Visiting the Taipei 101 Observatory

Taipei 101 is one of most famous skyscrapers in the world, since it was once the world's tallest building from 2004 to 2010, and features a unique appearance that different from other normal skyscrapers.
Taipei 101 is located in Xinyi District in Taipei.

Taipei 101 Observatory is several observation decks on the uppermost floors that opened to public for viewing the cityscape of Taipei, it offers 360 degree panoramic views from a perspective of a height over 390 meters from the ground, it's one of the top 10 highest observatories in the world, and one of the most visited places for tourists in Taipei.

For its significant height and almost no other skyscrapers situated in the near area (the situation has changed slightly since the 892-foot Nansha Plaza topped out in 2017), it is the most conspicuous building in Taipei, almost every one is able to easily find it without the map or knowing its address.

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The building has two addresses, of course referring to the same site, one is No.45 Shifu Road, Xinyi District, Taipei; the other is No.7 Xinyi Road, Xinyi district.
There are many ways to get there, and it's based on your departure point, check the online map to see the guidance.

Metro Subway is the most convenient way to travel in Taipei, if you choose to get to Taipei 101 by subway, you can take the Red Line 2, and get off at Taipei 101 station. Or you can take the Blue Line 5 to Taipei City Hall Station, after getting out the station you will see Taipei 101 as it is so tall among all the buildings, then just walk towards it.

The observation decks on Taipei 101 open every day from 9 am to 10 pm, but tourists must enter the entrance before 9:15 pm.
It is better to visit there before the dusk time, by this way both day views and night views can be seen within a single visit.

look up at Taipei 101
look up at Taipei 101

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The first 5 floors are occupied by a shopping mall. It is quite unusual that the entrance of observation deck is not set on the ground floor but on the 5th floor of the shopping mall, maybe they want tourists to have a look at the mall. The mall has many luxury brand's flagship stores, like Gucci, LV, Dior, Cartier, etc, as well as many affordable fashion brands like Zara. Beside these you will also find a host of restaurants there, mainly are Chinese restaurants, as Taiwanese were immigrated from Mainland China, but restaurants for cuisine from other countries are available as well. For those interested in Chinese dishes, it's a nice place to enjoy.

Inside the shopping mall of Taipei 101
Inside the shopping mall of Taipei 101

As of 2017 standard admission fee of Taipei 101 Observatory is 600 New Taiwan dollars per person, approximately equal to 20 US dollars, (by contrast, to access the highest observation deck on Empire State Building, one needs to pay 52 US dollars.) Discounts is available for some groups like students, tour groups, check its website for details. The tickets can be purchased on site on the 5th floor of the shopping mall, or book in advance online, which is recommended as a discount will be offered, you can click here to book the admission ticket.
The elevators which take tourists to the observation decks were once the fastest elevators in the world, traveling at 16.8m/s when the speed reach the peak, by comparison the elevators in world's tallest building Burj Khalifa travel only 10m/s.

It takes just 37 seconds to transport the tourists from the 5th to the observatory on 89th floor.
Tourists will be escorted to visit the 89th floor first.
The 89th floor is an enclosed observatory, all the windows are floor-to-ceiling, offering panoramic views of Taipei. Drag the image below to see the details of all the corners of the observation deck.


Taipei is not Shanghai, there's almost no visually iconic and distinctive buildings other than Taipei 101 itself (maybe the most recognizable buildings are the Taipei Sun Yat Sen Memorial Hall and Taipei Dome), what you will see are mostly undistinguished low-rise buildings, therefore it is recommended that better to visit the Taipei 101 Observatory when you have already visited some other attractions in the city and get familiar with them, then you will recognize them from high above. The views will be much more attractive at night, the night view of Taipei is one of most beautiful in the world, and Taipei 101 Observatory is best place to enjoy the night view.

Taipei Sun Yat Sen Memorial Hall and Taipei Dome
Taipei Sun Yat Sen Memorial Hall and Taipei Dome can be easily picked out in this picture, the building that features the ancient Chinese style is Sun Yat Sen Memorial.

The picture shown above is the northwestern views of the city seen from the Taipei 101 Observatory, it features the two most recognizable buildings of the city: the Taipei Sun Yat Sen Memorial Hall and Taipei Dome.

And Another conspicuous building can be seen from the observatory is the Nanshan Plaza, which was topped out in earlier 2017.

Looking down at the Nanshan Plaza from Taipei 101 Observatory
Looking down at the Nanshan Plaza from Taipei 101 Observatory

In case the tower is one of your first places to visit in Taipei, don't worry as they will give you a device functions as tour guide, when you stand by the windows the device will introduce the main attractions of the city beneath your feet.

The hill featured in this picture is Xiangshan or Elephant Mountain
The hill featured in this picture is Xiangshan or Elephant Mountain.

There are some coin-operated telescopes alongside the windows, after throwing in the coin you can watch the city view through the telescope for about one minute.

If you want to take a few pictures with your cellphones or cameras, try hold your device close to the window, otherwise your pictures will have reflection on the window.

On this indoor observation deck there are some souvenirs for sale, like some artworks that based on Taipei 101, and a variety of postcards and stamps can be found there, tourists can buy a postcard and write something then directly deposit into the mailboxes nearby, the post boxes were highest in the world.

Aside from the cityscape another thing worth to have a look is the building's tuned mass damper, it’s a large pendulum used for stabilizing the tower against movements caused by earthquakes and strong winds. The tuned mass damper will swing in the opposite direction of the sway of the tower, by this way it can effectively reduce the sway.

The tuned mass damper weighs 660 tons, it is the first and the only one tuned mass damper that open to public for watching (Shanghai Tower also has a tuned mass damper at its uppermost floors, but has not opened to public yet.)
At 5.5 meters in diameter, the tuned mass damper had been the largest tuned mass damper in the world before the completion of Shanghai Tower.
The tuned mass damper can be seen from all three floors of Taipei 101 Observatory, you can look down at the damper from above on 89th floor, which also features some exhibitions introducing how the damper works. There's a mascot of the damper, named Damper Baby, it is designed based on the appearance of the tuned mass damper.

Look down at the tuned mass damper from the 89th floor of Taipei 101
Look down at the tuned mass damper from the 89th floor of Taipei 101
Damper Baby, the mascot of the tuned mass damper

If you want to have a look at the damper more closely, you can go to 88th floor after walking through the downward stairs, there you will be presented with the close views of the tuned mass damper.

The highest floor for sightseeing is 91st floor, at a height of 392 m (1,285 ft), it can be accessed by walking through the upward stairways from the observatory on 89th floor.

91st floor is an outdoor viewing platform, it is the third highest outdoor observation deck in the world, after the ones on Burj Khalifa and Canton Tower.

The outdoor observatory on 91st floor of Taipei 101
The outdoor observatory on 91st floor of Taipei 101.

However it will be closed on some days when the weather is bad, the bad weather is not only limited to rainy days, windy days caused by typhoons will also force it to be closed, so if you are interested in this outdoor observation deck and watch the cityscape more freely, remember to choose a day with good weather to visit.

The night view of Taipei seen from the outdoor observatory of Taipei 101
The night view of Taipei seen from the outdoor observatory of Taipei 101

After visiting all the corners of the observation decks, to leave the observation decks tourists need to go to 88th floor first, and take the elevator after going through an area that sells ornaments. The elevator will take you to 1st floor underground, where is another place sells some products.

Then the whole trip is complete, one thing to keep in mind is that when you visit a building's observatory, you can't see the building itself, so after you get to the street don't forget to look up to enjoy the night view of Taipei 101, the tower will be lit with different colors every day. The best place for public to enjoy the view of Taipei 101 is Xiangshan, also known as Elephant Mountain, the mountain is 600-foot high, this height is not very tall but still can offer tourists nice views of cityscape of Taipei, including the view of Taipei 101.

Taiwan is located very close to Mainland China, which possess numerous skyscraper buildings, and lots of them contain observation decks, too. You may have heard of that the majority of those most used websites are blocked in Mainland China (Taiwan is not affected by this problem), but it is not very difficult to solve this problem, if you plan to visit Chinese cities you may wish to check our guide to accessing blocked sites in China.

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