The Blue Line is the line I know best. I take the Red and Brown Lines fairly often, but I don't use them half as much as the Blue.
1. Nangang 南港. By brother-in-law lives near Nangang, just over the city limit in Bai Fu 百福, Keelung City 基隆市. When we visit him during Chinese New Year we usually park our car near his house, take the train from Bai Fu to Nangang, and then take the MRT into Taipei City.
There are a couple department stores in Nangang, but unless you're a businessman you'd have little reason to go there. The CityLink department store in Nangang has one of the few remaining dine-in Pizza Huts, and the view from that restaurant is surprisingly good.
|Map of Nangang's CityLink.|
Last time we were in Nangang I made an effort to explore the area. There's not much around there now, but I have the feeling it will develop quickly.
2. Taipei City Hall 市政府. Aside from the abodes of various in-laws (my wife has a lot of family in Taipei), this is the part of Taipei I visit most often. This is the stop for the Taipei 101 Building and the big shopping center surrounding it.
Every time I visit this area they're building something new, and every time I visit a store that I once visited has closed, to be replaced by another store or restaurant. There's a lot of money to be made in this area, but there's also a lot of competition. I imagine that it's very similar to parts of China.
|The burgers at Gordon Biersh are great (but not cheap).|
If you're a foreigner and you're looking for a good hamburger, this is the place to go. I make a point of visiting the Gordon Biersch in the Shin Kong Mitsukoshi 新光三越 every time I'm there. There's also a T.G.I. Friday's and a Chili's nearby. This is not even to mention the countless other Western restaurants in that area. I even had fairly authentic Mexican food there once.
The Discovery Center of Taipei is also not far, in the Taipei City Government Building. Kind of interesting, and there's no entrance fee.
3. Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall 國父紀念館. If it's not to hot and I'm coming from the Taipei Main Station, I'll usually get off the MRT and walk from here to the Taipei 101. If you're going all the way over to the 101, it's actually about the same distance from the Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall as it is from Taipei City Government.
This place is always very lively. A lot of high school kids practice their dancing on the second floor of the hall, and there are always other activities going on.
|Zongxiao Fuxing shopping district. Sogo on the right.|
4. Zhongxiao Dunhua 忠孝敦化. My wife's aunt lives not far from here, about halfway between this stop and the next one. She lives in a BIG apartment building just off the main road.
5. Zhongxiao Fuxing 忠孝復興. This is another big shopping area. There's not one but two Sogos 太平洋, and also the original Breeze department store 微風 up the street. The movie theater in that Breeze is probably my favorite in Taipei. It's not super new or super big, but it's rarely crowded.
6. Shandao Temple 善導寺. I don't go to this stop very often, but I remember that this was where the the depot for shipping things via train was. There's a small building near the MRT stop, and if you're shipping things from Taipei to Taitung (like I was) that's where you have to go.
|Taipei Main Station.|
7. Taipei Main Station 台北車站. Who hasn't been here at least once? I can't tell you how many hours of my life have been spent in this place, waiting for various trains.
The newer Breeze on the second floor of the train station is not usually worth messing with - too crowded - so if you're stuck near the station I suggest venturing over to the Shin Kong Mitsukoshi 新光三越 across the street. To be sure, the Taipei City Mall 地下街beneath the train station has better food, but getting a seat there can be a challenge.
And isn't the Taiwan History Museum near there? That museum is not worth going to. The building it's housed in is kind of cool, but the exhibits are disappointing.
|Ximending at night, the best time to go.|
8. Ximen 西門. Ximending 西門町 is one of the most popular shopping areas in Taipei, and if you're a younger person (or if you have younger people in tow) you should visit it for at least one evening. My daughters love that place, even if most of the stores sell similar things.
9. Longshan Temple 龍山寺. Dedicated (consecrated?) to the goddess Kuanyin (Guanyin). It's very old, and there aren't many like it in Taiwan, but unless you're really into temple architecture you probably won't notice the difference.
Anyway, it's a very busy place, especially on certain holidays, and there's some good food in that area.
I have a really bad memory of taking the GRE (the test to get into American graduate schools) in a building near the Longshan Temple. I did well on two of the sections, but totally bombed the math/analytical part. It wasn't so much that I couldn't do it, just that the time allotted for the GRE was SO long, and by the time I got to the math/analytical part I had lost all my patience. After a few questions I started answering everything with "B."
10. Banqiao 板橋. My brother-in-law, before he lived in Keelung, lived here. This area has really exploded in recent years, and there's a surprising amount of shopping to be done in and around Banqiao Station.
I've walked around this area A LOT, so I know it pretty well. If you're in the area you can visit the Lin Family Garden 林家花園, but only if you're looking for something historic.
11. Far Eastern Hospital 亞東醫院. Nothing of interest here, really. I only remember it because it's the closest stop to where my father-in-law lives in Shulin 樹林.
The roads in that part of New Taipei City 新北市 are a labyrinth that consumes the unwary. so be sure to have a map handy. Even with a GPS I've gotten lost around there. Shulin, Linkou 林口, Xinjuang 新莊, Yonghe 永和 - it's all a big mess of traffic and alleyways that go nowhere.
|Areas west/southwest of Taipei City.|
Wandering Around Guanshan 在關山走走
What's Going on with the Taitung City, Township, and Municipality Offices 台東市,鄉,鎮公所最近動向 2
Kaohsiung, According to the MRT and My Faulty Memory (Yellow Line)
Kaohsiung, According to the MRT and My Faulty Memory (Red Line)