The National Palace Museum is one of the world’s most impressive museums and its brand continued to impress when it opened its southern branch in Chiayi County’s Taibao City in December 2015. The museum looks beyond the 5,000 years of Chinese history covered by the northern branch in Taipei and displays art and culture from all corners of Asia, including many unique exhibits. Not too far from Chiayi is Tainan, one of Taiwan’s most beautiful cities. Tainan boasts a variety of wonderful natural attractions that are a must-visit while you’re down south. So, here’s your itinerary for your trip to the National Palace Museum and Tainan.
9.30am – National Palace Museum (Southern Branch)
Not as many foreign visitors to Taiwan know about the National Palace Museum’s southern branch as they should. A complex with a manmade lake, a bridge crossing and design influenced by Chinese, Persian and Indian styles, as well as three traditional Chinese painting styles (thick ink, ‘flying white’ and ink wash), the National Palace Museum’s southern branch is a stunning place to visit. Despite the rang of exhibits not being as wide as that of the northern branch in Taipei, the southern location focuses on art and culture from all parts of Asia. From Buddhist artworks to Asian textiles, there is something for everyone here, while you might even get lucky and see famous pieces from the Taipei museum such as the Meat Shaped Stone or the Jadeite Cabbage.
12.30pm – Lunch and Jingzaijiao Salt Flats
After your museum visit, you’ll head over to Tainan and the Jingzaijiao salt plains – supposedly the oldest remaining salt flats in existence. Marvel at the mosaic-like flats in an area that was once home to a thriving salt production industry for more than 300 years. Nowadays, the flats are maintained for tourism purposes rather than salt production. You’ll eat lunch nearby (expect something salty) and then have chance to roam around the plains to your heart’s content. (Read more: 3 Water-based Attractions in Tainan You Probably Didn’t Know About)
3pm – Sicao Wetlands
Part of Taijiang National Park, Sicao Wetlands is a 515-hectare protected area, consisting of mangrove swamps, rivers, canals and salt marshes. The area is also home to heaps of birdlife and while you’re here, you’ll take a boat cruise offering fantastic views of all the landscape’s natural scenery and beauty.(Read also: Exploring Tainan’s natural side and a brief trip to Hell)
5pm – Dropoff at Tainan HSR Station
Your tour will conclude with your being dropped at Tainan HSR station, where you can catch a train to another city, or remain in Tainan to see more of what the city has to offer. The station has a shuttle bus service that can drop you off downtown, while you’re always just one HSR stop away from Kaohsiung.
More about National Palace Museum
- National Place Museum Experiences: a Taste of Taiwanese Tea Culture
- National Place Museum Experiences: Experience History, Nature and Culture All in One
- National Palace Museum Experiences: A day of History and Culture in Taipei