5 Inspiring Taipei Explorations 1


Taipei City from Taipei 101

Taipei City from the Taipei 101 observation deck

The three days we spent in this city were not nearly enough to get to all that we wanted, but we managed to see most of what was on our itinerary. And, thanks to our amazing tour guide Couchsurfing host, we ended up going to many more places that weren’t on our radar, too. We ended up cramming a fair amount of exploration into each day in Taipei, but these five places were the ones that filled us with the most awe.

5. Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall

the east gate of the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial

the east gate of the Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall

The exhibit detailing Chiang’s life is well worth a long perusal. They have old outfits of Chiang’s on display, and Jeff and I both stood there in wonder imagining the man that used to wear them.

Access:

Take the Taipei MRT on the red line to Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall stop; leave from exit 5. The memorial hall is open from 9 AM – 6 PM.

4. Taipei 101

Taipei 101

Taipei 101

Taipei 101 offers a great view of the city–if the weather is cooperative. When we first ascended to the observatory, visibility was nearly zero; we waited an hour or so and the clouds blew away just long enough for us to snap a few decent shots of the city below. There is a free audio tour available too, which offers pretty interesting information about both the building and the city surrounding it.

Access:

Take the Taipei MRT red line to Taipei 101/World Trade Center and leave through exit 4. The observatory is open from 9 AM – 10 PM, and tickets costs NT$500. Bring a student ID for a discount!

3. Houtong

sleepy kitty in Houtong

sleepy kitty in the city of Houtong

Houtong is known as “cat village” because of the dozens of cats wandering around. You can buy food and treats to give them, pet them, and of course take pictures.

Access:

Take any north-bound train from Taipei Main Station, except trains heading to Keelung. Get off at Ruifang and take the Pingxi Line to Houtong, only one stop away. Bring snacks for the long journey; it takes nearly two hours!

2. Shihfen

the small town of Shihfen

the small town of Shihfen

Shihfen is a small mountain village where you can write your wishes, dreams, and hopes on big paper lanterns and then release them into the sky, Tangled-style.

our Slomads lantern

blue lanterns are for business endeavours; of course we sent one up for Slomads!

Access:

Take any north-bound train from Taipei Main Station, except trains heading to Keelung. Get off at Ruifang and take the Pingxi Line to Shihfen. Bring snacks for the long journey; it takes nearly two hours! Lanterns cost NT$150 for single-colored and NT$200 for four-colored ones.

1. Jioufen

Jioufen old street

Jioufen old street

Jioufen is the place where Miyazaki Hayao sipped tea and began sketching for Spirited Away. You can wander Old Street and see where he drew inspiration for the food stalls where Chihiro’s parents guzzle their fate. Then you can get some delicious tea at Ame Teahouse, both the basis for Yubaba’s bathhouse and where Miyazaki sketched.

Access:

We took a bus from the Zhongxiao Fuxing MRT stop (where the blue and brown lines cross) for about NT$102. You can also take the train from Taipei Main Station to Ruifang and get a bus from there for NT$21 (NT$15 on weekends and holidays). Either way the trip takes about two hours, so bring snacks!

You can also take a taxi from Taipei Main Station for $200 per person and get there much quicker (roughly 40 minutes according to the driver).

Where do you go in Taipei for inspiration?

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