Thus, in Taiwan, our trip began with a short visit to the Chiang-Kai Shek Memorial Hall which was just a few MRT stops away from Caesar Park Hotel. I love how accessible going around Taipei is. Almost all tourist spots are adjacent to an MRT terminal making it easy for one to go around without getting lost in the process. Note that it may be difficult to get lost in Taiwan as majority of its population can't speak English that well. Thus, make sure to have a trusty map (make sure it's in English! My sister grabbed a map but it was in Mandarin..not very helpful at all :P) and orient yourselves with the MRT system of Taipei.
Getting off at the Chiang-Kai Shek Memorial Hall Station, we took the escalator up and found ourselves right at the entrance of this tourist spot. It was a bright sunshine-y day as we walked towards the middle of the huge lot where we saw a big white and blue gate with Chinese inscription with the words "Liberty Hall" located in the West while the Memorial Hall stands in the East. I find everything so grand and pretty. I wonder how can they maintain to keep the gate so white!
Here, you can see the National Opera House to your right and the National Music Hall to your left.
My sister and I took a lot of time taking photos of the beautiful architectural structures, of ourselves and some furry friends we saw visiting the area as well.
Finally, just a few steps away, we reached the base of the Chiang-Kai Shek Memorial Hall. I initially didn't want to go up anymore seeing that you have to climb probably around 5 storeys high but I realized that I might be missing out on the main point of this visit if I won't get to see what really is inside the memorial hall. Paul actually went ahead of us and we can see him busy taking lots of photos inside.
With an umbrella on one hand and holding on to my sister's poor arm on the other, we slowly made our ascend towards this famous memorial hall.
We finally made it! As we reached the top of the long flight of stairs, we came face to face with Chiang-Kai Shek himself. Yes, you'll see a big statue of Taiwan's former president being guarded by two soldiers who reminds me of those standing by our National Hero, Jose Rizal's monument. For an hour, these guards stay still, not moving, not event the slightest twitch.
We were lucky to get there just in time to watch the changing of the guards procession which happens every hour. There were a lot of uniformed movements, marching and the head guard shouting out instructions to his subordinates. Everything was done so orderly and swift and within minutes, a new set of guards replaced that of the old. Now, their one hour of staying still begins.
The view from the Memorial Hall is breath-taking. I love how windy it was at the top which really helped toned down my throbbing headache caused by the sun. This is a great place to go by anyone visiting Taipei.
You can easily access the Chiang-Kai Shek Memorial Hall by taking the MRT and hopping off at the Chiang-Kai Shek Memorial Station.
*photos taken using a Canon S95