On a recent trip to Taiwan, I had the wonderful opportunity of visiting several cities around this beautiful island. The first being the capital city of Taipei, starting out in the north. Crowned by the famous bamboo-shaped Taipei 101 skyscraper as well as a lively street-food scene and many night markets, Taipei is well worth spending time both in the city as well as the surrounding sights.
Ok, so you can’t leave Taipei without visiting Taipei 101, the world’s tallest and largest Leed certified, green building. Boasting upscale shops, a lightning fast elevator and 360 observation deck, the 101 tower is an architectural marvel, only to be outdone recently by the completion of the Burj Khalifa. One of the coolest things to see when visiting the top decks is the mass damper, a 660 ton pendulum that stabilizes the building to help it withstand typhoon winds and earthquakes. A must see!
The National Palace Museum is another one of my favorite places in Taipei not only because the building itself is beautiful but it is home to a permanent collection of nearly 700,000 pieces of ancient Chinese imperial artifacts and artworks, making it one of the largest of its type in the world. It’s quite a large museum so be sure to wear comfortable shoes, get the audio guide and don’t miss the gift shop!
If you want to get out of the city and soak in some vitamin sea, check out Yehliu Geopark. A surreal moon like landscape of honeycomb and mushroom rocks that have been eroded by the sea, the park is well-known for its formations named for their shapes like the Queen’s Head and Dragon’s Head.
The park itself is just a lovely seaside walk with lots of opportunities for great views and photos, fun for the whole family.
Heading back inland, be sure to make a pit stop at Shifen Waterfall, the widest waterfall in all of Taiwan. Located in the Pingxi District, the park takes visitors over a suspension bridge, through several gardens with cute places to grab a snack and/or souvenir until you finally reach the waterfall. Part of the Keelung River, the park is a great place to surround yourself with the sounds of the falls while having a delicious local snack!
Lastly, but definitely not leastly, make the time to visit Jiufen, a beautiful village nestled in the mountains east of Taipei. Known for its charming, narrow alleyways, the old town is packed with teahouses, street-food shacks and souvenir shops. The town’s history was as a mining hub during the Japanese-era gold rush and is also said to be the inspiration for the beloved animated film Spirited Away. I think I left my heart in Jiufen so I’ll be back for it someday!
That’s not all, next week I’ll tell you all about where to stay and even find incredible vegan michelin star food in Taipei! Stay tuned!
*Special thanks to Discover Taiwan for the incredible trip and experience!