Taiwan, officially known as Republic of China, is known for steep mountains, lush forests and crowded cities off course. Beautiful coastal scenes are part of Taiwan’s great natural assets. When it comes to crowded city and most visited place in Taiwan, then its capital Taipei tops the list. Taipei is Taiwan’s largest city, located on the northern tip of the island, not far from Japan and the Philippines. It is the center for politics, economics, culture and education while playing a key role in finance, media and telecommunications. Having a population of more than 3 million people, it is most populous city in Taiwan. Taipei also has the 5th tallest building in the world, Taipei 101, which was built in 2004.
Taipei city has a warm humid temperate climate with hot summers and no dry season. The warm season lasts from June to September and Cold season lasts from December to March. The temperature hovers between max 31 degree to min 13 degree. Late October to January is the best time to visit Taipei, when the weather is comfortably cool and clear.
How to get here?
Taoyuan International Airport is just around 45 minutes south of Taipei and receives most international flights. The most economical way to get to Taipei from Taoyuan airport is by bus. Once you are in Taipei, you can catch a cab to your hotel. The airport is also very close to the High Speed Rail (HSR) station. The HSR will stop at the Taipei main station, where you can connect with the MRT Metro.
Accommodation and Food
Best place to stay in Taipei is near Taipei Main station as there are a lot of shopping hubs and food corners around it. You can travel to other parts of Taipei, even other parts of Taiwan Island from one centralized location. The various trains and bus services are just minute’s walk away. There are five star hotels like Hotel Quote, Palais de Chine Hotel, Gloria Prince and four stars like AT Boutique Hotel, Fortune Hiya Hotel, Brother Hotel and many more. You can find affordable and classy rooms at the Mango53 Inn, Walker’s hostel, Travel Talk Taipei.
You can try some different dishes offered in the night markets at Shillin, Ximending and Gongguan districts. Beef Noodle Soup is most famous dish in Taipei, having unique flavor with no herbs and spices. You need to spend just 50-70 New Taiwan Dollars to savor this dish. In Shillin Night market, all kinds of street foods are available and you could try the famous grilled squid here. Hakka dishes here are rich and hearty, usually salty and vinegary and often involve pork. You can also find many mainland Chinese cuisines here, such as Fujianese, Canonese and Suchuan and a great selection of Vegetarian restaurants.
There was a time when Taipei 101 was world’s tallest building with its 509 m height. Now Burj Khalifa tops the list. It is located in the East of Taipei. The tower consists of 101 stories above the ground. The top floor is at 439 m. Taipei 101’s construction started in 1999 and finished in 2004 costing about 1.7 billion US dollars. This building is a joy to watch.
National Palace Museum
National Palace Museum was officially opened on October 10, 1925 allowing members of the public and future generations to enter the Palace to admire this cultural inheritance. The museum holds collection of cultural artifacts of Chinese art. It has vast collection of treasures in painting, calligraphy, statuary, bronzes, laquerware, ceramics, jade and religious objects.
The Taipei Zoo is the largest city zoo in Asia. The Zoo is located in Wunshan District and has combined area of 165 hectares with 90 hectares being open to the public. It has 12 outdoor animal areas and 10 indoor areas. It is really a lovely space with beautiful gardens, plenty of fun, interesting animals and lots of space for kids to run and have fun while parents stroll through the wide, stroller friendly paths.
The most well known temple in Taiwan, the Mengjia Longshan Temple was built in 1738. It is one of the largest and oldest temples in Taiwan and guess what, entrance is free but donations to maintain the upkeep of the temple are accepted. Since the construction of the temple, Taipei residents have continuously renovated and improved the temple and the surrounding grounds.
Chinese Culture and Movie Center
Chinese Culture and Movie Center is a former movie studio and tourist attraction located in the Shilin District. It is owned by the Republic of China Central Motion Pictures Company. In its early period, it functioned as a film and TV drama filming location and studio. However it indefinitely closed in 2008 but it is still open for the tourists.
Museum of Drinking Water
The Taipei Museum of Drinking Water is worth visiting for two reasons. Firstly, it is a quite close to the city and secondly, it tells the story of an important part of the city’s development. It is probably one of the most beautiful architectural remains of the Japanese colonial times in Taiwan. It was built in 1908 and resembles a Baroque styled palace. The museum can be reached by rapid transit train.
Taipei has enough going for it to make any traveler’s bucket list. Visually stunning Taipei is a shutter bug’s paradise.