Your Taipei top 6
Set on a series of lush hills, the modern Taiwanese capital may be blanketed by skyscrapers but it firmly holds on to tradition. Here are our must-sees in this intriguing city.
High and low
The iconic Taipei 101 (45 Shifu Road, Xinyi district; taipei-101.com.tw; $13) was designed to look like a bamboo stalk, all the while heralding the city's place in the 21st century. The panoramic views are worth the ride up.
Back at street level, explore the historic district of Datong. Wander along Old Dihua Street, a narrow lane lined with vintage shopfronts selling bamboo goods, embroidery, lanterns and dried foods.
Old and new
Often referred to as the world's greatest repository of Chinese art, The National Palace Museum (No.221, Section 2, Zhishan Road, Shilin District; npm.gov.tw, adults $5.50) wows with painting, calligraphy, statues, ceramic and jade spanning thousands of years.
The newest "it" spot is the W (10 Zhongxiao East Road Sec. 5, Xinyi District; wtaipei.com. Chef Jereme Leung, who's gotten raves in Beijing and Hong Kong, helms the kitchen at YEN, while the poolside WET bar is so hot, it's impossible to get a table.
Cool and hot
The craggy windswept peaks and grassy meadows of Yangmingshan Park (Zhuzhihu Road, Yangmingshan; english.ymsnp.gov.tw make it feel remote, though it's only 30 minutes from the city. Grab a map and hike to crater lakes, or take the inter-park shuttle bus.
Yangmingshan's volcanic mountains are what give nearby Beitou its steam. A hot springs town filled with Japanese-style inns and spas, it offers budget public baths, or splurge-worthy spas like Villa 32 (32 Zhongshan Road, Beitou District; villa32.com from $57). A new Taipei MRT metro stop connects it to downtown.
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