5 tips for Taipei

Taipei Skyline at night
© Sean Pavone | Dreamstime.com

The capital of Taiwan is colorful, young and crazy and at the same time full of history and cultural sights. Although the cityscape is strongly characterized by glass skyscrapers and modern shopping malls, there are always timeless scenes from one of the oldest cultures in the world to observe. Believers make pilgrimages to ancient temples, the streets are filled with the sounds of great religious processions, and small stores sell traditional herbs and remedies. In the authentic night markets, people haggle over the price of clothing and handicrafts. Cookshops offer Asian snacks until late at night, and night owls are drawn to the numerous clubs and karaoke bars. Things are a bit quieter in the hot springs and wellness temples that can be found all over Taipei. A Taipei trip shows the different faces of the metropolis, which complement each other harmoniously despite their contrasts.

Tip 1: Taipei 101

Construction of Taipei 101 began in 1999 and took five years to complete. The construction costs amounted to over 1.5 billion euros. At the time of its completion, the structure was hailed as the tallest building in the world. Made of steel and glass, the style of Taipei 101 is reminiscent of traditional Chinese pagodas due to the tower’s grading. A repeated design element is the number 8, which is considered lucky in China. For example, the eight main sections of the tower each contain eight floors. The facade is decorated with a stainless steel amulet that replicates the shape of ancient Chinese coins and is said to augur good luck in business.

Taipei 101
© Siraphol | Dreamstime.com

Levels 89, 91, and 101 have been set aside as viewing areas for visitors and offer views of most of the city. Floor 91 has an outdoor observation deck, but it is only accessible in good weather. Another special feature of Taipei 101 is the vibration damper, which is unique in the world on this scale. The damping system, which is accessible to visitors, consists of a gold-plated steel sphere suspended from steel cables. This sphere, which is 5.5 meters in diameter and weighs 650 tons, has an effect comparable to that of a pendulum. If the tower starts to swing during a storm, the steel ball swings in the opposite direction to the movements of the building, thereby reducing them.

Tip 2: National Palace Museum

In 1965, the National Palace Museum was built in the hillside of Taipei. This national palace museum is one of the few important sights in Taipei. If you ever visit the capital, this is an absolute must. The museum itself is highly modern and is one of the most modern museums in the world.

National Palace Museum in Taipei
© Siraphol | Dreamstime.com

In total, you can admire 653597 objects in the National Palace Museum, which have accumulated from 5000 years of Chinese history (from the Stone Age to the Quing Dynasty).

Of all the Chinese art exhibited around the world, the National Palace Museum alone houses 75%. The total space itself is not enough, so every three months the art objects or the history objects in the museum have to be replaced.

Already during the construction works in 1965, many new objects from the 3rd dynasty in China were discovered. During the excavations for the foundation, old history objects were found.

Tip 3: National Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial

Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall is a national pilgrimage site built in honor of the late Chiang Kai-shek, who was the President of the People’s Republic of China for many years. The memorial hall was built in the center of Taipei, in Taiwan, starting in 1975. It has been open to the public since 1980, the 5th anniversary of Chiang Kai-shek’s death. Many tourists also visit the memorial hall every year. The architectural style of the memorial is not uniform, different traditional Chinese architectural styles are put together. For example, the main entrance is spanned by an archway, which is in the style of the Ming Dynasty.

View from Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall on spacious Park in Taipei, Taiwan
© Klanarong Chitmung | Dreamstime.com

Part of the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall is also a spacious park. The Memorial Hall is flanked by the National Theater and the Concert Hall. On the large square between the buildings, there are always festivals and ceremonies, such as the annual Lantern Festival. The memorial hall itself is an almost 80 meters high building made of marble and is covered by a blue roof. The basic shape of the building is square and has two floors. On the upper one, there is a bronze statue of the former president, 16 meters high and weighing 25 tons. In front of the statue, soldiers of the Republic keep guard of honor, these are replaced every hour and are now part of the tourist attraction.

Tip 4: Guandu Temple

Guandu is a Taoist temple in Taipei, Taiwan, south of the Danshui district. It was built in 1661 and is one of the oldest surviving temples on the island.

Exterior of Guandu Temple in Taipei, Taiwan

To the right of the main hall is a tunnel more than 100 meters long that runs through the mountain and contains altars to various deities, some of which have colorful paintings, and leads to a viewing platform that overlooks the shore of Danshui. The viewing platform is an ornately carved and painted stone balcony. The rear facade of the temple is made of white marble and overlooks a park.

This place exudes an absolute tranquility and peacefulness.

Tip 5: Raohe Night Market

When in Taipei, there is no way around one of the great Night Markets. The Night Markets in the metropolis are a hub for locals, tourists, chefs and people who are looking for a culinary experience.

However, these Night Markets are very different from the markets experienced in other Asian countries. Here it is very orderly and you are not overwhelmed by various strange smells. Here it smells delicious, the interaction with each other is relaxed and cozy and they really take time for the food and every single customer. Whether you’re looking for vegetarian specialties or just a super tasty soup, you’ll find it here at Night Market. An experience that you cannot miss when traveling through Taipei!

Raohe Night Market in Taipei
© Gabriel Murad | Dreamstime.com

The Market Raohe Night Market is known as one of the top night markets in Taipei. The market is one of the oldest night markets in Taipei. You will find a large number of different stalls on the 600 meter long Raohe Street. Here you will find a mix of great food, groceries, everyday items or even some of the very popular arcades.

Since you hardly find any crowds here, the market is also perfect for an evening stroll with an extraordinary atmosphere.