Experience Taipei only by day and you get just half of the picture.
Despite the ostensible quiet in the streets, Taipei is electrified with a buzzing network of suave nightclubs, chic bars, and homely street vendors during the afterhours. Couples gyrate to the thumping beat on the dance floor, while others relax into the clinking glasses and laughter, unwinding after a long day at work. Bar-hopping has been a universal language of nine-to-fivers from around the world to let their hair down after the night cloaks the sky.
Storefront signage begins to fade one after one at 10 at night, but the city still sparkles with the bright lights of the 24-hour convenience stores. Or, if you want something to munch on, the many night markets in Taipei will favor you with a mind-boggling choice of bubble teas, delicacies stewed in soy sauce, and an incredible selection of affordable street food. Before you can make up your mind, you find yourself distracted by the extraordinarily creative handmade accessories in the next display, beckoning you with their budget-friendly price tags.
As it goes deeper into the night, you find yourself craving for something moody and mellow. The city’s posh 24-hour bookstore, an icon of Taiwan’s cultural and creative industry, is the place for you. Tapped by “Time” as the best bookstore in Asia, Eslite houses a greater book selection than what a normal library can carry. The thoughtful display layouts are occupied by readers lounging and couples cuddling as they flip the pages. Pick a book and while away the night in the steady stream of hushed music. At 4:00AM. The sky has turned the color of an old nickel, signaling the advent of dawn. You are beginning to feel the tug of sleepiness. As you leave the bookstore, you may want to make another stop at one of those Taiwan’s timeless breakfast selections. The owner at the eatery greets you with a grin, a bowl of piping hot soybean milk, and the satisfyingly warm, freshly baked sesame cakes. If you crave for something filling, go for the glutinous rice balls or the fried pancakes with tasty fillings of leak and finely diced tofu. The faint noise of traffic has begun in the distance. Not yet entirely caught up by sleep yet, but you know that another day has begun.
It’s happy hour around-the-clock in Taipei. Visit the city for a mind-boggling selection of themes and attractions and get into the after-sunset indulgence. Taipei is the proverbial city that never sleeps.
(Photo Credit to Artemas Liu, CC by 2.0 )