Going Around Taipei: The Must See (Part 3 of 4; The Taipei Experience)

Whenever we travel to a different place, the leading question that comes to our mind is where specifically should we go? More often than not, we battle through the process of budgeting our time to the most interesting and significant sights. Particularly, if we have very limited time to spend (like in this trip) we can only afford to prioritize the "must see" landmarks and attractions. Thus, a little research and a DIY Travel Guide made our sight seeing in Taipei (although limited), packed with amazing discoveries.

What else will top the Taiwan must visit list other than TAIPEI 101?! As they say it, you've never been to Taiwan if you never set foot on this towering landmark. Pending the completion of Burj Dubai, it is still the World's tallest building to date. Given that this breathtaking Skyscraper was built by a country as small as Taiwan, to say that this has been a remarkable achievement by the Taiwanese is still an understatement. Taipei 101 epitomizes the vigour and intellect of Taiwanese expertise. Truly deserving of world's recognition and a traveller's respect. The first time my eyes laid on it, I was seized in absolute awe! Further, when I got inside, the marvel and grandeur of its beauty made me astounded! It's as if the city found a powerful yet elegant shield.

Taipei 101 is located at the Xinyi District (45 Shihfu Rd., Taipei). It can be accessed through either taxi, bus or MRT. It's open from 1100 hrs to 2130 hrs on Sunday - Thursday and from 1000 hrs to 2200 hrs on Friday, Saturday and Holidays. A scenic view of the entire city can be seen from the indoor (89th floor) and outdoor (91st floor) observation decks. The elevator guarantees to bring the visitors up to these levels within 37 seconds, earning another official record of "fastest ascending elevator speed". The best time to visit this edifice is in the afternoon (around 4 pm) where you can enjoy the beauty of both day and night scenes of the city. To experience all these, there's a corresponding fee of NT$ 350 (P465) for adults and NT$ 320 (P425) for kids.

The next must see landmark is the Memorial Hall of Taiwan's great political ruler Chang Kai Shek. It's now known as the National Taiwan Democracy Memorial Hall. The big monument for the former president is situated in a wide, agreeably well landscaped courtyard. Since it's nearing winter time, the cool breeze and serene ambiance set the mood for lazing around.

The Chinese Garden with a nice Koi Pond inside the Park, is another spot to idle away at. It's so picturesque here! There's even a vending machine for feeds near the pond for those who would like to feed the Koi Fish. (That's Taiwan's animal welfare for you!)

To be found on the North and South parts of Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall are the National Theater and the National Concert Hall respectively. These two stunning architectures are hosts to all forms of Taiwanese entertainment. I was simply amazed by the intricacy of their design and framework. Inside the National Theater are Art Cafe & Auditorium, Buffet Restaurant, Silver Works and Bookstore.Another equally interesting and historically rich landmark of Taiwan is the National Palace Museum. It's home to the largest collection of highly valued Chinese artifacts. Known as the pride of Taiwan, it's unfortunate we didn't have enough time to visit this magnificent museum. Nonetheless, everyone in Taiwan recommends this one of a kind site. If you want to be brought back in time during the Chinese Dynasties, save time for this one.

Other than that, Taiwan is also known for comforting "hot springs". Although most are located on the outskirts of Taipei and remaining provinces, it's not difficult to find a restful one within or near the city. If you want to be relaxed, dip into one of Taiwan's natural bathhouses.
Given these choices, rightly, no country is too small to explore.


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