My co-worker was telling us about her recent trip to Taipei yesterday. Even though she really enjoyed the food and the culture there, she was surprised how ugly Taipei city looks. She had an impression that Taiwan is a very rich country. It had the most foreign currency saved up in the world and one of the well developed country in Asia. She was expecting to see a very nice city landscape with clean streets and lots of green parks in Taipei. To her surprise, things are exactly the opposite as she had imagined. The streets are dirty and traffic was horrible. All of the buildings are grey concrete buildings. She asked me, “Why don’t they paint the buildings?” I really couldn’t answer her.

Frankly speaking, I have to agree with her. Taipei has never been known as a beautiful city. Ever since WWII, Taiwan’s economy grew rapidly and population more than tripled with the immigration flows from mainland China. I guess the government didn’t have a good control of things and didn’t have a good city planning. They just let Taipei develop on its own until every inch of land is packed with buildings and people. I would say more than 50% of the buildings in Taipei were build back in the economy booms from 60’s to 80’s. They didn’t care much about building appearance back then. That’s why you don’t see too many  unique or nice buildings in Taipei.

Although Taipei does not have good city scenery, it does has other fun attractions that attracts thousands of tourists around the world, such as the food, the exciting night life, the friendly people, the shopping districts…etc. So I would like to say to those who have never been to Taipei : don’t expect too much sight seeings in the city, but do get into the lifestyles there. You’ll enjoy it very much!

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