A WEEKEND IN TAIPEI – THE 24/7 CITY
Taipei, the Capital City of the Republic of China – AKA Taiwan – is one of Asia’s busiest cities. From Chian Kai-Shek Memorial to Taipei 101, Taiwan is offering a very large cultural heritage to discover during a long weekend. The city’s architecture is influenced by Chinese’s style, because of the colonization from 1886 to 1895. After the Sino-Japanese war, China had to leave Taiwan which became a Japanese province until the end of the Pacific war, in 1945.
Once our ROC stamp impressed on our passport, it’s time for us to take the road to the city. The airport is about 30 minutes from the city center, where our hotel is located.
In Taipei, as in most of the Asian cities, the climate is heavy and humid, that is why you are quickly sweating – which is not the best sensation in order to discover this fabulous city -. The Taiwanese capital city is full of energy, and every street corner is a new surprise, from Temple to markets or local street food stores, Taipei is as unexpected as incredible.
HOW CAN I MOVE IN TAIPEI ?
To move in Taipei, two solutions are available for you: Metro or Taxi.
Clean and efficient, the Metro is made of 5 lines and is links the city’s main places and is the cheapest way to visit Taipei. A simple ticket costs from 20NT$ to 45NT$, but we advise you to use the One-Day pass for 170NT$ (1€ = 35NT$ / 1$ = 31NT$).
For the taxi, in Taipei, 1km will cost approximately 25NT$, but this price is variable.
DALONGDONG BAO’AN AND CONFUCIUS TEMPLE (30 – 45 minutes)
Located in the Datong District – Yuanshan Metro station -, Bao’an Temple is one of the temples that you have to get in your To-Do list for Taipei. Thirty minutes are needed to discover this Taiwanese folk religion temple which is very close to the Confucius Taipei temple.
Its construction started in 1804, and the latter has evolved quite a lot, particularly during the Japanese period with numerous improvements and expansions. After many years of degradation, the temple was renovated by the Taiwanese government and has received the UNESCO Asia-Pacific Heritage Award for Culture Heritage Conservation in 2003.
Pretty close of Bao’an, you can make a little detour by the Confucius Temple, which is just in front of the Bao’an Temple if you have more time.
TAIPEI 101 & DIN TAI FUNG RESTAURANT (2 hours)
For your lunch break, we advise you to head to the Taipei 101. The highest tower in the world after the famous Burj Khalifa, the Taipei 101 gets its name thanks to its elevators which are climbing at a speed of 1010 meters per minutes. The best moment to visit the tower is inevitably at night with a clear sky, to discover Taipei and its lighting show from the highest point.
At the ground floor, a must-do of the Taipei experience is waiting for you: Din Tai Fung, nothing else that the best dumplings of the world. This renowned restaurant is popular for its Huaiyang cooking and its Xiaolongbao, and, as in the rest of the city, the prices are very affordable for occidental wallets.
Although present in fourteen countries throughout the world such as South Korea, Australia, UAE or UK, Din Tai Fung has been founded in Taipei and the original ones are in the Taiwanese capital city.
TAIPEI AND ITS MARKETS
Before going to the second must-do place of Taipei, we recommend you to have a walk in the markets which strew the Taiwanese capital city streets with these little shops. One of these is the Snake alley where you will be able to discover a concentrate of culture under a covered market.
This is also a good opportunity to discover the real Taipei, the locals, with all its energies.
LIBERTY SQUARE (1h30)
Located in Zhongzheng district, the Liberty Square of Taipei is a 240 000 square meters must-do place in Taipei where four main monuments are located. The principal monument of the square is Chiang Kai-Shek memorial hall which has been erected in honor of the first president, with the same name, of the Republic of China.
All white dressed, the memorial is indeed a marble house. In order to join the huge wooden gate, you will have to climb the 89 steps giving its grandeur to the building.
The Memorial overhangs the three other landmarks of the square, the Red House Theater, the Presidential Palace and the Gate of Great Centrality and Perfect Uprightness – also called Paifang Gate -.
LUNGSHAN TEMPLE (45 minutes)
Located in Wanhua district, Lungshan temple is a Buddhist temple initially dedicated to Buddhisatva Guanyin, the temple hosts altars of Taoists divinities.
Lungshan temple has been built by a group of immigrants from the Fujian province and installed in the Manka district on the Taiwanese island from the 18th-century, disciples of Lungshan temple of their original country, they decided to build a second one in Taipei.
During World War II, Lungshan temple was damaged following the June, 8th 1945 bombings. The principal room and the annex suffered from fires but the Guanyin statue, in the center of the room, remained as it was.
WHERE CAN I CHILL OUT IN TAIPEI?
If you want to take a rest after a long day of visit, we advise you to head to W Hotel’s rooftop which offers a huge swimming pool with a nice view where you can enjoy drinks and/or snacks.
To conclude, Taipei is very surprising. We were going there with some apriorism as an industrialized city, obviously, it is, but Taipei offers a cultural experience as only East Asia city may offer.
We highly recommend you to visit fabulous Taipei, if you want to make a long weekend in Asia.
We invite you to discover our next report in one month for the Part 2 of BALI! Stay tuned..