Taipei is one of my favorite cities. Ever since I first arrived in Taipei I felt a strong connection to Taipei and the Taiwanese people that made me want to stay and study Mandarin for a semester and then come back to Taiwan a year later for a long academic visit. In the time that I’ve lived in Taipei and visited during my longer stay in Tainan I’ve pretty much visited all the attractions that Taipei is famous for, which are detailed in a 7-days itinerary I wrote for Taipei back in 2011. When I last visited Taipei I wanted to try and get off the beaten track and explore some of the lesser known places in Taipei – new artist villages, small museums and cultural parks. In the years that I’ve been living in Hong Kong away from Taiwan, the Taipei government have approved several areas in Taipei to be dedicated to artists and the arts. Even though some are cynical about the commercialization of those areas, I have little doubt that more of those areas is good for Taipei and good for culture.
Following is a summary of the other Taipei that I’ve explored.
What have I seen?
Next to the Taipei 101 City Hall Sun-Yat-Sen memorial hall area is the new Songshan Cultural District which – aside from restaurants and local museums continuously hosts a number of top-notch exhibitions year round. When I was visiting there were two :
- 4D Holography Exhibition : Songshan Cultural District
- Nathan Sawaya’s Lego Art : Songshan Cultural District Exhibitions
To compliment those exhibitions are the old timers – the Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall had a wonderful Dali exhibition (“Mind of a genius” – no photography inside, hence no post) and the Sun Yat Sen Memorial Hall also had an interesting exhibition about Robots.
The Flower Exposition of 2010 also left behind some terrific pavilions that I didn’t catch during the expo with exhibitions of Robots and flora :
But that the Songshan Cultural District isn’t the only new cultural district in Taipei. In fact, there are quite a few of those. I visited three artist villages – the Huashan Creative Park 1914, the nearby international artist village (still awaiting a dedicated post) and the wonderful Treasure Hill area which was transformed from an old KMT village.
- Huashan Creative Park 1914 : Taipei
- Taipei Treasure Hill Artist Village
- Treasure Hill Temple : Taipei
Less about the arts and more about the local culture is a wonderful new Hakka Cultural Center next the river :
I was also on the lookout for lesser known museums. Taipei’s wonderful MOCA is quite well known, but the fascinating Museum of World Religions, the somewhat odd Museum of Drinking Water, the colorful Puppetry Art Center and the gorgeous historical house of Lin An Tai, they all somehow manage to escape visitors’ attention. When I told some of the locals I know in Taipei that I’m going to visit those museums the main responses where “I never heard about it” or “Why is that interesting”?
- Museum of Contemporary Art : Taipei
- Museum of World Religions : Taipei
- Lin An Tai Museum and House : Taipei City
- Museum of Drinking Water : Water Park – Taipei
- Puppetry Art Center of Taipei : Small Museums in Taipei
But, when in Taipei one cannot not visit temples and night-markets, it’s just not polite. So, I got to visit two that I’ve never been to before :
And, yes, I also revisited the Taipei 101 and City Hall.
Not too bad for a few days getaway to Taipei. If you’ve already been to Taipei and want to see more of the other more cultural and artistic Taipei – then consider visiting some of the above. I’m sure you’ll be pleasantly surprised.