Outskirts of Taichung (1): Rainbow Village
For a one day tour around the outskirts of Taichung, I’ll recommend booking a driver. Our driver is Mr Ye, 葉師榮 and if you are interested in engaging him, you can find out more in “Taichung Driver for the Outskirts“.
Our itinerary was: Rainbow Village, Carton King, Lavender Village, Flower Market, Gao Mei Shi Di, and Fengjia Night Market.
After about 20 minutes drive from Taichung Central District, we arrived at our first stop, Rainbow Village, 彩虹眷村 (Cai Hong Juan Chun). I knew nothing about this colourful place, while hubby only knew that an old man painted this whole village to how it is today.
Sadly, I did not have time to research before the trip and our driver was not informative. It didn’t help that there was no information board at the village. I think we would have appreciated Rainbow Village more if we knew about its background.
Since we didn’t know much about Rainbow Village, it became just a place with many good photo taking spots. So to help you enjoy your trip, here’s the story of Rainbow Village (re-worded from this Taichung Guide):
Rainbow Village is one of the villages built hastily with cheap materials for veterans returning from China. In the past 20 years, the government slowly took back these villages for other developments and gave surviving veterans new apartments.
Similarly, Rainbow Village was due for demolition and in fact, houses were in the process of being torn down. One of the last village residents, an old veteran soldier, Mr Huang Yung-fu, now known as Rainbow Grandpa started to paint the village.
Using vibrant colours, he painted the walls and alleys with animals, dolls, airplanes, manga characters, etc, giving the whole place a surrealistic touch. These murals were then discovered by a few university students and soon started to gain public interest. With appeals from the locals and seeing the village’s potential to be a tourist attraction, the local government suspended demolition and preserved the village. So that’s how Rainbow Village came about.
The village is not huge, comprising of only a few houses. Moreover, a large section of the village was under renovation when we were there (as in the photo above). You can finish touring the place in just 10-15 minutes, or longer if you like taking photos with the murals.
Do be prepared to squeeze with the crowd for photo spots though. We went on a weekday and it was already quite crowded with tourists, can’t imagine the weekend.
Many people were walking in and out through this one door (photo above). So we went in and expected to explore the nooks and crannies of that one open house. But after a few steps, we came to a dead end with a small souvenir shop. The salespeople claimed that the sales go into Rainbow Grandpa’s living expenses.
Even though Rainbow Grandpa was said to live in the village, we didn’t expect to see him in person! He was at the souvenir shop signing his signature and taking photos with the tourists.
I too wanted to take a photo with Rainbow Grandpa until I witnessed him not letting people go unless they paid a token of sum for taking photos with him. The move felt so desperate and thus sad. Why did he become as such? Has fame and easy money make him lose sight of why he started this artistic project?
There’s no entrance fee. I don’t think I will pay to visit this place anyway. So I guess setting up a souvenir shop is a better way of milking money from this tourist spot.
Since Rainbow Village is not far from Taichung central District and on the way to other places, there’s no harm in making a stopover at this colourful place to take colourful photos for your Instagram. ;)
Where else are you going in the outskirts of Taichung? Leave a comment below. I love to hear from you!