This blog post was updated on April 30, 2020.
Taiwan’s capital sits in a coveted seat, one surrounded by naturally gifted mountains. Seven million people have figured out that this seat is the best seat in Taiwan’s house. The roughly 3,000-year-old city blends Chinese, Japanese and Western influences for a decidedly unique makeup. Modern yet historic, Taipei presents a fine place to begin, end or focus your trip through Southeast Asia. If it’s your first time with the city, you won’t want to miss these classically Taipei experiences.
Head Up High:
Taipei was long holder of the world’s tallest building. While Taipei 101 no longer claims that title, it is still a colossal structure worth scaling while in town. Measuring roughly 508 meters or 1,669 feet, Taipei 101 whisks visitors up to the on-top-of-the-world view in a matter of seconds. Travelers can appreciate the panoramic views from the observations deck on the 89th floor. There are also a number of malls within the structure should you need to do some nerve settling retail therapy after taking in the nail-bitingly high view of Taipei. The building itself was designed to resemble a giant bamboo stalk.
Appreciate The Art:
You can’t quite visit Taipei without a stop at the National Palace Museum. Aside from its ornate and intricate structure, the building houses even more stunners. The National Palace Museum takes pride in housing the world’s largest collection of Chinese art. Among its 620,000 art objects, you can see many pieces that were a part of the Chinese imperial collection. Travelers visiting the museum won’t want to miss the jade collection, particularly notable for its famous jade cabbage. Prone to crowds, you can also break for a tea break while touring at the onsite teahouse.
If there is one main calling card for Taipei it may as well be its night markets. The city features several where you can sample traditional cuisine under the cover of night. When the sun goes down these spaces come to life, including the Shilin Night Market and the Raoh Street Market. The Shilin Night Market is arguably the largest night market in the city. Built in 1899, the market provides the chance to sample things you didn’t even know were on the table. In addition, travelers can also get their late night eats at the Raoh Street Market. This classic Taipei night market is the oldest in the city. You can feast on Taiwanese eats like spicy stinky tofu and even visit the Ciyou Temple. The Raoh Street Market is easy to find for it runs along Raoh Street.
One of the main appeals to Taipei is that you can appreciate its surrounding mountains in a matter of minutes not hours. Yangmingshan National Park sits just 30 minutes outside the city. Covered in wooded mountains and hot springs, the park is one of Taiwan’s main natural beauties. The highest elevation in the park measures 1,120 meters. While you are appreciating feelings of remoteness even though Taipei is just a few minutes away, you can marvel at the fact that Yangmingshan National Park is here thanks to a volcanic eruption that carved out the mountains and hot springs.