Taipei – Exploring Beitou and the Old Walled City

Inspired by the fresh air we planned to return to Yangmingshan the following day but our plans were altered somewhat by an approaching Typhoon. Instead we donned our ponchos and headed out for a bit of exploring. In Beitou alone we were surprised to find some things to see and do. We enjoyed a couple of hours exploring the Hot Springs Museum and Ketagalan Cultural Centre where you can learn about the Aboriginal people of Taiwan. 
Afterwards we headed into the city, first to see the changing of the guard at the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall which was built in the late 1970s. Chiang Kai-shek was a military man and an ally of Sun Yat-sen, the founding father of the republic of China. For more than 40 years Chiang Kai-shek served as the leader of the Republic of China. The memorial hall, along with the National Theater, Concert Hall, gardens and even the MRT station are all stunning. Next we moved on to visit two more temples, the Baoan Temple and the nearby Confucius Temple. There are many, many temples in Taipei, mostly dedicated to the Three Teachings of China. This consists of Chinese Buddhism, Confusion and Taoism. These three philosophies were once very separate but over time evolved into their own unique mix, often elements of each are seen alongside each other in one temple. Christianity, Islam and many other religions are also practiced although I found much less evidence of their presence. 

Finally we finished our day with a visit to the Grand Hotel. This really is the best possible name for this hotel because it really is magnificent. Inspired by Beijing’s Forbidden City this huge hotel supports the largest Chinese roof in the world. You can have tea in the grand lobby but we found we didn’t need to and were left free to wonder round and soak in every bright colourful detail of this wonderful building. 

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