iReport: What to do in Taipei?
Taiwan isn't called the "Ilha Formosa" by the Portuguese for nothing.
The phrase means "beautiful island" and Taiwan is a stunner indeed. The following iReporters show us just how gorgeous Taiwan can be and why it deserves its status as an international travel destination.
iReporter Jill Thornton's trip to Taipei in September 2007 was particularly memorable.
"I remember it was my first international trip where I was traveling alone, so I was not only nervous to be alone but the language and culture were so different from my own," says Thornton. "It turned out to be a really great place to explore, eat lots of yummy food, and see some amazing sites."
"At that time, Taipei 101 was the tallest building in the world. One of my favorite things to do in any city is to find the highest spot and look out at the view, so to be higher than any other building in the world was a real thrill."
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Thornton also encountered the most severe earthquake in her life.
"While I was there, a 6.0 earthquake hit, so it was quite an experience to be swaying back and forth in my hotel room ... a frequent occurrence I'm sure every person living there is used to, since everyone lives in such tall buildings."
Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall
Thornton recommends the tranquil gardens of the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall to calm earthquake-shaken nerves.
"The Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall is a place in honor of the leader who fled the civil war in China," says Thornton. "Even though it was under construction when I was there, it was so grand and awesome. The gardens around the main building were a place of peace and beauty in the middle of a loud, bustling city."
Hot Spring in Beitou
Online travel guide founder Emily C. Brands is not new to Taipei. She goes to the nation's capital every year to visit her family there. In a city obsessed with soaking in mineral-rich hot springs, Brands recommends Beitou.
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"Beitou differs from other hot spring spots because it is extremely convenient to reach from the center of Taipei -- you just hop on the metro (MRT) and you're there in about 30 minutes," says Brands. "While it may not be as secluded as other hot spring places, the easy-to-reach factor and reasonable prices, in addition to its proximity to the neighboring mountains, make it a great place."
"The hot springs are the main attraction in Beitou, however visitors can learn more about the history of this area and its development at the Hot Springs Museum, located in the park just outside the MRT station."
Yuzu Japanese Kitchen
Food wise, Brands' favorite place is Yuzu Japanese Kitchen on Guangfu South Road.
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"Dark and sleek, the decor in this boutique restaurant centers around the open kitchen, where the masterminds behind the refined Japanese concoctions calmly assemble their creations," says Brands.
"The chawanmushi with crabmeat and the broiled jumbo prawn were both delicious. The menu, though, is set for the day with only a couple of choices to be made by the diner, so you may try to request a dish, but if the ingredients weren't available or fresh that day, they won't be able to make it for you."
Yuzu Japanese Kitchen, No.7, Lane 260, Guangfu South Road, Da'An District, Taipei, +886 2 2711 5756