Monday, March 18, 2013

Yuanshan(圓山)/ Grand Hotel (大飯店)

Getting there
Take the red MRT Jiantan station and take exit 2. Walk across the little park to Zhongshan North road, cross and turn right down it(go south). After 10-15 minutes, on your left you will see a little park and path leading up the hillside, to the Grand Hotel.

The Grand Hotel and Yuanshan
If you came from the south, you will probably have seen it from the MRT train the impressive, massive, spectacular grand hotel. This was built in the 50s to wow foreign dignitaries who had nowhere to stay, and to this day (apparently) it is the biggest Chinese classical building. Anyway once you’ve walked around a bit and taken in as much as you can of this architectural masterpiece, go behind the building and follow the signs up the mountain.
There is a viewing deck with spectacular views over to the 101 and if you explore more and reach the top you will be rewarded with more views and a little garden. There are many paths, but its small, so you won't get lost. 
The mountain itself is full of little shrines and temples where people sing karaoke and the Asiatic melodies provide a haunting background and atmosphere to the bizarreness of people going to a temple to sing karaoke. 

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