When Is the Best Time
The Chiang Kai-shek changing of the guard is the top ceremony in Taipei and Taiwan. It is a popular attraction for visitors and residents alike. The guard change ceremonies at the CKS Memorial Hall take place in front of the bronze statue at the beginning of the hour. But all this must also be viewed critically. Why? Who was Chiang Kai-shek? There were controversial discussions in 2022, and it is not clear if the statue will be removed. More details are in my 9 Facts below.
If you wish to see the ceremony, it would be best if you arrived at least 15 minutes before as long it still continues. This will ensure that you may get a place in the first row. Check out more details below about opening times, busy times, crowds, how to get there, and most fascinating are the details and meanings of the memorial hall.
Special Tip: Make sure to save my Taiwan Guide - Alishan - Taroko Gorge - Hehuanshan for your vacation in beautiful Taiwan.
Opening Hours and Crowds
The hall is open from 9 am until 6 pm, but the guard change takes place from 9 am to 5 pm each hour in total nine times daily. The hall is closed on Chinese New Year's Eve, Chinese New Year and maintenance days.
The memorial hall and the park are one of the main attractions for tourists, residents and guided tours in Taipei. If you wish to experience the ceremony with fewer people, you must get here early in the morning for the first changing of the guard at 9 am. In general, avoid weekends because many Taiwanese people also visit the location. The beautiful Memorial Park opens daily from 05:00 am to 12:00 pm.
Peak Season in Taiwan
If possible, avoid the summer months (July and August) and around Chinese New Year (late January or early February) when the sky is the limit for hotel prices, accommodations are often fully booked, and many places are overrun.
At the full hour, most of the hall is fenced off, and the only sound that can be heard is the synchronized clicking of the soldiers’ boots when entering the hall. They march to a silent beat as their arms swing forward and their legs raise in perfect harmony.
The new guards and the remaining perform a series of rifle movements before they change place. When the ceremony is finished, the newly replaced guards will stand motionless on the platforms until the next full hour. A person will correct their uniform to ensure a perfect outfit.
How to Get to Chiang Kai-shek (CKS) by Metro
Travelling around Taipei is best with the metro (MRT) green and red lines. The closest station is Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hal. It takes at least one hour to get from the airport to the Chiang Kai-shek metro station by public transport. Taipei is much bigger than I expected, with almost 3 million residents. Google Maps Location CKS Memorial Hall
However, if you like to visit some attractions in Taipei, like the TWTC 101 and the Elephant Mountain Hill we highly recommend staying close to the city centre. One of the best-situated hotels between Chiang Kai-shek and the World Trade Center 101 is the Dandy Hotel-Daan Park Branch. The hotel offers breakfast, and there are outstanding restaurants within walking distance.
9 Facts and History About the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall
The entire memorial hall complex has a meaning all details were built with purpose. It is an exceptional masterpiece to represent tradition and the value of human beings.
- The memorial hall was built after Chiang Kai-shek's death in 1975 and opened to the public in 1980.
- The Memorial Hall is 70 m high and was designed by the famous architect Yang Cho-cheng.
- The building is styled in blue and white. These colours represent the national emblem which is part of the Taiwanese flag with the blue sky and the white sun.
- 89 steps lead up to the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall entrance - President Chiang passed away at 89 years.
- "The 3 Principles of the People", written by Chiang: Ethics, Democracy, Science, are engraved on the marble wall behind the massive statue. The purpose of living on this planet is to improve the life of all. What a wonderful message in today's times with wars and threats, but the history behind is profound.
- The bronze statue of Chiang is 6.3 m tall - weight 21.25 tons. But there are debates about removing the statue. Chiang is also a controversial figure in Taiwan. Decades after his death, the country has still not come to terms with the dictatorship.
- On the one hand, he is an anti-communist, and he is praised for his stand against communism. He fled from mainland of China to the island of Taiwan.
- Now there are those who say he was a hero who liberated them from Japanese colonial rule and those who say Chiang was a murderer who does not deserve that respect.
- Why: Martial Law was active from 1949 until July 1987. Do you wish to know more about this topic? There is an interesting article by Charlie Croft in Oxford's oldest student newspaper.
From April until October, temps can be unpleasant and hot with high humidity in the daytime. In summer, day temps are around 30°C, and in winter (Dec. to Feb.), around 20°C, while nights are cold below 10°C. Most precipitation occurs from May to September, but a dry season does not exist. The driest months are November to January/February, with less rainfall. The northeast and the southwest monsoon influence the climate. The northeast monsoon season lasts long from October until March, and the southwest from May until September. During the monsoon season, typhoons occur, and Taiwan gets hit each year frequently from July to September.
Are you in Taipei just for a day or a weekend? This megacity is huge, and it takes much time to get from one place to the other by metro (MRT). Take a local guide with a private car and explore much more of Taipei in one day. You will not miss the most exciting sights and learn much about this breathtaking city.
All tours combine Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall with other highlights. These are my recommended tours via GetYourGuide with a 24-hour advance cancellation policy. Thx for booking via my website! With your support, I am able to provide all the information first-hand. Tour prices are at no extra cost!
Best Months to Visit
Location and Tips
The Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall was opened to the public in 1980. It was architected by Yang Cho-cheng, who won the architecture contest for the building. His design was based on the Sun-Yat-sen mausoleum in Nanjing. The blue and white colours represent Taiwan’s national emblem, "Blue Sky and White Sun". The steps up to the main hall count 89, which was the age of President Chiang as he passed away.
Overall, the architectural concept combines traditional Chinese thought and commemorative meaning. Since I have been deeply immersed in the history of Chiang Kai-shek and Taiwan, I am irritated by this memorial hall. I suppose; a new concept for it needs to be considered.
Apart from the main memorial hall, the National Theatre and National Concert Hall are located on the opposite side of the park. With various fine performances and exhibitions, these halls are significant to the art and culture of Taiwan.