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CNNGo TV in Taipei: The secret side of the city
A military-base-turned-lifestyle-cafe, a hidden tunnel under a five-star hotel and more, unveiled in this episode of CNNGo TV
Taipei, for anyone that knows it, will conjure up visions of countless food streets and the Taipei 101 landmark. But did you know about the hidden tunnels and the artist village?
From the oldest to the latest, above the ground and beneath, CNNGo TV uncovers the little-known side of Taipei with local song-writer, Sandee Chan(陳珊妮) and indie music sensation Crowd Lu (盧廣仲).
We hit Good Cho's, a 60-year-old former military village with Taiwanese singer Sandee Chan. It's now the home of a trendy bagel café, gallery and the Simple Life lifestyle store.
The fresh bagels and homemade yogurt are superb.
Good Cho's also stages regular live music performances, a weekly outdoor flea market and an annual Simple Life music and art festival.
Good Cho's, Xinyi Public Assembly Hall House C, 54 Songqin St., Taipei City; Tuesday-Friday, 11a.m.- 9:30 p.m., Saturday-Sunday, 10 a.m.- 6 p.m. (Café closes at 4:30 p.m.); +886 2 2758 2609. See Good Cho's website and Simple Life's website for more details.
Treasure Hill Artist Village
A former veterans' village along the hillside of Bao Zang Yen (Treasure Hill) has been renovated into an artist village. Besides outdoor and indoor exhibitions there are also 14 studios for an "Artists-in-Residence" program.
The colorful huts in this squatter village sit next to a Buddhist temple, one of the city's historic monuments.
Treasure Hill Artist Village, No. 2, Alley 14, Lane 230, Section 3, Tingzhou Road, Taipei City.; Tuesday-Sunday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m. (Exhibition closes at 6 p.m.); +886 2 2364 5313; guided tours and other information at www.artistvillage.org
Exclusive performance from Crowd Lu
Taiwan's indie sensation Crowd Lu started his music career late. He started writing songs and playing guitar after a serious car accident in his first year at university.
The rest is history -- he became one of the most popular indie singers in Taiwan, toured the country and within a few years had a best-selling CD.
Eslite's 24-hour bookstore
Besides karaoke, clubs and sleep, what else do Taiwanese do at midnight? Visit bookstores.
Taiwan is a nation of bookworms. So much so that bookstores have become a popular tourist attraction for tourists from neighboring countries.
Eslite Bookstore, one of the biggest bookstore chains in Taiwan, has around 50 branches countrywide. The store on Dunhua South Road opens 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Eslite's 24-hour bookstore, No. 245-2F, Section 1, Dunhua South Road, Taipei City; +886 2 2775 5977; more shop locations at www.eslitecorp.com (Chinese only)
Ningxia Night Market
We skipped the crowded Shilin Night Market and visited a smaller traditional night market in western Taipei -- Ningxia Night Market.
It's petiteness doesn't undermine its ability to delivery good xiao-chi (small eats). Oyster omelets, fish cake soup, deep-fried taro cake and braised pork rice, are all served up with their original flavors.
Ningxia Road, Datong District, 6 p.m.- around midnight
Hidden tunnels under The Grand Hotel
The Grand Hotel is another Taipei landmark with a magnificent classical Chinese design.
Opened in 1952, it is the oldest five-star hotel in the city; it has welcomed political bigwigs and has its own air-raid shelter. But there is a twist to this secret passage -- a 70-meter-long whirling slide.
The hidden tunnels were made famous by a Taiwanese reporter who careened down the slide with a anguished shriek.
No. 1, Chung Shan Northern Road, Section 4, Zhongshan District, Taipei City; +886 2 2882 8888; www.grand-hotel.org