I was lucky enough to spend 72 hours in Taipei during my East Asia tour. Taipei is the capital of Taiwan. I have visited Taiwan twice and this blog is about the first time I visited Taiwan. I will write another blog about my second visit to Taiwan where I spent 10 days and visited Taipei and Taichung. For this blog, I will write about my first trip where I only spent few days. This itinerary is perfect for people on a time crunch.
I spent time in Japan and South Korea prior to visiting Taiwan. As a result of this, I was very tired when I got to Taiwan and decided to explore the city at a slow pace.
Prior to visiting Taipei, I had little or no expectations. I assumed the cit would have very little to offer me because I did not know much about Taiwan at the time. I was however pleasantly surprised as Taipei was full of exciting sites and delicious food. Taipei is a bustling city with a variety of activities and sights, ranging from temples to night markets to symbolic buildings.
Here is a list of things I did in 72 hours.
Liberty square: Liberty hall main gate, beautiful garden, Taiwan’s national theater and national concert hall
Chiang Kai-shek Memorial hall
State of Chiang Kai-shek
Liberty square houses 3 major landmarks as well as a beautiful garden. Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall which is a national monument and landmark can be found in the square. The memorial was erected in honor of Chiang Kai-shek who was a former President of the Republic of China. Taiwan’s National Theater and National Concert Hall can also be found in the square.
Taipei 101 can be seen from several parts of the city
Mass damper that stabilizes Taipei 101
Taipei 101 is one of the tallest observatories in Asia. Taipei 101 was the world’s tallest building until 2004 when Burj Khalifa in Dubai took its place.
It has a traditional Chinese design and it is beyond beautiful! I think it is one of the most beautiful observatories I have seen, followed by the Petronas Twin Towers in Malaysia. The building is an architect’s dream with a stunning combination of beauty and functionality. It also offers a breathtaking, panoramic view of the city.
Beautiful view of Taipei’s vegetation form the gondola
Maokong Gondola is a fun gondola which runs between Taipei Zoo and the tea growing region of Maokong. The gondola passes a total of 3 stations. It starts from Taipei Zoo and goes through Taipei Zoo south station, Zhinan temple station and Maokong station. Fares are based on the number of stations traveled. A trip to the last station and back cost NT$120 which is about 4 USD.
There are 2 types of gondolas- the ones with the solid base, and the ones with the clear base, called Crystal Cabins. I rode in the gondola with the crystal cabin back to Taipei from Maokong and the view from the base was breathtaking. The untouched vegetation of Taipei was very apparent and it was a great sight to see.
Taipei Confucius Temple:
Taipei Confucius Temple
The Taipei Confucius Temple is located in the Datong District and wasn’t too far from the Airbnb I stayed. The temple was built in 1879, demolished and rebuilt in 1930. It has a charming, old aesthetic, but it is very well maintained.
Shilin Night Market:tas delicious food and some of the best bakeries ever! Pasteries are made fresh daily and they are so yummy! I like the fact that you can find food when you turn at any corner and a lot of restaurants are open late too. If you are not the type who likes exploring, the options below are straightforward and also have a hint of a local touch to them.
Shilin Night Market:
Every tourist that visits Taipei has to visit the Shilin Night Market. It is a very busy market which is warranted because it is the largest night market in the city. It is located in the Shilin district of Taipei. The market opens daily from 3pm-1am.
A wide variety of food, clothing and souvenirs can be found in the night market therefore, it is every shopper’s dream. I spent over 2 hours in the market and I did not think it was enough because there was so much to see. I particularly enjoyed the night market because of the wide variety of delicious food.
There are many more night markets in Taipei which are also worth visiting. Examples are Rahoe Night Market, Ningixa Night Market, Huaxi Street Night Market, Ximending Night Market among many others. The night markets are not too far from eachother and the transport system in Taiwan is quite straightforward therefore, locating the night markets is not that difficult with Google Maps. If Google Maps seems too complicated, Uber works well in Taiwan as well and it is very affordable.
Ground floor of Taipei 101:
I stumbled upon the food court in the ground floor of Taipei 101 by accident. It was found while searching for the entrance to Taipei 101’s observatory. It was a pleasant surprise and I am glad I stayed to explore because the food court offers a large variety of affordable and delicious food.
Stop by the ground floor of Taipei 101 if you find yourself in Taiwan. You will be pleased.
Taipei was definitely a wonderful city which exceeded all my expectations. 72 hours left me craving more of the city and I plan to go back. I would love to take in more of city’s essence and stay longer in Taiwan, not just Taipei.
The city is a lovely mix of the old world and modern day architecture, and I believe it is an underrated city that should be on every traveler’s radar.
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