Discovering Taipei:
A Cultural Tour with Brentwood College Students

10 Days of exploring northern taiwan

Taipei, a city rich with cultural intricacies and vibrant traditions, recently played host to a group of curious students from Brentwood College, Canada. Over a span of ten days, these young explorers immersed themselves in a meticulously crafted cultural tour designed to deepen their understanding of both the indigenous and contemporary Taiwanese lifestyle. 

For some of these students it was the first time they are coming to visit Asia! On this school trip they had the opportunity to experience Taiwanese culture through visiting museums & temples, eating a variety of local food, and participating in various immersive experiences to deepen their understanding of this island’s customs and cultures. It was an absolute pleasure for us to be leading this adventure with so many great characters – we are looking forward to the next one! 

Brentwood School Trip Taiwan 2024 CKS
Brentwood School Trip Taiwan 2024 Food Peking Duck

Day 1 – Arrival & Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall

The group hit the ground running! Upon arrival in Taipei, we began the trip with a visit to the local breakfast spot, eating our weight in popular traditional breakfast dishes like danbing (蛋餅), radish cake (蘿蔔糕), and soymilk (豆漿). With newfound energy, we visited Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall, where students witnessed the precision of the changing of the guards that happens every hour on the dot.

Afterwards, we immersed ourselves in the bustling Nanmen Market, sampling a variety of traditional Taiwanese dishes and of course, stopping by a bubble tea shop to try the famous local bubble tea. We rounded out the first day with dinner at a traditional Chinese restaurant – feasting on Peking duck and other well-known dishes – showcasing Taipei’s diverse culinary landscape.

Brentwood School Trip Taiwan 2024 Shilin Night Market scaled e1715767595991
Brentwood School Trip Taiwan 2024 National Palace Museum 1 scaled e1715767541993

Day 2 & 3 – Local School Exchange & National Palace Museum

The students engaged in two days of enriching school exchange at the Taibei International Bilingual School, participating in artisan craft workshops and unique cultural ceremonies. Afterwards, they experienced the right of passage for every local Taiwanese student – singing to their hearts content together at karaoke.  A visit to the National Palace Museum gave students the opportunity to learn more about Chinese history through the artifacts that were brought over by the KMT during the Chinese Cultural Revolution. Fun Fact: Did you know that the sphere-shaped artifact in the picture on the right was a hatstand for government officials? The evenings were spent mingling and tasting local delights at Shilin Night Market and trying the famous soup dumplings at Din Tai Fung.

Aboriginal dress for both female and male in Taiya tribe.
Brentwood School Trip Taiwan 2024 - Trap Setting
Learning and practicing trap setting techniques
Archery practice!
Learning about navigation and foraging on our exploratory hike in the mountains of Wulai.
Learning Taiya tribe dance
Bamboo rice making

Day 4 & 5 – Aboriginal Tribe Immersion

The journey took a memorable turn on Day 4 and 5, as the group left the hustle and bustle of Taipei city, venturing into the mountains of Wulai to experience life with the Taiya tribe. From learning to make bamboo rice to learning about traditional hunting practices by setting their own traps and learning to shoot with a bow & arrow, the students gained firsthand experience of the tribe’s enduring customs and survival skills, further enriched by an overnight camping experience.

Day 6 – Shifen, Jiufen & Keelung Night Market​

Our adventures continued with the creation of eco-conscious sky lanterns in Shifen. This traditional practice, deeply embedded in Taiwanese culture, symbolizes the release of worries and the elevation of hopes and dreams towards the heavens. As each student inscribed personal messages of peace and aspiration onto their lanterns, they connected with a centuries-old tradition that highlights the local values of hope and renewal.

Students ventured to Jiufen Old Street, a place where the past and present merge to create a unique cultural ambiance. They wandered through the narrow, winding pathways lined with red lanterns and teahouses,  reminiscent of Hayao Miyazaki’s Spirited Away film. The architecture and artifacts around them told stories of a bustling era gone by, now transformed into a charming destination that attracts both locals and tourists who wish to experience a piece of Taiwan’s rich heritage. 

The day culminated in the vibrant and lively Keelung Night Market, where the air buzzed with the sounds of enthusiastic vendors and the aroma of delectable street food. We tried rice dumplings (湯圓) with sweet sesame filling and lots and lots of ice cream.

Brentwood Dadaocheng
Brentwood Tea Ceremony 1
Brentwood School Trip Taiwan 2024 Taipei 101

Day 7 & 8 – Dadaocheng, Ximen, Maokong, & Taipei 101

In the following days, the students delved deeper into Taiwanese culture through exploring historical districts such as Dadaocheng, experiencing firsthand the vibrancy of Ximending, participating in hands-on activities like making delicious pineapple cakes, and immersing themselves in the tea-rich mountainous landscapes of Maokong. They mastered the art of making the perfect cup of tea in a tea ceremony workshop, where they learned about various types of teas and the different ways to steep each type. 

A visit to Taiwan is not complete without seeing the Taipei 101 in person! At the top of the 101, The students got to marvel at the panoramic view of the cityscape, juxtaposing Taipei’s natural landscape with towering skyscrapers. As the financial hub of Taipei, the hustle and bustle of the city reverberates through the streets and is reflected in the myriad of shops offering something from around the world. 


Day 9 – Presidential Palace & Cooking Class

Our penultimate day featured a guided tour of the Presidential Palace, enriching students’ understanding of Taiwan’s path to independence. Walking through the halls of this iconic building, they gleaned insights into the historical and political evolution of Taiwan, learning about the pivotal moments and figures that have shaped the nation’s identity. The majestic architecture and solemn memorials within the palace grounds served as poignant reminders of Taiwan’s journey towards sovereignty and the ongoing importance of its democratic values.

Following the tour, the students engaged in a hands-on cooking class focusing on learning how to make iconic traditional Taiwanese dishes. They learned the meticulous art of making soup dumplings, mixed their own bubble tea, a popular Taiwanese invention that has captured the hearts of people worldwide. This cooking class not only offered them a taste of the island’s culinary artistry but also a deeper connection to the culture through its flavors and traditional cooking techniques.

Brentwood School Trip Taiwan 2024 Longshan Temple

Day 10 – Longshan Temple & Departure

On the last day of the trip, we immersed ourselves in the spiritual ambiance of Longshan Temple, a revered sanctuary that stands as a testament to the blend of Taiwanese folk religion, Buddhism, and Taoism. It allowed students a reflective end to our cultural journey in Taiwan. Some students sought guidance from the divinities by casting moon rocks and interpreting their fortunes, taking this knowledge with them as they returned to Canada. 

This is not a goodbye but a “see you later” for these young explorers. Taiwan, with its open arms and endless offerings of delicious treats and warm smiles, awaits their return. Each student departed with a piece of Taiwan in their heart, enriched by new understanding, ready to come back and explore even more of what this beautiful island has to offer.

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Find Out More

This trip was more than just a visit; it was a comprehensive educational experience designed to foster an appreciation for the depth and diversity of Taiwanese culture. From the bustling markets to the quiet mountains, and from historical monuments to modern marvels, each step of the journey was crafted to provide insights into the rich tapestry of Taiwan’s heritage and contemporary life.

Imagine Taiwan invites educators and parents to collaborate with us in crafting bespoke educational tours that cater to your educational goals and themes. Whether your focus is on cultural immersion, historical insights, or culinary explorations, our expert local guides are ready to lead your students on an unforgettable learning adventure. Ready to plan your next school trip?

Contact us today, and let’s design an experience that students will treasure for a lifetime!


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