Things to do in Taipei
Enjoy the calm of the water in a kayak
Escape the hubbub of the city and head south of Taipei to Bintan. Fed by the Xindian River, this is a popular scenic spot, whose pedestrian bridge commands great views of the river below and mountains behind. For a change of perspective, visitors can hire kayaks and paddle the waters below.
Hike over an elephant
Outdoor enthusiasts looking to lace up their hiking boots are well served in Taipei. Flanking the city are four beasts: Elephant, Tiger, Lion and Leopard - mountains that offer a fantastic challenge for walkers. Tackle Elephant, whose mix of concrete trail and steeper rope-assisted steps peak with unmissable cityscape views.
Make for the breaks at Jinshan
The breaks may not give Hawaii a run for its money but that hasn't stopped surfing from gaining popularity in Taiwan. Locals head to Jinshan, less than an hour's drive north east of the city. Waves here are consistent and rentals available: ideal for beginners just wanting to find their feet.
Relax in Taiwan's Hell Valley
Thanks to Taiwan's tectonic location, the country boasts some excellent hot springs that, under Japanese rule, were developed into onsen-style spas. Beitou Hot Spring (tel: +886 2 2874 7979; www.taipeinavi.com) is one of the most popular in Taipei; unwind in the warm volcanic waters before exploring the nearby Hell Valley, up from which bellows sulphuric steam.
Ride the Maokong Gondola
If you suffer from a fear of heights, the Maokong Gondola (tel: +886 2 218 12345; http://english.gondola.taipei) may not be for you. Taipei's cable car runs from Maokong to the Taipei zoo and offers great views of the city. It is during January's apricot blossom season that the lift system really blooms - especially from a glass bottom car.