Travel – Taipei 2007: Taipei 101

21 07 2007

Reigning as the world’s tallest building since 2003, the magnificent Taipei 101 skyscraper is truly a construction marvel. With 101 floors, Taipei 101 is always visible in the distant at different parts of the city. Ironically, when I exited its nearest Taipei City Hall MRT station, I could not see it anywhere. We were really amused because we purposely bypassed the area map in the MRT station because we reasoned that “it’s so tall, surely we can spot it outside.” It turned out after some paces from the MRT exit that the world’s tallest building was blocked by a building of much shorter stature.

With Dubai’s taller and lance sleek Burj Dubai completing in 2 years, Taipei 101’s reign as No. 1 is coming to an end. However, it does not take away the fact that it is a beauty and a sight to behold when it is spewing fireworks all around it.

Visitors can board the shuttle to Taipei 101 from the Taipei City Hall MRT exit. The ride should take 5mins. Walking is about 15mins.

There’s plenty of shopping on the first 4 levels and the basement. General retail stores can be found in B1 and 1F. Upmarket goods can be found on 2F.

3F has a wide area for snacks with plenty of seating areas. 4F is home to banking and finance services. The lobby to the tower’s observatory is on this level as well.


A trip up the touted world’s fastest lifts to the observatory costs NT350 for adults. The experience is somewhat similar to my visit to Yokohama’s Landmark Tower in Japan last December. Great view of Taipei city from the 90th floor observatory.


You can pay an additional NT100 to go up to the 92nd floor for the outdoor observatory. The experience isn’t really better because metal grills at the perimeter limits the view. It does have a prison feel to it. Or you can see it as a familar ‘Sleepless In Seattle’ scene.


The observatory also allows visitors to view the tuned mass damper. This huge ball sitting atop the skyscraper moves in opposite direction to the swaying of the structure due to winds and earthquakes to augment its structural strength in such conditions. And typical Taiwanese cuteness culture has spawned a good idea to turn the mass damper into 2 cartoon mascots for the Taipei 101. And their mission is to ‘protect the Taipei 101’.

Visit the observatory if you want to be able to say, “I went up the tallest building in the world.” within the next 2 years or if you want to catch a glimpse of the engineering genius – the tuned mass damper. If you’ve been to other high altitude observatories, you can consider saving the money for some grub at the night market.




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26 07 2007

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