921 Earthquake Museum 九二一地震教育園區

Deep in the night on September 21st, 1999, the devastating 921 Earthquake ripped through central Taiwan. Thousands were killed, hundreds of buildings collapsed, and entire towns were leveled to the ground, particularly in Nántóu 南投 and Taichung 台中. Nowadays there are many reminders and memorials to the disaster scattered across the region, among them the 921 Earthquake Museum 九二一地震教育園區 (Chinese version; official site) in Wùfēng 霧峰, which I visited in June 2014.

Wuchang Temple 武昌宮

Wuchang Temple 武昌宮 is a prime example of disaster tourism in Taiwan. Located in the township of Jíjí 集集, this temple collapsed in the devastating 921 Earthquake. Rather than demolish the remains of the temple it has been left pretty much as it was in 1999. It acts as a powerful reminder of the scale of the terrible disaster that befell Taiwan fifteen years ago—and as a lucrative roadside attraction.

The Leaning Tower of Su’ao 蘇澳斜塔

There are plenty of crummy old apartment blocks in Taiwan, many of them abandoned and left to the elements. I seldom take more than a cursory look any more since they’re so easy to find—just ride or walk around and look for open or broken windows. Most of the time there isn’t much to look at inside and anything valuable or interesting has almost always been removed. Even so, I stopped for a moment to investigate this particular building in Sū'ào 蘇澳, a township in Yílán 宜蘭, and was mildly surprised with what I found.