Taipei is the capital city of Taiwan and is famous for its colonial Japanese lanes, large shopping areas, and the Taipei 101 skyscraper that towers over the city. Highlights of the city include the view from the top of Taipei 101, the lively street food scene, and the National Palace Museum. The best time to visit is between September and November when the rainfall is at its lowest and the temperature is cooler.
Taipei 101 is the tallest tower in Taipei and is a sign of the growing economy and modernity of Taiwan. Take a trip to the observatory on the 83rd floor of the tower to get a birds-eye view of the city and surrounding area. The tower was once the tallest building in the world and is a great source of pride for Taiwanese people. While you are there check out the golden-colored mass damper that keeps the building upright during earthquakes.
Take a train journey to the mountain town of Jiufen just east of Taipei. The village is built on the mountain slopes and is known for its steep and narrow alleyways through the old town. Spend your day exploring the traditional teahouses, streetfood shacks, and shops that crowd the town. Just outside of the town you will find the Gold Mine Museum and the abandoned gold mines.
Visit the memorial hall that is dedicated to the founding father of Taiwan, Dr. Sun Yat-Sen. The hall is a museum that includes artifacts from his political and personal life as well as information of his legacy and what he did for Taiwan. The hall is particularly stunning to look at in the evening and is a great backdrop for photographs and selfies. If you need to find some peace and quiet in Taipei, you can explore the gardens and ponds that surround the museum in near silence.
Shifen Waterfall is located on the upper Keelung River just outside of New Taipei City. The scenic waterfall is a popular place for hiking and swimming in the summer months. The suspension bridge to the side of the falls offers the ideal place for taking photographs of the waterfall from multiple angles. The route to the base of the falls is a difficult climb and should only be attempted by people who are well and able.
Mount Keelung offers a number of hiking trails with scenic views of the surrounding towns and countryside. The Mount Keelung trail starts in Jiufun and takes you to the summit of Mount Keelung. You can drive to the top of the mountain if you find the climb too steep. The summit offers incredible views of Jiufun and Taipei. Take some memorable photographs of your trip and this is a great place for a selfie.
Escape to the wilderness in Yanmingshan National Park. The park is just outside of the city and easy to access by MRT. Spend your day hiking or taking a car tour of the park. Enjoy the stunning views and the unique fumaroles that occur all over the park. At the end of the day head to one of the nearby hot springs for a relaxing spa experience.
The street-food scene in Taipei is huge and you can eat nearly anything from one of the many carts in the city. The city is a melting pot of cuisines, with foods from Nepal, China, Vietnam, and Japan. Try the guabao which is a sweet bun filled with pulled-pork and cilantro. Other popular dishes include pig blood cake, oyster omelets, and stinky tofu.
This is one of the most popular museums in the world and it attracts thousands of visitors every day. The museum houses the largest collection of Chinese Imperial artifacts and the building itself is stunning. It will take most of a day to see all that this interesting museum has to offer.
The port of Danshui is just outside of the city and is now a major tourist attraction. The city offers beaches, incredible restaurants, and a large shopping district. At night, the lights on the famous "Lovers Bridge" make for excellent photography opportunities. Visit the old customs house and the former British Consular building to get an idea of the towns past.
On the way back from Danshui the MRT stops at Shilin Night Market. This is the most popular market in Taiwan. Join the crowd of people eating at various street-food stalls and try some of the best cuisine Taiwan has to offer. You will find plenty of souvenirs and cheap clothing for sale, just make sure you are ready to bargain.
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