The Republic of China, more commonly known as Taiwan, is an archipelago in Southeast Asia with an exciting and contrasting history. First Chinese, then governed by Japan, before returning to China’s hands, the archipelago has been claiming its independence from its neighbour the People’s Republic of China and its government in Beijing for more than 70 years… With its high-tech industries and an economy worthy of developed countries, the Taiwan archipelago and its capital Taipei remain “unknown” to tourists.
With its 7 million inhabitants and an area of nearly 272 square kilometres, Taipei is a world-class city! Carefully organized, and whose cultural, historical, political, architectural and urban richness is well worth discovering.
And so at TDM, we have concocted a small program (not exhaustive) to discover this city in 3 short days!
Spring and autumn (especially October) are the best times to visit Taiwan, as the weather is rather mild and dry, with no major risk of fog, rain or typhoons.
The best way to get around the capital is still the Taipei metro: clean, efficient, fairly cheap, and well-functioning. Taxis are an interesting alternative, for a price per kilometre varying from 60 to 90 cents of euros. Bicycles are also a good alternative (for the bravest, or those who are not afraid to get involved in the crowd of bikes/motorcycles that we find in Asia), especially with the YouBike sharing system.
As mentioned above, three days is obviously not enough to visit this great city, but with this small program you will already have a good overview of everything the city has to offer!
First day :
For your first day in Taipei, why not start by visiting one of the capital’s most famous temples: the Longshan Temple!
Located in the heart of the city, this religious building, typical of Chinese art, was built in 1738. Repaired and rebuilt according to the earthquakes that the island suffered, as well as after the Second World War, the traces are that said only slightly visible, and one can easily immerse oneself in these rites linked to incense, these ancestral and distant traditions for us Westerners, mixing Buddhism and Taoism. If you want to book a driver from taoyuan airport to Taipei, click on this link.
A haven of peace in a green environment and colourful architecture….
For the rest of the day, head towards the Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial, located about 2 kilometres east. A highly touristic and symbolic place for the Taiwanese, but large enough to breathe and not feel oppressed; an appreciable calm that contrasts with the hyperactivity of Taipei…
This memorial opened its doors in April 1980, to pay tribute to the first President of the Republic of China (and former enemy of Mao Zedong, who took power from him in China, forcing him to flee to Taiwan and settle a brand new Republic there), who died 5 years earlier to the day.
At the end of the long and magnificent esplanade, surrounded by majestic gardens in which it is very pleasant to stroll and walk, stands the main building and its 89 steps (age of death of the president). Inside, the imposing bronze statue of Chiang Kai-Shek, a character so important to Taiwan and its rival China.
A recent architecture, sober, but breathtaking!
The site also includes a theatre and a museum, this time for a fee. Last thing to know, the shift of the guard takes place every hour and we can attend it; quite typical!
To end this first day, head for the 101 Tower district by metro no. 2, allow less than 30 minutes of travel. Near this famous tower, you can, depending on how much time you have left, take a tour of the Sun Yat-Sen Memorial, which is less imposing but just as full of political history, Sun Yat-Sen was the president of the first Republic of China in 1912 (here mainland China, Taiwan being at the time in Japanese hands).
At nightfall, it may be interesting to visit this famous Taipei Tower 101. This activity remains very touristic, but the architecture of this building, one of the highest in the world (509m), is still impressive.
It will cost you a few extra $11 plus a little waiting time to get to the 88th floor of this tower by elevator (one of the fastest in the world), where you can enjoy a spectacular view of the entire city.