Taiwan Travel Guide: Chiang-Kai Shek Memorial Hall

National Chiang-Kai Shek Memorial Hall ( National Taiwan Democracy Memorial Hall) is one of the most (if not the most) famous landmark and monument that is in every Taiwan itinerary on the internet. It is also in every Taipei album on feeds anywhere on social media. It commemorates the life and accomplishments of the former President of the Republic of China, Generalissimo Chiang-Kai Shek. Designed by C.C Yang, it was erected in the year 1980, and is part of a much grander complex comprised of a park, Memorial Hall Square, National Theater and National Concert Hall. 

This tourist destination goes by another name, it is currently called Liberty Square as indicated over the front gate. The change in its name was politically motivated, but most people still refer to it as what it is commonly known now – the CKS Memorial Hall.  

The building has a total area of 250 SQM, it is octagon-shaped (as for the Chinese, eight is a number associated with abundance and good fortune), white and rises to 76 meters high. It is topped off with blue tiles and red accents which is represented by the colors of the Taiwanese flag. The lower level is dedicated to the former president’s life, career and the history of Taiwan under his rule, while the upper level houses a huge statue of him and where a changing of the guards is witnessed from time to time. 

The whole area also recognizes music and the arts – it is a gathering place for locals, young and old who dance and sing traditional songs. The site is also a major venue for expert speeches and receptions of important foreign guests; it has also witnessed numerous local and international performances and exhibitions. All in all, the history of the monument as well as the modern-day fetes have been supremely significant for the over-all culture of Taiwan. 

How to get there:  

By Train:  Take Red Line 2 or Green Line 3 to Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall (中正紀念堂), sometimes labeled as C.K.S. Memorial Hall

By Bus:  Bus route 15, 18, 20, 22, 37, 204, 208, 214, 236, 248, 249, 251, 252, 261, 263, 270, 297, 621, 623, 630, 65, exit Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall station(中正紀念堂站) or Nanmen market station(南門市場站).  

Opening hours: 

Memorial Hall: Open daily from 09:00 to 18:00, except for Chinese New Year Eve and Chinese New Year 
Memorial Park: Open daily from 05:00 to 24:00 
Raising and Lowering the National Flag: 
Summer time(4/1~9/30): Raising the flag: 06:00/ Lowering the flag: 18:10 
Winter time(10/1~3/31): Raising the flag: 06:30/ Lowering the flag: 17:10 
Changing of the honored guards: 
Morning: 09:00, 10:00, 11:00, 12:00 
Afternoon: 13:00, 14:00, 15:00, 16:00, 17:00 

It was kind of a challenge navigating through the rain. As I have said in my previous post, it poured for five days so most of our photos are with umbrellas. 🙂

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Taiwan Food Guide to Local Eats and Drinks

Basically, these are the places where we ate, hence it’s not much of a guide but more of a review. I wish I tried more restaurants so I could add more to this list.

To be completely honest, I was not overly delighted with the food as much as I think I would. I wish I was. With all the hype surrounding Taiwanese cuisine, we were sincerely looking forward to binge eating to our hearts content but upon eating one food to another, we realized that it just was not our cup of (milk) tea haha. BUT WE REALLY DID TRY! I assume I take pleasure in Chinese flair less than the average Filipino. :)) Most of my kababayans actually loved the food and kept coming back for more.

Nonetheless, this is where we parked our appetites throughout the trip:

I love Tuna Onigiri! It is usually my quick go-to snack when we’re in Japan. I also do not go without it when we eat in Marugame Udon! ang sarap talaga eh.

But before listing the restaurants we went to, our first meal upon reaching our Airbnb was Family Mart (hahaha the place to be! It was just conveniently close and we were famished). Although we did visit the store everyday to buy nuts, chips, orange juice and soda (sounds so unhealthy, but yeah).

So, without further adieu, the first restaurant we went to was:

Gingin Coffee

  • Nearest station: Zhongxiao Xinsheng Station (4-minute walk from the station)
  • Store Time: Everyday (9:00 AM – 8:30 PM)
  • What we ordered:
    • Food: dad had the Pulled Pork with Spicy Mayo on Toast (NT$ 260) and Andre had the Rice Bowl with Beef Guinness Stew (NT$240)
    • Drink: Pour Over Single Origin ( NT$115)
  • Review:
    • The restaurant had a large space, it was actually one of the biggest eating places we have been to so far since most of their eateries are relatively small. I noticed that it housed a lot of young professionals and most tables had huge groups of people (probably they facilitate their meetings here). What I liked best about the establishment was that it had enormous windows looking out to the street, so it really paved the way for natural sunlight to fill in the industrial-looking intramurals.
    • There is science in color combination and so their fusion of blue and yellow added joy to the room (it just looked sooo happy). I enjoyed how sunny, bright and vibrant the atmosphere was.
    • The food was also good (it was one of the best we’ve had as well). Dad’s Pulled Pork Sandwich came with yogurt which was a good and sweet ending to a full (tad spicy) meal. Andre’s beef bowl was just as filling as well. I recall there were more vegetables than meat but the sauce was delicious. I think they were more known for their sandwiches but their rice bowl was also a flavorsome option if you did not prefer bread.
    • Pour-over was an excellent caffeine fix. They had a wide variety of choices (a lot!) but I wanted to play it safe for my first meal. You can never go wrong with a Pour-over. 🙂
  • Rating from the web (Facebook): 4.8/5 – hear, hear! it did not disappoint.
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Pens & Stationeries in Taipei | And Where to Find Them

Who has not been to Taiwan?

For some reason, Facebook has this way of letting me know that my family and I are the only ones who have not been to this country and that we are missing out. :))

So, in around August of 2019, we planned a trip to Taipei to celebrate New Year.

We started the holiday with the ungodliest hour of departure – 3:40 AM (shoutout to the Obligacions whom we saw at the airport hahaha). I was telling Andre that although I could no longer remember why we chose such a schedule, surely we had a reason for losing sleep and arriving in NAIA at 1 am haha. It was crazy, and it was definitely something we have not done before nor an arrangement we will repeat in the near or distant future (ang hirap eh! haha sobrang aga.)

DAY ONE was for pen searching, as it specifically said in my planner. Taiwan, very much like Japan, had a penchant for all things writing! They had a wide collection of fountain pens and brush pens that will make a hobbyist go insane. I know my dad just went out of his mind over the tools that were laid out before him. On the other hand. I enjoyed flipping over journal pages! There were a lot of nice notebooks to purchase out of whim, but I had to exercise self-control haha. I mean why would you need 10 journals or more? (or do I? :)) )

Here’s a list of the stores we went to, and all of which we recommend:
Plain Stationary, Homeware and Cafe | Jasmine Lifestyle | TY Lee Pens | Tools to Live By | Vision Stationary | Eslite Xinyi Store

BUT, if you can only go to one, we highly suggest visiting TY Lee Pens.

Plain Stationary Homeware & Cafe 直物文具

It was a quaint shop along a narrow street. Its store stood beside an equally trendy-looking salon. Here you can buy a lot of quirky and cute things! What I noticed was that they had a lot of stickers and school paraphernalia (i.e paper clips, Washi tape etc). They had a fewer selection of pens but if you are into adorable paper and office supplies fit for your planners and journals then this is the place for you!

Nearest station: Zhongxiao Xinsheng Station (4-minute walk from the station) | Possible cafes nearby: we tried Gingin Coffee! It was good (additional post for this) | Store Time: weekdays (except Tuesday) – 2:00 PM – 9:00 PM, weekends: 1:00 PM – 7:00 PM

Jasmine Lifestyle 茉莉生活風格

Encountering this store was a happy accident! We did not know of its existence until we found it in the corner of Linyi Street. This place has a number of calligraphy instruments and fountain pen inks. What was unique about this shop was that it also had various stamps, Lomography cameras and photo equipment.

Nearest station: Zhongxiao Xinsheng Station (4-minute walk from the station) | Possible cafes nearby: This is a walking distance from Plain Stationary | Store Time: Everyday (except Tuesday) 12:00 NN – 9:00 PM

TY Lee Pens 小品雅集 


Nearest station: Daan Park Station (9-minute walk from the station) | Possible cafes nearby: TY Lee served us free coffee!! my husband and I felt so privileged since we did not really buy anything from the store hahaha. THANK YOU FOR THE FREE COFFEE, MISTER!! <3 Andre and I were joking that if dad did not acquire anything, he might have thrown us out of the store haha, I am kidding, the owner was a very nice and friendly person. He engaged us in a conversation for a good 10 minutes before entertaining the rest of his other customers. Oh, and he also gave us a small token – a metallic bookmark shaped like a pen nib that had engraved Chinese characters. | Store Time: everyday (except Sunday) 12:00 NN – 10:00 PM

Tools to Live By

It’s a very chill looking store with yellow mood lights and vibrant music to set you off into a jazzy vibe. It was gorgeously set up with wooden display tables filled with pens and notebooks, plus recycled journal pages hung from the ceiling. It had a very artistic feel. It was very – as Andre would describe it – hipster.

Nearest station: Liuzhangli (5-minute walk from the station) | Possible cafes nearby: We have not tried anything when we visited the store but there is an interesting cafe nearby – Pachamama Cafe | Store Time: Tuesday to Saturday (12:00 NN – 9:00 PM), Sunday (12:00 NN – 7:00 PM)

Vision Stationery 明進文房具

This is very near Tools to Live by so be sure to check this out as well. The shop is owned by David Chan and he also sells a collection of Japanese made pens and stationery among others. This is funny because I do not have a single photo of the shop – Andre and I decided to take a rest in Louisa Cafe while dad explored the store hahahaha pagod na!

Nearest station: Liuzhangli (3-minute walk from the station) | Possible cafes nearby: We took a quick break in a nearby Louisa Cafe. I presume this is a local coffee chain? nothing fancy but they have good coffee and a broad selection of food|Store Time: Tuesday to Friday (4:00 PM – 8:00 PM), Saturday (2:00 PM – 8:00 PM), Sunday (2:00 PM – 6:00 PM)

Eslite Xinyi Store

Considered to be Taiwan’s largest bookstore. This was actually a department store so they had a separate floor for the pens then another level for stationeries and journals. I remember this establishment had the biggest selection of Lamys and Twsbis (apart for Ty Lee’s); ironically though, I did not see a lot of Twsbis (Taiwanese made fountain pens).

Nearest station: Taipei City Hall Station (2-minute walk from the station) \ Possible cafes nearby: This is quite near Taipei 101 (again, we did not try any cafes at this point hahahaha caffeine overload na!) | Store Time: Monday to Thursday, Sunday (11:00 AM – 10:00 PM), Friday and Saturday (11:00 AM – 11:00 PM)

This day was mission accomplished – it resulted to happy and satisfied customers! Below is a photo of everything we purchased from the stores above.

There are a few more shops you could check out, but for us this would suffice! I hope you found this list useful!

Till my next guide!