|nt Mountain is the vantagepoint of all the classic shots of Taipei 101 so expect a steep trail up.
Weekends it gets crowdedespecially around sunset.
Fairy Footprint HIKINGJust a few minutes’ walk from the Jingmei MRT station (Exit 2), this hike takes you up to a shortwooded ridge that extends into Taipei from the surrounding hills.
There are excellent views ofTaipei 101 from the top.
Jiantan Mountain HIKINGThe mountain rises up behind the Grand Hotel and has great views over the Keelung River basinand city.
To access the trailhead, cross Zhongshan N Rd from Jiantan MRT and take a short walksouth.
Birdwatching The riverside parks and the Guandu Nature Park are great places to watch herons, cranes, egrets,kingfishers, drongos and so on.
The Botanical Gardens and most large city parks are good placesto spot the Malaysian night heron.
On the edge of the city, in wooded hills around Neihu, Maokong,Xindian and Yangmingshan National Park it’s easy to spot indigenous birds such as the Formosanblue magpie, Taiwan barbet and Taiwan whistling thrush.
The Wild Bird Society of Taipei MAP GOOGLE MAP (Táiběi Shì Yěniǎo Xuéhuì; 2325 9190; www.wbst.org.tw; 3 Lane160, Fuxing S Rd, Sec 2; Technology Building) arranges birdwatching tours around Taipei and Taiwan.
Taiwan Ecotours (www.taiwanbirding.com) also offers short- and long-term birding tours around Taiwanwith an English-speaking guide.
For guidebooks check out the link to ‘Books from Taiwan’ on itswebsite.
Tours Various travel agencies offer short- and long-term tours.
Edison Tours TOURMAP GOOGLE MAP (www.edison.com.tw; 190 Songjiang Rd) Edison Tours offers three-hour city tours (adult/child NT$900/700)with an English guide that take in the Martyrs’ Shrine, National Palace Museum, Chiang Kai-shekMemorial Hall, a temple visit and some shopping.
Other options include a Taipei-by-night tour,and trips around Taipei to places such as Yangmingshan and the northeast coast.
Edison alsoworks with Tribe Asia for custom tours to aboriginal areas.
523 Mountaineering Association HIKINGMAP GOOGLE MAP (523 Dēngshān Huì; www.523.org.tw; 7th fl, 189 Roosevelt Rd, Sec 3; Taipower Building) A government-approved,non-profit organisation since 1999, 523 organises frequent hikes (with English-speaking guides) tothe high mountains, as well as free lower-altitude trails around the north.
The office is sporadically staffed, so contact 523 via email.
Festivals & Events Chinese New Year in Taipei is mostly a family event and many shops, restaurants and museums closeduring this period.
The best Lantern Festival events happen outside the city.
There are,however, dozens of vibrant, visually rich temple fairs each year, including those at Xiahai City GodTemple, Qingshui Temple, Confucius Temple and Bao’an Temple; the latter has a two-month-longfolk arts festival every spring.
Bitan, the riversi de park beside X indian M R请T station, h hats fre/qsuheopnt 0w39e8e6k2e9n.
itoime/s in费索取summer and autumn, which can include free music performances, acrobatics, food fairs and so on.
For the dates of current and upcoming events visit Taipei City’s (www.taipeitravel.net) websiteand the Taipei Cultural Centre (www.tmseh.
Sokran Festival NEW YEARTaipei has a large Burmese and Thai community and their annual water festival to celebrate theNew Year is a popular event for locals and visitors.
The event happens in April in the suburb ofZhonghe, near the Nanshijiao MRT.
Urban Nomad Film Festival FILM(http://urbannomaden.
blogspot.tw) Held in May, the Urban Nomad Film Festival highlights creativity andenergy in documentary film making at SPOT Huashan Cinema.
Taipei Film Festival FILM(http://eng.
aspx) This influential festival showcases over 200 local and internationalfilms from the end of June through July.
Venues include SPOT Huashan Cinema and ZhongshanHall.
Taipei Children’s Art Festival CHILDREN’S FESTIVAL(www.taipeicaf.org) Running from July through August, this festival has films, interactive exhibits,storytelling, puppetry, live theatre and more from local and international troupes and performers.there are venues all over the city.
Taipei Arts Festival ART(http://eng.
taipeifestival.org.tw) Experimental theatre, dance and performance art by local and internationalartists, held from August to September.
Events are held in various locations, including ZhongshanHall and Taipei Artist Village.
Taipei LGBT Pride Parade GAY, PARADE(www.twpride.org) Asia’s largest and most vibrant Gay Pride parade happens every October.
In 2012over 65,000 people participated.
Dream Parade PARADE(www.dreamcommunity.tw/english) This colourful event is sponsored by the Dream Community, a collective of artists and families in the Shijr area of Taipei.
Expect elaborate floats, stiltwalkers,fire breathers, puppeteers, dancers, aboriginal performers, and lots of great costumes and paintedfaces.
The 2013 parade had 6000 participants, including 600 drummers.
The event kicks off inOctober at Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall.
Taipei Golden Horse Film Festival FILM(www.goldenhorse.org.tw) Part of the Chinese-speaking world’s biggest film awards event, this month-long film festival is held in November.
See the website for venues.
Sleeping Taipei has more and more hostels, but many are cramped, humid places so we’ve been judiciousin our selection.
Note that as almost all hostels are technically illegal due to antiquated regulations, they may not have signs outside and may not be open to drop-ins.
Booking online isbest.
YHA card holders can receive discounts at many regular hotels.
See www.yh.org.tw/en for thecomplete list.
Rates below are high-season rack rates.
Most hotels offer daily reductions of 20% to 50% offthese rates (these are given without asking) except during Chinese New Year.
It’s worth noting that most hotels now feature a laundry room with a free washer and dryer, andcan arrange airport pick-ups from around NT$1100 to NT$1500.
In addition to sleeping in the city, consider leafier but accessible places such as Bitan, Beitouand even Yangmingshan National Park.
Zhongzheng Flip Flop Hostel HOSTEL $MAP GOOGLE MAP (Jiā Jiǎo Tuō de Jiā; 2558 3553; www.flipflophostel.com; 103 Huayin St; dm with shared bathroom NT$600-650, s/tw withshared bathroom NT$900/1400; ; Taipei Main Station) Across from the Q Mall and Taipei Bus Station,this is the top hostel in town, with a bistro-looking ground floor complete with a wooden squarebar and lounge area.
Dorm rooms are bright and well planned to offer as much privacy andcomfort as possible.
Beds include a locker with a fold-up top that can be used as a table.
Bathrooms look like theywere pulled from a trendy midrange hotel.
The whole hostel is also kept spotlessly clean.
Holo Family House HOSTEL $MAP GOOGLE MAP (āluó Guójì Lǚguǎn; 2331 7272; www.holo-family-hostel.com; 22nd fl, 50 Zhongxiao W Rd, Sec 1; dm/s/d with shared bathNT$690/890/1200, s/d NT$1400/1580; ; Taipei Main Station) Directly south of Taipei Main Station, atop ashopping mall, this well-run (if slightly institutional in feel) hostel has brightly painted and cleansix-bed dorms and private rooms.
The common areas are lively, and feature computers, books,maps and posters, and everything you’d need to plan your trip around Taiwan.