One of the multiple so-called global cities in Asia is located in the northern part of Taiwan, an island officially known as the “Republic of China” (ROC).
Taipei is the capital city of this country in East Asia and a huge metropolis with over 7 million inhabitants, a figure that includes the nearby city of Keelung.
This also means that about one-third of the entire population of Taiwan lives in this metropolitan area.
The city is a popular tourist destination and combines traditional architecture with modern skyscrapers, a mix often found in big cities in Asia.
This bustling city has a lot to offer to visitors, that’s for sure. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at some of the best things to do in Taipei, tourist spots you simply have to see when you visit the city.
1. Admire the architecture of Taipei 101
If you want to start your journey in Taipei in style, why not start it by visiting the most prominent landmark in the city, right?
Taipei 101 is an amazing skyscraper and by far the tallest structure in Taipei. It stands 509.2 meters (1,671 feet) tall which made it the tallest skyscraper in the world as well between 2004 and 2009 when it was surpassed by Burj Khalifa. The name of the building refers to its floor count.
What makes this structure so fascinating is its remarkable architectural design, which is a mix of traditional Asian architecture and modern features. The way the skyscraper moves up resembles a pagoda, a tiered tower often seen in Asian countries such as Japan, Korea, and China.
The most popular attraction inside the tower is its observation deck which is located at a dazzling height of 449.2 meters (1,474 feet) above the ground, a must-visit attraction in Taipei to get an amazing view of the city and its surroundings.
Official website: Taipei 101
2. Visit the historic Longshan Temple
Longshan Temple is officially known as Bangka Lungshan Temple is a popular Chinese folk religious temple. It’s located in the Wanhua District which is the oldest district in Taipei.
It was built by Chinese settlers in the year 1738, even though it has been destroyed and rebuilt multiple times during its extensive history.
The most recent reconstruction of the temple dates back to shortly after World War II as many parts of the structure were destroyed by American bombers at the end of the war.
The temple has been one of the most important gathering places in the city for Chinese settlers in Taiwan and has become one of the most popular tourist attractions in Taipei as well.
Official website: Lungshan Temple
3. Learn at the National Palace Museum
One of the largest collections of any kind in the world can be found in the National Palace Museum in Taipei.
This enormous museum has a collection of nearly 700,000 artifacts from the entire history of China, dating back from the Neolithic age all the way to modern times. This means that the collection encompasses a period of 8,000 years of Chinese history.
Many of the artifacts in the permanent collection of this museum were items collected by China’s Emperors.
In that sense, it shares a resemblance with the Palace Museum of the Forbidden City in Beijing, China, and it’s there that this museum was originally established as well in 1925.
The Taipei branch was established in 1965 and is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the city today with nearly 4 million yearly visitors.
Official website: National Palace Museum
4. Hike to the top of Elephant Mountain
The tallest skyscraper in the city is obviously one of the best locations to get a glimpse of the entire city, but what if you want to get a view of the city with Taipei 101 included?
Then you can head over to a hill locally known as “Xiangshan” but also referred to as either Elephant Mountain or Mount Elephant.
This hill reaches a total elevation of 183 meters (600 feet) and is situated in the Xinyi district of Taipei, a district in the eastern part of the city that is home to both the Taipei City Government and Taipei City Council.
To make things even better, Elephant is easily accessible as it’s located just near the Taipei Metro Xiangshan Station.
The hiking trail is about 1.5 kilometers (0.93 miles) long and another famous attraction on this trail is the so-called Six Giant Rocks which have observation platforms in case you want to take amazing pictures.
5. Enjoy a lovely afternoon at Daan Forest Park
Right in the heart of the bustling city of Taipei, there’s a remarkable green public space referred to as the “Daan Forest Park.”
This park was named after the Da’an District in which it’s located and is without question the best place to unwind in the city. It’s one of the greenest areas in this part of Taipei, covering a total area of 259,293 square meters (64.073 acres).
This amazing green space could only be built after 12,000 squatters were forcibly removed in the early 1990s.
The park was completed just a few years later in 1994 and was initially modeled on other famous urban parks such as Central Park in New York City and Hyde Park in London.
This has resulted in the condominiums surrounding it skyrocketing in value, quite a contrast to when the squatters were occupying the area. The Daan Park Station at the northern end makes it perfectly accessible as well.
6. Check out the hot springs at Thermal Valley
The Thermal Valley is one of the most fascinating attractions in the city as it’s one of the sources of acidic sulfur hot springs. This has resulted in the locals referring to the valley as “Hell Valley” because of the steam emerging from it.
The valley is located at the foot of the Yangmingshan National Park and in the Beitou District of Taipei, a district in the utmost northern part of the city.
If you want to learn more about how these hot springs came about you can also visit the “Beitou Hot Spring Museum,” a museum located in a former bathhouse that was built between 1911 and 1913. This was during Japanese rule, a period in which bathhouses were immensely popular.
Official website: Beitou Hot Spring Museum