Zhongshan District Walking Tour, Taipei

Zhongshan District Walking Tour (Self Guided), Taipei

Covering a swathe of central Taipei, Zhongshan is the city's most fascinating district. It takes the name from Sun Yat-sen, aka Sun Zhongshan, who was a Chinese statesman and went down in history as the provisional first president of the Republic of China in 1912. Caught in the crosshatch of the area's main streets and secret alleyways is a wonderful mish-mash of attractions: museums and galleries, handsome brick buildings, quirky boutiques and corner temples, cool bistros and funky restaurants.

Zhongshan is generally renowned for its vast assortment of cheap street food that largely appeals to the young crowd. Distinctive in this respect is MAJI Square – an indoor market populated by vendors selling all sorts of fresh food, as well as live plants, gifts, and clothing. If you care for homemade stuff and things that are just plain fun and quirky, MAJI Square is your place!

On a more historical note, Zhongshan is a home to the landmark Grand Hotel that was once frequented by Chiang Kai-shek and many other political and military leaders. The tea rooms on the first floor are a good place to relax and absorb the grandeur of dynastic China.

The National Revolutionary Martyrs' Shrine located in the district is dedicated to those who sacrificed their lives for the Republic of China (ROC) during its tenure on mainland China and its later existence on Taiwan.

Another major local attraction is the Xingtian Temple. Built in 1967, it honors a famous ancient general who lived during the Three Kingdoms period (AD 162-219) and was deified for his Loyalty and Righteousness.

If you intend to venture on your own into Taipei’s hip and trendy Zhongshan district, whether to explore its colorful nightlife and to check out the favorite snacks of the locals, take this self-guided walking tour of Zhongshan and enjoy yourself to the fullest!
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Zhongshan District Walking Tour Map

Guide Name: Zhongshan District Walking Tour
Guide Location: Taiwan » Taipei (See other walking tours in Taipei)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 6
Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.0 Km or 3.1 Miles
Author: irenebo
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Xingtian Temple
  • Addiction Aquatic Development
  • Lin An Tai Ancestral House
  • MAJI Square
  • Grand Hotel
  • Martyrs' Shrine
Xingtian Temple

1) Xingtian Temple (must see)

The Xingtian Temple is a new building dating back to 1967. This temple is dedicated to Guan Yu, who is considered a patron god of business people, and was a second-century general who was deified. Some of the most popular sights in and around the temple include figures of dragons.

This temple's design is simple yet has a dignified feel very fitting for its place in worship. The main hall has a censer with a unique dragon-centered design. Most of the worshipers at this temple gather in the courtyard to pray, either kneeling or bowing their heads.

There are free candles available for visitors to take if they wish. Although this temple is not as old as some in Taipei, it is an excellent place to gain an appreciation for the local religious life.
Addiction Aquatic Development

2) Addiction Aquatic Development

Addiction Aquatic Development is a popular seafood market in Taipei that offers something for everyone. The seafood is offered by independent sellers, and you can find everything from fried or grilled fish to hot pot or sushi. In addition to having a wide variety of foods to buy, the interior is inviting, with exposed ceiling beams and wood paneling.

There is a snack bar where you can grab a quick bite featuring smaller portions of local favorites. Some of the foods you may find on the menu here include braised abalone, seafood congee, and swordfish rice noodle soup. You can even try a seafood plate that contains a sample of the day's catch.

You can also select live seafood to have cooked according to your preferences. Another option that you can take advantage of is having frozen crab legs, shrimp, and fish cooked for you. There are also condiments and other ingredients that you can select for your meal.
Lin An Tai Ancestral House

3) Lin An Tai Ancestral House

The Lin An Tai Ancestral House dates back to 1785 when it was constructed by a farming family. Today, it is one of Taipei's oldest existing homes and has been remarkably well-preserved. This house features two partitions and five annexes, with a southwest orientation designed according to the principles of Feng Shui.

One of the home's highlights is a traditional Chinese-style courtyard. The delicate carvings are among the house's most famous features. The carvings include a creative dragon on the front door, six dragon statues representing the family's six sons, and bats, which symbolize good luck, safety, and wealth.

Many of the bricks and tiles have been restored to help maintain as much of the building's original character as possible. The courtyard in front of the house is host to a pond in a unique crescent shape. You'll also enjoy seeing the pavilions and Jiangnan-style gardens present on this property.

Why You Should Visit:
Lovely spot to get away from the hustle and bustle, as the house lies in a charming ground with a pond and a number of annex buildings.
It is free to enter and they provide a beautifully done brochure for visitors with detailed info and maps.

Make sure you cross the street and have coffee/tea in the Pavilion of Angel Life for an extra unique local experience.
MAJI Square

4) MAJI Square

MAJI Square is one of Taipei's most popular markets, offering a wealth of experiences for food, drinks, and entertainment. Restaurants that offer indoor and outdoor dining are very popular, representing cuisines such as English pub food, Latin American cuisine, steakhouse-style dining, and Mediterranean food. There is also a grocery store with a deli you may enjoy.

The Creative Market has a collection of housewares and local crafts to enjoy. You'll enjoy seeing a colorful merry-go-round nearby that is a favorite for visitors with kids. The Street Food Fair has vendors selling Taiwanese food, as well as Western food from locations as diverse as Chile and Mexico.

Be sure to stop by the craft beer taproom to try some craft brews that include local and imported selections. There are also some nightclubs at the market, some of which keep late night to early morning hours. Theme nights are very popular, featuring 80s and 90s hits.
Grand Hotel

5) Grand Hotel

The Grand Hotel, situated in the Zhongshan District, is a renowned landmark with a rich history. It was established back in May 1952, and the construction of its main building was completed on October 10, 1973. This iconic establishment is owned by the Duen-Mou Foundation of Taiwan, a non-profit organization, and has had the honor of hosting numerous foreign dignitaries visiting Taipei over the years.

The main building of the hotel is a remarkable example of Chinese classical architecture, standing impressively at a height of 87 meters (285 feet). It held the distinction of being the tallest building in Taiwan from 1973 to 1981.

After Chiang Kai-shek's 1949 retreat to Taiwan, a lack of five-star hotels in Taipei posed challenges for accommodating foreign ambassadors. To solve this, Chiang and his wife, Madame Chiang (Soong Mei-ling), decided to build a luxurious hotel on the old Taiwan Hotel grounds atop Yuanshan Mountain. This site once housed the Taiwan Grand Shrine during Japanese colonial rule. Chiang chose a Chinese palace-style design to showcase Chinese culture and luxury to the West, with architect Yang Cho-Cheng in charge of the plans. were entrusted to Yang Cho-Cheng, an architect based in Taipei.

The hotel's roof, adorned with vermilion columns, serves as a prominent symbol of Chinese architecture and culture. Inside, the hotel boasts an impressive collection of objets d'art, wall panels, paintings, carvings, and noteworthy dining establishments. Throughout the various structures within the hotel, one can frequently find intricate dragon motifs, earning the establishment the moniker "The Dragon Palace." Additionally, lion and plum flower motifs also feature prominently within the hotel's decor. Each of the eight guest levels represents a different Chinese dynasty, as evident in the murals and overall decor.
Martyrs' Shrine

6) Martyrs' Shrine (must see)

The National Revolutionary Martyrs' Shrine in Taipei is a memorial dedicated to those who lost their lives in various conflicts, including the Xinhai Revolution, Northern Expedition, Second Sino-Japanese War, Chinese Civil War, and the First and Second Taiwan Strait Crises. This shrine, constructed in 1969 on Chingshan Mountain overlooking the Keelung River in Taipei's Zhongshan District, draws architectural inspiration from Beijing's Forbidden City, specifically the Hall of Supreme Harmony.

Within this structure, the spirits of approximately 390,000 individuals who perished in these conflicts are honored with spirit tablets. Similar to the ceremonial traditions observed at the Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall and Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall, the shrine hosts a changing of the honor guard, featuring representatives from various branches of the Republic of China Military.

Be sure to check out the main hall and stick around for the changing of the guard ceremony which occurs on the hour between 9am-4pm. If you go on your own, you should wait until you can have the guards for your own, and then you can snap a picture with them.

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