Taiwan, 180km east of China, is known for modern cities, traditional Chinese temples, hot springs resorts and dramatic mountainous terrain. Taipei, in the north, has a number of busy night markets, as well as Chinese Imperial art at the National Palace Museum. Taipei 101, a 509m-tall, bamboo-shaped skyscraper with an observation deck, rises above thecity.

The verdant mountains of central Taiwan encompass Alishan National Scenic Area, with Tsou aboriginal villages and a narrow-gauge train, and nearby, picturesque Sun Moon Lake. Popular hiking areas include Yushan, a mountain with a 3,952m summit, and the riverside paths of Taroko Gorge, featuring towering cliff walls and turquoise water. Taichung is known for its teahouses. Tainan, Taiwan’s oldest city, offers numerous temples, Chihkan Tower (a fort originally built by the Dutch in 1653) and local specialties such as fried “coffin bread.” Kenting National Park, in southern Taiwan, is a major beach and water-sports destination.

Taipei, the capital of Taiwan, is a modern metropolis with Japanese colonial lanes, bustling shopping streets and contemporary buildings. The 509-meter tall, bamboo-shaped Taipei 101 skyscraper is topped with upscale shops at the base and a fast elevator to an observatory at the top. Taipei is also known for its vibrant street restaurants and many night markets, including the expansive Shilin market. What better place to start than from the observation decks located on the 89th to 91st floor of Taipei 101, Taipei’s iconic bamboo pole-shaped skyscraper? Arrive early because the queue can be long every day of the week. Then take the fastest elevator in the world in the tallest green building in the world. The 360 ​​degree view covers the mountains to the south and east, and the breathtaking views of the city to the west. You can really appreciate how crowded the buildings of this city are. Do not forget to take a look at the 730-ton stabilizer ball, which helps keep you from the earthquakes that regularly occur in Taipei. The best part of Elephant Mountain, just one MRT stop after Taipei 101, is that you can have Taipei 101 in your panoramic view. In just 30 minutes of walking to places with great views, but if you want to get away from the crowd, you can continue with the other three « beasts »: Tiger Mountain, Leopard Mountain and Lion Mountain. Sunset is the most popular moment, and do not even dream of getting a place for the fireworks show on New Year’s Eve! The Japanese developed the rail system, many hot springs and universities, and other infrastructure in Taiwan. There is a beautiful and leafy neighborhood of old Japanese residences near Da An Park, Taipei’s response to Central Park in New York. To find it, enter the lane next to the Grand Mosque of Taipei, or search Google « Qingtian Street ». Many of the houses in the neighborhood were home to Japanese teachers at the national university. Some have been beautifully restored, while others are beautiful in decay. Food alert: head to nearby Yongkang Street, the homeland of mango-shaved ice, a classic Taiwanese dessert, and the original Din Tai Feng, a Michelin-starred xiao long bao chain.

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