Trip To Taiwan – Part 1
Our family spent a week in Taipei, Taiwan, a short 3 hour flight from Tokyo, Japan. Taiwan, also known as Formosa, is a small island off the southeastern coast of mainland China, with a population of about 23 million people.
We stayed at the Grand Formosa Regent Hotel, very conveniently located in central Taipei within Zhong Shan’s busy financial, business, cultural, and shopping districts.
What do you do in Taipei and Taiwan? Well, it’s all about shopping, eating, eating and eating. Steamed dumplings and beef noodle soup were my favorite – yummy! Hot pot was also popular due to the colder weather. Oh, don’t forgot about bubble tea and taro deserts.
Between the eating and shopping, we did manage to take in some sightseeing. We joined a couple of half-day tours and travelled around the city by subway (called MRT) and taxi (so cheap compared to Tokyo), but not by motorcycle, which was all over the place.
One of the most popular (if not the most popular) and famous tourist attractions in Taipei is the Nation Palace Museum (NPM), originally founded in 1925 in the Forbidden City in Beijing.
In 1949, with civil war ranging between the Nationalist and the Communist forces, the government shipped about 600,000 treasured works of art to Taiwan.
Today, it houses more than 650,000 pieces of Chinese bronze, jade, calligraphy, painting and porcelain, and is considered one of the greatest collection of Chinese art and objects in the world.
Unfortunately, no pictures were allowed the museum and the closest inside photo is the ticket booth, near the entrance – lame. Although the picture below doesn’t show it, the museum was extremely crowded.
Chiang Kai-shek (CKS) Memorial Hall officially opened to the public on April 5, 1980. CKS was the leader of the Nationalist Party in China who were defeated by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), forcing his retreat to Taiwan where he ruled as its President until his death in 1975.
The impressive Liberty Square Gate on the main entrance is the biggest in Taiwan, a structure of five doors, six pillars and eleven stories above ground (30 meters tall).
The memorial park is flanked by the National Concert Hall and the National Theater, and also includes a park area with a small pond.
The main hall rises 70 meters above the ground and is built with white marble, just like the Liberty Square Gate. The octagonal roof of blue glazed tiles takes the shape of a “Ren”, which point directly into the sky.
Inside, a large bronze statue of CKS is guarded by several soldiers, who are changed each hour (you can witness a changing of the guard ceremony).
The main museum exhibit had many interesting displays featuring the life and times of CKS.
The Shilin Residence Park is the location of one of Chiang Kai-shek’s abodes during his Taipei years, and the sprawling grounds were opened as a park in 1996.
This residence is famous for the European style of its architecture and gardens. Free of charge to visit.
The National Dr. Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall officially opened to the public on May 16, 1972.
Dr. Sun Yat-sen was a Chinese revolutionary and political leader, one of his greatest followers was Chiang Kai-shek (their wives were sisters).
As the foremost pioneer of Republican China, Sun is frequently referred to as the Father of the Nation.
Sun’s chief legacy resides in his developing a political philosophy known as the Three Principles of the People.
Continued in Part 2 …