top art museums around the world

Having enjoying art since year 7, did GCSE Art and AS Art; never would have thought I would have visited that many art galleries/museum around the world to give you a list of quality art museums recommendations!

I kept on reminding myself that holiday is a luxury for anyone and that we shouldn’t big up our own mind just because we have travelled. Travelling should widen your horizon and expand your eyes for others while it is not something used as a way of showing off.

Visiting art gallery are on my top list to do if they are interesting enough to be on my list. And surprisingly, from my last few trips I have managed to visit one in each country…

IMG_5693Arken Museum of Modern Art, Copenhagen
Skovvej 100, 2635 Ishøj, Denmark

From any central station, take S line to Ishøj. Take the S train, line A towards Solrød/Hundige or line E towards Køge to Ishøj Station (this line doesn’t run on weekend btw), then take bus route 128 goes directly to the museum – it takes approx. 5 minutes. This bus is a circular route, so take it back at where you got off to get to the station.
You can also walk from Ishøj Station to Arken via the path system. This takes approx. 20 minutes.

I was torn between two contemporary art galleries, after some comparison and notes taken from tripadvisor, I have managed to convince my fellow travel buddies to go outside of Copenhagen with me and visit this infamous Arken Museum of Modern Art. It was an easy journey from Norroport station (absolutely, the best choice of staying location in Copenhagen!)
My visit was purely just to absorb what Danish art gallery has to offer and to my surprised not only would I see Ai Weiwei’s 12 zodiac work, I have also come across the exhibition of artist Gerda Wegener, whom was a famous Danish artist and its infamous story of its partner. And the recent movie called Danish Girl is literately based on this artist’s real life story. So it was overwhelming to have encountered her work; got to know her history better and you can associate some of the work with the movie as well. Did not regret making this trip out to Arken, which offers a combination of contemporary arts, even my non-art buddies enjoyed this visit.

IMG_8338Leeum, Samsung museum of Art, Seoul
60-16 Itaewon-ro 55-gil, Yongsan-gu, L5 Seoul, Korea 140-893. Opening hours 1030 to 1800.
Closed every Monday, January 1st, New Year’s and Chuseok holidays.

From Hangangjin Station (Subway Line 6) Exit 1, walk straight for 100m towards Itaewon. Make a right turn at the first alley, walk up the hill for about 5 minutes.

As much as little time I have in Seoul, I was keen to fit in this art gallery on my to do list. Not too sure why, but sense set me to visit at the time (haha). After visited the Mural art area in the morning, I opt for some more art works in the cold afternoon (probably best to be indoor right?) in this infamous Leeum, Samsung museum of Art.

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You know, the mind-set that I have was European probably have the most art galleries of the world. So visiting one in Asia country was something exciting for me. I have been seeing the appearance of this sculpture many times on Instagram but taking a photo with your own camera seems like oh I have finally see it with my own eyes feeling. Frankly speaking, the modern art inside this gallery was somewhat pretty abstract, of course, even the definition of abstract can be quite vague in itself. Overall, I enjoyed that little strolled amongst the entire museum. And what I probably found most interesting was that some of its historical art are pretty similar to Chinese art.

IMG_5322Schloss Belvedere, Vienna
Prinz Eugen-Strasse 27, 1030 Wien, Austria

Get on the underground line U1 Sudtirolerplatz plus 15 minutes walking, would suggest using GPS for ease, Opening hours 10am to 6pm.

Finally saw The Kiss painting with my own eyes! I cannot emphasis this enough… Ever since I have studied Gustav Klimt’s work in my GSCE studies, I would not have one day think I will see this painting and I did! And what makes it really controversial was at that ancient period, people were more conserved on nudity art work or any work that portrait sexuality. And this piece of work, indeed, has become his famous piece. I wouldn’t say the piece was highly skilful like others of the same era, but something about this piece that would naturally draw people in.

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Beside Klimt’s work, I did enjoyed a lot of other, Austrian artists’ work, still find oil painting a different level of art when compare to other medium. They have an exhibition of Impression but unfortunately, its not as great as the exhibition that I have seen in Musee d’Orsay in Paris.

PAR 061Musèe d’Orsay, Paris
Rue de Lille 75343 Paris, France

You can reach this museum either via metro station Solférino or RER station Musée d’Orsay, then you will need a short walk to the actual museum. Opening hours are Tuesday to Sunday: 10.00 – 18.00. Thursdays until 21.30. If you have a Paris card, you have fast track access.

Note, if you buy 24 or48 hours card and visited the places you want to visit within the first or two days, this makes your museum/gallery visit much cheaper!

This art museum is ranked 10th globally but i didn’t come here for its name. I came here for its collection of work. By far Musee d’Orsay has my favourite work of Impressionists of all time. The period of what that I admired a lot at the time of my art studies. I didn’t expect to see majority of them at the time of visiting this museum, until I have reached to the Impressionists Section, it was on the 3rd level if I recall correctly that I saw works of Monet, Manet, Dagas.. Etc. What’s draws me to love this period of work, its the fact how the output produces a soft capture of the subject rather than details, the colour, the stroke.. The overall atmosphere that these art work offers. You may not need to have studied art to love this type of work. Regardless, whether you have had an art background or not, I would still advise anyone to go and visit this exhibition. And see what you intepret from these type of work.

PAR 062Beside impressionist exhibtion, I saw a great selection of Van Gough’s work as well as admiring the interior of this gallery in itself which once was a train station turned into a gallery. Pretty amazing!

 

IMG_0695-2National Art Center, Tokyo
7 Chome-22-2 Roppongi, Minato, Tokyo 106-8558, Japan. Open daily 10am to 5:30pm, closed on Tuesday.

You can reach to this art center by taking metro to Roppongi station. Following the internal direction and will lead you to the exit that’s closest to the art museum. Another short walk away, you will be happily arrived at this art museum.

This art museum doesn’t have any permanent exhibition but instead it offers periodical exhibitions of various work. While I was there, there was an anniversary art show (which I don’t understand the title in Japanese, of course). While on the other floor, there was Rene Magritte’s exhibition and this is what I went for in the end. Rene Magritte, not surprisingly was another artist that I have studied in A-level and funny enough, in one coursework of mine, I have adopted his style of work and turn my self portrait into his work alike. It was quite interesting (as any other exhibition) to finally see works that I am used to seen in exhibition catalogue but now with my own pair of eyes. I can even identified the pieces that I have used in my coursework. I never expected to see his exhibition and in Japan!

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In general, I love the interior and the building itself, look at the shape! The interior was really spacious, they have loads of arm chairs dotted around for visitors, as well as chairs by the windows. There were loads of lockers for visitor to use and lock their personal items which I find very considerate. I spent a few hours there and wished I could go to another art gallery/museum but Mori Museum was closed. Very enjoyed this art museum and its vibe.

 

Van Gough Museum, Amsterdam
Museumplein 6, 1071 DJ Amsterdam, Netherlands

We access this museum via foot as it was close to our hotel, in fact if I recall correctly, this museum is near the sign of Amsterdam, you get to kill two sights within one journey! This art museum opens daily 9am to 6pm, closes at 10pm on Friday.

We did queued a little to get into this art museum, to be honest with you, I didn’t do much research while going Amsterdam for a long weekend so when my friends suggested to go Van Gough museum, I have no objections to see his masterpieces with my own pair of eyes. Which I certainly enjoyed seeing, reading up on how he started, his history and how he got into painting landscape and his study of flowers which lead to his famous piece Sunflowers. I didn’t really admire his style of work when I was doing my art studies but yet, when you get to understand more of his background and how his work forms, I begin to appreciate his work a lot more than I used to.

The museum itself are divided into a few sections and levels, pretty big for one artist I would say. The museum were full of tourists, not surprised weren’t we, I guess the local would have probably visited this museum already. Though, what more can you ask for on a sunny day in Amsterdam, visiting art museum, came out and chill at the nearby park with a can of Coke. I would dearly recommend you to visit this gallery, very rare that I would buy an art catalogue but I did for Van Gough and I have said to myself from now on, I will build an art book collection of the museum or exhibitions that I have visited.

Oh and don’t forgot Musee d’Orsay has some pieces of Van Gough’s work too, if you like this artist, make sure you visit it too!

 

Museu Picasso, Barcelona
Carrer Montcada, 15-23, 08003 Barcelona, Spain

When I was there, I stayed at the Jaume I area where its nearest station is Jaume I, walk along the Carrer de la Princesa to reach it on your right hand side. Or like us, we did a little wander around the area before walking past it. This area has a lot of restaurants too, so its worth to plan your gallery visit along side with a meal after or before your art tour of Piccassso.

You know, I am not going to bored you, but Piccasso is again another artist that I have studied before, I guess when you have studied art for such a long period of time, it wouldn’t be a surprised with the amount of artists that I would have studied. Even when you visit art museum, you definitely would have take note of his work. Visiting to his museum has allow me to view his amazing pieces, transition from Classicism and Surrealism to Cublism. With the help of the audio guide, I have got to understand how his works were formed and what has influenced his transition from one type of work to another. I somehow lost a bit of my concentration with some of the sections within the gallery but nevertheless, I would recommend you to visit this gallery and understand his lifetime work and background.

Of course, Barcelona is not only home to Museu Picasso but nearby has Joan Miro, MACBA & MNAC etc. I need to go back and visit the contemporary art museum one day.

 

Royal Academy of Arts, London
Burlington House, Piccadilly, London W1J 0BD

Quickest access is either via Station Green Park (Jubliee line) or Piccadilly Circus (Piccadilly Circus), after a short walk from either station, you will reach to an building with loads of exhibition flag/banners display. There is it you have reach to RAA. One of my favourite art museum in London.

I didn’t know this art museum until when my A-level art tutor suggested to the whole class that we should visit its annual Summer Exhibition. When I did made that visit, I was overwhelmed by the wide range of art work that the exhibition has to offered and through that I have identified some RA artists like Allen Jones, David Hockney, Ken Howard etc. I would definitely recommend you to visit its Summer Exhibtion, if you are around in the Summer. With the price of one ticket, you get to see a vast quality of work from all categories. I remember I have fallen in love with Allen Jones’ painting when I first saw it there; the vibrant colour that he uses on his work; how neat this painting was.. Yet, with Ken Howard’s work, I love his landscape painting of London. How his brush stroke has created that blurred but yet enable you to know that scene.

I still remember the exhibition that RA has held for David Hockney – “A Bigger picture” (in 2012) was one of the best exhibitions I have seen in recent year and really glad that I have went to see it, even though I felt the ticket price was pretty steep.

And recently, there’s a really good quality exhibition called “Painting the Modern Garden : From Monet to Matisse”, yet again, I felt so happy to be able to visit this exhibition, to see the famous piece of Monet’s Water lilies. Can’t imagine which other art gallery be able to pull all these good works together to form a quality exhibition. The interior of the exhibtion hall have changed to fit different floral theme or type of work. It was brilliant!

street snacks that you must try in Seoul, South Korea

I have to be frank how Asia countries have more street snacks than European countries. While I was on a solo trip in South Korea a little while ago, I have come across the following that its definitely worth trying while you’re out there!

Every time I am on a trip I will try everything I can, thinking that there’s no chance to eat them back home. So be brave with your choices and eating the local foods is the first step to know the country better!

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BBQ chicken Skewer with Leek
Found this at the side road in Cheongdam-dong where there was loads of small boutique and foodie shops. I wasn’t hungry considering I have just had a Churro icecream, but I cannot help not to have one of these when I saw it. It wasn’t expensive and you get to choose spicy or not spicy in BBQ favour. It was funny how the stall owner  asks me straight away in Mandarin for “Spicy or not spicy?” as soon i show no signs of Korean speaking! The skewer was basically chicken and leek pieces, coated in bbq sauce and grill on fire. Yummy in freezing cold Seoul street.

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Ddukbokkie Tteokbokki
This is something that I have been wanting to do in Korea, is to stand in the street food stall eating ddukbokkie. As I was going towards the station from Insa-Dong, I cannot stop myself but to walk towards this food stall and pointing at the rice cake. You eat directly using the skewer and if its too spicy of you needed water, pour some broth from the ladle on the pot where it has fishcakes/intestine. Cheap and local snack foods that you must not missed! And this is now the local eat too, extra point for the experience.

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Mandu Mandu
While staying near Myeong-Dong, the shopping district of Seoul. At night, the main street of this shopping area get filled with loads of food stall carts. You can skip dinner and walk along stall by stall filling your belly with the local street foods. Don’t get alarm with the hygiene etc I have not had any problems! And mandu in Korea is such a signature food, like Cantonese wonton or Chinese jiaozi, similar items but this time it was pan fried served with cabbage salad over some chilly sauce! Wish I have got more belly space to eat another plate!

IMG_7964Coffee flavoured milk
I have seen this before my arrival to Seoul online but I never thought I will really go and give it a try, considering I would prefer proper coffee. Never say never. This reminds me of Japanese canned coffee alike, in fact, it taste pretty yummy. It was really milky and on the sweet side. If you don’t go and compare it with proper coffee, then this should not disappoint you! I like it myself just I prefer the banana milk drink a lot more! ha~~~~

IMG_8858Ppopgi (Traditional Korean toffee candy)
If you have watched Running Man you would have seen the cast showing some traditional toffee candy game, which is the same thing as you. They came in either flat disk form or like this one that I found in a Sunday market stall, in rose form. The stall owner even made the sweet into teddy bear etc. All for 1000 won only. I cannot help not to buy one! It feels like hard boil sweets…

IMG_8845Issac Sandwich
This is definitely cannot be missed while you’re in Seoul, I am not too sure why such simple sandwich is so addictive, I am trying to figure  out if the spread she used was sandwich spread… a bit of ham, egg, cheese, cabbage, gerkins etc voila, a perfecto sandwich! I waited one day for it to open before my bus to airport. Its a very famous sandwich stall which no tourist will missed so make sure this is on your list!

IMG_8283Binggrae’s Banana Flavored Milk & Grilled Squid
I knew about the banana milk before I fly off, I brought a bottle as soon as I landed just to see what it taste nice, pretty yummy and I have been repeating purchase everytime I see it in stall. While the grilled squid was indeed of a local delicacy, I found this in the Art Wall area. Its totally different to the Hong Kong dried squid. It was rather chewy and fresh squid taste.

IMG_6875Bungeoppang
Similar to the japanese cake with red bean filling. This is identical, fish shaped pancake with red bean fillings. I just cannot miss buying this when I walk pass one of these stalls. however, this snack are located anywhere and everywhere.. easy to find and don’t need to trek your way out for it.

IMG_8859Bite-sized mayak gimbap from Gwangjang Market
I must have got into the Gwangjang Market at the wrong time when it was ultra packed. After having my mung bean pancake, I wanted to have this as well but cannot fit my belly at the time so I brought a take away and after some exercise of walking along the stream, I decided to sat down by the side and enjoy a bit of the stream view while eating this. Apparently, this gimbap is famous and to the fact that people jokes that it has drugs in them. *Laughs* One of the famous items in this market, make sure you don’t miss this!

IMG_8837Macaroon Ice cream, Insa-dong main street
Not having enough time to hunt for the macaroon ice cream on list. I randomly walked past this stand on Insa-dong. Although I think it’s a little expensive (maybe I was broke after all the masks I have brought!) but I still went for it. This is new to me, I have never had a macaroon ice cream before beside homemade choux puff with homemade ice cream! I can assure you the texture is different but indeed worth the money you have paid. The only downside of this is probably the ice cream was too hard to bite into in comparison to the crunchy macaroon!
Other must visits includes Antique in Hongdae, Macameron, A la papa Cafe in Ehwa Woman Uni.

Don’t forget to have a look at my Top ice-cream spots in Seoul 

IMG_8009Egg cake
As the name says it, I first saw this was on some korean drama where the female lead wanted egg cake and the male lead drove and got her some. It interests me at the time until I really tried it, It actually has an egg inside!!!! The cake texture its pretty light and when you have it with an egg in it, you might find it weird at first but when you chew it somehow the texture comes pretty matching. I really want to eat one right now in the cold British winter!

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Korean Strawberries
I know what you’re thinking here, Strawberries!? you are joking? Nope, I am not, recently Korean strawberries has become a hit for locals and tourists. I have seen some tourist purchase boxes of them back via hand carry luggage space!? My word of advice is, I do think Waitrose ones are nicer….

IMG_7973Bindaetteok pancakes from Gwangjang Market
As soon as I’ve entered the market, I was aiming for this pancake straight away, my research was telling me that there’s specific shop with a mama’s logo on, is the one you should go for! The queue was long and yet, you might get confuse with the location as there are many other mung beans pancake stalls too! I don’t remember how I have managed to order without knowing the language but the lady knew what i wanted. They give you free sides and unlimited water to drink. A kind next door neighbour gave me some local soft alcohol drinks. Appreciated.

I reckon this is only a small fraction of street snacks that is available to eat, the belly are way too small for the amount of foods that’s available in Seoul. And for western tourist whom are not really feel street foods are reliable, trust me, this is all good to consume and I have no belly issue.

top ice-cream spots in Seoul, South Korea

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Frankly speaking, I had a vague idea of what desserts I should have when I am in seoul and have had a list of places to visit. You know, you never get to do what you planned to do and you end up exploring different area at different time…

Go with the flow I would say and by this I mean eat as much ice creams or desserts as you see while on holiday. After all, you’re on holiday, right !?!?!

IQ84 churros
Picture above. Churros are not new in London but it appears to be a new comer in different corners of Seoul. I had another churros shop on my list but yet when I walked past this shop while strolling through Cheongdam-dong I couldn’t resist queuing up an order!
I had the original favour with the half churros on milk soft serve. And I have to say although the soft serves aren’t as dense and smooth as I would like it to be but the churros and ice cream are definitely a good combination! Why did London not have this!? Worth the try!

IMG_8837Macaroon Ice cream, Insa-dong main street

Not having enough time to hunt for the macaroon ice cream on list. I randomly walked past this stand on Insa-dong. Although I think it’s a little expensive (maybe I was broke after all the masks I have brought!) but I still went for it. This is new to me, I have never had a macaroon ice cream before beside homemade choux puff with homemade ice cream! I can assure you the texture is different but indeed worth the money you have paid. The only downside of this is probably the ice cream was too hard to bite into in comparison to the crunchy macaroon!
Other must visits includes Antique in Hongdae, Macameron, A la papa Cafe in Ehwa Woman Uni…

IMG_8806Remicone – 547-12, Sinsa-Dong, Gangnam-Gu, Seoul

I have made sure I get time to visit this place! I was surprised to see how small this ice cream parlour was… Nevertheless, I went straight in when the outside temperature was 10C, I was freezing but going in to have an ice cream? (I wonder why I did that too!?)
There were loads on their menu but I choose their infamous Thunder Bomb soft serve, It’s a mint favored candy floss served on top of the soft serve. Impressive looking huh?? It served with a tray so you can pretty much take the thunder down and have a bite with the ice cream. Speechless!!!

IMG_8379Softree, Itaewon

I was so full when I walked past this softtree, there’s a branch in HK but have a mixed view and pretty expensive for its cone! Knowing I don’t have much hours left in Seoul, I couldn’t help but push that door in… Viola, ordered a soya powder covered milk cone. The softserve was soft and milky however, as much as the soya powder gave it a little special. I find it a little hard to eat as I kind of choking from those powder… I shall return for its original again. Worth a visit!

IMG_7999Aboong, http://www.aboong.net

The queue was massive to the point that his neighbour stalls got annoyed and kept on telling us not to stand in front of his stall. What does Aboong sells? They sell this Bungeoppang, a fish-shaped bread filled with red bean paste topped with a soft serve and chocolate covered stick. For approx. 3500 won you get to eat this, HK sold it at a double price..  what!? Of course, I would rather eat it in Seoul.

IMG_7989Sobok – 58, Eoulmadang-ro, Mapo-gu, Seoul

Beside Coffee Smith, I went Sobok hunting in Hongdae area. This parlour sells healthy desserts that made by rice and gains. The ice cream was refreshing and you can taste a sense of rice on this smooth and detail decorated cup of dessert. Its so pretty, look at the flower details! The parlour was really easy to find but a little far off from Hongdae Station, I had a guy trying to talk to me in Korean but sadly to say I don’t know how to speak a word of Korean. And what’s the worse situation when at parlour? Its you dropped your dessert as you arrived at the table….I saw this happened to the girl next door, so be careful when holding this as the cup is light but the body of the dessert is heavy…

Enjoy the lovely summer and ice cream while in Seoul. I wish I am going back anytime soon!!!!!!