My wish is that one day I can say I have been in all Asian countries, and seen all the major cities I would like to. The next stop on my list was Taipei.
Taiwan is a very important high-tech hub and home of well-known companies like HTC, Asus, Acer Inc. and Foxconn,producing products for Apple and Microsoft. I’ve been excited to come here for the first time, and even though it’s not very popular for foreign tourists, I assure you it’s worth a visit and I’ll explain why.
The city is with its 2.7 million people is quite small in comparison to other Asian or Chinese cities, which makes it also very convenient, and one thing I noticed immediately is the very high quality of air and safety. I decided to stay two days and my first stop brought me to the famous 101 building which was once the highest building in the world until the Burj Khalifa in Dubai was built. From the visitor platform you’ll get a great view over the city and mountains surrounding the Taiwanese capital.
Around the 101 are many restaurants, bars and brand stores as this is the heart of the city. You can easily catch a taxi which is a pretty convenient way to get around. After my visit to the observatory I went to the Maokong Gondola where you can enjoy a ride through the heights and mountains.
Here you can find the Zhinan Temple, one of the prime temples in Taipei and a very interesting experience if you wish to get a little understanding of Taoism. Continuing our 30-minute gondola ride with a final stop at the Taipei Zoo, I decided to visit the Longshan Temple which is the oldest in Taipei, being built in 1738.
Unfortunately it started to rain but I still enjoyed walking around the temple and exploring more. If you have the opportunity to spend more time, you could also visit the HsingTian Kong Temple, Taipei Confucius Temple, the Paoan Temple or the Kuantu Temple.
One of the things I liked most was the beautiful nature and peace the city offers through its parks, Yangmingshan National Park and Daan Forest Park. Time was passing quickly for me and it was about to get dark, and I can say that one spot you can’t miss in the night is the Shilin Night Market. Here you’ll find local food, fruits and vegetables and handmade souvenirs.
Another must-do is to visit the Elephant Mountain, which is an important landmark offering a great view of Taipei. It’s great to also see the Beitou Hot Springs, the National Palace Museum , Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall or the National Revolutionary Martyr’s Shrine.
As I love food I wanted to return to a restaurant which I have already visited in Hong Kong, called Ye’ Shanghai. Here you get real Shanghainese cuisine served, and I especially love the dumplings, rice and ribs on the menu. Dumpling lovers won’t want to miss the world-famous Din Tai Fung.
Generally in Taipei I reckon you won’t be disappointed in regards to restaurants, as you can get any cuisine you’re looking for.
I sincerely enjoyed Taipei and I will definitely discover more. If you manage to visit Taiwan for holidays or business, try the local specialties like Taiwanese Pineapple cake, Taiwanese meatballs & sausages or spicy hotpot. Also on the menu is snake and cooked frog.
I was also very happy with our choice to stay in the Mandarin Oriental Hotel – probably the best hotel I ever stayed in. The service, rooms and everything was just so perfect. I loved it. Other great possibilities to get a room in could be Cosmos Hotel, the Regent or the Taipei Garden Hotel.
I suggest you stay around 4-5 days, as this should be enough to see all temples and major sights plus night markets, to try new restaurants and food and maybe have a bit of time torelax in a spa as well. I wish you all the best and I’ll keep you posted on where I am going to be next.