Considering that it was a nice cloudless day, my friend suggested that we go to city hall for lunch and then Taipei 101. I’ve never had lunch at a City Hall so I was intrigued. Turned out it was a massive indoor food court with too many convenient and tasty looking options. This vegetarian buffet caught my tastes and I ended up overloading my plate full off way too much food for only $4 US dollars (NT$120).
Stuffed, I gave up the idea of sampling some of the sweet desserts and we headed towards Taipei 101. At first it was sort of hard to find.. because there was a building that blocked our view of half the sky. Once we rounded the corner, it didn’t require any GPS or map to find where we needed to go. Being the largest building in the city, and the weirdest looking tower I’ve ever seen, it catches the eye and you can’t really look at anything but.
Taipei 101 supposedly symbolizes three things, or so the audio guide tour at the top tells you. One is that it represents the abilities of the Taiwanese people, because they give 101%, second it’s the number of floors, and third it’s binary digits representing the technological advances the building holds. It is a pretty neat building and definitely beats going to the Empire State building.
For NT$500 ($17 USD) you get to ride the fastest elevators to the 100th floor (done in 37 seconds flat) where you get personal phones that audio guide you through the 360 degree view of the city. Pointing out historical facts, interesting buildings and bridges, and tips on adventures you can have in the mountains.
But by far the next thing that Taipei 101 had to show definitely stole my engineering heart. The giant suspended ball mass damper, the only one on display anywhere in the world for the public to see in a skyscraper.. TWICE. The first time from the top, then again as you’re exiting in the midsection level.
And it also explains why there seemed to be a some large headed mascot at the entrance of floor 100, the baby mass damper. These baby mass dampers dance around on giant screens explaining to kids how a mass damper works.
Basically it’s a tall building with a view and people working their daily jobs on all the other floors that the tourists don’t use. It’s probably not the most exciting and wonderful thing to do in Taipei, but it’s definitely the thing you have to do since you’re in a city with one of those big buildings around.
But definitely don’t miss out on these other experiences in Taiwan:
- Lungshan Temple
- Ximending and Shilin Night Markets
- National Museums of Taipei
- Taipei Zoo
- Mountain Home Eating
- Elephant Mountain
- Hot-air lanterns of Shifen