For the million-dollar city of Taipei, we took 2 full days to explore the city on the Danshui River in the northern part of Taiwan with all its sights.
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The Hop On Hop Off Tour in Taipei
To get a good overview of Taipei’s main attractions such as the National Palace Museum, Longshan Temple, Chiang Kai Shek National Memorial Hall or Zhongzheng Memorial Hall, we bought tickets for a Hop on Hop off tour in the red double-decker buses. These buses haven’t been around in Taipei for so long – only since January 2017. We found this a bit strange, because the red sightseeing buses have been around for many, many years in the other metropolises around the world. In Dubai, London, Washington and New York, for example, we’ve used the red buses for sightseeing, as they are a great way to get to know a new city and its sights in a convenient way.
In Taipei, there are two routesthat take buses off several times a day – one blue and one red. One of the points where both routes cross is at Taipei Main Station , which is very close to our hotel. With the very first bus we drove the red route completely to let the city just have an effect on us.
The 508-metre-high Taipei 101 skyscraper
After a complete round that lasted about 45 minutes, our first stop was the Taipei 101, the most famous building in the city and from 2004 to 2007 also the tallest building in the world. The Taipei 101 is 508 meters high and named after the number of its floors. Building such a high skyscraper in this city is not entirely harmless: Taiwan is one of the most active earthquake regions in the world with over 4,000 earthquakes per year! In addition, several typhoons race over the island every year. In order to withstand these stresses, the supporting structure of a rejuvenating bamboo pole was modelled on it. In addition, between the 88th and 92nd floors there is a 660 tonne steel ball with a diameter of more than 5 meters, which counteracts the fluctuations of the building. Until 2013, the building had the fastest elevators in the world: at around 60 km/h, it was brought up to the 89th floor. There is a viewing platform open to tourists. However, since we did not want to look down on the city from Taipei 101 (there is not much to see), but wanted to see the city WITH The Taipei 101, we did not visit the observation deck. In addition, the visibility was also very limited. There was always a haze bell over the city.
In the building of Taipei 101 itself , besides the observation deck – there are offices, restaurants, countless parking lots and a shopping mall, through which we also walked through briefly. But the shopping center didn’t necessarily knock us off the stool, because it is mostly home to the stores of the big, expensive designer brands such as Cartier, Dior, Louis Vuitton, Boss, Gucci, Versace or Prada.
The Love Sculpture in Teipeh
In front of the main entrance of Taipei 101 is one of the well-known LOVE sculptures by the artist Robert Indiana, which can be found in major cities worldwide. We have seen the sculpture before in Tokyo, New York and Philadelphia.
The best view of Taipei 101 from Elephant Mountain
Since the weather was quite good today, we had planned a hike to the viewpoint Elephant Mountain. We had already researched for the best views of the city and the 101 and this name has appeared over and over again. So nothing like 🙂
From Taipei 101 you can easily walk to the “Elephant Mountain”. You only walk a few minutes east down Xinyi Road until it crosses Songren Road. Just follow Songren Road for 700 metres, leave Junior High School on the right and then , when the McDonald’s is on the right at the corner and a 7-Eleven at the left corner – simply go down the left of the road. After about 100 meters, the road makes a small bend – here just walk right and then left up. After another 100 meters turn right and then you can already see the entrance arch of the hiking trail with the many steps.
After about 3 to 4 minutes of stairs, you will come across a sign and a sign where the various hiking trails lead along. But first it was called stairs to climb, stairs to rise, stairs to rise… and with the very high humidity, this can be quite strenuous and sweaty. When we got upstairs, we saw some pavilions where local people had lunch relaxed on the benches. Over a small path we walked past the pavilions on the left and walked the way further and further – the bushes became denser, the animal noises became louder and louder and the path a little more uneven. But after a few minutes we arrived at a viewing platform where only we were and where we had a beautiful view of the city including the 101. Gorgeous. There were no more people coming, so we could take our photos here in peace.
There are apparently some other viewpoints on Elephant Mountain. However, we have read that there should always be a lot going on there. We were up here in the middle of the day and had our peace on the observation deck. Elephant Mountain is off the beaten track like a dense (ur) forest. So we should also be prepared for some animal encounters here. We have seen sweet squirrels as well as snakes, spiders, beetles, frogs and lots of mosquitoes. After 30 minutes we walked back down the stairs back into the city.
Starbucks Global Icon City Mug of TaipehWe are collecting the Starbucks Mugs from the cities and islands we visit on our travels. Unfortunately, not every city that has a Starbucks store with an own mug. But if the city has an own mug we like to collect them as a souvenir. We only collect city mugs from the "Global Icon Series", which was released in 2008. You can see our complete collection here: Starbucks - Our collection of Mugs from the Global Icon Series
Taipei has several Starbucks stores and also has its own cup 🙂