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TAIPEI | Taiwan is possibly one of the most welcoming cities in the world. People are warm, extremely helpful and kind. Food is amazing! And the scenery is captivating. Taipei is a big metropolis, but it has kept a way of life of its own, making visitors easily feel very comfortable when exploring the capital. Taipei is a walkable city, so be ready to explore on foot. That’s the very best way to get lost in it’s charming alleyways, where most of the magic of Taipei’s daily live happens.

Xiang Shan

Let’s start by discovering Taipei from above.  Elephant Mountain (XiangShan) offers beautiful views of the city, just a few stops away from the financial center. The climb uphill is the most pleasant, surrounded by tropical flora. There are several areas where you can break away from the main road to enjoy the views of the city. If you feel up to, you can always climb higher up, to the top, like most of the locals do. Some of them told us they like to do the hike almost everyday.

Taipei 101 and around

Taipei is a city of contrasts, where nature, tall buildings, majestic avenues and the most charming alleyways coexist. The city’s most stunning bamboo shaped building is Taipei 101, by architect C.Y. Lee. Once the world’s tallest building, until Dubai’s Burj Khalifa stole its place. It can be both admired during the day and at night, when the dark covers the greenish glass panels; and the lighting allows you to admire it’s beautiful shape and lines. Not far from Taipei 101 there’s the monument to most revered Sun Yat-sen, in tribute to the founding father of the Republic of China. Across the street from Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall. Visitors have the chance to change the mood from China’s history to Taiwan’s contemporary art by exploring Songshan Cultural and Creative Park. If you need to refuel; grab a coffee/tea or eat something, head for the alleyways stretching right from Guangfu South Road to Dunhua South Road. The dining choices are very diverse –there’s even a typical Spanish Churrería-; and there are plenty of shopping choices if you are willing to explore Taiwanese trends. And if you are up to some more shopping; and a more casual and cool atmosphere. Go further North, across Zhongxiao East Road, where you’ll find a network of alleyways with some street food options and boutiques, including some interesting second-hand choices.

Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall and around

Controversial as it is, the Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall remains a sight to visit for its size and opulence. If you are willing to venture into a nice walk, from Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall head for Da’an forest park. On the way, be sure to take enough time to stroll around the numerous lanes of Lishui St, Yongkang Park and around. This area will be specially enjoyable for those willing to discover local boutiques from young Taiwanese. From fashion and accessories, to apothecaries, handmade soap, tea shops and fabulous local restaurants.


Ximending is a complete different story. It’s a commercial district very popular among the youth. It’s very quiet during the day, and it becomes very busy by night. Ximending’s main attraction is the night market. There you can find literally everything. Starting with street food, tropical fruits and lots of different types of products: from clothing to accessories, electronics, umbrellas… There are lots of shops from international brands, restaurants, and of course Karaoke bars. But that’s not all Ximending have to offer! The district also hides one of  Taipei’s gems. The Tianhou Temple, literally sandwiched in between residential buildings it’s a must see.


If you are willing to take a little walk. From Ximending head for Longshan temple. It make take you a bit longer than half an hour to get there, as you venture into one of the oldest parts of the city. Further away, in Datong district there are the Confucius Temple and Dalongdong Baoan Temple –you’ll need to take the subway to get there- . They are located right across the street from each other.

Zhongshan District

Zhongshan district has two very different faces. The main streets are surrounded by large hotels, restaurants and nice boutiques. But if you head to the hidden alleys you’ll find a different type of life. Specially on the lanes stretching from Zhongshan North Road Section 2 and Chifeng street. In addition to the Japanese restaurants that are typical from the area; small coffee shops and boutiques are mushrooming bringing a new vibe to the area. Photos by Earth to Iris

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