We followed another of my dad’s classic itineraries for Taipei, as my uncle has never been to Taiwan, and the last time my aunt visited Taiwan was over 40 years ago. What that means is, we go to the Chiang Kaishek Memorial, the Sun Yat-sen Memorial, and the National Palace Museum. In addition to the above, we also went to the Chiang Kaishek Residence in Shilin, which opened to public in the last year. Not that I am complaining.
Our first stop was the Chiang Kaishek Residence in Shilin. The first sight that greeted us as we walked into the area (it was in a huge garden) was the Falun Gong, practising their art, and also protesting about their persecution in China. We took the short walk to the residence. Entrance was free, and they have a mandatory guided tour, which starts every 15 mins or so. You only get to see the waiting room, their living and dining room, and the hall where they entertain. Nevertheless, we got some interesting factoids about the Chiangs.
After the Chiang Residence, we headed to the National Palace Museum. Apparently, the Taiwanese Tourism Board is having some sort of promotion. If you check out the Taiwanese Tourism Board representative in your country, they do offer some free entrance ticket to attractions, and one of those free tickets is to the National Palace Museum. Thanks to my cousin, we got in for free. My dad, not a huge museum fan, gave us an hour. I chose to visit the ceramics exhibition and the jade exhibition, given that ceramics is one of the biggest things in Southeast Asian archaeology. The variety was definitely extremely impressive. They have stuff from Tang dynasty up to the Qing dynasty, and a lot of them were imperial wares, in imperial yellow. The ceramics on display definitely shows the connectedness of China to the world, even in the early periods. Unfortunately, no photography is allowed, and I also didn’t find any good postcards, so no pictures. Apparently, they have so much stuff in their collection, they rotate it every three months. Not sure if that is true.
Lunch was at this Taiwanese restaurant called Xinye. Their specialty is Taiwanese porridge, which is a rather bland tasting porridge, whose taste is augmented by very flavourful side dishes. I went for the Danzi noodles, given my dislike for Taiwanese porridge. It was definitely a great option. The Danzi noodles was had a nice bite texture to it, and there were two slices of pork, and the broth was extremely tasty. We also had a bunch of dishes, but I was more enamoured with the taste of the noodles.
After lunch, we headed to the Chiang Kaishek Memorial. It is located in the Freedom Square, which has two impressive-looking, Qing-style buildings flanking the four-storey memorial, which has a statue of Chiang Kaishek. It also doubles as a rotating exhibition museum. The museum on Chiang Kaishek seems a little on the repetitive side of things, but for first-timers to Taiwan, I guess it’s not a bad spot. In any case, it’s free.
Chiang Kaishek’s former residence
Danzi Noodles at Xinye
Chiang Kaishek Memorial