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Taipei: Places to Go, Sights to See.

A little preview of Taipei

Taipei City

Taipei offers many beautiful temples and memorial halls such as Longshan temple, Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall, and Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall, which is used from early morning to late night. There is also many cuisines from all over the world for you to try. At the southeastern side of Taipei City, the Taipei Zoo, which is the largest zoo in Asia, offers animals from every continent, including pandas, and native Taiwanese species like the formosan black bear. The Maokong Gondola is located right next to the zoo, which is known for its teahouses, hiking trails, and mountain side view of Taipei city. 

You can see the city with an EasyCard, which gives you access of the MRT, public buses, and YouBike at stations all over Taipei. You can take the YouBike and go riding on Taipei's many riverside bike paths. A must-see sight in Taipei is the 101 building offering shopping malls, event centers, and a 89 floor observation deck. This city offers many shopping malls, creative cafes, unique restaurants, as well as amazing nightlife in the East District which is located in the center of the city. 

Another fun area to visit is Ximending, the main shopping district for young people. There are many fashion stores and street performances going on here. It's probably the district most closely described as the Harajuku of Taiwan. Ximending has an interesting toilet-themed restaurant where you can eat your meal out of a toilet bowl while sitting on a toilet at a table made from a bathtub.

There are many nightmakets in Taipei such as Shilin, Raohe, Ningxia, Tonghua, and many, many more, each has their own specialities to it.

Tamsui

Tamsui is known for as a fun getaway for locals, a photogenic spot for photographers, a romantic spot to watch the sunset, and beautiful cycling route for tourists and cyclists. Tamsui as a nice riverside market known was the "Tamsui Old Street" for food and games. Tamsui's famous local snack is A-gei, a fried tofu stuffed with cellophane noodles and sealed with fish paste. Before heading over across the river, you should visit Fort San Domingo built by the Spanish in 1628, and rebuilt by the Dutch in 1642. Once you're done touring the fort, you can take a ferry for 50NT to cross the river for Bali, and 100NT to Fisherman's Wharf, a great place to try local seafood and watch the illuminated Lover's Bridge at night.

Elephant mountain

If you would love a short 10-30mins but strenuous hike up to have one of the best views of Taipei 101, then you definitely need to visit elephant mountain trail. It's easily accessible on the terminal station of the Red MRT line. The picture below is taken from the observatory viewpoint up at the top of Elephant mountain.

Yangmingshan

Life in the city can be pretty hectic. If you want a little bit more of nature, Yangmingshan is just north of Taipei city, offering hot springs in Beitou, many types of trees and flowers viewing areas, fumaroles (Xiaoyoukeng), and fantastic hiking trails over Taipei's highest mountain, the Seven Star Mountain, a dormant volcano. Once you're done hiking, you can head over to Zhuzihu, which offers calla lilies and delicious foods!

Yilan

Yilan is located northeast of Taipei and is a great place for hiking and relaxing, hot and cold springs, and beaches and sea life. You shouldn't miss the National Center for Traditional Arts as the building is uniquely designed to highlight the way of life in Yilan. One famous landmark in Yilan is Turtle Mountain Island (龜山島). If you're surfing on the coast of Yilan, you'll most likely be seeing this island! For foodies, the Luodong Nightmarket located in the center of the city offers a variety of delicious delicacies. Yilan is famous for its Sanxing green onions, Angelica mutton soup, Longfeng drumsticks (made from ground pork and seafood wrapped in pig intestine and then deep fried).

Jiaoxi, located just north of Yilan, offers some of Taiwan's most popular Hot springs.

Suao, located just south of Yilan, has one of the few cold springs in the world. They are around 22 degrees Celsius and are boasted to cure skin conditions and was used to make marble soda.

Dongshan River Water Park offers activities such as cycling, swimming, and boating. Honeymoon bay, located just off the coast of Yilan, has some of the best waves in northern Taiwan. If you're a surfer, or would love to experience surfing, this is a must go!

Another beautiful sight for hikers can be seen at Yingshijian. This peak has a stunning view of the bay (as seen in the picture below.) It is a short 15-minutes hike if you have a car or scooter... But if you plan to start from the Daxi train station, it would be 2-hours.

Jiufeng means 'nine portions', was called this due to the nine families that settled in the Qing Dynasty. This place is known as the towns that gold built due to the gold rush in the 1930s.

Jiufeng in modern days is known for inspiration for the bathhouse in Hayao Miyazaki's Spirited Away. Sky Castle Teahouse is also named after one of his films, Castle in the Sky. Once you set foot in this town, you can feel the magic seen in Ghibli's famous animation.

Jinguashi has excellent views and trails of the mountains and coast of Northeastern Taiwan. The Gold Mine Museum has displays of old mining equipments and a 220kg gold brick that you can try to lift. The color of the Golden Waterfall comes from the minerals the water picks up from the old mines as seen in the picture below.

Public transportation

You can pretty much get anywhere in Taiwan by MRT, bus, train, or high-speed rail. By buying either a 100NT i-pass or Easy Card, you pretty much acquired the ability to travel anywhere in Taipei from 5:30AM until a little past midnight. MRT fare prices are anywhere from 20-40NT depending on how far your destination is. Taipei also offers a "Ubike" system that allows you to rent bikes at a low rate of 5NT/30mins. Station are everywhere (as seen in picture below).

Night life

Taipei is also offers a very happening night scene. There's a great number of bars and clubs to enjoy. Some of the biggest clubs such as OMNI, barcode, and Myst are located in Xiyi area. There are also many karaoke places that locals love to party at as it offers more privacy and chance to relax and relieve stress.

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