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Digital Subscriptions > National Geographic Traveller (UK) > Jan/Feb 2019 > TAIPEI


Taiwan’s capital is alive with tropical urban parks, buzzing night markets, and a new wave of bars and boutiques led by the city’s young, creative crowd WORDS: Nicola Trup PHOTOGRAPHS: Duncan Longden
Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall

The naked, elderly women try to shoo me out, saying something in Mandarin that I assume means the place is closed. I show them my watch and make the international gesture for ‘please, just ive minutes’. It seems to work; the selfappointed arbiters of the hot springs wave me in and resume dressing as I switly do the opposite, stepping into the stone-lined pool, where just one other bather is defying the opening hours, soaking herself in the blissfully warm water.

I’ve spent hours hiking through Yangmingshan National Park to get to the public baths at Lengshuikeng and were it not for the high-rises visible from the hills as I walked, I might almost have forgotten where I am. I’m still within Taipei’s city limits, just a bus and metro ride from the skyscrapers, traic jams and bubble tea shops of downtown.

If you’ve visited cities in China or Japan, you’d be forgiven for lumping the Taiwanese capital in with them. A complicated relationship with the former and a 50-year period of occupation by the latter (up until 1945) mean both cultures have let their mark on Taipei. There’s the 24-hour buzz, avantgarde fashion sense and enduring love for karaoke you’d associate with Tokyo, mixed in with the Qing-era architecture, shared language and enthusiasm for luxury brands you’d ind in Beijing.

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About National Geographic Traveller (UK)

We reveal the destinations that made our Cool List 2019 — from booming gastronomic hotspots to up-and-coming cities, this is the last word in where you should visit in the year to come. Elsewhere, we explore the wild side of Quebec’s national parks; leave our shoes behind on Colombia’s barefoot Pacific coast; and spend a long weekend in Bornholm. Other highlights this issue include Kuala Lumpur, Richmond, Prague, Marrakech and Taipei while our photo story joins the wild horse herders in Iceland’s rural east.