From the world’s tallest building(2004-2010) to the biggest collection of Chinese art, Taipei invites you into a world of fascinating contrasts – a mix of the modern and traditional, with a generous dash of energy and friendly smiles to make this one of your most memorable trips to Asia.
The cultural kaleidoscope of Taiwan’s capital city pulses wherever you go. Incense – veiled temples dating back to dynastic times blend seamlessly with a neon street life of a decidedly more modern era. Taipei has dozens of world – class restaurants where gourmets can sample the best regional Chinese cuisine; and for the gourmand, there are plenty of night markets serving up scrumptious evening snacks in an environment of chaotic excitement and fun.
The polarities of Taipei are vividly present as well in the joining of the urban and natural. Just a few minutes from the heart of the city you can soak away the cares of the world in mineral – rich hot springs nestled in the lush mountain foothills ringing the Taipei Basin. And throughout the city there are plenty of trails, parks and other oases of tranquility to lift and invigorate your spirits.
Whether you’re just stopping over en route to another Asian destination, or planning a longer stay, Taipei is a many-faceted treasure that will call you back again and again.
Discover the heart of Asia in beautiful Taipei!
The name of the square is officially Liberty Square (自由廣場), as seen above the front gate, however the name change was politically motivated and most people in practice still refer to the entire complex as CKS Memorial Hall.
The octagon-shaped white building rises 76 meters and is covered with blue tiles and red accents, echoing the flag of the Republic of China. The eight sides represent the Chinese cultural symbolism of the number eight which is traditionally associated with fortune and wealth. The two sets of 89 steps represent Chiang’s age of death and lead up to main hall housing a large bronze statue of Chiang protected by military personnel which change hourly.
The characters behind Chiang’s statue read “Ethics”, “Democracy”, and “Science”, and the inscriptions on the side read “The purpose of life is to improve the general life of humanity” and “The meaning of life is to create and sustain subsequent lives in the universe”.
Below the hall is a museum documenting Chiang’s life and career, as well as exhibits about Taiwan’s history, pan-Chinese culture and history, and the ROC’s development after moving to Taiwan.
Founded during the Qing Dynasty, this small town was a relatively isolated village until the discovery of gold during the Japanese occupation in 1893, quickly developing the town due to a gold rush. Many buildings in the town remain unchanged to this day, reflecting the Japanese influence on both architecture and culture on the island. During World War II, the town housed a Japanese prisoner of war camp where captured Allied Force soldiers (mainly British) were forced to work in the gold mines. After the war, gold mining activities declined, and the town today exists mainly as a tourist destination remembering and celebrating Taiwanese history and culture. The majority of attractions are concentrated along the cobblestone steps boasing a wide variety of shops, restaurants, and cafés.
Around 4 million years ago, the Philippine Oceanic Plate and Eurasian Continental Plate collided, rising thick layers of limestone rock from the ocean high up into the sky to heights over 3,000 metres. This phenomenon, combined with high pressures from the reactions, caused the original limestone rock to turn into marble through the process of metamorphism, with the erosive power of the Liwu River (立霧溪) forming the gorge valley. To this day, the walls of gorge are still rising at the rate of about 0.5CM per year, while the river basin has become deeper and deeper.
In January 2010, one of the distillery’s products caused a stir by beating three Scotch whiskies and one English whisky in a blind tasting organised in Scotland.
The distillery was named by Whisky Magazine as the World Icons of Whisky “Whisky Visitor Attraction of the Year” for 2011, and its products have won several other awards.
Shopping malls in Taipei are mainly concentrated in the Daan and Xinyidistricts. Most malls are located along Zhongxiao East Road or in the newly developed Xinyi District. Malls are generally the source for high-end shopping, while markets are for less expensive items. Due to its high population density and lack of space, Taipei also has many underground markets and malls that also serve as connections between metro stations.
Night markets are a popular place for low price eating and shopping. Most night markets in Taiwan open around 4pm and crowds reach their peak between during the late evening hours. Businesses continue operating well past midnight. Shilin Night Market has become the largest and most well-known night market in Taiwan, especially with regards to food, and is a favorite focal point for Taipei’s night lifeamong residents and visitors alike.
Other notable night markets in Taipei include the Raohe Street Night Market (Songshan), Tong Hua Street Night Market (Daan), Huaxi Street Night Market (Wanhua), Wanhua Night Market (Wanhua), Gongguan Night Market (Zhongzheng), Shida Night Market (Daan), Jingmei Night Market (Wenshan), the Nanjichang Night Market (Zhongzheng), Ningxia Road Night Market (Datong), and the Shuangcheng Street Night Market (Zhongshan).