Taipei is city of over two and a half million people that is considered the economic, political and cultural center of Taiwan. It’s an incredibly vibrant city — bustling with night markets filled with delicious street food, a generation of 20-somethings that have an obsession with cafes and coffee shops to rival that of Seattle, and a striking mix of contemporary and traditional Chinese (and Japanese) architecture.
The Organo Gold team is super excited to be on the ground there this week, as Global Master Distributor Shane Morand and Crown Ambassador John Sachtouras will be appearing in Taipei today and tomorrow as part of the OG Asia Tour. Learn more about that here, and learn more about this thrilling city below.
10 Facts About Taipei
- The city was founded in the early 18th century for shipping and trade, and was pronounced the capital of Taiwan in 1886. It is situated at the northern tip of Taiwan, on the Tamsui River.
- Taiwan became a colony of Imperial Japan in 1895, following a treaty signed at the end of the first Sino-Japanese War. A number of Taipei landmarks and cultural institutions reflect the period of Japanese rule, including the Presidential Building and the Red House Theater.
- The Republic of China took over Taiwan in 1945, following the Japanese surrender that brought the hostilities of WWII to an end.
- The city’s population reached one million in the early 1960s, then experienced rapid growth, exceeding two million by the mid-1970s. While the population become relatively stable by the mid-1990s, the city remains of one the world’s most densely populated urban areas. The city proper, known as Taipei City, has a population of 2.6 million, while the larger metropolitan area (known as theTaipei-Keeling area) has a population of 6.9 million people.
- A prominent feature of the modern Taipei skyline is a skyscraper known as the Taipei 101. It was the largest skyscraper in the world from 2004 to 2010, and boasts 116 stories, 101 of which are above ground. Within the building are 61 elevators, and (for those not afraid of heights) there’s an observation deck on the 91st floor. The building measures 1,670 feet (509 meters) from ground to top, which made it the first skyscraper in the world to break the half-kilometer mark in height. Designed to withstand typhoon winds and earthquake tremors, it incorporates many engineering innovations and has won numerous international awards. Taipei 101 remains one of the tallest buildings in the world, and holds LEED certification as the world’s largest “green” building. Its luxurious shopping mall and indoor and outdoor observatories draw visitors from all over the world, and the building’s New Year’s Eve fireworks display is often featured in international broadcasts.
- The city is also renowned for its many night markets, the most famous of which is the one in the Shilin District. The markets usually open in the later afternoon and stay open well past midnight, getting extremely crowded during the evening as locals and tourists alike shop at stalls selling primarily food, but also some clothing and consumer goods.
- The Ximending neighborhood has been a famous and extremely popular area for shopping and entertainment since the 1930s. It is home to a mix of historic structures, including a concert hall, a cinema, and the renowned Red House Theater, as well as large modern buildings that are home to karaoke clubs, cinemas, electronic stores and a wide variety of restaurants and boutiques. The area is especially popular with teenagers and has been compared to Tokyo’s Harajuku district.
- It is not uncommon to see multiple 7-11 convenience stores on one intersection. Taiwan reportedly has more 7-11 stores per capita than any other country (7-11 was acquired from its former American owners by a Japanese company in 1991).
- Not unlike New York, Taipei is a thriving city that never sleeps. In addition to late-night eats and all-night karaoke clubs, it is also home to the Eslite Bookstore, one of the only 24-hour bookstores in the world.
- There are so many stylish cafes focused on tea and coffee in Taipei, it has been reported that many Taiwanese baby boomers are worried that their children are too busy opening coffee shops with their friends to make a difference in the world or strive for “important” jobs in society.