DYNAMIC. AMBITIOUS. CONTEMPORARY.
While many Asian capitals accommodate and defer to an increasingly influential mainland China, Taipei’s compelling trait is one of defiance and non-reliance. This is hardly surprising given its historical legacy—Chiang Kai-shek established his capital here after being forced to flee from Mao and the victorious Communists in 1949. The Nationalists brought with them priceless artistic treasures dating from 6,000 thousand of years of Chinese history, and it’s a good thing these antiquities made it out, considering the wholesale destruction that befell many of mainland China’s ancient artifacts during the Cultural Revolution in the 1970s. Indeed, for art connoisseurs a trip to Taipei is justified by virtue of its National Palace Museum alone, in which nearly 700,000 of these treasures reside.
Taipei has undergone a renaissance since the 1980s, transforming itself from Asia’s ugly duckling into a modern, liveable, walkable city full of parks, monuments, museums, marketplaces, malls and tempting cuisine. Sip a coffee or cold Taiwan Beer at the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial square while watching locals fly kites and practice tai-chi or hip-hop moves, and you will have touched the soul of this great Asian capital.