National Palace Museum (國立故宮博物院)

Friday, 6 January 2017

We may be visiting the same tourist attractions we visited 6 years ago, but they were definitely more memorable this time round as Shirley and I spent more time at each location. On our second day, we visited the National Palace Museum (國立故宮博物院), which houses the largest collection of Chinese artifacts in the world—even more than The Palace Museum (故宮博物院) in Beijing.

Unlike most attractions where it's a walking distance from a MRT station, you will need to take the MRT to Shilin Station first and then a bus (R30 (紅30), 255 shuttle or bus number 815) before reaching the museum. The bus station is a short 2 minute walk from the station, but there are signs at Shilin Station to guide you. ★Note: When taking the bus, it will indicate when you are pay your fare: i.e., tapping the machine once you get off or tapping on and off the bus. However, if you're not too sure, simply do whatever everyone else is doing and you'll be okay—just get your Easycards ready. For our bus ride to the museum, we tapped our cards once when getting off to pay our fare.

For breakfast that morning, we first bought some bread at Magie du Levain (樂凡手感烘焙), a bakery café across the street from our hotel. However, while their sandwiches may look good, it was honestly, one of the worst sandwiches I've ever had because they don't use "normal" sandwich ingredients. (I can't exactly remember all the ingredients, but it had lettuce, sweet mayonaise, cheese and a jam-like spread on it as well.) If you're a fan of the sweet/savoury taste, you might like the taste, but I couldn't even take more than two bites! Luckily, the bread with the pork floss (it was so fluffy!) was really good, but because that wasn't enough for the two of us, we bought some rice balls and sweet potato at a Family Mart to fill our stomachs.

We spent a good 40 minutes just outside the museum taking photographs. Depending on what time you arrive, the entrance will be filled with tourists taking photos (see the first photo of this blog post), but if you're patient enough, you'll be able to get decent shots without a sea of people in the background. (Because you know, tour groups won't give you over 20 minutes to take photos.)

By the time we had enough photos and videos which was around 12:30pm, we headed inside the museum and bought our tickets, which cost NTD$250 per person for general admission. Entry was quite strict because no bags (including water) was allowed whatsoever. (They provide lockers for you to put them in.) However, you can bring your camera as long as you do not use flash.

While I like learning about Chinese history, neither Shirley or I are history junkies. Therefore, we couldn't really appreciate nor admire the artifacts as much that we wanted to, despite it's historical significance. However, I'm still glad we went to such a beautiful structure.

If you have some time left over after visiting the museum, do have a look at Zhishan Garden (至善園), located just next to the museum. Entry is free with the museum ticket and because the garden is so small, it won't take long to see what it has to offer. If you're not in a rush, the garden also makes a yet peaceful place for a stroll and a cup of tea in a beautiful traditional Chinese landscape. (We were only there for about 10-15 minutes because we were starting to get hungry and it was quite humid that day and we wanted to get out of the heat!)

National Palace Museum (國立故宮博物院)
No. 221, Section 2, Zhishan Road, Shilin District, Taipei
台北市 士林區 至善路二段 221號

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