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    TAIPEI

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    • 2-28 Peace Park

      Ketagalan Blvd., No. 3

      Taipei

      Sight

      Signature City Experiences

      Historic park and museum campus that’s dedicated to recognizing the events of the 2-28 Incident.

    • BeiTou

      BeiTou District

      Taipei

      Sight

      Signature City Experiences

      • BeiTou
      • Hot Springs District
      • BeiTou District
      • $

      Historic hot spring spa district nestled in the mountains on the outskirts of Taipei.

    • Botanical Gardens

      NanHai Rd., No. 53

      Taipei

      Sight

      Signature City Experiences

      Lush historic botanic gardens popular with flora fanatics and birders.

    • Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall

      ZhongShan S. Rd., No. 21

      Taipei

      Sight

      Museums & Galleries

      Grand memorial hall and gardens dedicated to General Chiang Kai-shek.

    • CKS ShiLin Residence Park

      FuLin Rd., No. 60

      Taipei

      Sight

      Signature City Experiences

      Elegant manicured gardens surrounding the former residence of General and Madam Chiang Kai-shek.

    • Da’An Forest Park

      XinSheng S. Rd., Sec. 2, No. 1

      Taipei

      Sight

      Signature City Experiences

      The “lungs of Taipei,” a sprawling green space offering tons of outdoor activities.

    • DiHua Street

      DiHua St.

      Taipei

      Sight

      Signature City Experiences

      Historic street famous for its shops selling traditional Chinese herbs and medicines.

    • Lin Family Mansion & Garden

      XiMen St., No. 9

      Taipei

      Sight

      Signature City Experiences

      Elegant mansion and gardens dating back to the Qing Dynasty.

    • National Palace Museum

      ZhiShan Rd., Sec. 2, No. 221

      Taipei

      Sight

      Museums & Galleries

      true

      Museum showcasing the finest collection of Chinese art in the world.

    • National Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall

      Ren-ai Rd., Sec. 4, No. 505

      Taipei

      Sight

      Museums & Galleries

      Peaceful memorial hall and park dedicated to Dr. Sun Yat-sen.

    • Night Markets

      Various locations

      Taipei

      Sight

      Signature City Experiences

      true

      Bustling after-dark markets packed with snack stalls, shops, and reflexology parlors.

    • Presidential Building

      ChongQing S. Rd., Sec. 1, No. 122

      Taipei

      Sight

      Museums & Galleries

      Tour the presidential offices or simply admire the ornate red brick façade.

    • Shandao Temple

      ZhongXiao E. Rd., Sec. 1, No. 23

      Taipei

      Sight

      Signature City Experiences

      The largest Buddhist temple in Taipei with a small museum of ancient artifacts.

    • Taipei 101

      Shifu Rd., No. 45

      Taipei

      Sight

      Signature City Experiences

      true

      One of the world’s tallest buildings, offering incredible views and a range of upscale dining and shopping.

    • Taipei Grand Mosque

      XinSheng S. Rd., Sec. 2, No. 62

      Taipei

      Sight

      Signature City Experiences

      City center mosque with pretty architecture and a collection of priceless Islamic antiques.

    • Tamsui (or DanShui)

      Tamsui Township

      Taipei

      Sight

      Signature City Experiences

      This colonial fishing village facing the Strait of Taiwan offers lovely sunset views.

    • Ximending

      Ximending

      Taipei

      Sight

      Signature City Experiences

      Taipei’s young and fun set comes to cut loose in this bustling shopping and entertainment district.

    • Yangmingshan National Park

      ShiLin and BeiTou Districts

      Taipei

      Sight

      Signature City Experiences

      Mountainous national park with striking volcanic features and hot springs.

    There is a Chinese proverb that states, "The best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago. The second best time is today." In a lot of ways, this wisdom of valuing the past yet planning for the future characterizes the essence of Taipei. It's a city that reveres its rich roots but at the same time looks forward in everything from architecture to fashion to technology. In fact, Taipei's most significant sights are those that illuminate its complex colonial and political history, spotlight its modern achievements, or fluidly blend the two. And of course, Taipei's literal roots are very much something to see too, whether you're admiring the trees at a wooded national park or the flora in a lush botanical garden.

    The built environment of Taipei reflects its patchwork past as a colony of multiple international powers. Along DiHua Street, a historic lane famous for shops selling traditional Chinese herbs and medicines, the architecture dates back to the Dutch and Japanese occupations. In Tamsui, a quaint waterfront village on banks of the Tamsui River overlooking the Taiwan Strait, one of the highlights is the Hong Mao Castle, a Western-style, 17th century fortress started by the Spanish and completed by the Dutch. The imposing Euro-baroque brick facade of the Presidential Building, today the site of presidential offices, was originally built as a residence for the Japanese governor in 1919.

    As if all that colonial regime change weren't enough, Taipei's post-World War II history was also pretty tumultuous. Chiang Kai-shek (or "CKS"), a former authoritarian ruler, rose to power in mainland China as a member of the Kuomintang party but ultimately fled to Taiwan in 1949 when the Communists defeated his government in the Chinese Civil War. The Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall gives a good introduction to this political history, while the CKS ShiLin Residence Park offers a peek into CKS's personal chapel and gardens.

    Kuomintang rule wasn't as peaceful, though, as these tranquil gardens imply. Case in point: what's known as the "2-28 Incident," a violent massacre of thousands of Taiwanese protesting against the government on February 28, 1947. The 2-28 Peace Park includes a memorial to those who perished and a museum that contextualizes the incident. On a more positive note, however, the Kuomintang split from the Communists was a boon for the National Palace Museum, which showcases some of China's greatest antiquities and treasures−including artifacts from the Forbidden City−brought to Taiwan by CKS when he fled the mainland.

    But even as these monuments and museums ensure the past will never be forgotten, Taipei's residents are repurposing some of the city's historic areas for modern diversions. Ximending, which was a popular theater district in the 1920s, is once again an "it" destination for Taipei's teen and 20-something set with its indie fashion boutiques and bar/café hopping possibilities. Traditional Night Markets, bustling bazaars where throngs descend after dark to stroll and snack on street eats, have evolved to include a wider variety of shops that appeal to tourists as well as locals. And while it incorporates design elements of an ancient pagoda, the Taipei 101 skyscraper−one of the world's tallest buildings−zooms toward the future with a high-tech damper to withstand earthquakes (and a luxury fashion mall to weather even the most serious of shopping sprees).

    Though the observatory on Taipei's 89th floor is not to be missed, some of the highest highs in Taipei are of the natural variety. Take Yangmingshan National Park, for instance, home to QiXingShan peak−the highest point in Taipei−as well as hiking trails that thread through volcanic features, waterfalls, and hot springs. You can also enjoy those hot springs in BeiTou, a spa destination on the outskirts of the city. But as green spaces in the center of the city go, we're partial to the verdant Botanical Gardens and the sprawling Da'An Forest Park. Opened in 1994, Da'An is one of Taipei's largest and newest parks. Its striking bamboo forest is proof that perhaps the best time to plant a tree was just about twenty years ago.

    Photo of 2-28 Peace Park courtesy of RobMan170 on Flickr