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Taipei

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Taipei

Taipei (台北 or 臺北; Táiběi) [1] is the national capital of the Republic of China, otherwise known as Taiwan. It is located in the northern part of the island in a basin between the Yangming Mountains and the Central Mountains. The largest city of Taiwan, it serves as its financial and governmental center.

Districts

Taipei Districts

Taipei City administers twelve districts (區). This article covers the downtown districts only. For other areas please see their specific articles:

Downtown districts

  • Daan (大安區)
  • Datong (大同區)
  • Songshan (松山區)
  • Wanhua (萬華區)
  • Xinyi (信義區)
  • Zhongshan (中山區)
  • Zhongzheng (中正區)

Suburban districts - North

  • Beitou (北投區) - famous for hot springs and the Yangmingshan National Park.
  • Neihu (內湖區) - center of IT industry in Taipei, home to many large shopping centers, and a great place for hiking and templing.
  • Shilin (士林區) - several museums are located in Shilin, including the world famous National Palace Museum. Also, Shilin is home to one of Taipei's largest nightmarket and the expat enclave of Tianmu.

Suburban districts - South

  • Nangang (南港區) - many IT industrial complexes and Taiwan's leading academic institution - Academia Sinica.
  • Wenshan (文山區) - home to the Taipei Zoo and many tea plantations in the hills surrounding the district.

Surrounding cities

  • Taipei City is surrounded by Taipei County (台北縣), which is an amalgamation of several cities and towns. The city and county, along with Keelung City (基隆市), is basically one metropolitan area, but run by different government authorities. Individual cities are listed on the Taipei County page.

Understand

In 1884 the Qing dynasty governor of Taiwan decided to move the provincial capital to Taipei, and with the construction of government offices and the influx of civil servants, Taipei's days as a sleepy market town were over. As Taipei is located in the north of Taiwan (the closest area to Japan), the city continued to thrive when Taiwan was ceded to Japan in 1895. However, as Japan was in the throes of a 'modernize-come-what-may' period, little regard was paid to Taipei's traditional Chinese-style architecture and many of the old buildings, including the city walls, were demolished. During the Japanese period of colonial rule, several prominent buildings were however constructed, the Presidential Palace and National Taiwan University being among the most famous, but the city's architecture again suffered a major onslaught when the KMT government arrived from mainland China in 1945.

In order to cope with the influx of millions of mainland refugees, temporary housing estates sprang up all around the city. Later, these were replaced by soviet-era style (or 'no-style') concrete apartment buildings. These buildings characterized Taipei's landscape until very recently.

In the 1980s, Taiwan's economy began to take off. Wages rose and in order to satisfy a wealthy and sophisticated market, Taipei began to change. Wide, tree lined boulevards were laid, high quality apartment blocks constructed and stylish restaurants and cafes established. The city was booming and has never looked back since.

The Taipei of today is a confident city of about 2.5 million inhabitants (about 7 million including suburbs), and is characterized by its friendly people and safe streets. While it is not usually high on the list of tourist destinations, it is a fascinating place to visit and live. Furthermore, despite its size, Taipei does not have any rough areas that are considered unsafe, even at night - which in itself is attractive.

The downtown area is culturally divided into East and West. The West side, with its narrow streets and road side vendors, is considered the bastion of old Taipei life, whereas East Taipei, with its classy malls, chic boutiques, and stylish restaurants and cafes, reminiscent of those found in Hong Kong, Paris or New York represents the city's metamorphosis into a modern and international city.

Climate

Climate Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Daily highs (°C) 19 19 22 26 29 32 35 34 31 28 24 21
Nightly lows (°C) 13 14 15 19 22 24 26 26 24 22 19 15
Precipitation (mm) 9 17 18 18 26 32 25 31 28 14 9 8

Central Weather Bureau seven day forecast for Taipei: [2]

Taipei has a semi-tropical climate characterized by hot and humid weather. The most comfortable season to visit is the Fall, when the rainfall is at its lowest and the temperatures average a pleasant mid 20°C. February to April are particularly damp with little sunlight, while the summers can be very hot, but often punctuated by heavy thunder showers. Taipei is prone to typhoons from May to October, though the highest concentrations are in August and September.

Tourism

  • Taiwan Tourism Bureau, [3]. The offical Tourism Bureau website.
  • Taipei Travel Net, [4]. The official travel guide from the Taipei City Government.

Get in

By plane

Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport

Taipei's international airport is officially called Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport (台灣桃園國際機場) (IATA: TPE). However, be aware that as this name was only adopted in September 2006, the old name, Chiang Kai Shek International Airport (often abbreviated as CKS), is still commonly used. The airport is located about 30 km from the city, and freeway buses ply the route, picking up and dropping off passengers at most of the five star hotels as well as Taipei Main Station and the domestic airport (Songshan Airport), which is located in downtown Taipei. There are also bus services connecting the airport to nearby cities and Taichung in central Taiwan. Travelers to other destinations need to change transportation in Taipei.

There are three transportation options at the airport: bus, taxi, and pre-arranged sedan. An MRT line is under constuction, but it will not completed until February, 2011 . Here are the options from cheapest to most expensive:

Express airport buses cost between NT$120 and NT$150 depending on the bus company, and there are stops at both terminals. Most Taipei routes are dived into West and East, with each company operating a service every ten to fifteen minutes on each route. The western line buses terminate at Taipei Main Railway Station and also make a stop at Yuanshan MRT Station on the Xindian line (NB: The Airbus company buses on the western line meander through local towns before joining the freeway and therefore take much longer than the blue and white Guoguang buses which enter the freeway directly). Buses plying the eastern route terminate at the Taipei Grand Hyatt Hotel and make a stop at Zhongxiao-Fuxing MRT Station on the Nangang and Muzha lines. There is also a bus connecting to the domestic Songshan Airport. Ticket counters display route maps showing all stops.

In addition, there are some non-express buses which are slightly cheaper, but pass through towns such as Taoyuan (桃園), Nankan (南崁) or Kueishan (龜山) before arriving in Taipei.

When returning to the airport, express buses can be caught at various stops throughout the city. One major one is accessible via Exit 9 at the underground mall beneath Zhongxiao West Road (in front of Taipei Main Railway Station) or Exit 5 if you are coming out of the Taipei Main Station MRT, and another is at the terminal at the Songshan Domestic Airport (松山機場). Other stops are outside major hotels and also in front of Minsheng MRT Station. For people taking early morning flights, the earliest available buses to the airport leave at around 4AM from the Far Eastern Plaza Hotel (台北遠東國際大飯店) (201 Dunhua South Road Section 2).

A one-way taxi fare between the airport and Taipei will cost at the minimum NT$900 (generally NT$1000-1200 from the airport). In Taipei, don't make the mistake of asking a taxi driver to take you to the Taipei airport (Songshan) if you actually mean Taiwan Taoyuan Airport. The international airport is actually about an hour's drive from Taipei, while Songshan is located in downtown Taipei.

A one-way pre-arranged sedan fare between the airport and Taipei will cost at the minimum NT$1300-1500. Generally these sedans are pre-arranged through your hotel and the sedan company or driver will meet you as soon as you exit baggage claim. Since the price is not much more than taking a taxi, it is usually recommended that you ask your hotel if they offer this service, if you are interested in a more comfortable half-hour ride to the hotel.

Direct bus connections between the airport and other cities in Taiwan are also available. U-bus also runs shuttle buses every 30 min from both terminals to THSR Taoyuan station (15 min away), from where you can continue your journey by high-speed train.

The closest hotel to the airport is the CitySuites Gateway Hotel, 10 minutes to Cing-pu High-speed Rail Station; 3 minutes to Taoyuan International Airport. [5]

Songshan Airport

Songshan Airport (松山機場) at the top end of Dunhua North Road is the city's domestic airport, and there are flights arriving and departing for all major cities on the island and the outlying islands every minute.

By train

Taipei Railway Station

All inter-city trains, including those operated by the Taiwan High Speed Rail (台灣高鐵) [6], arrive and depart from Taipei Railway Station (台北車站) on Zhongxiao West Road, Sec 1 - opposite the 53 story Shinkong Mitsukoshi Building (新光三越). Taipei Main Station is a huge facility. Ticket counters are on the first floor and platforms in B1. There is also a food court on the second floor, several underground shopping malls, an auditorium on the 5th floor, and MRT stations serving three lines. In addition to ticket counters, the first floor also has a tourist office, small supermarkets, a post office, stores selling aboriginal handicrafts and several booths offering head and neck and full body massage (NT$100 for every ten minutes).

By Bus

Private and government intercity buses arrive and depart from the Taipei Bus Terminal (also called Taipei Intercity Bus Terminal). The terminal is a few minutes walk to the west of Taipei Railway Station (to the left and behind the station when facing the building from Zhongxiao West Road).

Taipei Bus Terminal

A convenient way to reach the terminal is via the underground 'Taipei Shopping Mall' (located at the rear/north side of the station) - '4 South (南)' is the nearest exit to the terminal. NB: For refreshments or snacks, the terminal only has convenience stores; for fresh drinks, passengers will need to go to the underground 'Taipei Shopping Mall' where there is a juice bar near exit '4 North (北)' (directly across from the exit for the terminal) and a coffee shop near exit '10 North (北)' Generally speaking, the buses operated by private companies are more comfortable and sport such amenities as wide reclining seats and individual game and video monitors. The government run buses are blue and white and are called guoguang hao (國光號). All intercity buses are known as keyun and can be distinguished from the local city buses called gongche (公車) by the fact that they do not have a route number, but only the name of the destination.

Get around

By metro

Taipei MRT

Taipei City has a very clean, efficient and safe Mass Rapid Transit system known most commonly as the MRT, but also called Metro Taipei (台北捷運). Muzha line, which connects to Taipei Zoo, is a driverless elevated system. The last trains depart at midnight. Fares are between NT$20 and NT$65 for one-way trips around town. Stations and trains are clearly identified in English, so even for those who cannot read Chinese, the MRT system is very accessible. All stops are announced in four languages: Mandarin, Taiwanese, Hakka and English. Most stations have information booth/ticket offices close to the ticket vending machines. There is no eating or drinking while in the stations or on the trains. Trains generally run from 6:00 a.m. to midnight, with convenient bus connections outside the stations.

Women and/or children travelling at night can benefit from the Safe Zones - sections of the terminal that are under heavy surveillance - located in some of the subway lines.

MRT Station in Taipei

In addition to single journey tickets, the Taipei MRT also sells value-added cards/smartcards called EasyCard (悠遊卡). These cards hold amounts up to NT$5,000, and one only needs to swipe them past the barrier monitor to gain entry and exit. Value added cards can be purchased at station ticket offices or at vending machines. One great advantage of using the EasyCard is that there is a 20% discount on all MRT rides, and if you transfer from the MRT to an ordinary city bus, or vice versa, within an hour, the bus ride is only NT$7. The discount is automatically calculated when you leave the MRT station. The EasyCard can be recharged at convenience stores and subway stations. In addition to the subway and buses, some parking lots also offer an option to pay with the EasyCard. To purchase a new EasyCard you will need to pay a deposit of NT$100.

Often times limited-edition cards are issued by the transit authority depicting artworks, famous characters, landscapes, etc. These are quite collectible and are perfect souvenirs for your trip. Remember single-journey cards are recycled when you exit the stations, so if you want to keep a particular card you should purchase an extra.

By bus

Taipei City Bus

Taipei City has a very efficient bus service [7], and because all buses display information (destination and the names of stops) in English, the( system is very accessible to non-Chinese speaking visitors. Payment can be made by cash NT$15) or EasyCard (see "metro" listing) for each section that the bus passes through. For local buses (all local buses have a number, but long distance buses do not) the maximum will be two sections with a total cost of NT$30. The confusion, however, arises by not knowing where the section boundaries are located. If you begin your journey at the first stop, you may travel for a long distance for only NT$15. However, if you get on just before a section boundary, you will have to pay for two sections, even if you have only traveled a few stops.

When to pay: Above the driver, there is an electronic red sign. If the Chinese character for "up" (上) is lit, then you pay when you get on. If the same sign is lit when you get off, you do not need to pay again. However, if the sign is displaying the Chinese character for "down" (下) when you are getting off, then you will need to pay a second time. Finally, if the character for "down" is lit up when you get on, then you only need to pay when you get off. Until you get the hang of the system, just let the locals go first and follow their action. It's really not as complicated as it sounds!

And if you are transferring from the transit system to a bus within 1 hour, there is a discounted bus fare.

By taxi

Taxis are the most flexible way to get around, and are extremely numerous. They are expensive in comparison to mass transit, but are cheap when compared to taxis in the rest of the world. Most taxi drivers speak very limited English, and it will be necessary for non-Chinese speakers to have their destination written down in Chinese. Taxis are metered, with higher rates for night (an additional NT$20 over the meter). Tipping is neither necessary nor expected.

Passengers who sit in the front seat of the taxi are required to buckle their seatbelt. Women and/or children traveling at night are advised to use one of the reputable taxi companies. Toll free taxi hotline: 0800-055850 (maintained by Department of Transportation).

Taiwanese taxi drivers are notorious for their strong opinions on politics as they spend all day listening to talk radio, although they will probably be unable to share any of this with you if you do not speak Chinese.

By bicycle

Even though motorized traffic is very heavy in Taipei, bicycles are still legitimate vehicles to get around. For less dangerous riding, a Taipei City Cycling Map shows well designated bike routes.

Address system

The Taipei address system is very logical and user-friendly. The hub of the city is the corner of the east-west running Zhongxiao (忠孝) and north-south running Zhongshan (中山) roads, however while the north/south divide is made at Zhongxiao here, further east it is made instead at Bade (八德) road, something which confuses even people who have lived in Taipei for years. All major roads are identified by their direction in relation to these roads. For example, all sections of the north-south running Fuxing (復興) Road north of Bade are called Fuxing North Road (復興北路). Likewise, those sections to the south are called Fuxing South Road (復興南路). Those that cross Zhongshan road are similarly identified as either east or west. Section (段; duàn) numbers begin at 'one' near the two defining roads and increase at intersections of major highways. For example, Ren'ai (仁愛) Road (which only has an east location, and therefore does not have a direction suffix), Section 1 will be close to Zhongshan South Road. The section number will increase as one moves further away from Zhongshan Road. So, for example, when Ren'ai Road reaches Dunhua South Road (敦化南路) far in the east of the city, a typical address could be: 7F, 166 Ren'ai Road, Section 4. The house and lane numbers begin at zero every section. Lanes (巷; xiàng) lead off roads (路; lù) and streets (街; jiē), while alleys (弄; nòng) branch off lanes.

Map

  • Taipei City Government's Online Map, [8]

See

For areas outside of Downtown, see articles on other Districts of Taipei.

Taipei 101

Landmarks

  • Taipei 101 (臺北 101), [9]. Officially known as the Taipei International Financial Center (臺北國際金融大樓), this 101-floor, 508-meter high skyscraper is located in the Xinyi District of Taipei. It is the tallest completed building in the world. The tower is rich in symbolism: It was designed to resemble bamboo rising from the earth - a plant recognized in Asian cultures for its fast growth and flexibility, which are ideal characteristics for a financial building - and also divided into eight distinct sections, with eight being a number associated with prosperity in Chinese culture. The internal architecture of Taipei 101 is similarly awe-inspiring: pay attention to ornate details on the structural beams, columns, and everywhere else. However, Taipei 101 is perhaps most notable for its feats of engineering; since 2004 it is the world's tallest building, as determined by three of the four standards designated by the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat. It also boasts the world's fastest elevators, which will zip visitors up to the 89th-floor observation deck in a mere 37 seconds (cost varies depending on age: NT$350 for adults, NT$320 for kids under 12). It's worth it. The views are stunning; the best time to visit would be in the late afternoon so you can hang around for a couple of hours and see both day and night views of Taipei. For an additional NT$100, you can also go up to the outdoor observatory on the 91st floor. Don't forget to look toward the middle of the building, where you'll see one of the massive gold colored dampers that keeps the building steady. Attached to the tower is a large, up-scale mall. While the stores themselves are unremarkable in that they offer the same brand-names as stores in other major cities around the world, the open and spacious design of the structure itself definitely makes it worth a visit. Located next to the cafes on the fourth floor is Page One Bookstore, which has one of the largest selections of English books in Taiwan. A supermarket specializing in imported food items is located in the basement. (See also the "Buy" section for more on the mall.) Taipei 101 is a 15 to 20-minute walk from the Taipei City Hall MRT station (Blue Line).
Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall
  • The Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall (國父紀念館) is constructed in the memory of Dr Sun Yat-sen who is the founding father of the Republic of China. The construction of the Memorial commenced in 1965 in conjunction with the 100th anniversary of Sun Yat-sen's birth. It was then opened in May 16th 1972, with the majestic architecture and placid landscape covering an area of some 115,500 sq meters. The park named Zhongshan Park marks the front yard of the Hall. On the inside, there is a 19-foot bronze statue of Dr Sun Yat-sen, watched over the day by motionless military honor guards, along with a library of 400 seats storing over 1.4 millions books. The 100 meter long Zhongshan corridor links the main hall to the four large exhibition buildings where contemporary arts and historical articles are frequently on display. The Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall has grown into much of a community center, and is much less touristy than the newer and larger Chiang Kai-shek Memorial. There is an auditorium which has weekly lectures and seminars on aspects of art and life. Also a popular site for public concerts.
Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall
  • The Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall (中正紀念堂) [10], controversially renamed the "National Taiwan Democracy Memorial Hall" (臺灣民主紀念館) by the DPP, is the symbol of both Taipei and the Republic of China. It is here that the nation's flag is raised every morning, and the huge court yard in front of the memorial serves as a place for both national celebrations as well as a platform to voice one's disapproval of the government. The memorial consists of a large bronze statue of Chiang Kai-shek, watched over by two motionless honor guards who are replaced every hour in a rifle twirling ceremony (though this ritual has been suspended due to political wrangling). Downstairs, there is a museum of Chiang's life, complete with his sedans and uniforms. Even if you are not into memorials, the gardens with their Chinese style ponds are definitely worth a visit. The memorial has its own MRT station on the Xindian line. The grounds of the memorial are also a favorite place for locals to gather to practice martial arts, though you'll have to be there early if you wish to see this. Most people begin their work-out at around sunrise, and will have left for the office before 8 a.m.
The National Concert Hall
  • National Theater Hall (國家戲劇院) and National Concert Hall (國家音樂廳) - located in the grounds of the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial -- are excellent places to see performances of a Taiwanese play or dance troupe, though they also host many international events. The building's neo-classic Chinese architecture is especially stunning when flood-lit at night.
  • National Taiwan University (台灣大學, or 台大<Tai-da> for short), [11]. Taiwan's preeminent institution of higher education is located on the south side of Taipei. The campus grounds are surrounded by several blocks of shops, bookstores, eateries, cafes and tea houses popular with students and scholars.
    National Taiwan University
    This is one of the main transportation hubs, many buses stop here. While you wait for your bus or before you go underground to catch the subway, you can get a lot of the shopping done: clothing, accessories, books, trinkets...you name it. Browse through the stales and booths directly across the street from the main entrance of the university (don't forget there is a lot more just behind the main street), grab a bite or 2 of the popular snacks: fresh fruit, spice-cooked meats and soy goodies, sky high ice cream cones, sweets, shaved ice, tapioca teas, fresh bread, etc. You can also sample the yummy Taiwanese fried chicken chain: Ding Gua Gua. Try a "Gua Gua Bao," a flavorful sticky rice pouch, and if you like sweet potato, Ding Gua Gua's fries will make you want to come back for more! There are many American fast food restaurants across the street on the right of the University, right next to several wonderful book stores. Nearest MRT station: Gongguan (公館) on the Xindian (Green) Line.
The Grand Hotel
  • The Grand Hotel (圓山大飯店) [12], A 5-star hotel near Yuanshan, rated as one of the world's top ten hotels by the US Fortune magazine in 1968. It was established in May 1952, and expanded several times before becoming the landmark it is today. The swimming pool, tennis court, and membership lounge were constructed in 1953, the Golden Dragon Pavilion and Golden Dragon Restaurant opened in 1956, and the The Jade Phoenix Pavilion and Chi-Lin Pavilion opened in 1958 and 1963 respectively. The main Grand Hotel building was completed on the Double Tenth Day of 1973, making it an instant icon of Taipei. And this hotel is a part of scene in the Taiwanese film - Eat Drink Man Woman by the world famous Director - Ang Lee.

Museums/Galleries

National Palace Museum
  • The National Palace Museum (故宮博物院) - the world's best collection of Chinese historical artifacts and antiquities. The museum is located in Shilin district. The nearest MRT station is Shilin (士林), with frequent buses from Shilin heading for the Palace Museum. Look for the displays on the buses. Some are written in English. It's a must-see for first time visitors.
  • Hua Shan Cultural and Creative Industry Center (華山創意文化園區), 1 Bade Road, Sec 1. This former brewery has been transformed into a creative space in a park. The exhibitions here are well presented and imaginative and the theater performances, while less formal than at those at the National Theater, are still none-the-less first rate. The center also has a great cafe with outdoor seating -- an excellent place to watch Taipei at work and play over a cappuccino.
  • Fine Arts Museum (台北市立美術館), 181 Zhongshan North Road, Sec. 3 (near the Yuanshan
    Taipei Fine Arts Museum
    MRT Station on the Danshui line) [13]. Open Tuesday-Sunday 09:30 to 17:30. Adult admission: $30 NT. Concessions: $15 NT. The museum displays work of local and international artists.
  • Spot - Taipei Film House (台北之家), Zhongshan North Road, Sec. 2 (nearest MRT Station: Zhongshan on the Danshui line) [14]. This former residence of the U.S. Ambassador has been transformed into an art center that focuses on independent films. In addition to screenings, the house also has great cafes and restaurants that spill out onto balconies and into the garden. The book store offers a good selection of hard-to-get art/independent film maker type movies on DVD, though for other movies, prices are lower at regular DVD rental stores. Open Tues-Sun, 11AM - 10PM. Admission is free.
  • The Museum of Contemporary Art (台北當代藝術館), 39 Changan West Road, nearest MRT station - Zhongshan (on Danshui line) [15]. Taiwan's first art space dedicated to contemporary work. The red brick, former Taipei City Hall is easy to locate on an otherwise unexceptional road. Open: Tues-Sun, 10AM - 6PM. Admission NT$50.
  • Taipei Artist Village (台北國際藝術村), near Shandao Temple Station, Exit No. 1, walk to Tian Jin St. and turn right to Beiping E. Road. [16] This scheme provides residency programs for Taiwanese artists and others from around the world. Their space provide gallery and studio space for artists. They also have a couple of cafes which are excellent for a mid-day break while exploring Taipei. The space is open during normal weekly business hours and is free to roam around.
Taipei Story House
  • Taipei Story House (台北故事館). The house is located in the same plot of land as the Fine Arts Museum (see above listing). Tel:+886 2 2596-1898. [17]. A tea merchant's 19th century European style house has been converted into a space for telling the story of Taipei and tea. There are permanent exhibits on these subjects as well as visiting exhibitions and the occasional traditional music concert. The patio serves as a tea garden, which offers pleasant views over the Damshui River and beyond. Open: 9AM to 6PM. Admission NT$30
  • National Museum Of History (歷史博物館), 49 Nanhai Road. Tel: +886 2 2361 0270. [18]. Located in Taipei Botanical Garden, which is famous for is varied selection of exhibits, including Tang dynasty tri-color pottery and Shang dynasty bronzes. Open: 10AM to 6PM, closed on Mondays. Admission NT$20
National Taiwan Museum
  • National Taiwan Museum (國立台灣博物館), 2 Xiangyang Road. Tel:+886 2 2382 2699 (Nearest MRT station 'National Taiwan University Hospital' on the Danshui line. Located in 'Peace Park' (near Taipei Main Station) in a splendid baroque and renaissance style building. Opened in 1899, it was Taiwan's first museum and focuses on anthropology and the fauna and flora of the island.
  • Miniatures Museum of Taiwan (袖珍博物館), B1, 96 Jian-guo North Road, sec. 1. Tel:+886 2 2515 0583. [19]. A small private museum that is a monument to patience and a steady hand. The 40 bulb chandelier the size of grain of rice is one of the many impressive pieces on display. Address: Buses from Taipei Main Station: 307, 527 alight at Nanjing East Road and Jian-gwo North Road intersection. The museum is located in the same building as Thai Airways. Open: Tues-Sun 10AM-6PM (last admittance 5PM). Admission: adults - NT$180, concessions - NT$150, children - NT$100
Museum of Drinking Water
  • Taiwan Storyland (台灣故事館), [20], next to Shin Kong Mitsukoshi at Taipei Main Station. Although not entirely a museum but more like an amusement park, Taiwan Storyland recreates the culture and environment of Taiwan in an earlier era, with buildings and shops based around that time. Nearest MRT station: Taipei Main Station.
  • Museum of Drinking Water (自來水博物館), 1, Siyuan Street, [21], near the Tai-da campus, the Museum of Drinking Water is close to 100 years old since it was completed in 1908. The museum is located in Taipei Water Park. (see Theme Parks section) Open: 9:00 am - 6:00 pm (tickets offer till 5:00 pm). Monday is the day off.
  • Shung Ye Museum of Formosan Aborigines (順益台灣原住民博物館), [22], opposite the National Palace Museum, houses exhibitions of Aboriginal culture and lifestyle.


  • Beitou Hot Spring Museum (北投溫泉博物館), [23], built by the Japanese as Taiwan's first public bathhouse in 1913, and the biggest hot spring bathhouse in East Asia in its day.
  • Tittot Museum (琉園水晶博物館), 16, Lane 515, Zhongyang North Road sec.4. Tel:+886 2 2895 8861.[24]. Just east of Guandu MRT station on Danshui Line. The best glassworks museum of Taiwan and Asia. Open: Tues-Sun, 9AM - 5PM. Admission: adults - NT$100, concessions - NT$50, Group tickets - NT$80.

Parks

  • Daan Forest Park (大安森林公園), one of Taipei's newest parks.The park rests on twenty-
    Daan Forest Park
    six hectares in central Taipei bordered by Xinyi Road, Jianguo South Road, Heping East Road, and Xinsheng South Road. Due to its size and location, it is also known as Taipei Central Park. Buses: 15, 52, 235, 278, 284, 20, 22, Xinyi Main Line.
  • Taipei Botanical Garden (植物園), Nearest MRT station 'Xiaonanmen' on the green line between the MRT Ximen station and MRT C.K.S Memorial Hall station. This beautiful garden have inspired the citizens of Taipei for over one hundred years. The lotus ponds are a hallmark of the park and are especially captivating when the these symbols of peace are in full bloom and swaying in the summer breeze. Close to the National Museum of History. (see Museums/Galleries section)
  • 228 Peace Park (二二八和平公園), on the north side of Katagalan Blvd, and
    228 Peace Park
    the MRT station 'National Taiwan University Hospital' on the Danshui line. The park was founded by the Japanese in 1907, and originally called New Park (新公園). The name was changed in 1996 to commemorate those killed in the 228 Incident of 28 February 1947. The park is popular with practitioners of taichi and senior citizens playing Chinese chess. The National Taiwan Museum marks the northern entrance to the park. (see Museums/Galleries section)
  • Zhongshan Fine Arts Park (中山美術公園), South of the Taipei Fine Arts Museum. The open green space and many stabiles are display in the park.
  • Dajia Riverside Park (大佳河濱公園), the park is a 12-km-long green belt on the south bank of the Keelung River. One of the beautiful banks in Taipei. The exercise facilities, like basketball, tennis, badminton are available, meantime, the bike rent is also accommodated there. The Red 34 bus between the MRT Yuanshan station (Danshui Line) and Dajia Riverside Park.

Temples/Heritages

West Taipei

  • Longshan Temple (龍山寺) - This temple is where countless generations of Taipei citizens
    Longshan Temple
    have come to pray and seek guidance at times of trouble. As the temple is dedicated to Guanyin (the Buddhist representation of compassion) it is officially defined as Buddhist, but there is a great amount of folk religion mixed into the fabric of the beliefs here. However, if you want to feel the real heartbeat of Taipei, one that is far removed from the skyscrapers and shopping malls of East Taipei, this is the place to come. It just oozes with character, though don't come expecting to find teachings on meditation. The area around Longshan Temple, Wanhua, is one of the original districts of Taipei. And, while much of the traditional architecture has been lost, the area still maintains a traditional feel. It is here that the blind masseurs congregate to offer their skill. Likewise, this is the area where the Taiwanese come to learn who they should marry or what to name their son or daughter by consulting one of the many fortune tellers that set up shop along the roads and alleys around the temple. The temple is located at 211 Guangzhou Road (near junction with Guilin Road) and is open daily from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. The nearest MRT station is 'Longshan Temple' on the Ban-Nan Line. Longshan Temple
Zhongshan Hall
  • Red Theater (紅樓劇場) - The Red Theater just sits directly outside the southwest exit of Ximen MRT station, near the Ximending Circle. It was Taiwan's first modern market as well as a theater in Japanese rule before, now there is an exhibition hall and a small playhouse. Red Theater
  • Zhongshan Hall (中山堂) - North of Ximen MRT station. The buildings were completed in the period of Japanese rule on December 26, 1936. In 1945, The former Taipei City Hall was renamed as Zhongshan Hall. In 1992, the building has been identified to Second monuments of the country. Later it was assigned as a cultural space that hosts cultural and art events. Zhongshan Hall

In the South of Datong District, Dadaocheng (大稻埕) is a historic heart of Taipei. Dadaocheng, it can be literally translated as large open space for drying rice in the sun. There is one of the oldest communities in Taipei. Getting this old area, you can take the Danshui Line (Red Line) MRT to Shuanglian Station. From Exit 2, walk west down Minsheng West Road (about 15 minutes).

  • Dihua Street (迪化街) - This street located alongside the Danshui River in Dadaocheng, rows of old shophouses from late 1880s hold Taiwan's oldest wholesale dried goods market. On Dihua street Section 1, Hsiahai City God Temple (霞海城隍廟) was built in 1859. City God (城隍爺), who watched over the citizens in the district and decided a person's fate after death. Today this temple remains the area's religious and social center, and one of Taipei's most important places of worship. Every Chinese New Year, Dihua Street is the most popular place in Taipei where local residents buy snacks and sweets for Chinese New Year festivities. The New Year Big Sales Market is popular with visitors.
  • West of Dihua Street and Xining North Road, there is a small, short lane called Gui-De Street (貴德街). This street was called Western Houses Street before. This lane just once fronted the Danshui River. In 1880s, Formosa Oolong Tea was famous all over the world, the tea packages all bear from the wharf near here. So many rich merchants to invest in raising many of the buildings along this street to attract international trading firms. For example, Chen Tian-lai (A.D. 1872-1939), a Taiwanese tea merchant, was fabulously rich for his time. His residence was one of the model Taiwanese residences in this street before. Now, this neo-Baroque building is still standing here. (No.73 Gui-De Street)
Baoan Temple

This place is at Datong District's north end, north of Dadaocheng. There is also one of the oldest communities in Taipei. Baoan Temple and Confucius Temple are both famous heritages here.

  • Baoan Temple (保安宮) - Baoan Temple was built in 1805, and complete in 1830. This Taoist temple is one of the leading religious sites in Taipei. The temple's main deity is the emperor Baosheng, the god of medicine. By the way, mural paintings and sculptures of the building is the best in Taiwan, so this temple is the winner in the 2003 UNESCO Asia-Pacific Heritage Awards. Baoan temple is located at 16 Hami Street, the nearest MRT station is 'Yuanshan' on the Danshui Line. Baoan Temple
Confucius Temple
  • Confucius Temple (孔廟) - Just next to Baoan Temple, The Confucius Temple was built in 1879 when the Qing Court changed Taipei into a prefecture of the Province of Fujian, China. It was established to serve as the largest educational center in northern Taiwan. Every September 28th, a large number of people from Taiwan and abroad come here to watch a solemn Confucius birthday ceremony and eight-row dance. The temple is located at 275 Dalong Street, the nearest MRT station is 'Yuanshan' on the Danshui Line. Confucius Temple
  • Xingtian Temple (行天宮) - Located at the corner of Minquan East Road and Songjiang Road. The temple built in 1967 devoted to Guangong (A.D. 162-219), a famous deified general who lived during the Three Kingdoms period, and he is an important character in the Chinese classic Romance of the Three Kingdoms. The temple forbids the killing of offering of animals, so you will see offerings of only fresh flowers, fruits and tea on the main altar. Many believers feel that this is a very efficacious temple, and it is frequently thronged with people praying for help and seeking divine guidance by consulting oracle blocks. Outside the temple, the underground pedestrian passages under the Minquan - Songjiang intersection are filled with fortune-tellers and vendors who take commercial advantage of the temple's popularity. Xingtian Temple


  • City Gates - Even though very little ancient architecture remains in Taipei, four of Taipei's five original city gates still stand. The city walls which surrounded the old city, as well as the West Gate, which used to stand at the current location of Ximending, were demolished by the Japanese to make way for roads and railway lines. Of the four gates still standing, the Kuomintang "renovated" three of them in its effort to "sinicize" Taipei and converted them from the original southern Chinese architecture to northern Chinese palace style architecture, leaving only the North Gate (more formally Cheng'en men 承恩門) in its original Qing Dynasty splendour today. This gate sits forlornly in the traffic circle where Zhonghua, Yanping and Boai roads meet.

Do

Hot Springs (温泉)

Wulai Hot Springs

Hot springs come in various brands in Taipei, ranging from basic, free 'rub and scrub' type public baths run by the city to plush spas at five star hotels. Most hotels offer the option of a large sex-segregated bathing area that generally consists of several large baths of various temperatures, jacuzzi, sauna and steam bath and also private and family rooms (NB: the law in Taiwan states that for safety reasons, individuals are not allowed to bathe in the private rooms, and there must be at least two people). Some hotels also have outdoor baths (露天温泉), which offer restful views over the surrounding country-side. Prices range from around NT$300 to NT$800.Public hot spring etiquette requires that bathers thoroughly wash and rinse off their bodies before entering the bath, do not wear clothing (including swim wear) in the bath and tie up their hair so that it does not touch the water. Finally, people with high blood pressure, heart disease or open wounds should not enter the baths.

There are three main places to have a soak in the Taipei area:

Hiking

Hiking is a popular exercise in Taipei. The main hiking spot in Taipei is Yangmingshan National Park (陽明山國家公園). There are dozens of hiking trails in the park.


Festivals & events

Taipei hosts numerous festivals throughout the year, but as many follow the lunar calendar the dates according to the Gregorian calendar are inconsistent. Unless you possess a lunar calendar, it is therefore recommended to check the Taiwan Tourist Bureau's events section before planning to attend an event.

  • The Golden Horse Chinese Language Film festival [25] is is often referred to as the Oscars of the Chinese film world, and while films in the awards section are are all in Chinese, they have English subtitles and, in addition, there is also a large non-competition foreign language section.
  • The Lantern Festival is a dazzling display of lanterns and lasers which runs for several days around the fifteenth day of the lunar new year. While the main city event is held at the Sun Yat-San Memorial Hall and Taipei City Hall grounds (16-24 February 2008), Renai Road perhaps offers the most elegant display, with the whole tree-lined boulevard transformed into a delicate tunnel of lights. Pingsi in Taipei County celebrates the festival with the release of huge lanterns that float serenely across the night sky, carrying with them the dedications and aspirations of those who release them.
  • Dragon Boat Festival commemorates the death of the Chinese patriotic poet Qu Yuan (born 340 BC), who drowned himself in a river out of despair that his beloved country, Chu, was being plundered by a neighboring country as a result of betrayal by his own people. The festival is marked by races of colorful dragon boats held at various locations throughout the island, with one of the best places to view a race in the Taipei area being the Bitan River in Xindian. Special sticky rice balls called dzongdz are also eaten on this day. The festival falls on the 5th day of the 5th lunar month.
  • Taipei International Travel Fair, Taipei World Trade Center. (31 Oct.- 3 Nov. 2008)
  • Taipei Film Festival. [26] An international festival with two award sections: 'Taipei Award Nominees' and 'International New Talent Nominees.' Films are shown at several venues throughout the city. (20 Jun. - 6 Jul. 2008)

Theme Parks

  • Children's Recreation Center (兒童育樂中心), [27], is an amusement park located on Zhongshan North Road Sec. 3, nearest MRT station is 'Yuanshan' on Danshui Line. The center was created by city government in 1991. It has old-fashioned rides, folk art museum, IMAX theater and more. This place is great for younger kids.
  • Taipei Water Park (自來水園區), 1 Shiyuan Street, [28], is situated in Gongguan area, was newly opened in 2007. The park is built around the Museum of Drinking Water. Many facilities are all about water. The most popular are water slides and swimming pools. But the facilities are only open in summer. (Entry with the museum ticket)
  • Taipei Zoo (台北動物園), 30 Xinguang Road Sec. 2, [29], Nestled in a tight, lush valley, Taipei zoo has all the leisurely charm of a large park, but for your NT$60 you also get the enjoyment of wandering through trees and along lanes with a variety of animals and birds. Unlike many traditional zoos, the animals here are not confined to cages, but allowed to roam freely in open paddocks, and it is a very clean and well maintained facility. Furthermore, due to the city government's education policy, the zoo is very much an integral part of Taipei life. So much so in fact, that when an old elephant, Lin-Wang (林旺) became ill and died several years ago, several generations turned up, many with tears in their eyes, to say their farewells. The zoo is located in the suburb of Muzha, and the entrance is just outside the terminal stop on the Muzha MRT line, 'Taipei Zoo'.
  • Leofoo Village Theme Park (六福村主題樂園), [30], is located in Guansi township, Hsinchu County. It is the one of the largest theme park in Taiwan. The park has its fare share of thrill rides and as well as the usual theme park atmosphere. Leofoo Village Theme Park opens from 9am to 5:30pm on weekdays, and from 9am to 6pm on public holidays.

Learn

Buddhism

  • The internationally acclaimed Chan (Zen) Master Sheng-yen has a monastery in Beitou where there are regular mediation meetings with instruction given in English. See Beitou page for more information.
  • In recent years, Tibetan Buddhism has become very popular in Taiwan, and the Taipei area alone boasts more than fifty centers. So, on any given night there will be teachings and rituals being held in the city, and Taipei has become a regular port of call for many of the well known rinpoches. While most teachings are given in Tibetan with translation into Chinese, some are given in English. For information on teachings, check notice boards at vegetarian restaurants. (For purchase of Buddha statues and other Buddhist artifacts, see 'Potala' under listings for 'Buy')
  • The international Buddhist foundation The Corporate Body of the Buddha Educational Foundation has its headquarters in Taipei. The foundation publishes books on Buddhism in various languages (including English) which it offers for free. For detailed information check the foundations web site: [31]

Universities

Public Universities

  • National Taiwan University (國立台灣大學), [32], Taiwan's uncontested number one university. Colloquially known by the shortened Taida.
  • National Taiwan Normal University (國立台灣師範大學), [33], colloquially known by the shortened Shida, one of the oldest universities in Taiwan.
  • National Taiwan University of Science and Technology (國立台灣科技大學), [34], is the first technical university in Taiwan.
  • National Taipei University of Technology (國立台北科技大學), [35]
  • National Chengchi University (國立政治大學), [36]
  • Taipei National University of the Arts (國立台北藝術大學), [37]
  • Taipei Municipal University of Education (台北市立教育大學), [38]

Private Universities

  • Soochow University (東吳大學), [39]
  • Ming Chuan University (銘傳大學), [40]
  • Taipei Shih Chien University (實踐大學), [41]
  • Shih Hsin University (世新大學), [42]
  • Chinese Culture University (中國文化大學), [43]

Language

  • Center for Chinese Language and Culture Studies, National Taiwan Normal University (Shida), 162 Heping East Road, sec. 1. Tel+886 2 2321-8457 & 2391-4248. Fax:886 2 2341-8431, e-mail: mtc@mtc.ntnu.edu.tw). This school, which is part of Shi-da University, has seen generations of students passing through its doors and it remains one of the most popular schools in Taiwan for serious students of Mandarin.
  • International Chinese Language Program, National Taiwan University (Taida). This program, which used to be called the IUP program, has a long history of Chinese language training, especially for advanced learners and primarily targeting graduate students, scholars and professionals studying China and Taiwan. It has very small classes, very high quality instructors and texts, but may be considerably more expensive than the alternatives. Only students who expect a very intensive experience, usually with a year or more of time to dedicate to study, should consider this program.
  • Mandarin Daily News Language Center, more commonly known locally as Guo-Yu-Ri-Bau, 2F. 2 Fu-zhou Street. Tel:886 2 2391-5134 & 2392-1133 ext. 1004. Fax:886 2 2391-2008. Along with the Center for Chinese Language and Culture Studies, this is one of the most popular schools in Taiwan for serious students of Mandarin.
  • Maryknoll Language Service Center Rm. 800, 8 Fl., Chung Ying Bldg.2 Zhongshan North Rd., Sec. 1. Tel:+886 2 2314-1833~5. Conveniently located near a Taipei Station MRT stop exit, the Maryknoll Language Service Center offers Mandarin, Taiwanese, and Hakka classes. This is *the* place to study Taiwanese. Mostly one-on-one tutorials although you may be able to arrange a group class.

Taichi

  • Unless you have a recommendation, the best way to find a good teacher is to visit a park at sunrise and check out the scene for yourself. If you spot a group that impresses you, approach one of the students and inquire about joining them. Most teachers will be happy to have a new student, though some old masters may 'play hard to get.' In the latter case, persistence is required. Most teachers will expect some sort of fee for their tuition. However, as it is considered impolite to directly ask the teacher this question, use a fellow student as mediator. Furthermore, when offering the money on the alloted day, place it in a red envelope (hongbao - available at all convenience and stationary stores) and slip it to the teacher subtly. Offering cash openly to a teacher of a traditional art or religion is considered undignified and demeaning. Most parks host tai'chi groups, but the most popular places are the grounds of the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall (nearest MRT station - CKS Memorial Hall) and Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall (nearest MRT station - SYS Memorial Hall) as well as 228 Peace Park (formerly known as New Park - nearest MRT station - National Taiwan University Hospital).


Work

Teaching English (or to a lesser extent, other foreign languages) is perhaps the easiest way to work in Taiwan. Work permits will be hard to come by and will take time. Consult your local Taiwan consulate/embassy/representative as far in advance as possible.

Buy

It is often said that L.A. has no center. In contrast, one could say that Taipei is all center, and as such it has been given the epithet - "the emporium without end." Basically, however, the main shopping area can be divided into two districts: East and West. West Taipei is the old city and is characterized by narrow streets crammed packed with small shops. The Western district is also home to most government buildings and the Taipei Main Station. East Taipei boasts wide tree lined boulevards and the four main shopping malls are located in this area. Popular shopping destinations in East Taipei consist of the area around the ZhongXiao-DunHua intersection and Taipei 101.

Shopping malls/areas

Xinyi District
  • Xinyi District is the seat of the Taipei mayor's office and the Taipei city council. The Taipei Convention Hall, the Taipei World Trade Center, Taipei 101, Taipei City Hall, and various shopping malls and entertainment venues make Xinyi the most modern cosmopolitan district of Taipei. Xinyi District is also considered the financial district of Taipei. The Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall is also in the district. Much of the district use to be wetlands, explaining the abundance of space for construction projects as this was one of the last places in Taipei to be developed. The district is arguably the premier shopping area in Taipei, if not all of Taiwan. Xinyi District is anchored by a number of department stores and malls. In addition, numerous restaurants are located in the area, especially American chain restaurants.


Taipei 101 Mall
  • Shilin Night Market has more than just food and has a section which sells bags and clothing. Most of the stuff here are just imitations though. To get there, take the MRT Danshui Line to Jiantan Station. The food court is located directly across the street from the station with the rest of the night market spreading out to the north.
  • Taipei 101 Mall (see Landmarks section)
  • Miramar Entertainment Park is mostly your regular shopping center with the usual stuff, though it also houses the only IMAX theatre in Taiwan as well as the Miramar ferris wheel which offers great views of Taipei city.
  • Eslite Mall (誠品 Chengpin) - an upscale market-style shopping center with 24 hour book shop (with good English selection) on the second floor and ethnic music store in basement. 245 Dunhua South Road - near intersection with Renai Road.
Miramar Entertainment Park
  • Breeze Center (微風廣場 Weifeng Guangchang), 39 Fuxing South Road, Sec. 1 (near the intersection with Civic Boulevard) Tel:+886 2 6600-8888. Open: 11AM-9:30PM Sun-Thur; 11AM-10PM Fri-Sat.
  • The Core Pacific Living Mall (京華城 Jinghua Cheng), reportedly Asia's largest shopping center under one roof, has many stores open 24 hours, plus a large food court, cinema complex, and the nightclub Plush, located on Bade Road, near intersection with Guangfu South Road.
  • A main shopping area is also located around the Sogo Department Store on Zhongxiao East Road, Sec. 4(nearest MRT Station: Zhongxiao Fuxing), and the lanes and alleys around Da'an Road (behind Sogo) have an interesting array of small shops and boutiques. Buddha Statues, prayer flags and other artifacts associated with Tibetan Buddhism can be purchased at Potala, 2F, 2-4, Lane 51, Da'an Road. Tel:+886 2 2741-6906. The staff speak English and the prices are reasonable. Also, those interested in all things Nepalese should check out Jay Shiva Shamyoo Himalayan Handicrafts, located in the basement of 1 Lane 146, Zhongxiao East Road, sec. 4. Tel:+886 2 2740 2828.
Breeze Center
  • Those interested in picking up cheap electronic goods and cameras should wander the lanes and alleys around Kaifeng Street and Zhonghua Road (near Taipei Main Station).
  • Computer buffs will enjoy a visit to Guanghua Market (光華商場 Guanghua Shangchang). Specializing in computer and electronic goods, this market has the largest number of stalls selling hardware and software under one roof in Taiwan, and all at very competitive prices. While there, check out the enormous DVD & VCD selections (remember to check DVD region codes) and used book stores. The old location on Bade Rd. under the Xinsheng overpass was demolished in January 2006, and all the shops have moved to a new location at the southeast corner of Civic Blvd and Jinshan Road, a short walk from the old location.
Core Pacific Living Mall
  • The Station Front Area (站前), a section of Downtown just south of the Taipei Railway Station is a bustling area filled with shops and stores of all kinds, but is especially well known for it's high concentration of bookstores, and in recent years, stores specializing in electronics and computer hardware. Electronic and computer junkies take note, some smaller vendors will allow you to bargain down prices on large purchases (i.e. a custom built PC). Popular places in this area to shop for computer hardware and software include:
    • Nova, a four storey collection of small computer and electronics vendors that can only be described as a high tech bazaar, located across the street from the railway station on the west side of the Shinkong Mitsukoshi department store.
    • K-Mall, located in the former Asiaworld department store on the east side of Shinkong Mitsukoshi, this trendy mall specializes in electronics of all kinds, and is a location for large companies such as Asus, Samsung, Benq, and Acer to showcase their newest products.
    • The Taipei Zhongshan Metro Shopping Mall (Easy Mall) is a long underground shopping area that houses several stores selling all manner of items, not necessarily limited to electronics. A few stores in the Easy Mall carry current and vintage video game hardware and software, and perform hardware modifications on consoles. The Easy Mall is accessible through the basement of Taipei Railway Station.
Ximending, the area with youth.
  • The Ximending (西門町) is the trendy shopping area just west of Downtown popular with local students. If it's pink, plastic, and imported from Japan, you can probably find it on sale in a store here. To get to Ximending, take the MRT Blue (Bannan) Line and get off at Ximen Station.
  • Zhongshan North Road (中山北路) is a tree-lined boulevard featuring numerous international and local brands. Gucci and Louis Vuitton are among the brands who operate stores along this street. This road, particularly along the 2nd section, is also famous for its numerous wedding picture studios and gown boutiques. It is possible to find a great deal for wedding portraits here as competition is stiff. This road runs parallel to the MRT Red (Danshui/Beitou) line.

Handicrafts

  • Weekend Jade Market (假日玉市). Located under an elevated expressway, reaching from Renai Road & Jianguo South Road intersection down Jianguo Rd. till Xinyi Rd. In addition to jade, flowers and many other kinds of handcrafts and articles of jewelery can be bought. There are actually three different markets, the Weekend Jade Market, Weekend Flower Market and Weekend Handicrafts Market in this same location, and as the names suggest, they're only open on weekends, until 6:00pm.
  • For handicrafts, visit the Chinese Handicraft Mart (中華工藝館)[44], 1 Xuzhou Road (on corner of intersection with Zhongshan South Road).
  • Pottery enthusiasts will enjoy a visit to Yingge in Taipei County (Take train, and get off at Yingge Station). Old Street is a crescent of beautiful pottery shops interspersed with coffee shops and tea houses.

Trekking/backpacking gear

  • Mountain Hard Wear, 7 Lane 284, Roosevelt Road, sec. 3, Gongguan (nearest MRT - Gongguan) Tel:+886 2 2365-1501, plus a few stores (all within a few doors of each other) just north of the junction with Zhongxiao West Road on Zhongshan North Road, sec 1 (west side of the road) are professional trekking and backpacking stores offering a wide range of high quality equipment.

Books

Eslite Book Store
  • Taipei has great book shops, and roads such are Chongqing South Road are packed with stores specializing in Chinese language books. The following book stores all have good selections of English titles:
  • Eslite (誠品) offer a good selection at most of their branches, though the 24 hour flagship store at 2F, 245 Dunhua South Road. Tel:+886 2 2775-5977 and the huge Eslite Book Store and shopping mall at 11 Songgau Road, which incidentally is the largest book store in Taiwan, have the greatest selection. The Songgau Road branch is located next to MRT Station 'Taipei City Hall'.
  • Page One on the fourth floor of the shopping mall at Taipei 101. Tel+886 2 8101-8282 - a very large and varied selection of English titles.
  • Caves Books (敦煌), two branches - 54-3 Zhongshan North Road, Sec 2 (near Yuanshan MRT Station). Tel:+886 2 2599-1166 (this is a temporary location, while the old store is demolished and rebuilt), and 5, Lane 38, Tianyu Street, Tianmu. Tel:+2 886 2874-2199 - one of the original book stores in Taipei specializing in English titles, and although it has been surpassed by the newer arrivals, it is still a good place to pick up a popular novel and English language text books.
  • Lai Lai (來來), 4F, 271 Roosevelt Road, Sec 3. Tel:+886 2 2363-4265 - a small but interesting selection of English material.
  • Crane Publishing Company, 6F, 109 Heping E Rd, Sec 1. Tel+886 2 2393-4497, 2394-1791 - specialists in English language text books and teaching material.
  • Bookman Books, Room 5, 2F, 88 Xinsheng South Road, Sec 3. Tel+886 2 2368-7226 - an excellent collection of English literature books, albeit a little expensive.
  • Mollie Used Books, 17, Alley 10, Lane 244, Roosevelt Road sec 3. Tel:886 2 2369-2780 - a reasonable selection of English titles.

NB: In order to protect the environment, a government policy rules that plastic bags cannot be given freely at stores in Taiwan, but have to be bought (NT$1) - bakeries being an exception as the items need to be hygienically wrapped. Re-usable canvas and nylon bags are sold at most supermarkets.

Eat

Taipei probably has one of the highest densities of restaurants in the world. Almost every street and alley offers some kind of eatery. Of course, Chinese food (from all provinces) is well represented, but in addition, Thai, Vietnamese, Japanese, Korean and Italian cuisines are also popular. Basically, East Taipei, especially around Dunhua and Anhe Roads, and also the expat enclave of Tianmu are where to clash chopsticks with the rich and famous, whereas West Taipei offers more homey, small restaurants.

Due to the sheer number of restaurants, it is almost impossible to compile a thorough list, but below are a few recommended restaurants catering to specialist tastes.

Night markets (夜市)

The most famous one in Taipei is the Shilin Night Market (士林夜市). Vendor food is nearly always safe to eat and offers a cheap way to sample delicious Chinese 'home cooking'. Use common sense though if you have a sensitive stomach!

Stinky Tofu at Shilin Market

Some of the best known night market snacks are:

  • Oyster omelet (蚵仔煎; ô-á-chian)
  • Tianbula (甜不辣) - Literally "Sweet, not spicy" is a Taiwanese version of tempura.
  • Stinky tofu a.k.a. Chinese cheese (臭豆腐; chòudòufǔ)
  • Oyster vermicelli (蚵仔麵線; ô-á mī-sòaⁿ)
  • Fried chicken fillet (雞排; jīpái)
  • Pearl milk tea (珍珠奶茶; zhēnzhū nǎichá) - a classic drink invented by a tea vendor in Taichung.
  • Stir fried cuttlefish (生炒花枝; shēngchǎo huāzhī)
  • Spareribs with herbs (藥燉排骨; yàodùn páigǔ)
  • Aiyu Jelly (愛玉冰; ài-yù-bīng)
  • Mango ice (芒果冰; mángguǒbīng)
  • Pan fried pork buns (水煎包; shuǐjiānbāo)
  • Soy braised foods (滷味; lǔwèi)
  • Taiwanese sausage (香腸; xiāngcháng)

Chinese cuisine

Din Tai Fung Shrimp Dumplings
  • Tien Hsiang Lo (天香樓), B1, 41 Minquan East Road, Sec. 2. (The Landis Taipei Hotel). Tel:+886 2 2597-1234, [45]. Authentic Hangzhou cuisine. Reservations are recommended.
  • Yin-Yi Restaurant (銀翼餐廳), 2F 18 Jinshan South Road Sec. 2. Tel:+886 2 2341-7799. Dedicated to old style Yangzhou cuisine.
  • Pearl Liang (漂亮中式海鮮餐廳), 2F, 2 Songshou Road (Grand Hyatt Taipei). Tel:+886 2 2720-1200, [46]. Offers unique, fresh, live seafood and dim sum.
  • Shang Palace (香宮), 6F, 201 Dunhua South Road Sec. 2. (Far Eastern Plaza Hotel). Tel:+886 2 2378-8888, [47]. Specialize in Cantonese and regional Chinese cuisines. Note: Dim sum is available for lunch only.
  • Din Tai Fung (鼎泰豐), 218 Zhongxiao East Road Sec. 4. Tel:+886 2 2721-7890, [48]. Famous for its steamed pork dumplings. Worth a detour. Several locations in Taipei and worldwide.
  • Yi-yaji Restaurant (易牙居), 16, Lane 286, Roosevelt Road Sec. 3. Tel:+886 2 2367-8218. Near the Taiwan National University, dedicated to Cantonese dumplings, shaomais (Chinese steamed pork dumplings) and desserts.
  • Shan Xi Dao Xiao Mian (山西刀削麵), 2, Lane 118, Heping East Road Sec. 2. (@ Fuxing S Road, near Technology Bldg MRT station, in an alley of Taiwan National University) Tel:+886 2 2378-7890. Serving knife cut noodles, which are known for their chewy texture. As the name suggests, a block of noodle dough is held and the noodles are cut straight off of the block. Cheap and very popular, but no English menus.
  • Yongkang Beef Noodle (永康牛肉麵), 17, Lane 31, Jinshan South Road Sec. 2. Tel:+886 2 2351-1051, [49], One of the top-twenty beef noodle shops in Taipei.
  • Kiki Restaurant (Kiki 老媽餐廳), 28, Fuxing South Road Sec. 1. Tel:+886 2 2752-2781, [50], Opposited the Breeze Center. This restaurant dedicated to Szechwanese peppery hot pot, fried tofu and more.

Taiwanese cuisine

  • Tainan Tan-tsu-mien Seafood Restaurant (台南擔仔麵), 31 Huaxi Street. Tel:+886 2 2308-1123. Legendary in the Huaxi Street Tourist Night Market (Snake Alley).
  • Ching-Yeh (青葉餐廳), 1, Lane 105, Zhongshan North Road Sec. 1. Tel:+886 2 2551-7957. The famous Taiwanese restaurant in Taipei, beside the Zhongshan North Road.
  • Shinyeh' Table (欣葉蔥花), 2F 201 Zhongxiao East Road Sec.4. Tel:+886 2 2778-8712. Near the MRT Zhongxiao Fuxing Station, located right inside the Tongling Department Store. It's the newest Taiwanese cuisine restaurant in Taipei. Menu has English.

Thai cuisine

  • Thai Guo Xiao Guan (泰國小館), 219 Tingzhou Road Sec. 3. (Near the Taiwan National University) Tel:+886 2 2367-0739. The small Thai restaurant in Gongguan. The owner is a Thai, you can enjoy authentic Thai food at low price.
  • Thai Heaven Restaurant (泰平天國), 60 Roosevelt Road Sec. 2. Tel:+886 2 2392-5969. [51]. Near the Taiwan Normal University (Shi-da). Authentic fire-hot Thai cuisine is served here. Try the Moon Shrimp Cake and Green Papaya Salad, Tasty!

Japanese cuisine

  • Mitsui Japanese Cuisine (三井日本料理), 30 Nong-an Street. Tel:+886 2 2594-3394.[52]. The best Japanese cuisine in Taipei.
  • Mei Guan Yuan (美觀園), 36 Emei Street, Tel:+886 2 2331-0377. Located in Ximending Pedestrian Area. This restaurant serves authentic Japanese sushi and sashimi since 1946. (note there's another restaurant opposite the road from this with exactly the same name - that's the old location of this restaurant and doesn't serve as good sushi)

Korean

  • Korean P&L B.B.Q Restaurant (P&L 韓式烤肉), 47, Longquan Street. Tel:+886 2 2362-1637. Near the Taiwan Normal University (Shida) and located in Shida Night market. This small place serves traditional Korean barbecue, kimchi hot pot and spicy ricecake.

Indian

  • Tandoor Indian Restaurant (坦都印度餐廳), 10, Lane 73, Hejiang Street. Tel:+886 2 2509-9853. [53].
  • Out of India (印渡風情), 26, Lane 13, Pucheng Street (second lane on right off Shi-Da Road when traveling from Heping East Road). Tel:+886 2 2363-3054 - food ok, but not great value.
  • Namaste Curry, 2F. 16, Lane 316, Roosevelt Road sec 3 (near Gongguan MRT Station). Tel:+886 2 2362-9538 - friendly and warm atmosphere - good reasonably priced food.
  • Carnegie's, Anhe Road, Section 2, No.100 (near Far Eastern Hotel). Tel:+886 2 2325-4433 - While not an Indian restaurant per se, Carnegie's features many Indian dishes, and they have an excellent "Curry-Out" menu if you feel like bringing a curry or two home with you.

Middle Eastern

  • Sababa, 8, Alley 54, Lane 118, Heping East Road, Sec. 2. (across from the Xinhai Road entrance to Taiwan National University). Tel:+886 2 2738-7769, and 17 Lane 283, Roosevelt Road, sec 3. Tel:+886 2 2363-8009. [54]. Authentic Middle Eastern cuisine at very reasonable prices - warm and cozy atmosphere.

International

  • Grandma Nitty's Kitchen, 8, Lane 93, Shida Road. Tel:+886 2 2369-9751. In Shida area, they serves many great dishes such as burgers, sandwiches, pastas, Greek Omelets, Tex-Mex Fajitas and more. Very popular with American language teachers and students.
  • JB's, 148, Shida Road. Tel:+886 2 2364-8222. An European pub and restaurant in Shida area serves traditional European fare on the first floor (The second floor features the main bar and activity center). Steak pie and fish and chips are Taipei's best.

Pizza

Pizza is easy to find in Taiwan with major chains such as Pizza Hut and Domino's. Besides the usual variety, Taiwan also has its localized variants e.g. seafood supreme, pepper steak, corn, peas etc.

  • Alleycat's Pizza, B1, 6-1 Lishui Street (near the intersection of Xinyi Road and Jinshan South Road). Tel:886 2 2321-8949. [55]. Generally considered by ex-pats to be the best traditional Italian pizza in Taipei.
  • Casa Della Pasta, 7-1, Lane 11, Zhongshan North Road, sec 2. Tel:886 2 2567-8769. Reasonable pizzas at good prices served among authentic Italian decor.

Steak

  • Ruth's Chris Steak House (茹絲葵), 2F, 135 Minsheng East Road, Sec 3. Tel+886 2 2545-8888, [56]. Perhaps Taipei's best-known and best American steakhouse.
  • Wang Steak House (王品台塑牛排), 169 Nanjing East Road, Sec 4. Tel:886 2 8770-7989. [57]. An upscale chain steakhouse known for its signature "Wang steak".
  • Lawry's Steak House, 12F Core Pacific Living Mall (京華城), 138 Bade Road, sec 4.

Vegetarian

Vegetarian food (素食) is also common fare, with the city boasting more than two hundred such restaurants and vendor stands. Another Taipei specialty is vegetarian buffets. They are common in every neighborhood, and unlike the 'all-you-can-eat' buffets listed below (which charge a set price, usually ranging from NT$250 - NT$350 including dessert and coffee/tea), the cost is estimated by the weight of the food on your plate. Rice (there is usually a choice of brown or white) is charged separately, but soup is free and you can refill as many times as you like. NT$75-120 will buy you a good sized, nutritious meal. Note that many of these veggie restaurants are Buddhist in nature and so meals do not contain garlic or onion (which traditionalists claim inflames passion).

  • Lotus Pavilion Restaurant, B1, 153-155 Xinyi Road, Sec. 4 (entrance in alley behind Changhwa Bank. Tel:+886 2 2703-5612) - up-scale all-you-can-eat buffet.
  • Heart of the Lotus Garden, 2F No. 108 Xinsheng North Road, Sec. 2 (near intersection with Jinzhou Street - Tel:+886 2 2560-1950) - up-scale all-you-can-eat buffet.
  • Om Ah Hum, No. 6, Alley 18, Lane 60, Taishun Street (off Shida Road - Tel:+886 2 2362-3919) - menu style - located in traditional wooden building.
  • For a special Taipei street experience, check out the veggie vendor outside No. 30, Lane 216, Zhongxiao East Road Sec. 4 (in the alleys behind the Dunhua South Road Eslite Mall and book store) - The rice noodles are especially delicious and cheap and a plate of their dougan (dried tofu) makes a great side dish.
  • Shui-Ge, B1, 270 Zhongxiao East Road, Sec. 4 (Tel:886 2 2711-1871) - up-scale all-you-can-eat buffet.
  • Armillydo, 13, Lane 170, Xinsheng South Road, Sec. 1 (enter from Lane 243, Xinyi Road, sec 2 - Tel:+886 2 2358-2677) - an organic restaurant with Zen style decor.

Drink

Bars/clubs

A cold can of Taiwan Beer at Fulong Beach
  • Luxy, 5F, 201 Zhongxiao E. Road, Section 4, near the Zhongxiao Dunhua MRT station, [58]. One of the most well-known clubs in Taipei. Luxy has two levels: the lower level has a side room playing house/techno and a main room playing hip-hop; the upper level is a lounge with a small dance floor over-looking the main room. Cover charge goes up after 11 pm. Get there early to avoid a line.
  • Ziga Zaga, No.2, Song Shou Road, Grand Hyatt Taipei - specializes in cocktails and Italian cuisine - both the service and food are excellent - popular with locals and expats - Ladies Night on Wednesdays.
  • The Wall Live House, B1, 200 Roosevelt Road, Sec 4, 2930-0162, [59]. Mostly Taiwanese bands playing everything from rock to reggae.
  • Champagne 3 Disco Lounge, B1, 171 Songde Road. Tel:+886 2 2728-5673, [60]. Two-level dance club & lounge with good D.J.'s.
  • Carnegies, 100 Anhe Road, Sec 2. Tel:+886 2 2325-4433. Popular with locals and expats. Ladies Nights on Wednesdays! The outdoor patio is perfect for those who prefer quieter and less smoky atmospheres. The scene is geared toward the 30+ expat and locals.
  • Indian Beerhouse, 196 Bade Road, Sec. 2. Tel:+886 2 2741-0550. The beerhouse with dinosaur skeletons and them decor. Customers can enjoy the greasy nightmarket style snacks with kegs of beer.
  • Taiwan Beer Bar, 85 Bade Road, Sec. 2. A godsend for the thirsty budget traveler in a city of pricey bars, this is most certainly the cheapest bar in town. It's attached to the brewery where Taiwan Beer is made, close to the intersection of Bade and Jianguo Roads. What it lacks in ambiance it more than makes up for in price: NT$50 per mug of Taiwan Beer, NT$100 per liter. Interior and exterior seating are available.

Tea houses

Taiwan's speciality teas are High Mountain Oolong (高山烏龍, a fragrant, light tea) and Tieguanyin (鐵觀音, a dark, rich brew).

  • Wisteria House (紫藤廬), 16 Xinsheng South Road, Sec 3. Tel:+886 2 2363-7375, [61]. Wisteria is set in a traditional house, complete with tatami mats, and is a great place to spend an afternoon relaxing with friends and soaking up the atmosphere of Taiwan. NB: Wisteria is closed until 2008 for renovation.
  • Hui Liu (回留), No 9, Lane 31, Yongkang Street. Tel:+886 2 2392-6707. Located next to the small and verdant Yongkang Park, Hui Liu is a modern style tea house. In addition to serving Chinese tea, Hui Liu is also famous for its organic vegetarian meals and hand made pottery.
  • Teng (藤居), 29, Lane 61, Linyi Street (between Renai Road, sec 2 and Xinyi Road, sec 2). Tel:+886 2 2321-9089. A rustic tea house and art studio in the heart of Taipei.

The mountainous Maokong area of Muzha in the Wenshan district of the city has dozens upon dozens of teahouses, many of which also offer panoramic views of the city - especially spectacular on a clear evening. An Maokong Gondola (cable car) system, [62], runs Taipei Zoo MRT station to Maokong. The S10 bus goes up there from the Wanfang Community MRT station.

Cafes

While traditionally a nation of tea drinkers, in recent years the Taiwanese have really embraced the cafe culture, and all the usual chains can be found here in abundance. For cafes with more character, however, roam the back streets near National Taiwan University between Xinsheng South Road and Roosevelt Road, and also the area around Renai Road, Section 4 and Dunhua South Road. There are also some interesting and characterful places between Yongkang Park and Chaozhou Street, and in the alleys around Shida Road. In the Shida area, Salt Peanuts (23, Lane 60, Taishun Street) is highly recommended for its laid back atmosphere and great selection of retro-rock. However, for a particularly impressive range of styles, visit Bitan in Xindian, where all the cafes offer restful views over the river and mountains beyond (though can be noisy at weekend).

Sleep

Hostels

  • Camels' Oasis Hostel, 10F.-1, 28, Sec. 1, Roosevelt Rd., (), [63]. Cheap, clean hostel in a good location 1 block from MRT. NT$300/night.
  • Taipei Visitors Hostel [64] More like shared accommodation than a hostel. However, unlike shared accommodation, visitors are able to choose the duration of their stay. The company has two locations and unlike normal hostels, all rooms are separate, each containing a double bed. Prices start at 3000NT per week.
  • Taiwanmex, No. 56, Changan W Rd., (). One block west of Taipei station, one hundred steps from the MRT and one block east of the Museum of Contemporary Art. Clean rooms, multiple bathrooms, internet pcs and showers at NT$300. Spanish and English spoken. NT$300/night.
  • Amigo Hostel, No. 14, Lane 157, Yonghe Rd. Sec. 2, Yonghe, [65]. An old favorite, though it is no longer in its old location. Closest MRT: Dingxi. US$7/night.
  • Eight Elephants Hostel, Jin-Jiang Street, Lane 48, Alley 4, No. 6, 1F (near Shida), Mobile''+886'' 968 067 561 (from overseas) 0968 067 561 (from within Taiwan), [66]. A very clean and stylish hostel. Highly rated by international travelers, students and job-seekers. Closest MRT: Guting (Exit 2) NT$510/night, with excellent long stay rates.
  • Happy Family Hostel 1 & 2, 2, Lane 56, Zhongshan North Road Sec. 1. Tel:+886 2 2581-0176; Mobile: 0937-195-075. [67] Happy Family are old favorites in the city and are managed by the very friendly and helpful John Lee. A shared room goes for NT$300 per night, while rates for a single run from NT$400 - NT$700. Cheaper rates are available for long term stays.
  • Taipei Key Mall Traveler Hostel, 15F-2, 50 Zhongxiao W. Rd. Sec. 1. Tel:+886 2 2331-7272, 2381-2550 (opposite Taipei Main Station on the 15th floor of the building where the K-Mall is located, next to the tall Mitsukoshi building). NT$490 per night per person + breakfast; NT$250 for children under 12.
  • Taipei Hostel, 6F, No. 11, Lane 5, Linsen N. Rd., [68]. Dorm: NT$300 (NT$1500/week). Single bed room: NT$500 (NT$2500/week).
  • World Scholar House, 38, Lane 2, Songjiang Road. Tel:+886 2 2541-8113 [69]. A clean and conveniently located hostel. Dorm and private rooms available, with the rates running from NT$350 to NT$500.
This guide uses the following price ranges for a standard double room:
Budget below NT$2,500
Mid-range NT$2,500-5,000
Splurge NT$5,000+

Budget

East Taipei

  • Royal Best Hotel, 385 Xinyi Road, sec. 4, +886 2 2729-5533, (royalbes@ms.hinet.net).
  • Ever Green Hotel, 73 Xinyi Road, sec. 2, +886 2 2394-4796.
  • Charming City Hotel, 295 Xinyi Road, sec. 4, +886 2 2704-9746.
  • Fu Hau Hotel, 9 Fuxing South Road, sec 2, +886 2 2325-0722, (service@fuhauhotel.com.tw), [70]. Centrally located and close to Da-an MRT Station.
  • Donghwa Hotel, 156 Nanjing East Road, sec 4, +886 2 2579-6162, (donghwahotel@hotmail.com).
  • KDM Hotel, No.8, Sec. 3, Jhongsiao E. Rd., Da-an District, +886 2 2721-1162.

West Taipei

  • One Star (萬事達旅店) 18 Chongqing South Road, sec 1. Tel:+886 2 2388-7269. Fax:+886 2 2388-2983 [71]. Located across from Taipei Main Station - rooms from NT$1,740
  • New Mayflower Hotel, 1 Chongqing South Road, sec. 1. Tel:+886 2 2311-0212.

Mid Range

East Taipei

  • Les Suites Ching-Cheng Hotel, 12 Chingcheng Street (one minute walk from Nanjing East Road MRT Station (Muzha line)), +886 2 8712-7688 (, fax: 8712-7699), [72]. A small and very comfortable hotel, centraly located. The manager is very kind and will help you find good local restaurants and places to visit.
  • Baguio Hotel, 367 Bade Road, sec. 2. Tel:+886 2 2771-8996.
  • Taipei Fullerton 41 (台北馥敦), 41 Fuxing South Road, sec. 2. Tel:+886 2 2708-3000. [73]
  • First Hotel, 63 Nanjing East Road, sec. 2. Tel:+886 2 2541-8234.
  • Les Suites Daan Taipei (台北商旅大安館), [74], 135 Daan Road Sec. 1. Tel: +886 2 8773-3799, Fax : 886-2-8773-3788.

West Taipei

  • Cosmos Hotel (天成大飯店), 43 Zhongxiao West Road, sec. 1. Tel:+886 2 2361-7856 [75]. In front of Taipei Main Station.
  • Hotel Flowers, 19 Hankou Street. Tel:+886 2 2312-3811.
  • YMCA, 19 Xuchang Street. Tel:+886 2 2311-3201, [76].
  • The Leofoo Hotel (六福客棧), 168 Changchun Road. Tel:+886 2 2507-3211. [77].

Splurge

East Taipei

Grand Hyatt Taipei
  • Agora Garden (亞太會館), 68 Songgao Road. Tel:+886 2 8780-5168. [78]. Located a short walk from Taipei 101 and Taipei World Trade Center.
  • Grand Hyatt Taipei (台北君悅大飯店), 2 Songshou Road. Tel:+886 2 2720-1234. [79]. Next to Taipei 101 and Taipei World Trade Center, at the very heart of the New Taipei, a burgeoning business, shopping and entertainment district.
  • Howard Plaza Hotel (台北福華大飯店), 160 Renai Road, sec. 3. Tel:+886 2 2700-2323. [80]. Centrally located and convenient for MRT.
  • Rebar Crowne Plaza (台北皇冠大飯店), 32 Nanjing East Road, sec. 5. Tel:+886 2 2763-5656. [81]. An older hotel, but with very good quality service.
Far Eastern Plaza Hotel
  • Shangri-La Far Eastern Plaza Hotel (香格里拉台北遠東國際大飯店), 201 Dunhua South Road, sec. 2. Tel:+886 2 2378-8888. [82]. Asian inspired interior design.
  • The Sunworld Dynasty Hotel Taipei (王朝大飯店), 100 Dunhua North Road, Tel:+886 2 2719-7199. [83]. On the corner of Dunhua North Road and Nanjing East Road, is one of the largest hotels in Taipei.
  • The Sherwood Hotel (西華飯店), 111 Minsheng East Road, sec. 3. Tel:+886 2 2718-1188. [84]
  • Westin Hotel Taipei (六福皇宮), 133 Nanjing East Road, sec. 3. Tel:+886 2 8770-6565. [85]

West Taipei

  • Ambassador Hotel Taipei (台北國賓大飯店), 63 Zhongshan North Road, sec. 2. Tel:+886 2 2551-1111. [86]
  • Caesar Park Taipei (台北凱撒大飯店), 38 Zhongxiao West Road, sec. 1. Tel:+886 2 2311-5151. [87]
  • Grand Formosa Regent (台北晶華酒店), 3 Lane 39, Zhongshan North Road, sec. 2. Tel:+886 2 2523-8000. [88]
  • Hotel Royal Taipei (台北老爺大酒店), member of the Nikko Hotels International group, 37-1, Zhongshan North Road, sec. 2. Tel:+886 2 2542-3266. [89]
  • Ritz Landis Hotel (亞都麗緻大飯店), 41 Minquan East Road, sec. 2. Tel:+886 2 2597-1234. [90]
  • Sheraton Hotel Taipei (台北喜來登大飯店), 12 Zhongxiao East Road, sec. 1. Tel:+886 2 2394-4240. An older hotel located in an area isolated from shops and other amenities.[91]
  • Evergreen Laurel Hotel Taipei (台北長榮桂冠酒店), 63 Songjiang Road. Tel: +886 2 2501-9988. [92]

Contact

Dialing code

  • The area dialing code for Taipei is 02. From overseas, dial +886 2 XXXX XXXX

Tourist and emergency numbers

  • Tourist Information Office: 9F, 290 Zhongxiao East Road., Sec. 4. TEL:2349-1500. There is also a branch tourist office next to the ticket purchasing counters at Taipei Main Station, and near exit 16 in the Metro Mall underground shopping plaza that runs between MRT stations Zhongxiao-Fushing and Zhongxiao-Dunhwa.
  • Tourist Information (emergency number) - Tel:+886 2 2717-3737

Telephone

Mobile phone coverage is relatively good in Taipei. Among the major providers are Chunghwa Telecom (中華電信), Taiwan Mobile (台灣大哥大), Vibo (威寶電訊) and Far EasTone (遠傳電訊). Taipei has both GSM 900/1800 and 3G networks and roaming might be possible for users of such mobile phones, subject to agreements between operators. Most payphones work with telephone cards (電話卡)which are available at all convenience stores.

Hospitals

  • Chung-shan Hospital (中山醫院) - a small hospital popular with ex-pats. 11, Lane 112, Renai Road, Sec. 4. Tel:+886 2 2708-1166. Nearest MRT: 'Zhongxiao-Dunhua' (a fifteen minute walk)
  • Mackay Memorial Hospital (馬偕紀念醫院) - One of the best hospitals in Taipei. 92 Zhongshan North Road Sec. 2. Tel:+886 2 2543-3535. Nearest MRT Station: Shuanglian.
  • Buddhist Tzu-chi Hospital (慈濟醫院) - a very friendly and efficient hospital with an especially caring environment. Jianguo Road, Xindian City. Tel:+886 2 6628-6336, 6628-9800. Nearest MRT 'Dapinglin' (Xindian Line) a ten minute walk from exit 1.
  • National Taiwan University Hospital (台大醫院) - one of Taiwan's largest and most famous hospitals. 1 Changde Street. Tel:+886 2 2312-3456. Nearest MRT Station: NTU Hospital
  • Taiwan Adventist Hospital (台安醫院) - this hospital has English-speaking staff. 424 Bade Road Sec. 2. Tel:+886 2 2771-8151.
  • Yang-ming Hospital (陽明醫院) - popular with the Tianmu ex-pat community. 105 Yusheng Street, Shilin.

Major airlines

  • Cathay Pacific (國泰航空) - +886 2 2715 2333
  • China Airlines (中華航空) - +886 2 2715 1212
  • EVA Airways (長榮航空) - +886 2 2501 1999
  • KLM Asia (荷蘭皇家航空) - +886 2 2711 4055
  • Northwest (西北航空) - +886 2 2772 2188
  • Singapore Airlines (新加坡航空) - +886 2 2551 6655
  • Thai Airways (泰國航空) - +886 2 2509 6800

For up-to-date information on cheap flights, check the advertisement pages of one of the three local daily English newspapers (see media below)

Media

Taiwan has a very free and liberal press. There are three daily local newspapers available in English:

Free magazines/info:

  • Centered on Taipei is a free monthly designed for expats living in Taipei, but it is also very useful for visitors. It can be found in many of the major hotels throughout Taipei, and also in many businesses in the Tian Mu area.
  • This Month in Taiwan is a free magazine that lists events and has an exhaustive directory of useful numbers in Taiwan. It can be found at tourist offices and major hotels.
  • POTS is a free weekly where you can find out what is going on in the Taipei art, club, and bar scenes. There is a eight page English supplement every week with extensive listings. Pick it up at bars like Bobwundaye, The Living Room, or Odeon 2.
  • Forumosa is Taiwan's largest expatriate-oriented discussion board. Here's where you can learn about mysteries like how to get a work permit or meet people at the site's real world happy hours.
  • FTV English Edition - hour of English news shown on Channel 53 (2005) on local TV station Formosa TV (FTV) at 11:00pm every night. The program features 30 minutes of local news as well as cultural events' features. The show is archived online.
  • Lifestyle - info on Taiwan (mostly Taipei) relating to what's on and current trends - bilingual.

Internet cafes

Internet cafes are plentiful, especially in the maze of alleys between Taipei Main Station and Peace Park, although you may have to wander around (and look up and down as many are on higher floors or in the basement) before finding one. Some computers are coin operated. Internet Cafes are known as wang-ka in Chinese (a combination of wang, the Chinese word for 'net', and ka an abbreviation of 'cafe'.)

Below is a list of a few especially recommended internet cafes:

  • B1 in building on corner of Shida Road and (Shida Road) lane 117 - a two minute walk from MRT station Taipower Building, exit 3
  • Aztec, 2F. 235 Zhongxiao East Road, sec. 4.
  • LHH Cyber Cafe, 28 Guangfu South Road.
  • Skywalker Multimedia Entertainment Center, B1, 119 Minsheng East Road, sec. 2.

Taipei also has a city-wide Wi-Fi service called Wifly. For a small fee, you can buy a card that gives you unlimited Internet access nearly anywhere in the city for a day or a month.

Stay safe

Taipei is probably one of the safest cities you will ever visit. Violent crime is rare - even late at night. However, beware of pickpockets in crowded areas. The police are a resource you can turn for help. Some police officers speak basic English.

  • Central Weather Bureau - in addition to giving seven day weather forecasts for Taipei, the website also has detailed maps showing the path of an approaching typhoon and up-to-the-minute information of earthquakes, giving their location and magnitude.
  • English-Speaking Police:+886 2 2555 4257 / 2556 6007
  • Emergency numbers:
    • Police: 110
    • Ambulance, Fire brigade: 119

Get out

  • Danshui - an old port town northwest of Taipei, and also the main scene of the Taiwanese movie - Secret by Jay Chou. Popular with tourists.
  • Jiufen - this former gold mining town located on the northeast coast is now a popular tourist destination.
  • Fulong - In the eastern coast of Taipei County, there is a coastal town with an excellent beach. Every July, don't forget to attend the three day Ho-hai-yan Rock Festival held here.
  • Yingge - famous for its high concentration of potters and ceramic makers.
  • Taroko Gorge - where the Liwu River cuts through 3,000-foot marble cliffs. The area of the gorge is also identified as Taroko Gorge National Park.
  • Hsinchu - the city with old heritages and modern science park.
  • Shei-pa National Park - a park spanning mountains and rivers located in Hsinchu County - great hiking trails.
  • Sun Moon Lake [93] in Nantou County - a crystal clear lake imbedded into lush mountains.



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