World, Culture, Asia - Pacific

Taipei: Taiwanese city of vibrant colors

Adorned with wide range of colors, Taiwanese capital offers visitors a tourist experience savoring taste of forever

Cansu Dikme   | 28.10.2018
Taipei: Taiwanese city of vibrant colors People worship at Longshan Temple, a Chinese folk religious temple, in Wanhua District, Taipei, Taiwan on October 28, 2018. ( Cansu Dikme - Anadolu Agency )

Ankara

By Cansu Dikme

ANKARA

Approaching Taipei by air, you can sense the vividness in the city from the colorful lines of lights circling Taiwan’s capital.

Yellow in general are the lights you see through the window of the plane descending towards its destination.

Defying the common, Taipei winks at its guests through lights in blue, red, green -- and yellow, of course -- hinting at the hues of the city in its various corners.

A mandatory reminder here: The colors of the city are not limited to bright city lights, the various tones of the green covering the local parks, or flowers decorating the temples across the city.

The night markets, for instance, offer a feast of traditional snacks -- bursting with seafood of all kinds, taking advantage of Taiwan being an island.

If you crave oyster, you can tame your appetite with a seafood omelet. Or you can opt for a side of deep-fried oyster.

Grilled octopus is yet another choice. If you are still peckish, you can fill your takoyaki ball-shaped snack with octopus.

Squid, shellfish, sea urchins and many others are included in the wide array of quintessential Taiwanese seafood offered at the night markets.

You can get almost anything barbecued -- from chicken to cow, beef, pork, and tofu, testing the bounds of your culinary imagination.

Taiwan ice -- sweet or salty foods on ice, your choice -- and bubble tea -- milked tea with tapioca balls in it -- are must-try traditional foods and drinks.

Games and shops

Adults may have a hard time resisting the arcade games sprinkled among the shops.

The stalls along the streets of the markets sometimes display souvenirs, but when you take a few steps, they shift from clothes to objects of personal adornment.

The colors of the city show themselves off best in the temples. Mostly in bright red, they are ornamented with details in their structures. There is little need to mention how colorful and resplendent they are in their paintings, depictions, and statues.

Taipei is such a harmonized city that it can present a mixture of two faiths -- Buddhism and Taoism -- in a small garden of the Longshan Temple in the Wanhua district.

Besides being a sacred space, the temple is also a tourist destination. So it is quite normal to observe worshippers praying to their gods with incense sticks in hand, while tourists are discovering the richness of the folk art while perusing the tables full of colorful flowers and foods.

Turn your head towards the traffic of the city, and here too you can see harmony. The omnipresent electronic scooters among the cars don’t trouble other drivers. The scooters usually stick to their own devoted lanes and given priority by cars while waiting at red lights.

Taipei is a modern city. Busy shopping streets, contemporary buildings and well-maintained green areas are its colors. While Fashion Street -- enlightened by bright shop windows -- offers shopping in wide range of stores, from Gucci to Channel and Dolce&Gabbana, the city constantly plays host to international fairs in various areas, including technology, the economy, culture, and literature.

Tower power

Towering some 380 meters above the ground, Taipei 101 -- one of the world’s three tallest buildings -- lets you take in a panorama of the whole city. To get there there’s no need to trudge up stairs, as you can reach the observation level in just 37 seconds using the building’s Guinness Record-breaking elevators, which zips up and down at over 1,000 meters a minute.

Technology is another component of Taipei’s modernity. Taiwan is one of the world’s leading producers of information and communication technology products.

Under the auspices of the Ministry of Science and Technology, Taiwan fosters research and technology in three science parks: Hsinchu Science Park, Southern Taiwan Science Park, and Central Taiwan Science Park.

Among President Tsai Ing-Wen’s seven industrial programs, green energy industry is based on sustainability-oriented, eco-friendly technology.

Without deep-diving into Taiwan’s tech policies, you can see the greenery covering the well-maintained city. Roadside planting makes its mark on the urban landscape. The tall, grass-green trees not only separate the direction of traffic flow, but also decorate museum gardens -- most notably Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall -- coloring with various flowers.

If you’re lucky enough to see Taiwan’s National Day Ceremony, it sums up perfectly the colors of Taipei. The parade of toys in full bright colors also reflects the diversity of the city. While some represent people from various occupations, the groups representing Taiwan’s indigenous people in various costumes and traditional dances reflect the characteristics of Taiwan at its best.

And don’t be fooled by the rather pale and dull exterior of the president’s residence! Inside it is festooned with bright colors and magnificent orchids.

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