By Shahida Sakeri on May 30, 2017
Great care has been taken to make this place truly liveable for its citizens and convenient for travellers of all backgrounds – regardless of race, belief, age, financial status and interest – to roam around and explore the city and beyond. Now, allow us to introduce some of its must-sees and must-eats of the city. Are you ready?
1. Malindo Air’s flight OD 632 departs daily from Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) at 7:15 a.m. and the return flight OD 633 departs from Taipei at 12:45 p.m. and arrives at KLIA at 5:30 p.m. The flight duration is approximately 4 hours and 3o minutes.
2. The fares are all-inclusive, thus passengers get to enjoy perks such as free baggage allowance (40kg for Business Class and 30kg for Economy Class), in-flight entertainment, and light refreshments
Good to know: According to Global Muslim Travel Index (GMTI), Taiwan is ranked at number seven in its “Top 10 Muslim-friendly Destinations for Non-Muslim Countries” due to its growth of halal or Muslim-friendly restaurants and religious facilities in the country, particularly Taipei.
Taipei Grand Mosque is the biggest mosque in Taiwan built in 1960 using funds from local and foreign donations, including the King of Jordan and Shah of Iran at that time. Today, travellers are welcome to appreciate the classic charm of its architecture or join in one of the public classes held every Sunday.
Shin-Ho Handmade Creations is a place where visitors can create plenty of cute handicrafts, including coasters and pouches. The nice lady owner has over a decade of experience in handmade crafts, so you know that you’ll be in good hands. While you’re at it, get some insightful honest tips about the city from her. Workshops last between two to three hours.
The park contains many of the country’s treasured landscapes, from unique volcanic geology and topographic sights to the vast hot springs scattered everywhere. Also, there are 18 hiking trails available here with various difficulty levels, but should you prefer smooth relaxing paces over tough physical challenges, we suggest taking a stroll at Xingtiangang, a beautiful grassland part of the national park.
Travellers can also head to Xiaoyoukeng, a post-volcanic geological landscape located above the Datong Bridge 800 metres above sea level, home to volcanically-created fumaroles, sulphur crystals, hot springs and landslides. There is currently no admission fee to enter the park.
Situated within the same block as the Taipei City Hall, the centre makes a great first stop for travellers to learn the city’s many facets such as history, humanity, art, ecology and technology, all via multi-sensory experience. Spend some time reading the fascinating stories or playing with the interactive simulations. For those who are short of time, head to the Discovery Theatre and watch a series of fascinating short films about the lives of the people in the city through a rotating screen.
The beauty of the Thermal Valley is evident as soon as we walked into the park – located in Beitou, 30 minutes north of Taipei city – with vapour from the hot springs blankets the air much like a light fog while translucent turquoise coloured waters contrast the brown rocks at the edge of the springs. The whole scene is pleasing to look at but travellers need to also contend with the lingering sulphuric smell.
Thermal Valley opens on Tuesday to Sunday, from 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. Admission is free.
Dubbed as the “Harajuku of Taipei”, Ximending’s busy days revolves around its more than six thousand vendors selling fashion items, albums, souvenirs and food. Expect to see most of them Japanese-inspired, though. Also every now and then, mini concerts are often held here, making it a favourite hub among young. Since it is a pedestrian-friendly area, no vehicles are permitted to enter on weekends and national holidays.
Shops generally open daily from 10:00 a.m. till 1:00 a.m.
Imagine Bukit Bintang Kuala Lumpur and you’ll find similarities between the area and Xinyi – both are hip, bustling and urban with extensive number of world-class designer brands and international culinary offerings. It is also home to Taipei 101, ATT4fun, the upscale Eslite Bookstore, Neo19, Shin Kong Mitsukoshi Xinyi Place and Breeze Songgao. Shops here open between 11:00 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Used to be a farm land until 1958, Wufenpu today is popular among the fashionable crowd due to its wide range of shop options selling latest trends in clothing at arguably the lowest prices in Taipei. However, Mondays can get very busy here as the shops are busy restocking and dealing with suppliers, so come on Tuesdays to find the latest offerings or on Sundays to probably catch discounts on last season’s items. Most shops are open from 11:00 a.m. until midnight on weekdays, and until 9:00 p.m. on weekends.
If Ximending is the “Harajuku of Taipei”, then Syntrend Creative Park would be the “Akihabara of Taipei” under one roof. It’s a geeky wonderland where tech enthusiasts will get bright-eyed at the look of innovative creations like gadgets, games, simulators, and retired vintage tech tools like vinyl. This 12-storey mall is massive, so expect to spend a good couple of hours here: do not leave without trying the free racing, shooting or street-fighting simulations that we thought are absolutely interesting! There is also a specially dedicated floor to children and teenagers for them to play and try out the gadgets.
All 41 Eslite outlets offer a thoughtfully curated local and international treasures for book worms and creative souls. One recommended outlet is the Songyan store that is beautifully designed by the Japanese architect extraordinaire, Toyo Ito. It is airy, big and chic, with a comprehensive selection of books and magazines.
Besides, there are also local- and international-branded lifestyle products, gourmet food courts, super stylish cafes, lecture halls, auditoriums and a movie theatre that holds various film festivals in the past. With such amazing line of offerings, it’s no surprise that CNN ranked the Eslite Spectrum as one of “the coolest department stores in the world.”
The complex opens daily from 11: 00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.
Finding halal restaurants in Taipei is relatively easy, for instance Hui Guan that serves traditional dishes from Ningxia, a Muslim-centric Hui region in North Western China. Expect to see plenty of beef and mutton of the menu.
If travellers prefer other types of food, opt for the ever popular halal Indian cuisine at Khana Khazana for that delectable curries and lip-smacking chicken tikkas! The portions are generous and prices are reasonable. Since it is near to the glossy Xinyi shopping district, Khana Khanzana also makes a good lunch stopover amid shopping spree.
ICE MONSTER needs no introduction in Taipei since it has been around for the past 19 years, spoiling locals and travellers alike with its multi-favoured shaved ice. The most popular flavour, the mango snow, is a marriage of creamy ice and chunky sweet mango.
Taiwanese love their noodles, so be sure to try their staple classic beef noodles sold abundantly throughout the city. In Chang’s family restaurant, noodles are not only homemade with springy and firm texture, but its beef stews are tasty, flavoured by tender sliced beef, pickles and its best-kept secret mix of spices. And of course, it is halal-certified too.
Since 1972, this hotel has been the relaxing getaway for both local and foreign travellers during weekends and holidays because as it has its own onsen in its premises with separate baths for men and women. Here, guests get easy access to plenty attractions including Plum Garden, Beitou Public Library, Beitou Hot Spring Museum and Xinbeitou Water Park. Mainly Chinese cuisine is served in the restaurant, and Muslim-friendly meals are also available for Muslim guests’ ease of minds.
This hotel ticks all the right boxes – it offers great transport links to major attractions and possesses pleasing design since the hotel’s interior makes for an appealing stay, especially for young adults. And the beds are superbly comfortable, too. The hotel is suited for travellers intending to visit Taipei 101, Songshan Cultural and Creative Park, and Raohe Night Market.
This hotel distinguishes itself from the other five-star hotels in Taipei through its grand striking red facade, dining experience and of course, its history. It remains one of the tallest and impressive classical Chinese buildings in the world. Notable guests that have stayed here include Bill Clinton, Ronald Reagan, Lee Kuan Yew and Margaret Thatcher. The Grand Hotel is also the only halal-certified five-star hotel in the city with the food and beverage team headed by a two Michelin-star Executive Chef, Chef Erh-Po Lai.
Did you know that besides enjoyment, travellers could also gain health benefits from travelling?
Check out 8 Reasons Why Traveling is Good for Your Health by PositiveHealthWellness