Taipei 101

Visiting Taipei 101 was not at the top of my list. Huge tourist attraction? Crowds and tour buses? I figured I would give it a pass, and would instead find a sweet vantage point from which to view the tower under the stars.

I did end up getting up to that vantage point, but I also went up Taipei 101 itself, when my friend Ben visited on a layover enroute to Vietnam. He kickstarted my stoke levels towards visiting the structure that consistently dominates the Taipei skyline, and I’m glad he did. It’s quite the engineering marvel, especially in a typhoon AND earthquake-prone nation; it also takes the cake for having the most time-effective ear popping elevator.

Here are a few photos from inside, and outside Taipei 101.

a close view of Taipei 101 gold painted wind damper
This is (part of) Taipei 101’s Wind Damper. It weighs as much as 132 elephants – 660 metric tonnes. The point? To reduce sway in the tower by up to 40% during periods of extreme weather. Moreover, the wind damper is a big enough deal to be secured by thick steel cables that are painted sparkly gold; the damper also has its own cartoon mascot, ‘Damper Baby,’ which has an annoying but strangely engaging voice.
looking up at the glass panelling on the outside of Taipei 101
Do you feel like your backpack really needs just a few last-minute essentials from Dior? Have no fear. The shopping complex in the base of Taipei 101 is swanky, and accepts all major credit cards.
looking out through the grates on the roof of Taipei 101 towards the Taipei cityscape
Ben passed on the coin-purchase binoculars in favour of trying to get the same zoom factor by sticking his head through the grates.
the view from the 89th floor of Taipei 101 down onto rooftops and a garden constructed like a large flower
This is my favourite photo of the ones I snapped from the 89th floor. I like it because you can just make out a person, for scale, ambling along the walkways comprising that huge urban flower.

A few days later, I took in Taipei 101 from a different perspective.

From the Houshanpi MRT station, it was a quick ten minute walk to one of the entry points of the ‘Four Beasts’ hiking area. From its base, you can find yourself gazing out towards a panorama of the Taipei cityscape in around only fifteen minutes…an urban hike at its finest.

Or, if you have more time, you can try to visit all of the Beasts (Elephant, Leopard, Lion, Tiger); the views improve the higher you get. Before sundown I only made it a short way, to a place called Longdong Rock. Next time I’d love to explore more of the path network, before dark, so I can find my way back.

The highlight for me of my afternoon and evening up here was that although I saw a few folks on my way up, I had Longdong Rock all to myself. No one to rescue me should I have fallen off the edge of it, which looked to be a quick ticket to crash down through the jungle below. Don’t get too close.

Taipei 101 in the background, ornate roofs of religious temples in the foreground
Taipei is full of that traditional-modern contrast.
stone steps leading through the trees on Elephant Mountain, near Taipei
I didn’t have the chance to explore all of the paths around Elephant Mountain before dark, but most of the paths I encountered were stone steps like this.
a selfie of me at the Elephant Mountain viewpoint in Taipei
Alone at the Elephant Mountain viewpoint, we all know what that means: Unabashed selfie session.
my shoes on the edge of a rock on Elephant Mountain Viewpoint, Taipei
A short hike up on the Elephant Mountain trails rewarded with these afternoon vistas.
out of focus red lights of Taipei 101 at dusk with some long grass in foreground
I have nothing to say about this photo other than it’s my wallpaper for this week.
The lights of Taipei 101 and other tall buildings shine in the foggy night
Yeah, that fog…I was really diggin’ it. It intermittently blanketed and revealed the top bit of the tower.

The thing about marvelous buildings is that when you’re in them, you can’t savour their beautiful exterior! I was glad for the opportunity to enjoy both the inside and outside of Taipei 101. The lines weren’t even (that) bad.


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