Chaihsing Residence is truly a hidden gem among Taichung attractions. It is one of the finest Qing Dynasty mansions in all Taiwan.
Chaihsing Residence (or Villa) was not damaged by earthquakes. It has been inhabited by the same Lin Family until a few years ago. So it is also very well preserved.
Facts about Chaihsing Residence
- It was built between 1871 and 1879 by Lin Chi Chung.
- Lin Chi Chung was a Qing Dynasty General. He joined the famed Lin Wen Cha from Wufeng in fighting the Taiping Rebellion in China and then local rebels in Taiwan. Lin Chi-chung then retired from the army and built Chaihsing close to his family ancestral home.
- The name Chaihsing (摘星) means Plucking Stars. The romantic name is likely a classical reference to a Ming Dynasty pavilion in Mainland China.
- About 20 years ago Chaihsing Residence was about to be demolished. At the very last moment (one night the west wing was already being razed by bulldozers) the demolition was halted. In 1997, Chaihsing Residence was declared historical site and acquired by the government.
- Chaihsing Residence is built as a traditional courtyard house.
- The building is surrounded by a garden, with a pond in the front (half moon shaped pond). The pond served as drainage, fish pond, reservoir in case of fire and, also, as a fengshui element. Bamboo stands encircle the back of the house.
- In its heyday, about 100 people lived in Chaihsing. The mansion was surrounded by rice paddies.
- The site is now managed by a private company. There are facilities such as a simple coffee shop and small shops selling local crafts. Most important, surprising pieces of furniture from the Imperial Palace are exhibited. While there is no connection with Chaihsing Residence, this furniture is of great interest and beauty.
Chaihsing Residence – What to See
- The front of the house with its colorful Jiaozhi ceramics and carved stone labs.
- The Entrance Hall: exquisite wooden carvings, paintings and calligraphy works. The carvings celebrate the success of Lin Chi Chung in passing the Imperial Palace examination.
- The Main Hall: this is the place where ancestors are worshiped, the spiritual and physical center of a traditional Chinese house. Not surprisingly, it is also one of the most beautiful parts of Chaihsing Mansion.
- Have a look at the South East Gate. Jiaozhi (koji) potteries still adorn the front. In part they were damaged or stolen during the years of neglect.
- Taiwan was not a safe place during the XIX century. Especially for men as Lin Chi Chung, who probably got many enemies when he helped to quell rebels in Taiwan and in Mainland China. Chaihsing Residence was completely surrounded by a ditch and a wall. You can still spot loopholes (for rifles) crossing the walls of the South East Gate and of the main building. All the doors, including the doors of the bedrooms, could be safely locked (you can still observe in the floor the holes for safety bars). Escape routes (below the ceiling) allowed to quickly escape if an attacker was blocking the main doors.
- Observe as Chaihsing Residence has elegant but relatively simple roofs. Lin Chi Chung was not a high ranking officer so he was not allowed to decorate his own house with the swallow-tail roof used, for example, by the Lins of Wufeng.
- Brickworks, woodworks, elegant windows in different styles … Lin Chi Chung made very good use of the best craftsmen and artist of his age and place, available for a person of his rank and wealth.
- Last but not least, the furniture from the Imperial Palace, we mentioned above. These pieces belong to a private collector. Some pieces are displayed in the house, such as a superb writing desk, portable chairs for hunting. Some others are in the coffee shop: wardrobes, a desk, a couch bed.
How to Get to Chaihsing Residence
How to Get from Taichung Station to Chaihsing Residence
You can take a train to Tanzi Station. Then walk North along National Road n. 3 and then West along Tanfu Rd. until you will see the Villa on the right. It is probably better to take a taxi, it is not a pleasant walk (1.8km).
Alternatively you can take bus #12 from Taichung Railway Station to Fengyuan (every 10-15 minutes) and stop at Chongde-Tanfu Intersection (崇德潭富路口). Then walk back for 50 meters and turn left on Tanfu Rd. Walk along Tanfu Rd for about 700m. Chaihsing Residence will be on the left.
A taxi ride from Taichung Railway Station will cost about 500NTD and will take at least 30minutes.
How to Get from Taichung High Speed Railway Station to Chaihsing Residence
You have to take a train from Xinwuri TRA Railway Station (it is connected to the THSR Station trough a covered passageway) to Fengyuan. From Fengyuan Station take bus #12, direction Ming De High School (Taichung City Center). Stop at Chongde-Tanfu Intersection (崇德潭富路口). Then walk for 50 meters and turn left on Tanfu Rd. Walk along Tanfu Rd for about 700m. Chaihsing Residence will be on the left.
A taxi ride from Taichung THSR Station will cost about 500NTD and will take at least 30minutes.