Taipei is the political, economic, educational, and cultural center of Taiwan. Taipei maintains an extensive system of parks, green spaces, and nature preserves. The newly developed Xinyi District is popular with tourists and locals alike for its Many entertainment and shopping venues, as well as being the home of Taipei 101, a prime tourist attraction. Taipei has a variety of temples dedicated to Deities from Chinese folk religion, Taoism and Chinese Buddhism. The Taipei Lantern Festival concludes the Lunar New Year holiday. Other annual festivals include Ancestors Day (Tomb-Sweeping Day), the Dragon Boat Festival, the Zhong Yuan Festival, and the Mid-Autumn Festival (Mooncake Festival) Qing Shan King Sacrificial Ceremony is a centuries-old grand festival that is held annually in Wanhua District
Jiufen is a must see spot when visiting northern Taiwan, with its unmatched old town atmosphere and seaside flair. The city is famous for being a historic gold-mining town with it’s preserved old streets. Many Japanese tourists visit here, keen on catching a glimpse of the setting of Hayao Miyazaki’s Academy Award winning “Spirited Away”. This is also a film mecca for lovers of Taiwanese film, especially fans of Hou Hsiao-hsien’s “A City of Sadness”. Tea houses and coffee shops line the old streets of Jiufen and provide exquisite views of the sleepy mountainside town and Keelung Harbor. Get a deeper understanding of the history of the Jiufen area on a Jiufen Sky Lantern tour. With guides who are local and deeply familiar with the area, you will come away with a rich understanding of its gold mining past.
Shifen Waterfall is the most renowned cascading waterfall in Taiwan. Because of its horseshoe shape and powerful flow, it is nicknamed the Little Niagara of Taiwan. Its colorful spectacle has also lent the waterfall its other nickname of “Rainbow Pond”. There are four hot spring zones developed by Japanese which are Beitou and Yangmingshan hot spring in Taipei, Guanziling hot spring in Tainan, and Sichongxi hot spring in Pintung. Beitou Hot Spring is the most famous hot spring zone among the four. The hot springs here are sulfur springs, so they are good for the skin and can release respiratory symptoms. The most famous hot spring house is Long Nice Hot Spring.
Taipei National Palace Museum
Taipei National Palace Museum was established in 1965 and became the new home of the largest amount of Chinese priceless treasures in the world. The museum covers diverse and delicate artifacts, including scroll paintings, calligraphy, jade, bronze castings, porcelain and ancient books. Its collection consists of more than 650,000 pieces that spans many dynasties of China. Among all the precious treasures, there are some signatures in the museum that you should not miss, such as Jade Cabbage, Meat-Shaped Stone, Bell of Zhou…and so on. Restaurants and tea houses like Sanxitang or Xianjufu are right inside the museum waiting for you.
Bao’an Temple (also called Dalongdong Bao’an Temple) is a must-visit when in Taipei, founded in 1760 by immigrants from Xiamen, Fujian province. This exquisite structure is loaded with prime examples of the traditional decorative arts, and the yearly folk arts festival (April to June) is a showcase of traditional performance arts. The main resident god is Emperor Baosheng (or Wu), a historical figure revered for his medical skills. In addition, the temple began holding an annual folk-arts festival (called Baosheng Cultural Festival), which includes the Five Day Completion Rituals to Thank Gods (essentially to transform the temple from an everyday to a sacred space), the gods’ birthday celebrations, lion dances, parades, Taiwanese opera performances and even free Chinese-medicine clinics.
The city is known for its many night markets, the most famous of which is the Shilin Night Market which is the biggest and covers a massive 12 acres. Shilin Night Market sprung up around Yangming Movie Theater with stalls that spread over four floors, one above ground and three underground where local delicacies include Shilin big sausages, Shanghai pan-fried buns, lemon aiyu jelly, and Stir-fried Squids. Considering the sheer size of Shilin Night Market, make sure you have enough time and energy to go treasure hunting. If you are searching for a less crowded night market then Tonghua Night Market (Linjiang Street Night Market) certainly isn’t the biggest but its still got a very wide selection of food and stalls. Tonghua Night Market also has five food stalls that are recommended by the Michelin Guide, boasting a large variety of local food stalls and restaurants, there’s everything you would expect from a night market. There are some really good dessert places at Tonghua Night Market too. Also amongst the many stalls you’ll find a great shaved ice place, selling one of the nicest mango shaved ices in Taipei, with sticky rice balls filled with peanut powder and sesame.
Taipei 101 and Tonghua Night Market (Linjiang Street Night Market) are less than one MRT stop from each other. Many foreigners and tourists walk to this nearby night market to enjoy their dinner after watching the sunset on the observation deck of Taipei 101. Taipei 101 was the world’s tallest building until 2010. It is now the tallest “green building” in the world. Taipei 101 is a self-contained city with 101 stories above ground and 5 stories below. The observatory on the 89th floor and outdoor viewing platform on the 91st offer the best panoramic views of the city and encircling mountain ranges. It takes only 37 seconds to travel from the 5th to the 89th floor, and multimedia tours are available in eight languages, including English, Chinese and Japanese.