Taipei 101

23 Jul

On one of my weekend days in Taiwan I took it upon myself to visit Taipei 101.  I’ve seen television programs on it – how it is a city, you could go days without needing to leave, and I decided no trip to Taipei would be complete without a visit.

Approaching the town, I snapped a photo from quite far away so I could get the entire building in my frame.  It appears to billow at different levels, perhaps like bamboo?  One thing that struck me though was that the rest of the buildings around it didn’t even come close to approaching its height.  The skies were gray as I approached and I started to wonder what the weather would be like at the top.

Approaching the tower

Approaching the tower

Before entering I snapped a photo of kids soaking themselves in the fountain in front of the building.  Some things never change – no matter what culture!

All kids like to play in the fountain

All kids like to play in the fountain

After winding my way up to the fifth floor to buy a ticket and a postcard (which I later sent my mother), I entered the elevator to zip up to the observation deck.  The elevator is one of, if not the world’s fastest.  Going up over 100 floors took less time than my daily 43rd floor trip to my office.  It was very, very fast.

There was a free audio tour included with the cost of admission so I made my way around the circle and listened.  The aforementioned storm became reality and I slowly watched the views change from sun to clouds to pelting rain.  It was a unique way to see a summer thunderstorm.

My feeling from below was correct – there were no other buildings even close in height to Taipei 101 that I could see.  Instead, I looked at the mountains that surround the city.  Over the audio tour they talked about how important nature is to the Taiwanese and that the public transportation system connects city residents for easy hiking in the mountains all year round.  They also talked about the tunnels that cut through the mountains and the difficulty in building them.  Nature is a powerful force.

View from the top as storm clouds roll in

View from the top as storm clouds roll in

Just past the city is the rolling mountains - the tower appears taller than the mountains, but I am guessing that is an optical illusion

Just past the city is the rolling mountains – the tower appears taller than the mountains, but I am guessing that is an optical illusion

Since it was now storming pretty heavily I wasn’t able to go to the open air observation deck.  Instead I took a staircase down and looked at the dampers – the feature within the tower that allows it to withstand the frequent Taiwanese typhoons.  The dampers allow the building to sway with the storm and absorb the force.  They were enormous.

View of one of the dampers

View of one of the dampers

My visit complete I went to the famous food court in the basement and got a take out order of Din Tai Fung soup dumplings.  I have eaten them many times in the Shanghai branch, but wanted to see what the difference would be in their native territory.  Per my count, they tasted the same – but were much cheaper than the branch by my house!

Taipei 101 was an overall good experience.  I would recommend it if you are in Taipei.  And make sure you get a picture taken!

Say cheese!

Say cheese!

What’s the tallest building that you’ve been up?  Where was it and what kind of memories do you have?

13 Responses to “Taipei 101”

  1. abc in shanghai July 23, 2013 at 1:11 pm #

    Cool … I’ve wanted to go there just to see and climb it. I think it does symbolize a stalk of bamboo and the 8 sections … well, the number 8!

    • gkm2011 July 23, 2013 at 10:24 pm #

      That makes sense. It was something to see and so tall, everything around it looked tiny!

  2. searchingforsubstance July 23, 2013 at 2:46 pm #

    oohh.. i’ve heard much about the din tai fung restaurant. next time i’m in asia i will have to try it!

    • gkm2011 July 23, 2013 at 10:25 pm #

      It is a classic, known for an open, clean kitchen and great soup dumplings. It was much more affordable in Taiwan than in Shanghai, not sure about Singapore. Lots of outlets to try!

  3. italkyoutalklanguages July 23, 2013 at 9:05 pm #

    Looks amazing!

    • gkm2011 July 23, 2013 at 10:27 pm #

      Was really cool. The dampers themselves had action figures, the “damper babies” with people lined up to take a photo. I passed on that part!

  4. sarahinguangzhou July 24, 2013 at 12:07 am #

    In the days when they used to let me teach teenagers in China I used to ask them questions like ‘what is the tallest building in China’ and someone would come up with this. Then I would disallow it and say no, Taiwan isn’t China. Maybe that;s why I kept losing jobs?

    • gkm2011 July 24, 2013 at 7:46 am #

      Well, according to the textbooks in the mainland, Taiwan is a province of China, so take that for what it is worth. I try to stay away from blatant commentary but sometimes the propaganda is hard to swallow!

  5. Every Day Adventures in Asia July 24, 2013 at 10:27 am #

    Such a pity you couldn’t go to the outdoor part – that was my favourite!

    I’m so glad I managed to make it to Taipei 101 on my last trip to Taiwan – armed with a sheet of paper prepared by a colleague with basic phrases for my solo soujourn like “Pls take me to Taipei 101” (for the taxi driver) “Does this have meat? I’m a vegetarian.” (for food from that fab food court in the basement). I actually managed without but it was the sweetest gesture ever to have her take the effort to prepare such a note!

    Thanks for sharing and your pics are a million times better than mine. 🙂

    • gkm2011 July 24, 2013 at 7:41 pm #

      The Taiwanese in general seem to be very friendly and concerned that you find your way and have the best of everything. I finally got my picture taking mojo back in Taipei, the rest of that long trip is remarkably undocumented!


  1. My mandarin accent | 中国 Jumble - July 25, 2013

    […] when I told my Taiwanese colleagues that I went to visit Taipei 101, I used the “mainland Chinese” way of counting (yao ling yao instead of yi ling yi).  […]

  2. Relearning Shanghai | 中国 Jumble - March 9, 2014

    […] I have visited many times before – Din Tai Fung.  I’ve been to their flagship store in Taipei 101 and eaten at multiple locations across Shanghai.  This time, when I sat down, the waitress gave me […]

  3. More dumplings! Discovering Paradise Dynasty | 中国 Jumble - October 18, 2014

    […] Soup Dumplings (小笼包).  I had been eating with colleagues at another restaurant talking about Din Tai Fung but one said she like Paradise Dynasty better.  One late afternoon we were in the new iapm mall in […]

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