Explore Taipei's cityscape

Explore Taipei's cityscape
Taipei at sunset.
PHOTO: Zuji

The other morning, just as I got out of the MRT station and attempted to sleepwalk to the office, something in a tall, red shiny monolith whizzed by on the streets and caught my attention.

I laughed to myself and wondered if binging on old Harry Potter books before bed caused the image of the Knight Bus to find its way into my dreams.

But then I realised that it was a double-decker bus, among the first of a fleet that was introduced to Taipei this January.

Grabbing attention wherever it goes, the curious red busses aroused for locals and tourists alike, and tempted us to try out the two routes that are currently available.

We boarded the bus on a chilly - but luckily sunny - afternoon at the stop right outside Taipei Main Station's M4 Exit.

Climbing onto the bus was a magical moment that could transform any local into a tourist in one's own city, where the excitement of taking in the cityscape from a new angle mingled with the joy of recognising familiar buildings and landmarks.

Blue Route to Culture

From there, the blue route set off for the National Palace Museum, first passing by the historical Beimen , which was the main entrance to the city back in the Qing dynasty; then offering a broad view of the Presidential Office, National Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall and other sites before bringing us up close to the Grand Hotel Taipei.

Even if you choose not to hop on and off along the way, the two-hour round trip is a pleasant ride either with family, friends or on your own.

Red Route for Shopping

The first few stops of the red route overlap with the blue route, but instead of making its way up north, it heads towards Taipei 101, allowing passengers to take in popular tourists sites such as Yongkong Street , National Theatre and Concert Hall, Daan Park and Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall.

For those interested in the night view of downtown Taipei, the red route runs until 10 p.m. with the night tour pass holding a buy-1-get-1 promotion until Feb. 28.

There is no need for magic curses and you will see what wonders can be done to our city merely with a change of angle.

So why hesitate?

While the sun is still showing its face, grab a scarf, some shades, your camera and prepare to pose at Taipei's new Instagram-worthy place.

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