Jewels And Dumplings And Starbucks: Taipei 101 Guide

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Like the Skytree in Tokyo, I developed a liking for Taipei 101, one of Taipei’s top tourist attractions.  I went there my first day in Taiwan for some delicious Din Tai Fung and to go up to the observatory.  I had my priorities straight and was there for the dumplings, the observatory came second.

While I only went to the top of Taipei 101 once, I went back a few more times while I was in Taipei, which ended up being about two weeks.  While it may not have been my favorite thing to do in Taipei, I liked it enough to go back more than once.  Make sure you walk around outside at the bottom, too,  There were a few different sculptures out there to look at.


What is Taipei 101?

Taipei 101, also known as the Taipei World Financial Center, is in the Xinyi District of Taipei and was the tallest building in the world from 2004 to 2010.  The main tower has eight segments with eight floors making up each segment because the number eight in Chinese culture is associated with prosperity, abundance, and good fortune.  It’s an icon of Taipei and a must-see on any visit.

Is it worth going to the top of Taipei 101?

If you love observatories, yes.  If you like museums, yes.  If you like expensive marble-y jade-y trinkets, yes.  If you’re not on a shoestring budget, yes.  If none of those apply to you, you may consider skipping it.  Also, skip it if it’s cloudy or foggy.

How much is it to go to the top of Taipei 101?

It is NT$600 to go to the top of Taipei 101, $15USD give or take.


What to do in Taipei 101

Eat at Din Tai Fung

This was my favorite thing to do there.  Try the famous Xiao LongBao, or pork soup dumplings.  I could have eaten this every day of my trip, but alas, I did not.  I’m practically trying to plan a trip to the west coast of the US just to eat some.  I’m kidding.  I’m not.  But I can’t pretend I haven’t thought about it.  They have plenty of other things to eat, but these are my favorites and you can watch them being made as well.

Go to the observatory at the top

This is a great way to see Taipei from a new perspective.  Spend an afternoon admiring the city views and learning about the construction of Taipei 101.  If it tickles your fancy, and fits in your budget, you can also purchase some unique jewel crafts up here.  Think Swarovski type stuff, but not all crystals.  You buy tickets for the observatory on the 5th floor.  The observatory is spread over 4 floors, so give yourself time to see it all.


Wander around Taipei 101 Mall

Unless you’ve got a big budget, these stores probably won’t appeal to you much more than a break from the rain or heat.  You’ll be seeing the stores of the Louis Vuitton, Prada, and MiuMiu variety in here.

Reserve a table at the Starbucks

Yes.  You have to reserve a table at the Starbucks in Taipei 101.  Call at least a day before you want to go or you will be denied at the door.  If you don’t want to go all the way to the top of Taipei 101, this is a great alternative, and more budget friendly.  This is the number to make reservations at: +886 2 8101 0701 and it may be easier to have someone from your hostel call for you in case they don’t speak English or you don’t have a phone that works.  You will be required to purchase a coffee and snack once you’re there (they should tell you that on the phone) and you’ll have an hour and a half to enjoy the views.


How to get to Taipei 101

Take the MRT to the World Trade Center stop and follow signs towards the Taipei 101 exit.  This will take you right to the Taipei 101 basement and, conveniently, Din Tai Fung.

Best views of Taipei 101

You can see Taipei 101 from a lot of places in Taipei, but one of the best views of Taipei 101 is from Elephant Mountain.  This is an easy hike that is perfect for watching the sunset over the city.  Late afternoon is the best time to go up so you can see it in the light and after dark.  The Fairy Footprint hike is another great option to see it, but it’s not as close.


Fun facts about Taipei 101:

  • There is a damper – a 728-ton steel pendulum at the top to offset 40 percent of the movement of the building caused by strong winds.  It’s 18-feet in diameter and can be seen on floors 87-91.
  • The damper has a mascot, the Damper Baby, which has its own comic and website.
  • It is the second tallest building in the world at 1,670 feet, just after the Burj Khalifa in Dubai at 2,716 feet.
  • It will only take 37 seconds by elevator to go from the 5th floor to the 89th.
  • There is no 44th floor in Taipei 101 since four is unlucky in Chinese culture.  It has been replaced by Level 43, which was replaced by 42A.

Whether you end up going to the top or not, Taipei 101 is still a must-see tourist attraction in Taipei.  It’s crazy looking up at it from the bottom plus it makes a great stop to get out of the rain and cold in the winter and heat in the summer.

Have you been to Taipei?  Did you go to the top of Taipei 101?  What did you think of it?



3 thoughts on “Jewels And Dumplings And Starbucks: Taipei 101 Guide

  1. We went to the top and really enjoyed it. I just wish we had our DSLR then! We’ll have to go back soon. I thought 500NT was really expensive but we have since been to NYC’s Top of the Rock which was like $35 each!

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