As the one democracy in the Chinese speaking world as well as the most progressive city for LGBTQ+ rights in Asia, a legacy of artists and activists been employed to make Taiwan’s capital a spot where culture, progression and creativity thrive. Over modern times, a whole new wave of resident creatives happen to be re-energizing town. Nowadays cutting-edge galleries and museums stand close to traditional teahouses, and basement club techno still murmurs from the streets as local markets put in place their fare while using sunrise.
Affordable, safe, efficient and exciting, this sea of glass, concrete and palm trees is definitely an urban explorer's dreamland. For travellers trying to unearth Taiwan’s underground scene, listed here are eight techniques for discovering cool Taipei at its best.
Don’t stop drinking coffee
Taiwan’s celebrated tea culture could be traced back greater than three hundred years. Home to many of the world’s best greens and oolongs, tea the following is both a science and also a philosophy, treatment for body and soul. While you’ll find a good number of old-school teahouses, the identical spirit of craft and pride may be applied to Taipei’s third wave coffee scene - along with the results are glorious. Interesting cafés are sprouting up everywhere inside city, from extraordinary chemistry lab-esque B Coffee & Space in Da’an to your award-winning baristas and Scandi-inspired minimalism of Fika Fika in Zhongshan. Whether spent the day shooting espresso or sipping servings of siphoned single-origin brew, you’ll quickly discover why Taipei seems set to get the world’s next hub of café culture.
Tap into town’s creative scene in Zhongshan and Dongmen
Taipei was named World Design Capital 2016 for any reason. Everyone from young architects to underground record labels appear to be embracing a fresh “made in Taiwan” pride that’s simultaneously trendy and distinctly Taiwanese. The neighbourhoods of Zhongshan and Dongmen are great for testing the waters. While the primary streets may go through a bit commercial, amble the historic back lanes of Zhongshan district and you’ll discover well-curated vintage shops like Blue Monday, cute design boutiques and chic records stores like Waiting Room. Taipei Artist Village - an arts institution and residency ready to accept local and international creatives - can be worth popping by.
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Dongmen is a lot more gratifying. While the upscale main streets boast sets from craft bubble tea on the latest in Taiwanese home design, hit the quiet residential alleyways and you’ll find quirky art cafés, craft beer bars, dusty Chinese antique shops and good old fashioned Taiwanese comfort food spots like James Kitchen on Yongkang Street.
Sample the highway food, especially stinky tofu
Be it in London, New York or Berlin, street food has grown to be undeniably, and sometimes tragically, hip. Forgo the pomp, faux-grit and absurd prices from the latest in questionable Western street food trends and rejoice in Taipei’s affordable authenticity. From notable night markets like Ningxia and Liaoning to nameless back alley daytime stalls serving dishes perfected over generations, there’re a massive variety of delicious local dishes to sample.
Fatty braised pork on rice, oyster omelettes, beef noodle soup, dumplings and shaved ice piled high with berry are good for starters. However, your ultimate quest is always to conquer the infamous chòu dòufu, or stinky tofu. It has the aroma of a rotting corpse, but possesses a flavour profile of these intense complexity most hardcore foodies it is known as sublime. Others spit against eachother immediately.
Give vegetarianism a try
If you’re a vegan or vegetarian having difficulty finding meat-free eats, look for restaurant signs with enormous, glaring swastikas. The symbol is a member of Buddhism in China a long time before it’s appropriation in Europe and marks the restaurant as entirely vegetarian. There are loads around metropolis, selling delectable Buddhist meals at ridiculously cheap prices. Many are buffet style, where whatever you’ve stacked in your plate is paid for by weight. The selection is normally too vast to attempt all of in one go, which ensures you keep you returning for more.
From dilapidation to create: check out the town’s former art squats
Maverick Taiwanese artists were the first person to recognize the potential for Taipei’s abandoned industrial buildings, squatting and staging illegal performances during these derelict-turned-creative spaces. Though authorities were quite resistant against their presence initially, after much protest spaces for instance Huashan 1914 Creative Park and Songshan Cultural and Creative Park are becoming governmentally protected cultural centres. Today these spaces are often buzzing with life, hosting various fun adult and family events in on-site galleries, concept stores, cinemas, studios, concert halls and even more. While governmental commercialization these spaces has blunted their cutting-edge origins, they still feel undeniably special and worthwhile.
Lose yourself in Taipei’s nightlife
Home to some thriving underground scene, Taipei’s nightlife and music scenes are merely awesome. From indie garage rockers like Skip Skip Ben Ben, to techno, noise and experimental hiphop, putting your energy into exploring Taipei’s underground sounds will disclose an entirely different dimension to the location and provide the opportunity to mingle while using artists that are making it happen. Revolver in Zhongzheng can be a laidback and friendly institution that throws from metal to indie nights, while F*cking Place (although club doesn’t make use of an asterisk) is certainly among metropolis's coolest dive-bars - while using added bonus of ridiculously cheap beer. For techno and electronic parties arrive at Korner, a subsection of well-known club The Wall. Pipe and APA Mini may also be great venues for live music.
Not feeling the party? Try a reading rave
With a fascinating population of artists, intellectuals and activists perhaps it’s not surprising that print still holds an exclusive place in Taiwan. The popularity of Eslite in Dunnan branch, Taipei’s massive around the clock bookstore and one with the world’s just to keep such hours, speaks for itself. Curl up in this particular beautifully designed booktopia and join the locals when they pore over pages until morning. On a smaller-scale, watch out for the artisanal stationery shop Pinmo Pure Store, Gin Gin Store (the 1st gay bookstore opened in Greater China) and hip new bookish concept stores. In this respect, Pon Ding is surely an absolute standout - an amicable, three-story collaborative creative space housing art, independent publications, quality magazines and pop-up events. Of course, they’ve also got an outstanding café.
Get to nature
Every once in a while you have to leave the urban grind behind and unwind within the natural world. Thankfully, nature is not far off in Taiwan. The top speed railway from Taipei might have you beaching about the island’s subtropical southern coast in under two hours, while verdant mountain trails and popular surf breaks can be accessible by bus. If you’re feeling adventurous, delve further in the mountains to discover the colourful cultures of Taiwan’s indigenous peoples. But when you find yourself recharged and craving that big-city buzz it’s a rapid train trip back to your creative playground that may be Taipei.
EVA Air, a Star Alliance member, flies daily from London Heathrow to Taipei, offering passengers top rated service plus a choice of three cabin classes: Royal Laurel Class (Business Class), Elite Class (Premium Economy) and Economy Class. See really Taiwan together with the Taiwanese tourist board. Did you get this post useful? Please click the social network button below to share this article. You also can leave your comments from the space provided below.