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Panoramic City Rides (TAIPEI Quarterly 2024 Summer Vol.36)

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Post date:2024-06-11

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TAIPEI #36 (2024 Summer)

Panoramic City Rides
Tourists Enjoy Splendid Views and Gourmet Cuisine on Taipei Sightseeing Buses

Text Han Cheung
Photos Taipei Sightseeing Bus

While the Taipei Metro is the most convenient way to get around Taipei, visitors miss out on seeing much of the city while underground. The open-top double-decker tourist buses of the Taipei Sightseeing Bus hop-on/hop-off service offer unique views of the cityscape, stopping at most of the prime destinations in the urban core.

1
The bright-red double-decker tourist buses run on two lines through the city, with audio guides available in English, Chinese, Japanese, and Korean introducing you to sights along the way. Passes lasting 4 to 48 hours allow tourists to hop on and off at any of the 31 stops on both the Red and Blue lines. Most passengers, however, prefer to stay on for the whole trip, treating it as a quick introductory tour of the city.

2▲Taipei Sightseeing Bus passing Ximending

The full Red Line journey takes about 60 minutes (seven services a day), the Blue about 70 minutes (five services a day); for departure times, check out the timetable on the official website. While the main draw is the semi-open-air upper deck, those who can't bear the summer heat may opt for the air-conditioned lower level. A cooling mist is periodically sprayed, and free Wi-Fi is provided.

3
The Red Line cuts through the heart of the city core. Leaving Taipei Main Station heading west, your bus passes by the picturesque North Gate (Beimen), once the main entrance to the old walled city, before heading for the trendy Ximending shopping and entertainment district. Next, it passes historic Bangka Lungshan Temple, and passengers can get a glimpse of the Presidential Office Building and other Japanese-era government buildings as it makes its way toward the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall and its iconic Liberty Square arch.

Traversing down Xinyi Road toward the Taipei 101 skyscraper, currently the 11th tallest in the world, passengers can observe daily life in one of the city's most prosperous areas. Your bus returns to the Taipei Main Station via bustling Zhongxiao East Road, with sites of interest including Dr. Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall and Huashan 1914 Creative Park

For more information about the Taipei Sightseeing Bus service, visit www.taipeisightseeing.com.tw

6▲The recently introduced second Taipei Restaurant Bus can be seen shuttling through the city

The double-decker service got fancy in 2021, as an additional bus was transformed into a moving restaurant with starred gourmet meals offered during cruises through Taipei's ritzy Xinyi District. Passengers on this Taipei Restaurant Bus dine at one of the 26 table seats on the upper deck, featuring a glass top to allow gazing up at the area's towering buildings – including Taipei 101. The tables are designed to minimize shaking, and staff on board serve the meals while introducing selected sights. Remember that there are no bathrooms for the 90 to 120min journey, so make sure to take care of matters beforehand.

4▲The restaurant bus has a glass roof

Four rides depart daily, except for Mondays, launching from in front of the Breeze Xin Yi mall, just outside MRT Taipei City Hall Station's Exit 3. The service is offered in partnership with different restaurants/hotels every season; currently, the food is being provided by the five-star Regent Taipei hotel. On the lunch menu is the hotel's award-winning braised beef noodles, which CNN named in 2015 as Taipei's top selection. In the afternoon, freshly brewed tea is complemented by a delightful array of sandwiches and pastries while the four-course dinner, featuring either succulent chicken or tender beef brisket, left a lasting impression of culinary excellence on this writer.

5
Among the shiny Xinyi District malls and highrises that your bus rolls by is the twisting, double helix-shaped Agora Garden. The roof and exterior are adorned with approximately 23,000 trees and shrubs, almost as many as found in New York's Central Park. This verdant expanse serves not only to enhance aesthetics but also to absorb about 130 tons of CO2 emissions annually. The eco-friendly residential complex is Taiwan's priciest. The journey pauses for a while in front of Taipei 101 so that diners can linger over the view while they finish their food and pose for photo ops afterward.

7▲Enjoy afternoon tea while taking in the street view of Taipei

The trip concludes with a jaunt along the pleasant, tree-lined Renai Road, through the vibrant East District, and by the stately Dr. Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall.
Earlier this year, in addition to the original black bus, a second bus with a stylish silver exterior was put into service, catching more attention especially after nightfall.
For more information about the Taipei Restaurant Bus service, visit taipeirestaurantbus.com
 

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English and Chinese(icon)
Bangka Lungshan Temple 艋舺龍山寺
Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall 中正紀念堂
Dr. Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall 國父紀念館
Huashan 1914 Creative Park 華山1914 文化創意產業園區
Liberty Square 自由廣場
North Gate 北門
Presidential Office Building 總統府
Taipei 101 台北101
Taipei Restaurant Bus 台北雙層餐車
Taipei Sightseeing Bus 台北市雙層觀光巴士
Ximending 西門町

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