Taipei Day 4 (3 May 14) – Roaming around Taipei

We started our day early today. We wanted to visit a number of sights around in Taipei, one of which is the iconic Taipei 101 building along with a couple of monuments where there are change of guards. We took the subway to Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall, which is just a couple of stations from the hotel where we were staying. Exiting the subway station, navigating to the memorial hall is a breeze. There are no lack of signage around point to the monument. Dr Sun Yat-Sen, also regarded as the national father in the eyes of the Taiwanese, fought for the independence for Taiwan in its early days. His contributions to Taiwan is so great that the local government carved out a huge plot of land in central Taipei and dedicated a monument to him.  Most of Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall (國立國父紀念館) is dedicated to garden space, however the building is also rather huge.  Prior to entering the building, my friend and I took some pictures in a quieter corner of the gardens where one of the several statues of Dr Sun is located. While taking pictures, I saw some youths practicing their dance movements in one corner. It seem that Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall is not just for the visitors to get to know the history of Taiwan, it is not just for the locals to pass down to their next generations on the contributions of Dr Sun for Taiwan, it is also for the locals to hang around, interact with their friends and do something them feel passionate for.
Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall
Me at Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall
Me with statue of Dr Sun
Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall from the gardens
Me with another statue of Dr Sun
Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall
Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall is located right in the centre of the gardens. The building has a very traditional Chinese architecture. The grey building with yellow roof sits solemnly on the memorial grounds welcoming visitors daily. As we enter the building, it seemed that we were being transported back to the 60s when the building was first built. Despite the age, the building, both inside and outside is still very well maintained. There isn’t any signs of ageing. The building seem to serve more then remembering what Dr Sun did for Taiwan, there seem to be an office and some conference rooms. My friend and I headed to a couple of the exhibition halls, which exhibits the teachings, scrolls and texts from Dr Sun. There is also some Taiwanese currencies on display with the picture of Dr Sun on it. The next hall exhibits the road to independence and the efforts of Dr Sun and his comrades in their fight against the Japanese during World War II invasion. As it is about time for the change of guard, which happens every hour, my friend and I headed to the main hall.
Exhibits in Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall
Me with yet another statue of Dr Sun
Teachings of Dr Sun on display
Portrait of Dr Sun
Exhibits on display in Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall
Exhibits on display in Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall
Freelance guide explaining history to guests
In the main hall, a gigantic statue of Dr Sun is the centrepiece of this hall, very similar to the statue of  Lincoln in Washington. There is an area being marked out by velvet strings to prevent visitors from getting into the way of the guards, who will be matching in from the sides for the change of guards ceremony. It is a good idea to arrive at this hall around 10 mins prior to the hour to secure a good spot for the ceremony. It was soon the hour, we witnessed the guards matching out in synchronised timing like toy soldiers. The crisp tidy uniform marks a certain level of discipline and respect for Dr Sun. As they were matching out, cameras clicked off from the horde of visitors gathered around to watch the ceremony. The command from their leader was clear and loud, and made through the clicking on the cameras and the whispers from the visitors. The whole ceremony took around 10 mins. After watching the ceremony, my friend and I left Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall and headed to our next destination – Taipei 101.
Statue of Dr Sun
Statue of Dr Sun
Inside Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall
Change of guard ceremony in Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall
Change of guard ceremony in Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall
Change of guard ceremony in Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall
Change of guard ceremony in Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall
Change of guard ceremony in Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall
Change of guard ceremony in Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall
Main entrance to Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall
Me at the main entrance to Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall
Me with Taipei 101
Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall
Taipei 101 is within walking distance from Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall. The journey towards Taipei 101 will pass through the City Hall and some governmental office in Taipei. We had to go through a shopping mall – Shin Kong Mitsukoshi (新光三越to get to Taipei 101. Since we were already at Shin Kong Mitsukoshi  my friend and I decided to walk around a little. Shin Kong Mitsukoshi essentially is a mega shopping area, consisting of a few blocks of shopping malls, each with 7 storeys. There are practically every for everyone here. There are also several open spaces, where we saw a few events ongoing at the same time. Shoppers would need to cater for at least half a day to shop to their heart’s content here. Well as for my friend and I we were merely passing through.
Walking towards Shin Kong Mitsukoshi
Shin Kong Mitsukoshi
Shin Kong Mitsukoshi
Shin Kong Mitsukoshi
Shin Kong Mitsukoshi
Shin Kong Mitsukoshi overlooking Taipei 101
Shin Kong Mitsukoshi

Diagonally opposite Shin Kong Mitsukoshi is Taipei 101 (台北101). The iconic building is designed based on the bamboo and of course consist of 101 storeys. To get to the observatory deck of Taipei 101, one would have to get to the 5th floor, where the ticketing counter is. One would have to cater at least half a day for Taipei 101when visiting. Most of the time is spent on queuing. One would have to go through 3 queues during their visit to Taipei 101. One for the ticketing, which fortunately is the shortest one. On the ticket printed the time when we will be allowed to queue for the lift to the observatory deck. This is the part where we wasted the most time waiting for our turn to enter the lift. We spent around 1 hour waiting for our number to be displayed and another 30 mins to get into the lift. The lift towards the observatory deck is very fast. Within seconds we arrived at the observatory deck. The 360 deg observatory deck allows one to see the whole of Taipei City and beyond. We spent a considerable amount of time looking around the Taipei 101 from this deck. Only here will one feel Taipei is actually a huge city. We were even able to see the mountains outside Taipei City. As we were heading towards this room where the tuned mass damper was placed to stabilise the building in the event of an earthquake or typhoon, we spotted an entrance that seem to be leading upwards. We realised that this is the way to the outdoor observatory deck located on the 91 floor of the building. My friend mentioned he did not been to this part of the building during his last visit as it was closed then. Once outside the outdoor observatory deck, I feel a sense of freedom! I was able to see far into the horizon without being cocooned inside the confines of glass and steel. Though it is chilly at the outdoor deck, the breeze is welcomed! My friend and I spent more time here then indoors, looking around where our hotel is, where we were at and where we are heading next.

 

Taipei 101
Taipei 101
Me at the entrance of Taipei 101
At the ground floor of Taipei 101
Heading up to the ticketing counter
Tickets to the observatory deck
View of Taipei from the observatory deck of Taipei 101
View of Taipei from the observatory deck of Taipei 101
View of Taipei from the observatory deck of Taipei 101
View of Taipei from the observatory deck of Taipei 101
View of Taipei from the observatory deck of Taipei 101
Me in Taipei 101
View of Taipei from the observatory deck of Taipei 101
View of Taipei from the observatory deck of Taipei 101
View of Taipei from the observatory deck of Taipei 101
View of Taipei from the observatory deck of Taipei 101
View of Taipei from the observatory deck of Taipei 101
View of Taipei from the observatory deck of Taipei 101
View of Taipei from the observatory deck of Taipei 101
View of Taipei from the outdoor observatory deck of Taipei 101
Me at the outdoor observatory deck
The top of Taipei 101
My friend and I at the outdoor observatory deck of Taipei 101
View of Taipei from the outdoor observatory deck of Taipei 101
View of Taipei from the outdoor observatory deck of Taipei 101
View of Taipei from the outdoor observatory deck of Taipei 101
View of Taipei from the outdoor observatory deck of Taipei 101
View of Taipei from the outdoor observatory deck of Taipei 101
Inside Taipei 101
View of Taipei from the outdoor observatory deck of Taipei 101
View of Taipei from the outdoor observatory deck of Taipei 101
As it got too chilly for us to bear, we headed back down towards the floor where the damper is located. The damper looks like a huge metal ball. Its appearance looked more for ornamental purposes then what it is designed for. This is where most of the visitors to Taipei 101 will stop before heading down. We then decided to head to our next destination. The exit lifts are located one floor lower from the observatory deck. This is the 3rd queue one would have to go through as part of visiting Taipei 101 – queue for the lift to the entrance levels of Taipei 101. We were rather put off when seeing the queue and decided to rest a little. My friend and I ordered coffee and a slice of cake to relax while hoping for the queue to subside. After eating our cake, we returned to the queue. As though the queue have never moved! At this point we saw another queue for lifts that stops on level 5 instead of level 1. This is a shorter queue. We opted for this lift instead.
The damper in Taipei 101
Me with a mascot of Taipei 101
Me with a mascot of Taipei 101
Me with a mascot of Taipei 101
“High” Tea time in Taipei 101
“High” Tea time in Taipei 101
“High” Tea time in Taipei 101
Around Taipei 101
We had planned to visit Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall to observe another change of guard ceremony. However we visiting Taipei 101 has taken up too much time that Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall was about to close by the time we reached the ground floor of Taipei 101. Instead of rushing, my friend suggested to visit Danshui (淡水). I was told that there is another night market at Danshui. We headed for Danshui on the subway and arrived in no time. Danshui is a coastal town, famous for the Fisherman’s Wharf. As we arrived at Danshui in the night, there is little point for us to take the ferry across the river for Fisherman’s Wharf. Instead we stayed at the area near the Subway station, where the night market is located. My friend and I headed to the river side, where there are some shops selling goods ranging from clothings to handcrafted keychains. There are also snacks and restaurants in this area. We strolled along the river banks, enjoying the night breeze from the river, after which we headed for the night market. Danshui night market is small in scaled as compared to Shilin and Shida night markets. We walked along the street to see if there are some food or souvenirs unique to Danshui. However to our dismay, the merchandise on offer is similar to those that are offered in other night markets. After a short 15 mins stay at the night market (the shops seemed to be closing anyways), we left Danshui and headed back to Shilin Night Market, after all this is our last night in Taipei.
Danshui harbour at night
Me at Danshui
View of Danshui at night
View of Danshui at night
My friend in Danshui Night Market
Me having a bite in Danshui
Danshui Night Market
Danshui Night Market

Shilin Night Market is just a few subway stops away from Danshui, we arrived in Shilin Night Market within minutes. This is our second visit to Shilin Night Market during our short stay in Taipei. Despite having been here just a couple nights before, Shilin Night Market never fail to impress me. The shear size of this night market is befitting the title of Mother of Night Markets. Despite being rather late in the night, most of the stalls remain open. We walked along Shilin Night Market, grabbing snacks along the way, buying cloths and getting some last minute souvenirs. The food being sold here is enormous!! One will never walk around Shilin Night Market without a bite on one’s hands. My friend and I even tried our luck at some of the carnival games and won ourselves some prizes. We continued to stay at Shilin Night Market until it closes. This is our cue to heading back to our hotel.

Shilin Night Market
Shilin Night Market
Food offered in Shilin Night Market
Shilin Night Market
Shilin Night Market
Shilin Night Market
Shilin Night Market
Carnival games in Shilin Night Market
Me in Shilin Night Market
Shilin Night Market
Supper time in Shilin Night Market
Supper time in Shilin Night Market
Supper time in Shilin Night Market

 

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