Pedal Taiwan’s Ultimate Guide to: Taipei
Despite being a relatively small and undiscovered island for western tourists, the variety of environments and lifestyles across Taiwan are simply astounding. From the cold, rich waters of Keelung in the north, all the way to the tropical pacific beaches of Kenting in the south, Taiwan really has it all. Here at Pedal Taiwan, we believe that every inch of this incredible island should be explored by everyone, so we’re here to bring you our expert advice on where to go and what to see all across the island! Of course, the best way to see this fascinating paradise is with a Pedal Taiwan cycling tour!
For the first of our island guides, there is surely no other place to start than the capital, Taipei. Its the first place foreigners (or waigouren if you want to get all local about it!) see when they arrive, and their final destination before departure. Taipei is a busting, vibrant east asian metropolis, and a brilliant showpiece for what Taiwan is all about.
Accommodation in the city is more pricey than elsewhere on the island, and there is almost always a surcharge for staying on a Friday or Saturday night, however, if you know where to look you can usually find comfortable city hotel rooms at an affordable price. For travellers on a smaller budget, quality accommodation can be harder to come by.
However, you can’t go wrong with our team’s personal favourite, Meander Taipei. Based in super trendy Ximen, and with a new building recently opened next to main station, it is by far and away the standout backpacker haunt!
With accommodation sorted, it’s time to see the city. We have covered what we believe are the 5 unmissable sites in Taipei previously, however, we also have a few gems in the heart of the city.
From Meander in Ximen area, it’s only a 10 minute walk (or 5 minute U-bike) to Longshan Temple.
Surrounded by noise and mayhem, in the busting Ximending neighbourhood, stepping into this serene structure is as close to stepping back in time and space. Built in the 5th year of the Qing dynasty, the ancient walls somehow manage to block out all of the hustle and bustle of the outside world and transport you to another era. Still used for its original purpose, it’s and ideal location to recover a bit of the old ying and yang.
From the ancient history, to the recent history, our next stop will take us closer to the start of the nation. Another short walk from Longshan Temple, is one of the grandest structures on the entire island – Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall.
Considered the founder of the nation, and still revered throughout the island, his memorial hall reflects the impact that Chiang Kai Shek had on the island. Despite what some might argue was a questionable human rights record, Chiang’s tomb is still guarded 24 hours a day by soldiers who would certainly avoid attack by any passing t-rex (depending on how accurately we accept the science of Jurassic park).
Facing west, towards his birthplace of homeland China, Chiang always dreamt of a reunification after his nationalist forces fled to Taiwan during the Chinese civil war. This was, of course, not to be, and whilst most Taiwanese now view their nation as entirely independent of the People’s Republic, the respect and reverence for the founder of the nation can always be felt around this incredible architecture.
With so much to still to see in the city, we think we’ll need another post to cover all the amazing things left to see, do and taste! So stay tuned for part 2, and continue the adventure around Taipei!
For more information on Taiwan, and how you can explore this magical country by bike, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or check out our tour dates here
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