Tired Of Visiting Taipei Zoo, Taipei 101 And The National Palace Museum? Let Locals Show You The Attractions Actually Worth Seeing In Taipei
Photo Credit: 中岑范姜 CC BY-SA 2.0
What you need to know

If you really want to get to know Taipei, why not put yourself in the shoes of locals and walk into the alleys? See how people live in this city and you will discover the Taipei daily life is the view worth seeing.

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Translated by Olivia Yang

Where to go in Taipei?
Flipping open a travel book on Taipei, it’s not a surprise to see recommended places like the National Palace Museum, Taipei 101 and Taipei Zoo. These attractions have their uniqueness and are worth paying a visit, but they aren’t what Taipei is all about. If you really want to get to know Taipei, why not put yourself in the shoes of locals and walk into the alleys? See how people live in this city and you will discover the Taipei daily life is the view worth seeing.

A cultural blend of old and new; each street is a different view
Leaving the hotel and stepping onto the streets, you might suddenly find yourself watching the busy traffic of the city among the bustling crowd in Ximending. Businessmen in suits weave through the crowds on their mobile phones, students with heavy backpacks chat and make their way towards the MRT station and so on. The area blares with loud neon lights and LED billboards, and posters of latest movies are plastered on skyscrapers. Chic teenagers clad in newly bought shoes and bags walk into movie theaters with bubble tea in their hands. The endless clamor of people talking and traffic weave in and out of the city.

Photo Credit: Cliffano Subagio @ CC BY-SA 2.0

But a completely different landscape appears as you turn onto the next street. Walking towards a quieter area through an alley leading away from Ximending, the volume is suddenly turned down and the old streets of Wanhua and Tataocheng are in front of you. The nearly three hundred-year history of trading at the ports along the Tamsui River has built the vitality of the west side of the city.

Groceries, traditional snacks, folklore and religion form the down-to-earth characteristic of the region. As the sun sets, calm and serene chants float out of Longshan Temple. Walking towards Tataocheng Port and looking out at the river lit orange-red, it’s as if travelling back in time to the busy port two hundred years ago.

Photo Credit: 家堅 王CC BY-SA 2.0

The view completely changes with a turn around the block.

Upon first glance, it seems as if the old and new styles intertwined conflict each other, but it is the most normal aspect of the local life. Traditional and modern aren’t adjectives in Taipei, but verbs. The constant collision and alternation of old and new has led to the complex and diverse Taipei today.

You’re home wherever you go: the city welcomes diversity
What are Taipei locals like in your mind? Are they business tycoons that drive luxury cars or are they overworked nine to five office people? Are they designers and musicians that capture inspiration from daily lives? Or are they writers and photographers that record the various aspects of life? Are they passionate youths striving to make it in the city with their creativity? Or are they conservative prestigious families?

The answer is: all of the above.

Different life values can all find a harbor in this city, so you will see all kinds of people on the streets with the same Taipei characteristic.

Arriving at the southern part of Daan district, Wenzhou Street and Qingtian Street, elegant Japanese-style houses nestle quietly in alleys as if time has been frozen. Locals sit in corners joking and laughing. They invite you to come up for a cup of tea, and watching the shadow of trees wave among the smoke from the tea makes you feel as if you could stay there forever.

However, as you leave and cross the broad Heping E. Road and arrive at Shida Road, you see food stalls and boutiques. Fashionable people are everywhere, and college students with personal flares with guitars on their backs and beers in their hands sit chatting on the benches in Shida Park under the evening sky. Music drifts out of bars hidden in alleys and becomes background music for the chatter on the streets.

Are they all Taiwanese? Yes. They might have very different lives, but Taipei is built from this diversity. A Taiwanese poet once said, “You’re home wherever you go." And Taipei is home to everyone in Taipei.

The most beautiful scenery is within your reach; surrounded by the natural beauty of the city
Though Taipei has the liveliness of a metropolitan city, it’s not just a big concrete jungle. If you’re tired of shopping, you can hop on the MRT and will find yourself in nature’s embrace within thirty minutes.

Setting out from Taipei Train Station and traveling north along the red MRT line to Shilin, Beitou, Guandu and Tamsui, you will see the magnificent Datun volcano group within thirty minutes. The volcano group is the most beautiful mountain line in Taipei and is also the origin of the famous Beitou hot spring. The west part of the volcano group is the renowned hiking spot, Guanyin Mountain.

Photo Credit: Michael Cannon CC BY-SA 2.0

Hiking down the mountain and looking across the Bali Ferry Port, you can see the mangrove wetland located at the mouth of Tamsui River. The wetland is a pure mangrove forest, which is rarely seen in the world, and breeds an abundant ecosystem for fiddler crabs, mudskippers and water birds. It exists as the kidney of the Earth, purifying the souls of travelers and the land of northern Taiwan.

If you travel south from Taipei Train Station on the MRT green line all the way to Jingmei and Xindian, you will find yourself at Xindian Creek. The creek converges with Keelung River and Dahan Creek into Tamsui River that flows through Taipei. The creek is lined with trees and bike trails, making it the perfect spot for outings with family and friends. The natural aspect not only benefits one’s health, but also pulls you away from the hustle and bustle of the city.

Photo Credit: 陶澤中 CC BY 2.0

Locals are able to forget themselves in the embrace of nature with the convenient transportation in Taipei. So if you’re tired of shopping in the city, why not try hopping on the MRT and enjoy the scenic views of Taipei?

Leave your hotel and channel your own Taipei vitality
Next time you visit Taipei, other than crowding with others at famous attractions, remember to leave some time for visiting the streets of the city and experience the dynamic everyday lives of locals. That’s where the beauty of Taipei lies. Next stop, Taipei. Let’s go anywhere!

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