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Personally, between the great food and the ease of a well organized urban structure, I really love Taipei. Even the areas AROUND Taipei are super cool and fun to visit.

Visiting the Outskirts of Taipei

1. Maokong: Just south of Taipei, Maokong is a hilly area filled with small tea fields. From the MRT Taipei Zoo Station, you can take a long 30 minute ride on the brand new Gondola for about 50 NTD (approx. $1.50 USD).

  • Teahouses: When I went with my family, we spent a wonderful late morning sipping tea, enjoying the view, and chit chatting. It was a great way to decompress after lots and lots of long shopping days. Locals often come here in the evenings to enjoy the nightscape and cool breeze with friends. Teahouses like PLC Tea Tavern, Yao Yue, Jian Cha Yuan, Yuan Xu Yuan and Xing Hua Lin are cheap and walkable from the top of the gondola station.
  • Zhinan Temple: An easy stop off the gondola, a more modern edifice sits on the side of Muzha mountain. Maybe not the most exciting place, but another beautiful place to stop and enjoy the view.

2. DanShui: A cute fisherman wharf’s/college town, DanShui sits north of Taipei and is a great place to get seafood so fresh that you pick it from the fish tanks in front. Accessible by bus from Taipei, Danshui is a great place to spend a day eating fresh snacks from food stalls on GongMing Street or a stroll down the Waterfront.

3. BeitouA small district just north of Taipei, Beitou is famous for it’s sulfuric hot springs (wen quan). Tourists and locals can come here and soak in the natural hot springs. It’s also is a beautiful place to just get away from the cosmopolitan chaos.

  • Beitou Hot Spring Museum: Built by the Japanese in 1912 during the Japanese occupation, this beautiful aging building has a out of commission bathhouse and a tatami room. It may not be the most exciting place to visit, but it’s worth seeing the old archetecture that is still prevalent in many old Taiwanese buildings. Additionally, it worth seeing a little piece of Taiwanese history.

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  • Soak it up! Even though it was a HOT and extremely humid day in July, my cousin and I decided to go for a soak in the natural hot springs. Up and down the street there are TONS of hotels and facilities to choose from. They vary from cheap, bathing-suit optional, no clothes allowed, fancy smacy, and chic. Personally, I preferred to splurge a little for a nice and immaculately clean place. Sweet Me Hotspring Resort is a gorgeous and modern hotel that offers indoor and outdoor hotsprings. A one day pass for about ($40 USD), we soaked in a women’s only (don’t worry, there’s a men’s one too!) bath house with 5 pools at different temperatures and 2 saunas. Longnaitang is one of the oldest bathhouses for both men and women. For approximately $3 USD, bathers can enjoy a very (emphasis on the very) basic, but classic Japanese style bathhouse. Other places to try, Asia Pacific Resort, Broadway, I-TsuanTaipei Travel Net offers a couple of great resources about Beitou.

Additional Reading:

Enhance Your Health and Your Knowledge on a Grand Island Tour

Relaxation and Tea Awaits at Maokong- Taiwan Journal

The Pleasures of Tea Tasting

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