Taiwan’s capital city is a cosmopolitan gem with something for everyone. For those interested in East Asian history, Taipei has the best collection of ancient Chinese artifacts which date back thousands of years. Those wishing to indulge in Taipei’s culinary delights may enjoy a large variety of foods for all budgets, ranging from a bowl of noodles at a night market to a Michelin-rated culinary masterpiece. Those wishing to escape the hustle and bustle of the city need only take a short bus ride to Yangmingshan National Park and enjoy nature’s tranquility in four distinct seasons of beauty. Those interested in arts and traditional crafts have many choices, ranging from very traditional Dihua Street to the swanky Xinyi District. Taipei is not to be missed.
Completed in 2004 and while no longer the tallest building in the world, Taipei 101 still comes close and still provides some of the best views in the world. Besides the world-class views offered by Taipei 101, Taipei 101 is perhaps one of the most interesting engineering marvels of its kind in that it is built to withstand some of the world’s most powerful earthquakes and typhoons. Relevant information about the process helps visitors understand the myriad challenges which had to be overcome to construct this modern marvel.
National Palace Museum
Opened at its current location in 1965, the National Palace Museum holds the treasures where were located in the former National Palace Museum in Beijing before the Second World War. The museum’s collection contains nearly 700,000 artifacts from throughout the more than five-eight thousand years of Chinese history, ranging from the Neolithic Age to the Qing Dynasty, making it one of the most comprehensive history museums in the world. The museum building itself echoes the glory of Chinese palaces of old, giving one the impression that the National Palace Museum is a palace in and of itself.
Just north of the Taipei city center lies Yangmingshan National Park, an area of rolling hills, forests, hot springs, hiking trails and great views. Indeed, Yangmingshan National Park does afford visitors some of the best views in Taiwan, allowing visitors to see the entire Taipei Basin and beyond from the south and the vast Pacific Ocean from the north. Birdwatchers are also in for a treat as Yangmingshan National Park is a known nesting area of the majestic Formosan Blue Magpie. The park is easily accessible by bus, making Yangmingshan the perfect day trip for those visiting Taipei who wish to escape the hustle and bustle of the city.
Din Tai Fung
Originally begun as a cooking oil company in the 1950s, Din Tai Fung is now a world-famous group of restaurants known for their xiaolongbao (little dragon dumplings) which are second to none in the world. The attention to taste and detail at Din Tai Fung has propelled it to the point where it is widely regarded as a must-try for anyone visiting Taiwan. And now with six locations in Taipei, dining at Din Tai Fung is easier than ever!
When the first Han inhabitants came to Taiwan, they brought with them the cuisine of Guangdong and Fujian, gradually making their own additions to the cuisine as time went on. Sanhoyuan is the perfect example of the product of these changes. Sanhoyuan takes Taiwanese cuisine to a whole new level in a way that appeals to both locals and visitors alike, adding both class and classicism to the Taiwanese dining experience. And of course, don't forget their creative and delicious steamed desert buns, ranging in shapes from Mario-esque mushrooms to pandas.
The oldest extant street in Taipei, Dihua street retains historic architecture from the late Qing Dynasty and is the perfect place to purchase traditional arts and crafts as well as some of the best tea in the world. In fact, the English word “tea” is derived from the Hokkien word “tê.” The word was brought by the Dutch who were trading in Taiwan and Fujian. European businesses also established shops on Dihua Street during the Qing Dynasty, and the buildings that formerly housed them have been completely restored. Arts, crafts, tea houses, traditional and innovative deserts can all be found on Dihua Street.
Located in the same district as Taipei 101, Xinyi District is the modern answer to Taipei’s Dihua Street. Containing luxury foreign and domestic restaurants and attire, a state-of-the-art movie theater and street activities of various kinds, Xinyi is the cosmopolitan capital of Taipei. If it is to dine on world-class fare, shop for the latest fashions or enjoy a drink under the bright lights of Taipei 101, Xinyi has something for everyone.