Taipei Journals

Bill in Taiwan - TAIPEI

A May 2001 trip to Taipei by billmoy

Quote: Taipei, the bustling capital of Taiwan

Bill in Taiwan - TAIPEI

Overview

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Taipei was my home base for my week-long trip in Taiwan. The weather in late May was sunny, muggy, and about 85 degrees. Taipei can be a strange blend of the new (posh shores in glass skyscrapers) and the old (outdoor "night markets" selling snakes as food alongside colorful temples). Taipei can be quite congested with vehicles, including an amazing number of motor scooters. You can barely walk on most sidewalks because the locals use them as scooter parking lots. The pollution from the vehicles can be rough, as the scooter riders all seem to wear makeshift masks over their noses and mouths. I am amazed that I did not see any accidents, considering the incredible traffic. Once you lea...Read More

Chair Man Hotel

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Hotel

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The Chair Man Hotel (sometimes labeled as "Chairman") is a budget hotel that is popular with local businessmen (I only saw one businesswoman during my stay here) and a few Taiwanese backpackers. It is centrally located on a fairly active arcaded street, not too far from the main railroad stations, MRT subway stations, and airport bus stops. A long vertical red sign announces the location of this basic inn. All the rooms have heat and air-conditioning, TV, and en-suite bath, and breakfast is included. The hotel faxed me a price list of their room rates, which are all very affordable. The lowest rate is for a basic room with "no windows". I was going to choose this room, which would have probably...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on July 22, 2002

Chair Man Hotel
No. 88 Han Kou Street
Taipei, Taiwan
886-2-23147305

The Grand Hotel

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Hotel | "Grand Hotel"

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The deluxe Grand Hotel stands prominently atop a slight hill north of the Keelung River in central Taipei, and it has been recognized as one of the landmark hotels in the city for years. Its 12 floors and 500 rooms are contained within a large stylized Chinese temple design, complete with a colorfully decorated overhanging roof. It does live up to its grand name, but it is a bit isolated as driveways, parking lots, and a maze of streets and highways surround it. I imagine that the hotel's exterior layout was based with the car in mind, as walking to it from the city below is quite a chore and a bit dangerous in some areas. Once you get past the driveway and the grandiose display of flags of pro...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on July 22, 2002

The Grand Hotel
NO 1 SEC 4 CHUNG SHAN N RD
Taipei, Taiwan 104
886-2-28-868-888

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Central Taiwan has an impressive collection of large department stores, each with food courts and dining areas in their basements. You can get your share of American (McDonald's, KFC, etc.) and pseudo-American fast food here, but this is your opportunity to try some tasty Chinese food at very budget-friendly prices. These department store food courts are very popular with the locals because they can get a helping of good old-fashioned cooking, served quickly and cheaply. The communal dining tables can be very crowded at mealtime hours and during the weekends. Some of the menu signs are bilingual, but most of the food stalls have user-friendly photos depicting the food selections and pri...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 22, 2002

National Palace Museum

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Attraction

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The National Palace Museum is open every day from 9AM to 5PM. This is the world-famous depository of imperial palace treasures spanning the Sung, Yuan, Ming, and Ch'ing dynasties. Many of these great Chinese relics and art masterpieces were smuggled out of mainland China and buried in safety bunkers for years before being displayed in this wonderful museum. Local buses pass by the front of the museum. There is a majestic staircase leading to the main entrance of the formal Main Exhibition Building. The impeccably manicured grounds include a library, the Chih-Shan Gardens, an Administration Building, small post office, and a driveway leading to and from on-site parking. By far the most popular mu...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 22, 2002

National Palace Museum
221 Chih-shan Rd. Sec 2
Taipei, Taiwan

Taipei Fine Arts Museum

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Attraction

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With the opening of the Institute of Contemporary Arts, the Taipei Fine Arts Museum (founded in 1983) now occupies a middle-to-late part of the artistic timeline between the "old" classic arts displayed in the National Palace Museum and the ultra-modern scene at the ICA. Its location is in the flight path of planes flying in and out of Sungshan Domestic Airport. The modern concrete and glass building has some cantilevered blocks jutting out, a look that jumps out within its park setting. While there are some older works, TFAM concentrates on art from the 20th Century. There are also temporary exhibits, including an interesting collection of black-and-white photographs depicting life in Taiwan fr...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on July 22, 2002

Taipei Fine Arts Museum
181 Chung Shan North Road, Section 3
Taipei, Taiwan 104
+886 (0)2 2595 7656

Institute of Contemporary Arts

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Attraction

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The Institute of Contemporary Arts officially opened in Taipei in May 2001, and I happened to attend the lively grand opening. This cultural center of cutting-edge art is housed in a recycled historical brick building that housed the former City Hall. The opening exhibition, "The Gravity of the Immaterial", is a sampler of what's hot in the current contemporary arts scene amongst Taiwanese artists, locally and around the world. I have always been fascinated by art gallery openings, because the people attending the opening can be as interesting as the art itself. The event of the opening can even be perceived as an essential part or an outgrowth of the actual art. This evening's crowd was artsy,...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on July 22, 2002

Institute of Contemporary Arts
No. 39 Chang-an West Rd
Taipei, Taiwan