Big City Tales

Tripping the Lights Fantastic in Taipei | April 13, 2018

There are some cities that ‘come alive at night’ and Taipei, Taiwan is one of them. Fittingly, the city is famous for its night markets where street vendors vigorously hawk their wares and serve up delectable xiaochi snacks and drinks amidst a steady din of noisy crowds, blaring music and flashing neon signs. Along with the electric atmosphere of local markets, tripping the lights fantastic in Taipei extends to other city attractions.

Taipei 101

Once the world’s tallest building, Taipei 101 stands 508 metres in height and is noted for its unique bamboo-like appearance. Thanks to a high-speed elevator, it takes mere seconds to reach the indoor and outdoor observation decks that provide an incredible 360-degree view of the city, especially after the sun sets and the streetlights come on. Not surprisingly, Taipei 101 is used for New Year’s Eve fireworks that are launched from multiple levels starting roughly half-way up the tower and proceeding in sequence to the top making for quite a show.

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Liberty Square

Featuring a massive multi-arched main gate, Liberty Square is the primary public gathering place in Taipei and its name is symbolic of Taiwan’s struggle to achieve democratic rule. The square covers over 200,000 square metres and contains three major landmarks that are surrounded by ponds and parks offering well-maintained lawns, trees, and pathways.

Along with twin performing arts buildings (National Theater and National Concert Hall), the other important landmark in Liberty Square is the National Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall. Chiang Kai-shek was a military and political leader who ruled from 1928 to 1975. He was an opponent of Chairman Mao Zedong and the Communist movement that arose from the Chinese civil war in the late 1940s and resulted in the establishment of the Republic of China (governed by Chiang from Taipei) and the People’s Republic of China (governed by Mao from Beijing). Although Chiang’s rule was considered to be authoritarian in nature, he was admired for his staunch adherence to conservative Chinese values and traditions, and is also credited for assisting with the Allied defeat of Imperial Japan during World War II.

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Ximending / Xinyi

As two of the primary shopping and night life destinations in Taipei, Ximending and Xinyi are popular with tourists and locals.

Ximending was the first designated pedestrian zone in Taipei and has recently gained notoriety as the place for lovers of all things Japanese to congregate at and experience a good taste of the country’s goods and its culture. The area is thus often referred to as the ‘Harajuku of Taipei’ and it attracts many devoted Harizu. Ximending also boasts 20 theaters and is a frequent venue for concerts, album launches and street performances.

Xinyi is where Taipei 101 is located and the area also offers numerous shopping and entertainment options, including lounge bars and nightclubs. The major malls are the Shin Kong Mitsukoshi complex, Breeze Center and Eslite Bookstore and Boutiques.

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Light Up the Night

When in Taipei, be sure to stay out late and light up the night!

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