Officially known as Taipei City, Taipei is the capital of Taiwan and located at the northern tip of the country. The city serves as the fourth largest administrative area of Taiwan, after New Taipei, Kaohsiung and Taichung, Taipei is the 40th most-populous urban area in the world and also one of the major hubs of the Chinese-speaking world. A major political, economic, educational, and cultural center of Taiwan, the city is spreading on 271.7997 km2 of land and is home to more than 2,693,672 residents. Taipei is also famous for being a major high-tech industrial area and is home to various world-famous architectural and cultural landmarks. Ketagalan plains aborigines were the earliest inhabitants of the city after which the city came under the influence of the Han Chinese immigrants. The city was ruled by the Qing dynasty in the 18th century and in the year 1875; the northern part of the island was merged into the new Taipei Territory. While Mandarin is the official language, Taiwanese, Chinese and aboriginal languages are also spoken.
The city is currently served by two airports – Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport and Taipei Songshan Airport. While both the airports are important international airports, Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport is Taiwan's largest and busiest airport. It is the 11th busiest airport worldwide in terms of international passenger traffic and 5th busiest in terms of international freight traffic. The city features a monsoon-influenced humid subtropical climate. Summers are long and hot and accompanied by heavy thunder showers. The months from May to October experiences typhoons and are best avoided. Winters in Taipei are cold and chilly and temperature can dip to 10°C at night. However, no snowfall has been reported till date. The best time to visit Taipei is during the months from February to April. Golden Horse Chinese Language Film Festival, The Lantern Festival, Dragon Boat Festival, Taipei International Travel Fair and Taipei Film Festival are the most popular cultural festivals celebrated in Taipei.
The city is filled with numerous natural as well as manmade attractions which are sure to keep the tourists contented. Yangmingshan National Park is a major attraction famed for its scenic location. A 30 minute drive away from the city, the park is surrounded by rocky cliffs, mountain meadows, and lakes are calm. Beitou Hot Springs is the most prominent hot water baths in Taipei and many resorts are located here. Building Chiang Kai-shek Memorial is a major city attraction which houses a museum and a garden hall. Built in white marble, it is an important venue to celebrate national events.
Some of the other attractions which too should not be missed in Taipei are - Martyr Shrine (commemorating the who locals who sacrificed themselves in battle), National Palace Museum (housing collection of priceless antiquities from the country of Taiwan and China), Longshan temple (a very famous ancient temple), Taipei 101 tower (one of the tallest building in the world and has the fastest elevator), Huaxi Night Market (for enjoying local delicacies and shopping), Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall (has a multimedia theater, a library and is dedicated to Sun Yat-sen), Presidential Office Building (landmark of Taipei), Taipei Zoo, Children's Recreation Center and Taipei Water Park.
Eating and Shopping
Taipei is a foodie’s haven as the city of boasts of having among the highest concentration of restaurants in the world. While Chinese is the most important cuisine enjoyed here, numerous restaurants serving Thai, Vietnamese, Japanese, Korean, and Italian cuisines are also available. Oyster omelet, Tianbula, Stinky tofu, Mango ice, Pan fried pork buns, Taiwanese sausage, Pearl milk tea Oyster vermicelli, Fried chicken fillet, Stir fried cuttlefish, Spareribs with herbs, Aiyu Jelly and braised soy bean and tea eggs are some of the local delicacies which can be best enjoyed in the night markets held across the city. While vendor food is the most popular trend in the city, there are numerous fine-dining restaurants as well as for those with delicate stomachs. Shilin Night Market is the most popular night market, where you can not only eat your heart full but enjoy great shopping expedition as well. Ning Xia Yeshi, Shida Yesh, Gongguan Yeshi, Longshan Yeshi, Danshui (Tamsui) Yeshi, Miaokou Yeshi and Raohe Yeshi are some of the many night markets that tourists can explore on their holiday in Taipei.
Known as ‘shopping city’, Taipei offers variety of shopping streets, markets and malls where you can shop till you drop. However, When in Taipei shopping is not limited to the high end stores, shopping malls and branded outlets. When in Taipei, you should shop the Taipei’s style which is to visit the night markets and pick up at rock bottom prices. Imitation merchandise, pirated DVDs, inexpensive electronic goods, jade, flowers; handicrafts and jewelry are just some of the innumerable things that you can buy in Taipei.
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