The present web page is the commencement of the Taipei Travel Guide section of my website.
There are so many things to say about Taipei that, I admit, I waited for long before attempting to write this page ... I felt overwhelmed.
For decades Taiwanese people have known that, if they wanted to succeed, they had to come to Taipei.
They came ... by the millions. Taipei now counts about 2.600.000 inhabitants, Great Taipei reaches 5 millions.
Despite the huge growth, Taipei is a sophisticated and livable city. Many foreigners that live and work in Taipei do not fully realize how much the capital is different from the rest of Taiwan.
Since Chang Kai-shek time, each Taiwan government has regarded Taipei as a showcase, the "face" that Taiwan showed to the outside world.
Therefore huge resources have been invested to improve the infrastructure and the quality of life in the capital of Taiwan.
I really like Taipei. It is for sure my favourite city in Taiwan, where I always like to go back ... when I can, since we live in Taichung.
How can I say? Taipei is more "city" than any other in Taiwan.
You can judge for yourself from how the city is well mantained, the number and quality of museums and performances, from the elegance of the people ... and many other things.
What does not change, compared with the rest of Taiwan, is the sincere and warm kindness of the people. Everytime in Taipei I stop to read a map, someone offers to help.
Do not worry if this happens to you too :)) The help will be sincere with no strings attached. "Tourist traps" are almost unheard in Taiwan.
Attractions, places to see, things to do are almost endless in this hidden gem that is Taipei. The list that my Taipei Travel Guide provides is not complete for sure, but just enough for a starter.
Be awed by the Imperial Collections at the National Palace Museum
The National Palace Museum is the best collection of Chinese art in the world, the treasures of art and mastery collected over the centuries by the emperors of China
After the communist revolution in 1949, these imperial collections reached Taiwan following Chang Kai-shek soldiers.
Hike in Yangmingshan National Park
Yangmingshan is a dormant vulcano, cloaked in the jungle. The mountain looms over Taipei and reaches 1120 meters of altitude.
Home to a beautiful National Park, Yangmingshan is crossed by a dense and well maintained network of roads and footpaths that connect grasslands, fumaroles and hot springs.
Soak into the waters of Taiwan's most celebrated hot sulphur springs, surrounded by a green scenery
You have the choice to indulge in an old fashioned Japanese inn or in one of the new luxurious 5 stars resorts.
Divine your future in Taipei's Chinese Temples
Chinese temples in Taiwan are a very important part of life for people of all ages and groups. Young and old, rich and poor, everybody comes to the temples to worship, burn incense, divine the future, ward off bad luck.
Longshan, Baoan and Confucius Temple are among the most interesting and beautiful ones.
Watch the Changing of the Guard at the Martyrs' Shrine
The capital of the R.O.C. offers plenty of monumental sites and solemn ceremonies, such as the Changing of the Guard.
Martyrs' Shrine commemorates the people who died for the Republic of China.
The Change of the Guard is performed also at Chang Kai-shek Memorial Hall and Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall.
Practice Taichi at Chang Kai-shek Memorial Hall
As democracy and freedom prevailed, the monuments of the past dictatorship have become home to cultural and recreational activities.
Just an example: the Chang Kai-shek Memorial Hall where people get together in the early morning to practice Taichi. It is easy to join them, if you want to do so.
Explore Lin's An Tai Mansion
The Lins, with different branches, were a powerful family in Taiwan.
Taipei's Lins were merchant, coming from Fujian, the chinese province on the other side of the Taiwan Strait.
Their wealthy house, built in 1820, has been moved, brick by brick, from its original location in Da An Park area.
Take the elevator to the top of Taipei 101
Taipei 101 Tower has become Taipei's landmark in just a few years.
This skyscraper, built in an area subject to earthquakes and typhoons, is a real wonder of modern technology.
The elevator will bring you in just 40 seconds to the observatory at the 89th floor. When you get back, do not forget to see the posh shopping center and the food court.
Eat, eat and eat ...
Taipei people love to eat ... and eating very well.
Forget Singapore or China: here in Taipei you will find the finest food in the Far East.
Yes, I sincerely believe so ...
Attend a performance of Beijing Opera ... and more
Beijing Opera has always been at home in Taipei, together with the home-grown Taiwanese Opera.
If you want something different, you will find Cloud Gate Dance Theatre, a very popular worldwide modern dance group, and U-Theatre, (video on the left), that mixes dance, music and martial arts.
Shopping ... in a night market o in a "super cool" department store
Taipei shops offer plenty of interesting stuff, from jade to Taiwan tea, from traditional chinese clothing (qipao and tangzhuang) to electronics ...
The eastern part of Taipei, around Taipei 101, is literally crammed with "super cool" (or just pretending to be) shopping malls.
Then there are the night markets. They mostly sell cheap products "made in China" but also offer the authentic Taiwanese "street food".
Learn to speak Mandarin
Why not? Learning Mandarin in Taiwan provides you with several advantages.
Especially Taipei offers the most established schools like the Mandarin Learning Center at NTNU and ICLP at National Taiwan University.
Just in case you are interested to something less challenging and more pleasant, have a look how this smart Taiwanese girl teaches mandarin online.
Climb to Maokong by cable car for a relaxing afternoon in a teahouse
You can reach Muzha with the MRT and visit Taipei zoo.
Then take a ride with the cable car to Maokong. Reach a teahouse, there are all kind of them in Maokong. And enjoy a relaxing afternoon sampling oolong teas overlooking Taipei.
If you have to stay downtown, I recommend Wisteria Tea House.