Taipei Mixes Dazzling Architecture And Unique Attractions

Photo: Shilin Night Market © Ronniechua | Dreamstime.com

- May 1, 2016

After finishing up the workday in Taipei, it’s time to get high — above sea level, that is. Taiwan touts overviews of its capital city, and visitors can ascend by elevator, car, train, foot or gondola for vistas across the city.

Most direct is a trip to the top of Taipei 101. From 2004 to 2009, the 101-story tower, about a third of a mile high, reigned as the world’s tallest building. Today the fastest elevators on the globe whisk visitors in 37 seconds to the Observation Deck on the 88th to 91st floors for 360-degree views indoors and out. A recorded audio tour points out temples, malls, memorials and other sights below. Descending, pause on the 85th floor for a dinner of authentic Taiwanese cuisine at Shin Yeh 101 or try any of the various ethnic restaurants in the sparkling multilevel shopping mall at the base.

City view with Taipei 101

City view with Taipei 101 © John6668 | Dreamstime.com

Hardier visitors can hike to scenic Yangmingshan Park and stop by The Top Restaurant for cocktails, barbecue and Taiwanese stir-fry dishes to enjoy along with stunning views of the city. Another dining excursion involves a gondola ride to the Maokong tea-growing area where the creek-side Yao Yue Tea Restaurant serves tea and food on quiet terraces 24 hours a day.

More down to earth, take a stroll along Lover’s Bridge at the Tamsui Fisherman’s Wharf in Danshui, known for beautiful sunsets, seafood and party boats. For a relaxing getaway, also on the nearby outskirts, arrange a trip to the Beitou Hot Spring Resort, where thermal pools, saunas, steam rooms, Jacuzzis and coldwater plunges relieve stress.

The Wanhua District’s The Red House, built in 1908 as Taipei’s first public market, features a number of LGBTfriendly bars, restaurants and cafés. Gay men and women also gather at La Boca and the Park Taipei Lounge in the Da’an District for cocktails and networking.

If food is the focus, sample authentic truffle and pork or green squash and shrimp xianlongbao soup dumplings at Din Tai Fung, the original restaurant of the popular chain, though there is apt to be a wait in line. Find no wait at the hundreds of stalls at the Shilin Night Market, where traditional snacks encompass cuisines from every region of China and Asia.

For those who prefer to retire with a good book, the Dunnan branch of Eslite Bookstores stays open 24 hours for late-night browsers and readers.

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