Southern Branch of the National Palace Museum

Southern Branch of the National Palace Museum

Southern Branch of the National Palace Museum
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Duration: 2-3 hours
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4.0
272 reviews
Excellent
69
Very good
107
Average
78
Poor
15
Terrible
3

Planecover
Kauai, HI78 contributions
Dec 2022 • Solo
Building is huge, museum objects are exquisite. The amount of objects on display is no where near the Taipei one. You can probably finish seeing everything in about an hour. If you are here for the presentation of museum pieces, this place is for you. If you are here for the variety, go to the Taipei one.

One thing that’s kind of annoying is the sheer number of employees. I think there are one employee for every museum piece that’s there. They are helpful yes, but TOO helpful. You are constantly being asked if you need any help, if you know where you want to go, if you are separated from your tour group. They need to tone it down and not hire so many people.

The museum ground is beautiful especially the bridge and the lake.
Written December 15, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Jduits
Bodegraven, The Netherlands126 contributions
Jan 2020
This southern branch is absolutly worth a visit. They have a nice suttle bus service from the parking area to the main building. The items displayed are from different asian origin. Apart from the acient art there are also modern items shown such a 3 dimensional virtual reality.
Written February 2, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

David Barry Temple
Taichung, Taiwan64 contributions
Jul 2016 • Couples
I wasn’t paying attention when my wife said she made plans to visit the new Southern Branch of the National Palace Museum after we got back from Alishan. I was wondering why we took the HSR instead of the Taiwan Railroad to Chiayi as we had done in the past. She explained that the new museum was a ten minute shuttle ride away from the HSR but over a half hour ride from the main line which was closer to the Alishan road. After a day and a night in Alishan Park, we rode back to the Chiayi HSR station and took a shuttle bus to spend a pleasant afternoon in the museum.
The Southern Branch of the Palace Museum, built far from Taiwan’s cultural center in Taipei, is in the most out-of-the-way place you could imagine in central Taiwan. There are no restaurants or buildings between it and the HSR train station; only huge, empty boulevards, such as you've seen in 'ghost' cities popping up in China. Sugar cane plantations remain on the land not appropriated for the museum grounds.
The Palace Museum website says the reason the Southern Branch was built in Taibo City, Chiayi County, was "to achieve cultural equity between the Northern and the Southern regions of Taiwan, and to drive the cultural, educational, social, and economic development in both regions.”
The entire construction budget of eight billion Taiwan dollars ($250 million) for the museum, which finally opened in January after an eight year delay, and then was delayed again because of bad construction causing rain water leakage, is not worth all the time and effort put into it. 123 acre of empty parkland, a man-made lake with a footbridge surrounds the fancy black museum drenched in scorching subtropical Taiwan sunlight, the planted trees barely larger than twigs at this point. It will take dozens of years for the trees to afford any shade on the long walk from the parking lot and bus stop to the main entrance of the building.
The Palace Museum’s “attempt to drive the development of cultural tourism in Central and Southern Taiwan” and “include unique cultural elements of Taiwan” is a little too far-fetched at this point and smacks of cultural chauvinism, especially considering how most of the people in Taiwan, south of Taipei, would prefer promotion of their own island history and culture, independent from cultural affinity with Mainland China. There is clandestine political socialization going on here, the only kind available to the Chinese ruling class now that there is no martial law to enforce it heavy-handedly.
A survey by the Tourism Bureau of the Ministry of Transportation and Communication done in 2013 showed that 70% of visitors from China went to Taipei to see the 700,000 artifacts at Palace Museum brought by the KMT to Taiwan when they lost the civil war to the Peoples’ Republic of China in 1947. The National Palace Museum was opened in 1965 with Qing Palace artifacts (thus the name Palace Museum) from the imperial family consolidated over thousands of years.
I am guilty of breaking a rule at the Southern Branch of the National Palace Museum: I took a photo of the promenade outside the galleries. Dozens of docents strolling through the beautiful new museum were told that, to keep it that way, they had to assist patrons looking for exhibits, or fumbling with the self-guided tour devices or prevent patrons from looking for trouble by holding a stick with a round white sign with a symbol reminding patrons not to smoke, talk, or take photos. In all fairness, I was not the intended target of the ‘no photo’ rule, even in the promenade. For sure, there are tour groups itching to take group photos in the museum.
From Taipei, travel to the museum takes more than four hours by bus, train, or car, and ninety minutes by High Speed Rail (HSR) which has a station fifteen minutes away by shuttle bus. I wonder how many tourists, 70% of the Chinese or otherwise, would bother taking a lengthy ride down south. They could pair the tour with a trip to Alishan Mountain, also accessible from Chiayi, but that would take another three hours travel in the other direction up a winding, dizzy road.
However, there is a good reason to head south: the Southern Branch offers exhibits you cannot find anywhere else in the world. My favorite is the wonderful occasion predestined: Unveiling the Kangxi Kangyur, original first-hand documents in the Manchu Archives, written and sealed 347 years ago, in 1669, thanks to the urging of Kangxi Emperor's grandmother, who had a deep appreciation of Tibetan Buddhism.
It will not soon be creating an appeal that will rival that of the Louvre Museum or “encourage visitors to Taiwan to visit both museums” as predicted in their mission statement. Their “objective of making Taiwan a global cultural hotspot with a macro perspective” is a smokescreen for bringing Taiwanese closer to China; not a bad idea, anyway.
One of the first temporary exhibits in the Southern Branch of the Palace Museum is about Emperor Jiaqing who, although never visiting Taiwan, more than two centuries later, this emperor’s legend is exploited in the National Palace Museum collection Taiwanese folklore “offering audiences an opportunity to gain a new understanding and appreciation of the Jiaqing emperor through a dialogue between legend and fact, thereby opening a new chapter of awareness on the life and art-related activities of this long-neglected ruler in the Qing dynasty.” Obviously, the museum is either hedging its bets against tourists visiting this remote museum or hoping to attract more China fans from Taiwan’s independence-minded south.
There is a hotel being built across the boulevard from the grounds, and a few condominiums going up in the distance, but for the time being, there is nothing else but sugar cane plantation and vacant lots in the fifteen minute shuttle bus ride from the High Speed Rail Chiayi station, itself in the middle of nowhere, far from downtown Chiayi and local civilization.
The people of Taiwan have a lot going for them in their island culture mix of aboriginal tribesmen, Dutch colonists, brought Hakka and Ming-Nan settlers, Japanese imperialism and American commercialism, an exodus of mainland refugees after the civil war, an influx of Southeast Asians, Buddhist and Muslim culture brought over with foreign brides and contracted laborers. But, first and foremost, the tie that bind Taiwan with its predominant Chinese ancestors, is the cultural influences. Chinese culture is welcoming to Taiwanese of all origins. The Southern Branch of the National Palace Museum spent dozens of years, hundreds of painstaking hours of research, and a quarter billion dollars to make a connection between Taiwan and Chinese Culture in Central Taiwan.
Written August 7, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Sam G
Taipei, Taiwan2 contributions
Jan 2017 • Solo
The National Palace Museum Southern Branch is an excellent museum that is well worth a visit. Its exhibitions are carefully planned and it has an interesting pan-Asian focus, which is a refreshing change from the typical focus on Chinese art and culture in other Taiwanese museums. It’s worth visiting for the wonderful Buddhist art exhibit alone, but the entire museum is extremely well done. It’s also situated in a lovely lake park with several nice outdoor art exhibitions.

I was impressed with every aspect of the museum. Taiwan has poured a lot of resources into it, and it has modern facilities and a nice restaurant. It also has a large and elaborate play area for kids (one of the best I’ve seen in a museum) – it’s a great destination for families. Its exhibits have excellent signage and clear explanations of the pieces’ historical context. The audio tour is also very good. You can expect to spend two to three hours here, depending on your speed.

Though it’s a bit remote, the museum organizers clearly went to great lengths to make it convenient to get to, and it would even be an easy day trip from Taipei (about an hour and a half on high speed rail). It’s a ten minute shuttle ride from the Chiayi High Speed Rail station (signs for the shuttle at the station are clearly marked).

Other reviewers noted the crowds, but when I went it wasn't crowded at all. I suspect that it was most crowded during the first months it was open.

If you’re in downtown Chiayi, it’s about a half hour ride. (The easiest way to get there from Chiayi would probably be to take the shuttle from the Chiayi train station to the High Speed Rail station, and then take the museum shuttle. I believe there’s also a bus directly to the museum from the train station. A cab ride from downtown Chiayi would be about 500 NTD.)

Note that they encourage online reservations.

I highly recommend a visit to this museum if time allows.
Written January 4, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Bruce J
Melbourne, Australia306 contributions
Dec 2016 • Couples
When Taiwan democratized, the government decided to set up a Southern Branch of the National Palace Museum. Ultimately, this was set up in Taipao, Chiayi County. As this was the place where I first conducted field research beginning in 1971, I watched this development with interest. The project met many delays, but it opened at the beginning of 2016. And the Southern Branch is a success. First, the architecture of the building is worth noticing on its own. The art concentrates on Asia rather than on China (though some Chinese art is included). Thus, in the exhibition on Buddhist art, there are many items from South Asia as well as from Southeast Asia and East Asia. There is also a very substantial exhibit of Tibetan scriptures. Another exhibition on ceramics has a substantial collection of Koryo celadons from Korea (borrowed from Osaka--though these are not superb examples of this wonderful art) and an exhibit showing ceramics that came from Japan and elsewhere and were traded all over the world. A very interesting exhibition of tapestries came from India, central Asia and elsewhere. For lovers of art, the Southern Branch of the Palace Museum is definitely worth a visit.
Written January 10, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

geokantam
Hong Kong, China54 contributions
Jul 2018 • Family
The exhibitions are very good but its location sucks.
Took high-speed train to Chiayi then electric car/bus/taxi to the entrance, and walked under the scorching sun for 15 min to the museum. Not a particular good experience. Seems more staff than visitors, and most visitors are senior citizens. The air con was a consolation.
Written August 6, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Swj229
Vancouver, Canada35 contributions
Nov 2016
The Southern Branch of the National Palace Museum requires booking ahead. The building is modern and beautiful. Much smaller than the Palace Museum in Taipei, this branch museum displays international works, including clothing and fabric art. The fat pork (a national treasure) is at this museum. There is a local bus that goes to this museum from downtown Chiayi.
Written December 2, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

313globetrotter
Singapore, Singapore430 contributions
Sep 2019
This is likely one of the NEW Tourist sights in CHIAYI, TAIWAN. THE Building is impressive and with lots of greenery around. The Displays are GOOD, in view of the space, arrangements, lightings.....The NATIONAL PALACE MUSEUM has arrange one of their three treasures (THE PORK ROCK , which is a piece of rock and look like braised pork !!!) to be displayed here during the month of SEPTEMBER. nOW AND THEN OUTSTANDING PIECES WILL BE DISPLAY HERE , so as to attract tourists !!! The entrance fee is lower than THE Taipei National Museum. The Museum is on the outskirt of Chiayi town, and can be reached by special bus near the High Rail Station, NO NEED to hire taxis, as it is very costly. There are also shuttle bus to-fro Museum-High Speed Rail Station. Visit it early in the morning or late evening and enjoy the treasures of TAIWAN.
Written October 9, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Sylvia G
10 contributions
Feb 2018
Very good environment and everything so informative! Shall spend a whole day for visiting~highly recommended!
Written June 26, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

F C
Taiwan4 contributions
Feb 2018 • Friends
Excellent exhibitions! Beautiful modern architecture, has its own character and creations.. A very modern museum has multiple art of exhibitions
Written March 4, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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