If you are visiting Taipei for the first time, there is no escaping a visit to Taipei 101 (台北101 or 臺北101). As its name suggests, it has 101 floors 438 metres above ground but levels 92 to 101 are communication floors. Only levels 88, 89 and 91 and for public viewing… There is a private function room on the 101st floor that you can rent for your event though.
This was a photo I took at around 4.30pm from the observatory deck on the 89th floor:
Some people may say it’s a waste of time and boring and just a trip up to the observatory deck and down and nothing much… but hey, just go and have a look, it is after all, the tallest office building in the world and the second tallest building in the world at the moment:
Taipei 101 was officially ranked the world’s tallest building upon completion in 2004 and held that position until the Burj Khalifa in Dubai opened in 2010.
We were at Taipei 101 on Thursday but it was raining and there was no point going all the way up to see a city covered in nothing but thick, dark clouds.
So we returned on Saturday on a bright, sunny and clear day!
The nearest MRT station to Taipei 101 is Taipei City Hall, but upon exiting the station, you can’t spot Taipei 101 immediately. Walk around the station to the back and you’ll see these black and red structures that are part of the Shin Kong Mitsukoshi Department Store…
Taipei 101 has a few parts to it – the Tower and the Mall mainly. Get to the shopping mall and head to the 5th floor where the ticketing counter is.
As it was a weekend, the queue was long but fret not, the line moves quite quickly.
Upon buying your tickets, you’ll be given a queue number and a ‘boarding time’. We had to wait for about 40 minutes, so we went to browse the shops in the mall for a while first.
The boarding queue snakes around a few corners, but it moves fast too. Along the queue there’s a souvenir photo taking spot where they snap your picture which you can buy a printout of later.
It looked a bit weird so we didn’t buy it eventually. There’s a photo taking booth on the 89th floor where you can retake though.
A cool thing about Taipei 101 is its Guinness Record-breaking (2004) high-speed pressurised elevators that travel at a speed of 1,010 metres per minute (about 60.6 kilometres per hour)…
…and takes just 37 seconds to get us to the 89th floor where the indoor observatory is.
The indoor observatory on the 89th floor stands 382 metres above ground and has a commanding view of Taipei City in all directions.
There are high-powered binoculars, drinks and desserts bar, souvenir shops and complimentary pre-recorded audio tour guides in seven languages in the form of a handphone that you can conveniently take around with you as you listen. I found something cute there too:
Yes, you can mail postcards to friends from Taipei 101! It costs about NT$12 (about S$0.55) to mail to other regions outside of Taiwan and mainland China and I have no idea how long it takes to reach. I did think of sending one to my parents but I will probably get home way before the postcard gets to them so I dropped the idea. Haha!
Some of the windows are quite dirty, making it hard to take photos but the window cleaners are hard at work all the time. If you see them as the sign above says, wave and take photos!
There is an outdoor observatory on the 91st floor but it is weather permitting and only open on certain occasions. The winds were strong on one side during our visit so we only had one tiny portion of the outdoor deck to view from.
To get to the 91st floor, we had to climb these flight of stairs from the 89th floor indoor observatory. Yes, you have to work for the great views at the top!
Taipei 101 also has the world’s largest damper that weighs 660 metric tonnes and is painted in an auspicious sparkly gold!
Costing NT$132 million (US$4 million) to construct, this steel pendulum serves as a tuned mass damper and is suspended from the 92nd to the 87th floor and sways to offset movements in the building caused by strong gusts. Of course, don’t expect to see it sway as a pendulum does in a grandfather clock. This is the largest damper sphere in the world, with 41 circular steel plates, each with a height of 125 mm welded together to form a 5.5-metre diameter sphere. Another two tuned mass dampers, each weighing 6 tonnes sit at the tip of the spire and all these prevent damage to the structure due to strong wind loads.
To get back down to the 5th floor, we had to stand in line for the lift. Thank goodness for the fast lifts, or else the queues will be mad!
Taipei 101 may soon be ranked the 3rd tallest building in the world as Kuwait is currently building Mubarak al-Kabir Tower – what will be the world’s tallest tower at 1,001 metres in Madinat al Hareer when completed.
Address: 89th Floor, No. 7 Hsinyi Road Section 5, Taipei City
The entrance and ticketing booth are located at the 5th floor of the Taipei 101 shopping mall.
For enquiries or group reservations, please call（02）8101 8899.
Opening hours: 10.00am to 10.00pm daily
Last ticketing and entry: 9:15 pm
Operating hours during holidays are subject to change.
For more of my photos, view my albums:
Read the rest of my Taipei posts here: