Day one of our trip to Taipei. Everyone woke up at a reasonable time, apparently we slept at the correct times and mitigated any jet lag that we may have experienced. It took us until 11 AM before we headed out though.
We headed out for breakfast, but the place my aunt suggested was already sold out by 11 AM. Despite my disappointment, our group soldiered on. We traversed the streets looking for our morning sustenance. We eventually came upon a shop that looked pretty good by the pictures. I was just very interested in getting soy milk (豆漿) for breakfast. This would be Megan and Dante’s first encounter with the affordability of delicious food in Taipei. Several dumplings, potstickers, and bowls of beef noodle soup later we continued on to Taipei 101.
We traversed via MRT to Taipei 101, but first we had to go through the surrounding shopping district. The area has really expanded and developed in the ten years since I last visited. It was pretty cool. Dante, Megan, Adam, and I had our first bubble tea of the trip here – with many more to come!
We finally reached the skyscraper and discovered an option to ride to the 89th floor observation deck. Deciding it was worth the cost, we headed up and became lost in the breathtaking view. The elevator ride up was extremely fast, not quite Top Thrill Dragster fast, but it climbed 89 floors in 34 seconds. The top speed in the middle few floors was ~600m/min.
The view from the observation deck was fantastic. Everything always looks a little bit like a model set from high above.
There was also an observation room of the wind dampener that they use for the skyscraper that reduces the movement of the tower by 40%. Being the engineering nerds we are, Megan, Adam, LaDante, and I were chatting about how it works and all the various specs that they shared at the tower. They even use the shape of the wind dampener as the mascot for Taipei 101, Damper Baby! There was a variety of them with different names, colors, and personalities. Very power ranger-esque. They’re only mission to keep Taipei 101 from swaying too much. Probably one of the cooler things in the room was a video of the dampener doing it’s thing during a typhoon.
After Taipei 101, Adam found that Elephant Mountain (象山) was a highly recommended landmark to visit so we made our way there to climb a mountain. Although the path up was not quite the leisurely stroll that I imagined, it was definitely worth it. The contrast between nature and the developed city of Taipei was gorgeous. Taipei 101 might have offered a hawk’s eye view of the city, but Elephant Mountain really gave us a majestic view of Taipei.
Sweaty and tired we left feeling weary but strangely invigorated after our 1.5 hour mountain jaunt. The Chang Kai Shek Memorial Hall was on the way back so I convinced our fatigued group to stop by. I personally like the area better at night, with the lights but the colors are so vibrant that a daytime visit would have probably also been great.
By this point, we were calorie-deprived and couldn’t wait to go home and shower before heading out for more food. We made a stop on our way back at Ningxia Night Market (寧夏夜市) for delicious, delicious food.
We ate our fill and spent on average ~$150NT (roughly $5 USD) a person. Stuffed and exhausted, we left the night market and all its hustle and bustle for home.
20,000 steps, and 79 flights of stairs (equivalent) later we made it back to our AirBNB where we showered and became quickly tuckered out and went to prepare for our next day. We did a lot in 1 day, and there’s 6 days left. I can’t wait!