Nestled in a basin surrounded by mountains, Taipei is a laidback and vibrant city and capital of Taiwan since 1887. Packed with the upmarket and ultramodern it is also a bastion of Taiwan’s wonderfully rich heritage. Boasting an intriguing mix of cultures in everything from cuisine to architecture, spot the Chinese, Japanese and Western influences as you explore amongst neon signs, heritage streets and astounding history.
This sprawling museum houses the world’s largest, and one of its finest, collection of Chinese art and artefacts. This epic collection spans 5,000 years with a priceless treasure trove of items that once belonged to emperors at its core. Spread over four levels, you can spend hours admiring paintings, bronze, lacquerware, ceramics and items from the daily life at court, not forgetting to pay a visit to the famous Jade cabbage while you’re here!
The Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall is dedicated to the man who is oft credited for creating the Taiwan we know today. Although it was built in the 1980s the hall, perched at the top of 88 steps, is actually an excellent example of classical Chinese architecture. Within you’ll find a big statue of Chiang Kai Shek himself as well as a collection of pictures and personal effects that tell his story. The elaborate, hourly changing of the guard is well worth a look.
Zhongzheng is the area where Taipei began, though there isn’t much of the original walled city from the 1880s left after it was destroyed by the Japanese. There are, however, four of the five original Fujian-style gates remaining. Much of the architecture here now is Japanese influenced – the red brick Presidential Palace is a fascinating Japanese take of British imperial architecture. Close to the Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall you’ll find the National Taiwan Museum with its grandiose Neoclassical façade. Inside is a huge collection, the most interesting of which is the aboriginal artefacts exhibit.
Taipei’s most vibrant temple, Longshan is also its oldest having been founded in 1738 although it has been destroyed and rebuilt a number of times. Displaying the unique architecture and temple arts that characterise Taiwan’s folk faith, the temple is dedicated to the bodhisattva of mercy but there are over 100 deities packed in to be worshipped. This is the best place to observe the Taiwanese people practicing their beliefs and traditions.
Bao-an is an exquisite temple adorned with perfect examples of traditional Taiwanese decorative arts. It was built in the early 1800s by immigrants from Quanzhou on mainland China. Following a huge restoration project in the 1990s, the temple received the UNESCO Asia-Pacific Heritage award and is today a centre for folk arts, hosting regular festivities, performances and parades. Taipei’s Confucian temple is situated opposite.
The world’s tallest building until 2009, Taipei 101 is 508 metres tall and has (you guessed it!) 101 floors. It towers above Taipei’s commercial heart, the district of Xinyi where you’ll find a concentration of malls, lively restaurants and bars. Taipei 101 is designed to resemble a stalk of bamboo; the observation deck is on the 89th floor with an outdoor gallery on the 91st which opens depending on the weather. The lift is so fast it will have you from the ground to the observation deck in 40 seconds.
Shilin Night Market is Taipei’s largest and most famous with hundreds of stalls and a buzzy atmosphere. The original Shilin market building is packed full of food stalls and little restaurants selling all sorts of delicious local snacks and dishes, whilst spread out around it are shops and business selling all sorts of bits and bobs. Shilin offers a fun way to pass the evening.
The Landis is a luxury hotel with service standards second to none. Excellently located in the buzzing Zhongshan district it features the Jurlique Spa and a health centre. The hotel has three restaurants offering international cuisine and features elegant, modern accommodation that offers the utmost comfort with luxury flourishes.
A hotel with a unique design style, the City Suites Taipei Nandong perfectly blends eastern and western ambiance with all the comfort and convenience. Located in Taipei's Songshan district, minutes from the airport and the vibrant Zhongzheng entertainment area, the City Suites is excellently located for public transport links and close to the Raohe Night Market for delicious snacking opportunities. Expect a wonderfully warm welcome.
Situated in the vibrant Zhongshan district, Regent Taipei offers spacious and luxurious accommodation. The hotel features a rejuvenating spa, rooftop pool, gym, sauna and a Jacuzzi. There are seven exquisite restaurants featuring cuisine from around the world and the Regent Galleria is home to 50 designer boutiques.
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