Taipei Hotels , Flights and Travel Packages
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Taipei (台北 or 臺北; Táiběi) is the national capital of the Republic of China, otherwise known as Taiwan. It is in the northern part of the island in a basin between the Yangming Mountains and the Central Mountains. The largest city of Taiwan, it serves as its financial and governmental center. Taipei City administers twelve districts. Below are the the downtown districts :
Downtown districts : Daan (大安區) - Datong (大同區) - Songshan (松山區) - Wanhua (萬華區) - Xinyi (信義區) - Zhongshan (中山區)
Suburban districts - North :
Beitou (北投區) – This district is famous for hot springs and the Yangmingshan National Park.
Neihu (內湖區) – Located in the north-east of the city, Neihu is a hub of IT industry in Taipei, home to many large shopping centers, and a great place for hiking and 'templing'.
Shilin (士林區) – A traditional area of the city that is known for its excellent museums, including the world famous National Palace Museum. Shilin is also home to one of Taipei's largest nightmarket and the expat enclave of Tianmu.
Suburban districts - South :
Nangang (南港區) – Neighboring Neihu, this district is known for its IT industrial complexes and is also home to one of Taiwan's leading academic institution - Academia Sinica.
Wenshan (文山區) – This district comprises of the two traditional districts of Muzha and Jingmei. It is in the south of the city and associated with its many tea plantations and also for being the location of Taipei Zoo.
Surrounding cities : Taipei City is surrounded by Taipei County (台北縣), which is an amalgamation of several cities and towns. The city and county, along with Keelung City (基隆市), is basically one metropolitan area, but run by different government authorities.
Taipei 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 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.
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.
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.
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.
Taipei Museums & Galleries : Below list includes some of the Taipei Museums & Galleries :
The National Palace Museum (故宮博物院) : The world's best collection of Chinese historical artifacts and antiquities.
Shung Ye Museum of Formosan Aborigines (順益台灣原住民博物館) : Located opposite the National Palace Museum in Shilin.
Hua Shan Cultural and Creative Industry Center (華山創意文化園區) : 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.
Taipei Fine Arts Museum (台北市立美術館) : The museum displays work of local and international artists.
Spot - Taipei Film House (台北之家) : This former residence of the U.S. Ambassador has been transformed into an art center that focuses on independent films.
The Museum of Contemporary Art (台北當代藝術館) : 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.
Taipei Artist Village (台北國際藝術村) : 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.
National Taiwan Museum (國立台灣博物館) : 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.
Taipei Parks :
Daan Forest Park (大安森林公園) is one of Taipei's newest parks.
Taipei Botanical Garden (植物園) – 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.
228 Peace Park (二二八和平公園) – 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.
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 one of the beautiful banks in Taipei. The exercise facilities, like basketball, tennis, badminton are available, meantime, the bike rent is also accommodated there.
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.
Taipei Temples & Heritages :
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.
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) : 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.
IDadaocheng (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.
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.
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) : 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.
Xingtian Temple (行天宮) : 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.
Taipei 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.
Things to Do in Taipei
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. 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.
Theme Parks :
Children's Recreation Center : is an amusement park located on Zhongshan . 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) : 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) : Taipei Zoo has all the leisurely charm of a large park, you also get the enjoyment of wandering through trees and along lanes with a variety of animals and birds.
Leofoo Village Theme Park (六福村主題樂園) : 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.
Taipei Flights & Airports : Taipei's international airport is officially called Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport (台灣桃園國際機場) (TPE). However, the name was changed only in September 2006 and the old name, Chiang Kai Shek International Airport (CKS), is still commonly used. Many airlines fly to the Taoyuan International Airport, among them is the low-cost carrier, AirAsia. The airport is located about 30 km from the city and freeway buses ply the route, picking up and dropping off passengers at most of the five star hotels. It also stops at the Taipei Main Station and the domestic airport (Songshan Airport), which is in downtown Taipei.