- The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new lands but seeing with new eyes. Marcel Proust
Travel to Taipei, Taiwan
The story of Taipei began when the Han Chinese stayed in the basin of Taipei in 1709. It was caught between colonial politics. Though there is insufficient knowledge about its earliest inhabitants, human life started here about 5000 years ago.
A Portuguese writer once called this “Ilha Formosa” or beautiful island when translated in English. The Dutch were the first ones to colonize this land where at that time, a few Chinese fishermen inhabited the land. Spanish red beards claimed Dan Shui in 1626. The Dutch managed to chase away the Spaniards in 1641, but its rise to power didn’t last upon Koxinga coming to the scene.
Things to see in Taipei
Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall
Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall is an imposing tomb and shrine to Taipei's most famous leader and it also houses Taipei's main venues for the performing arts, the National Theatre and National Opera House in its large grounds.
The Longshan Temple is the city's most atmospheric Taoist temple. Curling dragons, wafting incense and burning paper ‘ghost money' are only some of the things you can experience here while understanding the importance of temples to the locals.
As shopping and eating are the top entertainments in Taiwan, good places to experience these are at the many night markets dotted throughout the city. Many stay open until midnight. ShihLin night market (Wenlin Road, Datung Road and Pingan Road, ShihLin District) is the largest, while Huashi Street Night Market (Snake Alley, between Siyuan Road and Huanhe South Road) a few paces from Lungshan Temple, is the most famous. It sells everything from snake soup and painted umbrellas to shoulder massages.
National Palace Museum
Located in the verdant hills on the outskirts of Taipei, The National Palace Museum is home to more than 650,000 priceless Chinese artefacts - the world's largest collection. The main exhibition, including the famous Jadeite Cabbage, follows an interesting and easily interpreted timeline through China's dynasties to the present day.
The Beitou Museum was originally a hotel under Japanese occupation, then an antique house and then finally a museum when it was reconstructed in 1984. It features over 5,000 artefacts of traditional folk art including aboriginal art and embroideries. It remains one of the largest, free-standing, wooden houses dating from the Japense occupation in Taiwan.
Landis Pause Resort
Taiwan has the second highest number of hot springs outside Japan. Bathe in sulphurous ones in the forested mountains at the Landis Pause Resort. At Wulai, visitors can also experience aboriginal traditional dancing and cuisine, and cherry blossoms in spring.