Time for part two of our favorite places in Taipei!
1) 台北 101 Taipei 101
I think you all must know by now that I have a building crush on the Taipei 101. It’s such a beautiful building isn’t it? The Taipei 101 is located in the Xinyi District of Taipei and in 2004 was the tallest building in the world. In 2010, it was surpassed by the Burj Khalifa in Dubai. Now, it is the sixth tallest building in the world. How many floors do you think it has? You guessed it…101! For those of you who do not know, Taiwan experiences lots and lots earthquakes, ranging from barely feeling them to definitely feeling them. You would think building one of the tallest skyscrapers in Taipei wouldn’t be a great idea, but thanks to the Taipei 101’s 660 ton mass dampener, it can withstand wind gusts up to 135mph and is one of the most stable buildings ever constructed in history. It’s design is similar to that of bamboo, which symbolizes learning and growth. It’s a great example of ancient symbolism and modern technology. Pretty sweet huh?! I love this building. Another cool feature are the lights. The lights on the building are a different color each day.
2) 紅色的蘋果商店 Red Apple Store
This is a local store that Sarah has dubbed “our Target.” It’s a little shop right down the road from our apartment across the street from Bihu Lake. Although it’s a very small store, it packs a punch. You can literally buy anything here…anything from shoes, stationary, and groceries, to fish tanks, chinese yo-yo’s, and beats by Dre. If we are ever in a pickle and need something, Red apple is the place to go. Another great thing about it? It’s cheaper than dirt. I would say it’s a cross between a dollar store, Bed Bath & Beyond, and Target. Sarah definitely loves this place.
3) 河畔 The Riverside
We always knew there was a large river flowing through Taipei, but it was hard to tell where it actually flowed. Little did we know that the river flowed right through Neihu (our neighborhood). It’s kind of hidden amongst the highrises of Taipei, but once you reach it, it’s a beautiful place to hang out. All along the river there are bike paths to ride along and countless green areas to play soccer or work on your Taiji. On the weekend, you can see thousands of locals having picnics and kids and adults playing baseball or softball. It also offers a fantastic view of the Xinyi District. We love roaming the parks of the riverside on the weekends.
4) 西門町 Ximending
Ximending is more of a younger/hip part of Taipei. It’s also one of the few areas that is pedestrian only. It’s called the “Harajuku,” “Shinjuku,” or “Shibuya,” of Taipei. For those of you who don’t know, Harajuku, Shinjuku, and Shibuya are very famous areas in Tokyo, Japan. Ximending is home to Taiwan’s fashion, subculture, and Japanese culture. You can get a tattoo at the countless open air tattoo parlors, eat at Modern Toilet, or shop at the many jewelry and clothing stores scattered among the walking streets. Although we don’t go here too often, it’s been a favorite amongst our visitors.
5) 忠孝復興／忠孝敦化 Zhongxiao Fuxing/Zhongxiao Dunhua
Another downtown area of Taipei. This area is very convenient for us and one that we visit quite often as it’s right off our MRT line. It’s safe to say that this area reminds people of Times Square in New York. It has lots of buildings with bright neon signs littered across them. We go to this area if we are craving Western food as it’s home to a myriad of bars, cafes, and international restaurants.
6) 國立中正紀念堂 Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall
I’ve mentioned this site many times in previous blog posts, because it’s a staple on our itinerary of things to see when we have visitors. This memorial was built in honor of the former President of the Republic of China (Taiwan). A couple things to note: The roof is octogonal, which represents the number eight. Eight is a number associated in Chinese culture with abundance and good fortune. The memorial hall has 89 steps leading to the entrance which represents the age of Chiang Kai-Shek at the time of his death.
On the same grounds as the memorial, there are also the National Theatre and the National Concert Hall. These two buildings are stunning examples of Asian architecture, both of which are very impressive to look upon.
Well, I hope you’ve enjoyed your virtual tour of some of our favorite spots in Taipei. Althought Taiwan is a small country, it really has so many things to see and do. It definitely has been an incredible place to call home for a year 🙂
Kyle and Sarah