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By far the most eye catching building in Taipei is the Taipei 101. At 101 floors and 509 metres tall, it used to be the tallest building in the entire world. In Taipei, it dwarfs every other building in sight. I checked it out from just about every angle possible, and here’s how I did it!
Take a look up…
To get a good idea of the sheer size of this beast, you’ve got to start from the bottom. Standing right at the bottom of Taipei 101, gazing up over the aqua blue window panes, the building sometimes disappears in to the clouds quite literally! I remember the first time I went to New York, I couldn’t stop myself from staring up at the sky as skyscraper after skyscraper stretched up high. Taipei 101 is very different. In the area surrounding this giant, no other building comes close to its size, so on a clear day the blue sky reflects off the glass and provides the perfect backdrop to stare in wonder.
Climb up to the 35th floor for free…
I’ve never heard of a Starbucks being reservation only but the one sat on the 35th floor of Taipei 101 is! We booked a table for 9.30am a day in advance and arrived for our coffee and cake. After being greeted by a smiley Starbucks barista, we rode the 35 floors up in the world’s fastest elevator. The view alone is worth the trip. We sat at the window of the far from overcrowded cafe, and took in the sights of the surrounding area. This is only a third of the way up the enormous jewel in Taiwan’s crown, and already the people down below look like ants! If you’re thinking of going up, bear in mind that you have to buy a drink and a pastry, but it’s absolutely worth the trip and may just be the most enjoyable coffee you have in Taiwan!
Climb up Elephant Mountain for the best view in town…
This is the main event. The view to remember Taipei and probably Taiwan by. From our hostel, a short 15 minute walk took us to the beginning of the trail up Elephant Mountain. Steep steps guide you up to the various view points across the city, with many others climbing the 183m to take in the view. I don’t always love the most touristy places in a city, but sometimes there is a reason for it being popular. Taipei 101 sits right in front of the mountain, and it feels like this place was designed with the sole purpose of showing off the city’s towering giant.
This place is absolutely worth the visit, and if you get there early enough you won’t even notice the crowds. Arriving an hour before sunset, we parked up at the top viewpoint between professional looking photographers tweaking their tripods as they too waited for the sun to disappear. When it did, the huge red ball of fire sank over the horizon casting an orange glow over the city which acted as an instruction to each and every Taipei resident to one by one turn on their lights. Slowly but surely, the buildings lit up as the dark set in more and more. As Taipei 101 began to glow a bright shade of purple, we were offered a completely different, yet equally incredible view of the city to the one we had seen upon arrival an hour before. This place is unmissable.
What’s the most impressive building you’ve ever seen? Have you been to Taipei?