Sharon Chin: Local Flora at Chan + Hori Contemporary
Sharon Chin is an artist from Malaysia who has always been inspired by nature. The Sharon Chin: Local Flora exhibition, which is being held at the Chan + Hori Contemporary gallery from the 29th of June until the 23rd of July, features the artist’s latest series of work, with all of the plants and flowers, depicted being local to her Malaysian neighbourhood of Port Dickson. The illustrations are created using block patterns printed onto recycled fabric, giving them a beautiful ethereal feel.
Creativity in Pulses at the Chinese Cultural Centre
The Chinese Cultural Centre is a relatively new addition to the Singapore art scene, but the Creativity in Pulses exhibition is really helping it to make a name for itself. Located in Chinatown, this exhibition features the work of renowned illustrators, film-makers and more, with everything from art installations to graphic pieces to short films to be seen, all of which explore the values and beliefs of Chinese culture.
Singapore is home to so many different art galleries and museums, each of which showcases truly unique works of art. For those who are heading to the city this summer, make sure that you catch a few of these exhibitions.
The sister museum of Singapore’s Asian Civilizations Museum, the Peranakan Museum is the first museum in the world to be dedicated solely to Peranakan culture. From a depiction of a traditional 12-day Peranakan wedding to displays that illustrate authentic Peranakan cuisine, this is a museum that is well worth visiting if you are looking to learn more about the history and culture of the region.
There are nine main galleries within the Peranakan Museum, each one focusing on a different aspect of Peranakan life and culture. The very first gallery depicts the origins of Peranakan people, explaining how the term is used to refer to people of mixed ethnic origins. After this comes the Wedding Galleries, which explores the many rituals of traditional Peranakan weddings, from the coming of age ceremonies to gifts that are given. The Language and Fashion Gallery is next, where you will see how the traditional clothing worn has changed over the years, followed by the Religion Gallery, which showcases how Peranakans have embraced a wide mixture of religious beliefs, from Buddhism to Daoism to folk beliefs. Next up is the gallery on Public Life, which shows the influence that Peranakans have had in Southeast Asia in the 19th and 20th centuries, in everything from commerce to politics. The final gallery is called Food and Feasting and features everything from cookware to food, the latter of which merges influences from China, Malaysia, India, Thailand and Europe.
In addition to the nine permanent galleries, the Peranakan Museum also hosts a number of temporary exhibitions throughout the year. Currently, there is an exhibition called Nyonya Needlework: Embroidery and Beadwork in the Peranakan World on display, and this celebrates the art of Nyonya needlework, which has long since been a significant part of Peranakan Chinese heritage.
Straits Family Sunday
For those who want to explore the Peranakan Museum with their family, the second Sunday of each month is when you should pay the museum a visit. Every second Sunday, the museum hosts their Straits Family Sunday event, with each month featuring a different theme. From Selamat Hari Raya to Once Upon a Rangoli, special gallery tours based on each theme are put together for families to enjoy, along with arts and craft activities that are based on the museum’s collection.
Special Events and Festivals
The Peranakan Museum is always a vibrant place to visit, and this is partly due to the fact that they host so many different special events and festivals. The next ones are being held in August, with the first being Chameleon: A Light Showcase by the NAFA, which depicts the technicolor world of a chameleon. The Singapore Night Festival at the Peranakan Museum is also being held at the end of August and gives visitors the chance to explore the museum after dark, alongside the innovations and inventions that are featured at the Singapore Night Festival.
The Singapore Peranakan Museum boasts the most comprehensive collection of Peranakan artifacts in the world and welcomes over 112,000 visitors each year. Since the museum has experienced so much success, there are several plans in place to expand it in the future, as this will provide visitors with an even more well-rounded insight into Peranakan culture.
Located in Singapore’s Chinatown district, the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple was built quite recently in 2007. While this may be the case, the vibrant interior of the temple provides a fascinating insight into the story of Buddhism over the years, with numerous museum displays available to teach visitors more about the history and culture of the Buddhist way of life.
Architecture and Design
Even though the temple itself is quite a new structure, its architecture and design reflect elements from the Tang Dynasty, as well as the Buddhist Mandala, which is a Buddhist symbol that represents the universe. Since the temple was built to house a canine tooth from Buddha, this is where it obtained its name from.
The temple was originally built to house a tooth relic that is believed to have come from the historical Buddha, and this is one of the main attractions within the temple. Found in the Sacred Light Hall on the fourth floor, the Buddha Tooth Relic is housed in a huge stupa that weighs 3500 kilograms and contains 320 kilograms of gold. While only Buddhist monks are allowed to actually enter the relic chamber, there is a public viewing area from which you can take a look at the tooth relic, and this is open twice a day. In addition to the giant stupa and the tooth relic, the temple is also home to many other revered Buddhist artifacts, as well as the Eminent Sangha Museum, which is a theatre that specializes in cultural performances and movie screenings.
Taking a Tour of the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple
There is no admission fee for the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple, meaning that visitors are free to enter and explore it in their own time. However, for those who are wanting more of an educational experience, the guided tours are definitely worth taking. These take about two hours each and will lead you through all four floors of the temple, as well as the different halls within them, from the Hundred Dragons Hall, where you will find one hundred Buddha statues, to the Universal Wisdom Hall, which boasts handcrafted works of art.
Once you have explored the temple, do take some time to stop off at the small teahouse, which can be found on the temple’s second floor. In addition to being served tea, the teahouse also serves up simple but delicious vegetarian cuisine, making this a great place for a quick bite to eat.
When visiting the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple, keep in mind that this is a religious place of worship, meaning that respectful attire needs to be worn. On most days of the week, the temple hosts special events and ceremonies, which visitors are allowed to attend and photograph, so do check their website in advance if you are hoping to catch one of these. Since the temple is located in the heart of Chinatown, there are many other cultural attractions within walking distance, so do take the time to explore the surrounding area too.
Being the second largest archipelago in the world, and consisting of over 7000 islands, it should come as no surprise that the Philippines is home to some truly incredible hiking trails. For those who are seeking out the best of the best, here are some destinations to consider.
Banaue Rice Terraces
The Banaue Rice Terraces are a historical and cultural landmark in the Philippines, and were not only declared a National Cultural Treasure in 1973 but are also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. There are several scenic trails to choose from here, none of which are too challenging, and you will be able to see everything from the lush green paddies to roaring waterfalls. For those who are seeking out a longer hike, there are three-day options to be had here, but these are best off done with a tour guide.
For those who are new to hiking in the Philippines, Mount Balagbag is a great place to start, as it is easy to reach from Manila and the hike will only take a couple of hours. This mountain trail is ultra-enchanting, and you will pass by everything from waterfalls and rivers to golden grasslands. The trail is wide and well-maintained, making it ideal for those who are less experienced at hiking, and the summit will reward you with sprawling views across Metro Manila. The main downside to this hike is the fact that the majority of it takes place under an open sky, with relatively little shelter to protect you from the sun. For this reason, try to schedule your hike for early in the morning, or during sunset, as this will save you from the unbearable heat, while also giving you even more spectacular views.
The Taal Volcano Hiking Trail
The Taal Volcano Hiking Trail is another trail that is well-suited to beginners, as the path itself is easy to hike and the views are stunning. The Taal Volcano is located on the island of Luzon, and boasts mild weather year-round, making it a fantastic hiking destination. While the official hiking trail may only take an hour or so to climb, there are so many gorgeous locations around the volcano that are simply begging to be explored, so you could easily spend the entire day here hiking around the area.
Located in the Sierra Mountain range, not too far from Manila, the hike up Mount Daraitan will always be rewarding, as you will be able to explore everything from natural springs and pools to caves and limestone formations, and even take some time to enjoy some river rafting too. The hike up the mountain rises 739 feet above sea level, and, once you reach the summit, you will not only be greeted with views of the Sierra Madre mountains, but you will also be able to relax with a dip in the Tinipak River to cool off.
The hiking trails around the Philippines are extremely varied, with trails suitable for just about every experience level. Whether you head to the historic Banaue Rice Terraces or take on a challenge by climbing one of the country’s mountains, make sure you leave some time for a hike the next time you are headed to the Philippines.
Manila is a cultural hot spot and is home to a number of different museums. However, if you only have a short time in the city, then these are the three museums that you definitely should not miss.
The National Museum of the Philippines
The National Museum of the Philippines is incredibly vast, and, with its exhibits spread out across the National Art Gallery, the Planetarium, and the Museum of the Filipino People, it would take you a good few days to thoroughly explore all of the displays here. When you first enter the main ground floor of the art gallery, you will come face to face with the Spoliarium by Juan Luna, one of the most famous pieces in the museum, as it is the largest painting in the Philippines. In addition to this record-breaker, the museum is home to a wide range of exhibits, from the archaeological and the anthropological to the geological and zoological.
The Mind Museum
The Mind Museum is a world-class science museum that really manages to bring the subject to life, and will appeal to just about every age group. While admission rates may be higher than those of other Manila museums, the Mind Museum’s exciting and engaging exhibits makes this so worthwhile. The museum is home to five main galleries, each exploring a different aspect of science. To begin with, visitors enter The Story of the Universe, before heading in to the Story of the Earth Exhibit. Following on from this is The Story of Life, The Story of the Atom and The Story of Technology, which focuses on human ingenuity and innovation. All of the exhibits within these five main galleries have been designed by local artists,who worked with both local and international scientists to create the interactive displays.
The Ayala Museum is one of the more modern of Manila museums, and is set against the soaring backdrop of the Central Business District of Makati City. This is one of the most-visited private museums in the country, as it is home to numerous rare and priceless items, with both cultural and historic value, that cannot be found anywhere else in the world. Some of its highlights include the Maritime Vessels Collection, which features finely crafted models of ancient boats, as well as the fine art collection, which showcases some of the country’s major artists from between the 19th and 20th centuries. Other notable exhibits include handcrafted dioramas that depict detailed scenes from the country’s past, as well as the ethnographic artefacts that have been collected from some of the Philippines’ minority communities, such as ritual objects, weapons, musical instruments and body ornaments.
Manila is a fascinating city to visit, and its museums will provide you with an educational insight into the city’s past, as well as unique insights into the development of the modern world. From the mind-blowing science of the Mind Museum to the local history of the Ayala Museum, make sure that these three museums are on your itinerary when you are visiting Manila.
Every country will have their own rules about cultural etiquette, and it is always a good idea to acquaint yourself with these before travelling to said country. When it comes to the Philippines, this is quite a Westernized country with a number of Spanish influences, but there are still some rules that you should be aware of.
Non-verbal language is extremely common in the Philippines, such as the way in which a local will refer to an object by gesturing towards it with their lips. Non-verbal greetings are also popular, with one of the most common being lifting the eyebrows as a way to greet friends, while a longer eyebrow lift can signify a question being asked.
In Western cultures, a strong handshake is a sign of confidence and assertiveness, but, in the Philippines, this can often be viewed as a sign of aggression. While handshakes are a common form of greeting in the Philippines, the handshakes here tend to be much softer and more relaxed. When it comes to handshake greetings between men and women, it would be best for a man to wait for the woman to initiate the handshake, rather than the other way around.
Filipinos are quite relaxed when it comes to time-keeping. This means that not only is it commonplace to turn up somewhere late, but showing up on time to an event can often be viewed as rude.
When you are in the Philippines meeting a new local for the first time, it is best to remain relatively low-key, meaning that you should not flaunt any wealth that you have. You should also try to show a genuine interest in the person you are meeting, as well as their culture, as Filipinos do not tend to take well to artificiality.
In the major cities around the Philippines, as well as the popular beach resorts, there are not generally any rules on what you can and cannot wear. However, keep in mind that many parts of the Philippines have a large Muslim population, meaning that you may be better off keeping your outfits quite modest when visiting these areas.
While dining etiquette is quite relaxed in the Philippines, especially if you are a tourist, there are still a few rules you should know about. If you are eating in public, try to keep your hands above the table at all times, as this is considered to be polite. Many locals will also always leave a small amount of food on their plate when they are finished, to show that the meal has filled them up, and will place their cutlery onto the plate as a sign that they are done eating. If you have been invited by a local to a restaurant or bar, it is usually polite to decline the invitation the first time round. If the offer comes again, which it usually will, you can then accept and enjoy the renowned Filipino hospitality.
The Philippines is quite a relaxed and friendly country, and there are not too many rules that you need to be aware of. Even if you do make a few mistakes, it will be understood that you are a tourist, and simply making an effort and trying is often all that is needed for you to be able to fit in.
Located in the hamlet of Montauk on the easternmost tip of Long Island, the Montauk Lighthouse is the fourth oldest active lighthouse in the country, and is not only listed on the National Register of Historic Places but is also a designated National Historic Landmark. The lighthouse played a significantly important role during the early Federal period when it came to international shipping, making this a piece of history that is definitely worth exploring.
The History of the Lighthouse
The oldest lighthouse in New York State, the Montauk Lighthouse was completed at the end of 1796, after being authorized by President George Washington in 1792. During the Second World War, the lighthouse was taken over by the US Army, and became part of the Eastern Coastal Defense Shield, with the heavily fortified Camp Hero sat next to it. In 1946, the lighthouse went back to being controlled by the United States Coast Guard, and, in 1987, it opened as a public museum, which was run by the Montauk Historical Society, who leased the structure from the US Coast Guard. In 1996, President Bill Clinton officially transferred the lighthouse property to the Montauk Historical Society, and it has been a fascinating museum ever since.
Visiting the Montauk Lighthouse
For those who want to visit the Montauk Lighthouse, tours are available daily between May and October, as well as on weekends from March to April, as well as in November, with the tower and museum being closed for the rest of the year. However, the state park is still open throughout the year, so you will still at least be able to view the exterior of the lighthouse, no matter when you visit. There are several ways to reach the lighthouse, from car to bus to train, as well as several taxi services, shuttle buses, and charter boats.
In addition to exploring the exterior of the lighthouse, a visit to the immersive museum within is a must. The museum itself is located in the authentic 1860’s Keeper’s House and boasts a wide range of historic photographs, artefacts, and documents. A highlight of these are the documents that were signed by President George Washington, the first one to authorize the initial construction of the lighthouse, and the second one to transfer it over to the Montauk Historical Society. The area around the lighthouse was also heavily used by the whaling industry, and you can learn more about this in the museum’s Gilmartin Galleries, which features a whaling exhibit that covers the whole of the 19th century, complete with artefacts that were used in some of the last whale hunts in the region, which happened in 1907.
While New York State may be packed with a number of exciting historical landmarks, the Montauk Lighthouse is definitely a must-visit for those who want to learn more about the state’s history. The Montauk Historical Society hosts several special events at the lighthouse too, so do check their website in advance if you are wanting to make your visit even more memorable.
Carrying 70,000 passengers each and every day, which equates to around 22 million people a year, the Staten Island Ferry runs 24 hours a day, offering up a round trip journey from the Whitehall Terminal in Lower Manhattan. The trip each way takes 25 minutes, and, along the way, you will be able to see some of New York‘s most iconic landmarks.
Wall Street and Lower Manhattan Skyscrapers
The Manhattan skyline is world-famous, and, from the Staten Island Ferry, you will be able to enjoy a spectacular view of this. From Wall Street to Lower Manhattan, these are some of the best skyline views in the city, so make sure to bring along your camera.
Statue of Liberty
The Statue of Liberty, located on Liberty Island, was gifted to the USA from France during the American Revolution, as a symbol of international friendship, and, today, is one of the city’s most legendary monuments. An icon of freedom and democracy, views of the Statue of Liberty are definitely one of the highlights of the Staten Island Ferry, although keep in mind that you will only be seeing the statue from a distance.
When the Brooklyn Bridge first opened in 1883, it was the longest suspension bridge in the world, and it was not long before it was designated a National Historic Landmark. This is an incredible monument that has inspired many artists over the years, from Georgia O’Keefe to Walt Whitman, and its world-class design, complete with Neo-Gothic towers, are bound to continue inspiring people for years to come.
Governors Island used to be a military base for almost 200 years, until it was closed by the Coast Guard in 1996. Today, Governors Island is a haven for recreational activities, from biking and picnicking to mini golf and beach concerts. From the Staten Island Ferry, you will be able to enjoy a glimpse into Governors Island, giving you the opportunity to see what it is like, and decide whether or not you would like to dedicate a day to exploring it.
Over 12 million people passed through Ellis Island between 1892 and 1954, as this is where immigrants used to be processed before being allowed to enter the United States. Today, the island has been transformed into a museum that tells the story of these people, and while the museum is well worth visiting, simply passing by Ellis Island on the Staten Island Ferry will still give you a great insight into what life was like at this point in time.
The Staten Island Ferry is free to ride, but keep in mind that it is designed for commuters, so while you will pass a number of famous sights, you will not have the same sort of photo opportunities that the other New York cruises offer. Nevertheless, with ferries running every 15 minutes during peak times, this is a great way to quickly take in some of the city’s most iconic landmarks from a truly historical perspective. Even if you are not able to grab a good seat on the first leg of your journey, do not forget that everybody needs to disembark before the return journey, so you will have another chance to find yourself an optimum spot.
New York City is such an exciting city, and while it may seem as though the majority of attractions here are geared towards adults, this is not at all the case. For those who have children and are looking for a few fun-filled NYC activities, here are some to try.
There is so much to do in Central Park that you and your children could very easily spend the entire day here. From the zoo to a bike tour to street performances to the 21 different playgrounds within the park grounds, bring along a picnic and spend the day exploring all that Central Park has to offer. Alternatively, forget about the picnic and lunch on some traditional New York fare, such as a pretzel and hot dog from the vendors that are dotted around the park.
FAO Schwarz will probably be one of the most exciting stores that you could take your children to, as this legendary shop is absolutely packed with an incredible array of toys. From games to gadgets, this famous toy shop will no doubt delight adults as much as it will children, although you may need to set your children a spending limit so that they do not go too crazy.
Children’s Museum of the Arts
The Children’s Museum of the Arts is all about art that is for, and by, children, making this a great place to take kids who have an interest in the arts. The permanent collection here boasts over 2000 paintings and drawings, all of them created by children from over 50 countries, and some of which date all the way back to the 1930’s. There are also several special events and art classes for children held here, so take a look at their schedule in advance if you are interested in signing your kids up for one of these.
The Bronx Zoo is the largest urban zoo in the world and is home to over 600 species of animals from all over the world. If your children like animals, then a trip to the Bronx Zoo will be a huge win. Some of the must-see highlights of the zoo include the Congo Gorilla Forest, Tiger Mountain, the Wild Asia Monorail, and the newly added Madagascar exhibit.
Top of the Rock Observation Deck
If you would like to show your children the entire city from an incredible vantage point, head to the Top of the Rock Observation Deck for some of the best views in the city. You will be able to point out iconic landmarks, such as the Chrysler Building and the Empire State Building, as well as the different areas within Central Park, which will no doubt fascinate your kids if they have already spent some time in the park.
New York City is a great destination to visit with children, as there is so much to see and do. From wild animals to art and culture, these are just a few of the kid-friendly activities that you can find in the city.
Moscow’s skyline has been growing at a quickening pace, as developers are hoping to complete it in time for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, the most-watched sporting event in the world. From the Ostankino Tower to the Mercury City Tower, these are some of the tallest buildings that you will find within Moscow’s impressive skyline.
Mercury City Tower
Located in the Moscow International Business Center, construction for the Mercury City Tower began in 2009, and was completed in 2012. Measuring an impressive 1112 feet, this building overtook the Shard in London as the tallest building in Europe when it was finished. This is a multi-purpose building, featuring everything from shops to offices, meaning that it is easy for visitors to access it and explore it further.
The Ostankino Tower stands at 1772 feet tall, and is currently the tallest freestanding structure in Europe, as well as the eleventh tallest in the world, a record it held for nine years until it was overtaken by the CN Tower in Toronto, Canada. While there were plans in the past to extend the height of this tower by adding an antenna, there was a lack of funding for this idea, so it did not end up being implemented.
Edelweiss is a residential high rise building that stands at 515 feet tall, with a spire that extends for an additional 62 feet. Sharing a similar design concept to the Triumph-Palace, this is a residential building that offers so much to its residents. Some of its stand-out highlights include an aquapark, complete with hydromassage tubs, waterslides, a solarium, a gymnasium and a ten lane bowling center, as well as a billiards room.
Swissotel Krasnye Holmy
Swissotel Krasnye Holmy is the landmark hotel in Moscow, as well as being one of the tallest buildings in the city. This luxurious, five star hotel features 34 floors, and has won numerous awards for its design.
The Federation Tower
The Federation Tower is a series of skyscrapers that has recently been completed in the Moscow International Business Center. There are two main skyscrapers within the design, both of which are built on a single podium. On the 61st floor of the West Tower lies Sixty, the highest restaurant in Moscow, which is run by the Ginza Project. In addition to this record-breaking restaurant, the building is also home to the highest digital clock in the world. While the towers are home to everything from offices to apartments, they are also frequently used by extreme sports lovers, from base jumpers to climbers, and have been featured on a number of television shows.
The Main Building of Moscow State University
The main building of Moscow State University is the highest of the seven Stalinist skyscrapers in Moscow, and stands at 790 feet tall. With the five-point star that decorates the top of the 57 meter spire, this building is instantly recognizable.
Moscow has a stunning skyline, and this is only set to improve throughout the year. From the extravagant Edelweiss building to the action-packed Federation Tower, these are just a few of the landmark structures that you will find within Moscow’s skyline.