Welcome to Taipei's Suburbs
The absolute bee's knees in historical architecture is Tamsui at the end of the red line. The mostly Western colonial architectural style is a welcome change from the concrete walk-ups ubiquitous in the capital. If Japanese elegance is more your thing, look no further than Beitou, renowned for its steamy springs and beautifully preserved Japanese villas, bathhouses and temples.
As in any crowded city, Taipei's air can be stifling and fume-filled. Half the joy of exploring the capital's outskirts is being able to breathe deeply and easily. Tamsui and Bali have a salt-sea tang in the air; Yangmingshan smells of forest and (faintly) sulphurous hot spring; in Maokong enjoy the earthy tones of tea and mist; while Xindian has a fresher, stiller air.