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Taipei Trip Part 3 – Taipei 101, Mao Kong, & Beitou

Saturday October 24th, 2015 at 4:11 am

Taipei 101

Taipei 101, named so for its 101 floors, is probably one of the most iconic things about Taipei. Built in 2004, this building was the tallest until it was surpassed by the Burj Kalifa in Dubai in 2010. The tower is specially designed to withstand both typhoons and earthquakes. Inside, visitors can find a wide assortment of restaurants, shops, and clubs. Taipei 101 also has the world’s fastest elevator. On New Years Eve, fireworks are launched from the tower, making it one of the best places to be for New Year’s Eve.

Inside Taipei 101, you can find one of the world’s best dim sum restaurants, Din Tai Fung. 2 restaurants in Hong Kong have also been awarded one Michelin Star. Sadly, I was too hungry and impatient to eat to remember to take any photos.

You can watch the cooks as they prepare food such as the famous xiao long bao. Each cook works with crazy precision and speed…cutting just the exact amount of dough, scooping the exact amount of meat, and making the same exact folds in each one…all without measuring.

Found my first one in Shinjuku when I visited Japan a few years back, it was nice seeing one in Taipei as well!

There are many pieces inside the tower made from various precious gem stone, coral, and other materials costing up to millions of NT dollars.

Hazy day but the view from up top is amazing.

National Palace Museum

Next up was the National Palace Museum. Unfortunately, they don’t allow any pictures inside. This museum has one of the world’s largest collections of Chinese imperial artifacts and artworks covering over 10,000 years of Chinese history.

The original museum in Beijing, which was set up in 1925 after Emperor Puyi’s expulsion, was split into 2 as a result of the Chinese Civil War (1927-1950). In 1935, Chiang Kai-Shek ordered the museum to move its most valuable pieces out of the city to prevent it from falling in to the hands of the Japanese. The items were moved around China a few times as Japan advanced further and further into China. After the war, Chiang Kai-Shek decided to move the artifacts to Taiwan as fighting between the Communists and the Nationalists worsened. Before all of the crates were moved, the Communists seized control of the National Museum so the remaining items could not be moved. Throughout the years, the People’s Republic of China has accused Taiwan of stealing the artifacts. Taiwan in return, defends its act as a necessary action to protect the price pieces from destruction…especially that of during the Cultural Revolution. Nowadays, there isn’t as much tension and Beijing has also agreed to lend artifacts to Taiwan for exhibitions.

I’ve always been interested in Chinese history so walking through this museum was an amazing experience for me. We went on a weekend so it was rather packed. The museum has 4 floors, however, not all of the exhibition halls are open at a given time to prevent wear. It was also freezing cold inside and I didn’t bring a thick enough jacket. Inside temperature is set low to help preserve the antiques and artifacts. I do have to say though, the museum has so many artifacts that after a while it does get a bit repetitive and tiring. However, I highly recommend this museum for anyone that’s interested in Chinese history, or even just history.

Mao Kong

One of my favorite places in Taipei was Mao Kong (meaning “cat sky”). Besides the fact that I love cats, this place is great for sightseeing, walking, and getting out of the city a little bit. The area used to be the biggest tea growing area of Taipei. Nowadays, its just a popular place for tea houses and enjoying a nice view of the city.

To get to the top of the mountain, visitors can ride a gondola. It’s only a few stops to the top and very affordable. There are two types of gondola’s you can take, the regular one and one with a clear floor called the “Eyes of Maokong Gondola”. The price to ride in one the special gondolas is the same price as the regular. The only catch is that there is a separate line and the waiting time is longer than that of the regular gondolas.

View from the Gondola

Looking through the clear glass. The color of the glass really makes the trees and bushes pop. Of course the higher you go, the better the view.

Of course, you can’t have a place called Cat Sky and not have cats everywhere.

Delicious parfait and fruit tea

I just love the name of this tea shop. It’s set up like a food truck and customers can sit, drink tea, and enjoy an amazing view.

View of a temple, Taipei 101, and the city from the top…it’s even more beautiful at night.

Beitou

So, this is the reason why planning out trips ahead of time is important. I originally planned to visit Beitou on Monday since the weather forecasted rain without realizing (or remembering…) that pretty much everything in Beitou is closed on Monday. I still went to go check out the city but there wasn’t much to do. I was pretty disappointed since there were a few things here I really wanted to see. Next time for sure….

Beitou is located in north Taipei and is famous for its hot springs. During Japanese occupation, many hot spring facilities and baths were set up around the city.

The Beitou Hot Spring museum was one place I really wanted to visit. Built in 1913 by the Japanese, this bath house was at one time the largest bath house in East Asia. After 1945, the bath house was used for several different purposes until eventually re-opening as a museum. Visitors can take a tour of the large bath house, still retaining the look and feel from the early 1900s.

Entrance to the Hot Spring museum

Beitou also has rivers running through it, making it a great place for a walk. Because the area is so rich in sulfur, you can smell it everywhere.

I really enjoyed the short trip to Taipei. It’s a beautiful country with lots to see and do and not to mention the food is amazing. I will definitely be back to visit in the future :)

Posted Under: travel

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