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Overview

Taipei is a city that works — i.e., it functions as a city should. It has a great transportation system, super safe streets, abundant green space, a world-class museum, a food culture second to none — and no one is too busy to stop and help if you look lost. Of course Taipei also works, but this is one Asian city where people no longer live for their jobs. Eating is done day and night, but oddly so is exercise: visit the riverside bike paths and you will find people out cycling even after midnight. Hiking is popular in the forested mountains that ring the city (the entire northern region is national parkland), as is tea drinking and hot ...

Taipei is a city that works — i.e., it functions as a city should. It has a great transportation system, super safe streets, abundant green space, a world-class museum, a food culture second to none — and no one is too busy to stop and help if you look lost. Of course Taipei also works, but this is one Asian city where people no longer live for their jobs. Eating is done day and night, but oddly so is exercise: visit the riverside bike paths and you will find people out cycling even after midnight. Hiking is popular in the forested mountains that ring the city (the entire northern region is national parkland), as is tea drinking and hot springing. You can take the cheap and efficient MRT to do almost anything, though one exception is visit the National Palace Museum. But for a museum that ranks with the Louvre in Paris, you can spring for taxi fare. Little of Taipei's past has been preserved, but the grand old temples, in particular Longshan, remain the city's spiritual centers. The vagaries of history brought 2 million Chinese to Taiwan after 1949, and they brought with them the abundance of regional cooking styles. Taipei is one of the world's food capitals, and its night markets in particular are renowned throughout Asia. Taipei is not quite the shopper's paradise of Hong Kong but good deals can be had on electronics, clothing, high quality tea, and cosmetics.

Robert Kelly
About the Expert

Robert Kelly is the two-time author of the Lonely Planet Taiwan guide, and coauthor of Tibet and China. He has lived in Taiwan for the past 12 years.

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Robert Kelly for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: Taipei is the capital of Taiwan, located in the northern tip of Taiwan
  • Language: Mandarin, Taiwanese
  • Currency: Taiwan Dollar
  • Research: Wikitravel | Taipei
  • Weather: Daylight | Rainfall

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Fall, winter, summer; Lantern Festival; Ghost Month