Taipei, capital of Taiwan, is a city of high rise office buildings, modern condominiums, and department stores. It is also a city of beauty, culture, tradition, and sophistication. It holds 1,000 years of priceless Chinese history in its hillside vaults.
The historical treasures of mainland China were transported piece by piece to caves to preserve them during wartime. 620,000 of these pieces are now exhibited in the National Palace Museum on a rotating basis, with the others remaining in storage. Most of the porcelain, jade, lacquer, bronze, and other remarkable objects were once part of the Chinese imperial collection. The National Palace Museum is considered one of the world’s four best museums.
The Lungshan Temple is a center of worship for deities from several faiths. The front court is devoted to the Buddhist goddess of mercy, the rear court to the Taoist goddess of the sea, and niches throughout the temple to many others. Nearby Hsiyuan Road is filled with stalls selling religious images and goods.
The Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall is an impressive sight. The gracefully designed building is bordered by extensive gardens, areas for rest and contemplation, and fish ponds. It is a gathering place for walks and for kite flying.
The nightlife of Taipei is vibrant and entertaining. Don’t miss the Night Market with its myriad stalls offering everything imaginable. Fine restaurants, classical music performances, modern art, traditional Beijing opera, and lively nightclubs all operate in harmony. As for the cuisine, it is superb. Visitors can enjoy regional specialties from all parts of China.
Outside the city there are several day trips that are of interest. Yangmingshan is a mountain range at the north end of the city, and a great place for hiking and a visit to a hot springs resort. On the opposite side of town, to the south, is the Sungshan Nature Reserve. Its mountain hiking trails extend into lush forest. Thirty minutes outside Taipei is the seaside resort of Jio Fun. The shore is lined with teahouses, each offering the world’s best view along the coast.
Taiwan's culture is a blend of its distinctive Chinese heritage and Western influences. Fine arts, folk traditions, and popular culture embody traditional and modern Asian, and Western motifs. The beautiful temples are the setting for colorful folk festivals.
Taipei is a source of fascination and excitement in every aspect. A day in Taipei will be treasured forever.