Taipei: Taipei 101 – Marvel at Taiwan’s Iconic Landmark
Taipei 101 is an engineering marvel and an iconic landmark in modern Taiwan. Towering at 508 meters and 101 floors (hence the name), the building symbolizes the fusion of modern technology and Asian tradition. The building’s shape reflects the traditional architecture resembling an ancient Chinese pagoda, and some of its features are inspired by Asian elements mixed with post-modern style. For six years from its completion in 2004, it held the title of the world’s tallest building, displacing the Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and was eventually surpassed by Burj Khalifa in Dubai in 2010.
It has its own MRT station, enabling direct access from the public metro system (MRT Red Line). Exiting the station, we immediately stumbled with its awe-inspiring architecture. At its base are filled with tourists, who were endlessly amazed and taking selfies (the flock also joined the fray) with the monumental building. (In reality, we have to go far enough to be able to capture a decent photo with the entire building in a single frame.)
Unlike other skyscrapers, Taipei 101 is never boring to look at, you can tell from its look that it is truly Asian. It is because, especially when viewed afar, the segments and tiers were arranged like the resemblance of a pagoda, a tower linking the earth and sky. It also resembles a bamboo stalk symbolizing the learning and growth, further emphasized with its blue-green-tainted windows.
The building’s base houses a shopping mall, where different restaurants, souvenir shops, international grocery stores, and high-end shops and boutiques are located. There is also a food court in its basement, not far from the station.
At the top floor is an observatory offering a 360-view of Taipei. Its double-deck elevator set a world record in 2004 as the world’s fastest with speeds up to 60.6km/h (it was since succeeded by that of Shanghai Tower in 2016), taking only 37 seconds to travel from the ground up to the observation platform. It also has a mini-museum where tourists can learn about the building’s technical and architectural marvel.
You can also see the prized Taipei 101 Tuned Mass Damper (TMD) up close. The TMD is located at the building’s core, serving as the counterweight to prevent the building from swaying too much. As Taiwan is often visited by typhoons and earthquakes (being in the typhoon belt and the ring of fire), this piece of technology was installed to make the building more resilient and safer. And if you’re wondering with the building this massive, the damper must be massive as well – with the diameter of 18 feet (5.5) and weighing 660 metric tons, the largest of its kind in the world. It does not sway on its own with its suspension cable but is controlled with hydraulics in accordance with the building’s sway.
Souvenir shops sell different items related to Taipei 101, such as postcards, bottled water (that is shaped like the building), 3d puzzle, miniature models and figurines of Damper Baby – Taipei 101’s official mascot. If you expect miniature Taipei 101 souvenirs to be sold in night markets and outside souvenir shops, there aren’t any, and that’s because of the strict copyright.
After being awestruck and strolling around, we proceeded to Xiangshan Station (only one station away) to trek at the Elephant Mountain, where it is said to be the best spot to see the picturesque view of the Taipei skyline.
SIMPLE MALL FLOOR GUIDE
- B1 – MRT Station, Clothing, Toys, Food court, Souvenir, Imported Supermarket)
- 1F – Fashion brands and cosmetic/skincare flagship stores
- 2F – Global watch brands, life and style boutiques, domestic Taiwan fashion brands
- 3F – High fashion boutiques
- 4F – World brand flagship stores, high-end restaurants, bookstore
- 5F – Mixed products including Taiwanese handcrafts, rotating exhibitions, Taipei101 Photobooth, souvenir shop, observatory entrance
- Observation Deck – NT$600
- By MRT
Take the Red Line 2 (Xiangshan train) to Taipei 101 station (台北101). Alternatively, take the Blue Line 5 to Taipei City Hall Station (市政府), located beneath HanKyu Department Store. Walk south to enter the Shin Kong Mitsukoshi (新光三越) complex (known as the Xinyi Shopping District) towards 101. Being as tall as it is, you will definitely see it along the skyline.
- Located close by to Taipei 101, Elephant Mountain is a quick 15-minute walk away. Hike up to the top of Elephant Mountain to get a gorgeous, scenic view of Taipei City.
PART OF OUR TAIWAN GETAWAY
- NORTH COAST: Yehliu Geopark | Pingxi Sky Lantern | Shifen Waterfalls | Golden Waterfalls | Jiufen Old Street | Wanli Abandon UFO Houses
- TAIPEI: Ximendeng | Taipei 101 | Maokong Gondola | Elephant Mountain | Taipei Peace Park | Taipei Zoo | Chiang Kai Shek Memorial | Shilin Night Market | The Red House
- TAICHUNG: Zhongshe Flower Farm | Xinshe Castle | Rainbow Village | Gaomei Wetland Park