“That’s it?” we asked each other. We were done exploring Rainbow Village in Taichung in 15 minutes. After an hour-long bus ride and a lot of walking, we were a little miffed that Rainbow Village wasn’t as interesting as the photos presented. But we were wrong. Here’s why:
Rainbow Village has a great background story
Stupid and I were a little lost with what exactly we were expecting from Rainbow Village, honestly. When we looked it up online, the photos looked great and when we saw the word “village’, we imagined it to be, well, a village. We decided to head over to the colourful village when we got to Taichung.
Stupid and I are not really artsy people. We also aren’t history buffs. So we thought the place looked like a few blocks of storage rooms with doodles painted on the walls. However, we found the real story behind the brightly red painted buildings.
The village once contained more than 1,000 homes. (Yep, now that sounds more like a village!) It was originally used as temporary housing for Kuomintang troops after Chiang Kai-shek fled to Taiwan during the civil war. Eventually, these villages became a permanent village and the residents began to settle down. Plus, houses then weren’t as spacious, that’s why the small size.
Fast forward to the future, many of these settlements were bought over for redevelopment. That’s where Huang Yung-Fu comes in. While everyone moved away, he remained in the village now left with only 11 empty homes. Bored and alone, he began painting, first his home and then the entire village!
His fascinating street art caught the interests of local university students and they campaigned extensively to save the village. It worked! Now, Rainbow Village is a popular tourist spot.
We're at Rainbow Village, what now?
On our second day in Taiwan, we took an hour’s bus ride from our hotel to Rainbow Village. I enjoyed the bus ride a lot. It brought us through the streets of Taichung and I got to see the architecture of the city. Observing how people live and their house décor has always fascinated me. I know, I know, I sound stalker-ish now. I’ll stop.
On the way to Rainbow Village, we witnessed a minor accident. It was between a car and a lady on her scooter. Poor lady. Her oranges were all thrown onto the road and squished. This has nothing to do with Rainbow Village, I just wanted to mention it, in case I forget.
We got off at Ling Tung University and walked over to the village. It was a bright and hot day. The streets were a little quiet because the village is slightly off the main road and it was a weekday. Nevertheless, there were still many visitors already at the place.
On first impression, the buildings really do stand out. Every inch of the place is painted bright red with cute and unique drawings, including the floor and the doors! It’s not hard to spot from afar.
At the time, I didn’t know the place was painted by just one person. It must’ve taken a lot of time and effort for one man to paint 11 blocks of houses. THAT is impressive! Every painting is unique and if you really take the time to observe it, you’ll notice that none of the drawings are the same.
We spent most of our time finding lonely spots to take our photos and videos. Because the paintings are vibrant, it wasn’t hard to get a good shot anywhere.
I just think, Stupid and I didn’t appreciate the place as much as we should have.