Wednesday, October 25, 2017

A Cultural Theme Park in Luodong, Taiwan

What is the National Center for Traditional Arts?

On the banks of the Dongshan River in Luodong, Taiwan is a tourist attraction called the National Center for Traditional Arts (NCFTA). Before I went, I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect. The English brochure says you will, “Experience our ancestors’ traditional lifestyle and culture in the ancient setting of a commoner’s everyday life.” Also, “Travel through time and space to experience traditional Taiwanese customs and immerse in the joyous festive atmosphere.” Think of it as a “cultural theme park.” Not a theme park like Disney with rides but one that showcases the early culture on Taiwan.

The park mainly consists of three “boulevards” and an Exhibition Hall. 

Luban Boulevard has buildings highlighting some handicrafts. I was there on a weekday and no one was demonstrating handicrafts, but when days are busier it looks like people can try their hands at making crafts. Architecturally, walking down this area was very pleasant.

Shop on Luban Boulevard

Wenchang Boulevard is a re-creation of an old street that could have been in any early Taiwan trading town. Again, a lot of effort has been done to make it look authentic. However, it is new construction, so it does not truly reflect a feeling of “old Taiwan.” Many stores were selling things, some looked local and some not. I felt this area could be improved by selling handicrafts or agricultural products produced in Taiwan.

Wenchang Boulevard

Waterfront Boulevard has a view of the water with slow boat rides being offered. When I was there a stage was being erected for a performance. I wished there were more benches (shaded) where one could rest and just watch the boats.

Waterfront Boulevard

The Exhibition Hall was showcasing some very fine historical artifacts that appeared to be on loan from the National Palace Museum. Thankfully, the labels were also in English.

Cool carved bench

Probably the highlight of the visit was the live performances. I just happened to come across them. If the time and locations where noted somewhere, I seemed to have missed it.  There was one performance in front of the Wenchang Temple and another a short time later between the Exhibition Hall and Chiang Wei-shui Theater. The performances featured acrobatics and colorful costumes. The narration was only in Chinese.

Performance in front of Wenchang Temple

This is a family-friendly attraction where one can spend a few hours, maybe longer depending on the live performances. I visited during the low season so admission was only NT150 (US$5) so very reasonable.

Can't leave without my bubble tea

Guanghsiao Shrine

Cute bug

Next to the attraction is a hotel which I will review in my next post.

Getting there: From Luodong station by taxi about NT$200. Taiwan Tourist Shuttle behind the rear station exit (First location in front of the bus terminal by the station). Uses the Easy Card.

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