Layovers present a unique opportunity for travelers. With a few hours to spare between flights, you can visit a new city that you otherwise would not have seen. During my trip from Los Angeles to Hong Kong, I experienced just that – I had a six-hour layover in Taipei. With only six hours to spare, it was just enough time to see some of the top sights in the city. Here is how I did it.
From the airport, I took the airport MTR train to the red line metro, which conveniently stops at many of the city’s highlights including Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial and Taipei 101. I purchased a metro day pass and the trip took roughly 45 minutes to get there. Even though I was short on time, the metro was easy to use and efficient which enabled me to maximize my stay in Taipei.
1. TAIPEI 101
I wanted to hit the most obvious tourist spot first: Taipei 101. It is the tallest building in Taipei’s skyline and an engineering marvel. In fact, during the time of its construction in 2004 to 2010, it was the tallest building in the world at 101 stories and 508 meters tall. The building dominates the city with its unique tiered design, resembling bamboo, which is a symbol of growth.
The tickets to the observation deck can be purchased inside Taipei 101 at NT$600, granting access to the 89th floor. To get to the top, I rode in the fastest elevator in the world, which took about 37 seconds. The ride was smooth and felt more like 10 seconds. Once the elevator doors opened, I found myself in a large room with floor to ceiling glass windows. The views from the top are absolutely jaw dropping.
2. DIN TAI FUNG
They say Taiwan is the country that never stops eating, which I found to be true. I took the elevator down to the bottom floor of Taipei 101, which had a sprawling food court. To my surprise, I spotted Din Tai Fung, one of Taiwan’s famous restaurants conveniently located in the building. Here, you can sample the soup dumplings, or Xiaolongbao, which originated in Taiwan. The dumplings are as tasty as they are photogenic. The restaurant has many locations around the world, but nothing can substitute enjoying it in the country of its origin.
3. CHIANG KAI-SHEK MEMORIAL
Next, we visit the Chiang Kai-shek memorial, who was the founder of Taiwan. We view the beautiful architecture of his memorial. Chiang Kai-shek was a Chinese political leader who served as president of the Republic of China on Taiwan. The plaza consists of a theater, memorial site, and historic gate and the architecture is impressive.
After visiting Taiwan's tallest building, eating at its most iconic restaurant, and visiting is important historical sights, we headed back to the airport on the train. Even though our trip was brief, we were able to see much of the city thanks to the modern high speed rail.
What are your favorite places in Taiwan? Comment below.
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