我愛 Taipei (I Love Taipei)
Taipei is not the most popular Asian city trip, but that could change soon! This city is so vibrant and the local people are so helpful, especially towards western people. Without looking lost people already approached me to ask whether I needed to go someplace special or if I needed any tips when visiting their city. Some people experience a hard and cold natives when visiting China but in Taiwan that is definitely not the case!
The city is easily accessible via public transport. Every Metro (MRT)-station has a place where you can buy the EasyCard. This card can be used in every MRT, bus or train in the city. In Taipei the stations also have English names so it is no problem for you to travel here if you do not speak Chinese!
The Taiwanese are very proud of their Taipei 101, which used to be the tallest building in the world, before the finishing of the Burj Khalifa in Dubai. It will cost you 10euro’s to go up the 89th floor with the most incredible view over the city and it’s surroundings. An English audio tour informs you about the surroundings. So it is a nice place to start your city trip if you want to see where you should go. The shopping mall of Taipei 101 has all the luxury western brands you can imagine.
If you like shopping you are going to love Taipei. The shopping malls are everywhere, but famous in Taiwan are the nightmarkets. These nightmarkets come alive at sundown and have countless shops with food, clothing and merchandise, made in Taiwan of course. Visit the Shillin’ night market, but with an empty stomach because the food court in the basement is the best! Here you will find the largest variety of fresh food. Look for a spot right at the griddle. You can reach the Shillin Nightmarket via the Red-line at the stop Jiantan (Not the next stop Shillin!)
The first weekend I was in Taipei it was Gay-pride. Taipei is the only city in Asia with an official gay pride and you will find representatives of every Asian country here. Unlike in Europe, the gaypride in Taipei is a protest, to demand equality for gay and lesbian Taiwanese. The gaypride usually takes place in the last weekend of October.
The district Ximen is currently the most popular district. Here you will find a nightmarket, ofcourse, and many hip restaurants, cinemas, bars and hotels. I could definitely recommend you to book a hotel here. A nice hotel is the Ximen Hotel, but be sure to book in advance because when I was there it was almost impossible to find a place to stay. If you want to stay in a great hotel go to the FX Hotel, a trendy fashion hotel downtown.
LûChá: Green Tea
Green Tea is very important in Chinese culture. If you visit Taipei make sure to go to Maokong Station to visit the tea plantation. You can reach the Maokong Station via cable card, which you can acces with your EasyCard. The route itself is worth it, because you will have a great view over the city. You can try the tea here at one of the terraces with the best view!