Taipei is the capital of the Republic of China, commonly known as Taiwan. Most of the city is to be found in the Taipei Basin which is an ancient lakebed between two rivers. It is a centre for world commerce, and one of the main hubs of the Chinese-speaking world. Its humid subtropical climate makes for long, hot and humid summers and short, foggy winters. Temperatures here rarely dip below 10 degrees centigrade. Taipei manages its air quality relatively well compared to other Asian cities, but exhaust fumes, dust storms and smog still make for poor air quality and visibility when there has been no rain.
Taiwanese culture is shaped around its food. So much so that many small residences have no kitchens, their occupants far preferring to dine out instead. Themed restaurants are dotted around this city and the idea of fun with food is extremely prevalent. Experience this first hand at Tonghua Night Market, where animal-shaped biscuits are displayed next to the best dumplings you are ever likely to find.
Do not miss the National Palace Museum for likely the finest displays of Chinese art worldwide. 3 levels of exhibits dating back 5,000 years astound the senses before you reach level 4, the pinnacle of the museum. You guessed it, a restaurant. Guided tours are available in English at 10:00 and 15:00.
Head to the Confucius Temple for a picturesque example of Minnan architecture. The temple has fun and informative displays, including even a 4D cinema! If you happen to be around of Confucius’ birthday (28th September) you can enjoy a vibrant ceremony presided over by the mayor of Taipei. Free tickets are handed out a few days before, but it’s always worth turning up early in the day just in case there are a few tickets left over.
Free Walking Tours
Taipei is very much a multisensory experience and as such is best explored by foot. These free walking tours by tourmeaway.com provide a hassle free way to enjoy all the city has to offer.
The local guide will take you on a 2.5 to 3 hour journey through the popular (and hidden) hot spots of the old town of Taipei, including 228 Peace Memorial Park, Zhongshan Hall and Red House. Bookings are made via the tourmeaway website.
This relaxed chill out will take you wandering for 2.5-3 hours westward to Chiang Kal-Shek Memorial Hall, passing through the Flower Market, Antique Boutiques and more.
This tour will take you travelling back in time to sample 18th century worship at the temple before sampling delicacies at the local food market! This tour lasts 2.5 to 3 hours and meets at Longshan Temple MRT Station Exit No.1.