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Backpack “YOU” Taiwan
   
Tour Code: STS-TW-001 Price per person from: From RMB 6,263
Departure Date: Every Monday/Wednesday/Friday Click for Price Details
   
 
Summary:

Taiwan is not usually high on the list of destinations for Western tourists. Perhaps this is because the island's international reputation has been shaped more by its IT prowess and longstanding political disputes with mainland China than its culture or tourism, and so many assume that there is very little, if anything, of interest for the casual visitor. However, despite this general perception, Taiwan actually boasts some very impressive scenic sites, and Taipei is a vibrant center of culture and entertainment. The island is also a center of Chinese pop culture with a huge and vibrant entertainment industry. Taiwanese cuisine is also highly regarded among other Asians.

Summary Itinetary Prices Features Notes Customize This Trip

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Tour Dates Destinations Today's Activities Meals Include

                           Backpack “YOU” Taiwan                             

10days / 9nights

Departure Date: Every Monday, Wednesday, Friday

 

Flight schedule- Fly with Hainan Airlines-
Date     Flight No.     Dept. City/ Time         Arrival City / Time         Duration
Day1              HU7987            Beijing/ 0855                          Taibei/1205                      3hours      

Day10            HU7988           Taibei/1900                              Beijing/2205                    3hours

 

Itinerary-

Day1: Fly from your Beijing to Taibei. Where you will be met by a Tours representative and transferred to your hotel. Free time to explore the vibrant night life of Taipei, e.g. 101 Building, Night Markets... etc.     Overnight at Taibei  


Day2: After breakfast, you will visit Taipei City Tour's must see places. Sightseeings for today are: Presidential Building (Pass by), Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall and National Palace Museum (has the largest Chinese art and painting collection). Lunch will be held at the famous restaurant inside the museum where the chef was favored by the ex-President Chen. After lunch, we will visit Martyrs' Shrine. And then depart for the Taiwanese Handicraft Centre. In the afternoon, enjoy a visit to LIn An-Tai Historical Home. Tonight you explore other vibrant night life of Taipei by visiting: Lung Shan Temple, and visit the most famous landmark of Taiwan, "Taipei 101 Tower", it is the world second tallest building.                                                  Overnight at Taibei

Day3: After breakfast, you will be picking up by your guide at hotel lobby then drive to Norther east Taiwan to visit the Chiufen Village, Pitou Cape, and Nanya Rock Formation. In the afternoon, you will be transferred to Hualien by coach bus. Then arrive at Hualine City, where you will spend the night at this 'unspoiled land of Taiwan.

                                                                                                         Overnight at Hualien

Day4: After breakfast at the hotel, we will drive to Taroko Gorge, to start your cycling ride at the magnificent Taroko Gorge, "Seven Wonders of Asia". The cycling trip will be lead by a professional cycling leader who will show you to stops at Green Water, Marble Bridge, Tunnel of Nine Turns, Jinyen Bridge, Swallow Caves, Pulowan, Eternal Spring Shrine, and Taroko Gateway. After a whole day at the Taroko Gorge, you will have a delicious dinner at the local Aborigines restaurant, and then transferred to your hotel.                         Overnight at Hualien

Day5: Today, after breakfast, you will visit the East Coast Scenic Area, stops will be made at Pachi Scenic Lookout, Stone Steps, Caves of the Eight Immortals, Stone Umbrella, Sanhsientai, and Siaoyehliu. In the late afternoon, you will be transferred to the Taitung's Chichpen Hot Spring Area, to soothe our aching limbs at a 5 star natural hot spring resort.                                                                   Overnight at Taitung

Day6: After breakfast, drive to Kaohsiung, visit the second largest city in Taiwan, Kaohsiung City. During your Kaohsiung City Tour, you will visit Spring & Autumn Pavilionsm, and the Former British Consilate. The highlight for many visits Taiwan is a visit to the local night markets. This evening, you will be amazed at the bargains, food, snacks, and culture that a Taiwanese night market will offer you.      Overnight at Kaohsiung

Day7: This morning you will depart for the oldest city in Taiwan, Tainan City, which showcases Taiwan's varied cultures through its lively temples, traditional cuisines and colonial remnants. Sightseeings includes: Anping Fort, Chih-Kan Tower, and Koxinga Shrine. In the afternoon, you will be transferred to Sun Moon Lake by coach. Tonight you will stay at one of the most unique resort in the area, which is the only resort of this kind in the Asia.Overnight at Tainan

Day8: Today, after breakfast, you will be transferred to the Sun Moon Lake for a whole day of cycling in the area. Some of the sightseeings include: Shihser Harbour, Wenwu Temple, Peacock Garden, Tse-En Pagoda, Holy Monk Shrine, Toucher Dam, and Suihser Dam. In the afternoon, you will be transferred back to your hotel in Taipei City. Tonight, if you are still interested, you can explore more parts of the vibrant night life of Taipei.  Overnight at Taibei

Day9: Free Day.                                                                Overnight at Taibei

Day10: After breakfast, you will be transferred to the Taipei International Airport for flight back to Beijing. 

 

 

Hotel Accommodation:
Pacakge - based on 5 star hotels
Taipei - Leofoo Hotel - Standard Room
HuaLien 
- Azure Hotel - Standard Room
Taitung - Dong Tair SPA Hotel -  Standard Room
Kaosiung - Metropolitan Hotel -  Standard Room
Nanton - Lakeside Resort - Standard Room

 Package Price:
From RMB6,263 per person

  Price Inclusions and Exclusions

Inclusive feature:
* 04 Nights accommodation in Taipei on 4 Star Hotel basis in twin/double room.

* 02 Nights accommodation in Hualien on 4 Star Hotel basis in twin/double room.

* 01 Night accommodation in Taitung on 4 Star Hotel basis in twin sharing room.

* 01 Night accommodation in Kaohsiung on 4 Star Hotel basis in twin sharing room.

* 01 Night accommodation in Tainan on 4 Star Hotel basis in twin sharing room.

* Daily Breakfast Buffet.

* Air Ticket Beijing-Taipei-Beijing Fare.

* All currently applicable Taxes (VAT & Service Charge).

 

 

Not included:
Air Tickets Tax. Lunch and dinner for whole routing. Personal expenses, cold drinks, alcoholic beverages, tips for guide, porter, driver. Transportation inner Taiwan. Medical Insurance. Other services not clearly indicated in the Package inclusion above.

Leofoo Hotel
Official Website: http://www.leofoo.com.tw/hotel/
         
Leofoo Hotel The Leofoo Hotel is a place full of the beauty and tradition of Taiwan . The hotel, with two hundred and thirty elegant and comfortable rooms, includes three luxurious restaurants serving Cantonese, Japanese and Western cuisines. With 30 years of experience, the hotel is well known for its hospitality. According to the records provided by The National Tourism Bureau since 1996, it has been considered one of the top three for occupancy rates in Taiwan , and has been recognized as one of the top ten for quality of service.
Azure Hotel
Official Website: http://www.azurehotel.com.tw/
         
Azure Hotel The Hualien Azure Hotel is located in the heart of Hualien City. It is the center point of the three counties of the east coast: Yilan, Hualien and Taitung. It is easily accessible. It order to facilitate your trip we offer a free parking lot for tour busses and cars alike. The hotel is only five minutes away from the train station and fifteen minutes from the airport which allows you to arrive at the hotel quickly. The hotel lobby is not only for check-in but also offers tourist information so you can arrange the best tour for you. The hotel's exquisite rooms are full of natural light. They are especially good for viewing the ocean. To satisfy your business needs, the rooms and the business center have free broadband Internet. The conference room can hold up to 100 people. It is suitable for all sorts of meetings, presentations, press conferences and training sessions. There are fast food restaurants and 24 hour convenience stores across the road. Local snack stores, department stores and art stores make your shopping fun and easy. Address: 590 Zhongzheng Rd. Hualien Reservation line: 886-3-8336686 Fax: 886-3-8323569 Copyright © 2008 Azure Hotel all rights reserved.
Metropolitan Hotel Kaosiung
Official Website: http://www.imvr.net/hotel/metropoli/about_en.php
         
Metropolitan Hotel Kaosiung Metropolitan Hotel is centrally located in downtown Kaohsiung with easy access to Juru Interchange ,Taiwan High Speed Rail Zuoying Main Station, Xiaogang AirPort, Kaohsiung Train Station, Love River, National Science And Technology Museum, Kaohsiung Museum Of Fine Arts, Niaosong Wetland, Hakka Cultural Museum, Liouhe Night Market, Urban Spotlight, President Department Store, Cheng Ching Lake, ..etc.. Come and stay in the most resident-functional hotel in Kaohsiung to enjoy arts, culture, science and fashion life. Whatever reason makes you travel to Kaohsiung, make Metropolitan Hotel your first choice. As you walk into Metropolitan Hotel, an elegant resident space that is managed and planned by Yuan Bang Group, you shall be impressed by its exquisite lobby, friendly staff and high quality services. Please come and be our guest to enjoy residence and services of the best quality.

TaiPei HuaLien Taitung

Get around

By metro

Taipei City has a very clean, efficient and safe Mass Rapid Transit system known most commonly as the MRT, but also called Metro Taipei (台北捷運). Muzha line, which connects to Taipei Zoo, is a driverless elevated system. The last trains depart at midnight. Fares are between NT$20 and NT$65 for one-way trips around town. Stations and trains are clearly identified in English, so even for those who cannot read Chinese, the MRT system is very accessible. All stops are announced in four languages: Mandarin, Taiwanese, Hakka and English. Most stations have information booth/ticket offices close to the ticket vending machines. There is no eating or drinking while in the stations or on the trains. Trains generally run from 6AM to midnight, with convenient bus connections outside the stations.

Women and/or children traveling at night can benefit from the Safe Zones - sections of platforms that are under heavy surveillance - located in some of the subway lines.

In addition to single journey tickets, the Taipei MRT also sells value-added cards/smartcards called EasyCard (悠遊卡). These cards hold amounts up to NT$5,000, and one only needs to "touch" (sensor) them past the barrier monitor to gain entry and exit. Value added cards can be purchased at station ticket offices or at vending machines. One great advantage of using the EasyCard is that there is a 20% discount on all MRT rides, and if you transfer from the MRT to an ordinary city bus, or vice versa, within an hour, the bus ride is only NT$7. The discount is automatically calculated when you leave the MRT station. Student cards with even deeper discounts are also available for purchase, but only upon request at a desk and a student ID. The EasyCard can be recharged at convenience stores and subway stations. In addition to the subway and buses, some parking lots also offer an option to pay with the EasyCard. To purchase a new EasyCard you will need to pay NT$500 (including a deposit of NT$100 and NT$400 usable credit). For more information, see their website. Starting recently, 7-11 and various other retail outlets have begun to accept the card as payment.

Often times limited-edition cards are issued by the transit authority depicting artworks, famous characters, landscapes, etc. These are quite collectible and are perfect souvenirs for your trip. Remember single-journey tokens are recycled when you exit the stations, so if you want to keep a particular one you should purchase an extra.

By bus

Taipei City has a very efficient bus service, and because all buses display information (destination and the names of stops) in English, the system is very accessible to non-Chinese speaking visitors. Payment can be made by cash (NT$15) or EasyCard (see "metro" listing) for each section that the bus passes through. For local buses (all local buses have a number, but long distance buses do not) the maximum will be two sections with a total cost of NT$30. The confusion, however, arises by not knowing where the section boundaries are located. If you begin your journey at the first stop, you may travel for a long distance for only NT$15. However, if you get on just before a section boundary, you will have to pay for two sections, even if you have traveled only a few stops.

When to pay Above the driver, there is an electronic red sign. If the Chinese character for "up" () is lit, then you pay when you get on. If the same sign is lit when you get off, you do not need to pay again. However, if the sign is displaying the Chinese character for "down" () when you are getting off, then you will need to pay a second time. Finally, if the character for "down" is lit up when you get on, then you need to pay only when you get off. Until you get the hang of the system, just let the locals go first and follow their action. It's really not as complicated as it sounds!

Besides, if you are transferring from the transit system to a bus within one hour, there is a discounted bus fare.

By taxi

Taxis are the most flexible way to get around, and are extremely numerous. They are expensive in comparison to mass transit, but are cheap when compared to taxis in the rest of the world. Most taxi drivers speak very limited English, and it will be necessary for non-Chinese speakers to have their destination written down in Chinese. Taxis are metered, with higher rates for night (an additional NT$20 over the meter). Tipping is neither necessary nor expected.

Passengers who sit in the front seat of the taxi are required to buckle their seatbelt. Women and/or children traveling at night are advised to use one of the reputable taxi companies. The toll free taxi hotline is 0800-055850 (maintained by Department of Transportation).

Taiwanese taxi drivers are notorious for their strong opinions on politics as they spend all day listening to talk radio, although they will probably be unable to share any of this with you if you do not speak Chinese.

By bicycle

Even though motorized traffic is very heavy in Taipei, bicycles are still legitimate vehicles to get around. For less dangerous riding, a Taipei City Cycling Map shows well designated bike routes. There are long cycle paths beside most rivers in the city. Bicycles can also be carried on the Taipei metro but only at certain times and via certain stations.

By car

Renting a car is not only unnecessary, but not recommended in Taipei unless you are planning to head out of the city. Traffic tends to be frantic, and parking spaces are difficult to find. Most of the main tourist destinations are reachable by public transport, and you should use that as your main mode of travel.

Address system

The Taipei address system is very logical and user-friendly. The hub of the city is the corner of the east-west running Zhongxiao (忠孝) and north-south running Zhongshan (中山) Rds, however while the north/south divide is made at Zhongxiao here, further east it is made instead at Bade (八德) Rd, something which confuses even people who have lived in Taipei for years. All major roads are identified by their direction in relation to these roads. For example, all sections of the north-south running Fuxing (復興) Rd north of Bade are called Fuxing North Rd (復興北路). Likewise, those sections to the south are called Fuxing South Rd (復興南路). Those that cross Zhongshan road are similarly identified as either east or west. Section (; duàn) numbers begin at 'one' near the two defining roads and increase at intersections of major highways. For example, Ren'ai (仁愛) Rd (which has only an east location and therefore does not have a direction suffix), Section 1 will be close to Zhongshan South Rd. The section number will increase as one moves further away from Zhongshan Rd. So, for example, when Ren'ai Rd reaches Dunhua South Rd (敦化南路) far in the east of the city, a typical address could be: 7F, 166 Ren'ai Rd, Section 4. The house and lane numbers begin at zero every section. Lanes (; xiàng) lead off roads (; lù) and streets (; jiē), while alleys (; nòng) branch off lanes.

*   Taipei street names in Chinese characters and Romanization

Map

*   Taipei City Government's Online Map,

See

Landmarks

*   Taipei 101 (臺北 101). Officially known as the Taipei International Financial Center (臺北國際金融大樓), this 101-floor, 508-meter high skyscraper is in the Xinyi District of Taipei and is the second tallest skyscraper in the world. The tower is rich in symbolism; it was designed to resemble bamboo rising from the earth, a plant recognized in Asian cultures for its fast growth and flexibility, both of which are ideal characteristics for a financial building. The building is also divided into eight distinct sections, with eight being a number associated with prosperity in Chinese culture. The internal architecture of Taipei 101 is similarly awe-inspiring. Pay attention to ornate details on the structural beams, columns, and other elements. Taipei 101 is perhaps most notable for its feats of engineering. It has been the world's tallest building since 2004, as determined by three of the four standards designated by the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat. It also boasts the world's fastest elevators, which will zip visitors up to the 89th-floor observation deck in a mere 37 seconds (cost: NT$400 for adults, NT$370 for kids under 12). It's worth taking a ride up, as the views are stunning. It opens 10am - 10pm daily. The best time to visit would be in the late afternoon when you spend a couple of hours and see both day and night views of Taipei. You can also go up to the outdoor observatory on the 91st floor. Don't forget to look toward the middle of the building, where you'll see the world's largest spherical tuned mass damper (one of three) that keep the building steady. Attached to the tower is a large, up-scale mall. While the stores are unremarkable in that they offer the same brand-names as stores in other major cities around the world, the open and spacious design of the structure itself definitely makes it worth a visit. Located next to the cafes on the fourth floor is Page One Bookstore, which has one of the largest selections of English books in Taiwan. A supermarket specializing in imported food items is located in the basement. (See also the "shopping" section for more on the mall). Taipei 101 is a 15 to 20-minute walk from the Taipei City Hall MRT station (Blue Line).

*   The Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall (國父紀念館) is constructed in the memory of Dr. Sun Yat-sen who is the founding father of the Republic of China. The construction of the Memorial commenced in 1965 in conjunction with the 100th anniversary of Sun Yat-sen's birth. It was opened in May 16, 1972, with the majestic architecture and placid landscape covering an area of some 115,500 sq. meters. The park named Zhongshan Park marks the front yard of the Hall. On the inside, there is a 19-foot bronze statue of Dr. Sun Yat-sen, watched over the day by motionless military honor guards, along with a library of 400 seats storing over 1.4 millions books. The 100 meter long Zhongshan corridor links the main hall to the four large exhibition buildings where contemporary arts and historical articles are frequently on display. The Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall has grown into much of a community center, and is much less touristy than the newer and larger Chiang Kai-shek Memorial. There is an auditorium which has weekly lectures and seminars on aspects of art and life. It is also a popular site for public concerts.

*   The Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall (中正紀念堂) is the symbol of both Taipei and the Republic of China. It is here that the nation's flag is raised every morning, and the huge court yard in front of the memorial serves as a place for both national celebrations as well as a platform to voice one's disapproval of the government. The memorial consists of a large bronze statue of Chiang Kai-shek, watched over by two motionless honor guards who are replaced every hour in a rifle twirling ceremony. Downstairs, there is a museum of Chiang's life, complete with his sedans and uniforms. Even if you are not into memorials, the gardens, with their Chinese style ponds, are definitely worth a visit. The memorial has its own MRT station on the Xindian line. The grounds of the memorial are also a favorite place for locals to gather and practice martial arts, though you'll have to be there early if you want to see this. Most people begin their work-out at around sunrise, and will have left for the office before 8AM.

*   National Theater Hall (國家戲劇院) and National Concert Hall (國家音樂廳) - Located in the grounds of the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial, it is an are excellent place to see performances of a Taiwanese play or a dance troupe. They also host many international events. Taiwan's National Symphony Orchestra performs at the National Concert Hall. The building's neo-classic Chinese architecture is especially stunning when flood-lit at night.

*   National Taiwan University (台灣大學, or 台大<Tai-da> for short) Taiwan's pre-eminent institution of higher education, NTU is on the south side of Taipei. The campus grounds are surrounded by several blocks of shops, bookstores, eateries, cafes and tea houses popular with students and scholars. This is one of the main transportation hubs, as many buses stop here. While you wait for your bus, or before you go underground to catch the subway, you can shop for clothing, accessories, books, or trinkets. You name it, you can find it. Browse through the stalls and booths directly across the street from the main entrance of the university (don't forget there is a lot more just behind the main street), grab a bite or two of the popular snacks, such as fresh fruit, spice-cooked meats, soy goodies, sky high ice cream cones, sweets, shaved ice, tapioca teas, fresh bread, and more. You can also sample the yummy Taiwanese fried chicken chain Ding Gua Gua. Try a "Gua Gua Bao," a flavorful sticky rice pouch. If you like sweet potato, Ding Gua Gua's fries will make you want to come back for more! There are many American fast food restaurants across the street on the right of the University, right next to several wonderful book stores. Nearest MRT station: Gongguan (公館) on the Xindian (Green) Line.

*   The Grand Hotel (圓山大飯店). A 5-star hotel near Yuanshan, it has been rated as one of the world's top ten hotels by the US Fortune magazine in 1968. It opened in May 1952, and expanded several times before becoming the landmark it is today. The swimming pool, tennis court, and membership lounge were constructed in 1953. The Golden Dragon Pavilion and Golden Dragon Restaurant opened in 1956 and the The Jade Phoenix Pavilion and Chi-Lin Pavilion opened in 1958 and 1963 respectively. The main Grand Hotel building was completed on the Double Tenth Day of 1973, making it an instant icon of Taipei. And this hotel is a part of scene in the Taiwanese film - Eat Drink Man Woman by the world famous Director - Ang Lee.

Museums/Galleries

*   The National Palace Museum (故宮博物院) - The world's best collection of Chinese historical artifacts and antiquities. The museum is in Shilin. The nearest MRT station is Shilin (士林), with frequent buses from Shilin heading for the Palace Museum. Look for the displays on the buses. Some are written in English. It's a must-see for first time visitors.

*   Shung Ye Museum of Formosan Aborigines (順益台灣原住民博物館), 282 Zhishan Road, Sec 2. Located opposite the National Palace Museum in Shilin.

*   Hua Shan Cultural and Creative Industry Center (華山創意文化園區), 1 Bade Road, Sec 1. This former brewery has been transformed into a creative space in a park. The exhibitions here are well presented and imaginative and the theater performances, while less formal than those at the National Theater, are still first rate. The center also has a great cafe with outdoor seating, an excellent place to watch Taipei at work and play over a cappuccino.

*   Taipei Fine Arts Museum (台北市立美術館), 181 Zhongshan North Rd, Sec. 3 (near the Yuanshan

MRT Station on the Danshui line). Open Tues-Sun 9:30AM-5PM. Adult admission NT$30, concessions NT$15. The museum displays work of local and international artists.

*   Spot - Taipei Film House (台北之家), Zhongshan North Rd, Sec. 2 (nearest MRT Station: Zhongshan on the Danshui line). This former residence of the U.S. Ambassador has been transformed into an art center that focuses on independent films. In addition to screenings, the house also has great cafes and restaurants that spill out onto balconies and into the garden. The book store offers a good selection of hard-to-get art/independent films on DVD, though for other movies, prices are lower at regular DVD rental stores. Open Tues-Sun, 11AM - 10PM. Admission is free.

*   The Museum of Contemporary Art (台北當代藝術館), 39 Changan West Rd, nearest MRT station - Zhongshan (on Danshui line). Taiwan's first art space dedicated to contemporary work. The red brick, former Taipei City Hall is easy to locate on an otherwise unexceptional road. Open Tues-Sun, 10AM-6PM. Admission NT$50.

*   Taipei Artist Village (台北國際藝術村), near Shandao Temple Station, Exit No. 1, walk to Tian Jin St. and turn right to Beiping E. Road.. This village provides residency programs for Taiwanese artists and others from around the world. They provide gallery and studio space for artists. They also have a few cafes which are excellent for a mid-day break while exploring Taipei. The space is open during normal weekly business hours and you are free to roam around the village.

*   Taipei Story House (台北故事館) – The house is in the same plot of land as the Taipei Fine Arts Museum (see above listing). Tel: +886 2 2596-1898. This tea merchant's 19th century European style house has been converted into a space for telling the story of Taipei and tea. There are permanent exhibits on these subjects as well as visiting exhibitions and the occasional traditional music concert. The patio serves as a tea garden, which offers pleasant views over the Danshui River and beyond. Open 9AM-6PM. Admission NT$30.

*   National Museum Of History (國立歷史博物館), 49 Nanhai Rd, Tel: +886 2 2361 0270. This museum is in Taipei Botanical Garden, which is famous for its varied selection of exhibits, including Tang dynasty tri-color pottery and Shang dynasty bronzes. Open Tues-Sat 10AM-6PM, closed Mon. Admission NT$20.

*   National Taiwan Museum (國立台灣博物館), 2 Xiangyang Rd, Tel:+886 2 2382 2699 (Nearest MRT station 'National Taiwan University Hospital' on the Danshui line.) – This museum is in 'Peace Park' (near Taipei Main Station) in a splendid Baroque and Renaissance style building. Opened in 1899, it was Taiwan's first museum and focuses on anthropology and the fauna and flora of the island.

*   Taiwan Storyland (台灣故事館), B2, 50 Zhongxiao West Rd, Sec. 1. Tel:+886 2 2388-7158, next to Shin Kong Mitsukoshi at Taipei Main Station. Although not entirely a museum but more like an amusement park, Taiwan Storyland recreates the culture and environment of Taiwan in an earlier era, with buildings and shops based around that time. The nearest MRT station is Taipei Main Station.

*   Miniatures Museum of Taiwan (袖珍博物館), B1, 96 Jianguo North Rd, Sec. 1. Tel:+886 2 2515-0583. This is a small, private museum that is a monument to patient and steady hand. The 40 bulb chandelier, which is the size of grain of rice, is one of the many impressive pieces on display. Transportation from the Main Station on buses 307, 527, alight at Nanjing East Road and the Jian-guo North Road intersection. The museum is in the same building as Thai Airways. Open Tues-Sun 10AM-6PM (last admittance 5PM). Adults NT$180, concessions NT$150, children NT$100.

*   Su Ho Memorial Paper Museum (樹火紀念紙博物館), 68 Changan East Rd, Sec. 2. Tel:+886 2 2507-5539 This museum was founded by Su Ho Chen, one of Taiwan's last few masters of papermaking, and who was killed in 1990 in a plane crash. You can enjoy exhibits about paper, and make your own sheet of paper here. Open Mon-Sat 9:30AM-4:30PM (Closed Sun and Spring Festival). Admission NT$100, NT$180 with paper making.

*   Discover Center Of Taipei (台北探索館), 1 Shifu Rd, Tel:+886 2 2757-4547. Located just inside the main entrance of Taipei City Hall, this is a good place to know the history and culture of Taipei City. Open Tues-Sun 9AM-5PM, closed Mon. Admission is free. Nearest MRT station is Taipei City Hall.

*   Museum of Drinking Water (自來水博物館), 1, Siyuan St near the Tai-da campus. The Museum of Drinking Water was completed in 1908, and is the first pumping station and filtration plant in Taipei. The museum is in Taipei Water Park. Open: 9AM-6PM (tickets offer till 5PM), closed Mon. The nearest MRT station is Gongguan on Xindian Line.

*   Beitou Hot Spring Museum (北投溫泉博物館), was built by the Japanese as Taiwan's first public bathhouse in 1913 and it was the biggest hot spring bathhouse in East Asia in its day.

*   Tittot Museum (琉園水晶博物館), 16, Ln 515, Zhongyang North Road sec.4. Tel:+886 2 2895 8861 Just east of Guandu MRT station on Danshui Line, this is the first glass works museum in Taiwan and Asia. Open Tues-Sun, 9AM - 5PM. Adults, NT$100, concessions NT$50, Group tickets NT$80.

Parks

*   Daan Forest Park (大安森林公園) is one of Taipei's newest parks. The park rests on 26hectares in central Taipei bordered by Xinyi Road, Jianguo South Road, Heping East Road, and Xinsheng South Road. Due to its size and location, it is also known as Taipei Central Park. Bus lines 15, 52, 235, 278, 284, 20, 22, Xinyi Main Line service this park.

*  Taipei Botanical Garden (植物園) – The gardens are nearest MRT station 'Xiaonanmen' on the green line between the MRT Ximen station and MRT C.K.S Memorial Hall station. This beautiful garden has inspired the citizens of Taipei for over one hundred years. The lotus ponds are a hallmark of the park and are especially captivating when the these symbols of peace are in full bloom and swaying in the summer breeze. The gardens are close to the National Museum of History.

*  228 Peace Park (二二八和平公園) – This park is on the north side of Katagalan Boulevard and the MRT station 'National Taiwan University Hospital' on the Danshui line. The park was founded by the Japanese in 1907, and was originally called New Park (新公園). The name was changed in 1996 to commemorate those killed in the 228 Incident of 28 February 1947. The park is popular with practitioners of taichi and senior citizens playing Chinese chess. The National Taiwan Museum marks the northern entrance to the park. Zhongshan Fine Arts Park (中山美術公園) – This park is south of the Taipei Fine Arts Museum. The open green space and many stabiles are on display in the park.

*  Dajia Riverside Park (大佳河濱公園) – This park is a 12km long green belt on the south bank of the Keelung River. One of the beautiful banks in Taipei. The exercise facilities, like basketball, tennis, badminton are available, meantime, the bike rent is also accommodated there. The Red 34 bus between the MRT Yuanshan station (Danshui Line) and Dajia Riverside Park.

*  Elephant Mountain Hiking Trail (象山步道) - A short walk from Taipei 101 in Xinyi District. Steep steps lead up into a shaded, forested hill overlooking the city. The entrance is poorly signposted. Elephant Mountain, about 200M high, is one of the Four Beasts Mountains, and paths from here go up to higher peaks in Nangang.

Temples/Heritages

West Taipei

*  Longshan Temple (龍山寺) – This temple is where countless generations of Taipei citizens have come to pray and seek guidance at times of trouble. As the temple is dedicated to Guanyin (the Buddhist representation of compassion) it is officially defined as Buddhist, but there is a great amount of folk religion mixed into the fabric of the beliefs at this temple. However, if you want to feel the real heartbeat of Taipei, one that is far removed from the skyscrapers and shopping malls of East Taipei, this is the place to come. It just oozes with character, although don't come expecting to find teachings on meditation. The area around Longshan Temple, Wanhua, is one of the original districts of Taipei. And, while much of the traditional architecture has been lost, the area still maintains a traditional feel. It is here that the blind masseurs congregate to offer their skill. Likewise, this is the area where the Taiwanese come to learn who they should marry or what to name their children by consulting one of the many fortune tellers that set up shop along the roads and alleys around the temple. The temple is located at 211 Guangzhou Road (near junction with Guilin Road) and is open daily from 5AM to 10PM. The nearest MRT station is 'Longshan Temple' on the Ban-Nan Line.

*  Red Theater (紅樓劇場) – The Red Theater just sits directly outside the southwest exit of MRT Ximen station, near the Ximending shopping area. It was Taiwan's first modern market as well as a theater in Japanese rule before, now there is an exhibition hall and a small playhouse.

*  Zhongshan Hall (中山堂) – North of Ximen MRT station. The buildings were completed in the period of Japanese rule on December 26, 1936. In 1945, The former Taipei City Hall was renamed as Zhongshan Hall. In 1992, the building has been identified to Second monuments of the country. Later it was assigned as a cultural space that hosts cultural and art events.

In the South of Datong District, Dadaocheng (大稻埕) is a historic heart of Taipei. Dadaocheng, it can be literally translated as large open space for drying rice in the sun. There is one of the oldest communities in Taipei. Getting this old area, you can take the Danshui Line (Red Line) MRT to Shuanglian Station. From Exit 2, walk west down Minsheng West Road (about 15 minutes).

*  Dihua Street (迪化街) – This street located alongside the Danshui River in Dadaocheng, rows of old shophouses from late 1880s hold Taiwan's oldest wholesale dried goods market. On Dihua Street Section 1, Xiahai City God Temple (霞海城隍廟) was built in 1859. City God (城隍爺), who watched over the citizens in the district and decided a person's fate after death. Today this temple remains the area's religious and social center, and one of Taipei's most important places of worship. Every Chinese New Year, Dihua Street is the most popular place in Taipei where local residents buy snacks and sweets for Chinese New Year festivities.

*  West of Dihua Street and Xining North Road, there is a small, short lane called Gui-De Street (貴德街) (it was previously called Western Houses Street). This lane once fronted the Danshui River. In the 1880s, the world famous Formosa Oolong Tea came from a nearby wharf. At the time, many wealthy merchants invested in building along the lane in order to attract international trading firms. One was Chen Tian-lai (A.D. 1872-1939), a Taiwanese tea merchant, who was fabulously rich for his time. His home was one of the model Taiwanese residences on this land and his neo-Baroque home is still standing. (No.73 Gui-De Street)

Dalongdong (大龍峒) is at the Datong District's north end, north of Dadaocheng and is one of the oldest communities in Taipei. Baoan Temple and Confucius Temple are both famous historical sites located in this area.

*  Baoan Temple (保安宮) 61 Ha-mi St, the nearest MRT station is 'Yuanshan' on the Danshui Line. Construction began on this temple in 1805 and it was completed 25 years later. Baoan is a Taoist temple and one of the leading religious sites in Taipei. The temple's main deity is the emperor Baosheng, the god of medicine. The mural paintings and sculptures that adorn the the building are considered some of the most impresive in Taiwan, and the temple won acclaims in the 2003 UNESCO Asia-Pacific Heritage Awards.

*  Confucius Temple (孔廟) - Just next to Baoan Temple, the Confucius Temple was built in 1879 when the Qing Court changed Taipei into a prefecture of the Province of Fujian, China. It was established to serve as the largest educational center in northern Taiwan. Every September 28th, a large number of people from Taiwan and abroad come here to watch a solemn Confucius birthday ceremony and eight-row dance. The temple is located at 275 Dalong St, the nearest MRT station is 'Yuanshan' on the Danshui Line.

*  Xingtian Temple (行天宮) is located at the corner of Minquan East Road and Songjiang Road. The temple was built in 1967 and was devoted to Guangong (A.D. 162-219), a famous deified general who lived during the Three Kingdoms period, and he is an important character in the Chinese classic Romance of the Three Kingdoms. The temple forbids the killing of animals as an offering, so you will see offerings of only fresh flowers, fruits and tea on the main altar. Many believers feel that this is a very efficacious temple, and it is frequently thronged with people praying for help and seeking divine guidance by consulting oracle blocks. Outside the temple, the underground pedestrian passages under the Minquan - Songjiang intersection are filled with fortune-tellers and vendors who take commercial advantage of the temple's popularity.

City Gates

Even though very little ancient architecture remains in Taipei, four of Taipei's five original city gates still stand. The city walls which surrounded the old city and the West Gate were demolished by the Japanese to make way for roads and railway lines. Of the four gates still standing, the Kuomintang renovated three of them in its effort to "sinicize" Taipei and converted them from the original southern Chinese architecture to northern Chinese palace style architecture, leaving only the North Gate (beimen 北門 or more formally Cheng'en men 承恩門) in its original Qing Dynasty splendour today. This gate sits forlornly in the traffic circle where the Zhonghua, Yanping and Boai roads meet.

Do

Hot Springs (溫泉)

Hot springs come in various brands in Taipei, ranging from basic, to plush spas at five star hotels. The basic free 'rub and scrub' type public baths are run by the city. Most hotels offer the option of a large sex-segregated bathing area that generally consists of several large baths of various temperatures, jacuzzi, sauna and steam bath and also private and family rooms (NB: the law in Taiwan states that for safety reasons, individuals are not allowed to bathe in the private rooms, and there must be at least two people). Some hotels also have outdoor baths (露天溫泉), which offer restful views over the surrounding country-side. Prices range from around NT$300 to NT$800. Public hot spring etiquette requires that bathers thoroughly wash and rinse off their bodies before entering the bath, do not wear clothing, including swim wear (though this is not the case for mixed-sex public areas) in the bath and tie up their hair so that it does not touch the water. Finally, people with high blood pressure, heart disease or open wounds should not enter the baths.

There are three main places to have a soak in the Taipei area:

*  Beitou (北投)

*  Wulai (烏來)

*  Yangmingshan National Park (陽明山)

Hiking

Hiking is a popular exercise in Taipei. The main hiking spot in Taipei is Yangmingshan National Park (陽明山國家公園). There are dozens of hiking trails in the park.

Festivals & events

Taipei hosts numerous festivals throughout the year, but as many follow the lunar calendar the dates according to the Gregorian calendar are inconsistent. Unless you possess a lunar calendar, it is recommended you check the Taiwan Tourist Bureau's events section before planning to attend an event.

*  The 2010 Taipei International Flora Expo will be held from November 6th, 2010 to April 25th, 2011.

*  The Golden Horse Chinese Language Film Festival. This is often referred to as the Oscars of the Chinese film world, and while films in the awards section are all in Chinese, they have English subtitles and, there is also a large non-competition foreign language section.

*  The Lantern Festival is a dazzling display of lanterns and lasers which runs for several days around the fifteenth day of the lunar new year. While the main city event is held at the Sun Yat-San Memorial Hall and Taipei City Hall grounds ,Renai Road perhaps offers the most elegant display, with the whole tree-lined boulevard transformed into a delicate tunnel of lights. Pingsi in Taipei County celebrates the festival with the release of huge lanterns that float serenely across the night sky, carrying with them the dedications and aspirations of those who release them.

*  Dragon Boat Festival commemorates the death of the Chinese patriotic poet Qu Yuan (born 340 BC), who drowned himself in a river out of despair that his beloved country, Chu, was being plundered by a neighboring country as a result of betrayal by his own people. The festival is marked by races of colorful dragon boats held at various locations throughout the island, with one of the best places to view a race in the Taipei area being the Bitan River in Xindian. Special sticky rice balls called dzongdz are also eaten on this day. The festival falls on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month.

*  Taipei International Travel Fair, Taipei World Trade Center.

*  Taipei Film Festival (台北電影節). An international festival with two award sections – Taipei Award Nominees and International New Talent Nominees. Films are shown at several venues throughout the city.

Theme Parks

*  Children's Recreation Center  is an amusement park located on Zhongshan North Road Sec. 3, nearest MRT station is 'Yuanshan' on Danshui Line. The center was created by city government in 1991. It has old-fashioned rides, folk art museum, IMAX theater and more. This place is great for younger kids.

*  Taipei Water Park (自來水園區) 1 Shiyuan Street is situated in Gongguan area and was newly opened in 2007. The park is built around the Museum of Drinking Water. Many facilities are all about water. The most popular are water slides and swimming spas. But the facilities are open oly in summer (entry included with the museum ticket)

*  Taipei Zoo (台北動物園), 30 Xinguang Rd Sec. 2. Nestled in a tight, lush valley, Taipei Zoo has all the leisurely charm of a large park, but for your NT$60 you also get the enjoyment of wandering through trees and along lanes with a variety of animals and birds. Unlike many traditional zoos, the animals here are not confined to cages, but allowed to roam freely in open paddocks, and it is a very clean and well maintained facility. Furthermore, due to the city government's education policy, the zoo is very much an integral part of Taipei life. So much so in fact, that when an old elephant, Lin-Wang (林旺), became ill and died several years ago, several generations turned up, many with tears in their eyes, to say their farewells. The zoo is in the suburb of Muzha. The entrance is just outside the terminal stop on the Muzha MRT line, 'Taipei Zoo'.

*  Leofoo Village Theme Park (六福村主題樂園) is in Guansi township, Hsinchu County. It is the one of the largest theme parks in Taiwan. The park has its fare share of thrill rides and as well as the usual theme park atmosphere. Leofoo Village Theme Park opens from 9AM-5:30PM Mon-Fri, 9AM-6PM on public holidays.

Learn

Buddhism

*  The internationally acclaimed Chan (Zen) Master Sheng-yen (who passed away in Feb 2009) has a monastery in Beitou where there are regular meditation meetings with instruction given in English. See Beitou page for more information.

*  In recent years, Tibetan Buddhism has become very popular in Taiwan, and the Taipei area alone boasts more than fifty centers. So, on any given night there will be teachings and rituals being held in the city. Taipei has become a regular port of call for many of the well known rinpoches. While most teachings are given in Tibetan with translation into Chinese, some are given in English. For information on teachings, check notice boards at vegetarian restaurants. (For purchase of Buddha statues and other Buddhist artifacts, see 'Potala' under listings for 'Buy')

*  The international Buddhist foundation The Corporate Body of the Buddha Educational Foundation has its headquarters in Taipei. The foundation publishes books on Buddhism in various languages (including English) which it offers for free. For detailed information check the foundations web site:

Universities

Public Universities

*  National Taiwan University (國立台灣大學) – Taiwan's uncontested number one university. Colloquially known by the shortened Taida.

*  National Taiwan Normal University (國立台灣師範大學)– Colloquially known by the shortened Shida, one of the oldest universities in Taiwan.

*  National Taiwan University of Science and Technology (國立台灣科技大學), is the first technical university in Taiwan.

*  National Taipei University of Technology (國立台北科技大學)

*  National Chengchi University (國立政治大學),

*  Taipei National University of the Arts (國立台北藝術大學)– Established in 1979, this university focuses on the arts and includes the colleges of music, theatre arts, dance and Cultural Resources.

*  Taipei Municipal University of Education (台北市立教育大學)– Established in 1895 and later renamed, the Taipei Munipal University of Education has three colleges – education, humanities and art, and science.

Private Universities

*  Soochow University (東吳大學). Soochow University has been a private university since 1900, making the oldest private university in the nation. The university provides high quality education that prepares students to make significant contributions to the nation. There are now 5 schools and 23 departments. The enrollment is about 13,000.

*  Ming Chuan University (銘傳大學). As Taiwan's top international university, MCU's three campuses welcome students from all over the world. Whether you are interested in pursuing a degree in Communications, Design, Management, Technology, Languages, Law, or Tourism, MCU offers a unique world class educational experience.

*  Taipei Shih Chien University (實踐大學). The Shih Chien University, formerly known as "Shih Chien College of Home Economics" was founded in 1958 by Tung-Min Shieh. In 1979 the school was renamed "Shih Chien College of Home Economics and Economics", in 1991 the school was upgraded to become "Shih Chien College of Design and Management". In 1997 the school was again upgraded to become "Shih Chien University".To date, a total of 52,958 students have graduated from this school.

*  Shih Hsin University (世新大學). The mission of Shih Hsin University is to continuously strengthen itself as an institution emphasizing both liberalism and humanism. Within four colleges, Shih Hsin University currently has 19 departments and 3 graduate institutes, 19 offer bachelor degrees, 17 offer master degrees, and 2 offer PhD degrees. The four colleges are: College of Journalism and Communications, College of Management, College of Humanities and Social Science, and the College of Law.

*  Chinese Culture University (中國文化大學) Over the last thirty years, Chinese Culture University has been reorganized many times. The Ministry of Education granted the University permission to establish studies in philosophy, Chinese, Eastern languages, English, French, German, history, geography, news, art, music, drama, physical education, domestic science,and architecture. It was founded in 1962 and has 12 colleges.

Language

*  Mandarin Training Center. National Taiwan Normal University (Shida), 162 Heping East Rd, sec. 1. Tel+886 2 2321-8457 & 2391-4248. Fax:886 2 2341-8431, e-mail: mtc@mtc.ntnu.edu.tw. This school, which is part of Shi-da University, has seen generations of students passing through its doors and it remains one of the most popular schools in Taiwan for serious students of Mandarin.

*  International Chinese Language Program National Taiwan University (Taida). This program, which used to be called the IUP program, has a long history of Chinese language training, especially for advanced learners and primarily targeting graduate students, scholars and professionals studying in China and Taiwan. It has very small classes, very high quality instructors and textbooks, but may be considerably more expensive than the alternatives. Only students who expect a very intensive experience, usually with a year or more of time to dedicate to study, should consider this program.

*  Mandarin Daily News Language Center more commonly known locally as Guo-Yu-Ri-Bau, 2F. 2 Fu-zhou Street. Tel:886 2 2391-5134 & 2392-1133 ext. 1004. Fax:886 2 2391-2008. Along with the Center for Chinese Language and Culture Studies, this is one of the most popular schools in Taiwan for serious students of Mandarin.

*  Maryknoll Language Service Center Rm. 800, 8 Fl., Chung Ying Bldg.2 Zhongshan North Rd., Sec. 1. Tel:+886 2 2314-1833~5. Conveniently located near a Taipei Station MRT stop exit, the Maryknoll Language Service Center offers Mandarin, Taiwanese, and Hakka classes. This is *the* place to study Taiwanese. Mostly one-on-one tutorials although you may be able to arrange a group class.

Taichi

*  Unless you have a recommendation, the best way to find a good teacher is to visit a park at sunrise and check out the scene for yourself. If you spot a group that impresses you, approach one of the students and inquire about joining them. Most teachers will be happy to have a new student, though some old masters may 'play hard to get.' In the latter case, persistence is required. Most teachers will expect some sort of fee for their tuition. However, as it is considered impolite to directly ask the teacher this question, use a fellow student as mediator. Furthermore, when offering the money on the alloted day, place it in a red envelope (hongbao - available at all convenience and stationary stores) and slip it to the teacher subtly. Offering cash openly to a teacher of a traditional art or religion is considered undignified and demeaning. Most parks host tai'chi groups, but the most popular places are the grounds of the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall (nearest MRT station - CKS Memorial Hall) and Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall (nearest MRT station - SYS Memorial Hall) as well as 228 Peace Park (formerly known as New Park - nearest MRT station - National Taiwan University Hospital).

Chinese Cooking

*  Jodie's Kitchen Cooking School  offers Taiwanese and Chinese cooking classes. 2F, 29-1 Zi Yun St. Tel: +886 2 2720-0053

*  Many community colleges, such as Zhongzheng Community College  and Tamsui Community University offer weekly cooking courses. These include Chinese, Italian and Thai cooking, for example. The classes are in Chinese or Taiwanese language only. The prices are quite low because the colleges are government-funded.

Work

Teaching English (or to a lesser extent, other foreign languages) is perhaps the easiest way to work in Taiwan. Work permits will be hard to come by and will take time. Consult your local Taiwan consulate/embassy/representative as far in advance as possible.

It should be noted that anyone staying in Taiwan for an extended period of time can FIND English teaching work, albeit technically illegally. If you are staying as a student or for some other long term purpose, it should be noted that many people are teaching English (or some other language) for pay without a permit in Taipei and elsewhere in Taiwan.

Shopping

It is often said that L.A. has no center. In contrast, one could say that Taipei is all center, and as such it has been given the epithet - "the emporium without end." Basically, however, the main shopping area can be divided into two districts: East and West. West Taipei is the old city and is characterized by narrow streets packed with small shops. The Western district is also home to most government buildings and the Taipei Main Station. East Taipei boasts wide tree lined boulevards and the four main shopping malls are located in this area. Popular shopping destinations in East Taipei consist of the area around the ZhongXiao-DunHua intersection and Taipei 101.

Shopping malls/areas

*  Xinyi District is the seat of the Taipei mayor's office and the Taipei city council. The Taipei Convention Hall, the Taipei World Trade Center, Taipei 101, Taipei City Hall, and various shopping malls and entertainment venues make Xinyi the most modern cosmopolitan district of Taipei. Xinyi District is also considered the financial district of Taipei. The Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall is also in the district. Much of the district used to be wetlands, explaining the abundance of space for construction projects as this was one of the last places in Taipei to be developed. The district is arguably the premiere shopping area in Taipei, if not all of Taiwan. Xinyi District is anchored by a number of department stores and malls. In addition, numerous restaurants are located in the area, especially American chain restaurants.

*  Taipei 101 Mall

*  Shilin Night Market has stores selling good, hand bags, clothing, and more. Most of the merchandise consists of imitations. To get there, take the MRT Danshui Line to Jiantan Station. The food court is located directly across the street from the station with the rest of the night market spreading out to the north.

*  Miramar Entertainment Park is a standard shopping center with the usual merchandise. It houses the only IMAX theatre in Taiwan as well as the Miramar ferris wheel which offers great views of Taipei city.

*  Eslite Mall (誠品 Chengpin) is an upscale market-style shopping center with a 24 hour book shop (with a good English selection) on the second floor and ethnic music store in basement. 245 Dunhua South Road (near intersection with Renai Road). However, as of January 2010, this is the only Eslite Mall that opens 24 hours.

*  Breeze Center (微風廣場 Weifeng Guangchang), 39 Fuxing South Rd, Sec. 1 (near the intersection with Civic Boulevard) Tel:+886 2 6600-8888. Open: 11AM-9:30PM Sun-Thur, 11AM-10PM Fri-Sat.

*  The Core Pacific Living Mall (京華城 Jinghua Cheng), reportedly Asia's largest shopping center under one roof, has many stores open 24 hours a day. It also has a large food court, cinema complex, and the nightclub Plush (located on Bade Rd near intersection with Guangfu South Rd).

*  A main shopping area is also located around the Sogo Department Store on Zhongxiao East Road, Sec. 4(nearest MRT Station: Zhongxiao Fuxing), and the lanes and alleys around Da'an Road (behind Sogo) have an interesting array of small shops and boutiques. Buddha Statues, prayer flags and other artifacts associated with Tibetan Buddhism can be purchased at Potala, 2F, 2-4, Lane 51, Da'an Rd. Tel:+886 2 2741-6906. The staff speaks English and the prices are reasonable. For those interested in all things Nepalese you should check out Jay Shiva Shamyoo Himalayan Handicrafts, located in the basement of 1 Lane 146, Zhongxiao East Road, sec. 4. Tel:+886 2 2740 2828.

*  Those interested in picking up inexpensive electronic goods and cameras should wander the lanes and alleys around Kaifeng Sreet and Zhonghua Road (near Taipei Main Station).

*  Computer buffs will enjoy a visit to Guanghua Digital Plaza (光華數位新天地), originally called Guanghua Market (光華商場). Specializing in computer and electronic goods, this market has the largest number of stalls selling hardware and software under one roof in Taiwan, and all at very competitive prices. While there, check out the enormous DVD and VCD selection (remember to check DVD region codes) and used book stores. The old location on Bade Road. under the Xinsheng overpass was demolished in January 2006, and all of the shops have moved to a new building at the southwest corner of Civic Boulevard and Xinsheng North Road in July, 2008, a short walk from the old location. The new building comprises of six floors: the first floor contains an exhibition area for new products and a food court; the original vendors of the old market are located on the second and third floor; floors four and five include vendors and shops from the Xining Electronic Market; and the sixth floor houses product repair centers.

*  The Station Front Area (站前) is a section of downtown Taipei just south of the Taipei Railway Station. It is a bustling area filled with shops and stores of all kinds, but it is particularly well known for it's high concentration of bookstores, and in recent years, stores specializing in electronics and computer hardware. Electronic and computer junkies take note, some smaller vendors will allow you to bargain down prices on large purchases (i.e. a custom built PC). Popular places in this area to shop for computer hardware and software include:

*  Nova, a four storey collection of small computer and electronics vendors in what can be described only as a high tech bazaar (located across the street from the railway station on the west side of the Shinkong Mitsukoshi department store).

*  K-Mall, located in the former Asiaworld department store on the east side of Shinkong Mitsukoshi, this trendy mall specializes in electronics of all kinds and is a location for large companies such as Asus, Samsung, Benq, and Acer to showcase their newest products.

*  The Taipei Zhongshan Metro Shopping Mall (Easy Mall) is a long underground shopping area that houses several stores selling all manner of items, not necessarily limited to electronics. A few stores in the Easy Mall carry current and vintage video games, hardware and software. They also perform hardware modifications on consoles. The Easy Mall is accessible through the basement of Taipei Railway Station.

*  Ximending (西門町) is the trendy shopping area just west of Downtown. It's popular with local students. If it's pink, plastic, and imported from Japan, you can probably find it on sale in a store here. Visit BM should you looking for nightlife activities. To get to Ximending, take the MRT Blue (Bannan) Line and get off at Ximen Station.

*  Zhongshan North Road (中山北路) is a tree-lined boulevard featuring numerous international and local brands. Gucci and Louis Vuitton are among the brands who operate stores along this street. This road, particularly along the second section, is also famous for its numerous wedding picture studios and gown boutiques. It is possible to find a great deal for wedding portraits here as competition is stiff. This road runs parallel to the MRT Red (Danshui/Beitou) line.

Handicrafts

*  Weekend Jade Market (假日玉市) – Located under an elevated expressway, reaching from Renai Road & Jianguo South Road intersection down Jianguo Road. till Xinyi Rd. In addition to jade, flowers and many other kinds of handcrafts and jewelry can be purchased. There are actually three different markets, the Weekend Jade Market, Weekend Flower Market and Weekend Handicrafts Market in this same location. As the names suggest, they are open only on weekends until 6PM.

*  For handicrafts, visit the Chinese Handicraft Mart (中華工藝館), 1 Xuzhou Rd (on corner of intersection with Zhongshan South Roadd).

*  Pottery enthusiasts will enjoy a visit to Yingge in Taipei County (Take train, and get off at Yingge Station). Old Street is a crescent of beautiful pottery shops interspersed with coffee shops and tea houses.

Trekking/backpacking gear

*  Mountain Hard Wear, 7 Ln 284, Roosevelt Rd, sec. 3, Gongguan (nearest MRT - Gongguan) Tel:+886 2 2365-1501, plus a few stores within a few doors of each other are professional trekking and backpacking stores offering a wide range of high quality equipment. These stores are just north of the junction with Zhongxiao West Rd on Zhongshan North Rd, sec 1 (west side of the road).

Books

*  Taipei has great book shops, and roads such are Chongqing South Road, are packed with stores specializing in Chinese language books. The following book stores all have good selections of English titles:

*  Eslite (誠品) – Eslite offers a good selection at most of their branches, although the 24 hour flagship store (2F, 245 Dunhua South Rd. Tel:+886 2 2775-5977) has the best selection. Eslite Book Store and shopping mall (11 Songgau Road), which incidentally is the largest book store in Taiwan, have the greatest selection. The Songgau Rd branch is located next to MRT Station 'Taipei City Hall'.

*  Page One on the fourth floor of the shopping mall at Taipei 101(tel+886 2 8101-8282) has a very large and varied selection of English titles.

*  Caves Books (敦煌) has two branches (54-3 Zhongshan North Road, Sec 2, near Yuanshan MRT Station. tel +886 2 2599-1166). This is a temporary location, while the old store is demolished and rebuilt. The other branch (5, Le 38, Tianyu St, Tianmu. Tel:+2 886 2874-2199) is one of the original book stores in Taipei specializing in English titles. And, although it has been surpassed by the newer arrivals, it is still a good place to pick up a popular novel and English language text books.

*  Lai Lai (來來), 4F, 271 Roosevelt Road, Sec 3. Tel:+886 2 2363-4265 – This shop has a small but interesting selection of English material.

*  Crane Publishing Company, 6F, 109 Heping E Rd, Sec 1. Tel+886 2 2393-4497, 2394-1791 - Specialists in English language text books and teaching material.

*  Bookman Books, Room 5, 2F, 88 Xinsheng South Road, Sec 3. Tel+886 2 2368-7226 - This is an excellent collection of English literature books, albeit a little expensive.

*  Mollie Used Books, 17, Alley 10, Lane 244, Roosevelt Road sec 3. Tel:886 2 2369-2780 - You'll find a reasonable selection of English titles here.

NB: In order to protect the environment, a government policy rules that plastic bags cannot be given freely at stores in Taiwan, but have to be bought (NT$1) - bakeries being an exception as the items need to be hygienically wrapped. Re-usable canvas and nylon bags are sold at most supermarkets.

Eat

This article or section does not match our manual of style or needs other editing. Please plunge forward, give it your attention and help it improve!

 

Taipei is a huge city, so all individual listings should be moved to the appropriate district articles, and this section should contain a brief overview. Please help to move listings if you are familiar with this city.

Taipei probably has one of the highest densities of restaurants in the world. Almost every street and alley offers some kind of eatery. Of course, Chinese food (from all provinces) is well represented. In addition, Thai, Vietnamese, Japanese, Korean and Italian cuisines are also popular. Basically, East Taipei, especially around Dunhua and Anhe Roads, and also the expat enclave of Tianmu are where to clash chopsticks with the rich and famous, whereas West Taipei offers more smaller, homey restaurants.

Due to the sheer number of restaurants, it is almost impossible to compile a thorough list, but below are a few recommended restaurants catering to specialist tastes.

Night markets (夜市)

The most famous one in Taipei is the Shilin Night Market (士林夜市) – Vendor food is nearly always safe to eat and offers a cheap way to sample delicious Chinese 'home cooking'. Use common sense though if you have a sensitive stomach!

Some of the best known night market snacks are:

*  Oyster vermicelli (蚵仔麵線; ô-á mī-sòaⁿ)

*  Fried chicken fillet (雞排; jīpái)

*  Stir fried cuttlefish (生炒花枝; shēngchǎo huāzhī)

*  Spareribs with herbs (藥燉排骨; yàodùn páigǔ)

*  Aiyu Jelly (愛玉冰; ài-yù-bīng)

*  Soy braised foods (滷味; lǔwèi)

Chinese cuisine

*  Tien Hsiang Lo (天香樓), B1, 41 Minquan East Rd, Sec. 2. (The Landis Taipei Hotel). Tel:+886 2 2597-1234, Authentic Hangzhou cuisine. Reservations are recommended.

*  Pearl Liang (漂亮中式海鮮餐廳), 2F, 2 Songshou Rd (Grand Hyatt Taipei). Tel:+886 2 2720-1200, Offers unique, fresh, live seafood and dim sum.

*  Shang Palace (香宮), 6F, 201 Dunhua South Rd Sec. 2. (Far Eastern Plaza Hotel). Tel:+886 2 2378-8888, Specialize in Cantonese and regional Chinese cuisines. Note: Dim sum is available for lunch only.

*  Din Tai Fung (鼎泰豐), 194 Xinyi Rd Sec. 2 (Entrance of Yongkang Street). Tel:+886 2 2321-8928, Famous for its steamed pork dumplings. Worth a detour. Several locations in Taipei and worldwide. Gets very crowded even on weekdays so book in advance.

*  Peking Do It True (北平都一處), 506 Renai Rd Sec. 4. Tel:+886 2 2720-6417. This is the place to go if you crave good Beijing cuisine. Visitors may be surprised to see a large photo of former U.S. President George H. W. Bush on the wall, taken when he ate at the restaurant during his trip to Taiwan in 1994.

*  Yin-Yih Restaurant (銀翼餐廳), 2F 18 Jinshan South Rd Sec. 2. Tel:+886 2 2341-7799. Dedicated to old style Yangzhou cuisine.

*  Shan Xi Dao Xiao Mian (山西刀削麵), 2, Lane 118, Heping East Road Sec. 2. (@ Fuxing S Road, near Technology Bldg MRT station, is in an alley of Taiwan National University) Tel:+886 2 2378-7890. Serving knife cut noodles, which are known for their chewy texture. As the name suggests, a block of noodle dough is held and the noodles are cut straight off of the block. Cheap and very popular, but no English menus.

*  Yongkang Beef Noodle (永康牛肉麵), 17, Lane 31, Jinshan South Road Sec. 2. Tel:+886 2 2351-1051, One of the top-twenty beef noodle shops in Taipei.

*  Kiki Restaurant (Kiki 老媽餐廳), 28, Fuxing South Road Sec. 1. Tel:+886 2 2752-2781, Just Opposited the Breeze Center, This restaurant serves authentic Szechwanese peppery hot pot.

Taiwanese cuisine

*  Soy Milk King of the World (世界豆漿大王), 284 Yonghe Road Sec. 2. Tel:+886 2 8927-0000. Near the MRT Dingxi Station, located just outside of Taipei City, in Yonghe City. It's the original "Yonghe Doujiang" (from which all other places copied), it's open 24-hours and it's cheap!Soy Milk King of the World

*  Tainan Tan-tsu-mien Seafood Restaurant (台南擔仔麵), 31 Huaxi Street. Tel:+886 2 2308-1123. Legendary in the Huaxi Street Tourist Night Market (Snake Alley).

*  Ching-Yeh (青葉餐廳), 1, Lane 105, Zhongshan North Road Sec. 1. Tel:+886 2 2551-7957. The most famous Taiwanese restaurant in Taipei, beside the Zhongshan North Road.

*  Shinyeh's Table (欣葉蔥花), 2F 201 Zhongxiao East Road Sec.4. Tel:+886 2 2778-8712. Near the MRT Zhongxiao Fuxing Station, located right inside the Tongling Department Store. It's the newest Taiwanese cuisine restaurant in Taipei. Menu has English.

Thai cuisine

*  Thai Guo Xiao Guan (泰國小館), 219 Tingzhou Rd Sec. 3. (Near National Taiwan University) Tel:+886 2 2367-0739. This small Thai restaurant is in Gongguan.

*  Thai Heaven Restaurant (泰平天國), 60 Roosevelt Rd Sec. 2. Tel:+886 2 2392-5969. Near Taiwan Normal University (Shi-da) this restaurant serves fire-hot Thai cuisine. Try the Moon Shrimp Cake and Green Papaya Salad.

*  Thai Star,Fu Xing N. Rd. Alley 231 #2. Tel: (02) 2719 6527 Shrimp Toast, Beef Stew, Chicken, Papaya Salad are most famous dishes!

*  Andy Cuisine Restaurant (泰味廚房), Banqiao City, Taipei County. 板橋市華興街58 Banqiao City, Huaxing Street No. 58 this is the main restaurant but they have other branches at the Xinpu MRT stop and Jiangzicui MRT stop. Food is out of this world. Curries, Bbq'd chicken/pork, salads are good. Spicy though, just ask for "xiao la" if you would like it not as hot. Its located off two MRT stops on the Yongning-Nangang MRT station just minutes from downtown Taibei.

Japanese cuisine

*  Mitsui Japanese Cuisine (三井日本料理), 30 Nong-an St. Tel:+886 2 2594-3394. The best Japanese cuisine in Taipei.

*  Mei Guan Yuan (美觀園), 36 Emei St, Tel:+886 2 2331-0377. Located in Ximending Pedestrian Area. This restaurant has served authentic Japanese sushi and sashimi since 1946. (Note there's another restaurant opposite the road from this with exactly the same name - that's the old location of this restaurant and doesn't serve as good sushi.)

*  Shabu Sen(), 63, Minquan East Road, Sec. 1 (Tel:+886 2 2596-9568). This place serves great Japanese/ Taiwanese style hot pot dishes. It is a family run restaurant. The environment is clean and refreshing. The owner Ms. Chiu hand picks her ingredients daily from the market. My favorite is the kobe beef pot and mushroom pot. The price is very reasonable with well selected ingredients. English menu available.

*  San Niu Da An Rd, Sec. 1, Alley 169 #3 Tel: (02) 2708-3959 Fresh sashimi and tempura shrimp. Less expensive than most Japanese restaurants of this quality. Clean, comfortable environment.

Korean

*  Korean P&L B.B.Q Restaurant (P&L 韓式烤肉), 47, Longquan Street. Tel:+886 2 2362-1637. Located near the Taiwan Normal University (Shida) and in Shida Night market, this small place serves traditional Korean barbecue, kimchi hot pot and spicy rice cakes.

*  Pusan House (釜山館), 10, Lane 13, Pucheng Street (second lane on right off Shi-Da Road when traveling from Heping East Road). Tel:+886 2 8369-3919. A small, clean korean restaurant in Shida area. Popular with students.

*  He Jiang All You Can Eat Korean BBQ for under NT$500. Fu Xing S. Rd Sec. 1 #5 Fl.3 Tel: (02) 2578 3573, 0933738970

Vietnamese

*  Thanh Ky, 1, Lane 6, Yongkang Street. Tel:+886 2 2321-1579. Always busy and popular with Vietnamese expats and locals. Rice noodle soup with spicy beef and curried beef or pork is a specialty.

Indian

*  Goa Indian Food (果亞印度料理), 11-3, Lane 250, Alley 18, Nanjing East Road Sec. 5. (Near Living Mall) Tel:+886 2 2742-0056 - Off in a little alley, this restaurant serves authentic Indian food and is run by an Indian-born Chinese.

*  Calcutta Indian Curry House (加爾各答印度咖哩屋), 126, Kunming Street. (Ximen Ding District) Tel:+886 2 2389-3878 - One of the more popular Indian restaurants, conveniently located in the Ximen Ding district.

*  Tandoor Indian Restaurant (坦都印度餐廳), 10, Lane 73, Hejiang Street. Tel:+886 2 2509-9853.

*  Out of India (印渡風情), 26, Lane 13, Pucheng Street (second lane on right off Shi-Da Road when traveling from Heping East Road). Tel:+886 2 2363-3054 - food ok, but not great value.

*  Namaste Curry, 2F. 16, Lane 316, Roosevelt Road sec 3 (near Gongguan MRT Station). Tel:+886 2 2362-9538 - friendly and warm atmosphere - good reasonably priced food, but lunch menu was so-so.

*  Carnegie's, Anhe Road, Section 2, No.100 (near Far Eastern Hotel). Tel:+886 2 2325-4433 - While not an Indian restaurant per se, Carnegie's features many Indian dishes, and they have an excellent "Curry-Out" menu if you feel like bringing a curry or two home with you.

Middle Eastern

*  Sababa, 8, Alley 54, Lane 118, Heping East Road, Sec. 2 (across from the Xinhai Road entrance to Taiwan National University). Tel:+886 2 2738-7769, and 17 Lane 283, Roosevelt Road, sec 3. Tel:+886 2 2363-8000. Authentic Middle Eastern cuisine served in a warm and cozy atmosphere.

International

*  Flavors restaurant, Ren Ai Rd. Sec.4 No.13 Alley 26 Lane 300 Tel:+886 2 2709-6525. Located on a back street of busy Renai rd with a lush garden in front and warm and cozy atmosphere inside. One of the few real western restaurants with a western chef. Flavors serves great grilled steaks including rare meat like venison, amazing selection of appetizers in a casual fine dining way. Flavors have been voted Taipei's best unexpected find in 2008. Details on

*  Grandma Nitti's Kitchen, 8, Lane 93, Shida Road. Tel:+886 2 2369-9751. Located in the Shida area, this restaurant serves a great selection of dishes such as burgers, sandwiches, pastas, Greek omelets, Tex-Mex fajitas and more. Very popular with American language teachers and students.

*  JB's, 148, Shida Road. Tel:+886 2 2364-8222. A European pub and restaurant in Shida area serving traditional European fare on the first floor. The second floor features the main bar and activity center. Steak pie and fish and chips offered here are some of Taipei's best.

*  Forkers, No. 8, Alley 10, Lane 223 Chung Xiao East Rd. Sec. 4. +886 2 2771 9285. Burgers, quesadilla, sandwiches, salads, etc. Details on

*  KGB Kiwi Gourmet Burgers, Shida Rd, Lane 114, no. 5. Tel (+886) "2" 2363 6015. Come out of Taipower MRT Exit 3. It is opposite the Wellcome supermarket in the lane. Excellent gourmet burgers in a relaxed cafe style setting. There are 11 NZ beef burgers, 10 free range chicken burgers, 3 NZ lamb burgers and 9 vegetarian burgers. Opened by 2 kiwis, everything is made on site to high standards. There are NZ beers, real milkshakes, fruit yoghurt smoothies, Rooibos tea, Savanna & Hunters cider. This the website

Pizza

Pizza is easy to find in Taiwan with major chains such as Pizza Hut and Domino's. Besides the usual variety, Taiwan also has its localized variants e.g. seafood supreme, pepper steak, corn, peas etc.

*  Alleycat's Pizza, B1, 6-1 Lishui Street (near the intersection of Xinyi Road and Jinshan South Road). Tel:886 2 2321-8949 Generally considered by ex-pats to be the best traditional Italian pizza in Taipei.

*  Casa Della Pasta, 7-1, Lane 11, Zhongshan North Road, sec 2. Tel:886 2 2567-8769. Reasonably priced pizzas at good prices. Authentic Italian decor and staff are quite friendly.

Steak

*  Ruth's Chris Steak House (茹絲葵), 2F, 135 Minsheng East Road, Sec 3. Tel:+886 2 2545-8888, Perhaps Taipei's best-known and best American steakhouse.

*  Wang Steak House (王品台塑牛排), 169 Nanjing East Road, Sec 4. Tel:886 2 8770-7989,. An upscale chain steakhouse known for its signature "Wang steak".

*  Lawry's Steak House, 12F Core Pacific Living Mall (京華城), 138 Bade Road, sec 4.

*  Jimmy's Kitchen, 77 Ren Ai Rd., Sec. 4, B1 Tel:886 2 2711-7750 kobe steak, rib eye, filet mignon, and many other cuts

Vegetarian

Vegetarian food (素食) is also common fare, with the city boasting more than two hundred vegetarian restaurants and vendor stands. Another Taipei specialty is vegetarian buffets. They are common in every neighborhood, and unlike the 'all-you-can-eat' buffets listed below (which charge a set price, usually ranging from NT$250 - NT$350 including dessert and coffee/tea), the cost is estimated by the weight of the food on your plate. Rice (there is usually a choice of brown or white) is charged separately, but soup is free and you can refill as many times as you like. NT$75-120 will buy you a good sized, nutritious meal. Note that many of these veggie restaurants are Buddhist in nature and so meals do not contain garlic or onion (which traditionalists claim inflames passion).

*  Lotus Pavilion Restaurant, B1, 153-155 Xinyi Road, Sec. 4 (entrance in alley behind Changhwa Bank. Tel:+886 2 2703-5612). An upscale all-you-can-eat buffet.

*  Heart of the Lotus Garden, 2F No. 108 Xinsheng North Road, Sec. 2 (near intersection with Jinzhou Street - Tel:+886 2 2560-1950). This is another upscale all-you-can-eat buffet.

*  Om Ah Hum, No. 6, Alley 18, Lane 60, Taishun Street (off Shida Road - Tel:+886 2 2362-3919. Located in traditional wooden building and emphasizes fresh and natural vegetarian dishes. While the red toy poodle inside the restaurant claims all the attention, don't forget to try the casserole and the flaky crust soup which are house specialties.

*  For a special Taipei street experience, check out the veggie vendor outside No. 30, Lane 216, Zhongxiao East Road Sec. 4 (in the alleys behind the Dunhua South Road Eslite Mall and book store). The rice noodles are especially delicious and cheap and a plate of their dougan (dried tofu) makes a great side dish.

*  Shui-Ge, B1, 270 Zhongxiao East Road, Sec. 4 (Tel:886 2 2711-1871). An up-scale all-you-can-eat buffet. [CLOSED DOWN]

*  Armillydo, 13, Lane 170, Xinsheng South Road, Sec. 1 (enter from Lane 243, Xinyi Road, sec 2 - Tel:+886 2 2358-2677). Organic restaurant with Zen style decor. (only tea, no longer lunch & dinner)

*  King Join, No 18 Shin-Wei Rd (Tel 02-2701-3225). Traditional Chinese setting.

*  KGB Kiwi Gourmet Burgers (see International food for details) has 9 vegetarian burgers.

Drink

Taipei is a huge city, so all individual listings should be moved to the appropriate district articles, and this section should contain a brief overview. Please help to move listings if you are familiar with this city.

Bars/clubs

*  Luxy, 5F, 201 Zhongxiao E. Road, Section 4, near the Zhongxiao Dunhua MRT station. One of the most well-known clubs in Taipei. Luxy has two levels: the lower level has a side room playing house/techno and a main room playing hip-hop; the upper level is a lounge with a small dance floor over-looking the main room. Cover charge goes up after 11PM. Get there early to avoid a line.

*  Ziga Zaga, No.2, Song Shou Road Grand Hyatt Taipei. This club specializes in cocktails and Italian cuisine - both the service and food are excellent. It's popular with locals and expats. Ladies Night is on Wednesday nights.

*  The Wall Live House, B1, 200 Roosevelt Road, Sec 4, 2930-0162. Mostly Taiwanese bands playing everything from rock to reggae.

*  Carnegies, 100 Anhe Road, Sec 2. Tel:+886 2 2325-4433. With an outdoor patio, it's perfect for those who prefer a quieter and less smoky atmosphere. The scene is geared toward the 30+ expats and locals.

*  Indian Beerhouse, 196 Bade Road, Sec. 2. Tel:+886 2 2741-0550. Its a beer house with a dinosaur skeleton themed decor. Customers can enjoy the greasy night-market style snacks with kegs of beer. All you can eat and drink for around NT$580.

*  Taiwan Beer Bar, 85 Bade Road, Sec. 2. A godsend for the thirsty budget traveler in a city of pricey bars, this is most certainly the cheapest bar in town. It's attached to the brewery where Taiwan Beer is made, close to the intersection of Bade and Jianguo Roads. What it lacks in ambiance it more than makes up for in value. NT$50 per mug of Taiwan Beer, NT$100 per liter. Interior and exterior seating are available.

*  Standing Room, 508 ChangChun Road,Taipei. It is the standing style bar and restaurant with a traditional Japanese hors d'oeubres, with world wide classic beverages. Its perfect location to have the quick dinner and drink for a busy business person. open Mon-Sat, "Happy Hour" everyday open-8:30PM.

*  My Place Bar & Restaurant* No.3-1 Lane 32 Shuang Cheng St, (02)2591-4269. Still going strong after 25 years. Serves great food, has two bars, pool table, and shows live sports on multiple screens. There is outside seating for smokers. One of the premier bars in Taipei for watching the upcoming World Cup. Happy Hour selected beers $100, specail draught beer $100 all night.

Tea houses

Taiwan's speciality tea is High Mountain Oolong (高山烏龍, a fragrant, light tea) and Tieguanyin (鐵觀音, a dark, rich brew).

*  Wisteria House (紫藤廬), 16 Xinsheng South Road, Sec 3. Tel:+886 2 2363-7375 Wisteria is set in a traditional house, complete with tatami mats, and is a great place to spend an afternoon relaxing with friends and soaking up the atmosphere of Taiwan.

*  Hui Liu (回留), No 9, Lane 31, Yongkang Street. Tel:+886 2 2392-6707. Located next to the small and verdant Yongkang Park, Hui Liu is a modern style tea house. In addition to serving Chinese tea, Hui Liu is also famous for its organic vegetarian meals and hand made pottery.

*  Teng (藤居), 29, Lane 61, Linyi Street (between Renai Road, sec 2 and Xinyi Road, sec 2). Tel:+886 2 2321-9089. A rustic tea house and art studio in the heart of Taipei.

The mountainous Maokong area of Muzha in the Wenshan district of the city has dozens upon dozens of teahouses, many of which also offer panoramic views of the city. Its especially spectacular on a clear evening. A Maokong Gondola (cable car) system services the Taipei Zoo MRT station to Maokong. The S10 bus comes up from the Wanfang Community MRT station.

Juice Bar

Nothing is better on a hot and humid Taipei day than a refreshing glass of juice made from a huge assortment of fresh fruit!

*  Happy Fruit Juice Bar (水果樂園), 53 Yongkang Street. Tel:+886 2 2343-2393. Located next to the California Grill burger place on Yongkang Street near JinHua intersection, Happy Fruit Juice Bar is a fresh fruit juice bar decorated with a greek cafe interior. The store is family owned and run by a mom and four sisters. They serve tea, fresh fruit juice, milk pearl tea and other drinks. It's a great place to grab something cool and refreshing on a hot day. Also, Happy Fruit Juice bar's right beside the Mofo burger joint...so it's a perfect place to get a healthy drink to wash down that burger afterwards, or to simply sit down at after a trek through Yongkang St!

Cafes

While traditionally a nation of tea drinkers, in recent years the Taiwanese have really embraced the cafe culture, and all the usual chains can be found here in abundance. For cafes with more character, roam the back streets near National Taiwan University between Xinsheng South Road and Roosevelt Road. More cafes are located in the area around Renai Road, Section 4 and Dunhua South Road. There are also some interesting and characterful places between Yongkang Park and Chaozhou Street, and in the alleys around Shida Road. However, for a particularly impressive range of styles, visit Bitan in Xindian, where all the cafes offer restful views over the river and mountains beyond (though can be noisy at weekend).

*  Salt Peanuts (23, Lane 60, Taishun Street, near Shida) is highly recommended for its laid back atmosphere and great selection of retro-rock.

Cafe Moda Taipei, 1F, No 11, Lane 49, Sec 1, Anhe Road, Daan District (Zhongxiao Dunhua MRT Station exit 3, turn right on the first lane, after 4 blocks you will find it on your left side)), +886-2-8771-7608, 11AM-10PM. For people who prefer the new concept of a boutique cafe, the specialty of this place by far are the 100% Organic Guatemalan quality coffee beverages they offer in a cozy ambient mixed with art fashion and great music. A small but fancy terrace is perfect for enjoying beverages on a fresh day. They also have imported beer, wine, tea, juices and other snacks in their menu, including cheese and Italian fruit cake. They have a multicultural staff fluent in Chinese, English, and Spanish (German and Japanese depending on the day you go), so feel relaxed if Chinese is not your mother tongue as this place is geared for expats and locals that prefer a stronger kind of gourmet organic coffee. Coffee beverages between NT$120 and NT$200.

 

Get around

The city center is small and easy to navigate on foot, although scooters are available for rent several places around town for about NT$400 a day.

Hualien is a small city without an extensive public transport system, and so it is worth considering taking taxis to areas outside the city center. NB: Hualien station is at least a thirty minute walk from the center of town.

See

*  Beibin Seashore Park, Nanbin Seashore Park and Meilun Seashore Park. A scenic area of palm trees and landscaped greenery that runs the full length of the city's foreshore. The views over the Pacific Ocean are especially spectacular at sunrise.

*  The Abode of Still Thoughts. This small Buddhist temple at the foot of Mount North Jialiwan is the original facility of the world-famous Tzu-zhi Buddhist foundation. In keeping with the foundation's ideals, the temple is very simple, and incorporates a Japanese style garden. Information on Tzu-chi's international activities is also available at the temple.

*  Yenpin Prefectural Temple, near Zhongyang Road, sec 4. Established in the Qing Dynasty, this is the oldest temple in Hualien.

*  Pine Garden, Zhongmei Road (near the river). A peaceful garden with 63 pine trees.

*  Chishingtan (七星灘), north of Hualien City (follow the bike path from Nanbin Seashore Park). Excellent vistas of the ocean, delicious seafood, friendly people, and a special goat restaurant specializing in goat milk coffee. The beach is not popular for swimming, though, as the tides and currents are quite dangerous, the bottom drops off steeply, and doesn't have much sand (mostly pebbles). It is important to stay near the coast.

*  Hualien County Stone Sculpture Museumat the Hualien County Cultural Center displays both traditional and contemporary stone sculptures. Open daily 9am-5pm. Admission fee: NT$20.

*  hualien.  

Do

*  Seawhale Ocean Tours English Website. Seawhale Ocean Tours is located at #96 Shi Ti Harbor, in the most pristine past of Taiwan about an hour south of Hualien on Highway 11. Our area is breaming with high adventure activity. We are the founder's of Whale and Dolphin Eco-Tours in Taiwan, and our clean azure oceans are the best for spotting these amazing creatures. Located on the mouth of the Siouguluan River basin, we also sport the best White Water River Rafting in Taiwan, from Rueisuei to Big Harbor. Or let us take you out deep sea night fishing for squid and flying fish! Would you like to get away from the big city crowds and the over-crowded tourist attractions? Come and experience a natural retreat with our American tour guide living in Taiwan 18 years and let him show you why Taiwan was once called Formosa, Beautiful Island! Check out this season's Triple X Tours on our website. We have pick up and return service to Hualien or Taitung.

*  Hualien Ocean Park Hualien's biggest man-made tourist attraction. As well as ferris wheel and cable car, the park contains eight zones that introduce different aspects of ocean and marine life. Kids, in particular, will have great time here but for adventuous travellers or people wanting a more viable experience, there are many places one can go that are much cheaper and provide a better experience of the 'real' Country of Taiwan. Open: Mon-Fri 9AM-5PM, Sat&Sun 8:30-5PM. Admission: adult 890NT$, under 19 790NT$

Learn

*  Mandarin at Tzu-Chi University, 701 Jung-yang Road, sec. 3. Tel:856-5501 Ex.7689.

Buy

*  Woven cloth. Hualien is a good place to pick up hand woven cloth in traditional aboriginal designs.

*  Muaji (mua-ji) This candy made of sticky rice is a specialty of Hualien.

*  Stone Hualien's stone market is near the old bus station on Mingyi Road, and they sell everything from jewelery to tea-pots all carved out of stone.

Eat

*  Zhu tung fan (竹筒飯) - rice steamed in a bamboo tube is a specialty of the local aborigines.

*  Muaji (麻薯) - glutinous rice filled (or sometimes covered) with various flavors, such as peanut, sweet red and green bean paste, sweet sesame paste, coconut or fruit.

*  Wonton (餛飩) - Hualien's wontons are very famous throughout Taiwan

Budget

*  LAGUARDIA, Best breakfast shop in Taiwan Hands down. Amazing Hamburgers. Try the bacon Cheese beef burger or the Cod burger. Super fresh! Across the street from the Big post office near the train station on Chung Shan Rd.

Mid Range

*  Tosca Pasta, 95-7 Jung Mei Road: European style restaurant with european prices

*  Irrawaddy Myanmar Restaurant, 11-1 Min Chuan Rd., 03-831-0077, favorite restaurant of many foreigners in Hualien. Awesome food!

Splurge

Drink

Hualien has an abundance of tea houses, cafes and bars, and also many stores specializing in locally produced tea.

*  Cafe Jade (璞石藝文空間), 8 Ming-li Road (花蓮市明禮路8) Tel:+886 3 834-5968. A spacious and very pleasant art cafe offering regular live music and art exhibitions. Open:Mon-Thurs 8AM-6Pm Fri-Sun 8AM-10:30PM

*  Wang Ji Tea House, 565 Jong-Shan Road (中山路565).

 

Get around

There are car and scooter rentals near the train station if one has an international drivers license. If that is not applicable one can take a bus or taxi to the city which is some distance from either the train station or the airport. Taitung's public transportation is somewhat limited compared with other Taiwanese cities. There are bus routes, while these are inexpensive, the timetables are in Chinese. However, the main part of Taitung is small and compact enough to make walking a pleasant way to explore the city. Bicycles are a good alternative form of transportation and can be rented at several location beach side as well as near the entrance to the Forest Park at the North end of Jhongshan Rd. For excursions to the attractions on the outskirts of town a taxi may be your best option. Taxis are quite plentiful around the Old Railway Station downtown (near the intersection of Guanming Rd. and Sinsheng Rd.)

See

*  Taitung County Tourist Info, Old Railway Station on Tiehua Rd. (On the South side of downtown.), 089-357131. This might be a good first stop in finding information on any local aboriginal or temple events that are gong on. As well as maps and general information.  

*  Museum of Prehistory, 1, Buowuguan Road, Fengtian Village, Tel:381-166 (Fax:381-199), 9am-5pm closed Mondays. In the 1980s and 1990s, a team of archaeologists from National Taiwan University excavated over 1500 stone coffins and more than 20,000 stone and pottery artifacts belonging to the Peinan culture. This museum is dedicated to this discovery and is located a few kilometers from the actual archeaological site. It also houses an extremely in depth exhibit on the current aboriginal groups in Taiwan. Outside the Museum building there are beautifully sculpted grounds and garden area.

*  Beinan Cultural Park, Wenhuagongyuan Rd., Nanwang Village, Taitung City, 089-233-466. 9am-5pm closed Mondays. Associated with the Museum of Prehistory the Beinan Cultural Park contains the largest and most important prehistoric archeological site in Taiwan. Beyond the archeological site the park also consists of beautiful grounds with a commanding view of the surrounding area. 30NDT.  edit

*  Taitung Railway Art Village, Tiehua Rd (鐵花路) (At the old railway station). Taitung City converted several buildings of the old railway station into a exhibition space for local artists and artist in residence.  

*  Taitung Culture and Tourism Center, 25 Nanjing Rd (南京路), 089-320339. Two buildings really, one houses the tourism center and library. The other has exhibition spaces, one of which houses the Aboriginal Artifacts Exhibition.  

*  Tianhou Temple, Jhonghua Rd. one block south of Sihwei Rd 1st Section.. While there are seemingly temples on every block this one dedicated to Mazu (Matsu) is ornately decorated and quite popular especially on Mazu's birthday {23rd day of the 3rd lunar month (generally April or May)}.  

Do

*  Liyushan Park (鯉魚山公圜), Next to the old train station, on the Southwest side of downtown.. With its trails and lookouts Liyu Shan offers a panoramic view of Taitung.  edit

*  Taitung Seashore Park and Taitung Forest Park, On the North and East sides of town.. Taitung Seashore Park and the attached Taitung Forest Park are extremely popular with both locals and tourist alike. With miles of cycling and walking trails as well a beautiful and surprisingly undeveloped seashore these parks offers a perfect chance to experience Taitung's laid back lifestyle and clean ocean air. There are bicycles for rent at several places along the beach and at the entrance of the Forest Park.  

*  Taitung City Bikeway, Taitung Seashore Park. Rent a bike at the beach (or bring your own) and bike the Taitung City Bikeway. The Bikeway does a 32 km loop around the city. It follows the old train track out to near the new train station before heading back along the river eventually going through the Forest and Seashore Parks.  

*  Bombing of Master Han Dan, All over Taitung, but at night on Nanjing Rd.. On the 15th of the first lunar month (right after Chinese New Year) is the Festival which in Taitung is played out with a unique and spectacular display known as the Bombing of Master Han Dan. In the course of this display a man wearing nothing more than a pair of shorts and a face mask stands upon a sedan chair while onlookers lob strings of lit firecrackers at him. It is unique to Taitung and a must see.  

*  Makapahay, Throughout Taitung City, Taitung County, and the East Coast.. Every mid-July several aboriginal groups, though of primary importance to the Amis, celebrate the millet harvest. This culminates in the long and colorful celebrations of dancing and merry making by Rukai, Paiwan, and Amis depending on which village or which part of the city you are in.  

*  Cycling. Serious cyclist or even moderately serious cyclist will find Taitung a perfect place for cycling. The Taiwanese cyclist already know this and you will find no shortage of them. For anything longer than a casual ride around the city you will need to bring your own bike which is fairly easy thanks to the train. The coastal highway heading North to Hualien is quite popular and has many places for camping and many homestays along the way. The East Rift valley is also a popular ride heading North. For a more strenuous ride hwy 197 heading North to Luye and Guangshan is a rewarding ride. South from Taitung the strip of land between mountains and the ocean evaporates and the ride winding along the base of the hill is spectacularly picturesque.  

Buy

*  Ata Aboriginal Culture Craft (東台灣卡塔文化), Jhongsing Rd. 2nd Section 200th alley #7 (中興路22007) (Across the Street from the grocery store. Thru the sculpted metal gate.), 089-228107. 10am-5pm closed Mondays. Located in one of the buildings of a now defunct sugar factory this glass bead studio and handicraft center sells a variety of aboriginal handicrafts. Including textiles, leather work, and handmade glass beads. Since the Ata glass bead studio is located on site you can also watch glass beads being made.  

*  Carrefour, 300 Jhengci Rd (正氣路300) (Downtown off of the fruit market street.), 089-333258. This Taitung sized hypermarket should cover you for most of your daily needs and provides the best selection of imported food and drinks in town.  

*  Eslite Bookstore, 478 Boai Rd (博愛路), 089-330388. The largest bookstore in Taitung. If you want a book it is the best place to go.  

*  陳記 'Mochi', 186 Boai Rd. (博愛路), 089-353286. 7am-6pm. This unassuming little shop sells glutenous rice deserts that are as good or better than any of the more famous shops up the coast (and have been for 70 plus years). It is quite popular with Taiwanese tourists.  

Eat

Taitung has eclectic food culture it reflects the various cultural influences that the city has had and continues to have. There are good examples of all manner of Taiwanese, Aboriginal, and other East and Southeast Asian food. While many people equate Taiwanese food with street food to do so is a disservice to the food cultures that make up Taiwan and miss out on some great food. Like all Taiwanese cities street food can be found throughout downtown. Taitung is also home to a fair number of goat meat restaurants along Jhongjheng Rd. Thanks to the large number of aboriginal groups in the area there are several different aboriginal restaurants in and around the city.

*  Kasa, 102 Heping (和平) Street (near the junction with Zhonghua Road). A cafe and eatery specializing in Western dishes such as avocado burger, bagels, burritos, curried chicken - an average meal costs around NT$180.

*  Taitung East Coast Restaurant (East Coast Italian Cuisine), #109, Zhi Hang Rd Section 1, Taitung (Taidong), (089) 232 902, 11am-2pm and 5pm-9pm. Newly-opened restaurant that serves good authentic Italian-style dishes and very good coffee. English menu, but only basic English spoken. Menu can be seen on website. About 20 minutes walk from rail station and 30-40 minutes walk from center of Taidong. Closed Sundays. There are three guest houses next door. NT$200-600.  

*  Cafe and Curry, 231 SihWei Rd 3rd section (四維路3231) (Near the intersection of SihWei and Gengsheng Roads), (089) 334 942. 10am-10pm. A cafe and restaurant that serves hand ground local Taitung coffee and a variety of innovative homemade curries. Also has wireless access. Located in the Northeast part of town it is a 10-15 minute walk from downtown. Also has a very affordable homestay. NT $90-110.  

*  海草, 205 Jhongshan Rd. (中山路205) (Just Northeast of downtown.), 089-330999. 11am-2pm and 4pm-8pm. A very popular and excellent quality noodle house. Offering a variety of fresh, healthy noodle dishes and dumplings in a friendly and clean environment. Daily specials. Closed the 10th, 20th, and 30th of each month. NT$ 40-100.

*  綠房子 (literally Green House as it looks sort of like a green house, as in where you grow plants not the colour), On the corner of Waihuandao (hwy 11) Rd. and Chenggong Rd.(外還道與成功路路口), 089-333-636. 7 A.M.- 9 P.M.. This funky little place is one block off the beach has a has more than just a laid back atmosphere. It also serves up healthy drinks and some great inexpensive and uniquely Taiwanese set meals. around 40-100 NTD.

*  EGG, 235 Jhongshan Rd (中山路), 089-360880. 6am-10am. A better than average Taiwanese breakfast.  

*  IWAWNA, 187 2nd Section Xingan Rd. (興安路二段187) (A few blocks north of the New Train Station.), 089-228999,. 5-12pm. This Puyuma restaurant offers a unique setting with dance performances and excellent aboriginal food. Best for groups so one should find some friends or family to accompany one and to share the taxi.  

*  Mibanai (米巴奈), 470 Chuanguang Rd. (傳廣路470), 089-220336, . 11:30-14:00 & 17:00-22:00. This Amis restaurant located in the Malan section of town provides a taste of aboriginal food not too far from the center of the city. It is set up groups so once again bring friends or family.  

*  玉子屋 (Jade House), #17, 450th alley, 2nd section Jhongsing Rd.(中興路二段45017) (One block behind the Naruwan Hotel.), 0911-865693. Lunch and Dinner. Good, simple, home style Korean food. 100-130NTD.

*  Pasadena Tex-Mex & Italian Restaurant, 74 Sihwei Rd. 3rd Section, 089-235928. 11am-2pm & 5:30pm-8:30. As kitschy as any Mexican restaurant in the United States but the salsa is better. Overall the food is fresh and good and it is a decent place for a change of pace. 150-300NTD.  

*  Four Seasons Vegetarian Restaurant, 76, 3rd Section Siwei Rd. (四維路三段76), 089-227661. Open Lunch and Dinner. A good, clean and affordable vegetarian buffet.  

*  Madina Indian Restaurant, 152 ChunChi Rd. (正氣路152), 0983667485. lunch thru dinner.. Madina is a small and unassuming restaurant that serves up some of the basics of Indian cuisine. The food is quite good and the location in the heart of downtown is convenient. 140-280 NTD.  

*  Quan An Viet Nam, 168 Jhongjheng Rd.. lunch and dinner. Good quality Vietnamese food. Conveniently located just a few blocks from the beach and down town. very affordable.  

Drink

Taitung's night life has been described as subdued, that may be true however there are of course some bars. What Taitung does have however, is a rather large number of cafes. Since Taitung County actually grows coffee beans it is also possible to find truly local coffee at several establishments.

*  Denim Elephant, 181 Guangdong Rd. (廣東181) (A couple blocks north of the main post office, it has the sign with the blue elephant on it.), 089-340696. This artsy cafe has Taitung coffee as well as other coffee and teas and a small but interesting menu.  

*  IF Cafe and Juice (如果), 403 Boai Rd. (博愛403) (Across from the Eslite bookstore), 089-333568. 2-12pm. This cafe serves coffee, tea, mixed drinks and beer in a relaxing atmosphere. Has a large outdoor seating area in which you can enjoy your drinks in the cool Taitung evenings.  

*  Cheela 小屋 Cafe & Bakery, 395-1 Sinsheng Rd. (新生碌395-1), 089-325096, A very hip cafe with a modern artsy vibe that is conveniently located right on the bikeway and only a block away from the Taitung Theater. It serves a large range of coffees, teas, mixed drinks, and a fine assortment of Belgium beers. Also has a homestay. 60-180NTD.  

Stay Safe

Taitung is one of the safest places in Taiwan. Like everywhere in Taiwan, be careful in traffic, and avoid confrontations in bars etc.