Immerse yourself in Chinese art
Art, ceramics, and Chinese history are available in abundance at the National Palace Museum, which is widely acknowledged as one of the finest collections of Chinese art in the world. Saunter amongst displays of oracle bones, Ming Dynasty pottery, bronze vessels, and jade sculptures – there is plenty to see here, but be sure to rent an audio guide, in order to enjoy your tour to the fullest.
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Soak up some steam at the hot springs
For a relaxing day akin to a visit to the spa, set against an exotic Taiwanese backdrop to boot, hop aboard the subway and visit the hot spring resorts at Beitou, 40 minutes from downtown Taipei. Spend one of your mornings in Taipei luxuriating in one of the many outdoor pools, available at different temperatures, and separated by gender. The pools are located in serene settings, shaded by leafy trees and hidden behind wooden awnings.
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Promenade through the park
Taipei has a variety of parks if you’re looking to spend some time away from the bustle of the main city, and the largest public park in the city is Daan Park, dotted with tropical foliage and stretching across a vast green field. In addition to allowing you some quiet time for self-reflection, visitors to the park are also bound to come across some unusual sights, such as a random sword dancer, or tai chi practitioners.
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Browse through the night markets
Taipei’s night markets offer unique attractions, and strolling through a packed market in the late hours of the night is an experience unique to the city. Here visitors can find reasonably-priced goods, and sample the local cuisine at one of the numerous food stalls. The Shilin Night Market is widely considered the king of all night markets, and offers wide selections of food, clothes, as well as games of chance for those who dare to try their luck.
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Touch the sky at Taipei 101
No visit to Taipei would be complete without a visit to the Taipei 101 – once the tallest building in the world, while it has now slipped to third on the rankings, the structure is still worth a visit and epitomises everything that is modern in Taipei. Standing at 1,670-feet, the building offers a dizzying and exhilarating view of the city, and contains a host of top-notch shops and restaurants.
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Light up the heavens
Among the most spectacular festivals held in Taipei is the Taipei Lantern Festival, which is organised to celebrate the lunar New Year, and will prove to be a treat for any visitor. Massive crowds gather at locations such as the Pingxi district, Taipei 101, Memorial Square, and the Zhongshan Hall in Ximending, to release thousands of sky lanterns at night. Alongside the Lantern Festival, Taipei is big on celebrations, and in addition to other traditions such as the Dragon Boat Festival, the Ghost Festival, and the Mid-Autumn Festival, the city also goes all out for events such as New Year’s Eve.
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Tune into your spiritual side
Taipei has a spiritual side, and you can experience it at the Longshan Temple, located on Guangzhou Street in western part of the city. The temple, built in 1738, houses statues of numerous gods, with a statue of Guanyin, the goddess of compassion, standing in the main altar house. Other temples worth exploring include the Baoan Temple, and the Taipei Confucius Temple.
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Visit the giant pandas
The Taipei Zoo is a must-see on your visit to the city. Centrally located, the zoo is incredibly cheap to get into (only 60 Taiwanese dollars), and in addition to the giant pandas – the main attraction – the zoo also houses an excellent penguin display, and collections of African animals, Taiwanese animals, and an insect area.
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Have your tea leaves read
Tea drinking, and tea-leaf reading are both popular activities in Taipei, and if you wish to have your fortunes told, a popular spot is the De Ye Cha Chi. Visitors can enjoy selecting tea from a wide variety on display, and brewing them in traditional pots.
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Hike up a volcano
Get in touch with nature by hiking up one of the numerous trails at Yangmingshan, a gently sloping dormant volcano located in a national park – however, be sure to take the advice of the park rangers when selecting a trail. In addition, tourists can also hike up Mount Cising, which offers vast silvergrass meadows and breath-taking views.
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Sample some dumplings
Among the host of culinary delights Taipei has to offer are dumplings, and the best place to sample these is the Dintaifung, which makes dumplings to order. The restaurant is wildly popular with both locals and tourists, so an advance reservation would be wise. While the menu boasts an array of tempting options, the xiǎolóng bāo (steamed pork dumplings) are a classic favourite.
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