Once the world’s tallest tower (2004, and dethroned by Dubai’s Burj Khalifa in 2010), Taipei101 is a must visit for any traveller in Taiwan. While it isn’t the world’s tallest tower anymore (slightly disappointing), it is still the world’s tallest green tower however!
Some queues, and then a super fast elevator up to the observation deck
Taipei101 is located in the heart of the city and is open 9am to 10pm. We got there at 9:20am approximately to avoid long queues and would strongly recommend you to do the same! Once you’re at Taipei101, you can buy your tickets at the front desk on 5th floor, and then proceed to line up for the elevator. You’ll be forced to take a photo in front of a green screen. You can buy this if you want, but we opted out because it looked like a badly photoshopped photo.
The elevator is super fast! It’s not an elevator with windows outside to see the views, so there is no point in trying to strategise for the best spot - all you’ll see is darkness inside the lift anyway. And some twinkly stars on the roof of the lift (as of 2018, maybe they’ll be gone by the time you go). Going from the 5th floor to 89th floor takes only 37 seconds! I wish my elevator at work was also this fast.
When you get to the observatory on the 89th floor, you can explore all four sides (north, south, east, west). There’s plenty of information boards, binocular things for you to use, and also an interactive screen to learn more about the best sightseeing spots in Taiwan.
There’s also a few souvenir shops where you can get cute Taipei101 toys. I got one. #noshame. Also a cafe if you’re thirst/hungry, but I’d hold off because downstairs near Taipei101 is restaurant mania.
If you head upwards to the 91st floor, you can also get the outside view! In all honesty, this is probably not worth your time because you are behind bars the whole time. You can barely see anything as the wall is chest-high. 89th floor is where you can get the best views!
The museum and tuned mass damper
Once we had taken the views all in, we went downstairs to the 88th floor. This is how crowd control at Taipei101 happens it seems; when you want to exit, you go to the 88th floor. On this floor, there is a small museum where you can read about the history of Taipei101 and also some other facts about tall towers around the world.
Next, you will see something like this…
I had no idea what a mass damper was, to be honest! At the small museum on 88th floor, I found out that they are used to prevent damage and structural failure - which can be caused during earthquakes due to seismic waves. Taiwan can be prone to earthquakes, and actually the damper in Taipei101 is the largest damper in the world! Makes sense given how tall the tower actually is.
Taipei101 Mall Shopping and Restaurants
We then ventured downwards to Taipei101 mall, more specifically, to the restaurants there. The mall goes from level B1, level 1 all the way to level 5. We headed to Din Tai Fung in the mall. Din Tai Fung is wildly popular in Sydney (where we are based), so we were super excited to try out Din Tai Fung in Taiwan, where it originated from. Friends had previously told us that Din Tai Fung tastes completely different in Taiwan, and we’re inclined to agree! It was so delicious, I could’ve ordered a dozen more servings of the dumplings.
Go or no go?
Definitely go! I had a great time exploring Taipei101. It takes around 2-3 hours to fully explore (with ample photo-taking opportunities). One of the highlights on the weekend trip to Taipei.