If you have a short time to visit Taipei, Taipei 101, or The Taipei World Financial Center as it was formally know, is regarded as a compulsory stop. It was built in 2004 and held the title as the world’s tallest skyscraper until 2010 with the opening of Burj Khalifa in Dubai. Currently, it’s the world’s sixth tallest building standing at an impressive 509 meters high. Taipei 101, for now has to settle for the award of being the tallest and largest green building in the world.
This hard to miss building amongst Taipei’s relatively low skyline, has a postmodern architectural style, which is designed to resemble bamboo rising from the earth, a plant viewed in Asian cultures for its fast growth and flexibility. The building is also divided into eight, with the number eight being associated with prosperity in Taiwanese culture.
Visitors can catch an elevator which whisks them up to the observatory deck at 60.6kmph to the 89th floor in a mere 37 seconds, making it the world’s fastest elevator (Adults $500, Concessions $450)
Upon arriving at the observatory deck, visitors are greeted with spectacular 360-degree views of the surrounding areas. Towards the middle of the 89th floor, you’ll see a $4 million, 730-ton mass damper. This big ball measuring 18 feet in diameter keeps the building steady in earthquake prone Taiwan.
On the 91st-floor observatory you can go outside and literally ‘take a walk in the clouds’. However, this observatory is only open on special occasions and weather permitting. There’s also a theater displaying the construction of the building, and the annual new years firework celebration.
Attached to the tower is a large 5 stories mall. This is a typical upscale mall which can be found anywhere throughout the world, which hosts the usual array of designer brands such a Gucci, Prada and Chanel to keep any rich shopaholic entertained for hours.
The basement of Taipei 101 has a large variety of different restaurants from all over the world providing something for everyone. Furthermore, in the basement of Taipei 101, next to the food court is an import supermarket (Jason’s), which has food from all over the world for those who want to experience new food from different places, or those homesick individuals who miss particular treats and snacks from back home.
If you are looking for an upscale restaurant and great views of Taipei try Diamond Tony`s 101 Authentic Italian Cuisine located on the 85th floor, serves delicious food and provides excellent views of the area whilst eating your food.
If you are too poor to visit the observatory deck, or eat on the 85th floor, you can go to Starbucks on the 35th floor and sip away on an overpriced Latte whilst overlooking Taipei.
You should set aside half a day to visit Taipei 101. However, Xinyi, the surrounding area of Taipei 101 holds a large number of shopping malls, cinema, restaurants, bars, hotels, and clubs. if you are a shopaholic planning on eating and catching a movie in Xinyi you may want to set aside a whole day.
MRT Red Line (Xin-Yi Line) Taipei 101 Station, Exit No. 4