Any mention of Taipei elicits a couple of things – cultured literature & good food. Senses will be heightened with all to experience in Taipei.
Taipei 101 is an iconic building, used to be the tallest building until another building usurped its throne, and another, and another. The outer building gives an impression of a sturdy built, able to withstand earthquake and typhoon. Queue to go up the building used to be systematic but long. The trip on the lift is quick to bring visitors upwards, to enjoy the city views. Location : within city centre
To contrast the modern skyscraper, head next to the Longshan Temple. Upon entering the temple, expects your nostril to be permeated with incense scent. Don’t squint your eyes though as the architecture and carvings are intricately eye-catching. Location : within city centre
For another different view of Taipei 101, take the Metro towards Taipei Zoo Station and head towards the Maokong Gondola. The Gondola climbs upwards surrounded with green views, very different from the concrete view from atop Taipei 101 building. But from certain views on the gondola, you would be able to take a peep at the Taipei 101 building from afar. The Maokong Gondola unfortunately has been plagued by issues throughout its early years. Local usually advises to go cooler days, but definitely not on heavy rain season. If you have time, drop by to the Taipei Zoo which is just next door. Location : Suburb
Another stop is the National Palace Museum, a nice spot to escape the summer heat in the middle of the day. I can only remember the jade “cabbage”, wondering how the artist spent the days carving with precision to turn a raw jade into such life-like jade vegetable. Location : within city centre
A visit to Ximending at night is filled with lights. Shops aplenty, spend your time rummaging the shops for knick-knacks. When tired, stop by for your favourite snacks and dessert. My favourites – Ay-chung Rice Noodle, Yong He Soy Bean & You Tiao. Small portion and easy on the stomach. Location : Within city centre
Keelung is a busy port, with very different vibes. Pre-pandemic, cruise ships stopped by. Along the drive to Keelung, there are many containers at the port. Surrounding shops are slightly run down. But take a stroll along the coast and you will see nature at its best. Sea, coast, rocky formations. Keelung is famous for its night market but very unfortunately I missed it. Location : Suburb
Another interesting spot is Dansui Wharf, a modernized fisherman’s wharf. A stroll along the elevated wharf on a sunny but windy day is refreshing. Stalls along have some small trinkets to choose, and as a fisherman’s wharf surely there are lots of seafood-related food to buy. Salted fish, snacks. Take your pick and try at the various shops and stalls. Location : Suburb
Yehliu provides a completely different view, with the focus on the geopark which houses nature’s formation of rocks along the coast. All the rocks formed, after taking in nature’s beating of water, wind, minerals. Imagine them as various familiar formations, and mankind gives each of them names. Queen’s Head, Fairy Shoes, Elephant Rock. Outside the park, there are various stalls selling snacks if you are hungry.
Moving from the seaside to the mountain-side, Jiufen is an interesting day trip. Snaking up the winding route towards Jiufen (literally Nine Portion), the destination is full of food and interesting stalls selling all sorts of souvenir trinkets. As the small township is built in various levels along the mountainous area overlooking the sea, it provides breezy wind and fantastic view from some of the shops.
Taipei and its surrounding spots really have plenty to offer visitors. Being a city nearby the sea, the vast variety of interesting spots along the coast are already interesting. The new blends in with the old to offer visitors a unique blend of environment. On top of it, Taipei has a lot of different food to try out.
The night markets especially are famous for cheap snacks. Shilin Night Market, Raohe Night Market, Huaxi Night Market, Shida Night Market and so many more. Long list of food to try – pork buns, braised-pork rice (lu rou fan), stinky tofu (chou tou fu), oyster omelette, deep-fried meat cutlet, mochi with a variety of fillings, oyster mee sua, egg crepe roll and so many more.
Try all you can in the many night markets, yours truly was too busy trying all the snacks with roving eyes on clothes & shoes, hence forgetting to take any pictures. ☹