Sights & Landmarks in Taipei
Those who take the time to visit and look around will soon find that Taipei is just as vibrant as any other major city, and is full of a certain charm which makes it unique in its own right. Just spend a day wandering around Taipei's streets and you will start finding many surprises.
Several memorial halls like theChiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall in Zhongzheng District and Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall in Xinyi commemorate the most recognized leaders of the Nationalists to the lesser known war dead in theMartyrs' Shrine in Zhongshan District. All three have honor guards which change at set hours, demonstrating military precision and solemn respect for the ROC leaders and soldiers before them. Built in the middle of large parks, the memorial halls are also good places for some quiet reflection.
While Taipei is largely secular, the elaborate Taoist and Buddhist temples such as Longshan Temple and Bao'an Temple in the older districts of Wanhua and Datong still draw locals who maintain the old rituals and traditions. On the glitzier side of town, Taipei 101 may have relinquished its tallest building status but remains a very popular attraction for its architectural style and observatory deck. On New Year's Eve, Taipei 101 becomes a beacon of lights and fireworks.
Parks and outdoors
If the cityscape gets a little dreary, there are plenty of parks to escape to. Daan Park is one of the largest in the city, earning the moniker of Taipei Central Park. 228 Peace Parkin Zhongzheng was named to remember the bloody 228 Incident of 28 February 1947 and also holds the National Taiwan Museum and the 228 Memorial Museum. A few green spaces can also be found along the banks of the Keelung River, such as Zhongshan District's Dajie Riverside Park.
Visit the Taipei Zoo in Wenshan to see giant pandas, brown bears and gorillas for a low, low price. It's more akin to a walk in a leafy park, where animals are free to roam around in their open enclosures. Combine it with a ride up on the Maokong Gondola, which has a few special glass-floor carriages, to relax further in the hilltop teahouses.
Even though very little ancient architecture remains in Taipei, four of Taipei's five original city gates still stand. The city walls which surrounded the old city and the West Gate were demolished by the Japanese to make way for roads and railway lines. Of the four gates still standing, the Kuomintang renovated three of them in its effort to "sinicize" Taipei and converted them from the original southern Chinese architecture to northern Chinese palace style architecture, leaving only the North Gate (beimen 北門 or more formally Cheng'en men 承恩門) in its original Qing Dynasty splendor today. This gate sits forlornly in the traffic circle where the Zhonghua, Yanping and Boai roads meet.