As more schools embrace the diverse learning experiences that an educational tour abroad can provide, it’s no surprise that educators are looking for destinations that provide enriching cultural insight. There are few countries better positioned to offer an amazing cultural school tour than Taiwan. With a rich religious tradition, fascinating political history, and thriving Indigenous communities, Taiwan offers a unique and stimulating trip abroad.
For a taste of the treasures Taiwan has to offer, we’ve collected our 5 must-see sites in Taiwan for educational tours. These remarkable places offer incredible art, stunning architecture, and windows into an entirely new cultural heritage.
Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall
This iconic landmark in Taipei is dedicated to the memory of Chiang Kai-Shek, the former President of the Republic of China. Surrounded by a beautiful grand park, the complex itself features an exhibition hall, concert hall, and a library. The Hall features all the hallmarks of traditional Chinese architecture, including red pillars and a marble terrace. However, it is perhaps best known for the majestic blue-roofed building, which is modelled after the Temple of Heaven in Beijing!
Once inside, you’ll explore exhibitions on Chiang’s life and legacy, from his political career to his contribution to Taiwanese development. There’s also a changing of the guard ceremony, which takes place hourly and features traditional uniforms.
Fo Guang Shan Buddha Memorial Center
This Buddhist religious and educational complex in Kaohsiung is home to many impressive shrines, gardens, and exhibition halls. The center functions as the international headquarters of the Fo Guang Shan Buddhist Order, and offers educational tours for students to learn about Buddhism and Chinese culture. They also offer a variety of cultural programmes, including calligraphy lessons, meditation classes, and traditional tea ceremonies.
However, there’s one artifact that brings the visitors: the bronze Buddha! At 108 meters tall, it’s one of the world’s largest Buddha statues. A climb to the top reveals panoramic views of the surrounding areas. You’ll also explore the Ten Thousand Buddhas Pagoda, and Great Buddha Land, which features replicas of famous Buddha statues from all over the globe.
Jiufen Old Street
For a more immersive glimpse into Taiwan’s cultural past, a visit to Jiufen Old Street is an imperative. While it’s now a popular tourist destination – coming complete with the incredible local street food, traditional teahouses, and handcraft shops – its history is very different.
This quaint mountain town may be famous for its narrow streets, old buildings, and views to the ocean, but it once played a key role in Taiwan’s industrial past. During the Japanese occupation of Taiwan, Jiufen was a gold-mining town. After gold was discovered in the late nineteenth century, it quickly became a prosperous region, but this died down in the post-WWII period. While it has since become popular on an international level thanks to the critically acclaimed Taiwanese film A City of Sadness, it’s retained an old-world charm which provides a window into the area’s history.
National Palace Museum
Based in the Shilin District of Taipei City, the National Palace Museum is a modern building designed to resemble a traditional Chinese palace. It’s divided into several galleries, and is home to over a whopping 700,00 pieces of Chinese art. This includes jade carvings, bronze vessels, calligraphy, and paintings! Many of the museum’s most iconic pieces were originally part of the Imperial collection of the Forbidden City in Beijing, but were moved to Taiwan in the aftermath of the Chinese Civil War. The Museum now stands as one of the most important cultural institutions in the country, and is a must-see site in Taiwan for anyone with an interest in international art and history.
Taiwan Indigenous Culture Park
We close out our list of must-see sites in Taiwan with a truly unique location. The Taiwan Indigenous Culture Park is a cultural and educational attraction located in Pingtung, Southern Taiwan. Indigenous peoples account for around 2% of Taiwan’s population, and this park showcases their rich heritage and traditions. It features life-size replicas of traditional villages, as well as exhibits on Indigenous history, art, music, dance, and crafts.
While they’re here, students will learn about the customs and beliefs of the various Indigenous tribes of Taiwan. The park also hosts cultural performances, workshops, and festivals throughout the year, meaning visitors can experience these incredible cultural traditions firsthand. It’s a truly unique destination that provides students with an insight into the diversity of Taiwan’s cultural history.
Find out more about our Taiwan culture trip here.
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