Taipei went from one of Asia’s ugliest ducklings to one of its most loveable, dynamic and exciting cities in just a short period. Once overly congested, smoggy and quite ugly, the city has transformed itself due to the demands of the locals. Today, traveling around Taipei is easy thanks to a light-rail network, parks thrive on nearly every river bank, and urban planners have created one of the continent’s most interesting-looking cities. Today, the capital strikes a delicate balance between chaos and culture, and beauty and business, making it a premier destination for all travelers.
The beautiful side of Taipei is most evident at the Longshan Temple. It is not the city’s largest temple, but it is by far the most lovely. Built in 1738, the temple exudes a certain warmth, enchanting visitors with its stone-lined courtyard, tranquil waterfall and carved-stone columns. The interior is an explosion of regal gold and scarlet, and the thick scent of incense gives it an ethereal atmosphere. For the most hypnotic experience, visit in the early mornings when crowds of worshippers engage in mesmerizing chanting.
For more beauty, visit the Zhishan Cultural and Ecological Garden, where carved statues of famous Chinese characters rise from the lush beds of native plants. Created on a jungle-filled mountain, the park offers sweeping panoramic views of the entire city, making it well worth the strenuous climb to the top.
The business side of the capital is alive and well in Taipei 101, the world’s tallest building. The 508-meter tower is impossible to miss from anywhere in the city. Its bamboo-stalk design is a testament to Taiwanese innovation, and visitors can reach the observation deck on the 89th floor in just 40 seconds on the world’s fastest elevator.
Core Pacific City is another outstanding example of Taipei’s thriving business world. One of the most eye-catching malls in Asia, the MC Escher-inspired building looks like a gigantic golf ball and feels like an entirely different planet inside. Colored lights on the ceilings create a disco-like atmosphere, and the mall is open 24 hours a day. Inside is an enormous food court offering cuisines from around the world, a cinema multiplex, glitzy nightclubs, lively karaoke bars and enough designer stores to keep even the most discerning fashionistas happy.
The high concentration of museums in the city makes Taipei a cultural haven. At the National Palace Museum, visitors can explore the world’s largest collection of Chinese art. The sheer volume of pieces is impressive, and the experienced guides take visitors through thousands of years of history, passing by beautiful calligraphy, elegant paintings, fascinating artifacts from the Forbidden city and more.
One of the most whimsically intriguing museums in Taipei is the Miniatures Museum of Taiwan. The collection is a testament to patient, steady hands. The highlight of the collection is a 40-bulb chandelier no larger than a grain of rice. The minuscule treasures are completely astonishing, and you will leave the private museum in bewilderment.
Other museums worth exploring in the richly cultural city include the interactive Su Ho Memorial Paper Museum, the Discovery Center of Taipei, the surprisingly captivating Museum of Drinking Water, the traditional Taipei Story House, its next-door neighbor the Taipei Fine Arts Museum, the Taipei Artist Village, and the Museum of Contemporary Art.
Taipei Geographical Location
Taipei is located at the northern tip of Taiwan on the Tamsui River. It is the largest metropolitan area in the country with a population of approximately 6,900,000.
Mandarin is the official language of Taiwan while the prominence of Taiwanese is recognized but does not hold official status.
Taipei Predominant Religion
- 93% mixture of Buddhist and Taoist
- 4.5% Christian
- 2.5% Other
While the majority of the population adheres to various mixtures of Taoism and Buddhism, the government recognizes 26 religions throughout the country.
The New Taiwan Dollar is the official currency of Taiwan.
Summers are very hot and humid in Taipei while the winters are mild. The monsoon season occurs during the summer and rain is common throughout the year.
Taipei Main Attractions
- National Palace Museum
- Taipei 101
- Long Shan Temple
Other Attraction in Taipei
- Taipei Zoo
- National Taiwan Democracy Memorial Hall
- National Revolutionary Martyrs’ Shrine
- Yeh Liu