What first-time travelers shouldn’t miss
There are some things every traveler should check out on their first visit to the big city of Taipei.
Taipei is the bustling capital and largest city of Taiwan. A combination of the native Taiwanese culture with the predominantly Chinese Han population and the influence of European and Japanese settlers make this island nation a unique place in the world. This metropolis is full of night markets featuring mouthwatering street food, architectural wonders and fantastic shopping. Many of Taipei’s top sights are completely free, such as the city’s temples and breathtakingly beautiful parks. This means that visitors will have more money to spend on trinkets at the night markets and high fashion stores in the Ximending area.
Zhongzheng District – Bustling Center of Taipei
After a long flight to Taiyuan International Airport, travelers can take the Taipei metro, the MRT, into the city. The rail system takes visitors to the heart of this metropolis, Taipei’s main train station in Zhongzheng District. Tourists planning day trips out of the city should find a hotel in this area, as Zhongzheng District is best served by public transport in Taipei. High-speed trains can connect them to other localities in the country and the MRT connects this district to all other parts of the city.
Here, visitors will discover stately government buildings like the Presidential Palace. They can see the city’s historic gates and walls, built in the 1700s. Museums and universities dot this area.
The best sites in Zhongzheng:
Chiang Kai-shek National Memorial – It is a museum dedicated to a former Chinese president. Visitors especially enjoy watching the elaborate Changing of the Guard ceremony, the stunning arches and the beautiful surrounding park.
Gongguan Night Market – This night market is the perfect place to sample Taiwanese street food like stinky tofu and buy trinkets. Students from nearby universities are the most frequent customers here.
Huashan Creative Park 1914 – The city has transformed an old cellar into art galleries, cafes, gift shops and a park. It is a fun region to explore. Most art exhibitions require an entrance fee.
Huashan 1914 Creative Park: once the largest wine production factory in # Taiwan, then abandoned for years, after which it was rediscovered and reused by artists. It is now a popular gathering place for families and hipsters, showing how the arts can contribute to a sense of belonging. #Taipei pic.twitter.com/d1guORpLLu
– Jinna Smit (@JinnaSmit) December 17, 2017
Shopping and spirituality in the Wanhua district
Wanhua District presents incredible contrasts between the modern and the historic as well as the superficial and the spiritual. Shoppers looking for a fashion hotspot will love the Ximending district in the northern part of Wanhua District. It is the trendiest district in Taipei with a huge Japanese influence. Travelers here will also enjoy participating in the burgeoning nightlife.
A little south, however, in the center of Wanhua District, visitors can explore the city’s largest concentration of temples. These intricate structures provide a peaceful place for people to reflect on existence and appreciate religious works of art.
For 280 years, Longshan Temple has borne witness to Taiwanese history and played an important role in the movement for democratization in Taiwan. Here in # Taiwan we celebrate religious freedom and diversity, and I encourage travelers to take the time to experience our vibrant temple culture. pic.twitter.com/6gubao82ka
– Tsai Ing-wen (@iingwen) November 28, 2019
Temples to visit:
- Lungshan temple – The most famous temple in Taipei, it was built in the 1700s, Taoist and Buddhist details
- Bangka Qingshan Temple – A Taoist temple with stone carvings and intricate woodwork
- Taipei Tianhuo Temple – Dedicated to the sea goddess Mazu, this temple has a colorful exterior and an ornate interior
- Qingshui temple – Opened in 1787, this temple celebrates a monk who saved a city from drought
Travelers who visit Taipei temples should remember that they are places of worship. People can appreciate them for their beautiful scenery but should be respectful of others who practice their religion.
Wanhua historical sites:
- Bopilao Historic Block – A street where the city has preserved 18th century architecture, visitors will learn more about the history of the city through exhibitions
- The red house – An octagonal building that was once a theater, now tourists can buy local crafts from stalls set up inside.
- Guangzhou Street Night Market
- Huaxi Street Night Market
- Ximending Night Market
Shopping malls, skyscrapers and hiking trails in Xinyi District
Xinyi is an affluent district of Taipei with modern shopping malls, skyscrapers, and top-notch restaurants. Taipei 101, one of the tallest buildings in the world, is the crown jewel of this district. The observatory at the top of this tower offers a breathtaking view of the city. While the US $ 22 admission fee might seem a bit steep, the experience is well worth it to take one of the fastest elevators in the world to the 101st floor. After enjoying the view, tourists must try dumplings, called xiao long bao, at the famous Taipei 101 branch of the Din Tai Fung restaurant chain.
– TZU * (@ CHAOTZU1) 22 November 2021
At the same time, this Xinyi Elephant Mountain in Xiangshan Park offers hiking trails and a respite from the city’s rat race. There, travelers can walk to the highest point in the park. Along the trail, they can stop at viewing areas with stunning views of the Taipei skyline, including Taipei 101. The walk is expected to take around an hour and a half. The natural environment will make people forget that they are visiting a city of over seven million people.
next: Here’s what travelers need to know before their first trip to Taiwan
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