This trio of urban destinations reveals this island nation’s diverse and distinctive qualities
Once called Ilha Formosa (Beautiful Island) by the Portuguese explorers, Taiwan is much sought after among travelers for its colorful culture and diverse scenery. If you are more into exploring urban life in a foreign land, the island’s cities offer distinct experiences, each enjoyable in its own way.
A Capital Idea
Taipei, Taiwan’s capital, is located on the north end of the island, and the place to get the most iconic view of the city is Taipei 101. It was officially the tallest skyscraper in the world until the opening of the Burj Khalifa in Dubai in 2010. Its height, one better than 100, is symbolic of the city’s ambition of being “one above perfection.”
For a 360-degree panoramic view of the city, visit Taipei 101 Observatory. Entry is NT$500 ($17) per person and you can make use of the audio guide to direct your own tour. The telescopes around the perimeter allow you to view the city from on high, as well as admire the exquisite view of Yangmingshan, a mountain which has been designated a national park.
Find a taste of the local cuisine at Dian Shui Lou restaurant (dianshuilou.com.tw) for a DIY workshop on the making of xiao long bao (Chinese soup dumplings). This traditional food can be made with three different fillings – meat, seafood and vegetable – and the sophisticated 19-fold technique highlights the care that goes into its making.
In the class I signed up for at the Huaining Street branch, I observed the chef demonstrate the time-honored art of dumpling folding. The dough, made from flour and water, was rolled and stretched into long ropes, which were then cut by hand into smaller pieces resembling gnocchi. Each was then rolled into a circular, thin wrap, stuffed with pork filling, and folded 19 times.
While the chef was able to make perfectly-shaped dumplings in a few effortless seconds, when it came to our turn, we found it much trickier. Still, it was a great opportunity to laugh and bond with new friends.
There are two classes at 10:30 AM and 4:30 PM per day on Huaining (NT$715/ $23.50) and one at 2:30 PM at the Taoyuan branch (NT$275/$9).
Old Face, New Face
Walking through the Songshan Cultural and Creative Park (songshanculturalpark.org), in the Xinyi District of the city, is like taking a step back in time. Initially constructed in 1937 as a tobacco plant, it survived Japanese occupation and was converted into a public park in 2001 before being redeveloped in 2011 as a platform to encourage creativity and culture.
Old tobacco warehouses are now used to stage conferences, performances and other events. Historic buildings surrounded by beautifully manicured gardens and an eco-pond with marine life offer guests a tranquil and welcoming change from the hustle and bustle of Taipei.
Indoor areas are open daily from 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM, while outdoor areas are open till 10:00 PM. There is no entry fee to the park, but you do need to pay to get into the Taiwan Design Museum. The NT$120 ($4) ticket allows you to look at exhibits featuring the island’s creative industries and achievements in innovation.
Continue reading your story on the app
Continue reading your story in the magazine
This Sonoran Desert city is hot in more ways than one, a destination that mixes business and pleasure in a special way
CES 2021: BABY, IT'S A WILD WORLD!
The biggest tech show on earth sidestepped the pandemic this year to present the long and short view of a hopeful future
Looking for New England
With its intriguing history, wild natural beauty and excellent food and drink, Cape Cod’s appeal is all-embracing
BUILT TO LAST
Long known for its heavy industry, Pittsburgh has reinvented itself as a thriving tech hub
When you’re on the road, there are ways you can beat stress before it beats you
THE REVIEWS ARE IN
When it comes to buying travel, other people’s opinions count. But who can you trust?
Business aviation is looking for more from airport services – and today’s FBOs are delivering
Back on the Road
We all know travel can be a pain, but when it hits below the belt you need to know there’s something you can do about it
A Wee Dram
There’s more to love about Scotland’s favorite libation once you discover the magic
It’s easy to see why Barbados has long been favored as an escape to the sun
The Geopolitics Of Chips
Taiwan and South Korea have amassed an uncomfortable degree of market power
Identities: Kathleen Hou
Swallowing Our Bitterness The quiet costs of being Asian in America.
A Silicon Curtain Descends
Trump escalated America’s war against Huawei and China. Biden should beware burgeoning technonationalism.
WHY HONG KONG'S PROTESTS TURNED VIOLENT
THE ESCALATION IS PART OF A STRATEGY TO UNMASK CHINA’S ABUSES BEFORE THE WORLD.
SCORCHED EARTH: WHAT DOES YOUR BIKE CO$T THE PLANET?
Manufacturing is the elephant the room, but weighing the true environmental costs of overseas vs. domestic production isn’t as simple as it sounds.
Calvin Teng - Peace of Mind
As a Taiwan native, Calvin started as a self-taught painter in realism.
What China Wants
Chinese leaders’ combination of superiority and insecurity is growing more dangerous. The U.S. needs a new strategy to reflect that
Hot Spot for Health
Taiwan’s high-tech hospitals attend to increasing numbers of medically minded travelers.
REINING IN RUGGED TERRAIN
We drive Federal’s new Xplora R/T rugged-terrain tire
Ready. Set. Go
We made it easy for you. We asked our travel experts where they want to go in 2020. Their answers will surprise and inspire you. Presenting 27 adventures to get you out in the world this year.