Must Visit in Taipei: Your First Trip in Formosa (Mainstream Edition)

1. Taipei 101 台北一零一 (TaiBei YiLingYi)

Taipei 101

The first one should come with no surprise. Taipei 101 has been one of the most visited tourist destinations. The building was officially classified as the world’s tallest in 2004, and remained such until the opening of Burj Khalifa in Dubai in 2010.

On the 88th & 89th floor of the tower, there is an Indoor Observation deck and an Outdoor Obersvation deck on the 91st floor. Both offer 360-degree views and attract visitors around the world. Tickets may be purchased on site in the shopping mall (5th floor) or in advance through the Observatory’s web site. Tickets cost NT$500 (US$17) and allow access to the 88th through 91st floors via high-speed elevator.

You should definitely check out Taipei 101 and its surround malls during your visit. Notable malls in the area include, Taipei 101 Mall, ATT4FUN, SHIN KONG MITSUBISHI, Breeze Centre, Viewshow Cinemas, and Eslite XinYi Book Store.



2. Elephant Mountain 象山 (XiangShan)Elephant MountainLocated right by the iconic Taipei 101, Xiangshan (象山; Elephant Mountain) has become a must-see for tourists visiting Taiwan’s capital. At its peak (600 feet or 183m), hikers can escape the city and observe the busy streets of Taipei from atop.

Shaped like an elephant—or so they say, Elephant Mountain forms part of the Four-beasts Mountain (四獸山), with Shishan (獅山; Lion Mountain), Hushan (虎山; Tiger Mountain) and Baoshan (豹山; Leopard Mountain) being the other three. At moderate speed—and a lot of stairs—you can reach the top in 20 minutes. Elephant Mountain also serves as a gateway to the Nangang mountain range, where a series of interesting and challenging trails lie in wait.

As the most easily accessible hiking trail in Taipei city, no trek makes both fatigue and the lack of time less of an excuse than that of Xiangshan—affectionately known as Elephant Mountain.

For those that have been to the observation deck inside Taipei 101, this view is quite simply unmissable. And besides, it will take you no time at all. If you go in the morning, you’ll even have time to make it home for lunch.



3. Shilin Night Market 士林觀光夜市 (ShiLin GuanGuang YeShi)

ShiLin Night Market

Opened every night, ShiLin Night Market is a must-visit.

The night market encompasses two distinct sections sharing a symbiotic relationship: a section formerly housed in the old Shilin Market building, containing mostly food vendors and small restaurants; and the surrounding businesses and shops selling other nonfood items.

The night market is closest to Jiantan Station on the Tamsui Line (Red Line).

For Foods to Try, see here.



4. National Palace Museum 國立故宮博物院 (GuoLi GuGong BuoWuYuan)

National-Palace-Museum

So rich with Chinese Culture that the Mainland Chinese come here to understand more about themselves.

The National Palace Museum is an antique museum in Shilin, Taipei, Taiwan. It is one of the national museums of the Republic of China and has a permanent collection of more than 696,000 pieces of ancient Chinese imperial artifacts and artworks, making it one of the largest in the world. The collection encompasses over 10,000 years of Chinese history from the Neolithic age to the late Qing Dynasty. Most of the collection are high quality pieces collected by China’s ancient emperors.

When the fighting worsened in 1948 between the Communist and Nationalist armies, the Palace Museum and other five institutions made the decision to send some of the most prized items to Taiwan. A total of 2,972 crates of artifacts from the Forbidden City moved to Taiwan only accounted for 22% of the crates originally transported south, although the pieces represented some of the very best of the collection.



5. Taipei Zoo 台北市立動物園 (TaiBei ShiLi DongWuYuan)

TP001

If you want to see pandas, you’ve come to the right place.

Taipei Zoo, sometimes referred to as “Muzha Zoo” (木柵動物園), is a public zoological garden in Wenshan District, Taipei, Taiwan. It is the most famous zoological garden in Taiwan and a leader in conservation, research and education, and recreation. It is also the largest zoo in Asia.

The Taipei Zoo displays animals from Taiwan, Australia, Africa, the Asian tropical rainforest, the desert, and the temperate zones. The zoo also displays domestic animals in its Children’s Zoo, as well as over 12000 birds of over 130 species in an aviary. Other exhibitions in the zoo include an insectarium, amphibian and reptile house, penguin habitat, koala habitat, nocturnal animals display, and a panda exhibition.

The zoo is accessible from Taipei Zoo Station (Brown Line) of the Taipei Metro.



6. JiuFen 九分

JiuFen

JiuFen (九分; Literally: “Nine Portions”) is a mountain area in the Ruifang District of New Taipei City near Keelung, Taiwan. Jiufen is a renowned tourist attraction representative of Taiwan.

Until the 1950’s, Jiufen was a prosperous gold mining town. The town went into sharp decline when mining was discontinued. The quaint streets, tea houses and stunning views of the Pacific Ocean saved it from becoming yet another anonymous mining ghost town.

Jiufen grew popularity in 2001, when its downtown was used as a model in the anime movie Spirited Away. The famous Japanese animation producer Hayao Miyazaki used Jiufen as an inspiration in Spirited Away.

As Jiufen is a mountain town, the roads that lead there are mostly steep, curving, narrow, and possibly dangerous. The nearest train station is Rueifang Station of the TRA Yilan Line, which is 15 minutes away by bus.



7. PingXi 平溪

PingXi

PingXi is a rural district in Eastern New Taipei City in northern Taiwan. It was an important coal mining town in the early 20th century. Pingxi District is world renowned for their sky lanterns.

Every year during the Lantern Festival, people have their wishes written on sky lanterns, and release them to the skies during the Pingxi International Sky Lantern Festival.



If you need help travelling in Taiwan, take a look at our exclusive Tofu Daily CONCIERGE service here.

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