The following is the first post of new series here we're starting here on the Community Blog and a part of the GV LIFEstyles project. It's an opportunity for members of the GV community to share some insights and tips on their hometowns or current cities of residence. If you're planning to visit Taipei, feel free to reach out to the author of this post for more suggestions, or maybe even arrange to meet up for a coffee!
My name is I-Fan Lin and I currently live in Taipei, Taiwan. Here are my recommendations:
Best spot to watch the sunrise/sunset:
Cape Santiago is the best place to see sunrise in the great Taipei region. It is the easternmost point of the island of Taiwan, and there is a lighthouse.
To watch the sun set, Tamsui is the best place location. The tip to enjoy sun set in Tamsui is to walk along the riverbank until you reach the Hobe fishing harbor (toward the direction of Fort San Domingo). After the sun sets, it is time for the delicious food in Tamsui Old Street.
Best local dish that every visitor absolutely *must* try:
For meat lovers, you should try ba-wan. Ba-wan is basically steamed meat dough. The dough is made of sweet potato starch and rice starch. After steamed, the skin of ba-wan becomes al dente and semi-translucent, which makes the meat inside very tempting.
Vegetarians can easily find veggie food and veggie-only restaurants in Taiwan because we have a large veggie population.
Veggie or not, if you are very adventurous, you can try stinky tofu. (I have warned you!) Usually it is veggie.
Best place to mingle with locals:
If you don't mind crowds, pay a visit to the markets. Dongmen market is a good choice before noon, and in the evening night markets like the one in Ningxia Road.
If you look for a quiet place where you can still mingle with locals, try Eslite Bookstore at Xinyi, which is open until midnight. Another choice is enjoying some cups of good tea with locals in a tea house. Wisteria Tea House is a good choice in downtown, but only in Maokong can you find 24-hr tea houses with great night view.
Best place to connect with nature:
Yangmingshan National Park. The park is easily accessible to the city by public transportation, and there are a lot of hiking trails. In addition to forests and waterfalls, you can also find volcanoes and hot springs there.
Best time of year to visit:
Spring time (March to June) and Autumn time (October and November).
Best place to see street art:
Ximending, especially around the Taipei Cinema Park.
Best place to feel the city's history:
Longshan Temple is a good choice to see the old Taipei. It was built in 1738, and it is still a very popular temple. Nearby Bopiliao also represents early Chinese settlement started more than 200 years ago.
On the other hand, 228 Memorial Peace Park can tell you the modern history of Taiwan in a nutshell. This park and the nearby Presidential Office Building and part of the National Taiwan University Hospital were all built in the Japanese colonial period. The 228 Memorial museum in the park was originally a radio station, contributing to the civilian support in the 228 incident, in which the Kuomintang from China repressed Taiwanese protesters. In addition, this park has been one of the favorite meeting spots for the city's gay population for decades, and a gate of this park was painted in rainbow colours to show the support for the LGBT movement.