Taipei (台北 or 臺北; Táiběi) is the national capital of the Republic of China, otherwise known as Taiwan. It is 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.
In 1884, the Qing dynasty governor of Taiwan, Liu Mingchuan, 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 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 increased 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 seven 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.
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.
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.
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 adopted only 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. It also stops at the Taipei Main Station and the domestic airport (Songshan Airport), which is 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 four transportation options at the airport: bus, high speed rail, taxi, and pre-arranged sedan. An MRT line is under constuction, but it will not be completed until February, 2011. Here are the options from cheapest to most expensive forms of transportation:
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 divided into West and East, with each company operating a service every ten to fifteen minutes on each route. The western line bus terminates at Taipei Main Railway Station and also makes 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. 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 Rd Section 2).
It is also easy to get to the High Speed Rail station from the airport. There is a bus that runs approximately every 15 minutes from the airport to the Taoyuan High Speed Rail station. From there, you can catch one of the HSR trains to Taipei Main Station (where it is easy to take a taxi or MRT to your final destination). The bus is NT$30 and the train is NT$160.
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 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. This is 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 15 min from both terminals to THSR Taoyuan station (15 min away), from where you can continue your journey by high-speed train.
Songshan Airport (松山機場) at the top end of Dunhua North Rd 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. It also serves flights to mainland China. The airport is served by the Metro Brown Line and can be reached in about 20 minutes from the main railway station.
All inter-city trains , including those operated by the Taiwan High Speed Rail (台灣高鐵) , arrive at 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).
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).
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 has only 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 (客運) 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.
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 6AM to midnight, with convenient bus connections outside the stations.
Women and/or children traveling at night can benefit from the Safe Zones - sections of platforms that are under heavy surveillance - located in some of the subway lines. 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 needs to swipe them only 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 tokens are recycled when you exit the stations, so if you want to keep a particular one you should purchase an extra.
Taipei City has a very efficient bus service , 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 traveled only 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 need to pay only 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!
Besides, if you are transferring from the transit system to a bus within one hour, there is a discounted bus fare.
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. The toll free taxi hotline is 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.
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. There are long cycle paths beside most rivers in the city. Bicycles can also be carried on the Taipei metro but only at certain times and via certain stations.
Renting a car is not only unnecessary, but not recommended in Taipei. Traffic tends to be frantic, and parking spaces are difficult to find. Most of the main tourist destinations are reachable by public transport, and you should use that as your main mode of travel.
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) Rds, however while the north/south divide is made at Zhongxiao here, further east it is made instead at Bade (八德) Rd, 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) Rd north of Bade are called Fuxing North Rd (復興北路). Likewise, those sections to the south are called Fuxing South Rd (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) Rd (which has only an east location and therefore does not have a direction suffix), Section 1 will be close to Zhongshan South Rd. The section number will increase as one moves further away from Zhongshan Rd. So, for example, when Ren'ai Rd reaches Dunhua South Rd (敦化南路) far in the east of the city, a typical address could be: 7F, 166 Ren'ai Rd, 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.
For areas outside of Downtown, see articles on other *Districts of Taipei*.
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, it is an are excellent place to see performances of a Taiwanese play or a dance troupe. 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) . Taiwan's pre-eminent institution of higher education, NTU is 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. This is one of the main transportation hubs, as many buses stop here. While you wait for your bus, or before you go underground to catch the subway, you can shop for clothing, accessories, books, or trinkets. You name it, you can find it. Browse through the stalls 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 two of the popular snacks, such as fresh fruit, spice-cooked meats, soy goodies, sky high ice cream cones, sweets, shaved ice, tapioca teas, fresh bread, and more. You can also sample the yummy Taiwanese fried chicken chain Ding Gua Gua. Try a "Gua Gua Bao," a flavorful sticky rice pouch. 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 (圓山大飯店) . A 5-star hotel near Yuanshan, it has been rated as one of the world's top ten hotels by the US Fortune magazine in 1968. It opened 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.
The National Palace Museum (故宮博物院) - The world's best collection of Chinese historical artifacts and antiquities. The museum is in Shilin. 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.
Shung Ye Museum of Formosan Aborigines (順益台灣原住民博物館), 282 Zhishan Road, Sec 2. Located opposite the National Palace Museum in Shilin.
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 those at the National Theater, are still 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.
Taipei Fine Arts Museum (台北市立美術館), 181 Zhongshan North Rd, Sec. 3 (near the Yuanshan MRT Station on the Danshui line) . Open Tues-Sun 9:30AM-5PM. Adult admission NT$30, concessions NT$15. The museum displays work of local and international artists.
Spot - Taipei Film House (台北之家), Zhongshan North Rd, Sec. 2 (nearest MRT Station: Zhongshan on the Danshui line) . 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 films 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 Rd, nearest MRT station - Zhongshan (on Danshui line) . 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. . This village provides residency programs for Taiwanese artists and others from around the world. They provide gallery and studio space for artists. They also have a few cafes which are excellent for a mid-day break while exploring Taipei. The space is open during normal weekly business hours and you are free to roam around the village.
Taipei Story House (台北故事館) – The house is in the same plot of land as the Taipei Fine Arts Museum (see above listing). Tel: +886 2 2596-1898 . This 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 Danshui River and beyond. Open 9AM-6PM. Admission NT$30.
National Museum Of History (國立歷史博物館), 49 Nanhai Rd, Tel: +886 2 2361 0270 . This museum is in Taipei Botanical Garden, which is famous for its varied selection of exhibits, including Tang dynasty tri-color pottery and Shang dynasty bronzes. Open Tues-Sat 10AM-6PM, closed Mon. Admission NT$20.
National Taiwan Museum (國立台灣博物館), 2 Xiangyang Rd, Tel:+886 2 2382 2699 (Nearest MRT station 'National Taiwan University Hospital' on the Danshui line.) – This museum is 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.
Taiwan Storyland (台灣故事館), B2, 50 Zhongxiao West Rd, Sec. 1. Tel:+886 2 2388-7158 , 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. The nearest MRT station is Taipei Main Station.
Miniatures Museum of Taiwan (袖珍博物館), B1, 96 Jianguo North Rd, Sec. 1. Tel:+886 2 2515-0583 . This is a small, private museum that is a monument to patient and steady hand. The 40 bulb chandelier, which is the size of grain of rice, is one of the many impressive pieces on display. Transportation from the Main Station on buses 307, 527, alight at Nanjing East Road and the Jian-guo North Road intersection. The museum is in the same building as Thai Airways. Open Tues-Sun 10AM-6PM (last admittance 5PM). Adults NT$180, concessions NT$150, children NT$100.
Su Ho Memorial Paper Museum (樹火紀念紙博物館), 68 Changan East Rd, Sec. 2. Tel:+886 2 2507-5539 . This museum was founded by Su Ho Chen, one of Taiwan's last few masters of papermaking, and who was killed in 1990 in a plane crash. You can enjoy exhibits about paper, and make your own sheet of paper here. Open Mon-Sat 9:30AM-4:30PM (Closed Sun and Spring Festival). Admission NT$100, NT$180 with paper making.
Discover Center Of Taipei (台北探索館), 1 Shifu Rd, Tel:+886 2 2757-4547. Located just inside the main entrance of Taipei City Hall, this is a good place to know the history and culture of Taipei City. Open Tues-Sun 9AM-5PM, closed Mon. Admission is free. Nearest MRT station is Taipei City Hall.
Museum of Drinking Water (自來水博物館), 1, Siyuan St near the Tai-da campus. The Museum of Drinking Water is close to 100 years old since it was completed in 1908, and is the first pumping station and filtration plant in Taipei. The museum is in Taipei Water Park. (see Theme Parks section) Open: 9AM-6PM (tickets offer till 5PM), closed Mon. The nearest MRT station is Gongguan on Xindian Line.
Tittot Museum (琉園水晶博物館), 16, Ln 515, Zhongyang North Road sec.4. Tel:+886 2 2895 8861. Just east of Guandu MRT station on Danshui Line, this is the first glass works museum in Taiwan and Asia. Open Tues-Sun, 9AM - 5PM. Adults, NT$100, concessions NT$50, Group tickets NT$80.
Daan Forest Park (大安森林公園) is one of Taipei's newest parks. The park rests on 26hectares 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. Bus lines 15, 52, 235, 278, 284, 20, 22, Xinyi Main Line service this park.
Taipei Botanical Garden (植物園) – The gardens are nearest MRT station 'Xiaonanmen' on the green line between the MRT Ximen station and MRT C.K.S Memorial Hall station. This beautiful garden has 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. The gardens are close to the National Museum of History. (see Museums/Galleries section)
228 Peace Park (二二八和平公園) – This park is on the north side of Katagalan Boulevard and the MRT station 'National Taiwan University Hospital' on the Danshui line. The park was founded by the Japanese in 1907, and was 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) – This park is south of the Taipei Fine Arts Museum. The open green space and many stabiles are on display in the park.
Dajia Riverside Park (大佳河濱公園) – This park is a 12km 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.
Longshan Temple (龍山寺) – This temple is where countless generations of Taipei citizens 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 at this temple. 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, although 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 children 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 5AM to 10PM. The nearest MRT station is 'Longshan Temple' on the Ban-Nan Line.
Red Theater (紅樓劇場) – The Red Theater just sits directly outside the southwest exit of MRT Ximen station, near the Ximending shopping area. 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.
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.
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, Xiahai 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.
West of Dihua Street and Xining North Road, there is a small, short lane called Gui-De Street (貴德街) (it was previously called Western Houses Street). This lane once fronted the Danshui River. In the 1880s, the world famous Formosa Oolong Tea came from a nearby wharf. At the time, many wealthy merchants invested in building along the lane in order to attract international trading firms. One was Chen Tian-lai (A.D. 1872-1939), a Taiwanese tea merchant, who was fabulously rich for his time. His home was one of the model Taiwanese residences on this land and his neo-Baroque home is still standing. (No.73 Gui-De Street)
Dalongdong (大龍峒) is at the Datong District's north end, north of Dadaocheng and is one of the oldest communities in Taipei. Baoan Temple and Confucius Temple are both famous historical sites located in this area.
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 St, the nearest MRT station is 'Yuanshan' on the Danshui Line.
Xingtian Temple (行天宮) is located at the corner of Minquan East Road and Songjiang Road. The temple was built in 1967 and was 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 animals as an offering, 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.
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 and the West Gate 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 (beimen 北門 or more formally Cheng'en men 承恩門) in its original Qing Dynasty splendour today. This gate sits forlornly in the traffic circle where the Zhonghua, Yanping and Boai roads meet.
Hot springs come in various brands in Taipei, ranging from basic, to plush spas at five star hotels. The basic free 'rub and scrub' type public baths are run by the city. 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 (露天溫泉), 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 (though this is not the case for mixed-sex public areas) 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:
Yangmingshan National Park (陽明山)
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.
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 recommended you check the Taiwan Tourist Bureau's events section before planning to attend an event.
The Golden Horse Chinese Language Film Festival . This is often referred to as the Oscars of the Chinese film world, and while films in the awards section are all in Chinese, they have English subtitles and, 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 (Feb 6-15, 2009), 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 fifth day of the fifth lunar month.
Taipei International Travel Fair, Taipei World Trade Center. (Oct 31- Nov. 3, 2008)
Taipei Film Festival (台北電影節). . 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 20-Jul 6, 2008)
Children's Recreation Center 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 is situated in Gongguan area and 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 spas. But the facilities are open oly in summer (entry included with the museum ticket)
Taipei Zoo (台北動物園), 30 Xinguang Rd Sec. 2 . 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 in the suburb of Muzha. 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) is in Guansi township, Hsinchu County. It is the one of the largest theme parks 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-5:30PM Mon-Fri, 9AM-6PM on public holidays.
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. 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 smaller, homey 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.
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!
Some of the best known night market snacks are:
Oyster vermicelli (蚵仔麵線; ô-á mī-sòaⁿ)
Fried chicken fillet (雞排; jīpái)
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)
Soy braised foods (滷味; lǔwèi)
Din Tai Fung (鼎泰豐), 194 Xinyi Rd Sec. 2 (Entrance of Yongkang Street). Tel:+886 2 2321-8928, . Famous for its steamed pork dumplings. Worth a detour. Several locations in Taipei and worldwide. Gets very crowded even on weekdays so book in advance.
Peking Do It True (北平都一處), 506 Renai Rd Sec. 4. Tel:+886 2 2720-6417. This is the place to go if you crave good Beijing cuisine. Visitors may be surprised to see a large photo of former U.S. President George H. W. Bush on the wall, taken when he ate at the restaurant during his trip to Taiwan in 1994.
Yin-Yih Restaurant (銀翼餐廳), 2F 18 Jinshan South Rd Sec. 2. Tel:+886 2 2341-7799. Dedicated to old style Yangzhou cuisine.
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, is 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.
Soy Milk King of the World (世界豆漿大王), 284 Yonghe Road Sec. 2. Tel:+886 2 8927-0000. Near the MRT Dingxi Station, located just outside of Taipei City, in Yonghe City. It's the original "Yonghe Doujiang" (from which all other places copied), it's open 24-hours and it's cheap!Soy Milk King of the World
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 most famous Taiwanese restaurant in Taipei, beside the Zhongshan North Road.
Shinyeh's 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 Guo Xiao Guan (泰國小館), 219 Tingzhou Rd Sec. 3. (Near National Taiwan University) Tel:+886 2 2367-0739. This small Thai restaurant is in Gongguan.
Thai Heaven Restaurant (泰平天國), 60 Roosevelt Rd Sec. 2. Tel:+886 2 2392-5969. . Near Taiwan Normal University (Shi-da) this restaurant serves fire-hot Thai cuisine. Try the Moon Shrimp Cake and Green Papaya Salad.
Thai Star,Fu Xing N. Rd. Alley 231 #2. Tel: (02) 2719 6527 Shrimp Toast, Beef Stew, Chicken, Papaya Salad are most famous dishes!
Andy Cuisine Restaurant （泰味廚房）， Banqiao City, Taipei County. 板橋市華興街58號 Banqiao City, Huaxing Street No. 58 this is the main restaurant but they have other branches at the Xinpu MRT stop and Jiangzicui MRT stop. Food is out of this world. Curries, Bbq'd chicken/pork, salads are good. Spicy though, just ask for "xiao la" if you would like it not as hot. Its located off two MRT stops on the Yongning-Nangang MRT station just minutes from downtown Taibei.
Mei Guan Yuan (美觀園), 36 Emei St, Tel:+886 2 2331-0377. Located in Ximending Pedestrian Area. This restaurant has served 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.)
Shabu Sen(鮮), 63, Minquan East Road, Sec. 1 (Tel:+886 2 2596-9568). This place serves great Japanese/ Taiwanese style hot pot dishes. It is a family run restaurant. The environment is clean and refreshing. The owner Ms. Chiu hand picks her ingredients daily from the market. My favorite is the kobe beef pot and mushroom pot. The price is very reasonable with well selected ingredients. English menu available.
San Niu Da An Rd, Sec. 1, Alley 169 #3 Tel: (02) 2708-3959 Fresh sashimi and tempura shrimp. Less expensive than most Japanese restaurants of this quality. Clean, comfortable environment.
Korean P&L B.B.Q Restaurant (P&L 韓式烤肉), 47, Longquan Street. Tel:+886 2 2362-1637. Located near the Taiwan Normal University (Shida) and in Shida Night market, this small place serves traditional Korean barbecue, kimchi hot pot and spicy rice cakes.
Pusan House (釜山館), 10, Lane 13, Pucheng Street (second lane on right off Shi-Da Road when traveling from Heping East Road). Tel:+886 2 8369-3919. A small, clean korean restaurant in Shida area. Popular with students.
He Jiang All You Can Eat Korean BBQ for under NT$500. Fu Xing S. Rd Sec. 1 #5 Fl.3 Tel: (02) 2578 3573, 0933738970
Goa Indian Food (果亞印度料理), 11-3, Lane 250, Alley 18, Nanjing East Road Sec. 5. (Near Living Mall) Tel:+886 2 2742-0056 - Off in a little alley, this restaurant serves authentic Indian food and is run by an Indian-born Chinese.
Calcutta Indian Curry House (加爾各答印度咖哩屋), 126, Kunming Street. (Ximen Ding District) Tel:+886 2 2389-3878 - One of the more popular Indian restaurants, conveniently located in the Ximen Ding district.
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.
Flavors restaurant, Ren Ai Rd. Sec.4 No.13 Alley 26 Lane 300 Tel:+886 2 2709-6525. Located on a back street of busy Renai rd with a lush garden in front and warm and cozy atmosphere inside. One of the few real western restaurants with a western chef. Flavors serves great grilled steaks including rare meat like venison, amazing selection of appetizers in a casual fine dining way. Flavors have been voted Taipei's best unexpected find in 2008. Details on .
Grandma Nitti's Kitchen, 8, Lane 93, Shida Road. Tel:+886 2 2369-9751. Located in the Shida area, this restaurant serves a great selection of 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. A European pub and restaurant in Shida area serving traditional European fare on the first floor. The second floor features the main bar and activity center. Steak pie and fish and chips offered here are some of Taipei's best.
KGB Kiwi Gourmet Burgers, Shida Rd, Lane 114, no. 5. Tel (+886) "2" 2363 6015. Come out of Taipower MRT Exit 3. It is opposite the Wellcome supermarket in the lane. Excellent gourmet burgers in a relaxed cafe style setting. There are 11 NZ beef burgers, 10 free range chicken burgers, 3 NZ lamb burgers and 9 vegetarian burgers. Opened by 2 kiwis, everything is made on site to high standards. There are NZ beers, real milkshakes, fruit yoghurt smoothies, Rooibos tea, Savanna & Hunters cider. This the website
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 . 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. Reasonably priced pizzas at good prices. Authentic Italian decor and staff are quite friendly.
Lawry's Steak House, 12F Core Pacific Living Mall (京華城), 138 Bade Road, sec 4.
Jimmy's Kitchen, 77 Ren Ai Rd., Sec. 4, B1 Tel:886 2 2711-7750 kobe steak, rib eye, filet mignon, and many other cuts
Vegetarian food (素食) is also common fare, with the city boasting more than two hundred vegetarian 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). An upscale 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). This is another upscale all-you-can-eat buffet.
Om Ah Hum, No. 6, Alley 18, Lane 60, Taishun Street (off Shida Road - Tel:+886 2 2362-3919. Located in traditional wooden building and emphasizes fresh and natural vegetarian dishes. While the red toy poodle inside the restaurant claims all the attention, don't forget to try the casserole and the flaky crust soup which are house specialties.
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). An 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). Organic restaurant with Zen style decor.
''' KGB Kiwi Gourmet Burgers (see International food for details) has 9 vegetarian burgers.
Luxy, 5F, 201 Zhongxiao E. Road, Section 4, near the Zhongxiao Dunhua MRT station . 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 11PM. Get there early to avoid a line.
Ziga Zaga, No.2, Song Shou Road Grand Hyatt Taipei . This club specializes in cocktails and Italian cuisine - both the service and food are excellent. It's popular with locals and expats. Ladies Night is on Wednesday nights.
Carnegies, 100 Anhe Road, Sec 2. Tel:+886 2 2325-4433. With an outdoor patio, it's perfect for those who prefer a quieter and less smoky atmosphere. The scene is geared toward the 30+ expats and locals.
Indian Beerhouse, 196 Bade Road, Sec. 2. Tel:+886 2 2741-0550. Its a beer house with a dinosaur skeleton themed decor. Customers can enjoy the greasy night-market style snacks with kegs of beer. All you can eat and drink for around NT$580.
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 value. NT$50 per mug of Taiwan Beer, NT$100 per liter. Interior and exterior seating are available.
Standing Room, 508 ChangChun Road,Taipei. It is the standing style bar and restaurant with a traditional Japanese hors d'oeubres, with world wide classic beverages. Its perfect location to have the quick dinner and drink for a busy business person. open Mon-Sat, "Happy Hour" everyday open-8:30PM.
Taiwan's speciality tea is 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 . 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.
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. Its especially spectacular on a clear evening. A Maokong Gondola (cable car) system services the Taipei Zoo MRT station to Maokong. The S10 bus comes up from the Wanfang Community MRT station.
Nothing is better on a hot and humid Taipei day than a refreshing glass of juice made from a huge assortment of fresh fruit!
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, roam the back streets near National Taiwan University between Xinsheng South Road and Roosevelt Road. More cafes are located in 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. 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).
Salt Peanuts (23, Lane 60, Taishun Street, near Shida) is highly recommended for its laid back atmosphere and great selection of retro-rock.
Cafe Moda Taipei , +886-2-8771-7608, 11AM-10PM, 1F, No 11, Lane 49, Sec 1, Anhe Road, Daan District, Zhongxiao Dunhua MRT Station exit 3, turn right on the first lane, after 4 blocks you will find it on your left side), For people who prefer the new concept of a boutique cafe, the specialty of this place by far are the 100% Organic Guatemalan quality coffee beverages they offer in a cozy ambient mixed with art fashion and great music. A small but fancy terrace is perfect for enjoying beverages on a fresh day. They also have imported beer, wine, tea, juices and other snacks in their menu, including cheese and Italian fruit cake. They have a multicultural staff fluent in Chinese, English, and Spanish (German and Japanese depending on the day you go), so feel relaxed if Chinese is not your mother tongue as this place is geared for expats and locals that prefer a stronger kind of gourmet organic coffee.
Royal Best Hotel, 385 Xinyi Road, sec. 4, +886 2 2729-5533 (**email@example.com**). Located in the centre of Taipei, and only a 5 minute walk to the MRT station. Spacious and comfortable rooms decorated in a Victorian style decor.
Ever Green Hotel, 73 Xinyi Road, sec. 2, +886 2 2394-4796. Somewhat shabby hotel that is at least clean and comfortable. Rooms are small, although the restaurant and breakfast on site is excellent.
Charming City Hotel, 295 Xinyi Road, sec. 4, +886 2'' 2704-9746. Aptly named, the Charming City Hotel pleases patrons with its efficient customer service and clean and spacious room, all decorated in Baroque style. Free internet is available.
Fu Hau Hotel, 9 Fuxing South Road, sec 2, +886 2 2325-0722 (**firstname.lastname@example.org**). Centrally located and close to Da-an MRT Station.
Donghwa Hotel, 156 Nanjing East Road, sec 4, +886 2 2579-6162 (**email@example.com**). Good value hotel that provides guests with a warm and homey experience.
KDM Hotel, No.8, Sec. 3, Jhongsiao E. Rd., Da-an District, +886 2 2721-1162. Decent, standard budget hotel without trimmings, but in a desired location, near all the commercial businesses and entertainment avenues.
One Star (萬事達旅店) 18 Chongqing South Road, sec 1. Tel:+886 2 2388-7269. Fax:+886 2 2388-2983 . Located across from Taipei Main Station. Rooms from NT$1,740. Modern, clean and well appointed, with features such as flat screen tvs and air conditioning in rooms, as well as spacious bathrooms. Staff are very friendly.
New Mayflower Hotel, 1 Chongqing South Road, sec. 1. Tel:+886 2 2311-0212. Large and comfortable rooms and with modern amenities.
Taipei Visitors Hostel, 100 Roosevelt Rd, Wanlong, Taipei. This hostel is more like a shared accommodation than a hostel. 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 RoAd, 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 per night. Spanish and English spoken.
Eight Elephants Hostel, +886 968 067 561 (from overseas) 0968 067 561 (from within Taiwan). url=, +886 968 067 561 (from overseas) 0968 067 561 (from within Taiwan). url=, Jin-Jiang Street, Lane 48, Alley 4, No. 6, 1F (near Shida), Rated best hostel in Taiwan for 2008 by HostelWorld.com. A very clean and stylish hostel. Best location for students, and helpful info for travelers and job-seekers. 3min walk from Guting Metro station (Exit 2). From $490 NTD per night.
Happy Family Hostel 1 & 2, 2, Lane 56, Zhongshan North Road Sec. 1. Tel:+886 2 2581-0176; Mobile: 0937-195-075. . Happy Family is an old favorite in the city and it's 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. This hostel is located opposite the 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 and includes breakfast, NT$250 for children under 12.
Les Suites Ching-Cheng Hotel , +886 2 8712-7688, +886 2 8712-7688, 12 Chingcheng Street, one minute walk from Nanjing East Road MRT Station (Muzha line), 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.
Les Suites Daan Taipei (台北商旅大安館) , 135 Daan Road Sec. 1. Tel: +886 2 8773-3799, Fax : 886-2-8773-3788. Calming ambiance is felt throughout this hotel, with soft lighting and muted colour palette adding to the mood. Staff are helpful and professional, and a complimemtary afternoon tea is served downstairs in the internet terminals, making it a perfect stay for the business traveller.
Baguio Hotel, 367 Bade Road, sec. 2. Tel:+886 2 2771-8996. Cozy and well equipped hotel, although the rooms are somewhat bland.
Taipei Fullerton 41 (台北馥敦), 41 Fuxing South Road, sec. 2. Tel:+886 2 2708-3000. Ideal for business travellers, the Taipei Fullerton impresses with its close location to the World Trade Centre and functional features. The breakfast buffet in the morning provides a wide variety of choice and is the perfect set up to start your day.
First Hotel, 63 Nanjing East Road, sec. 2. Tel:+886 2 2541-8234. Ten story hotel that has received mixed reviews due to the poor customer service and somewhat shabby rooms.
Cosmos Hotel (天成大飯店), 43 Zhongxiao West Road, sec. 1. Tel:+886 2 2361-7856 . In front of Taipei Main Station. The dated decor brings down the tone in this otherwise comfortable hotel. Service standard in the hotel was good with staff being responsive but not very knowledgeable.
Hotel Flowers, 19 Hankou Street. Tel:+886 2 2312-3811. Decent value for money, take note that the rooms are extremely small.
Agora Garden (亞太會館), 68 Songgao Road. Tel:+886 2 8780-5168. . Located a short walk from Taipei 101 and Taipei World Trade Center. Spacious rooms that have great balcony views over Taipei. However, the decor and some amenities are quite outdated. Loctaion is close to high end shopping and the Taipei 101 building.
Grand Hyatt Taipei (台北君悅大飯店), 2 Songshou Road. Tel:+886 2 2720-1234. . Next to Taipei 101 and Taipei World Trade Center, at the very heart of the New Taipei, a burgeoning business, shopping and entertainment district. Stunning, top end hotel with sleek and modern furnishings. Room service is prompt and delicious.
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. . Asian inspired interior design that impresses with the attention to detail. One of the best 5 star hotels in Taipei.
The Regent Taipei, 41 Chung Shan North Road Section 2, Taipei 104. Sophisticated top end hotel that displays elegance throughout its rooms and building. Large rooms, helpful staff and wonderful amenities.
Westin Hotel Taipei (六福皇宮), 133 Nanjing East Road, sec. 3. Tel:+886 2 8770-6565. Great for business travellers, this 5 star hotel is well equipped for business functions with expansive meeting space and a business center offering secretarial support and translations. Eight restaurants and a hotel piano bar are the perfect way to unwind after a day of busy meetings
Howard Plaza Hotel (台北福華大飯店), 160 Renai Road, sec. 3. Tel:+886 2 2700-2323. . Centrally located and convenient for MRT. Rooms are spacious with walk in closets and fresh fruit and water is provided for daily. Internet access is fast and free.
The Sherwood Hotel (西華飯店), 111 Minsheng East Road, sec. 3. Tel:+886 2 2718-1188. Five star European hotel situated in the business district. Staff can be overly attentive but speak good English. The gym, pool and sauna are open until 10PM each night and are very clean.
Ambassador Hotel Taipei (台北國賓大飯店), 63 Zhongshan North Road, sec. 2. Tel:+886 2 2551-1111. While the outside facade may look old and dated, the interior sparkles with fresh, modern colours and features. The bathrooms are big and clean and tiled with marble while the room is well equipped and maintained. Although there are non smoking floors, there is the distinct smell of cigarettes in the air so be aware.
Caesar Park Taipei (台北凱撒大飯店), 38 Zhongxiao West Road, sec. 1. Tel:+886 2 2311-5151. Walking distance to the Presidential Palace, the hotels location is its biggest drawcard. Rooms are rather soul less and the breakfast buffet is standard, though edible.
Ritz Landis Hotel (亞都麗緻大飯店), 41 Minquan East Road, sec. 2. Tel:+886 2 2597-1234. One of the city's most luxurious hotels, the Ritz has a comfortable sophistication that everyone can enjoy. Each of their 100 rooms is equipped with the most modern technology like temperature and humidity control, phones with dataports for fax or modems and voice mail service and cable tv. Guests can also dine in two of the most famous restaurants in the city at their hotel, the Tien Hsiang Lo and Paris 1930, both serving fresh, tasty cuisine.
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. However, it offers a high overall standard in the rooms and the service.
Taipei is one of the safest cities you will ever visit, and violent crime is extremely rare. However, as in many large cities, pickpockets operate in crowded areas, and so you should be vigilant in night markets.
Local police are a resource you can turn for help, and many officers speak at least basic English.
Central Weather Bureau – In addition to giving a seven day forecasts for Taipei, this 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
Ambulance, Fire brigade: 119
Taipei City administers twelve districts (區). This article covers the downtown districts only. For other areas please see their specific articles:
Suburban districts - North
Beitou (北投區) – This district is famous for hot springs and the Yangmingshan National Park.
Neihu (內湖區) – Located in the north-east of the city, Neihu is a hub of IT industry in Taipei, home to many large shopping centers, and a great place for hiking and 'templing'.
Shilin (士林區) – A traditional area of the city that is known for its excellent museums, including the world famous National Palace Museum. Shilin is also home to one of Taipei's largest nightmarket and the expat enclave of Tianmu.
Suburban districts - South
Nangang (南港區) – Neighboring Neihu, this district is known for its IT industrial complexes and is also home to one of Taiwan's leading academic institution - Academia Sinica.
Wenshan (文山區) – This district comprises of the two traditional districts of Muzha and Jingmei. It is in the south of the city and associated with its many tea plantations and also for being the location of Taipei Zoo.
The internationally acclaimed Chan (Zen) Master Sheng-yen (who passed away in Feb 2009) has a monastery in Beitou where there are regular meditation 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. 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:
Taipei Municipal University of Education (台北市立教育大學) – Established in 1895 and later renamed, the Taipei Munipal University of Education has three colleges – education, humanities and art, and science.
Soochow University (東吳大學) . Soochow University has been a private university since 1900, making the oldest private university in the nation. The university provides high quality education that prepares students to make significant contributions to the nation. There are now 5 schools and 23 departments. The enrollment is about 13,000.
Ming Chuan University (銘傳大學) . As Taiwan's top international university, MCU's three campuses welcome students from all over the world. Whether you are interested in pursuing a degree in Communications, Design, Management, Technology, Languages, Law, or Tourism, MCU offers a unique world class educational experience.
Taipei Shih Chien University (實踐大學) . The Shih Chien University, formerly known as "Shih Chien College of Home Economics" was founded in 1958 by Tung-Min Shieh. In 1979 the school was renamed "Shih Chien College of Home Economics and Economics", in 1991 the school was upgraded to become "Shih Chien College of Design and Management". In 1997 the school was again upgraded to become "Shih Chien University".To date, a total of 52,958 students have graduated from this school.
Shih Hsin University (世新大學) . The mission of Shih Hsin University is to continuously strengthen itself as an institution emphasizing both liberalism and humanism. Within four colleges, Shih Hsin University currently has 19 departments and 3 graduate institutes, 19 offer bachelor degrees, 17 offer master degrees, and 2 offer PhD degrees. The four colleges are: College of Journalism and Communications, College of Management, College of Humanities and Social Science, and the College of Law.
Chinese Culture University (中國文化大學) . Over the last thirty years, Chinese Culture University has been reorganized many times. The Ministry of Education granted the University permission to establish studies in philosophy, Chinese, Eastern languages, English, French, German, history, geography, news, art, music, drama, physical education, domestic science,and architecture. It was founded in 1962 and has 12 colleges.
Center for Chinese Language and Culture Studies . National Taiwan Normal University (Shida), 162 Heping East Rd, sec. 1. Tel+886 2 2321-8457 & 2391-4248. Fax:886 2 2341-8431, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. 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 in China and Taiwan. It has very small classes, very high quality instructors and textbooks, 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.
Many community colleges, such as Zhongzheng Community College and Tamsui Community University offer weekly cooking courses. These include Chinese, Italian and Thai cooking, for example. The classes are in Chinese or Taiwanese language only. The prices are quite low because the colleges are government-funded.
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.
It should be noted that anyone staying in Taiwan for an extended period of time can FIND English teaching work, albeit technically illegally. If you are staying as a student or for some other long term purpose, it should be noted that many people are teaching English (or some other language) for pay without a permit in Taipei and elsewhere in Taiwan.
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 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.
Taipei 101 Mall (see Landmarks section)
Shilin Night Market has stores selling good, hand bags, clothing, and more. Most of the merchandise consists of imitations. 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.
Miramar Entertainment Park is a standard shopping center with the usual merchandise. It 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) is an upscale market-style shopping center with a 24 hour book shop (with a good English selection) on the second floor and ethnic music store in basement. 245 Dunhua South Road (near intersection with Renai Road).
Breeze Center (微風廣場 Weifeng Guangchang), 39 Fuxing South Rd, 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 a day. It also has a large food court, cinema complex, and the nightclub Plush (located on Bade Rd near intersection with Guangfu South Rd).
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 Rd. Tel:+886 2 2741-6906. The staff speaks English and the prices are reasonable. For those interested in all things Nepalese you 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.
Those interested in picking up inexpensive electronic goods and cameras should wander the lanes and alleys around Kaifeng Sreet and Zhonghua Road (near Taipei Main Station).
Computer buffs will enjoy a visit to Guanghua Digital Plaza (光華數位新天地), originally called Guanghua Market (光華商場). 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 and VCD selection (remember to check DVD region codes) and used book stores. The old location on Bade Road. under the Xinsheng overpass was demolished in January 2006, and all of the shops have moved to a new building at the southwest corner of Civic Boulevard and Xinsheng North Road in July, 2008, a short walk from the old location. The new building comprises of six floors: the first floor contains an exhibition area for new products and a food court; the original vendors of the old market are located on the second and third floor; floors four and five include vendors and shops from the Xining Electronic Market; and the sixth floor houses product repair centers.
The Station Front Area (站前) is a section of downtown Taipei just south of the Taipei Railway Station. It is a bustling area filled with shops and stores of all kinds, but it is particularly 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 in what can be described only 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 games, hardware and software. They also perform hardware modifications on consoles. The Easy Mall is accessible through the basement of Taipei Railway Station.
Ximending (西門町) is the trendy shopping area just west of Downtown. It's 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 second 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.
Weekend Jade Market (假日玉市) – Located under an elevated expressway, reaching from Renai Road & Jianguo South Road intersection down Jianguo Road. till Xinyi Rd. In addition to jade, flowers and many other kinds of handcrafts and jewelry can be purchased. There are actually three different markets, the Weekend Jade Market, Weekend Flower Market and Weekend Handicrafts Market in this same location. As the names suggest, they are open only on weekends until 6PM.
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.
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) – Eslite offers a good selection at most of their branches, although the 24 hour flagship store (2F, 245 Dunhua South Rd. Tel:+886 2 2775-5977) has the best selection. Eslite Book Store and shopping mall (11 Songgau Road), which incidentally is the largest book store in Taiwan, have the greatest selection. The Songgau Rd 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) has a very large and varied selection of English titles.
Caves Books (敦煌) has two branches (54-3 Zhongshan North Road, Sec 2, near Yuanshan MRT Station. tel +886 22599-1166). This is a temporary location, while the old store is demolished and rebuilt. The other branch (5, Le 38, Tianyu St, Tianmu. Tel:+2 886'' 2874-2199) is 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 – This shop has 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 - This is 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 - You'll find a reasonable selection of English titles here.
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.
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 the Zhongxiao-Fushing and Zhongxiao-Dunhwa Stations.
Tourist Information (emergency number) - Tel:+886 2 2717-3737.
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.
Chung-shan Hospital (中山醫院) – A small hospital popular with expats. 11, Lane 112, Renai Road, Sec. 4. Tel:+886 2 2708-1166. Nearest MRT: 'Zhongxiao-Dunhua' (a fifteen minute walk).
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.
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.
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 expat community. 105 Yusheng Street, Shilin.
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'section below).
Free magazines and information are available from the following:
Centred 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.
FTV English Edition – This show is an hour of English news shown on Channel 53 (2005) on the local TV station Formosa TV (FTV) at 11PM every night. The program features 30 minutes of local news, as well as cultural events. The show is archived online.
Internet cafes are plentiful, especially in the maze of alleys between Taipei Main Station and Peace Park. However, 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 recommended internet cafes:
B1 is on corner of Shida Road and Lane 117 – This internet cafe is 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. The card costs NT$400 and can be purchased in Starbucks Coffee Shops.
Danshui, an old port town northwest of Taipei, is the main scene of the Taiwanese movie - Secret by Jay Chou. It's very popular with tourists.
Jiufen is a former gold mining town located on the northeast coast is now a popular tourist destination.
Fulong is in the eastern coast of Taipei County. There you will find a coastal town with an excellent beach. Every July, don't forget to attend the three day Ho-hai-yan Rock Festival.
Yingge is famous for its high concentration of potters and ceramic makers.
Taroko Gorge – Here, the Liwu River cuts through 3,000-foot marble cliffs. The area around the gorge is also identified as Taroko Gorge National Park.
Hsinchu is a city with an old heritage and modern science park.
Shei-pa National Park spans mountains and rivers and is in Hsinchu County has great hiking trails.
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