Fly to Taipei
Taoyuan International Airport is situated 40km/25 miles away from Taipei City and has two terminals. The airport is about 50 minutes’ drive by car or bus to downtown Taipei. Travellers looking to take public transport have many options in the terminals’ bus lounges - the buses service different routes in the city and areas with hotels.
Prepare for Taipei
Don’t get caught off your guard while visiting Taipei! Here are some fast facts and trivia about Taiwan’s capital city:
Name: Taipei City
Capital of: Taiwan
Location: Tip of Northern Taiwan, located on the Danshui River
Area: 271.7997 sq km
Climate: Humid subtropical. The summers are humid and winters are short and mild. The average annual temperature is 23.6 °C (74.5 °F).
Government: Pro-KMT camp
Currency: Taiwanese Dollar
Population: 2,619,920 people in the city proper; 6,752,826 people in Taipei Metropolitan city, which comprises of Taipei City, Taipei County and Keelung City (as of March 2009).
Telecom: A country leading in technology, Taipei has excellent facilities and services, including high-speed connection and the world’s first 4G VMAX service.
Int'l country code: +886
Internet code: .tw
- When Taipei 101 was completed in 2004, it was the world’s tallest building at that time. It was the first building to break the half-kilometre in height.
- When competing, Taiwan must be called Chinese Taipei and it also does not have its own flag.
- In Taiwan, white is the colour of death. Red is the traditional colour for weddings.
- Located in Taipei are the campuses of 20 universities.
- Baseball and basketball are very popular amongst Taiwanese and Taipei has often been the host of the Asian Baseball Championship.
Dine in Taipei
Rest assured that you will be able to find an abundant variety of both local and international cuisine in Taipei. Here are a few suggestions.
Shilin Night Market: Local street-snacks such as fried chicken steak, oyster omelette, stinky tofu and bubble tea may be found in Taipei’s largest and most famous night market. Shilin Night Market is located in the Shilin district and its vendors start operations from 4pm and end past midnight. The night market is conveniently in close proximity to the Jiantian MRT Station on the Danshui Line.
Vegetarian: Taipei has many vegetarian restaurants, due to the city’s large number of Buddhist residents. There are over 300 vegetarian restaurants, tea houses and cafeterias in Taipei. Tofu is a main component in many vegetarian dishes, such as the Good Fortune Wheel and Bird’s Nest Tofu Shrimp.
Do visit http://www.sinica.edu.tw/tit/dining/0795_EatVegetarian.html for more information regarding vegetarianism in Taipei, as well as http://www.taiwanfun.com/north/taipei/dining/0907/0907VegetarianCuisine.htm for a list of several vegetarian eateries.
Huo Guo (fire pot): Taipei has thousands of huo guo restaurants. The premise is that the customer sits at a table which has a pot of boiling water on it. The restaurant offers a wide variety of different ingredients, such as vegetables, slices of beef or chicken and seafood that the customer may choose from and cook in the pot.
Move Around Taipei
Getting around Taipei is a cinch, whether you wish to travel by car or public transportation. You can easily flag down taxis throughout the city and at the airport, although some taxi drivers may not be able to communicate in English. Therefore it is recommended that you write down your destination in Chinese so that you may show it to them instead. The traffic situation in Taipei can get a little hectic at times so it is advised not to do the driving as a first-timer in the city.
Taiwan has an advanced public transportation system, and Taipei boasts the highest utilization rate of usage. The system consists of buses, MRT (also known as the Metro), Railway and the High Speed Rail.
The well-connected MRT has several lines which makes getting around to different parts of the city convenient and efficient, and boasts a 94% satisfaction rate, making it one of the best public transportation systems globally. The Taipei MRT also offers the extremely convenient EasyCard, which can be used to pay for MRT and bus fare, and even parking.
The High Speed Rail consists of bullet trains that take passengers to the west coastal cities of Biancao, Taoyuan, Hsinchu, Taichung, Chiayi, Tainan and Zuoying. These trains are able to run at speeds up to 300km/hr and therefore can cut down on travelling time by a drastic amount.
Sightsee within Taipei
While AOGS2011 may be your main purpose to be in Taipei, don’t forget to do some sightseeing in this bustling city. Here are some other attractions in Taipei.
Taipei 101: You would doubtlessly have already heard of the Taipei 101, which was the tallest building in the world when it was first built. While that title may not be applicable now, it is still worth a visit. This building was constructed to be resistant to earthquakes and typhoons, and is connected to a multi-level shopping mall with abundant fashion stores, clubs and eateries. It takes its design inspiration from pagodas, a bamboo stalk and a stack of ancient Chinese ingots - behind its modern façade, there actually lies in-depth traditional symbolism.
Longshan Temple: The Mengjia Longshan Temple has clearly undergone a lot since it was built in 1738. It has seen numerous renovations and rebuilding since then, especially after the second World War, having been destroyed fully or partially throughout the years. The many worshippers who gather here believe in a mix of Buddhism, Taoism and folk deities.
National Palace Museum: If you are passionate about art, head down to the National Palace Museum, one of the largest museums in the world and the 15th most visited. You will be agog over their massive collection of over 650,000 ancient Chinese artefacts and art pieces.
Hot Springs in Beitou: Many hot springs may be found in Taipei’s Beitou District. Luxury spas, a green and lush environment and fine hotels now characterize the district. Visitors may head down to Beitou Hot Springs Museum in Qinshui Park, a Euro-Japanese style building that was built during the Japaese Occupation, where they may learn more about the hot springs and Beitou’s colourful history.
Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall: Completed in 1972, it is a memorial to the Republic of China’s National Father, Dr. Sun Yat-sen. Its majestic, ornate design was chosen by the public in a contest and modified to incorporate Chinese architecture elements. The hall is now a multi-purpose social, educational and cultural centre and a world-class performance hall. It also has an exhibition centre, symposium and a library which holds over 300,000 books. Getting to the Memorial Hall is also easy enough - more than 30 buses have stops at or near it and it also has its own MRT station.