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The Asian Art Museum is one of the best Asian art museums in the world so plan on spending several hours. The best introduction to the museum is to take one of the many free hour-long guided tours held daily of the museum's permanent collection, then return to those galleries that interest you the most on your own. You can take a free audio tour (available in English, Cantonese, Mandarin, Spanish and French) but the docents who give the tours love their subject, are well-informed, and provide an excellent introduction to the collection. In addition to "Museum Masterpiece" tours are other specialty tours that focus on either specific galleries or special collections. Each guide is different so a 4-5 hour visit can easily include three different guided tour, a short break, and some wandering around on your own.
A "must see" is the world's oldest dated Buddha, to be seen in Gallery 16. This seated Buddha can be dated back to 338 from an inscription on its base. While older Buddha statues exist (Indian and Gandharan) as the oldest dated statue, this piece holds a special place amongst Buddhist and art history historians.
The museum cafeteria is also Asia-themed and offers an excellent menu of many of Asia's most popular rice and noodle-based dishes (including salads) at very reasonable prices.