Our second day and last day in Taiwan was a day of exploration both by foot and by bicycle.
NATIONAL CHIANG KAI-SHEK MEMORIAL HALL | FREE ADMISSION
First on our list to visit for the day is the national monument and landmark erected in memory of Chiang Kai-Shek who led the Kuomintang (KMT) Nationalist Party in the island that we now call Taiwan.
The built memorial hall is an edifice made of white marble and blue tiled octagon shaped roof. The white color stands for democracy and equality. Meanwhile, the usage of the color blue stands for nationalism and liberty. The two sets of stairs that lead to the main entrance has 89 steps each which represent Chiang Kai-shek’s age at the time of his death.
As a celebrated general and president, a huge 6.3m bronze seated statue of Chiang Kai-Shek can be found inside the memorial hall. There are usually two soldiers guarding it. If you intentionally wait for about an hour or so, you may be able to witness the elaborate changing of the guard ceremony which happens from 9 AM to 5 PM daily.
The memorial hall also houses intriguing, story-laden memorabilia, different art exhibitions, a souvenir shop, and a few restaurants in case you become hungry.
LIBERTY SQUARE, NATIONAL THEATRE, AND NATIONAL CONCERT HALL
Once you exit the Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall, you will have a panoramic view of the 25-hectare area. The two almost identical buildings you’ll see are the National Theater and National Concert Hall. A Boulevard of Homage that is bordered by manicured brushes connects the memorial hall to the Liberty Square. At the far end is the incredibly imposing Liberty Square main gate that is as high as 98 ft (or 30 meters).
If you’re wondering why the photo seems to be cluttered, there are masses of people gathering for an event. We also visited on a weekend so it’s expected that there are also a lot of visitors.
The colossal place bears a lot of historical significance for Taiwan’s transition to democracy and is enjoyed by Taiwanese residents. You definitely wouldn’t want to miss this place.
We are adamant in telling the story behind this or who is being worshipped here. Our holy God, who is the creator of all things, should be the only one who is glorified for us.
If Japan has Shibuya and South Korea has Myeong Dong, Taiwan has Ximending as a shopping haven. There is a myriad of choices for restaurants and it is filled with different kinds of shopping options from department stores to shops. It is a place often frequented by the youth.
This is a convenient place to shop for souvenirs because the prices are fixed and are at a fairly affordable price. We recommend for you to bring home nougat candies.
Since we love cheese, we specifically requested if we can dine at Gratin House. We are grateful that the UNLTD Travel agreed to eat here. Only set meals are offered on weekends. So it cost us NT 270 each with our choice of bread, soup, main dish, and drink.
NATIONAL DR. SUN YAT-SEN MEMORIAL HALL | FREE ADMISSION
Built in 1972, this memorial hall is a tribute to Dr. Sun Yat-sen, the founding father of the Republic of China and is labeled as the “father of democracy.” The building is less grandiose compared to Chiang Kai-Shek memorial hall. However, Sun Yat-sen hall is still worth the visit because it is another key to understanding Taiwan’s history. The place is also open to performances and exhibitions.
Dr. Sun Yat-sen also has a statue and there is a changing guards ceremony. Waiting is more bearable though since the entire hall is air-conditioned.
The Taipei 101 used to be the highest building in the world with the fastest elevator. Although it doesn’t hold any of those titles anymore, riding the elevator from the 5th to the 89th in only 37 seconds is still a nice prelude to the view that their observatory offers.
Taipei 101 has five floors of high-end dining and shopping options. Fret not though if you’re on a limited budget as they have a food hall and the famous Din Tai Fung at their basement level.
More souvenirs can be bought here but their goods have better packaging meant to be given for the special people in our lives.
ELEPHANT MOUNTAIN | FREE ADMISSION
Elephant Mountain is known to give the best view of the elegant, bamboo tree like building called Taipei 101. Its trail called Nangang District Hiking trail takes about 15 to 20 minutes to reach the top.
Good shoes are our best friend as we climbed the mountain. It just so happens most of us find white sneakers as a travel fashion staple.
As we only know how to exercise our tummies, we found ourselves trudging up the steep trail. Taking a break was a breeze with plenty of leafy coverage.
We had no idea what the summit of the trail is. What we are sure of is that this boulder is the perfect photo spot with the beautiful Taipei 101. Expect a long queue for it though on a late afternoon of a weekend. Better visit early morning.
This is a photo of us all sweaty after we reached the viewing platform. Hiking the Elephant Mountain Trail let us hit two birds with one stone. We got to burn calories, at the same time, enjoy a great view of the Taipei skyline. It was the best way to end our sightseeing activity in Taiwan.
Thanks to UNLTD Travel and Tour we got to experience Taiwan with just a weekend. They showed to us that it’s possible so I’m sure you can have a quick getaway too.
Head to the next page to watch the video of our trip.