Taiwan Fun Magazine, January 2006

MRT Adventures: Yuanshan

By Claire Tyrrell Translated by Liu Fang Ru

There's something for everyone in Yuanshan--history, education, good food and good fun. Jump on the MRT, get off at Yuanshan and wander through the history of Taipei.
Start at the two temples--Bao An, one of the oldest and most stunning, and the neighbouring Confucius Temple. Don't just look, enjoy, with Bao An's upcoming festival (third lunar month--check the website) the most breathtaking I have seen, and the Confucius Temple offering regular calligraphy classes, teachings and Nan Guan music.

Next, move to a jewel of Yuanshan, the Lin Antai Historic Home, a delightful old Chinese compound from the 1700s. Admission is free, the displays are informative and the many small rooms and courtyards perfect for a quick game of hide and seek!
Five minutes away is the Taipei Story House, which brings us to 1914, when it was built by a prominent tea merchant during the Japanese colonial period. For NT$30, it is worth taking a peek at the exhibitions inside this intriguing little building. It also holds live performances and activities, especially on weekends (contact them for an events calendar). And, while you're at it, why not sample French cuisine at the on-site restaurant?

While tea merchants strolled the lawns here, opposing forces on the mainland were battling it out. Continue to the Martyrs' Shrine and read detailed accounts of these struggles around the back courtyard. Then catch the changing of the guard, performing feats with pomp that any baton twirler would be proud of.
The Taipei Fine Arts Museum (NT$30, concessions available) brings us to present times. No doubt you've seen it and you've, probably been there, but I guarantee you've forgotten how thought-provoking it can be, not to mention perfect cover for the odd rain shower!

With the kids in tow, head from "The World of Yesterday" and on into the future, at the Children's Recreation Center (NT$30) and Space Theatre (NT$100).
And, finally, what's for dinner? I recommend that you head for some historic grandeur and enjoy the traditional fare of the magnificent nearby Grand Hotel.

_Bao An Temple
61, HaMi Street; (02) 2595-1676
_Confucius Temple
275, DaLong Street; (02) 2592-3934
8:30 a.m. - 9 p.m.
(Closed Mondays)
_Lin An Tai Historical Home
5, BinQiang Street; (02) 2598-1572
9 a.m.-9 p.m.(Sun. 9 a.m.-5 p.m.)
Closed Mondays
_Taipei Story House
181-1, ZhongShan N. Rd., Sec. 3; (02) 2587-5565
10 a.m.-6 p.m. (restaurant 11 a.m.-10:30 p.m.)
Closed Mondays
_Fine Arts Museum
181, ZhongShan N. Rd., Sec. 3; (02) 2595-7656
9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Closed Mondays
_Childrens Recreation Center
66, ZhongShan N. Rd., Sec. 3; (02) 2593-2211
9 a.m.-5 pm