Discover Taipei: Taiwan’s Mystical Gem
Whether you’re blessed with a week or more in Taipei, or if you only have a few days to explore, you’ll never run out of things to see and do. With a population of more than 2.5 million, this is one city that never gets dull or boring. From markets to soaring skyscrapers, there is truly has a bit of something for everyone. One minute you can be enjoying the tranquility of an ancient temple; the next, you can be reveling in the excitement of Ximending, the city’s nightlife epicenter. To get from place to place, just jump on the Mass Rapid Transit System, which is known as Metro Taipei (MRT) for short.
Get the Lay of the Land from the Taipei 101
For a period of time, the Taipei 101 skyscraper was the tallest building in the world. Today, it is second only to the Burj Dubai in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The Taipei 101 is a breathtaking building that boasts two observatories - an indoor one on the 89th floor and an outdoor one on the 91st floor. It also features the world’s fastest elevator, which zooms from ground level to the 89th floor in a mere 36 seconds.
Visit the Symbol of Taiwan at the Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial
Learn about one of China’s most influential and important military and political leaders by stopping in at the Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall. This attractive edifice is the official symbol of Taiwan, which also goes by the name the “Republic of China”. A dramatic bronze statue of the leader is included in the building; which is also where the official national flag is raised and lowered each day. Visit this sacred memorial to get a better sense of the national pride of the Taiwanese people.
Explore the National Palace Museum
With more than 670,000 artifacts and works of art, the National Palace Museum is a truly ambitious and unforgettable institution. If you’ve had the chance to walk the sprawling halls of the Louvre, you’re going to be blown away by the sheer size of this impressive museum. Without a doubt, it houses the most important collection of Chinese artifacts and antiquities on the planet and you will leave with a deep and profound understanding of Taiwan and China’s cultures.
Unwind at the Taipei Botanical Gardens
Due to its immense size and frenzied pace, it’s not easy to relax in Taipei. One great oasis from the hectic urban center is the Taipei Botanical Gardens. Roam around some of the most beautiful flowers you’ve ever seen and be graded by the charming lotus ponds.
Step Back Through Time at the Longshan Temple
Temples abound in Taipei, but few are as famous as the Longshan Temple. This Buddhist sanctuary is dedicated to Guanyin, who represents compassion. A highly revered place of worthship, Taiwanese people come here to learn who they will marry, among other things in their future. If you do decide to visit, be sure to remain quiet and respectful at all times.
Get a Taste of the Original Taipei at the City Gates
The massive population growth of Taipei, along with many key historic events, has virtually obliterated all traces of its original design. The city gates are prime exceptions. Four of the five original city gates still stand in Taipei, and are well worth visiting to get an inkling about what the city may have looked like back in the day.
Let Loose: Taipei at Night
It’s fun to explore Taipei by day, but after dark is when the real fun begins. You can dance the night away in Ximending, the city’s primary nightlife district. If dancing’s not your thing, you could do a little shopping and dining at the world-famous Shilin Night Market. You won’t believe the throngs of people who mill around this exciting market, even in the wee hours of the night.
Culture, shopping, dining and entertainment are all available in equal doses in Taipei. No matter what types of interests you have, you’re sure to have an amazing adventure in this eclectic and wonderfully multifaceted city - and you’ll probably want to come back, too!