New arrivals can get a taste of the culture of Taipei through visits to its museums, night markets, ancient temples and skyscrapers. With entertainment options rivalling other major Asian centres such as Hong Kong or Tokyo, expats in the city will easily find much to see and do in Taipei.
Popular attractions in Taipei
Taipei 101 was the world's tallest building until 2009. Although it has been superseded, it remains the glorious centre of Taipei's financial district. Resembling a pagoda, the skyscraper towers above the city skyline at 1,671 feet (509m) and is the city's chief landmark attraction. Visitors can take a trip up in its super-fast elevators and enjoy astounding views from the observation deck. The many shops and restaurants in Taipei 101 make it a popular weekend destination for locals and expats alike.
Taipei has kept its ancient traditions alive as it thrusts towards the future. One of the city's most famous temples is Lungshan, dedicated to Guanyin, the Goddess of Mercy. Built in 1738 to serve as a place of worship for Chinese settlers, its various incarnations have survived earthquakes, fires and American bombing during WWII. The architecture is a fine example of traditional temple styling.
National Palace Museum
As an antidote to the modernity that often overwhelms new arrivals, the National Palace Museum, with its vast collection of ancient Chinese imperial artefacts and artwork, is a must-visit. The museum houses most of the treasures relocated to Taiwan from Beijing's Forbidden City during the Chinese Civil War when Chiang Kai-shek moved the Republic of China's government to Taipei. Famous exhibits include the Jade Cabbage and a celebrated example of the Qingming Scroll.
Shilin Night Market
As Taipei's biggest and most exciting night market, the Shilin Night Market is a must-see. More than a shopping destination, it is a cultural experience that reveals much of the city's character. Thousands of stalls and stores sell an immense range of food and goods, and there is much fun to be had playing carnival-style games amidst the passing crowds.
Taipei Zoo is a zoological garden famous for its panda family, among other unique local and international species. The animals are kept in zones resembling their natural habitats, such as the Asian Tropical Rainforest section, Desert Area and even African Savannah. The zoo covers 165 hectares, includes an extensive indoor space, and is consistently highly rated for its humane and advanced scientific practices.
The zoo also features a Rescue Center for the rehabilitation of confiscated and stray wildlife, and it actively participates in the protection of several endangered species. As part of its conservation efforts, the zoo educates the public about the importance of protecting the natural environment.
►Read Weekend Breaks in Taipei for getaways close to the city
►For more on leisure activities in the city, read Lifestyle in Taipei
"It’s safe, comfortable, convenient, welcoming, has delicious food, and there are loads of things to do, whether you like socialising in the city or exploring the great outdoors." Read about Nick's life in Taipei and how he adjusted to being an expat in the city.
Are you an expat living in Taipei?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Taipei. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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