Lonely Planet review for Botanical Gardens
A beautiful oasis in Taipei's funky west side, this park has greenhouses featuring a vast variety of lush plants, literature- and Chinese-zodiac-themed gardens and a marvellous lotus pond. Taipei's Botanical Gardens are also considered one of the best places in the world to see the rare Malaysian night heron, making the park a major stop on foreign birding tours. That such a rare bird can be seen so close to, let alone inside, a major urban centre is quite amazing, or so our twitcher friends tell us. The Botanical Gardens are where you'll find the National Museum of History. Housed in an elegant Japanese-era building, Taiwan's first museum is still an anchor of local arts and culture, housing thousands of Chinese artefacts from the Tang, Shang and other dynasties. The tearoom on the 3rd floor has views of the Botanical Gardens' lotus pond. A tour in English takes place at 3pm each afternoon.