Travelling Taipei

There is no denying that Taipei is a hot travel destination. Just a few years ago, a new agreement allowed for a direct route between the two sides of the strait. Now, finally, travelling to the little island of Formosa is only an hour and a half by flight.

What to see

Taipei 101, formerly known as Taipei World Financial Centre, is the capital’s landmark skyscraper and once the tallest building in the world. It is 509.2 metres in height and 101 floors with a retail mall, restaurants, entertainment and office spaces filling it out. The indoor observatory is on the 89th floor, or you can head to the 91st floor for an outdoor option. Both offer 360-degree views of the city below.

The main downtown financial area is the Xinyi Planning District, Taipei City’s newest trend-setting commercial district home to malls, hotels and skyscrapers. Here you’ll find everything you need in a top-tier city, including several Shin Kong Mitsukoshi Department Stores, one of the larger chain department stores on the island. The district is packed with energy and business during the day, but becomes a hub of nightlife entertainment when the sun goes down. Put on your best dancing shoes for a night of nightfall fun at clubs like Luxy, Room 18, Spark and Primo to name a few, all in the same area.

Where to stay

Established in 1952, The Grand Hotel offers culture and comfort to its visitors as one of the oldest lodgings in the city. It is structured under western methods, but decorated with elegant classical Chinese details. Although a disastrous fire in 1995 damaged parts of the temple-like roof, reconstruction to the landmark quickly restored its appearance and has since welcomed travellers from all over the world. If you’re looking for a more hip and upbeat vibe, the W Hotel Taipei is located downtown just a few minutes walk from Taipei 101. Here you’ll feel the glamour of being in the heart of the city, with five-star service and pampering – as the W is known for in all its global locations.

Where to eat

Surely you have heard about Taiwan’s famous night markets. Go on a gastronomic journey of Taiwanese delights at Shilin Night Market, one of the bigger and more famous destinations for tourists. The food area is separate from the shopping street, so you’ll be able to walk off the snacks while shopping right across the street. Another famous culinary hotspot is Tonghua Night Market featuring food vendor stalls, rather than seating, for a traditional experience. For the more authentic and local picks, streets surrounding Shida (Taipei Normal University) and Taida (Taiwan University) attract food-lovers. Here you’ll find a younger crowd, but the same zesty flavour in the food doesn’t change.

Where to shop

For those who are looking to sport the latest trends but are also concerned about draining their wallets, try Wufeng Pu, a district of wholesale clothes shops that are both cheap and chic. The large market offers styles from nearby fashion realms including Japan and Korea, as well as some trends from the West. The downside is that the place usually caters to bulk sales, so finding single pieces can be difficult, and some stores also do not let shoppers try on the clothes.

A shopping alternative closer to the ruckus of the city is Ximending, an entertainment district located just a few stops from Taipei Railway Station. The area features movie theatres, karaoke joints, retail shops, food vendors and street performances that attract locals and tourists alike. Many shops here have been around for ages, so while indulging in the shopping, make sure you’re feeling the heritage as well.

Getting There

Last time we checked, tickets for direct roundtrip flights start at RMB 2,150 excluding taxes.


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