Taiwan: Day 8 – Leaving & Learning the history of Taiwan

Travel Period : 30th Oct – 6th Nov 2012

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Day 8 Itinerary:

  • Hualien –>> Taipei –>> Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall –>>  Taoyuan International Airport

Hualien TRA to Taoyuan TRA

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Mr Chen drove us to Hualien Train Station to take the train at 10.35am. The express train was a smooth ride and we reached the Taipei TRA station at 12.45pm.

Vin had called Mr Tu earlier that we are on our way back and informed him to pick up our luggage at Shin Shih Hotel. Previously, we had told the hotel staff that Mr Tu would be coming to pick up our luggage. (He was the driver who drove us from Jinguashi back to our hotel)

We went to the meeting point we had agreed upon last Sunday and found him waiting there for us. He then proceeded to drive us to the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall. We reached there about 1pm.

Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall

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The memorial hall was rather impressive and the square was so big. It felt like the smaller version of a chinese palace ground. I read that it’s for the gathering of public during events. We took a while just to walk from the gate entrance to the inner entrance. A pity they were doing some renovation and closed off the centre bridge or else we would be able to climb the stairs to look at the entire area from the top.




Upon entering the place, we started admiring the long stretch of patterned tiles ceiling. The combination of chinese art and modern structure was quite interesting. The exhibition halls were spacious and spotless.

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We found the ‘stamping’ counter and didn’t forget to stamp one on our booklet to show we had visited the place.

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The wax figure of Mr Chiang Kai-shek was so life-like. Interesting to see ‘him’ at work in the office.

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For those who know the history, Mr Chiang Kai-shek was the first president of the Republic of China (also known as Taiwan). He headed the Kuomintang party which was started by Mr Sun Yat-Sen and became president after setting up a Nationalist Government in mainland China. However, the party lost to the communist party in the civil war and had to evacuate to Taiwan. He re-established himself as the President of this new ‘country’ with his party members and vowed to return back to China mainland one day but never did succeed.

The rest of the exhibition halls showcases the things he used, the clothes he wore, explanations on the things he did and a little about his family life with his wife.

As we did not have a lot of time, we quickly went through the halls and went up the stairs to reach the hall with the large statue of Mr Chiang. Two guards were standing there at the sides motionless. There is supposed to be a guard changing ceremony every hour.

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Discovered photo-taking of us looks bad everywhere in this place! Either our head is ‘stepped’ on by his foot / we get ‘poked’ by the flag or gun / we wear the flag on our head…

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After this, we went outside when Mr Tu drove us to the other side of the hall. We were rushing for time, so it’s faster that he drove us to it as the area was so big. We found the gate to Liberty Square (自由廣場). It is a square popular for peaceful demonstrations of freedom or democracy.

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Dar tried to chase the birds but they didn’t even bother to fly away even when he went close to them. We laughed out loud at that.
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201211_TaipeiMemorial12As there was still time, we ran through the gate into the square to check out other structures. There was another nice hall but we didn’t have the time to go near to explore. 🙁  Overall, we took about 40 minutes to explore the entire Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall. The fastest we ever spent at a place.

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After that, we quickly hopped on Mr Tu’s cab and went to Taoyuan Airport directly to board our flight. He managed to drive us there in about 15-20 mins and we still had plenty of time to check-in and wait for our flight at 3.45pm.

Flight – Departure

While waiting to depart, we went to a play area for children and Dar had a happy time playing for a while.

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Beside it was a shop of toys, ‘Wonderland’, and it was here that we found his desired toy! The Taiwan High Speed Rail! We were really excited to see it as we didn’t manage to find it in Miramar or go any departmental store then. It is also created by the same company, Tomy, so it would be compatible with the Thomas n Friends rails that he had at home.

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With that wonderful souvenir, we headed home on our 5-hours flight on Scoot Airlines and arrived around 8pm in Singapore.
 
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Back home, he quickly opened his favourite High-Speed Rail model train (automated but he prefer to move it by himself). If you want to know how the HSR is like, read our post on Day 1!

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It was a fun eight days trip full of memorable events. We left Taiwan impressed of its hospitality to tourists, the friendly Taiwanese and wonderful places of interests. Surely, we would visit it again in future.

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