Now, I know not everyone is a huge history fan, but I for one enjoy seeing historical places and learning the story behind them. If you want to learn more about Ancient China, or just see some cool artifacts, then I'd say The National Palace Museum gù gōng 故宮 is the place for you. I've been there four times and have enjoyed the displays thoroughly each time. Personally, though, I like the outdoors and today I have an awesome place to tell you about, where you can not only glean some insight into Taiwan's past, but you can enjoy some beautiful scenery and an invigorating hike too if that's your thing.
The mausoleum of jiăng jīng guó 蔣經國 Chiang Ching-Kuo, the son of jiăng zhōng zhèng 蔣中正 Chiang Kai-Shek rests in the mountains between dà xī 大溪 Daxi and fù xìng 富興 Fuxing. The grounds housing the former leader's body was once used by the president to house information, and the one room you are able to look into shows the office where 蔣經國 used to sit at his table and make the big decisions that drove the country. At the far side of the structure lies the body of 蔣經國, and visitors are expected to pay their respects. 蔣經國 was a popular leader and many Taiwanese people visit his burial place to bài bài 拜拜(if you don't know what this is, check out my recent post 拜拜! Zhen Qing Temple).
(The Entrance to the mausoleum and those aren't statues! If you are lucky, you can see the changing of the guard here)
(Chiang Ching-Kuo's office)
(Pay your respects, and follow the arrow, or else!)
(Across from the mausoleum is a visitors' center with a lot of cool historical information on Chiangs, and parked beside it are the father and son's personal ambulances)
Not far from the mausoleum is another interesting attraction. cí hú 慈湖 Cihu park is beautiful and offers scenic views of the surrounding mountains and lake, but the most interesting attraction, and the reason many people go there are the plethora of towering, multi-colored statues of 蔣中正 scattered around the park grounds. Pick your favorite pose and take a picture with Mr. President!
(No autographs, but a picture with the president is always good!)
(The beautiful park and the many faces of Chiang Kai-Shek)
On the other side of the park is a trail that leads up into white-rock mountain bái shí shān 白石山 mountain, it's a great place to go for a hike and to escape from humanity for a while.
(Not far up the path is this cozy cottage, so no need to bring a tent!)
(Follow the path further into the mountains and you will be rewarded with some awesome views)
(Cross the bridge and step into another world)
After you're finished up, head on over to Daxi Old Street 大溪老街 for dinner. Daxi is famous for its dried-tofu dòu gān 豆干 and stinky-tofu chòu dòu fŭ 臭豆腐, but like any of Taiwan's old streets, there are also a lot of cool traditional things to see, and the cobbled-streets and old architecture, along with the beautiful park and view of the surrounding mountains make it a wonderful place to spend an entire day, though be warned: it is absolutely jam-packed with tourists on the weekends.
(Time to refuel)
There you have it, a day trip that offers something for everyone, so what are you waiting for? Get out there and have an adventure!
Take a look at more of my pictures here
How To Get There:
The mausoleum of Chiang Ching-Kuo- Going by car or scooter is best, but you can also take the bus from Daxi to Fuxing and stop at the mausoleum
Cihu park- Just a little further down the road from the mausoleum, you can walk there if you took a bus
白石山 White-rock mountain(There are no English signs)- The trail head is just on the other side of Cihu park
Chinese phrases of the day:
故宮– The National Palace Museum
蔣經國– Chiang Ching-Kuo
蔣中正– Chiang Kai-Shek
白石山– White-Rock Mountain
豆干– dried tofu
臭豆腐– stinky tofu