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May 23, 2014 / oneworld82

Taipei – Part II

One of the crown jewels of Taiwan is the National Palace Museum, probably the most splendid repository of Chinese art in the World. When the Kuomintang fled the Mainland after losing the civil war against Mao’s forces, they deliberately sacked some of the most important palaces and museums in China and broug ht the artifacts to Taipei. A despicable act (probably); but those actions resulted in the creation of what is absolutely a World Class Museum.

The Museum is located in Shilin, but it takes a bit to get there. A subway+bus transfer is needed, but it’s not very difficult given the good number of people going in the same direction.

View from the National Palace Museum

View from the National Palace Museum

The Museum is nestled on a lush part of Taipei. Green, forested hills are everywhere, and here the city looks like an intruder in nature’s kingdom. A sight to behold.

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The museum itself is truly remarkable. Tour groups aside (try to avoid weekends!), it was a very enjoyable visit; the modern interior of the building guides you to the top floor, where the visit starts from. Iron age bronzes, ceramics, porcelains, calligraphy, sculpture, history… everything you need to know about Chinese history is well-covered here!

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Got enough art for the day? What about some food at Din Tai Fung, to sample some of the best xiaolongbao out there? You can’t really go wrong with that! And what about some pastries from one of the ubiquitous bakeries that China is so famous for?

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The it’s time to immerse yourself in Taipei’s nature in Maokang. This beloved area just outside the city is an easy gondola ride away, and it gives respite from the hustle and bustle of the city to locals and foreigners alike looking for an easy way to experience Taiwan’s stunning nature.

The area is dotted by temples and tea plantations, tea houses and street stalls. The temperature is definitely cooler than the city’s, and walking around the various trails is simply pleasurable. If you have time and if you’d like to see more of Taiwan’s natural environment without leaving Taipei, consider coming to Maokang.

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I liked Taiwan. A lot. 48 hours were enough to get infatuated with this city. I will be back. I know it. The food, the people, the nature… I will miss it all. Zaijian, Taibei!

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