We went back to Taiwan for this Christmas and New Year holidays for a few
planned activities: my mother's 80th birthday,
a trip to Singapore, and the
New Year fireworks at Taipei 101, etc. We also invited Linus' girlfriend
Miriam to come along with us for her first trip to Asian countries.
- Mother's 80th birthday banquet -- Grand Hyatt, Taipei 台北君悅
- Taipei 101
Construction on the 101-story tower started in 1999 and finished in 2004.
The building was officially classified as the world's tallest in 2004, and
remained such until the completion of the Burj Khalifa in Dubai in 2010.
We went up to the observation deck (88th floor to 91st floor) which provides
36-degree panoramic views. Believe it or not, it was our first time to
be up at the Taipei 101's observation deck like all other tourists :-)
We had dinner at the Ding Tai Fung (鼎泰豐)
at Taipei 101.
After more than an hour of waiting, we finally got a table and ordered our
dinner. When we finished our 2nd dumping (we have ordered 4), there was
a fire alarm and we were asked to leave and evacuate. We did smell some
strong smoke when we walked out, but fortunately there was no real fire and no
damage or injury, and we got a free meal (well, a partial meal...).
- National Concert Hall and CKS Memorial 中正紀念堂
We attended a short 30-min educational
organ concert at the National Concert Hall at 11:30AM. After the concert, we
walked to a pond next to the concert hall to feed fish and birds.
It was one of Linus and Iris favorite activities whenever we were in Taipei
when they were little kids.
- Longshan Temple 龍山寺
The most well known temple in Taiwan, the Mengjia
Longshan Temple was built in 1738 by settlers from Fujian as a gathering
place for Chinese settlers. I have been a regular visitor to the
temple since I was a kid with my mother to pay our respect and worship.
- Grand Hotel
The hotel was established in May 1952 and the main building
was completed on October 10, 1973. The main building of the hotel is
one of the world's tallest Chinese classical buildings at 87
meters (285 ft)
high. It was also the tallest building in Taiwan from 1973 to 1981. We
have passed by the Grand Hotel millions of times in the past and never had a
chance to step into this iconic building. I decided to take a break
(from staying in my parents' house) to spend a night here to satisfy our
We stayed in the Yuanshan (圓山)
area during the day to visit a few attractions in Taipei which we actually have never
- Confucius Temple
The Taipei Confucius Temple was built in 1879
during the Qing era, after Taipei Prefecture was established in 1875. During
the Japanese era, the temple was demolished, but was rebuilt in 1930.
Today, besides the annual ceremony (on Sept 28) with traditional music and
stylized dancing in honor of Confucius, the temple is served as a museum
with exhibitions for Chinese culture.
- Fine Arts Museum
Taipei Fine Arts Museum (TFAM) was founded in 1983,
as Taiwan’s first museum dedicated to modern and contemporary art, and the
official art museum of the capital city. There were some modern arts
which I actually could understand and like :-)
- Lin An Tai Old House
In 1754 in Qing Dynasty, Lin Chin-Ming (林欽明
[林堯公]) had led his families to sail across the strait from Anxi (安溪),
Taiwan. Being good at business operation, his fourth son Lin,
[林回公]) had opened Rong Tai Company (榮泰行) in
Bangka (艋舺). After accumulating his wealth, he built a big house at where
Siwei Road (四維路)
lies now in Taipei. The main building of the house was completed
in 1783-1785 (清乾隆
48-50). In order to remembering his
hometown and origin, Lin, Hui-Kung had named the house as "An
Tai", which represented Anxi County and Rong Tai Company. It has been one of
the oldest houses existed in Taipei. In 1978, Lin An
Tai Historical House was faced with a destiny of being taken apart due to
the fact that it was not listed as a historical site and it happened to
locate within the range for some city expansion project.
Fortunately, after petitions of scholars and experts, the building managed
to be relocated and rebuilt. The building was opened to the public as a
museum in May 2000.
12/26 -- 12/29...
- National Palace Museum 故宮博物院
The National Palace Museum in Taipei has a permanent collection of nearly
700,000 pieces of ancient Chinese imperial artifacts and artworks, making it
one of the largest of its type in the world. The collection encompasses
8,000 years of history of Chinese art from the Neolithic age to the modern.
Most of the collection are high quality pieces collected by
China's emperors. It was quite a story how these valuable
artworks were evacuated from Beijing during World War II, and eventually
routed to Taiwan safely during the Chinese Civil War between Communist and
The Palace Museum is one of the places that we regularly
visited when we were back to Taiwan. It is a treasure that all Chinese
should be proud of and cherish.
- New Year Eve's Concert at the
National Concert Hall 國家音樂廳
We had a concert on New Year Eve
featuring American composers, Bernstein and Gershwin, performed by the
National Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Shao-Chia Lu (呂紹嘉).
The full program:
Leonard Bernstein: On the Town: Three Dance Episodes
George Gershwin: An American in Paris, Rhapsody in Blue, Funny Face
George Gershwin/Albert Markov: Porgy Rhapsody
Bernstein: Divertimento for Orchestra
Soloist: Chun-Chien Yen 嚴俊傑,
piano; Richard Lin 林品任, violin
- Fireworks at Taipei 101
After the New Year Eve's concert, we moved to
an apartment (iTaipei2) in Xinyi District to prepare for the New Year count
down and fireworks. I did feel young again when we were waiting for
the fireworks in the rain :-)
- Dr. Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall 國父紀念館
Our one-night apartment is so close to the Dr. Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall (~
3 min walk) that Woanyu and I went to visit the Memorial and the guard
changing in the morning. We also spent a little time to wander around
some museum and gallery exhibitions.
We woke up the kids when it was about time to check out
before noon. We had a fancy
teppanyaki lunch at Taipei 101 Red Flowers (紅花) with my parents.
- Ximen Ding 西門町
Ximen Ding is Taipei's old city center and it was
where we hang out with friends when we were teenagers. We had a beef noodle
lunch with my parents and sister at 桃源街. We walked around the Ximen
Ding area after lunch to have a couple of pearl tea for Linus and Miriam,
and then spent quite some time in a special bookstore specialized in music
scores 大陸書局 where I used to buy many
Going Home ...
It was a busy holiday vacation with two full weeks of schedules. We
also used this chance to show Miriam around Taipei and visited quite a few
tourist spots which we actually have not visited for years (or never thought
about visiting as residents). No matter how busy it was, it was always
good to be at home!
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