Established in 1738, Longshan is one of Taipei's
most famous and busiest temples. It has been
reconstructed and renovated several times
and was even bombed by the Americans in 1945.
Close-by there is a two-block-long lane called
Snake Alley, named so because of the type
of ‘products’ on sale on the
street (only a few remain). These snakes
were sold for their blood and bile that is
said to contain potent spirits and herbs.
Those who are daring enough may ask to add
a bit of poison venom to the mixture. This
snake concoction is said to help strengthen
men’s eyes, lower spine, get rid of
fatigue, and encourages the male sexual vitality.
When the snakes are drained of their venom,
their meat is cooked in soups which are apparently
a scrumptious and nutritious dish.
Snake Alley also offers other more interesting
stalls, including fortune-tellers, vendors
of herbal potions, tattoo parlours, fresh
fruit stalls and hawkers of gifts and gems.
It is also known for prostitution. Brothels
once lined the surrounding streets, and though
no longer legal, you can still see a few
Currently the world’s tallest building.
Opened in 2004, Taipei 101 is Taipei City’s
landmark designed in eight sections according
to the Chinese lucky number, 8. Taipei 101
is comprised of 101 floors with the fastest
elevators in the world at the time when it
was established that can travel 91 floors
in only 37 seconds (approximately, 64.4 kilometers
per hour). On the observation deck there
are explanations of how the building was
built and made typhoon and earthquake proof
and on a lower floor you can see the stabilising
lead ball. There was a large display of carved
pink coral and ivory on the observation deck.
Before the decent in the lift you wander
through a huge store selling pink coral jewellery
and carved ornaments - although the pieces
looked beautiful I consider this to be a
violation of the environment and rather distasteful.
Tamsui (Danshui) Fisherman's Wharf
From the MTR it is an enjoyable 30 minute
walk through the old town and along the river
to get to the Wharf (or you can hire a bike
or catch a bus). There is a monument and
chapel and former residence of Doctor George
Mackay, from Ontario Canada, whose influence
in the medical, educational and religious
history of Tamsui is celebrated annually
on June 2nd.
Tamsui Wharf is a popular scenic spot since
it has opened in 2001. It was established
to have a multipurpose use of fishing and
sightseeing. The Sunset view at the Fisherman’s
Wharf is considered to be one of the eight
famous ‘worth seeing sceneries’
in Taiwan. The Lover’s Bridge with
its changes of light projecting on the bridge
is a popular spot. Art performances and concerts are held
frequently on the Wharf and we were looking
forward to enjoying some fresh seafood but,
unfortunately, all the restaurants around
the wharf were closed (it was a Sunday).
Taipei Sea World and Aquarium – very sadly this has been closed.
Shilin Night Market
There are many night markets in Taipei of
which Shilin Night Market is the largest.
The market is centered around Yangming Theater
and Cicheng Temple. Shilin Market was built
as early as in 1899 and the market is famous
for various snacks and eatery, such as a
large pancake enfolding a small pancake,
hot pot on stone or Shilin sausage.
National Palace Museum
First established in 1925 and re-established
in 1965, the National Palace Museum is the
home to the world’s largest and precious
collection of Chinese art: paintings, crafts,
relics, historical documentations and lots
more reflecting the rich cultural heritage
and civilization of the ancient Chinese.
The museum houses about 655,000 pieces of
collection, with much of it liberated from
mainland China during the last retreat of
the KMT. It’s extraordinary that so
many of the pieces have survived given the
number of times it was crated and moved around
China before the advances of the Japanese
and then the communist armies. The 2972 creates
that were shipped to safety represent only
22% of the objects removed from the threatened
However, the vast collection is far too many
to exhibit at any given time. Paintings,
calligraphy, statues, ceramic and jade, as
well as a fascinating collection of Buddhist
artifacts inherited from the Forbidden City
are the major part of treasures on rotation.
The most famous and notable pieces of the
museum are the Jadeite cabbage, Meat-Shaped
Stone, Agate Finger Citrons, White Jade Branch
of Elegant Lychee, T’ien-huang Stone
Miniature Mountain, and Jadeite Screen Insert.
The sheer volume of the priceless collection
makes the National Palace Museum a must-visit
place. Allow several hours to explore the
Take the MRT to Shilin Station and then taking
bus R30, 255, 304, Minibus 18, Minibus 19
or Culture Bus 101.
Suho Paper Museum
The paper museum was created after the tragic
plane crash in China in which Mr Suho Chen
and his wife died in 1990. To honour their
father, his children brought life to one
of his unfulfilled dreams with the establishment
of the Suho Memorial Paper Museum, opening
after five years of planning, in Oct. 1995.
There are static and temporary exhibitions,
a paper lab and workshop where visitors can
make their own paper.
Minatures Museum of Taiwan
It is the first museum in Asia that has a
collection of modern miniature artworks covering
an area over six hundred and sixty square
metres. The museum was established after
the curators visit to Amsterdam where they
saw many miniatures. There are miniatures created by people from
7 different countries. The main themes of the museum can be classified
as European medieval streets, baroque architectures,
architectures of British Victorian-Era, and
mansions in the U.S. colonial period.
Among the most (of many) astounding articles
on display is a 40-bulb chandelier no bigger
than a single grain of rice in a twelfth
scale of Buckingham Palace, real whisky in
a tine 1cm bottle and a working TV smaller
than a postage stamp. It’s a most impressive