Sunday, 3 January 2016

lol at Taipei 101

When in doubt what to do when arriving at a new destination, go up the highest building you can find. And that seemed like a pretty solid plan in Taipei, which boasts the fourth highest building in the world at 509metres (1,667 feet), also housing the world's fastest lift (1010m/h). Add to that the fact that it's shaped like a bamboo shoot, and you've got your first afternoon destination easily sorted. Waddup, Taipei 101!
Here it is
Proof of fast elevators
After a nice 'local' lunch of dumpling soup and a nice 'local' dessert of multiple free samples of Taiwanese pineapple cake (I skipped the dried duck tongue though) offered at the shopping centre at the bottom of the 101, I embarked upwards. It was a very surreal hyped-up lift featuring atmospheric space music but also a very hurriedly spoken intro-to-the-lift-and-the-tower both in English and in Chinese which lessened the spacey atmosphere.

The views from the 360 observation deck were awesome, though nothing massively special to people who are less-high-place-enthusiastic than me. 
Again air-views of an airport :D
There were quite a few rainbows, which were amazing, and the mountains surrounding Taipei were impressive. 

You also got various corners of interest in the building itself, I'm sure to make it stand out from other Highest Buildings in the World (HBW) – for example you had the cool 'Infinity Sky' mirrors, so both the ceiling and the floor were mirrors. The leaflet is also considerate enough to remind people that “for visitors wearing miniskirts, please be aware that the glass floor may be reflective”.

Luckily it was not a miniskirt day for me 
Another, erm, interesting detail of the Taipei 101 is that it is keen to show off its wind damper, which is apparently the biggest and heaviest in the world. Impressive, right!?

Which begs the question: What is a wind damper?
Well, basically it is something that makes sure the wind doesn't sway the tower too much. But it was incredible the extrent they used this whole wind damper thing to market the Taipei 101 – it was full of these cartoony 'damper babies' that came in miscellaneous colours and apparently all with different personalities, found in various corners of the observation deck with their IOI-faces (yes, their face is designed to look like 101). As expected, the souvenir shop was also packed with damper baby magnets, keyrings, postcards and cuddly toys to satisfy all your Taipei 101-souvenir needs. It was fascinatingly ridiculous.

Or you could just get a Taipei 101 water bottle

My travel friend of the day was J from America, who I met at the top outdoor (and quite disappointing) observation deck of the 101. He was doing a literal daytrip to Taipei on his way from America to Australia (he arrived in the morning, and his flight left in the evening). A very friendly dude, and also as one of the most sarcastic Americans I've met, he was a lot of fun to hang out with for the rest of the day which we spent laughing at damper baby obsessions and getting lost in various corners of Taipei.

After Taipei 101 we decided to find the nearby Elephant Mountain (#1 on TripAdvisor!), from where you could see a lovely view of the tower and its surroundings. We ended up taking the scenic route up dark, non-illuminated steps and spider-spotting. (I was telling J how I was disappointed by the lack of large spiders during my year in Asia, and ten seconds later he pointed out a rather hefty specimen hanging out in its huge web. “Don't go wishing for poisonous snakes next,” he told me.)
Sup Aragog

We finally found the official viewpoint of Elephant Mountain and took a few pics and bought a few beers from the (very) local bar (see pic) before hurrying back to my hostel so as not to miss a walking tour I'd signed up for, which I did eventually miss, so we went for dinner at a funky ricey-fishy-curry-place instead. 
The Elephant Mountain bar and the Elephant Mountain bar dog  
An excellent day to start off my Taiwan adventure with. 

Next: Taipei zoo (I think!)

Happy 2016 munchkins!!!


  1. I'm glad you expained what a Damper Baby is... By the way, what shape is a bamboo shoot?