I visited Taipei, the capital of Taiwan in 2010. The experience was memorable. Among other things, it is the economic, industrial, and cultural center of Taiwan, especially known for its electronics industry. I was there for a week in late October, but a big chunk of my time was spent in the IROS conference in Taipei International Convention Center (a part of Taipei World Trade Center). Nevertheless, I managed to get a good tour of the city.
Two things that really struck me when I visited Taipei are its amazing street food and the ridiculous high frequency of massage centers (foot / body) (almost every 50 meters or so) in some busy parts of the city. I was told by a local guy that this is probably because of the hectic lifestyle that they lead. Anyway, Taipei’s street food has a lot of variety and is delicious at the same time. Whether its ginger duck hotpot (one of the most famous winter foods in Taipei), or beef noodle soup, or oysters, they have their unique style. Many of you must have heard of the famous ‘Peking duck‘ dish where ducks are especially bred for the dish (imagine the irony !), and it is really delicious too, but ginger duck hot pot has its own flavor. Here’s me with the owner of a street stall which serves delicious ginger duck hot pot.
Taipei’s night markets are a sight to see, with its abundance of sweets and other food. Here are some snapshots of Shilin night market :
One of the more interesting things was the Shrimp fishing game, where we had a small bamboo stick and a hook and we had to catch shrimp and put it on the bucket..
Taipei has a rich cultural heritage. Its Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall is a sight to see, built in the memory of the first President of the Republic of China. Note that Taiwan is officially known as the Republic of China (ROC) and China is officially known as People’s Republic of China (PRC). The office of the President of the ROC relocated to Taiwan in late 1940s after ROC lost control of Mainland China.
Also, Dr. Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall is beautiful (built after the National Father of ROC, Dr. Sun Yat-sen). Another must see place is the National Palace Museum, which is a huge collection of ancient Chinese artifacts and is almost impossible to cover in one day if you want to look at everything carefully.
No trip to Taipei is complete without the majestic Taipei-101. It was the World’s tallest building from 2004 to 2009. One of the most interesting things about Taipei-101 is its tuned mass-damper system which is supposed to be the largest passive tuned mass damper in the world, designed to absorb wind pressure and be flexible during earthquake. It weighs 660 metric tons 🙂 Another interesting site was the Miramar Entertainment Park which is a shopping mall, on the roof of which is a huge Ferris wheel !
Here are some photos of the landmarks mentioned above and other random shots :
All in all, my Taipei visit was amazing and I highly encourage you to travel there to get a glimpse of the rich culture inherent in the society as well as enjoy some delicious authentic Taiwanese food 🙂