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Old 10-18-2012, 08:22 AM
Location: In the heights
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For food recommendations, I'd say Ding Tai Fung is a good bet. It's soup dumplings mostly, but pretty much its entire menu is respectable. It's also fairly affordable given the quality of everything there. The original store is in Taipei and you can probably look it up easily.
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Old 10-27-2012, 04:56 PM
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Originally Posted by sponger42 View Post
Didn't forget, but you don't go to Moscow to eat Sushi. You go to drink Vodtka and eat Borscht! Likewise, I wouldn't go to Taipei to go clubbing or eat fancy French food. I would go to visit night markets and eat street food!

For nightlife, go to LA, NYC, Berlin, or London. Clubs in Shanghai, Bangkok, Hong Kong, Taipei, Kuala Lumpur, are imitations of western-style clubbing. They have lasers and music and bartenders with flaming drinks (Luxy) but they don't have the clubbng subculture of Los Angeles or London. The Nightlife is too bright and clean for my tastes. Like Las Vegas; lots of clean-cut midwesterners "cutting loose" in a sort of adult disneyland. Without the smoke, drugs, sweat, and crazyness, it's just not the same.

Resturants? I can't think of any great ones that are worth the money, and I've been to more than a few. Better to go get fresh fish at a dockside eatery or all-you-can-eat hotpot and lots of Taiwan beer at a no-name place that's packed to the gills.

Museums show mostly either Chinese or aboriginal artefacts which don't do much for someone who didn't get the 5000 years of Chinese history in grades K-12. I've been to many, it's almost as fun to decipher the Engrish translations as it is to see the displays.

I don't know when he's going. Festivals are great if you are around for them. Dragon Boat, Sky Lantern, etc. Skip CNY unless you have family there.

Music? Concerts? Haven't been to many. Went to the music festival in Fulong once. It was hot and kinda unremarkable.

I go to the movies when I'm there for long stays, but I don't think a tourist should waste their time. Theaters are nice, but not remarkably so. Sure, go to whatever convention/expo is occuring if there's something special going on.

Four tourism, if you're only around for a few weeks, you've gotta hit the highlights and do things that are different from what you get back home. That's why I skipped most of what you mentioned.
I don’t see that correlation between what a visitor would do in Taipei vs. Moscow and I don’t agree with what you said.

A lot of the activities and recommendations I said for what to do in Taiwan was good advice, very Taiwanese in character, and making the most of the surroundings over there such as what I said here:

Originally Posted by Thepastpresentandfuture View Post
"For Taiwan, I would visit Taipei, Jiufen, Suao-Hualien coast/Northern/Eastern coastline beaches, Yushan mountains, Taichung, and Kaohsiung.

For activities in Taiwan, I would visit restaurants, historic architecture sites, temples, night markets, tea houses with a nice ambience, bars/clubs, shopping districts, museums, festivals, music concerts, movie/film events, and take long walks in the best neighborhoods. Also, hike in some of the mountains, and go whitewater rafting there. Swimming, surfing, wind surfing, jet skiing, and lounging at the beaches."
For Taipei in particular, going to clubs is part of local Taiwanese culture over there, and that city surprisingly has some very impressive clubs/bars such as Luxy, and at least 8 other places for that.

I don’t like street food because I had some bad experiences with that in the USA, and I don’t trust the source for those places. I go to restaurants and supermarkets for food. I don’t see that as something Asian to eat street food.

I see healthy, varied, and fun foods as part of Asian culture, and having that in upscale, nice restaurants, supermarkets, and some markets.

I also don’t agree with what you said about Asian nightlife. The nightlife over there is very high quality, and I enjoy “clean, bright” sophisticated forms of nightlife that has a scene that is easy to get to know and not too complicated or sketchy.

That is surprising if you look for nightlife that has a sketchy complicated edge to it, and that you are actually disappointed if the nightlife is very sophisticated, and easily accessible. You can still find variety in nightlife for that in Asia too.

Hong Kong, Bangkok, Singapore, Tokyo, Taipei, Seoul, Shanghai etc. can compete with European and North American cities such as London, Berlin, New York City, Los Angeles for plenty of categories, including for nightlife etc.

Europe and Asia for the most part win for nightlife compared to North America.

The Dragon Boat and Sky Latern festivals sounds very local and a lot of fun. The OP went to Taiwan this October.

The music festival in Fulong sounds very intriguing and remarkable, especially because that is a music festival literally on a scenic subtropical beach.
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Old 11-08-2012, 11:16 PM
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Originally Posted by sponger42 View Post
Taipei is totally safe. The Taiwanese get nervous about walking through the old town where there is some residual gang activity and prostitution from the bad old days, but this is not Krips and Bloods-type gang activity, nobody owns a gun, a stabbing would be something so rare it would dominate the national news for weeks, and those who have committed actual crimes have an average age of about 70 nowadays. Oh, and you have to really try hard to find this part of town, anyway.

As for sights. He should ask his Taiwanese couchsurf host. But not to be missed:
1. Shilin night market, Jiantan Station on the Red line. Go between 6PM-midnight.
2. Danshui night market, Danshui stop at the northern end of the red line.
3. The Taipei 101. Go see the observation deck and have tea up top.
4. Tea Houses in the mountains up the Maokong Gondola. Taipei Zoo Station, end of the brown line, then ride the gondola to the top and walk around.
5. Sun Yat-Sen memorial. Somewhere near the new downtown.
6. Chang Kai-Shek memorial and national opera houses. On the Red Line. Go at 5PM when they have the flag lowering ceremony if you want to see lots of Chinese tourists looking confused.

Those are the easy ones. Danshui is pretty far, so it can be skipped.
I lived nearby Shilin Night Market when i was living in Taipei. I would not recommend Taipei 101, it is waste of money. I would going to Elephant Mountain (I do not remember the Taiwanese name.). It has much better view of Taipei City and it is free as well.

I would also recommend visiting National Palace Museum and Longshan Temple. I suggest you to visit Taipei City counties as well but make sure to have Chinese speaker in your group or hire one.

Check Visitor Information Center as well to pick up free Taipei Survival Guide written by me.
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