Suited-up professionals making offerings in old Buddhist temples. Teenagers on iPhones® hanging out in traditional tea shops. The ancient tai chi taking place in the parks against a backdrop of skyscrapers. This is Taiwan, where yin and yang come together seamlessly and create a unique society and culture where so many diverse experiences share one thing in common—they are all part of why the city is always alive, thriving, pulsating, and exciting. This is where attitude meets altitude, an ultra-modern capital city steeped in history and surrounded by mountains in the Taipei Basin, and the driving force behind one of the highest standards of living globally.
From our perch above the hip Uni-Hankyu department store and City Hall MRT stop, W Taipei is just minutes from Taipei 101, the world's second tallest building with an 89th floor observatory, Taipei City Hall, and Taipei World Trade Centre. Right in the heart of the vibrant Xinyi district, home to A-mei, one of the region's most popular pop stars, you never have to go far to explore the hottest retail therapy in town—this is where the most premier malls hold court, all connected by a suspended footbridge to make it easier for you to shop around. Also the hub of the most scintillating nightlife, check out all the scenes to be seen at, a super-hip rendition of the immensely sociable nature of Taipei locals.
Stroll through 8,000 years of Chinese history at the National Palace Museum, then ramble along the back alleys and lanes and discover markets, temples, tea shops, fortune tellers and knick-knacks. After you've visited the National Dr. Sun Yat Sen Memorial Hall, Taipei Zoo, Taipei Dome and the Holiday Jade Market, one of Asia's largest for semi-precious stones, you'll understand the need for food to be at the heart of Taiwanese life. Re-fuel by making your way through the city's diverse culinary repertoire, from delicacies such as "stinky tofu" to the beloved soup dumplings. You only need to visit one of the street night markets, such as Jao He or Shilin, to find everything in one place, in conquerable and snack-sized portions. For all other palates, there is no end to restaurants offering everything from haute cuisine to fusion dishes.
Take a break from the bustle and go au naturel with a hike across the Yangmingshan mountain trails, then rejuvenate with a dip in the Beitou hot springs. For more action, catch a baseball game or take in the Cloud Ballet or Chinese opera.
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