Take a Disneyland or Six Flags, Universal Studios kind of theme park.
Kill the cutesy animal themes, remove all kinds of crazy rides and play structures, but replace it with the following:
- a near perfect replica of a Chinese village town setting from the 1800s that include a Chinese opera stage, a temple, an old looking street block of stores that sell various trinkets (including uber old school candies and snacks) that are far beyond touristy rip off junk and yet a marvel to browse
- recreate the old time classic traditions, games, arts, crafts of that period and encase it in and throughout the complex as a means of promoting history and culture of that period.
- use of local produce, wares, skills, and offerings for the souvenir shops.
and you have a real fun and cool place here at Yilan county 宜蘭縣, called the National Center For Traditional Arts.
Getting here is no small feat. It is roughly 1.5 hours drive from Taipei, going through at least 2 to 3 tunnels (one of which is supposedly "the longest tunnel in the world" if you can believe that). Below are a collection of photos and descriptions accumulated over two separate visits about 2 to 3 years ago. If you can make your way here, I highly recommend it. Bring the kids, they will have a blast.
There's just so much to see and enjoy, and of course one cannot miss seeing food and drink everywhere too.
So without further ado:
Entrance for purchasing admission tickets
Right past the entrance, immediately a food cart. Ice cream and peanut rolls! And that's just the beginning
Two separate visits were not even enough to see absolutely everything.
Back on the old street strip.
Uh oh, more old schoolness. Sweet sticky stuff to make more freaky teeth. The stuff on the left is basically a round wheat cracker sandwich (inside is molaasses) on a stick (like a lollipop). As far as the stand on the right?
麥芽酥 (wheat germ pastry) supposedly from the 1930s era
That's gotta be molasses inside.
You might encounter a parade, a very festival one.
Stay for the show, it can be interesting
You're probably thinking this is CandyLand.... here's an old school ginger candy shop
Yeah this is not as sexy looking as Godiva, Jean Paul Hevin, or macarons...but in the 30s this had to do.
Shop specializing in old Chinese puppets.
This dude caught our eye... making works of art with glass and fire. Plus he looks like a Japanese hippie trucker from Tsukiji Fish Market, and a 60s classic DeadHead rocker! RAWK!
After all that fire, he makes stuff like this.
National Center For Traditional Arts 國立臺灣傳統藝術