Taipei 101: The Empire State Building of Taiwan

Taipei 101 is unmistakenly Taiwan.  This was once the highest tower in Asia (correct me if I'm wrong). Since higher towers are erected in other parts of Asia, Taipei 101 no longer hold the title as the highest but it still worth a visit. You can almost see the tower from every part of the city, hence a perfect landmark as a bearing whenever you navigate around the city.

The access to the tower is located at Level 5 of the shopping mall, just like KLCC in Malaysia. The mall is pretty generic with familiar high-end boutiques - Louis Vuitton, Gucci, there's also Zara for a more pocket-friendly option. The elevator shoots up to 88th floor in less than a minute. If you are sensitive to height pressure, make sure you put on the flight earplug for a more comfortable ride.

It is obligatory to visit the tower whenever you visit Taiwan, but at the same time it can be boring if you have visited many of these observatory towers in the world. I have been to Burj Khalifa, Auckland Tower, KLCC, KL Tower, Macau Tower and Bangkok Baiyoke, most of the towers are pretty similar. The ticket isn't cheap and in exchange of bird's eye view, you decide if that's worth it or not. If you have a specific activity such as dining, bungy jump, etc. that would be more interesting.

At the observatory, I noticed that one side of the tower is congested with modern buildings, while the other side remains green and untouched virgin forest. It reflects the two sides of Taiwan's identity - modern and advanced yet rich in nature. 

Since we were there at about 6pm, we thought we just stay until the sun set. It is a very beautiful serene scenery.

If you take the stairs to the 87th floor, you will find the biggest tower damper in the world....

The damper serves as tower stabilizer in case of strong winds or earth quake which is common in Taiwan. I never even notice that every high rise tower has a damper! Most towers have the damper hidden at the top where it is not accessible.

I made a mistake by not checking the tourist info board. There's an extra outdoor observatory at 89th floor. It is accessible via staircase. There is a huge balcony on the tower for tourist to feel the strong wind outside. I bet the sunset view outside is much more breath taking. Don't miss that out.