Taipei 101 is not just a skyscraper, it’s a symbol of Taiwan’s rich history and cultural heritage. The building has played a significant role in the development of Taipei and Taiwan as a whole, and it continues to be one of the most recognizable landmarks in the world.
When it was completed in 2004, it was the tallest building in the world and remained so until 2009. Today, Taipei 101 remains one of the most iconic landmarks in Taiwan, attracting millions of visitors each year.
The design of Taipei 101 was inspired by traditional Chinese architecture and symbolism. The number 8 is considered lucky in Chinese culture, so the building was designed to resemble a stylized number 8.
The bamboo plant was also incorporated into the design, as it is a symbol of strength and resilience in Chinese culture. These elements were combined to create a unique design that reflected the cultural heritage of Taiwan while also showcasing its modern infrastructure and technological capabilities.
Taipei 101 was designed to withstand typhoons and earthquakes, two natural disasters that are common in Taiwan. The building’s shape was specifically designed to mitigate the effects of these elements. The building’s cylindrical shape helps it withstand high winds, while its mass damper system helps reduce the effects of earthquakes.
The damper system is a giant pendulum weighing in at 660 tonnes that helps to counteract the movement of the building during earthquakes or high winds. This innovative design has helped make Taipei 101 one of the safest skyscrapers in the world.
The Taipei 101 Mall is home to a wide variety of retailers, including local and international brands. From high-end luxury brands to more affordable options, the mall has something for everyone. Some of the most popular brands include Chanel, Gucci, and Prada, as well as local favourites like Shiatzy Chen and Eslite Bookstore.
The mall utilises the first 5 floors of the Taipei 101 building, and includes a tax refund booth on the first floor which can be used to refund the 5% VAT on any purchases made over NT$2,000 at the mall.
The 4th floor of the mall is the most impressive, with a large open area filled with shops and cafes. There are escalators from this area that lead up to the entrance to the observation deck.
The basement floor of the mall also features a large dining area, with many food stands and restaurants, including Taiwan’s own Din Tai Fung.
If you’ve never visited Din Tai Fung, I would urge you to visit at least once during your stay – although finding a table can be difficult. You can book ahead on Klook to guarantee a table however. Alternatively, I have a post on how to get a table at Din Tai Fung.Klook.com
The Observation Deck, often referred to as the observatory, is located on the 88th to the 91st floors of the Taipei 101 building.
Recently, the 101st floor has opened to the general public for an extra special experience. Tickets for this must be purchased separately.
The elevator ride to the viewing deck on the 89th floor takes a only 37 seconds, and held the world record for the fastest passenger elevator until 2015.
What to do on the Observation Deck
The giant wind damper is located on this floor, along with corridors and screens showcasing the natural beauty of Taiwan.
This is the main indoor viewing area, providing 360-degree views of Taipei and its surroundings.
Each side is equipped with interactive touch screens that will help you find each significant landmark viewable from the observation deck.
Landmarks viewable from this floor include:
- Elephant Mountain
- Sun-Yat Sen Memorial Hall
- Yangmingshan National Park (on a clear day)
- Taipei Dome
- Songshan Airport
There is a small section with a glass floor which, if you’re feeling brave enough, you can stand on to get a real sense of just how high you are.
Gift shops and fun photo booths are also found on this floor.
The express lifts for you return journey are located here, along with a large gift area selling luxury items including many ornaments made with jade.
Easily missed, the outdoor viewing area is accessible by stairs from the 89th floor. This area will be closed if the wind is too strong.
The most recent addition to the viewing experience, this floor is only accessible with specially purchased tickets. The 101st offers further viewing decks from all sides and is currently transformed into the world’s highest secret garden.
You are only allowed to stay here for 1 hour, but tickets include access to the other floors after.
For an extra special experience, it is possible to go outside on the 101st floor (which is 460 meters above sea-level), although only during favourable weather conditions.
Skyline 460 allows visitors to access the external viewing platform whilst being strapped in with a safety harness. This is not included as part of the standard 101 Floor tickets, and tickets for this unique experience can now be purchased on Klook.
The experience can only be taken at 15:00 and lasts for around 50 minutes. You must arrive at the ticket counter at least 30 minutes prior to this.
The ticket includes access to the other floors, a souvenir and a drink. See prices section below for the cost.
Finding the Observation Deck Entrance in Taipei 101
The entrance to the express lifts that take you up to the 89th floor are located on the 5th floor of the shopping mall.
This can be tricky to find if you’ve never been here before:
- Take the escalators to the 4th floor
- Locate the large open area (see above for photo)
- Take the escalators from here to the 5th floor
- The ticket booth and express lifts are located just after the TWG Tea store
There are also two sets of elevators that will take you directly to the ticket booth. These are located on the 1st floor near the main entrance to Taipei 101 on Xinyi Road. Look out for the orange signs on the elevators.
Tickets can be purchased from this booth, although it’s recommended to purchase tickets online in advance, to avoid long lines and ensure a smooth experience.
Tickets purchasable on Klook also include fast-track passes (allowing you to skip the queues altogether), tickets to access the 101st floor, and the Skyline 460 experience.
If you’re thinking of visiting many of the top attractions in Taipei, then tickets are also included in both the Taipei Fun Pass and Klook Pass.Klook.com
Best Time to Visit
Weekends and holidays, as you would expect, are the busiest times for visiting the observation deck (especially Sundays). If you do need to visit over the weekend, I would suggest going in the morning or evening when it is less busy.
Alternatively, you could purchase a fast-track ticket to skips the queue, as this can be over 1 hour long at weekends. There is also usually a long queue for your return journey back to the forth floor.
Weekdays are much less crowded, with peak times during the afternoon until around 6 pm. Queuing times for weekdays are much more manageable, usually under 30 minutes.
If you arrive when the observation deck first opens, you will usually be able to go straight up without needing to queue, and the return journey will also quick.
If you don’t mind queuing, then the best time to visit the observation deck is about an hour before sunset, to see the city transform from day to night.
Tip: Check the weather forecast before booking tickets
|18:00 – 18:45
|17:00 – 18:00
|11:00 – 21:30 (22:00 on weekends)
|10:00 – 21:00 (last admission: 20:15) *
|Observation Deck 101F
|12:00 – 20:00 (last admission: 19:00) *
* New opening times taking effect from 1st October 2023
Times may differ on public holidays
Most people will spend 2 to 3 hours on the observation deck.
|88F – 91F
|88F – 91F, and 101F for 1 hour
|101F outside with harness, 88F – 91F
|Skip the queue
|Children above 115cm & students
|For groups of 20 or more individuals; reservation required
|Children under the height of 115 cm
* Age/height/weight restrictions apply
- You must select a date and timeslot, and arrive within 30 minutes of that time. If you arrive outside these times, you can change your slot at the ticket counter
- Present either a printed or a mobile voucher to the ticket counter
Easily missed, there are steps leading to the 91st floor where you can go outside and enjoy the view.
Instead of visiting the observation deck, you could book a table at one of the restaurants located on the upper floors. These include:
- Shin Yeh (85F)
- Diamond Tony (85F)
- DingXian 101 (86F)
- 88 Cafe/Lounge (88F)
There is also a Starbucks located on the 35th floor of Taipei 101. This holds the world record for being the highest Starbuck in the world. You will need to ring ahead to visit, and you’ll be allocated a 90 minute timeslot to consume your beverages.
If you’re in Taipei on December 31st you can witness a spectacular fireworks display. Visit my post on the best places to view the fireworks on NYE.
The Taipei 101 observation deck will also be open on New Year’s Eve during the fireworks display. Tickets for this are usually snapped up early for this unique experience.
Located within the Xinyi Shopping District, there are many shops, restaurants and cafes you can visit before or after your trip to the top.
Location & Getting There
Taipei 101 is located next to the Tamsui–Xinyi (red) line. To get there from Taipei Main Station, simply take the Tamsui–Xinyi line in the Xinyi direction and travel 7 stops (about 15 minutes) to the Taipei 101 / World Trade Center station. Leave the station via Exit 4, walk past Din Tai Fung on your right, and this will lead you to the food court within Taipei 101.
To locate the Observation Deck, take the escalators to the forth floor and find the large open area (pictured above), then take the escalator found here to the fifth floor. The ticket booth and entrance to the lift that takes you to the observation deck can be found here.
Closest MRT: Taipei 101 / World Trade Center (red line – exit 4)
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