How often do we get the chance to view the residence of a President? I could have been to many countries, but this is the first time I get a chance to view a President’s work place, where he sleeps, where he rest, things he uses and what he does if he is not on official duty. A place which I never thought of so much in the end left me so fulfilled when I exited its gate. That’s the beauty of Chiang Kai Shek Shilin Presidential Residence or sometimes called Residence Officielle De Shilin.
Generalissimo Chiang Kai Shek was the First President of Taiwan. He had lived in this Shilin Presidential Residence for 25 years, from 1950 till he passed away in 1975.
Tour buses were seen lining on the main road just meters away from the Residence.
The first thing that greet visitors is a classy sedan formerly used by Madame Chiang from 1988-2003. It’s fairly difficult to be pictured with it, as the photography crazy crowd never seems to fight for space. I waited 15 minutes just to take this picture.
If you need it, do go to the washroom now, for there is no washroom for visitors as we proceed into the garden and the Residence.
After the initial hoo-ha from the sedan ‘incident’, as we proceeded further, surprisingly, the place was rather serene, with singing birds and beautiful aroma from the flowers and plants. What welcomed us was a huge garden about the size of a football field. Guides were doing so much explanation on the surroundings.
We only had one motive for this tour, so we headed straight to the centre of attraction- Chiang Kai Shek Residence.
Admission ticket is needed, it cost NT$100.00 ( US$3.10).
The long pathway at the entrance of Shilin Presidential Residence is a displayed of the life story of Madame Chiang, wife of President Chiang Kai Shek, or better known as Soong May Ling (宋美齡).
Madam Chiang, was also the sister-in-law of Sun Yat Sen, the leader of the Republic Of China. She was very active in politics and social activities until 2003, when she passed away at the age of 103.
Here we were, we had finally reached the house of President Chiang!
That was about all I can said about this place. As the place disallowed photography, we could only tour and keep all memories right in our hearts.
But let me assured you, it’s certainly worth the visit. Many sections of the villa were opened to the public, with guides at each section helping tourists to have a better understanding of the displayed artefacts. Headphones with recorded audio narration in different languages can also be rented free-of-charge at its entrance.
Couldn’t describe how good this place is, you just have to come! I got a brochure nicely done by Taipei City Government for all to get a glimpse of what’s inside Shilin President Residence.
What we liked about the place is while touring, we felt like we were also a resident of the villa, we were just inches away from the artefacts, as only the exhibits were barricaded. We got the chance to see how President Chiang and Madame Chiang lived, their workplace, bedroom, resting area etc. A rare opportunity indeed!
We liked the way the artefacts were being displayed- at its original condition and setup ( we think so), the way President Chiang and Madam Chiang used to live.
It takes about 40 minutes to tour the place, after the tour, do remember to get yourself a commemorative stamp at the exit( which is also the entrance).
How to go to Shilin Presidential Residence?
Take the train and alight at Shilin station. Walk about 7 minutes from Exit 2. Clear direction signages are along the way to help. The place is just beside the main road, you can’t miss it. Anyway, it cost only NT$100 if you take a cab from Shilin station.
The place is opened daily from 9.30am-5pm. Like most government runs attractions, it is closed on Monday. In between, 12-1pm is their resting time, so no tickets would be sold.
Exact address of Shilin Presidential Residence: No. 60, Fulin Road, Shilin District, Taipei city.