Sunday, April 29, 2018

Taiwan: Historic Walk in Taipei

The whole group at Red House Theater
Experience the city of Taipei, Taiwan from the perspective of a local by joining Like it Formosa free walking tours. Tourists can book any of their themed tours that suits your preference and itinerary.  

Like it Formosa have three free walking tour that you can choose from:

The Historic Tour covers all the essential attractions in West Taipei as well as the stories and legends behind them. Walking from the past to the present, you will see how Taipei is shaped by multiple cultures and historic events and get a clear picture of this amazing city.
Modern Tour allows you to discover the trendiest places around the blocks, learn about the urban legends that underpin the unique culture of our capital, and experience the glam of the night in a single walk.
Golden Age Tour walks you through places where once Taiwan’s literati and artists gathered, and gives you a peek of how Dadaocheng has transformed over the years into a creative hub where traditions clash with innovations.

Since we intend to not-just-see but learn about the famous tourist attractions in Taiwan with historical background, we booked their Historic Free Walking Tour on our second day in Taipei. This is a downtown walking tour led by some of their young local in-the-know guides who will bring you to popular attractions and hidden corners of the city. The tour started at 10AM in Exit 1 of MRT Longshan Temple station where we met a diverse group of tourists from different parts of the world. After quick introductions, our tour guide Chi started with a brief history of Taiwan.

Meetup at Longshan Temple Station for briefing
Off we go to Longshan Temple
The Historic walking tour is a two and a half hour(at least) exploration that will cover the following places:
Longshan Temple
The Bopiliao Historical Block
Ximen Red House
Presidential Office
228 Memorial Park
Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall

First stop in the list is Longshan Temple, one of the "Big 3" temples located in the historic Wanhua district. It is claimed to be the most well known temple in Taiwan, built in 1738 as a gathering place for Chinese settlers. After withstanding the test of time, natural disaster and historic wars, today it is a home for more than hundred of gods and a worship house for Buddhist and Taoist. Chi highlighted three major gods in the temple - the god of learning or wisdom, the god of relationships or love and the god to whom they pray to bless them with children. We get observe how people light incense, pray and bring their offerings to their gods.



Less than 300 meters away from Longshan Temple or roughly 3 minutes walk, is the must-see Bopiliao Historical Block - the heritage and culture education center of Taipei. This ancient street exhibits some of the oldest and most historical architectures in the modern city life of Taipei. You can see traditional 18th-century buildings and an educational center with interactive exhibits. If you're not a fan of ancient infrastructures or the arts, you can still check this place for instagram-worthy pictures.

Busy street stores along the way to Bopiliao


Bopiliao Block


Then we have to walk more than one kilometer from Bopiliao to reach the Ximen area for the Red House Theater. Built in 1908, this landmark has 8-sided(octagon) structure on one side and two intersecting bars on the other side that resembles to a cross. The building features exhibits, a teahouse, markets & theaters.

Our tourguide mentioned that the bars around this area are mostly visited by the LGBT community.


Having coffee and cheesecake in this hole in the wall coffee shop
Ximending - Taiwan's counterpart to Shibuya crossing
Ten minutes walk away from the Red House Theather is another significant and antiquated building located in the Zhongzheng district. The Presidential Office Building houses their current president Tsai Ing-wen who happens to be the first female President in the history of Taiwan.

Presidential Office of Taiwan
Finally another kilometer walk away is the widely visited place Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall, a national monument, landmark and tourist attraction erected in memory of Chiang Kai-shek, former President of the Republic of China. A majestic place with beautiful landscape and ground to walk around. You can also witness the changing of the guards(which we missed) happening every hour.

Compulsary pic at Chiang Kai Shek Memorial ground



One take jumpshot! Quite an achievement

That concludes our Taipei historic walking tour with a compulsary jumpshot. #family #siblings #cousin

Taiwan is more than just what meets the eye. It offers rich culture, radiant history and cheerful people. The best part of the trip is not just visiting Taipei's must-see places but appreciating the story behind each architecture and meeting new friends and experiencing it together.

Thank you Like it Formosa! Keep doing what you're doing and continue spreading awareness to more tourist in the world on how amazing Taiwan is.

Note: Although the walking tour itself is free, tourists are encouraged to give tip based on their satisfaction. You can find their guide to tipping in this link.

For more information and how to book a tour, you can visit their website.

Photo credits: Ronald Jay Tabago


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