Day Tour: The Essence of Taiwan (Sunday)

Date: Sunday April 1, 2007

Time: 09:00-21:00

(USD145 per person; lunch and dinner included)

* Morning: National Palace Museum and Chiang Kai Shek Shilin Residence

The National Palace Museum is the newly renovated repository to the most exquisite collection of Chinese art on the planet. The heritage and finest creations of China’s greatest artisans from 5000 years of Chinese civilization have been protected, preserved and presented to the world in elegant dignity. This reservoir of traditional Chinese DNA and heritage totals over 640,000 items with only about 1 percent to be displayed at any given time due to the collection amount size. After four years of renovations that closed two-thirds of the building, the museum reopened last winter and is holding an exhibition called the Grand View featuring breath-taking calligraphy, painting, ceramics and poetry from the Sung Dynasty.

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The Chiang Kai-Shek Shilin Residence had long been shrouded in an aura of mystery until the estate was opened to the public in 1996. The residence’ picturesque setting has made it one of Taipei’s most popular sites. Madame Chiang’s beloved rose garden, Xinlanting (“New Orchid Pavilion”) as well as “Madame’s Breakfast” which you can taste at the Youth Café are among the main attractions of the Residence.

* Lunch at the Golden Dragon Pavilion of the Grand Hotel

The Grand Hotel was established in May of 1952 under the care of first lady Soong Mei Ling. The first five-star hotel in Taipei accommodated foreign ambassadors and friends. It was later expanded several times and is one of Taipei’s landmarks. The hotel currently has the world's largest Chinese classical style roof, with the vermilion columns which make the hotel a visible showcase of Chinese architecture and culture. The Grand Hotel sits in the “mouth of the dragon” which is the mountainous ring surrounding the Taipei basin.

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* Afternoon: Martyr’s Shrine and CKS Memorial Hall (incl. National Theater and Concert Hall)

The Martyr’s Shrine’s grand and magnificent architectural style is similar to that of the Taihe Dian in the Forbidden City in Beijing, China. This hallowed place memorializes the 330,000 men and women who sacrificed their lives to overthrow the feudal dynastic system to establish a republican system for the Chinese people and who defended her national dignity and sovereignty during the Second World War and the Chinese Civil War. The ceremonial changing of the guards is one of the main attractions of this sacred destination. The stories and memories of the heroes and heroines of Chinese nations’ evolution to freedom are honored and preserved here. The souls of the fallen from the Northern Expedition recorded on the walls of Ming Dynasty’s Wu Liang Dian in Nanjing are connected to this Monument to the People’s Heroes and Heroines.

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The CKS Memorial Hall is dedicated to the late president Chiang-Kai Shek. On its grounds are the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Park, National Concert Hall and the National Theater. In the heart of Taipei, it is one of the city's defining landmarks, similar to Beijing’ Tiananmen Square.

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* Dinner at Din Tai Fung (One of the World’s Top 10 Restaurants According to the New York Times)

Known world-wide for its quality Chinese food, Din Tai Fung is a must-go for all food lovers. Try their assortment of delicately made buns and noodles. Many (including several Pamir professionals) have moved to Taiwan for this restaurant. If you agree, please send your resume.

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* Evening: Yong Kang St. Area

Snack food vendors and eateries from Taiwan and mainland China opened shops here generations ago, giving rise to the name "District of Delicacies." Later, as international restaurants, cafes and boutiques began to settle in, Yong-kang emerged as a fashionable enclave. It's a "must see" on the tourist route, and is a local favorite for leisurely shopping and strolls. This is a Pamir Piggy’s favorite neighborhood and home to four Pamir Piggies.

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