Taipei (台北 or 臺北; Táiběi) is the national capital of the Republic of China, otherwise known as Taiwan. Sitting in the northern part of the island in a basin between the Yangming Mountains and the Central Mountains, Taipei serves as the island's financial, cultural, and governmental center. The city is a tantalizing mix of Chinese, Japanese and Western influences, vibrant in its own right yet unhurried by global standards. Besides the architectural and cultural landmarks like Taipei 101 and Longshan Temple, the xiaochi (small snacks) in bustling night markets are an experience not to be forgotten by your stomach. The capital is also a great jumping off point for day trips to hot springs, old mining towns and national parks around the Northern Taiwan area.
Taipei is mostly built up and in various phases of growth and disrepair, though a park is never far away, especially in the more suburban areas. The downtown area is culturally divided into East and West. The west side, with its narrow streets and road side vendors, is considered the bastion of old Taipei life, whereas East Taipei, with its classy malls, chic boutiques, and stylish restaurants and cafes, reminiscent of those found in Tokyo, Paris or New York City represents its metamorphosis into a modern and international city.
The Greater Taipei metropolitan area beyond Taipei City boundaries includes the surrounding New Taipei City (新北市) and Keelung (基隆市), representing the largest urban cluster in Taiwan with nearly 7 million people, though run by three different government authorities. Read more