Museums can offer culturally enriching experiences that transport visitors back to a period and place in history that only a time machine could better replicate. But alas, a museum visit isn’t always for everyone, and for some in your party it may be a downright bore. The good news, is that Taiwan is unlike any other destination in the world, and the same is true of its museums, or at least a good number of them. In fact, the state is home to some of the most unique and interesting ones on the planet. Today, we’re going to narrow down the list to five of the most distinctive, engaging, and fun options so that you can devise a museum visit itinerary that offers something for everyone in your family, tour group, or party.
Five Unique and Interesting Museums to Visit on Your Next Trip to Taiwan
1. Miniatures Museum of Taiwan
The name of the museum alone lets you know that you’re in for a treat, albeit a bite-sized one. Found within the Zhongshan District in Taipei City, the conveniently located attraction hosts reproductions of architectural marvels and historical events from around the world that typically to follow a 1:12 standard scale of accuracy, or half scale at 1:24. The attention to detail within the items housed in the ongoing exhibition are mind-blowing, and you can spend hours taking it all in. There are dolls and dollhouses, mini-mansions, vehicles, railway tracks, castles, battlefields, victorian homes, holiday scenes, exotic lands, horse drawn carriages, fairytale settings, and everything else creative minds can conjure. If it all sounds a little crazy, that’s because it is, which is what makes a visit to this museum fun for everyone.
2. Land Bank Exhibition Hall of National Taiwan Museum
Located in Taipei City in the Zhongzheng District is a museum with an exhibit that pretty much everyone will want to see – dinosaurs. With a worldwide box office of $4.4 billion and counting for the Jurassic Park movie franchise, interest in such a museum will never wither. Indeed, their permanent “Walking within Skeletons: Dinosaurs Coming!” exhibition is the big draw. It includes specimens from the Paleozoic, Mesozoic, and Cenozoic eras, and with each passing display mysteries of a long-lost world unfold before your eyes.
3. National Museum of Marine Biology and Aquarium
Located in the Checheng Township of Pingtung County, is a hybrid of museum and aquarium, a combination which provides for an absolutely engaging experience in itself. Permanent exhibits include the Waters of Taiwan, Waters of the World, the Coral Kingdom Pavilion, and the Whale Explorium which is a giant solar energy building that has been built in the shape of a whale. There are also special exhibits with programs that will vary by the season, and massive variety of sights, activities (including a waterpark), and experiences that blow away what you typically find in most aquariums around the planet. The National Museum of Marine Biology and Aquarium is truly the best of both worlds (museum and aquarium) offering visitors insight into how the ocean has long been (and continues to be) interconnected to the culture and livelihood of the island state.
4. Evergreen Maritime Museum
Typically a maritime museum is for those of very specific tastes. You’ve got to love ships, old ships. And while it’s true that this Taipei City museum is a feast for the eyes and senses for those with a deep seeded penchant for nautical history, the museum is a saltwater treat even for the uninitiated. The five floor facility exhibits actual vessels (the ones that fit) in addition to scale models, dioramas, nautical maps and globes, antique navigational equipment, anchors, and interactive activities for those of all-ages, and more. The museums collection is broken down into four categories, including Maritime Taiwan, Marine Paintings, Modern Ships, and Historical Ships.
5. National Palace Museum
Most travel sites put this one at the top of their “best museums of Taiwan” list and while it is more traditional than the rest of our “unique and interesting” candidates we’d be remiss not not include it. Located in the Taipei City Shilin District, the National Palace Museum holds a permanent collection of approximately 700,000 pieces of ancient Chinese imperial artifacts and artisan works, spanning from over 8,000 years. Some of the curated pieces have come directly out of the collections of Chinese emperors from long ago, with numerous artifacts transferring over from the Forbidden City in Beijing, where the National Palace Museum once stood nearly a century ago. There are 19 categories in the extensive and priceless collection, including (but not exclusive to) bronze statues, paintings, ceramics, calligraphic works, jade, carvings, and so much more. With exactly 698,649 objects in the collection, there will absolutely be enough to captivate your interest.
Honorable Mention – Kuo Yuan Ye Museum of Cake and Pastry
The phrase Museum of Cake and Pastry is enough to garner enough interest for a visit to this Taoyuan City (with another location in Taipei) attraction. As it sounds, the museum hosts historical exhibits on Taiwanese cake and pastry making and allows you to observe the production process of Kuo Yuan Ye (the brand) goodies. But don’t worry, they don’t just tease you with plastic renditions of delectables from decades long gone, as visitors get to enjoy tastings and have the opportunity to make their own treats, with guidance via DIY pastry courses (extra on top of admission fee). Visitors who opt for a visit to the Shilin branch in Taipei will enjoy a nostalgic walking tour of an area that embraces over a 100 years of Taiwanese pastries. This is not your typically museum experience folks. Silly? Somewhat. Fun and flavorful? Absolutely! If you have watched every dessert and baking championship on the Food Network then this museum is a must-visit is for you.
If you’re unfamiliar with Taiwan and would like help from someone who has in-depth knowledge of the museums (and their locations) listed above, download the app and connect to a local guide.