Ever the tea lover, when I found out the world’s largest tea museum was located outside of Taipei I knew it was a can’t-miss site.
Located in Pinlin, a short bus ride from the city, the whole town is dedicated entirely to tea. The street lamps are shaped like tea pots. The knobs at the top of the fences are little tea pots, and the street signs are decorated with tea leaves. AhhDORable.
When I arrived at the entrance of the World’s Largest Tea Museum I found it, well, lacking slightly. I don’t know what I expect, but with the title of World’s Largest (a title also claimed by a museum on the mainland, I should add) I was expecting something, well, a little grander. It was just one building, and it wasn’t even that big. But it had some cool stuff inside, including a lot of facts, dioramas and some historical artifacts.
One of my favorite things was the sign that greeted visitors at the entrance. The chinese character for tea is one of my favorite, and they had a whole wall covered with the different styles of the characters throughout the ages. I found that pretty interesting.
There was also some quality chinglish. Well, not quite chinglish, but rather some of the signs said things in the cutest/funniest ways possible. For instance there was a giant tea…I don’t know the best way to describe it…a giant tea joint? Like a lot of leaves wrapped together and rolled up in a tube with a bamboo mat. It was huge, thick and tall and the sign next to it said it was “as tall as a person.”
That wasn’t exactly correct, it was only about four and a half feet tall, and whoever wrote the other sign was a tad more honest. “It is tall like a short person,” it read.
There was another sign that said the tea was best picked during the “waking of insecsty time.”
Outside was some beautiful gardens with flowering trees, plants and a ton of statues. I went to the museum by myself, and no one else was around at the time, which was a shame at these statues were just begging for hilarious pictures. I tried my best, but it’s hard to do anything too crazy when your stuck doing self-portraits.
There was one ghoulish part of the museum. To fill up the space they had some life-sized vignettes of ancient people in a tea house. One of the mannequins, or wax people, was standing right near am exhaust fan and all the dust and junk from the fan had settled all over his face, making the whole thing quite creepy.
Afterwards I went to the tea shop and looked around. The reason the tea museum is in this small town is because this region has some allegedly very tasty tea, with unique flavors only available there. Sadly they were way out of my price range, so I walked away with some Taiwan black tea called “Fairy tea,” or something like that.
I did get green tea ice cream and I sat outside to enjoy it. It was a hot day, and I had done a lot of walking. Suddenly, from around the corner, a whole group of screaming, yelling, boogy covered kids appeared, led by their teacher, also with ice creams in hand. They sat around me, and in Chinese the teacher started yelling to his kids to “talk to that girl over there and practice your english.”
He said it in Chinese, and obviously expected me not to understand, but I took it as my cue to get out of there as fast as I could. “You missed your chance. You were too slow!” I heard him bark to the kids as I ran away.