New arrivals will be able to get a taste of the culture of Taipei through visits to its museums, night markets, ancient temples and skyscrapers. With entertainment options rivalling other major Asian centres such as Hong Kong or Tokyo, expats in Taipei will easily find much to see and do in the city.
Popular attractions in Taipei
Taipei 101 was the world’s tallest building until 2009. Although it has been superseded, it remains the grandiose centre of Taipei’s financial district. Resembling a pagoda, the skyscraper towers above the city skyline at 671 feet (509m) and is the city’s chief landmark attraction. Visitors can take a trip up in its super-fast elevators and enjoy astounding views from the observation deck. The many shops and restaurants in Taipei 101 make it a popular weekend destination for locals and expats alike.
Taipei has kept its ancient traditions alive as it thrusts towards the future. One of the city’s most famous temples is Lungshan, dedicated to Guanyin, the Goddess of Mercy. Built in 1738 to serve as a place of worship for Chinese settlers, its various incarnations have survived earthquakes, fires and American bombs. The architecture is a fine example of traditional temple styling.
National Palace Museum
As an antidote to the modernity that often overwhelms new arrivals, expats should visit this museum for its vast collection of ancient Chinese imperial artefacts and artwork. The National Palace Museum displays the bulk of what was relocated to Taiwan from the Forbidden City in Beijing with Chiang Kei Shek’s move to Taipei. Famous exhibits include the Jade Cabbage and a celebrated example of the Qingming Scroll.
Shilin Night Market
As Taipei's biggest and most exciting night market, the Shilin Night Market is a must-see. More than a shopping destination, it is a cultural experience that reveals much of the city’s character. Thousands of stalls and stores sell an immense range of food and goods, and there is much fun to be had playing carnival-style games amidst the passing crowds.
Taipei Zoo is a zoological garden that is famous for its panda family, among other unique local and international species. The animals are kept in zones that mimic their natural habitats, such as the Asian Tropical Rainforest section, desert area and even African savannah. In total, the zoo covers 165 hectares, including an extensive indoor area, and is consistently rated for its humane practices and advanced scientific practices. The zoo includes a Rescue Centre that takes in confiscated and stray wildlife for rehabilitation, as well as protecting a number of endangered species. It is also making an effort to educate the general population about conservation and the natural environment.