When you first move into a city, especially as a recent graduate adjusting to a new life as an employed (or fUNEMPLOYED) adult, it can be quite overwhelming. One reason is the absolute terror of being freed from the security of an identity as a student, and another from a horrifying phenomenon known as “free time” and the obligation to not waste it in a city that never sleeps.
As much as I love to travel, there’s nothing I despise more than tourist traps, aka. the expensive attractions that don’t really show you anything authentic about the city. As proud as the Taiwanese are of the Taipei 101 (tallest building in the world between 2004 – 2010), the cost of visiting the highest tip of the cityscape has inflated from 300NT to 500NT within the past few years, making it one of the most expensive places to visit in the city.
If you’re a fellow newly-grad folk faced with financial restraints, you might be interested in finding alternatives of enjoying (almost) the same view without the cost. What they don’t share in the tourist guides to Taiwan is the miraculous Starbucks that sits on the 35th floor on the Taipei 101, free to enter, no purchases necessary, no line (except weekends), and with an (IMO) equally amazing view.
When you visit, don’t forget to visit the other side of the 35th floor where the bathrooms are, to get the (almost) 360 skyline experience.
Next time you see that beautiful lit-up thing sticking out of the skyline, just remember – there’s a lot more you can do with it than spending the money and struggling through crowds of foreigners.