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Three Perfect Days: Taipei

Having spent centuries shrouded in mystery, Taipei has emerged as a global incubator for technology, design and cuisine. Even so, the Taiwanese capital still has plenty of surprises for those willing to explore.

Author Orion Ray-Jones Photography Shane McCauley

Milling around in Shilin Night Market

Picture 2 of 13

ON AN OVERCAST DAY, CLOUDS cling to the upper floors of Taipei 101, cloaking the soaring tower in the same watercolor fog that swirls around the nearby mountaintops. It’s a fitting metaphor for a place that, despite being situated at the nexus of Chinese and Japanese civilizations, has historically been obscured behind a kind of veil.

Even now, despite its status as one of Asia’s more robust economic “tigers,” the capital city of Taiwan (or Ilha Formosa, “beautiful island,” as it was dubbed by 16th-century Portuguese explorers) is not as frequently visited as other East Asian boomtowns. Indeed, it’s common to wander through Taipei’s most appealing districts and never hear a word of English, French or German.

This is not to say that Taipei is short of attractions. Exquisite Buddhist, Taoist and Confucian temples, along with Japanese colonial buildings, dot the modern cityscape. Nature lovers can retreat to nearby mountain trails, while history buffs will be dazzled by the wealth of Asian art and crafts in Taipei’s many museums and antique shops. And, as the home of global food trends from pearl tea to soup dumplings, the city is a gourmand’s delight.

The term “hidden gem” is overused, but in the case of Taipei it’s entirely appropriate. A visit here is a process of continual, exhilarating discovery.

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4 Responses to “Three Perfect Days: Taipei”

  1. Emma Says:
    March 8th, 2014 at 5:14 am

    Go Taipei!

  2. chow xeng Says:
    March 8th, 2014 at 2:11 pm

    If you write an article on a foreign city, please add the local language to the attractions. The locals can identify them.

  3. James chen Says:
    March 9th, 2014 at 10:28 am

    Very good! Welcome American Friends to travel Taiwan!

  4. Jason Says:
    March 29th, 2014 at 1:07 am

    Visit Taiwan and you will be amazed at how much Taiwan has to offer. Taiwan caters to every type of traveller, from backpacker to jet-setter.

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