For a 300-year-old city, Taipei is having a very late coming-of-age party. But then again, this unhurried but vibrant capital has taken a while to become comfortable in its own skin. With Chinese, Japanese and Western influences in its food, culture, folk arts and architecture, Taipei has finally decided that it's a mix, and all the better for it.
As with the multifarious street food, the traveller is advised to go for the xiao chi (little snacks) in everything. Day trips are particularly delicious, and a quick MRT ride takes you to tea fields, hot springs, river parks, and colonial towns backed by a mountainous national park. Within Taipei don't miss the Minnan-style temples beautified with unique decorative arts, the heritage lanes turned gourmet cafe and boutique centres, the buzzing neon neighbourhoods or the nightlife scene, growing in reputation yearly.
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