I don't ride the Red Line as much as I used to. When my brother-in-law lived in Taoyuan 桃園, we rode it more than any other MRT line, but that was many years ago already.
1. Taipei 101/World Trade Center 台北101 / 世貿. You can get to the 101 on the Red Line too? I had no idea. Either this is a new stop or I just never noticed.
Sometimes the exhibitions held at the World Trade Center are worth going to. I've been to a couple of the book fairs there. It was fairly interesting, even though the comic book part was INSANE. Seriously, there were so many people in that part of the book fair that I wasn't able to see any of the exhibits.
|Daan Forest Park|
2. Daan Forest Park 大安森林公園. I can remember visiting here years ago and thinking it wasn't bad. It's disappointing if you compare it to "forest parks" in other parts of Taiwan, but taken as another park in Taipei it's pretty good.
3. Dongmen 東門. Like other, older cities in Taiwan, Taipei has gates marking the boundaries of the older, fortified city. These gates would be almost identical to what you'd find in Hsinchu 新竹, Tainan 台南, or Hengchun 恆春, so don't feel a need to seek them out unless you won't be in one of those other cities. If you're interested in Ching Dynasty fortifications, Hengchun would be your best bet anyway.
4. Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall 中正紀念堂. If you use the name "Chiang Kai-shek" with locals and get a blank stare don't be surprised. His Chinese name, 蔣介石 (Jiang Jie-shr), sounds very different from his "English" name, which was derived from Cantonese. To make matters worse, in Taiwan he is more often referred to as 蔣中正 (Jiang Jong-jung), which is yet another of his many names. It is this "Jong-jung" which ought to be put before "Memorial Hall."
|Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall|
Back when Mainland Chinese tourism in Taiwan was going strong, this place was a madhouse. EVERY tour bus had to stop here, and EVERY tourist had to take a picture in front of this very scenic building. In case you didn't know, Chaing Kai-shek, the Nationalist first President who "stole" many of China's most priceless treasures and housed them in the National Palace Museum 故宮博物院, is infamous in China. To be fair, he did flirt with Fascism, he did spearhead a lot of unjust policies in Taiwan, and he isn't all that popular here now, either.
But hey it's a cool building. There's also a nice park around it. If you're looking to take some pictures I highly recommend it.
5. Taipei Main Station 台北車站. Get in and get out as quickly as possible. That's my policy.
|The famous (old) Yuanshan Hotel. Many people think it's haunted!|
6. Yuanshan 圓山. This used to be one of my favorite amusement parks. Every ride was 10 NT, and even though none of the rides were especially exciting it was still a fun place to spend an afternoon. They've since opened the Taipei Children's Amusement Park 台北市立兒童新樂園 not far from the Science Museum 台灣科學教育館, but it lacks the lived-in vibe of the old Yuanshan amusement park (mosquitoes and all).
This was also where the Taipei Flower Exhibition 花博 was held. It sounds kind of ridiculous now, but that was a big deal at the time. I didn't visit it when it was running full steam, but I did stop by there a few days after it ended. A lot of the exhibits were still in place, and it was somewhat interesting.
An interesting relic of the Flower Exhibition is the international food court behind the main building. Last time I was there (which was, admittedly, a while ago) they had Japanese, Argentinian, Hawaiian, and many other kinds of food.
|Taipei Fine Arts Museum|
On the other side of Yuanshan is the the Taipei Fine Arts Museum 台北市立美術館. I suppose it depends on what kind of art you're into, but I thought this place was super boring. There was a lot of pretentious modern art that didn't do anything for me.
7. Shilin 士林. This is Taipei's (and by virtue of that, Taiwan's) most famous night market. It's slammed on the weekends, and if a particular stand is popular you can end up waiting a long time for whatever it is you intend on eating.
I've been there a few times, but because my wife HATES it I don't eat there that much. Many of the foods are very similar, but if you're in the right mood it can be a lot of fun.
Did you know that Shilin makes a special knife called the "Shilin knife?" Until recently I didn't either, but if you look closely it can be purchased in that area.
8. Beitou 北投. This is where the hot springs are. Or at least it's on the way to the hot springs. I've visited a couple of the hot springs there and they didn't do much for me. But then again, if you've gotten used to the hot springs on the east coast of the island (like me) this is not surprising. Beitou just can't compete with some of the more spacious, more scenic hot springs on the east coast.
9. Guandu 關渡. Went walking here once. There was supposed to be something scenic in the area, but we never found it. Instead we ended up walking into some university campus, buying a drink, and heading back into the city. Was that university campus the scenic spot we were looking for? I still have no idea.
10. Hongshulin 紅樹林. The literal translation of "Hongshulin" would be "mangrove forest." This is a great place for walking, and there are some temples and restaurants of interest here as well. If you look closely under the mangrove trees, you'll see very tiny crabs in the mud.
11. Tamsui 淡水. This place is a lot like Shilin. In the right mood it's a blast, in the wrong mood you'll wonder why you bothered. The best time to visit is when the sun is going down on Friday or Saturday evening. There's a night market, street musicians and performers, and a boat across the river to Ba Li 八里.
Nearby is the site of Fort San Domingo 紅毛城 ("Hong Mao Chung," literally "Red Hair Fort" or "Fort of the Red-Haired Barbarians") which was built by the Spanish in 1629. It predates the sites left behind by the Dutch by a couple decades, though the Spanish never established much of a presence in Taiwan. The building which stands on that site today is actually Fort Antonio, the replacement structure built by the Dutch after they kicked the Spanish out.
|Fort "San Domingo."|
Taipei, According to the MRT and My Faulty Memory (Blue Line)
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)