Fun Magazine,April 2003
Museum of Drinking Water
By Kev Lax
The Taipei Museum
of Drinking Water is worth visiting for two reasons. Firstly,
it is a quiet refuge close to the city; and secondly, it
tells the story of an important part of the city¡¦s development.
building that houses the museum used to be the pump room
for a waterworks that was a major feature of Taipei's early
being superseded by a new waterworks next door, the
pump room was left unattended for years, until it was
decided a few years ago to turn it into a museum. If
you haven't seen photos of the museum (or seen it on
TV--it has appeared in several commercials, masquerading
as a Parisian ballet theater or other historic European
building) you may be surprised to find such a fine edifice
in Taipei. My first reaction when I walked through the
gates, after walking up the road outside countless times
over the years, was "Why did I never notice this
before?" The building is invisible from outside
the compound. But this Baroque-style building, with
its domes and arches and decorations, has to be one
of the most attractive old buildings in Taipei.
the pump room displays tell the story of Taipei's first
modern waterworks. You can walk amongst the old pipes and
long-deactivated American and Japanese machinery.
the Japanese took over Taiwan in 1895, illnesses caused
by unsanitary conditions were a major problem. Realizing
the importance of an ample supply of clean water, they
set about building a modern waterworks. Based on designs
made by a British engineer, and completed in 1908, the
waterworks supplied the main residential and business
centers of Dadaocheng and Wanhua, and the Cheng Nei
area--the center of government (roughly today's Boai
Special Zone.) It is no exaggeration to say that the
waterworks and pump room played a vital role in the
early development of Taipei. Without clean water the
Japanese colonial government could not have functioned,
and Taipei could not have grown as it did.
pump room is not the only attraction. The gardens are also
very pleasant, and if you go at the right time, you can
find yourself alone amidst birdsong and insect calls.
sure to walk up Little Guanyin Mountain to the old water
storage tank. Notice that even the buildings around the
storage tank were also done in Baroque style and painted
crimson. This hill is only abut 50 meters high, but when
you get to the top on a clear day you have a magnificent
view of the Hsintien Stream below, and mountains in the
museum is easy to reach. Take the Hsintien MRT line
and get off at Kungkuan station. Leave by the Campus
Books exit and go down the road that goes between
the bookshop and Starbucks. Cross over DingZhou Road
and walk up SiYuan Road past the new water-themed
park that, together with the museum, now makes up
the Taipei Water Park. After about 300 meters you'll
see a sign over the road saying "Taipei Water
Park." Take a left to the ticket office. It should
take only about five minutes to get there from the
pay NT$80; kids under 12 get in for NT$50. From November
to the end of March, the museum is open 9am to 6pm.
For the rest of the year it stays open until 10pm.
Tickets can be bought until an hour before closing;
the museum is shut on Mondays.