Taiwan's National Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall (literally National Founding Father Memorial Hall) sits in northern Xinyi District of Taipei, and includes a large open square and gardens. The inside of the memorial hall commemorates the life of the founding father of the Republic of China, Sun Yat-sen, who is revered on both sides of the Taiwan Strait. In addition the memorial hall has a performance hall, free rotating art exhibitions, and changing of the guard every hour. It is definitely a sight worth seeing on your trip to Taipei.
The memorial hall was completed in 1972 after 8 years of construction.
Chiang Kai-shek's funeral in 1975 took place in the memorial hall.
Originally the hall was only used to commemorate Sun Yat-sen, but recently it has become a cetner for the arts. The Golden Horse Awards festival is held annually here.
There is another Sun Yat-sen Memorial in Guangzhou and also one in Hong Kong.
Sun Yat-sen was born in 1856 in Guangdong, China, but also spent part of his childhood in Hawaii where he had family. He was an influencial leader in the Xinhai uprising the overtthrew the Qing Dynasty in 1911. After that, he was elected as the provisional president of China, and then stepped down for a short time in favor of the warlord Yuan Shikai who forced the last Qing emperor to abdicate. However Yuan Shikai then declared himself emperor. Sun then re-formed the Nationalist KMT party and military in Guangdong, and allied with the Chinese Commnist Party. With help from the Soviets, Sun's army made a push against Yuan in the First United Front. He then died suddenly from liver cancer in 1935 at the age of 58.
After Sun's death, the KMT generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek decleared himself president and led a war against the Japanese, then a civil war against the communists in which the KMT lost mainland China and retreated to Taiwan.
Sun is considered to be one of the greatest leaders that China has ever known.
9 AM to 6 PM.
You can check the current art exhibitions on display here.
How to get there:
By MRT: Take the Blue line MRT to Dr. Sun Yat-sen memorial Hall Station and get off at exit 3 or 4.
By car/scooter: Drive east of Zhongxiao East Road in Taipei and turn right on Guangfu South Road. There is a parking lot to the northwest that offers free scooter parking and paid car parking,
Please see below:
The National Palace Museum (aka NPM) in Taiwan has one of the largest collections of Chinese artifacts in the world, and perhaps the finest collection of Chinese art in the world. The museum is open year round and offers tours in many different languages. It is a must see spot for any foreign tourist visiting Taiwan.
The National Palace Museum has over700,000 artifacts in two locations, one in Taipei (where most foreign visitors come, northern branch) and another in Chiayi (less visited southern branch). However only 3,000 artificats can be on display at a time, so the museum rotates artifact displays every two months. This way, you will likely be seeing something different every time you come.
Originally the National Palace Museum was established in 1925 when the Republic of China ruled all of Mainland China, after the last emperor of the Qing Dynasty was expelled from the forbidden city. In 1931, Chiang Kai-shek ordered that the artifacts in the forbidden city be moved to Shanghai, and Later Nanking so that they would not fall into the hands of the Japanese until the Japanese surrendered in 1945. After the Chinese Civil War started that same year, Chiang Kai Shek ordered the artifacts be moved to Taiwan between 1948 and 1949, but not all the artifacts could be sent before the communists seized control of some of the remaining collection. Only 1/5 of the original collection from the forbidden city made it to Taiwan, but they were considered the best of the artifacts.
For ten years the items sat in storage in Taichung until a small viewing hall was built in 1957. In 1965 the current site for the palace museum was established, and has been expanded over the years. The museum also plans further expansions in the future.
The museum is a monument to Taiwan's (the Republic of China's) claim to be the true legitimate government of China, as it preserved and protected these artifacts from the communist destruction of heritage during the Cultural Revolution. China of course claims that the artifacts were stolen. However, the PRC's Forbidden City (also know as the National Palace Museum) and the National Palace Museum in Taiwan have exchanged artifacts since 2009.
8:30 AM to 4:30 PM every day (open till 9:00 PM on Friday and Saturday).
350 NT per person.
Click here for the National Palace Museum's official FAQ.
How to get there:
By MRT/Bus: Take the MRT to Shilin Station on the red line and then take any number of busses
By car/scooter: From central Taipei I recommend driving there via the Ziqiang tunnel in Neihu/Dazhi which goes through the mountain straight to the museum. There is free scooter parking to the right of the entrance and paid car parking across the street.
Please see below:
Liberty Square (AKA Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall) is one of the most notable landmarks in Taipei, as well as symbol and gathering place of freedom and democracy. featuring a large public square, Chiang Kai-Shek memorial, opera houses, and gardens. It is officially a monument to the Generalissimo and President of the Republic of China, Chiang Kai-shek. It's iconic scenery and architecture are a must visit for anyone travelling in Taipei.
The building itself gets its inspiration from the Sun Yat-sen mausoleum in Nanking, China. It took four years to construct and was finished in 1980, five years after Chiang Kai-shek had died.
The memorial hall has 89 steps which represent the age of Chiang when he died. Inside is his statue, along with a museum and exhibition dedicated to his life.
The plaza became the main gathering place for many demonstrations in Taiwan, such as the Wild Liliy student movement that helped to fully democratize Taiwan by demanding full muilt-party elections, to which the then president Lee Teng-hui agreed. In 2007, then president Chen Shui-bian changed the named of the plaza to Liberty Square.
In 2017, plans were announced to transform the memorial hall to respect human rights and face history, referring to Chiang Kai-shek's leadership during martial law andthe white terror, in which thousands of innocent Taiwanese civilians were imprisoned and killed.
Chiang Kai-shek's statue in the memorial hall has also been vandalized recently by pro-independence students.
Every day 9AM to 6PM.
How to get there:
By MRT: Take either the green line or red line to Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall station.
By Car/scooter: Take either Aiguo Raod, Xinyi Road, or Renai Raod to western Taipei and you should see it. There is paid car parking underneath the opera houses but free scooter parking on the street.
Please see below:
Rainbow Village is a brightly colored artistic dependents village located in Taichung, Taiwan. It was converted into a tourist destination by one of the former residents in order to save the village from destruction. The unique paintings cover almost the entire village, and has become a major spot for tourists and Instagrammers.
The artist behind the work, Huang Yung-Fu (黃永阜), was a KMT soldier that retreated from mainland China with the ROC army. He and his family were relocated to a dependent's village in Taichung, where they stayed permanently. Eventually after over half a century the village became worn down and developers wanted to tear it down. In order to save his village, Mr. Huang painted the houses starting in about 2008, which caught the attention of local university students that campaigned to save the village. The village is now a popular tourist attracting, attracting more than a million visitors a year.
Check out this video recently made by the BBC for more information:
Who knows how much longer Mr. Huang will live, so if someone wants to make an English documentary they should do it soon.
How to get there:
Take highway 125 in Nantun, on the outskirts of the Taichung. The village is tucked into Zhongyang Road Lane 19.
Map: Please see below:
We are US Expats that have extensive experience living and working in Taiwan. In our day, we had to learn many things about Taiwan the hard way. But we have come to learn that Taiwan is one of the best places in the world for Foreigners to live. Our blog does not represent the opinions of every foreigner in Taiwan. We are just trying to help others learn more about this beautiful country.