Taiwan’s capital city is a bustling economic center with over two million residents. Taiwan was annexed by Japan in 1895, which then led to its rapid population growth. Twenty years earlier, the northern part of the Taiwan Prefecture split and became the Taipeh Prefecture. The official language is Mandarin Chinese, and the region enjoys a humid subtropical climate. Taipei’s long summers and lively city life make it a wonderful destination for travelers.
Take advantage of the energy of Taipei by visiting the exciting night markets. Visitors have almost unlimited opportunities to try Taiwanese cuisine. Everything from snake, charbroiled pepper bread, and scallion pancakes can be found here in addition to knickknacks and everyday necessities.
Go for a scenic walk at Elephant Mountain, or the Nangang District Hiking Trail. Lush green ferns grow over well-kept stairs, with rustic signs to guide you along. At the hike’s first viewpoint, visitors are rewarded with panoramic views of the city skyline, including the iconic Taipei 101. It takes about 45 minutes to complete it, making it manageable for many ability levels.
The Longshan Temple, built in 1738 by Han immigrants from Fujian, has served as meeting place and a house of worship for hundreds of years. It honors both Buddhist and Taoist deities, and residents are proud of its architecture and heritage. This temple, along with Bangka Qingshui Temple and Taipei Tianhou Temple, make up the “Big 3” temples in the historic Wanhua district.
For a break from the hustle and bustle of the city, escape to the Beitou for hiking, hot springs, and architecture. Visitors can take a look at the Beitou Public Library, known for its unique triangular structure, and Puji Temple, which was built by Japanese rail workers. Public hot springs, surrounded by lush green trees, await you at the end of your day of exploration.
The Pingxi District, noted for its quaint villages and dramatic natural landscapes, is easily accessible by car and public transportation. Opt for a ride on the single-track railroad to see more of the area. There are many waterfalls here—three of the best can be seen from the trail from Sandiaoling Station. Thrill seekers can ascend the crags for breathtaking panoramic views. Time your trip to the Pingxi District to coincide with the Lantern Festival on New Year’s Eve, an amazing celebration rooted in Taiwanese history.
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Out-of-town visitors can travel to Taipei by plane, landing at Taipei Songshan Airport. Upon arrival, the city’s efficient system of public transportation is a convenient way to get around. The metro, or MRT, is less confusing than the bus. Taipei is also friendly to pedestrian traffic, and many attractions can be reached on foot.
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