Taipei Taiwan Travel Guide for First Timers

If you are planning a trip to Taiwan for the first time, there are several areas worth visiting to make the most of your trip. While there are multiple beautiful, historic areas, the following are my personal favorites for Taipei travel. Please feel free to use this as a sort of personal Taipei travel guide when planning your Taipei vacation.

Taipei 101

We start our Taipei tour at Taipei 101. This is a skyscraper located in the Xinyi District. In 2004, it was listed as the world’s tallest building at 1,671 feet. It held that title for 6 years until the Burj Khalifa in Dubai eclipsed Taipei 101 in 2010. The tower boasts 101 stories and features an outdoor observation deck on the 91st floor like the Empire State Building in New York City where you can see beautiful views of the surrounding areas.

The bottom five floors of Taipei 101 feature a luxury shopping mall with upscale shops such as Burberry and Louis Vuitton. On the 88th floor indoor observatory, you can see the 730-ton mass damper, basically a giant ball that acts like a pendulum to counteract the buildings sway during high winds. Without this damper, people on high floors can actually suffer from motion sickness from the constant swaying of the building! Taipei 101 is a city icon that is visible for miles across the city. Every New Year’s, Taipei 101 attracts tens of thousands of visitors to see its spectacular fireworks display.

Ximending Shopping

If you are into shopping, you can’t go wrong with Ximending. This is the shopping area in the Wanhua district of Taipei and is considered to be the fashion capital of Taiwan. On weekends, Ximending streets are closed to traffic and becomes a pedestrian shopping mall. The area is popular with street performers of all types and, because it is a hotspot, you can catch celebrities hosting small outdoor concerts, album launches, and other events.

Ximending is also famous for its “Theater Street” where there is a concentration of several movie along Wuchang Street. For history buffs, though, the most famous theater in the district is the Red House Theater which was built in 1908 during Japanese occupation and is still an operational theater with regular performances.

Yangmingshan National Park

If beautiful sights are what you look forward to when travelling, then I can’t recommend Yangmingshan enough. It is the largest natural park in Taipei. Yangmingshan is great for hiking and has numerous trails that can last an entire day or just a couple of hours. Popular trails include Seven Stars Peak which will take you to the highest peak in Taipei at 1120 meters (3600 feet) or see the stunning waterfall of the Juansi Waterfall Trail.

Each February through March, Yangmingshan is the site of the Yangmingshan Flower Festival when several varieties of flowers such as azaleas, camellias, and especially cherry blossoms reach their peak bloom. Every evening of the festival, cherry blossom trees are illuminated for a particularly romantic sight. Visitors can also have lunch and dinner at one of many restaurants such as The Top or Grass Mountain Chateau for spectacular vistas of Taipei below.

Between the beauty of the cherry blossoms and the views of the city, Yangmingshan is a well-known romantic spot for lovers all over Taipei. From April to May, when calla lilies reach full bloom, you can pick your own lily flowers for only a few dollars at one of several flower farms.

Lastly, don’t miss out on Yangming Shuwu, also known as Yangming Villa, the beautiful summer retreat of the late president Chiang Kai-shek. Yangming Villa house and gardens are maintained as they were when occupied by Mr. and Mrs. Chiang. The house is a two-story traditional Chinese home, with reception rooms and offices on the first floor and the Chiang’s personal residence on the second floor where their paintings and personal photographs are still displayed. The gardens are especially beautiful in the Spring when the flowers are in bloom. As a bit of trivia, it’s been noted that several bushes are planted in bunches of five – to symbolize the “5-star” rank of General Chiang.

National Palace Museum

Next, we find ourselves at the National Palace Museum which opened in 1965. If you love history, this is the place to be! National Palace Museum has a humongous collection of 700,000 permanent exhibits of Chinese Imperial history and artwork that spans over 2000 years plus prehistoric Chinese artifacts and artwork that dates to the Neolithic era, or better known as the “Stone Age”.

The most popular item in its collection is the Jadeite Cabbage. Carved during the 19th century, it is a piece of jadeite that has been shaped to resemble a head of Chinese cabbage and has a locust and a grasshopper camouflaged in its leaves. Legend says the sculpture is a metaphor for female fertility, with the white cabbage stalk representing purity, the green leaves of the cabbage representing fertility, and the insects representing children.

Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall

Another historically significant landmark on our trek to learn about the history of Taiwan is the Chiang Kia-shek Memorial Hall. This is a national monument that was built in honor of former Republic of China President Chiang Kia-shek. The memorial marks the geographic and cultural center of Taipei. It is the most visited attraction by foreign tourists. The pagoda style memorial hall has a presidential library and museum on the ground level.

The main hall features a large, seated statue of Chiang Kai-shek, much like the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. The memorial hall and its surrounding Liberty Square plaza encompasses 60 acres and includes many ponds and garden spaces. The plaza also houses two of Taipei’s performance art buildings, the National Theater and the National Concert Hall.

Beitou Hot Springs and Public Library

My favorite place to visit while in Taiwan is an area called Beitou. Beitou is a mountainous district north of Taipei City and is most known for its hot springs and its magnificent public library. The mineral waters from the many natural geothermal vents in Beitou are famous for their healing and therapeutic properties. An entire industry of hot springs bathhouses and hotels have sprung up in Beitou offering aroma therapy, massages, and hydrotherapy. There are a lot of places where tourists can soak their feet in the hot springs stream. Be sure to visit the Hot Springs Museum. When it was built in 1913, it was the largest public bathhouse in Asia at that time. Today, the museum offers a glimpse at its bathhouse facilities and Beitou’s history.

Next, visit the Beitou public library. Its wooden structure that fits seamlessly into its Beitou Park setting. Through use of eco-friendly features and design, the library is Taiwan’s first “green” building. The library opened in 2006 and was built to reduce the usage of water and electricity. To do this, architects used large windows to allowing in natural light and a solar panel roof to provide the electricity needed for operation. Also, the library collects rain water to be stored and used to flush its toilets.

Tamsui Fisherman’s Wharf

Our final stopping point is Tamsui. Tamsui is located on the western tip of Taipei and our favorite place was the Fisherman’s Wharf. We learned that not only do the restaurants that dot the Fisherman’s Wharf boardwalk provide the freshest seafood available, it also provides breathtaking sunset views. Fisherman’s Wharf still functions as a harbor for local fishermen and they proudly provide harbor for 150 vessels! Our favorite walk is across the “Lover’s Bridge” pedestrian bridge, named as such because it opened on Valentine’s Day 2003.

Its architecture resembles a sailing ship’s masts. It was about a 3-minute walk across the bridge, which at sunset is magnificent. Lover’s Bridge is also a great place to catch the yearly fireworks show and concert that the city hosts each year to celebrate Chinese Valentine’s Day (which occurs in August and not February 14th). Another way to experience Tamsui is to take a ferry from the Tamsui Ferry Pier and disembark at the Fisherman’s Wharf. The ferry is a cheap way to see terrific views of the Tamsui waterfront. A one-way fare costs only $2 USD and takes only about 15 minutes.

The Best Place to Live in Australia

Have you been planning to relocate lately and Australia is the only destination on your mind? If yes, you couldn’t have decided anything better. The world’s smallest continent and Country, Australia, is known for its rich culture, diverse ecosystem and heartwarming people.

Every city and place in the country is filled with something unique and offers something transcending. This only makes choosing the best place to live in Australia a tad bit difficult. If you too find it hard concluding which city or place you should call your home then worry not. Here in this article, you’re going to read the finest places in Australia that you can move to for a dream-like life.

Hobart

The reason Hobart is on top of our lists is that unlike many other cities in Australia, Hobart is actually quiet and peaceful. Ideal for people wanting to get away from a hectic and fast-paced life, this city offers a lot more than just a peaceful residence.

Surrounded by gorgeous warm sandy beaches and picturesque landscapes, Hobart is nothing less than a haven for workaholics. Although you might not find high paying jobs here. What you lose in income, you’ll gain in quality. And if you’re a food sucker, this food paradise might exactly be the place you’ve been looking for.

Melbourne

Australia’s second largest city has more to it than meets the eye. Known as the cultural capital of Australia, Melbourne is ridiculously famous for its diversified climate, a rich native culture that can be witnessed in the nearby Museums, and passion for sports. Not to mention, the city itself is built as an art that can be seen more obviously.

There are multiple fine dining places that serve different cuisines both local and continental, best shopping destinations and not to forget the nightlife. The city is full of surprises and if you’re lucky, you might get to witness the four season in a day phenomenon.

Sydney

Talk about the best place to live in Australia, the name Sydney will pop-up immediately and automatically. The name Sydney alone is enough to send chills down the spine of every person who wishes to work in Australia.

This city is most commonly known for its scenic beauty; be it natural beaches and ocean or man-made marvels like Sydney Opera house and Sydney Harbor.

Sydney features a fast-paced exhilarating lifestyle and is well suited to those who are accustomed to living in such atmosphere. Landing a job in one of the firms in Sydney is something everyone wants. The weather here is somewhat of normal with the maximum temperature reaching up to 40 degree Celsius in the summers and minimum temperature falling down to 6 degrees in the coldest night of winter.

Adelaide

Adelaide seems to have gotten blur due to all the focus going towards cities like Brisbane, Melbourne, and Sydney. It so doesn’t mean Adelaide in any way is no worth living place, it’s just the most underrated. Earlier, newcomers used to move to one of the above-mentioned places, however, the situation has changed more recently.

With a low population, Mediterranean climate, pleasant weather and a communal diversity, it has turned into one of the favorite places to live in for the immigrants. The city is wrapped in nature, the real estate prices are lower than other city and lifestyle is pretty relaxed. Overall, the city has everything there is to offer.

Perth

Located and built around the west coast of Australia, Perth is far away from the rest of the Aussie cities and that’s what makes it pretty unambiguous. This cosmopolitan city is evolving every day with an ever growing economy, new employment opportunities and friendly localities.

The place is so self-functional that it was crowned as one of the most livable cities in the world. The Icing on the cake is its local cuisine, public beaches and the weather here never goes extreme.

Things to Do on the Island on a Vacation

An island is any smaller area of land that is surrounded by water on its sides. It is a place where you can spend the quality time with your family and friends under nature. It is the perfect choice for your vacation when you are looking for a family trip, romantic getaway or a nature vacation.

An island is popular because of its amazing view and pleasant climatic conditions. It offers all the modern conveniences that an individual strives for while on a holiday. One can find a variety of comfortable places to stay like hotels, inns, private guest cottages, etc. on the area.

Things you can do while on an Island

An island offers several fun activities and diversions off and on-the-beach both. One can happily spend their quality time by involving themselves in various activities.

— Nature tours

There are water bikes and Segways on rent for people who love to have adventures. One can enjoy on-the-beach tours of the island while having fun with water sports. Go out with your partner to have the view of the island on water vehicles and make your vacation much more exciting.

— Relaxing beaches

Not everybody wants those adventurous activities. For all the lazy people out there, they have beach mats and chairs to relax while having the sunbath in an amazing view. After that, have your lunch and dinner at the fancy restaurants that are there to serve you on the beach itself.

— Off the beach tours

Beside the beach, one can have a tour of the place and explore it with the scooters and bikes on rent. Shopping is one of the options women can go for. The place would have a lot of beautiful shops and galleries filled with unique and antique things. Remember, there is no cluster of malls rather there are beautiful shops to have your shopping done appropriately.

— Others

For the people who want some sort of activities that are similar to their regular life, they can go for golfing, tennis, badminton, cinema, etc. The popular island offers such activities. Also, if you don’t want to go out of your hotels, you can try these activities at your hotels only without going out.

All in all, there is something for everyone to satisfy themselves and there is a surety that you would not be able to stop yourself from visiting an isle again and will make some very beautiful memories to be cherished for the whole of your life.

Make a plan out of your hectic schedules and offices and visit some island. Pamper yourself, and have the best time of your life with your partner, family, and friends at some Island.

Remember you will not get such activities on a deserted island. On a deserted island, you will have to explore the things yourself without any help. But, if you don’t want to go for any experiments, popular islands are the best option for you where you can get all the conveniences while enjoying yourselves.

Sailing on Water Is Now an Unforgettable Experience

Travelling has become one of the most sought after mode of relaxation for people with stressful jobs and a way to leave the humdrum behind. Travelling is also a hobby enjoyed by many, after all the thrill of visiting new places and experiencing new cultures can be very enriching. But traveling usually involves air, rail and road transport, which can be repetitive and even taxing, as one needs to plan the entire itinerary from reaching the destination to staying and touring the place etc. But what if all these can be done in a single go by just choosing a cruise and book the tickets.

Cruise trips are adventurous and enthralling with many activities planned along with meals, sightseeing, and entertainment. Board the cruise and it is done, it is a hotel which moves from destination to destination all the while you can enjoy the water and great food.

WHY TAKE A CRUISE TRIP?

Passengers can be a bit bothered about a vacation on the water and staying on a cruise for a long time. But cruise holidays have some excitements too like:

One need to unpack only once, as the hotel is traveling with the traveler and there is no need to carry ones luggage from place to place.
Everything is planned beforehand and there will be no confusion regarding dining, relaxation, activities, sightseeing and even spa and games.
As the cruise sail from port to port, one can experience a different culture and places in a single trip.
Cruise ships go everywhere, whether small port cities or small islands spread across the ocean. Cruises travel through seas, lakes, rivers and the experiences that come with them are diverse and fun.
Food, accommodation, amenities etc are all consistent, though the quality may differ from cruise to cruise. Usually, food changes when cruise moves from one exotic port to another and everything is already paid for.
Passengers get to meet some new and interesting people, all the while traveling to different destinations.
And one of the best perks is that one gets to stay near water and enjoy the vast and ethereal beauty of open waters.

SOME SETBACKS OF A CRUISE VACATION

Though cruise vacations are always a great affair and one can enjoy it to the fullest. But there can be some things that can irk the passengers a bit like:

Accommodations can be a bit crampy and small; one should always check the square footage before booking.
Food and entertainment can get a bit boring at times; so find your own entertainment on board.
Daily safety drills can get repetitive, but it’s for safety so one can go with it.
Excursions can get expensive at times; so hire a taxi and explore on your own.
Some cruises can charge extra for many facilities; better to go through the details before booking.

These setbacks can be very insignificant when it comes to a great experience of a luxurious cruise vacation.

THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND BEFORE PLANNING A CRUISE TRIP

One should always go through all the basics and details before planning a trip on the water. Things to pay attention to are:

Room and accommodation.
Itineraries.
Food and dining facilities.
Trip length.
The type of people who will be on board.
Guest to staff ratio.
On-board payments and extra charges.
Ports which will be visited.

From many cruise line options to choose from, one can select a cruise keeping in mind their needs, affordability, and places they want to visit.

How to Find the Best Tours and Travels

Are you planning a trip to a totally different city or state or country? So make it more adventurous by hiring a tour operator, because visiting a new place sounds really exciting, but it could be exhausting if you have no idea about the places to visit, language, food, etc. Hiring an operator will not only make your trip stress-free, but also economical because paying a fee to an operator is less expensive rather spending on extravagantly on other stuff on the trip. A tour operator will make you enjoy the best food in the city, beautiful sights, hotels, etc. If you are interested in knowing artifacts and history behind any historical monuments, a knowledgeable operator will provide you with all such enriching facts.

WHERE TO FIND A TOUR OPERATOR-

If you are looking for a local operator you can contact the travelling agency nearby your area. Or there are many online travelling agencies offering the services of an experienced operator. Other than this there are many freelancer operators available online.

QUALITIES OF A TOUR OPERATOR-

There are certain qualities that make an operator different from others. An ideal operator is smart and knowledgeable who will guide you throughout the trip without any hassle. You need not worry about directions or route because an experienced operator will make you travel in most comfortable means of transport. More than this, an operator must be charismatic and amiable, so that you won’t feel like being on an educational tour with your school principal. A tour guide must have good communication skills because if you are travelling with a group, it is obvious that there will be chaos and confusion that an operator needs to manage with maturity. It is must for an operator to possess good organizational skills in order to maintain coordination among group members and stick to the schedule of the trip. He or she must be emphatic and cordial because no one likes to go on a trip with an arrogant person that sucks the whole fun out of the tour. Managing time is one of the greatest virtues that an operator must possess because you need to be a certain place at a particular time without any delay. An operator can either make your vacations super fun or can make it a horrible experience.

POINTS TO REMEMBER-

Before selecting an operator, first, make it sure the fee is within your travelling budget. Other than this, choose an experienced and reputed operator, because it is always wise to explore with someone having knowledge about that place. Always follow the instruction of your tour guide when it comes to directions, punctuality, means of transport, etc. Everyone needs a break from their hectic schedule, so plan a solo trip or with your friends or family, hire a tour operator and explore different cities, their culture, food and natural beauty.