’s glitzy and bustling capital city is the usual entry point for most travellers to this country, and it’s a worthwhile place to spend some time in and take in the sights, such as the most prominent one of the all – the impossible-looking skyscraper “Taipei 101
” (at over 500m once the tallest in the world). For my planned trip to Taiwan that had to be cancelled in 2020 (and again in 2021) because of the pandemic I had intended to spend five days in the capital, and also use it as a base for excursions to the north of Taiwan.
For the dark tourist there are also a couple of sites worth visiting within the city, in particular these two main ones:
In addition, there’s the National Revolutionary Martyrs’ Shrine
in the north of Taipei, the holy of holies for died-in-wool Nationalists which mainly honours military personnel who died fighting the Japanese before and during WWII
. It’s a bizarre sight, especially the changing of the guard ceremony in slow-motion goose-stepping.
The Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall, opened in 1980 bang in the centre of the city on the fifth anniversary of the dictator’s death, is another weird place featuring a large bronze Chiang sculpture and at least until 2020 housed an exhibition about the big man, including his office and a couple of his limos. What the fate of the site may be is hard to ascertain. It could well be that is has meanwhile undergone changes – or that it will in the future – given that the unabashed cult-of-personality and Chiang-worship no longer wash with modern Taiwan’s democratic leaders and more enlightened liberal population.
A relatively new addition to Taipei’s tourism/dark-tourism portfolio is the Ama Museum
, which deals with the topic of the “comfort women”, who were forced to serve as sex slaves during the Japanese
rule over Taiwan
. Founded in 2016 and originally located at Dihua Street in the Datong District it recently moved to a new site further east in the same district at Chengde Street.
Taipei is a modern metropolis with plenty of choices for accommodation in all price categories, and similarly a wide range of eateries. Public transport is fastest by metro, called MRT here (standing for ‘mass rapid transit’; cf. Singapore
), but there are also buses, which are said to be quite user friendly too even for foreigners as stops are announced in English as well as Mandarin.