Intro to Taipei, Taiwan

The small island nation, Taipei, is home to gorgeous landscapes, vibrant traditions and delicious cuisine. Taipei derives its unique culture from an amalgamation of indigenous, Japanese, Chinese and Western culture. This little island nation is unlike anything else you’ve ever experienced. When you visit Taipei, these are the five things you must do!

1) Rock Climb at Dragon Cave

You must take a day trip from the city to Dragon Cave. The actual name of Dragon Cave is Long Dong; the nickname Dragon cave is derived from an unique rock formation found here. Climbing the breathtakingly beautiful 70 meter sandstone crags is an experience you’ll cherish forever. In case heights make you queasy, and you decide to give the climb a miss, you can also snorkel here.

2) Learn Taiwanese History

Rather than visiting The National Palace Museum, head for the Wanhua district. Once known as “Monga”, it was the first settlement, which later metamorphosed into what we know as Taiwan today. Snake vendors, the old city wall, city gates, stories of rival gang wars and 300 year old temples — the Wanhua district is a living, breathing embodiment of Taiwanese history.

3) Experience the Local Arts and Entertainment

Festivals and cultural events are integral parts of the Taiwanese way of life. So make sure to take them into account while planning your trip. The Lantern Festival, the Taipei Arts Festival, the Taipei Film Festival, the Hot Air Balloon Festival, the Dragon Boat Festival are some of the major events you should try to get your trip to coincide.

4) Tickle your Tastebuds

Take a gastronomic excursion at Shilin Night Market, and munch on the delectable grilled chicken and skewered squids. If you are keen on pushing the culinary envelope, gorge on stinky tofu and oyster omelettes. And when you’re done with your binge, finish it off in style with a signature pearl milk tea.

5) Don’t be lazy

What? Yes, don’t be lazy. Don’t take a taxi or use public transportation. However efficient these options may seem, you can’t quite experience Taipei the way it should be experienced with these modes of transportation. For the love of God, walk. Explore every nook and cranny of Taipei. Or else, use Taipei’s public bicycle system, YouBike. It’s inexpensive as well as ubiquitous. Make the best of it, and take your own sweet time to explore Taipei.