Justins World

Beginners guide to Taipei 101

There is nothing quite like a 4:30am arrival into a new city, and being told i can’t check in til 3pm. I was out on the streets of Taipei, lacking much needed sleep or suitable footwear or rain protection. I had prepared for this situationwith a list of easy to visit sights that seem like the things a tourist might do on their first trip to Taipei.

The first place i visited is the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial. Who or what is Chiang Kai-shek? He is the last democratically elected leader of China, who fled with his government to the island of Taiwan and setup shop here. Initially they called themselves the Republic of China not to be confused with the Peoples Democratic Republic of China. Taiwan seems to have ditched using that name to aid in progress of reunification one day. The memorial itself is a large temple like structure with a blue roof. Inside is a statue of the man, although this isn’t a tomb of any kind.

I continued following the red metro line a few stops to Daan Forest park. i’m not sure what I was expecting here, but exiting the metro station to a sunken garden of lush greenery and the sounds of running water was not what I expected. Remember the bit about not being equipped for the rain? Well this is when a jacket would have come in handy, but I didn’t let the light drizzle ruin my time here watching the water birds build nests in this park, by the pond.

Eastern Cattle Egret

I wasn’t sure if i was going to visit Taipei 101, once the tallest building in the world until the middle east got in on the tallest building craze. A delicious lunch of soup dumplings and golden lava buns at the world renowned Din Tai Fung though gave me the courage to go to the observation deck on floor 89 at almost 400m up. I think once i’m at such a height thats really high the fear disappears, because the features on the street are yellow dots for the taxis and the large buildings standing prominently in the city. You are almost detached from the features of the city, that you don’t fear the height you are at. Of great interest to this engineer was the tuned dampner to help keeep the building upright in typhoons or seismic events. The video running from an event in 2015 was interesting to watch but i’d have freaked out seeing this 660 ton ball moving even a cm, let alone metres!

Just like that a day has passed in Taipei, and it was really the touristy stuff. The changing of the guards at the memorial was packed with mostly asian tourists, which is something i’m curious about. Why is Taiwan so popular within Asia as a tourist destination yet hardly any Australians visit?

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