Saturday, October 31, 2009
Taipei: From 'drab' to 'panache'
"I last visited Taipei in 1983, and what was then a rather drab and sprawling non-descript metropolis, has now morphed itself with panache and verve into a sophisticated and vibrant capital city. Cradled in a large basin that in prehistoric times was an enormous lake, the city’s arteries are an amalgam of wide, tree-lined boulevards, mimicking Europe’s best, and quaint old-fashioned, back-alleyways resonating with all the delights of Asia. Blessed with a sophisticated service industry, cheap and efficient public transport, a blend of modern shopping malls and traditional night markets, the best Chinese food in the world, and a vibrant nightlife scene – Taipei is surely one of the most unsung and underrated tourist destinations in Asia with something to offer everyone."
So writes John Hagan in The Seoul Times, an English-language newspaper in South Korea. His article covers the main attractions - Taipei 101, National Palace Museum and the city's food - but, as with any write-up of less than 1,200 words, just scratches the surface. The capital has a huge amount to see, do, eat and buy - spend a week here if you can.