Why You Will Fall in Love with Taipei
Taipei is an acquired taste. If you're a tourist looking for palm trees and sandy beaches and a "vacation" spot, this is not the place for you. But if you're interested in discovering a place with traditional architecture, authentic stories, hidden beauty, surprising flavors, and most of all, an utterly warm and amazing people, then you have to plan a trip to Taipei once in your lifetime.
Taipei is where I called home for the first half of my life, so I consider myself a native of Taipei. However, places change, and Taipei in particular has changed quite a bit in the years since I've left, I now see things with a new sense of wonder whenever I return to visit families and friends. A sense of nostalgia most likely tints my lenses, as we all attach personal stories to a previous location. But to be perfectly objective, of all the places I’ve encountered, if you’re looking for an explosion of senses, emotions, and paradox, then look no further and book your next flight to Taipei.
1. Be Seduced by the World’s Cutest Quarantine Dogs
Seriously, have you seen cuter airport quarantine dogs?
2. Enjoy Culture in Palatial Concert Halls
Built in the style of traditional Chinese Imperial palaces, the National Theatre and Concert Hall are stunning examples of architecture and feature state-of-the-art stages and acoustics. If the schedule allows it, go see a traditional Peking Opera or Taiwanese Opera and be blown away by the sumptuous costumes and unique vocal performances.
3. Feel Inspired at Liberty Square
See fine examples of modern Chinese architecture at Liberty Square and the Chiang-Kai-Shek Memorial Hall.
4. Visit the World’s Largest Collection of Traditional Chinese Art
Discover Imperial treasures at the National Palace Museum, and don’t miss the traditional Ming styled classical Chinese garden right next door.
5. Learn Philosophy at Confucius’ Temple
Learn about traditional Chinese philosophy written by Confucius, the Socrates of Chinese civilization.
6. Admire the View from One of the World’s Tallest Towers
Visit Taipei 101 and enjoy modern Taiwanese cuisine on the 85th floor.
7. Traverse Lush Forests in a Glass Bottom Gondola
Take the Maokong Gondola (貓空纜車) to the Muzha (木柵) hills, and enjoy freshly-brewed tea from the tea plantations with a view over Taipei.
8. Take a Dip in a Hot Springs River
Head to Beitou’s Hell Valley (地熱谷) and admire an entire valley covered by thermal mist. Don’t hesitate to dip your toes in the river flowing with hot springs.
9. Sleep in a Chinese Palace
Spend a night at the Grand Hotel in Yuanshan (圓山大飯店) and let your eyes take in the sumptuous decor.
10. Watch the Changing of Guards at the Martyr’s Shrine
They are rumored to never blink their eyes when they’re on-duty.
11. Join the Never-Ending Feast at Night Markets
Taipei never sleeps. The citizens of Taipei are known to never stop eating. Try amazing and pungent flavors like the Stinky Tofu (臭豆腐). You have to try it once in your life.
12. Let Your Heart be Touched
You are about to have the trip of your lifetime once you encounter Taipei locals. You will never be able to forget the hospitality and the human warmth of Taipei.
Have you ever been to Taipei? I'd love to hear about your impressions!