Taipei Journal #6: Taipei 101 & Elephant Mountain

Up, up we go. Until breath do us part. I see a tall structure and a beautiful mountainscape in the background and suddenly my breath returns to me. Do I go inside the bamboo vessel? Spoiler. I do!

Suddenly, Taipei became more of a friend than an acquaintance. After a mouthwatering meal at the famous Yong Kang Beef Noodle, I walked the extensive stretch that is Xinyi Road. After passing Da’an Park, the sweet smells from Chinese bakeries and a plethora of tiny shops, I finally hit the foot of Taipei 101. Taipei 101 is definitely a sight to behold and puts the CN Tower to shame (sorry CN, I still love you though.)

Started my day off right at Yong Kang Beef Noodles. Although I had to wait an hour in line, the wait was definitely worth it!
Standing 508 m tall, Taipei 101 is a majestic trade centre inspired by Chinese bamboo.

At first, I was skeptical of going to the Taipei 101 observation deck. I love tourist attractions as much as the next guy, but this is more or less the same as going to the CN’s observation deck. Instead, I opted to continue waking to Elephant Mountain. Through my prior research, I had heard of the unimaginable views from the peak of the mountain. There was one small catch though. I am in the worst darn shape of my life currently (trying to fix that at the moment) and the steps leading up to the peak viewpoint are steeper than my morning tea.

“You’re in Taiwan Andrew, you have to climb at least one of the mountains while you are here,” my inner voice kept reminding me.

The “I think I can do this”smolder.
And so the 45 minute ascend begins. Hey, at least there are stairs!
Me: I wonder why they call it Elephant Mountain. Someone: Google It. Me: Nah.
Halfway there! Most people do this thing in 45. It took me 45 to get halfway. Turns out, I was in even worse shape than I thought (not sure the noodles, ribs, and beer helped either.)
Cool! A temple to catch my breathe at!

1.5 hours in and I finally reached the top of Elephant Mountain. A soaking shirt, stinging eyes and no oxygen in my lungs later, I feasted my eyes upon one of the greatest views I have ever seen. It is one thing to be in the city of Taipei, but to view it from such a vantage point is a real treat. Although I was lightheaded and just about ready to pass out, the euphoria from the view kicked in.

Just wow…

The ascension down the mountain was much more simple and after a 45-minute break at the peak, it was time to find food. Ever since my July trip to Japan, I have been craving a big bowl of Ichiran Ramen. Luckily enough, Taipei was home to Taiwan’s only location.

My own private eating booth.
Just how I remember it; silky smooth broth, extra chashu, firm noodles and plenty of garlic and spice.

After a rejuvenating bowl of ramen, I decided I still had some more energy left in me – a second wind if you will! I decided to take the elevator to the top of Taipei 101, just in time for the sunset.

Lush green hills at the feet of Taipei 101.
Yes, Taipei 101 has a mascot. Yes, it’s adorable.
The sun is ready to sleep, as am I.

As I exit Taipei 101, I understand a little bit more why tourist attractions are tourist attractions. Skepticisms aside, I think they deserve more credit than myself and others give them. They show us a new perspective on the world and a wonder that can only be experienced in-person.

And on that note…good night!

Thank you for joining me on my 7-Part Taipei Journal Series. Missed any? Read them all below:

  1. Taipei Journal #1: Class Upgrade, Chiang Kai-Shek & Taiwan Downpour
  2. Taipei Journal #2: Wisteria Tea House
  3. Taipei Journal #3: Ximending & Avengers Infinity War
  4. Taipei Journal #4: Jiufen Old Street aka The Spirited Away Town
  5. Taipei Journal #5: Beitou Hot Springs & Thermal Valley
  6. Taipei Journal #6: Taipei 101 & Elephant Mountain — NOW READING
  7. Taipei Journal #7: Taipei Night Markets and Street Eats 

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