The National Palace Museum in Taipei is home to one of the most important collections of Chinese art in the world, and covers more than 8,000 years of Chinese history and culture. Featuring some 690,000 pieces, it covers all areas of Chinese art, including antiquities, painting, calligraphy, bronzes, jade, ceramics, and sculpture.
Opened in 1965, the National Palace Museum was designed in the style of a traditional imperial palace. Spread over four floors and two exhibition halls, the museum’s exhibits are on constant rotation and only a small portion of the museum’s vast holdings are shown at any given time. Pieces date from the neolithic age to the modern era, though the majority of pieces are from the Song, Yuan, Ming, and Qing dynasties. Don’t miss the jadeite cabbage and the meat-shaped stone, two of the museum’s most famous pieces.
The National Palace Museum is one of the top attractions in Taipei and features on most sightseeing tours, along with other must-sees such as Taipei 101 and the Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall. Visit on a hop-on hop-off bus for the most flexibility, or opt for a private city tour to combine the museum with other sights on your list.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The National Palace Museum is a must-visit for those interested in Chinese history, culture, and art.
- Audio guides in 13 languages are available for rental.
- Free tours are given in Mandarin four times a day and English twice a day. Book ahead, as there are limits on group size.
- Bags are not permitted in the museum; lockers are available for rent.
- The museum is accessible to wheelchair users.
How to Get There
The museum is located in Taipei’s Shilin district. By MRT, take the Red Line to Shilin Station, then take bus R30 to the museum; or take the Brown Line to Dazhi Station and take bus B13 to the museum. Buses 255, 304, 815, and M1 also stop near the museum.
When to Get There
The museum’s main building is open from 8:30am to 6:30pm daily, with extended hours to 9pm on Fridays and Saturdays. The museum is extremely popular and can get very crowded; visit on Mondays or late on Fridays and Saturdays, when the museum isn’t as busy.
History Behind the Collection
The museum’s collection used to reside in the Imperial Palace Museum in the Forbidden City in Beijing. In 1933, when the Japanese Army threatened northern China, the museum directors moved and hid nearly 20,000 crates. Then in 1948 and 1949, after the Communists rose to power, Chiang Kai-Shek shipped around 3,000 crates to Taiwan, where they were kept out of sight until the National Palace Museum opened in 1965.