Formerly named Biwei, Cihu Presidential Burial Palace is the temporary burial place of the late President Chiang-Kai Shek. Local villagers used to call it the ‘cave mouth’ as it is located next to the exit of Baiji Tunnel. Situated in Daxi Township in Taoyuan, the remains of the president were placed here as he once remarked that it reminded him of his beloved hometown Fenghua in eastern China. In 1962, the place was renamed ‘Cihu’, which means ‘benevolent lake’, in memory of his mother’s love and kindness.
The area became ‘Cihu Mausoleum’ when it was chosen to be the temporary resting place for Chiang, who wanted to be buried in his hometown eventually once his Kuomintang (KMT) recovered China from the Communist. Today, almost one million visitors stop here every year to pay their respects to the late president.
Cihu Presidential Burial Place is a single-storey brick building, built using Fujian and Zhejiang four-section complex style. The tour of the spacious mausoleum begins from the Information Area, opposite the parking lot, going along the pathway and passes through the archway leading to the Cihu Lake. Several white and black swans can be seen swimming casually on the lake, along with the beautiful mountain landscape on the background. Walking ahead, you will finally arrive at the hall entrance. With mountain scenery behind and a lake in front, the brick house is enclosed by woods, facing south. A couple of round doors on both right and left sides of the building can be seen leading to the main hall.
While heading into the hallway, you will notice a beautiful patio and veranda inside. In addition, each room has large window-door opening leading to the patio with considerable space to accommodate entry of sunlight. The president’s black marble sarcophagus lies in the building’s main hall with the master’s bedroom next to it at the left wing. Moreover, the left wing includes a studio and a guest-receiving room. The room next to the coffin at the right wing is the medal showroom. Along the right of the hallway is the Administration office while on the left is the History Room. Other service rooms include the storerooms and the kitchen.
Besides the lake and the hallway, another attraction within the vicinity of Cihu Presidential Burial Palace is the Baiji Tree Shade Foot Trail, located at the back of Cihu. Originally used as a restricted military zone, the military restriction was lifted only in 1998, after constant calls by the locals to promote the area for tourism. The footpath has plenty of scenic spots to offer. Witness rich ecology and verdant greenery in the area as you continue walking until the highest point where you’ll be rewarded with a 360° view of the entire Daxi area. This is an excellent venue for mountain climbing and outdoor excursions.
One of the highlights of the Cihu Presidential Burial Palace is the ceremony for changing guards, where guards offer a performance for visitors when they switch positions every hour. Most visitors often take photos of this ceremony as a keepsake of their visit. One can access Cihu Mausoleum via public transport. Just take a Taoyuan passenger bus in Taoyuan or Zhongli town with Dasi as the last stop. From Dasi, take another bus heading to Baling, Fusing or Siayuncun to the Cihu stop.