Post Last Modified – June 23, 2020
Withlocals Ultimate Layover Taipei Private Tour
My wife and I recently returned from a wonderful vacation to the Philippines from Canada. On the trip home, we had a 10 hour layover in Taipei, Taiwan before carrying on home on our next flight.
I knew I certainly wasn’t going to sit around the airport for 10 hours, so I did some research and discovered the Withlocals Ultimate Layover Taipei Tour.
Withlocals offered unique fully personalized private city tours, specifically designed for airport layovers in Taipei.
Great Reasons To Choose Withlocals
I was very impressed with their business platform, where chosen local hosts get the opportunity to work alongside Withlocals in providing unique food and tour experiences to individuals visiting their city. It offers locals a chance to showcase their talents, expose their home town to visitors and at the same time, earn income to help support themselves and their families.
“Withlocals is the peer-to-peer marketplace where local people offer experiences and their skills to travelers. Our mission is to connect people and cultures through food and unique experiences.”
What a great concept and one that is becoming more and more popular each year. I love the idea of taking a private personalized tour with a local. It gives you the opportunity to see and experience parts of their city and to sample local favorite dishes at places you would normally not find or even know of.
A great way to step out of the box and experience the local culture and cuisine!
Today, you can find Withlocals in 50 cities throughout Europe, Asia and the Middle East. Their most popular destinations include; Rome, Bangkok, Paris, Barcelona, Lisbon, Amsterdam, Berlin, Kuala Lumpur and Dubai. You can choose from over 2000 different tours with carefully chosen and verified locals in 88 selected destinations.
A Look At Our Ultimate Layover Taipei Tour
Our first flight arrived in Taipei at about 2pm and our next flight departed for Canada at around midnight. So we had plenty of time for a tour of the city, taking in a number of its most popular attractions. This is a unique private tour with your host and you can personalize your tour any way you wish to.
Having never visited Taipei before, I pretty much left our tour itinerary up to our local guide, with the exception of wanting to see Taipei 101.
Shortly after our arrival in Taipei, we were warmly greeted by our host and guide Chia-chien Jessica. This was all pre-arranged by conveniently privately messaging one another on the Withlocals App. We were then off to begin our tour of the city. It does take at least 35 to 40 minutes highway driving to reach the city center.
Below is a brief of the popular sites we took in on our city tour with Jessica;
➡ National Revolutionary Martyrs’ Shrine – Changing of the Guard;
➡ The Grand Hotel;
➡ Lin-An tai Historic House;
➡ Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall;
➡ Bao’an temple;
➡ Bubble Tea;
➡ Taipei 101;
➡ Taipei Raohe St.Night Market.
National Revolutionary Martyrs’ Shrine
Withlocals Ultimate Layover Taipei Tour – First Visit
Our first stop was just in time to view the Changing of the Guard at the National Revolutionary Martyrs’ Shrine. This beautiful Shrine and grounds were built to honor the fallen Kuomintang soldiers after the Chinese Civil War.
The grounds also house about 390,000 spirit tablets that honor the brave soldiers during the war against the communists in mainland China.
The Changing of the Guard ceremonies take place every hour with the military honor guard, and which has now become a very popular tourist attraction in the city.
The Grand Hotel In Taipei
Withlocals Ultimate Layover Taipei Tour – 2nd Visit
Next on our list of sites to visit was the spectacular Grand Hotel. This beautiful historic luxury hotel was established in 1952 by leader Chiang Kai-shek. At that time, he felt Taipei had no suitable hotels for hosting visiting foreign dignitaries and VIP’s.
The main building was finally fully completed in 1973.
The interior and lobby are lavish and absolutely amazing to view! Certainly worth a short visit to step inside this magnificent piece of history, take some photos and view some historical photographs and artifacts as well inside.
The hotel showcases the absolute beauty of Chinese architecture and its culture.
Lin-An tai Historic House & Museum
Withlocals Ultimate Layover Taipei Tour – Third Visit
The Lin An Tai Historic House is a traditional-style mansion that dates back to the late 1700’s. Today, it is said to be the oldest structure of its kind in Taipei.
Constructed by Mr. Lin, an immigrant to Taiwan from Fujian County in China, this historic home has since been moved to a new location in the city, successfully surviving attempts to destroy the structure in the 1970’s.
The grounds and the artifacts in the home make a short visit to the site definitely worthwhile.
Famous Bubble Tea
Withlocals Ultimate Layover Taipei Tour – Fourth Visit
Before making our way to the next stop on our tour, Jessica insisted we stop by a very popular and well established vendor in the city that serves a Taiwan favorite drink known as “Bubble Tea.”
Also referred to as Pearl Milk, this tasty drink served cold or hot consists of tea, milk, sugar (optional), and tiny tapioca balls.
An interesting drink for sure with the tapioca balls having a jelly gum like texture!
Withlocals Ultimate Layover Taipei Tour – Fifth Visit
It was then just a short walk to the beautiful Bao’an temple. Founded in 1760 by immigrants from Quanzhou, Fujian province, the temple now holds the distinct honor of receiving the Unesco Asia-Pacific Heritage Award for its total restoration.
This is also a special place site where temple rites and festivities take place throughout the year.
There are a number of beautiful individual shrines with displays of gods that are unique to each. This is definitely a very holy and spiritual place for locals to come and pay their respects and dedications to these shrines.
Night was falling and with the lights now on, the buildings and shrines looked amazing!
Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall
Withlocals Ultimate Layover Taipei Tour – Sixth Visit
Without a doubt, the most popular tourist attraction in the city is Liberty Square or still referred to as the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall. The CKS Memorial Hall was erected in honor and memory of Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek, the former President of the Republic of China.
The memorial was opened in 1980 as part of a national park and gathering area.
The photo above shows the main entrance and gateway to the grounds of Liberty Square where all the main buildings and attractions are located.
Along with the beautiful Memorial found in the park, there’s also the Chiang Kai-Shek Park Concert Hall and the National Theatre.
A very impressive site, especially in the evening hours under the lights! Looking at these beautiful buildings, one is certainly reminded of the similarity to China’s Forbidden City in Beijing.
Withlocals Ultimate Layover Taipei Tour – Seventh Visit
One site I didn’t want to miss was the Taipei 101 skyscraper. Yes, there are 101 floors in this skyscraper!
Unfortunately on this day, the city was covered in a very thick ocean misty haze, so there really would be no view from the top. Instead, we opted to stop just outside of this massive building in the evening hours to view the structure with its lights on.
What an amazing looking building! The structure is designed to resemble a massive bamboo stalk. Taipei 101 did in fact hold the ‘world’s tallest building’ record for quite a few years until 2011 when the Burj Khalifa in Dubai was built.
There are observation decks on the 88th and 89th floors and apparently the view is breathtaking. Their incredibly fast elevators can get people up in to the observation decks in just 37 seconds!
Taipei Raohe St. Night Market
Withlocals Ultimate Layover Taipei Tour – Eighth Visit
From Taipei 101 it was off to see the very popular Taipei Raohe St.Night Market. The market was bustling with people and there were all kinds of vendors showcasing their food and wares for sale.
I wish we could have spent more time browsing around, and some of the food prepared by the vendors looked delicious!
Definitely a place to come in the evening hours to browse around shop and grab something to eat.
From here, it was back to airport in preparation for our next flight taking us back to Canada. What a great way to spend the late afternoon and evening enjoying the sites of Taipei. It was so nice to be picked up and dropped off at the airport, as well, to be chauffeured around the city on a private tour.
I highly recommend taking a closer look at Withlocals, downloading their app and consider booking a food or tour experience with them in the cities where they are located. Our guide was just excellent! Jessica was very informative and knowledgeable on all the sites we visited and made her way around the city quickly and easily like a pro!
For more detailed information on Withlocals, the tours they offer, online booking and much more, I’ve included a link to their official website below for your convenience.
I’ve also listed the Official Taipei Tourism link below to their website page for your convenience. It’s filled with excellent information on everything this beautiful part of Country has to offer.
Safe and Healthy Travels! 🙂
Although our tour was in collaboration with Withlocals Tours, rest assured all content and opinions are that of the author and reflect my personal experience only.
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