The Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall is a shrine to the Republic of China’s National Father, Dr. Sun Yat-sen. Completed in 1972, it features a large auditorium and four floors of galleries and exhibition rooms, including one detailing the life of Dr. Sun.
With a total area of 10 hectares, the hall is surrounded by some beautiful gardens, with a fountain directly in front of the hall and a lovely pond in the corner.
The fountains will usually come to life every half hour during the afternoons and will be accompanied by music. You can find out the exact times from one of the signs as you enter the area.
A map of the grounds:
The memorial hall has four floors, including a basement and is completely free of charge.
The main entrance hall – Central Hall, spans the full height of the building and features a huge statue of Dr. Sun Yat-sen, watched over by two guards who will stand motionless for their hour on duty.
The guards will change every hour on the hour from 09:00 until 17:00, and have a precise and well-drilled routine when the time comes. It lasts around 7 minutes and must take an immense amount of concentration to perform, especially since the current guards have just spent the last hour standing completely still.
It’s best to view the changing of the guard from the ground floor, but if it’s too busy, the second floor also offers some good vantage points.
You should have no problem seeing the change of guard during weekdays, but at the weekend the show is very popular.
Dr. Sun Yat-sen History Exhibition Rooms
On either side of central hall are two rooms showcasing the private and political life of Dr. Sun.
The “Father of the Nation”, as he must now be addressed, was instrumental in overthrowing the Qing dynasty and he become the first president of the Republic of China (ROC, Taiwan).
Not only was this memorial hall built in his memory, but he was also given the honour of being placed on the back of Taiwan’s most abundant form of currency – the NT$100 note.
The rooms will detail the achievements of Dr. Sun, along with many personal items and pictures of the great man.
The Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall is one of the best places in Taipei to see art exhibitions. There are 8 galleries found in the building, many of them showing temporary exhibitions featuring traditional and contemporary art, as well as photography and calligraphy.
The Chungshan National Gallery, found on the second floor, is the best of these and often holds significant national and international exhibitions.
The Bo-ai gallery in the centre of the first floor also features some great exhibitions of artwork or calligraphy.
One or two of the galleries will focus on artwork devoted to Dr. Sun or the Memorial Hall.
Spanning 3 floors within the hall is an auditorium, which is the largest concert hall in Taiwan. With a seating capacity of 2,500, it hosts many national events such as the Golden Bell TV Awards and the Golden Horse Awards (sometimes dubbed the Oscars of Chinese language films).
The concert hall also shows some great theatre and concerts from time to time. We managed to see a highly entertaining and original Korean silent comedy/magic show called Snap.
The Library in the basement has an impressive collection of Chinese manuscripts and books. Although anyone is free to view these, you must leave your passport at the front desk and for obvious reasons, must only peruse the books in the library and must not take any away.
If you’re in need of some light refreshments, a large cafe can also be found in the basement selling drinks, snacks, sandwiches and shaved-ice dishes.
Park and Gardens
Beautifully well-kept gardens are found on three sides of the memorial hall, including many statues of Dr. Sun. If you’re here during the cooler months, the gardens will be in full bloom
In the southern-west corner is Zhongshan Park, which isn’t by any means large, but is lovely none-the-less.
Emerald Pond is a very peaceful and beautiful area of the park. The bridge leading to the centre of the pond is a great place to see the koi, turtles and heron that inhabit the lake.
The garden/park area is also one of the best spots in the city to view the spectacular Taipei 101 from a distance – day or night.
Fountain Square, the large open area in front of the hall will often attract group of young dancers, or the older generation who will use it to exercise. The area will also play host to events, including concerts.
The Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall is a hugely impressive building that is a popular destination for tourists and locals, and is one destination this geek thoroughly recommends.
It never feels overcrowded here but if you wish to view the change of guard, plan your visit for a weekday.
- Plenty to explore inside
- Nice park and gardens
- Completely free
- Only one cafe inside, although it is large
09:00 – 18:00
Closed on National Holidays
The changing of the guards takes place every day from 09:00 to 17:00 on the hour.
There are many nice restaurants and cafes located 5 minutes west of the Hall.
Songshan Cultural and Creative Park is just across the road and definitely worth a visit.
Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall Location
Closest MRT: Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall (blue line – exit 4)