Every visit to Taipei fills me with the memories of my first visit four years ago. I thought the city was an ordinary metropolis at first but I soon changed my perceptions. Taipei is Taiwan’s largest city and has been the capital since 1894. There’s a lot of civic pride here so the city is clean, the landscaping beautiful and the downtown buildings modern.
The first thing you notice in the city is the spire of Taipei 101, the tallest building in the world. It is a modern engineering marvel, and has some of the finest architecture I have ever seen. The city is located in a high seismic activity zone, but Taipei 101 can withstand an earthquake of 8 points on the Richter scale. Recommendations
I have stayed at luxury hotels like the Grand Hyatt and budget hotels like Brother, City Lake and Golden Palace (because of their proximity to our global headquarters in Neihu). They all have one thing in common: Impeccable service and dedication to guests’ comfort. Taipei also has eataries to appeal to any kind of sensibility; there are quite a few Indian restaurants.
Around and About
Taipei has much to offer. You can hop over to the National Museum of History during the day and spend nights at the discos and pubs. But to enjoy a true Taipei experience, you have to head to the night markets. There is no single frame of reference that can prepare you for the mallet-over-the-head sensory overload; the mad energy, the cacophony of sounds, the bizarre sights, the funky smells; they are all utterly alien, unusual and completely fascinating.
The Taiwanese are very environmentally-conscious people with a special focus on green lifestyles. They love riding their bicycles and biking is an activity which has caught the nation’s imagination. On weekends you can see couples, families, groups of friends, out on biking trips. There are dedicated trails and biking paths to elevate the level of pleasure. We went on a trip of three days and 250 km in the beautiful Rift Valley in East Taiwan (Hualien and Taitung County). The two major draws during this biking trip were breathtaking scenery and the aboriginal people and their culture. The East Rift Valley is a long, narrow valley flanked by two mountain ranges with paddy fields in the middle and naturally growing flowers on the mountain slopes.
The aboriginal culture is vibrant, colourful and exciting. I would like to recommend several areas of interest like aboriginal textiles, traditional festivals, aboriginal dances with music and singing. Music and singing is really something you should not miss when you visit this part of Taiwan. (Co-ordinated by Neelima Mahajan-Bansal)
(This story appears in the 04 December, 2009 issue of Forbes India. You can buy our tablet version from Magzter.com. To visit our Archives, click here.)