Why You Should Visit Taipei Now?
Taipei, the capital city of Taiwan, is one of the most active sites of tourism. With the laid-back feel of the streets, music-filled nightlife, smoking night markets, and evergreen nature, it’s only natural how Taipei attracts millions of foreign tourists every year, and it’s unusual if you’re not one of those people yet. So read on, and be convinced to visit the Taiwanese capital with these 10 amazing reasons why you should visit Taipei… now!
1. Taipei offers visa-free access to more than 45 countries, including the Philippines.
Philippine passport holders can visit Taiwan visa-free if they have previously entered with a visa Schengen Area member countries, the United States, Canada, Australia, Japan, or Korea. Filipino holders of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Business Travel Card may also visit Taiwan visa-free. Some of the other countries that Taiwan exempted from visa requirements include Brunei Darussalam, Thailand, Malaysia, and Singapore.
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2. It is home to one of the highest structures in the world.
Taipei 101 is one of the tallest structures in the world, even taller than the twin Petronas Tower of Malaysia. With a total of 106 floors (101 above ground and 5 basement-level floors), Taipei 101 also has one of the fastest elevators in the world, traveling from the ground floor to the observation deck in just 37 seconds. The observatory gives a picturesque view of the cityscape below, and the much-coveted view of the sunset is all the more reason why you should drop by here.
3. Hiking trails are located close to the city.
Aside from Taipei 101, there is another place where you can catch a glimpse of that burning sunset. This is at the Elephant Mountain, which is just at a walkable distance from Taipei 101! Furthermore, the Elephant Mountain is actually connected to another hiking trail that you can continue trekking.
The higher you get, the more difficult the trek. There will be climbing ropes along the way. While waiting for the sunset, you might also chance upon the few antique-looking cottages.
4. The city has the best-themed restaurants.
What makes themed restaurants fun is that they are not exclusively for children to enjoy. Even adults can enjoy Taipei’s quirky restaurants like a child at heart. Some of these restaurants include P.S. Bu Bu Café, a place decorated with pastel-painted vintage cars for tables (yes, you can “ride” in a car and enjoy your meal); Brick Works, a Lego-themed café, where even the spoon, forks, and cupcakes are designed to look like Lego bricks; and yes, Modern Toilet, a toilet-themed restaurant.
Some honorable mentions include Hello Kitty Kitchen and Dining, and the Alice in Wonderland-themed Alice Is Coming Café.
5. It is the ideal place for digital nomads
The Internet speed in Taipei is one of the fastest ones I’ve had among all my Asian country tours. Hanging out in a café in Taipei allowed me to surf using either 3G or Wi-Fi connections. Aside from that, the mobile internet sim cards were relatively cheap. The good-for-one-month 3G Far Eastone sim card that we purchased only cost NT$ 350 (approximately US$ 11).
6. Beef noodle soup is everywhere.
Each place has its own food, and Taipei is no different. The city is most known for its bowl of beef noodles. This dish is not ordinary—it has been a favorite of the locals and an inseparable part of their way of life that it’s come to a point where the city holds an annual festival, the Taipei Beef Noodle Festival, just for this dish!
The dish is usually composed of round or flat noodles, tender beef slices, vegetables like cabbages, and is usually spicy. The dish is a city-wide obsession that can be bought in the smallest of street stalls to the fanciest of restaurants.
7. Culture = Temples.
Despite being one of the most urbanized cities in Taiwan, Taipei is also home to many temples that are a part of the local culture. One of the most famous temples in the area is Mengjia Longshan Temple, a structure that has stood in its current place since 1738. Nearby is the lesser-known Qingshan Temple, whose intricately designed octagonal dome and stone ornaments are yet to be discovered by the larger tourist crowd.
7.5. Shopping = night markets.
Food, souvenirs, clothes, you name it—Taipei’s night markets have everything for you. The night market culture in the city is as vibrant as its night clubs. Gongguan Night Market is the largest market in the southern area, and sells various skewered and grilled street food, hot soup, and more. Books, fashion accessories, and occasionally a movie theatre is in this market that is open from 6 PM to 12 AM. Another famous night market is the Raohe Street Night Market, which opens at 5 PM daily.
8. The surrounding environment is simply breathtaking.
Mountains aside, Taipei is home to so many beautiful natural tourist attractions. Despite its relatively small geographic size, the city is home to natural gardens and parks. The best example of this is Yangmingshan National Park. The entire park has smaller must-see attractions in itself, such as flower gardens, volcanic openings, and more.
9. There are museums everywhere.
Aside from the National Museum, Taipei also houses unique specialty exhibits, like the Miniatures Museum of Taipei and the traditional Beitou Museum. The former was opened in 1997, and has been collecting small replicas of famous buildings and scenes from classical stories like Jack and the Beanstalk. On the other hand, Beitou Museum, which was once a Japanese-style hot spring hotel, had significant roles during the Japanese Rule in Taipei. It was renovated into a museum.
10. The Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall is a must-see.
If Paris has the Eiffel Tower, Taipei has the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall. Being the most iconic national monuments in the Republic of China is enough reason for you not to miss seeing this massive, white-and-blue complex. Also in the area is the National Theater and Concert Hall.
One of the charms of the memorial hall is that its construction was given much thought. The number of steps leading to the main entrance—89—represents the former President’s Chiang Kai-shek’s age of death. Meanwhile, the eight-sided roof symbolizes the abundance of good fortune.
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