One of the Best Places to Visit in Taiwan
Taiwan's Largest City Has a Lot to Offer
It’s cliche to say that a particular country or tourist destination is an “underappreciated gem”, but in the case of Taipei, Taiwan it may be true. When most people think of what East Asia has to offer, they tend to think of the high tech cities of Japan or the temples and history of China. Taipei, however, has its own unique charm to offer. While no one thing stands out as much in Taipei compared to its neighbors, it still has a lot of great sights and little things to make it worth a visit.
Some of the best things that the Taipei area has to offer are its people and atmosphere. People in Taiwan are some of the friendliest I’ve met in the region, and are eager to chat up tourists and help them out when need be. I once asked someone in a Starbucks for directions to a nearby museum, and she stopped what she was doing and simply guided me there. The atmosphere of the city is also worth noting - it’s a large city that’s not too large, which means you get a lot of the good points of large Asian cities without feeling too overwhelmed.
The actual tourist sites in the Taipei area may not quite match up to what you see in other countries, but there are still some lively neighborhoods and areas to explore. One of my favorites is the National Concert Hall Area, which contains an expansive park and a number of places to visit. The actual concert hall area itself was not open when I visited - however it was a great place for people watching and catching a small glimpse of everyday Taiwanese life. There were plenty of older people lounging around, teenagers having lively chats, playing sports and engaging in other outdoor activities (like dancing). There are also some decent tourist spots here, such as the National Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall.
Next up is the Taipei Main Station area. I managed to find a good hostel deal in this part of Taipei so this is where I stayed. I liked this area more for its energy, shopping, and abundance of Taiwanese street food and restaurants, but it also boasts some decent tourist spots. In particular there are some good museums, such as the National Taiwan Museum, which is located in the scenic 228 Peace Park. The National Taiwan University campus is also only a few subway stops away.
Last but not least is the Taipei City Hall area. It’s a quiet, upscale area on the east side of town, with some good restaurants and bars, as well as a few tourist spots. In particular it has the famous tower Taipei 101, which has an incredible night time view of the city. Taking in views of Taipei from above isn’t the only thing you can do here at night. This is also one of the main nightlife districts in the city, with several famous pubs and nightclubs (one which is on the base of Taipei 101 itself). Despite not coming across as a typical nightlife spot - it’s a mostly quiet area, with more department stores than anything else - you can still have some great nightlife experiences here. Besides nightclubs, I often found myself dropping by here at night to relax, after a long day of sightseeing.
Taipei was an unexpected surprise during my travels through the region. Despite not offering any one “must see” site - such as the Great Wall, or Eiffel Tower - all of the little things in Taipei add up to an amazing overall experience. For those who enjoy traveling to enjoy soaking up a country’s atmosphere and exploring fascinating areas and neighborhoods, Taipei is not to be missed.