The Top 9 Sights You Need to See in Taipei

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There's so much to see and do in Taiwan's capital that it can be difficult to decide where to start. Here are nine places you can't fail to check out if it's your first time visiting the city.

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The Top 9 Sights You Need to See in Taipei:table of contents

1. Shilin Night Market

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With one of the best street food scenes in the world, missing out on visiting one of the island's many vibrant night markets is simply not done. A mix of influence from Chinese, Japanese and other Asian cuisines, the street food in Taiwan is full of all sorts of culinary inventions. Shilin is one of the biggest of these markets in the city, apart from just the delicious food like oyster omelettes, fried tofu and jipai - a huge fried chicken cutlet - you'll also find a number of stalls selling clothes, games to play and more.

2. Longshan Temple

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The oldest temple in the city, Longshan was built in 1738 by settlers from China, dedicated to the worship of Guanyin Bodhisattva. The temple brings both Buddhist and Taoist residents from all over the city who come to worship there and burn incense. It's particularly busy and lively during the weeks around Chinese New Year.

3. Taipei City Mall

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Also known as the Taipei Underground Market, this vast network of market stalls runs adjacent to Taipei Main Station. It's a great place to look for souvenirs to bring back, offering a little of everything such as snacks, handbags, clothes and games. Prices are generally quite cheap, although the quality can often be questioned so make sure to check properly before buying.

4. Taipei 101

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The iconic symbol of Taipei, since its opening in 2004 Taipei 101 has always been a proud landmark that towers over the capital. Rising up to 509 meters, the building was once the tallest in the world until 2010. After browsing the mall adjacent to the tower, or having lunch at the famous Din Tai Fung which has a branch in the tower, head up to the observation deck on the 89th floor for stunning views over the city. Of course being on the tower itself means you won't get a good view of the tower's beauty itself. Head up to the nearby Elephant Mountain if you want a beautiful view of Taipei 101 and the surrounding city.

5. Dihua Street

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To get a feel for the local and more traditional side to life in Taipei, head to Dihua Street, towards the west of the city. The architecture of the street is superb, with its covered sidewalks, arches, red bricks and large wooden sliding doors. Above all, the small spice shops, nuts and tea that populate this street bring a characteristic smell is so lovely.

6. The Confucius Temple & Baoan Temple

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More catering to the locals than tourists that often swarm Longshan Temple, if you're looking for somewhere a little less lively than head to Baoan Temple and the adjacent Confucius Temple. The architecture of these buildings is beautiful and offers a wonderful insight into Chinese culture.

7. Ximending

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A lively, electric neighborhood in the center of the city, Ximending is often likened to other similarly glitzy spots like New York's Times Square and Shibuya in Tokyo. Bright neon signs and LCD screens add to Ximending's unique personality as the streets are filled with street food vendors and lined with arcades and shops selling all kinds of goods. A popular hangout spot for the youth of the city, Ximending is particularly lively in the evening when signs are all lit up.

8. Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall

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Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall and the surrounding area known as Liberty Square is one of the most iconic parts of the city, built in the memory of Chiang Kai-shek, the former leader of the Republic of China (Taiwan). Head to the top of the stairs in front of the memorial hall to get a view over the whole square along with the National Theater Hall, National Concert Hall and the impressive archway that serves as an entrance to the square.

9. Maokong

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The perfect place for sampling Taiwan's famous oolong tea, the Maokong area is reached by a gondola which takes you up into the mountains south of the city. Nestled around the gondola station at the top, you'll find a number of tea houses, many of which provide beautiful views over the surrounding city and even out towards Taipei 101. Get there in the late afternoon and spend a couple of quality hours sipping on tea and watching the sunset.

Conclusion

Surrounded by mountains on all sides of the city, the temperatures at the height of summer in Taipei can be almost unbearably hot. Winter is fairly mild and short however, with temperatures rarely dipping under ten degrees. Be aware that there are often typhoons that hit the island from July to September.

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