"Taipei - One of Asia's Best-kept secrets" Taipei by AKtravelers

Taipei Travel Guide: 1,398 reviews and 3,810 photos

Taipei is the capital of Taiwan and the home of about 4 million people. But nothing about Taipei makes it feel that important -- that inhuman. The best thing about the city is it's smallness -- small shops, small night markets and small restaurants and bars -- even though it now has the world's tallest skyscraper (Taipei 101). This contrasts marvelously with Hong Kong and makes you feel welcome.
Of course, Taipei is still a vibrant, modern city with great sites and great food. While the Cultural Revolution was rampaging over mainland China, the Taiwan government kept alive Chinese cooking, chinese art, both graphic and performing. The National Palace Museum alone is worth the trip to Taipei. But the city is much much more.

Is it China or is it not?

As you tour around Taipei, you'll be forgiven if you can't remember where you are. While Taiwan is a small island off the coast of the People's Republic, its political status is the source of great friction. Should Taiwan be independant or should it reunite with the mainland? But if you visit the Chiang Kai Shek memorial, you'll be even more confused should Taiwan take the mainland by force? All of these questions! Yikes!
The past ROC government policy had been to consider all Chinese history part of its history, which can be confusinng to visitors. It's important to remember that when many inhabitants of Taipei say "my country", they may mean all of China. Of course, more and more, they may also mean an independant Taiwan. My advice if you end up talking politics with a native -- be courteous to everyone's view. It's their future for them to decide.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Great food, great people, interesting politics
  • Cons:Traffic, pollution
  • Last visit to Taipei: Sep 2003
  • Intro Written Jan 1, 2005
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Reviews (10)

Comments (2)

  • chewy3326's Profile Photo
    Aug 29, 2006 at 7:22 PM

    Strange, I haven't see any traffic accidents in Taipei. You're right, traffic is horrible, but it's all worth it for the stinky tofu...

  • canadiantravelgirl's Profile Photo
    Apr 8, 2005 at 7:51 PM

    I did my than one dance on the bar haha!! Great start!!

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