A Vibrant Place, The Modern East District of Taipei Is Where the Action Is

Text / Mary-Anne Sioco
Photos / Albert Jou,Tony Hua
Taipei East Distric

Like every other modern capital in the world, Taipei City is a vibrant place. Everywhere you look, people are on the go - ready to do some business, some shopping, or some "recreation-ing." And the East District, consisting mostly of farmland just a few decades ago, is where it's all happening.

Today the East District, part of which is the Xinyi (Sinyi) District , is the city's key financial and commercial center, with modern highrises and fashionable department stores. The district is roughly the area east of Guangfu South Road, south of Civic Boulevard, north of Heping East Road, and west of Nangang District. With Taipei's most visible landmark, Taipei 101, standing smack in its middle, the East District is a must-explore for any visitor to the city. Following is an overview of important places in the area.

Dr. Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall

Taipei East Distric

The government began construction of this Chinese palace-like structure, dedicated to the founding father of the Republic of China, Dr. Sun Yat-sen, in 1965. With the main structure completed on May 16, 1972, the hall boasts an 8.8-meter-tall bronze statue of Dr. Sun. Originally solely displaying relics and old photographs related to this key historical figure's work and times, the memorial hall now also includes a multimedia theater, an audio-visual center, an exhibition center, a world-class performance hall, a library, and lecture halls. Information about upcoming performances and exhibitions can be found at www.yatsen.gov.tw/english/

The grounds surrounding the hall cover an expanse of around 115,500 square meters and feature picturesque landscaping ideal for people looking for a nice stroll in an urban park setting and/or a temporary getaway from the hustle and bustle of city life.

The Memorial Hall is open Mondays to Fridays, 9 a.m. ~ 5 p.m. except for the Lunar New Year holidays.

How to get there:

Take the MRT Bannan (Blue) Line and get off at Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall station.

Taipei City Hall

Taipei East Distric

East of Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall, across busy Keelung Road, is Taipei City Hall. Here you will find the majority of the city government's departmental offices. The city hall also houses the very informative Discovery Center of Taipei, where you can learn many things, if not most everything, about the history and development of the city of Taipei. The many historical photos and items, and the well-made mockups of traditional buildings, the old city walls and gates, and other structures give you a solid idea of what Taipei was like before it became today's modern metropolis. The Center is on the right-hand side just past the main entrance. For more information, you can visit the Center's website at www.discovery.taipei.gov.tw/web/newEnglish/ebook-1.html

How to get there:

Take the MRT Bannan (Blue) Line and get off at Taipei City Hall station.

Taipei World Trade Center (TWTC)

Taipei East Distric

When the Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA; then called CETRA) decided to provide a single venue that would integrate all facilities and amenities necessary for island-wide and international trade, the Taipei World Trade Center was born. This four-in-one complex includes the Exhibition Halls, the Taipei International Convention Center, the International Trade Building, and the adjacent five-star Grand Hyatt Taipei.

Exhibition Halls:

There are three exhibition halls in total, all within walking distance of each other. Hall 1, a seven-story building with 163,000 square meters of exhibition space, is where most of the international exhibitions are held. The hall accommodates short-term trade shows and exhibitions as well as permanent product displays on its upper levels.

For more information on the latest and upcoming trade shows, go to www.taipeitradeshows.com.tw

Taipei International Convention Center (TICC):

The Taipei International Convention Center, as the name implies, offers a diverse range of venues and facilities addressing business travelers' meeting needs. Capable of seating up to 3,100 persons in its largest hall, the TICC is more than suitable for conducting all types of conventions, from small-scale meetings to large conferences. Not counting the Plenary and Banquet Hall, the TICC has a total of 24 flexible rooms (that can be adjusted according to capacity needs) and up-to-date high-tech audio-visual equipment, all of which help facilitate successful business gatherings.

To find out about scheduled symposiums, go to www.ticc.com.tw/index_en.aspx?lang=en-us

International Trade Building (ITB):

The International Trade Building was designed primarily to accommodate business entities interested in conducting foreign trade. Integrating state-of-the-art equipment, including 15 high-speed elevators, a computerized monitoring system, and a solar-powered water-heating system, the ITB helps companies and international trade organizations focus on the core business at hand: the promotion and development of trade.

How to get there:

Take the MRT Bannan (Blue) Line to Taipei City Hall station; from there it's only a 10-minute walk.

Taipei 101

Taipei East Distric

Currently the tallest building in the world, this metallic blue-gray structure is pretty hard to miss as you walk around Taipei City. Taipei 101 is comprised of a large multi-story shopping mall at its base, office space on most of the remaining floors, and an observatory near the top. The observatory was opened in January 2005 and offers a breathtaking 360-degree panoramic view of city and mountainous outskirts. (Find out more about Taipei 101 on pages 8~ 11 in this issue.)

Hiking on Sihshou (Four Beasts) Mountain

Taipei East Distric

While looking down from the Taipei 101 observatory offers you toe-tingling bird's-eye-views, there is another vantage point from where you can take in the cityscape of Taipei- Sihshou (Four Beasts) Mountain. Its four peaks named for the four animals they are said to resemble - tiger, elephant, leopard, and lion - these low hills are located on - in fact form - the southeast verge of the East District. There are many well-kept and easy-to-walk trails, such as the Tiger Mountain Trail , which takes about three hours to complete.

How to get there:

You can take bus Blue 10, 257, 263, or 286 to the Fude Elementary School , then take Lane 251 of Fude Street; or take the MRT Bannan (Blue) Line to Houshanpi Station and then take bus 207 or 263 to Fengtian (Fongtian) Temple. Then follow Lane 221 or 251 of Fude Street.