Taipei, officially known as Taipei City, is the capital city and a special municipality of Taiwan.
Sitting in the northern part of the island in a basin between the Yangming Mountains and the Central Mountains, Taipei serves as the island's financial, cultural, and governmental center.
The city proper is home to an estimated population of 2,693,672 , forming the core part of the Taipei–Keelung metropolitan area which includes the nearby cities of New Taipei and Keelung with a population of 6,900,273.
Taipei is the political, economic, educational, and cultural center of Taiwan, and one of the major hubs of the Chinese-speaking world. Considered to be a global city, Taipei is part of a major high-tech industrial area.Railways, high-speed rail, highways, airports, and bus lines connect Taipei with all parts of the island. The city is served by two airports – Taipei Songshan and Taiwan Taoyuan.
The city is a tantalizing mix of Chinese, Japanese and Western influences, vibrant in its own right yet unhurried by global standards. Besides the architectural and cultural landmarks like Taipei 101 and Longshan Temple, the xiaochi (small snacks) in bustling night markets are an experience not to be forgotten by your stomach. The capital is also a great jumping off point for day trips to hot springs, old mining towns and national parks around the Northern Taiwan area.
|POPULATION :||City: 2,704,974 / Metro: 7,021,482|
|TIME ZONE :||National Standard Time (UTC+8)|
|LANGUAGE :||Mandarin Chinese (official), Taiwanese (Min), Hakka dialects|
|RELIGION :||mixture of Buddhist and Taoist 93%, Christian 4.5%, other 2.5%|
|AREA :||271.7997 km2 (104.9425 sq mi)|
|COORDINATES :||25°02′N 121°38′E|
|SEX RATIO :||• Male:
|ETHNIC :||Taiwanese (including Hakka) 84%, mainland Chinese 14%, indigenous 2%|
|AREA CODE :||(0)2|
|POSTAL CODE :||100–116|
|DIALING CODE :||+886 2|
|WEBSITE :||Official Website|
Tourism is a major part of Taipei's economy. In 2013, over 6.3 million overseas visitors visited Taipei, making the city the 15th most visited globally. The influx of visitors contributed $10.8 billion USD to the city's economy in 2013, the 9th highest in the world and the most of any city in Greater China.
Sites and museums
The National Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall is a famous monument, landmark and tourist attraction that was erected in memory of General Chiang Kai-shek, former President of the Republic of China.The structure stands at the east end of Memorial Hall Square, site of the National Concert Hall and National Theater and their adjacent parks as well as the memorial. The landmarks of Liberty Square stand within sight of Taiwan's Presidential Building in Taipei's Zhongzheng District.
The National Taiwan Museum sits nearby in what is now 228 Peace Memorial Park and has worn its present name since 1999. The museum is Taiwan's oldest, founded on October 24, 1908 by Taiwan's Japanese colonial government (1895-1945) as the Taiwan Governor's Museum. It was launched with a collection of 10,000 items to celebrate the opening of the island's North-South Railway
The National Palace Museum is a vast art gallery and museum built around a permanent collection centered on ancient Chinese artifacts. It should not be confused with the Palace Museum in Beijing (which it is named after); both institutions trace their origins to the same institution. The collections were divided in the 1940s as a result of the Chinese Civil War.The National Palace Museum in Taipei now boasts a truly international collection while housing one of the world's largest collections of artifacts from ancient China.
The strikingly designed Shung Ye Museum of Formosan Aborigines stands just 200 metres across the road from the National Palace Museum. The museum offers magnificent displays of art and historical items by Taiwanese aborigines along with a range of multimedia displays.
The Taipei Fine Arts Museum was established in 1983 as the first museum in Taiwan dedicated to modern art. The museum is housed in a building designed for the purpose that takes inspiration from Japanese designs. Most art in the collection is by Taiwanese artists since 1940. Over 3,000 art works are organized into 13 groups.
Taipei 101 is a 101-floor landmark skyscraper that claimed the title of world's tallest building when it opened in 2004, a title it held for six years before relinquishing it to the Burj Khalifa in Dubai. Designed by C.Y. Lee & Partners and constructed by KTRT Joint Venture, Taipei 101 measures 509 m (1,670 ft) from ground to top, making it the first skyscraper in the world to break the half-kilometer mark in height.
The National Theater and Concert Hall stand at Taipei's Liberty Square and host events by foreign and domestic performers. Other leading concert venues include Zhongshan Hall at Ximen and the Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall near Taipei 101.
Shopping and recreation
Taipei is known for its many night markets, the most famous of which is the Shilin Night Market in the Shilin District. The surrounding streets by Shilin Night Market are extremely crowded during the evening, usually opening late afternoon and operating well past midnight. Most night markets feature individual stalls selling a mixture of food, clothing, and consumer goods.
Ximending has been a famous area for shopping and entertainment since the 1930s. Historic structures include a concert hall, a historic cinema, and the Red House Theater. Modern structures house karaoke businesses, art film cinemas, wide-release movie cinemas, electronic stores, and a wide variety of restaurants and fashion clothing stores. The pedestrian area is especially popular with teens and has been called the "Harajuku" of Taipei.
The newly developed Xinyi District is popular with tourists and locals alike for its many entertainment and shopping venues, as well as being the home of Taipei 101, a prime tourist attraction. Malls in the area include the sprawling Shin Kong Mitsukoshi complex, Breeze Center, Bellavita, Taipei 101 mall, Eslite Bookstore's flagship store (which includes a boutique mall), The Living Mall, ATT shopping mall, and the Vieshow Cinemas (formerly known as Warner Village). The Xinyi district also serves as the center of Taipei's active nightlife, with several popular lounge bars and nightclubs concentrated in a relatively small area around the Neo19, ATT 4 FUN and Taipei 101 buildings. Lounge bars such as Barcode and nightclubs such as Spark and Myst are among the most-visited places here.
The thriving shopping area around Taipei Main Station includes the Taipei Underground Market and the original Shin Kong Mitsukoshi department store at Shin Kong Life Tower. Other popular shopping destinations include the Zhongshan Metro Mall, Dihua Street, the Guang Hua Digital Plaza, and the Core Pacific City. The Miramar Entertainment Park is known for its large Ferris wheel and IMAX theater.
Taipei maintains an extensive system of parks, green spaces, and nature preserves. Parks and forestry areas of note in and around the city include Yangmingshan National Park, Taipei Zoo and Da-an Forest Park. Yangmingshan National Park (located 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) north of the central city) is famous for its cherry blossoms, hot springs, and sulfur deposits. It is the home of famous writer Lin Yutang, the summer residence of Chiang Kai-shek, residences of foreign diplomats, the Chinese Culture University, the meeting place of the now defunct National Assembly of the Republic of China, and the Kuomintang Party Archives. The Taipei Zoo was founded in 1914 and covers an area of 165 hectares for animal sanctuary.
Bitan is known for boating and water sports. Tamsui is a popular sea-side resort town. Ocean beaches are accessible in several directions from Taipei.
Taipei is rich in beautiful, ornate temples housing Buddhist, Taoist, and Chinese folk religion deities. The Longshan Temple, built in 1738 and located in the Wanhua District, demonstrates an example of architecture with southern Chinese influences commonly seen on older buildings in Taiwan.
Xinsheng South Road is known as the "Road to Heaven" due to its high concentration of temples, shrines, churches, and mosques.
Prior to the significant influx of Han Chinese immigrants, the region of Taipei Basin was mainly inhabited by the Ketagalan plains aborigines. The number of Han immigrants gradually increased in the early 18th century under Qing Dynasty rule after government permission to develop the area. In 1875, the northern part of the island was incorporated into the new Taipeh Prefecture.
The Qing dynasty of China made Taipei a temporary capital of Taiwan Province in 1886 when Taiwan was separated from Fujian Province. Taipei was formally made the provincial capital in 1894.
Japan acquired Taiwan in 1895 under the Treaty of Shimonoseki after the First Sino-Japanese War. Taiwan became a colony of Imperial Japan with Taipei as its capital, in which Taipei was administered under Taihoku Prefecture. Taiwan's Japanese rulers embarked on an extensive program of advanced urban planning that featured extensive railroad links. A number of Taipei landmarks and cultural institutions date from this period.
The Republic of China (ROC) took over Taiwan in 1945 following Japanese surrender. After losing mainland China to the Chinese Communist Party in the Chinese Civil War, the ruling Kuomintang (KMT) relocated the ROC government to Taiwan and declared Taipei the provisional capital of the ROC in December 1949. In 1990 Taipei provided the backdrop for the Wild Lily student rallies that moved Taiwanese society from one-party rule to multi-party democracy. The city is today home to Taiwan's democratically elected national government.
Taipei has a monsoon-influenced humid subtropical climate.
Summers are long-lasting, hot and humid, accompanied by occasional heavy rainstorms and typhoons, while winters are short, generally warm and generally very foggy due to the northeasterly winds from the vast Siberian High being intensified by the pooling of this cooler air in the Taipei Basin.
As of the rest of Northern Taiwan, daytime temperatures of Taipei can often peak above 26 degrees Celsius during a warm winter day, while it can dip below 26 degrees Celsius during a rainy summer's afternoon. Occasional cold fronts during the winter months can drop the daily temperature by 3 to 5 degrees Celsius, though temperatures rarely drop below 10 degrees Celsius.
Due to Taiwan's location in the Pacific Ocean, it is affected by the Pacific typhoon season, which occurs between June and October.
|Daily highs (°C)||19||19||22||26||29||32||35||34||31||28||24||21|
|Nightly lows (°C)||13||14||15||19||22||24||26||26||24||22||19||15|
Central Weather Bureau seven day forecast for Taipei
Taipei City is located in the Taipei Basin in northern Taiwan. It is bordered by the Xindian River on the south and the Tamsui River on the west. The generally low-lying terrain of the central areas on the western side of the municipality slopes upward to the south and east and especially to the north, where it reaches 1,120 metres (3,675 ft) at Cising Mountain, the highest (inactive) volcano in Taiwan in Yangmingshan National Park. The northern districts of Shilin and Beitou extend north of the Keelung River and are bordered by Yangmingshan National Park. The Taipei city limits cover an area ranked sixteenth of twenty-five among all counties and cities in Taiwan.
Two peaks, Cising Mountain and Mt. Datun, rise to the northeast of the city. Cising Mountain is located on the Tatun Volcano Group and the tallest mountain at the rim of the Taipei Basin, with its main peak at 1,120 metres (3,670 ft). Mt. Datun's main peak is 1,092 metres (3,583 ft). These former volcanoes make up the western section of Yangmingshan National Park, extending from Mt. Datun northward to Mt. Caigongkeng. Located on a broad saddle between two mountains, the area also contains the marshy Datun Pond.
To the southeast of the city lie the Songshan Hills and the Qingshui Ravine, which form a barrier of lush woods.
As the center of Taiwan's largest conurbation, Taipei has been at the center of rapid economic development in the country and has now become one of the global cities in the production of high technology and its components. This is part of the so-called Taiwan Miracle which has seen dramatic growth in the city following foreign direct investment in the 1960s. Taiwan is now a creditor economy, holding one of the world's largest foreign exchange reserves of over US$403 billion as of December 2012.
Despite the Asian financial crisis, the economy continues to expand at about 5% per year, with virtually full employment and low inflation.
Taipei and its environs have long been the foremost industrial area of Taiwan, consisting of industries of the secondary and tertiary sectors. Most of the country's important factories producing textiles and apparel are located there, other industries include the manufacture of electronic products and components, electrical machinery and equipment, printed materials, precision equipment, and foods and beverages. Such companies include Shihlin Electric, CipherLab and Insyde Software. Shipbuilding, including yachts and other pleasure craft, is done in the port of Keelung northeast of the city.
Services, including those related to commerce, transportation, and banking, have become increasingly important. Tourism is a small but significant component of the local economy. Taipei has many top tourist attractions and contributes a significant amount to the US$6.8 billion tourism industry in Taiwan.
Taipei is mostly built up and in various phases of growth and disrepair, though a park is never far away, especially in the more suburban areas. The downtown area is culturally divided into East and West. The west side, with its narrow streets and road side vendors, is considered the bastion of old Taipei life, whereas East Taipei, with its classy malls, chic boutiques, and stylish restaurants and cafes, reminiscent of those found in Tokyo, Paris or New York City represents its metamorphosis into a modern and international city.
The Greater Taipei metropolitan area beyond Taipei City boundaries includes the surrounding New Taipei City (新北市) and Keelung (基隆市), representing the largest urban cluster in Taiwan with nearly 7 million people, though run by three different government authorities.
|Old Taipei (萬華-大同)
Wanhua and Datong make up the oldest parts of Taipei, home to many historic buildings, such as the Longshan Temple and the Red House Theater, although it has lost much of its economic relevance to theEast District. Ximending is the "Harajuku of Taipei", a shopping neighborhood centered around teenager fashion, Japanese culture and subcultures.
|Zhongzheng and Gongguan (中正-公館)
Zhongzheng is the political center of Taiwan and the location of the Presidential Office and important government ministries. Its prime tourist attraction is the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall. Gongguan, on the other hand, has a youthful feel thanks to students from the Taida and Shida universities thronging the area.
|East District (大安-信義)
Daan and Xinyi are the modern commercial and financial districts of Taipei, and can be collectively referred to as the East District. Offering department stores, plenty of fashion boutiques, lounge bars, and atmospheric restaurants, and some of the most expensive real estate in the city, it is also home to Taipei 101, the Taipei World Trade Center, and the International Convention Center.
|Zhongshan and Songshan (中山-松山)
Zhongshan has riverside parks, the Martyrs Shrine, the Fine Arts Museum, and a large pub and bar scene. Many firms and financial institutions are located in Songshan, which is directly north of the East District. Raohe Street Night Market is one of the oldest of Taipei's famous street markets.
This district is famous for hot springs and the Yangmingshan National Park.
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 night market and the expat enclave of Tianmu.
|Neihu and Nangang (內湖-南港)
Located in the eastern reaches of the city, Neihu and Nangang are hubs of the IT industry in Taipei, home to many large shopping centers, and a great place for hiking and 'templing'. A mouth-watering juxtaposition of local Taiwanese culture and modern shopping malls and restaurants. A definite must-visit, Neihu is largely a secret to the tourist world.
Internet cafes are plentiful, especially in the maze of alleys between Taipei Main Station and Peace Park. However, you may have to wander around (and look up and down as many are on higher floors or in the basement) before finding one. Some computers are coin operated. Internet cafes are known as wang-ka in Chinese (a combination of wang, the Chinese word for 'net', and ka an abbreviation of 'cafe').
Taipei also has a city-wide Wi-Fi service called Wifly. For a small fee, you can buy a card that gives you unlimited internet access nearly anywhere in the city for a day or a month. The card costs NT$100 for 1 day of unlimited access and NT$500 for 31 days of unlimited access and can be purchased in Starbucks Coffee Shops, 7 eleven stores or online.
Taipei offers a free Wi-Fi network called TPE-Free. It is available in most public area in Taipei, MRT stations, city administrative district offices, city libraries... You need to register at any tourist information center with an ID. At the free Wi-Fi spots, you usually have an power plug and a USB plug to load your electronic devices. TPE-Free users can also enjoy the iTaiwan network available in some public buildings.