It’s always fun to allow yourself to be touristy at times, especially when new to a destination. And since it’s my first time in Taiwan, I was interested to see the famous spots that makes Taipei distinctive. The significant attractions that iconize and built the country throughout the years. Here’s a visit to Chiang Kai-shek Memorial, Taipei 101 and Ximending.
Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall
The national landmark pays tribute to the man instrumental for making Taiwan it is now, Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek. When the former president of the Republic of China passed away in 1975, the construction of his memorial started in 1976 at Zhongzheng district in Taipei. Every element, orientation and design was made sure to be harmonious to the energies and elements. From the octagonal blue roof to symbolize the 8 symbol, to the staircases on each side with 89 steps each which is the age Chiang Kai-shek passed away.
Quite a feast to the eyes visiting this memorial as we had to enter the vast Liberty Square memorial park where the monument stands. There are two main entrances that passes through. The lower ground floor houses a museum and library documenting the life of Chiang Kai-shek and history of Taiwan. The 4th floor is the main chamber where the bronze statue of generalissimo is found. The chamber dome has the symbol of Koumintang (KMP Nationalist Party) which means “The Sun is always shining”. Stay put during hourly transition and watch the show of stern elegance and synchronicity during the change of guards every hour.
Expect the place to be crawling with people most of the times. Though weekdays would see more less local crowds.
Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall
No.21, Zhongshan S.Rd., Zhongzheng Dist.,Taipei City 10048, Taiwan (R.O.C)
Telephone: +886 2 2343-1100
Opening Hours: 9.00am to 6.00pm
Official Website: http://www.cksmh.gov.tw/eng/
Going to Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall: By MRT, take the Red Line or Green Line to Chiang Kai-shel Memorial Hall (C.K.S. Memorial Halls)
Used to be the world’s tallest building when it opened in 2004. The post-modern oriental-designed building has 101 floors and 5-level basement has a height of 509.2 meters (1,671 ft). It is the crowning jewel of Taipei. The Burj Khalifa may have dethroned this megastructure in 2010 but it still holds at world’s tallest “green” building under LEED standard that can withstand earthquakes and storms.
I can’t help but be amazed with this amazing megastructure seeing it up close. There’s a commercial mall area at the lower floors where people can get it. It’s mostly high-end premier brands there though. We weren’t able to visit the observatory at the upper floor. I’ll save that for the next visit.
Going to Taipei 101: By MRT, take the Red Line (Xiangshan train) to Taipei 101.
The Ximending Pedestrian Area was the first pedestrian area built in Taipei and is the largest in Taiwan. Dubbed as the Harajuku and Shibuya of Taipei as it’s where the hip, fashionable and Japanese subculture are evidently found. The area prospered in 1930 with several theaters in the area. Now it’s one of the famous shopping district with over 6,000 vendors, 20 theaters and a venue for events and street performances.
Ximendeng is bustling and dazzling in the evening. People flow through the streets but once a performance starts, the crowd automatically opens up to create space for the show. Managed to catch one of the street shows and it was certainly entertaining. There’s so much to see here especially for people who enjoys shopping.
Going to Ximending: Take the Blue Line or Green Line MRT to Ximen.
More of Taipei
These are just some of the suggested places if the time is limited. I would also recommend a stroll at Dadaocheng or drive up north for Yangmingshan.
Ferdz Decena is an award-winning travel photographer, writer and blogger. His works has found print in publications such as Singapore Airlines’s Silver Kris, Philippine Airlines’ Mabuhay, Cebu Pacific’s Smile and Seair InFlight. He has also lent his expertise to various organizations like the Oceana Philippines, Lopez Group Foundation, Save the Children and World Vision, contributing quality images for their marketing materials.