Whether you like to shop for tea, or simply like shopping, or perhaps like to visit temples, or play a round of Tai Chi, then Taipei should be in your list of the must visit and must see!
Taipei (although many regard it as a small village) has a wealth of magnificent architecture throughout its history from the 17th-century Kuantu Temple to the modern Taipei 101, and is an important centre for the export of tea today.
If shopping is what you have in mind, then head on to Tihua Street, the best preserved old street in Taipei, is a place where many head for fabrics, traditional medicines and dry goods. In fact, there are dozens of local shopping areas both in the centre and in East Taipei. And if you are looking for international designer brands, you should visit Zhongshan North Road. I would also suggest not missing the visit to The Weekend Jade Market near Renai Road, and the Chinese Handicraft Mart on Xuzhou Road.
There are dozens of temples in Taipei, but the most popular ones are Lungshan Temple, Chingshui Temple, Confucian Temple and the Chihnan Temple. Many who went there said that the temples have the best of Ching-Dynasty architecture and decorations, while some are plain but for inscriptions. Not to say I don’t warn you, the Chihnan Temple is not for the faint-hearted as it is at the top of a flight of stairs reputed to have 1200 steps!
Another must visit is the National Palace Museum. It is considered as the most popular tourist attraction in Taipei because it is full of Chinese and Japanese works of art. If you want to say Hello to Chiang Kai-Shek, then look for Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall that houses a museum dedicated to him. If you went there early in the morning, you may join the locals to practise Tai Chi in the surrounding gardens, what a good experience!
Although Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall is smaller in size, but the architecture is magnificent. It is set in a large park and houses a library and exhibition halls and concerts are often held there.
One should not miss to try eating the “stinky tofu” when visiting Taipei. Before I forget, Taipei is also renowned for its wide range of food from all over the Far East.
Other places of interest that I think you should not miss shall include:
- The Taipei Lantern Festival (how about one from Malaysia?);
- Shilin Night Market; and Yanmingshan National Park
When is the best time to go? I think any time of the year is fine.
Time and money travel tips: If you want to travel by using public transport, my suggestion is to buy an Easycard.
Do you think Taipei is a beautiful city that is a mixture of traditional and modern, local yet global places of interest? Only upon visiting it yourself, I guess.