About to plan another trip to Asia, and looking for a new country to add to your collection before heading to familiar favorite destinations like Thailand?
There are many exhilarating urban attractions in Taipei, Taiwan that make it well worth planning a long layover here over the course of a few days.
Here are several spots you can hit up when on a short visit to this fascinating metropolis in Asia…
1) Taipei 101
Start by visiting the one attractions that sticks out like a sore thumb on the horizon of this massive Asian megacity: Taipei 101.
Having the coveted distinction of being the world’s tallest building when it opened in 2004 (it was surpassed by Burj Khalifa in Dubai in 2010), it still occupies the #2 slot with a vertigo-inducing height of 508 metres.
Be sure to be ready for the head rush that will occur when you take their elevators to the observation deck on the 89th floor, as the world’s fastest lifts will get you there in a 37 breathtaking seconds.
2) National Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall
The story of the creation of the nation of Taiwan is a controversial yet intriguing one. Those seeking to discover it via historic landmarks should first head to the National Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall, as it is a museum that is dedicated to the memory of Taiwan’s first president that started his reign here after Communist forces were victorious in the civil war that ended on the mainland in 1949.
Relocating his Republic of China government to Taipei from Nanjing, they declared their independence from the mainland soon after (a proclamation that has since gone unrecognized by the People’s Republic of China).
With exhibits on Chiang Kai-shek’s life, and the dvelopment of Taiwan from the start of his rule, it is an excellent way to get a sense for where Taiwan has been, and where it finds itself in the present day.
3) Longshan Temple
With more than a third of all Taiwanese claiming Buddhism as their faith (the largest single following of any religion in the country), Longshan Temple is a tremendously important hall of worship that culture hunters shouldn’t miss during their time in Taipei.
While prayers here are offered up to the Lord Buddha, a great deal of folk traditions from Taiwan’s distant past have weaved their way into the local variant of Buddhism, making for a fascinating visit for those that are into theology.
4) Wulai Hot Springs
Has all that tramping around started to make you sore, or is the damp chill of a Taiwanese winter beginning to take its toll on your spirits?
If so, a short ride on the metro will place you at the doorstep of the Wulai Hot Springs, which offers geothermically heated and mineral rich water that will allow all your aches and troubles to float away on the steam that rises from these blessed ponds of awesomeness.