I have just returned from Taipei, where my father's relatives all live. It was amazing! I had been there before three times but it is really great to see the culture after 9 years of being away! As for things to do:
It has a plethera of nightmarkets to buy fun goods and food as well as nice Japanese department stores like Takashimaya and Shin Kong Mitsukashi! The food is so original as it is a subtropical climate. One of my favorite things is a fruit called “lemboo” which is like a water apple, crispy and tastes like a pomegranite apple in my opinion. Guava juice is served in most of the restaurants and I had a great meal that had a whole ptcher of kiwi juice to accompany it! If you like savory snacks Taipei would thrill you, there are constant snack foods available in the nightmarkets such as fried goods with meat, or tofu and noodles with egg, etc. If you like bubble tea it was invented in Taiwan! And it costs only a dollar there, with so many flavors. The amazing thing about the passion fruit and other kinds of bubble teas is it is made with real fruit but still has the bubbles!
I visited Taipei 101 which was the tallest building in the world until Dubai just recently finished a building, and Singapore is working to compete as well! But there was still a massive fireworks show for the Chinese New Year this year! It is a the year of the rat and all the temples (Taiwan is Buddhist) have piles of fruit and fake money and incense to send to the ancestors, embracing the New Year. Celebration was everywhere, and so were young people. The young people are very modern and stylish. Many people ride mopeds and the fashions (though in a warmer climate) seemed similar to New York and Japan, but there is definitely a lot of differences. For example, like Japan there are many more “cute” things readily available-not so much just Hello Kitty anymore as every fad does have its day in the sun, but still cute objects everywhere in the games and stores.
I also did cultural outings. I went to the National Palace Museum where thousands of pieces of art were saved from the Cultural Revolution in China and brought to Taiwan. You can only see every piece every few months as they rotate the art because there is so much to see! There are jade sculptures and beautiful NANO style etchings from the Ching dynasty with turquoise dragons and flowers everywhere! I also went to the memorial in the mountains where my grandpas ashes were, as he was a Major for China translating English and working with the Americans! He left Shanghai when Mao was in power to escape and run a company in Taiwan, where he met my grandma, already there! Unfortunately they split up after a while when his FIRST wife also came to Taiwan and the two wives realized each other. This was, of course, upsetting. Those were hectic days back then I guess! My grandma also celebrates the Japanese culture, with many friends from Japan, kareoke all the time, the food, and Japenese as her second language after Chinese, since she was little, because Taiwan used to be a Japanese colony. So complicated, but I love all the history of it. Chiang Kai-Shek led his army out of China and into Taiwan, which is celebrated, but he did became a very militaristic force and somewhat of a dictator while in the country. I visited the Chiang Kai Shek palace and he had carved out a whole MOUNTAIN which he kept the military training grounds in and they ruled the country for a long time with force. So there are mixed feelings everywhere, indeed.
If you like culture and you like shopping, food, and friendly people, go to Taiwan for a visit!