Taipei, the national capital of the Republic of China, is a humming metropolis on a small island off the coast of the mainland. Boasting an abundance of gorgeous natural and manmade scenery, Taipei offers a huge variety of things to do and see as well as accommodations to enjoy during a visit. The city is divided into several districts, each possessing its own charm and interest, including the downtown, which is subdivided into the modern and cosmopolitan East and the traditional, culturally rich West.
Museums Image: 柏翰 / ポーハン / POHAN (flickr)
The selection of museums in Taipei is vast, ranging through all types of exhibition halls, from history to fine arts. Praised as the world’s best collection of Chinese historical artifacts, the National Palace Museum, though admission fees tend to be pricey, is a must see for every visitor of China; on Saturdays, the museum offers two hours of free admission in the evenings. Displaying work of local and international artists, the Taipei Fine Arts Museum is a well-liked destination, which is on the same property as the unique Taipei Story House, a fine Tudor house built in 1813, now an establishment devoted to the story of the history of tea in Taipei. Other unique and interesting museums in this city include Tittot Museum of glasswork, the Museum of Drinking Water, the Miniatures Museum of Taiwan, and Su Ho Memorial Paper Museum.
Completed and formally opened to the public on New Year’s Eve of 2004, Taipei 101 was officially the tallest building in the world until 2010, after the construction of Burj Khalifa in Dubai. Not only is this a structure of achievement in construction, but it is a building of great symbolism and meaning, much of it designed with feng shui qualities, and displaying such figures as the curled ruyi, associated with heavenly clouds, healing, protection, and accomplishment, which are placed throughout the establishment, expressing a desire and commemoration of reaching new heights. The light beacon at the top of the building shines throughout the night and runs through the spectrum of colors, one for every day of the week, each night from six to ten. With 101 floors, Taipei 101 is a towering display to not only see, but experience.
Shopping Image: Robert S. Donovan (flickr)
Hitting the various shopping areas is a definite must do in Taipei, as it is an experience like no other, with underground shopping centers, chic and modern malls, and unique night markets. High population levels and inadequate space, underground shopping areas were designed to accommodate; these vicinities are also connections between metro stations. Most of the high-end shopping is reserved for the sophisticated malls, which are most prominently dispersed in the Daan and Xinyi districts. Markets offer an inexpensive alternative for all types of shopping; one of the city’s unique varieties are the night markets, which remain in operation well past midnight.
Scattered throughout Taipei and the surrounding regions, there are dozens of gorgeous temples, dating back to the previous centuries. Among the most popular of these temples is the Long Shan Temple, an intricately designed structure that was built in 1783. Other well-liked temples include the Confucius Temple and the Baoan Temple, both constructed in the following century, 1830 and 1879, respectively. Taipei Hotels Accommodations in Taipei are numerous of vast proportions, ranging through all levels of budget, from hostel and economy to mid-range to an indulgence of luxury. Whatever your choice, a unique and comfortable experience awaits visitors of every establishment.