When I said I was going to Taipei the only place anyone mentioned that I should go and see was the Taipei 101. It’s essentially a big observatory connected to a nice mall. For awhile, it was the tallest building in the world but has been surpassed, yet it is still considered one of the tallest green buildings.
Before going up, after buying tickets you do have to go through security where things like drinks need to be consumed or thrown out. I essentially chugged my water before jumping in the security line.
It also boast one of the fastest elevators, which made my poor ears pop a lot and I was just uncomfortable for most of the elevator ride up and down.
There are a couple of levels to the top observatory. There’s the indoor section with a lovely view.
And then you can take the stairs up to the highest point and stand in the sun looking through bars. There’s also a mini theater with folding chairs that just plays the fireworks show that happens every new year. It wasn’t really worth it in my opinion to climb up those stairs in the heat to stand in the sun for what wasn’t really a good view.
The main observatory floor was nice enough on it’s own. And air conditioned. They also had a fancy tea shop that I tried out, Dechuan tea.
They had a couple different teas for sale as well as drinks to order. I ordered their iced oolong bubble tea with preservative free tapioca pearls. It was very good and not too sweet.
It was nice to have some tea to drink while walking around. I had one spot in particular I was looking for, something I’d scrapped from my travel itinerary.
On this mountain is the famous elephant trail. It’s a super popular spot to go to and get sunset or sunrise pictures of Taipei, including of the Taipei 101. At this point I was so exhausted and tired from my misadventures that I just couldn’t even fathom trying to go hiking. But it was cool to see at least the mountain.
The other thing to see that makes the Taipei 101 unique is their wind damper. It’s not the only building with one, but it’s one of the few ones that has it on display. Essentially the wind damper helps the building weather bad storms, typhoons and earthquakes and they have videos with subtitles explaining how useful it is, with the help of their mascots.
The Damper Baby’s are quite cute and can be found on many souvenirs in the Taipei 101.
There are two levels you can see the damper on. The main observatory level and on a lower one.
The lower level leads towards a semi fancy expensive restaurant and a gallery of carved coral and with coral for sale as well as gemstones. It leads to the elevator for the way out, but expect a big line. On my way up there wasn’t much of a line but on my way out while I was already tired the line just made me more tired and annoyed. But it does eventually lead you back into the mall which is a great space for souvenirs and to grab a bite to eat.
The observatory is open from 9am until 10pm with last tickets sold at 9:15. Tickets are 600NT$.