Taipei is a bustling city in Northern Taiwan, a metropolis of skyscrapers, illuminating streets and buzzing markets. Not only is Taipei home to a bank of international and Chinese cuisine it also boasts having one of the tallest buildings on the entire planet, Taipei 101. Our visit to Taipei was somewhat short lived. We spent 3 nights in the city which was to be our last destination in Asia on this trip. Nostalgically looking back over the past 6 months spent in the largest continent on earth we looked forward to entering the Western world whilst touring the United States of America and Canada.
Taipei was a great place as a last stop destination in Asia. I can also imagine it being a fantastic opening to Asia for first time visitors. For one it isn’t as crowded as say Indian, Chinese or even South East Asian cities and it has a slight futuristic appeal to it that in no way trumps Japan but runs along the same track. In this post I will recommend a few interesting places to visit which I thought was worth visiting in the format of a 3 day itinerary. The reason why I have chosen to do this as most visitors (in fact we saw hardly any tourists whatsoever during our stay) only stay for a short period of time as maybe a stop off from Asia to the US or on a business trip.
Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall
In the Jhongjheng district of Taipei city you’ll find one of Taipeis most visited attractions, the memorial hall and exhibition of Chiang Kai Shek, the founder of Taiwan and much loved national figure. The free exhibition shows Chiangs humble beginnings to how be rose to become one of the worlds most influential and admired person. From his military training in Japan to defeating Warlords in Manchuria, Chiang had a pretty interesting life and it is all documented here in well translates English.
National Theatre and Concert Hall
Although we didn’t have the luxury of seeing any performances these classic Chinese buildings are inspiring to look at. Usually the vast open space is deserted and some great photo opportunities are available here. Also, closer to the memorial park there is a great little garden where you can take a rest in the shade and feed some fish or enjoy a picnic.
The Museum of Contempory Art houses fine exhibitions of Asian and worldwide art. It changes so much that admirers could not possibly get bored.
Get your shopping fix in Zhongshan where there are endless amounts of high street brands and outlets for you to shop til you drop.
The 5th and formerly tallest building in the world. The 500 NTD entrance fee is worth going up to the 89th floor to get spectacular 360 degree views of the capital. On calm days the outside observatory is open and there are dozens of interior exhibitions and shops selling all things touristy and unique. East of the building is Taipeis premier nightlife spot with a dozen clubs and an array of bars and restaurants, head over there for a post sightseeing break and enjoy some good food, beer and music.
This red brick street is an ideal place to take a morning stroll which is exactly what I did. The thoroughfare is lined with tea rooms, medicine outlets, spice shops and more. Historical alt this area was used as the cities trading point as it was so close to the harbour.
Lin-Liu Hsin Puppet Theatre Museum
Unfortunately we didn’t get a chance to get to see a show as the timings weren’t right but if you’re into traditional puppetry this is a good way to spend the evening.
Xiahai City God Temple
Compared to a lot of the other temples in Taipei this temple is set in the middle of a residential district and has a much more local feel to it. It is only small but very picturesque and peaceful.
Albeit a bit of a pain to get to, this area is a great place to ride a bicycle and admire the views of New Taipei City across the water. There are a bunch of nice parks where people watching the locals can be enjoyed whilst having a picnic.
If you missed the puppet theatre this is the other place to go to enjoy an authentic Asian theatre performance.
Huaxi Night Market
If you want to try some street food this is the place to go. We had some amazing pork bread amongst other local delicacies. This market also specialises in clothes, shoes, DVDs, massages, jewellery, souvenirs and more!
Regardless if you’re a amateur or pro hiker this short trail that is located near Taipei 101 gives you a nice view of the city.
Es lite Bookstore
Es lite is one of the only 24/7 bookstores on the planet. They have an excellent Englisj sections with loads of books on Chinese and Taiwanese History.
THE go to temple when visiting Taipei. Next to the night market this is a great spot to relax during sun set and admire the place of worship and watch the locals in prayer and meditation. The finesse and build of this temple is elegant enough for you to want to return the next day.
Ximemding has been compared to Akihabara in Tokyo. This bustling area is a maze of bright lights, funky sights and restaurants and shops. If you’ve never been to Japan this area will intrigue you greatly.
The Red House and LGBQT area
The red house building is now used as a market but the real gem is behind the building where a series of LGBQT friendly bars are available for you to kick back and relax after a long days sightseeing.
That’s it folks! Sorry for the delay in blog posting. Up next is the City of Angels