taipei 101 - worlds tallest building

Looking at the lone tower soaring throughout Taipei’s skyline, it is quite easily to notice Taipei 101, which is the former worlds tallest building.  The bamboo inspired landmark is located in the eastern end of Taipei city in which is one of the newer areas of Taipei.  The Taipei 101 tower was the worlds tallest building, taking the title from its predecessor, the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.  However in year 2010, the Burj Khalifa tower in Dubai, took the worlds tallest building title by eclipsing Taipei 101 by over 300 meters!  Nonetheless, the Taipei 101 tower is still a remarkable piece of architecture.      

My wife and I walked to the Taipei 101 towers from the nearby Sun Yat Sen Memorial Hall, which is about a 15 minute walk.  Alternatively you can take the free shuttle bus from the City Hall MRT subway station to reach Taipei 101.  When I walked closer and closer to the massive tower, I couldn’t help but take several pictures of this awesome landmark.  The tower was so remarkable, shaped like a glass bamboo, with its distinctive blue glass facade shimmering in the light.

taipei 101 - worlds tallest building

The Taipei 101 tower with the Grand Hyatt hotel beside it.

taipei 101

Close up of Taipei 101.

taipei 101

Even closer view of Taipei 101.

taipei 101

Taipei 101 hidden in the trees.

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Cool angle shot of Taipei 101, with its sharp contours pointing to the sky.

At the bottom of the Taipei 101 tower is a huge shopping mall, but it seemed kind of dead when we visited.  There’s really not much to see, unless your into luxury goods.  Our visit to the Taipei 101 was to see the observatory on the top floor.  In order to get to the observatory, you will need to cut through the mall, and go to the top most floor of the mall to get to the ticketing counter and to enter the high speed elevators to the observatory.

Entrance to the shopping mall at the base of Taipei 101.

Inside the mall, which is mostly selling luxury goods.

More pics of what the mall looks like.

On our way through the mall to the observatory ticketing counter.  It was a really nice mall, but there’s not much people there for some reason (this was around lunch time…but where’s the crowd?)

Some markings on the floor tiles showing what direction each country was at.  This one is showing Singapore!

Entrance to the observatory ticketing area.

Once you buy the tickets, you will board the high speed elevator to the top where the observatory is.  Pretty cool enough, this high speed elevator at Taipei 101 held the worlds record for the fastest passenger elevator by the Guiness Book of World Records.  However I believe the Burj tower in Dubai now holds this record.

 The certificate from Guiness Book of World Records for the fastest passenger elevator.

A replica model of what this high speed elevator looked like at Taipei 101.

The ride on the elevator indeed was fast!  In less than 10 minutes you were at the very top of Taipei 101 at the observatory level and the ride was very smooth.  Once you get out of the elevator you are greeted with 360 degrees of unobstructed views of Taipei city.  It was pretty awesome to see the entire Taipei city from all directions.  Also there is an outdoor observatory deck just the floor above, however due to bad weather that day, we were not allowed to check it out.  It would have been a pretty cool experience to be outside at such a high level.  Anyways, I was still able take some awesome pics of Taipei from the indoor observatory, just see the pics below:

View facing the downtown core of Taipei city.  Truly a big city indeed.

Cool pic taken of the unique rounded steel facade on the sides of Taipei 101 with the city in the background.

View towards the north of Taipei city.  The north part is surrounded by mountains.

Close up view of the north side.  If you look closely, in the mid left, that is the run way for the domestic airport.

The mountainous terrain in the background.

Aerial view of the Sun Yat Sen Memorial Hall that is nearby.

View of the North West part of Taipei.

View towards the eastern side.

More mountain terrain.

The residential sprawl around the eastern side.

Kind of cool how the urban concrete jungle from the right meets the green forest jungle on the left.

More views of Taipei’s sprawling downtown core.

After taking in the beautiful views of Taipei from the indoor observatory, we turned our attention to the massive damper system on the floor below.  Apparently Taipei 101 is designed to withstand earthquakes and typhoons, and one of the main systems to help stabilize the tower is a massive pendulum like damper system hung just below the observatory level.

This damper system weighs over 600 tons and is supposedly the largest of its kind in the world!  This is quite an incredible work of engineering design and construction.  Being an engineer and all (yes I’m a big nerd), I therefore took the chance to snap up some pictures of this massive damper system.

Just thought this was a cool pic I took.  This was the special passage we had to walk through towards the damper system.

Closeup view of the massive damper system.  That golden ball of steel weighs over 600 tons!

I was having trouble fitting in the entire damping system on my camera…that’s how big it was.  The cables support the massive pendulum weight (the golden ball) from the top.

View of the hydraulic stabilizers supporting the giant pendulum.

Another shot of the bottom of the damper system.

So there you have it our quick trip to the Taipei 101 tower.  Now I have finally visited the worlds # 3 and #2 tallest buildings in the world (Petronas Tower and Taipei 101 respectively), now hopefully one day I can check out the Burj Tower in Dubai!!!

Visitor’s Information to Taipei 101:

Address: No 7 Hsin Yi Rd, Sec 5, Taipei

Nearest MRT station: 

1.) 15 min walk from Sun Yat Sen Memorial Hall (see location map below)

2.) take free shuttle bus from City Hall station (see location map below)

Opening hours: 9:00am to 10:00pm daily (last entry to observatory at 9:15pm)

Admission (all fees in Taiwan Dollars):

Adult – NT$450

Children (under 12 years of age) – NT$400

Location map of Taipei 101.


Have you visited any of the tallest buildings in the world?  Please share your experiences below in the comments!

Alec Chan

Alec Chan is an intrepid traveler, travel writer, author, speaker, serial entrepreneur and self professed Asia travel ambassador. Traveling all around Asia since 2003, and still traveling, Alec is an accomplished and passionate traveler seeking to bridge the cultural gaps in Asia. Through his unique perspective as a Canadian born Chinese, Alec shares his special insights on Asia to help others around the world to have a better understanding on Asian culture so that they can have a more meaningful, fun, and stress free trip to Asia. Alec has written numerous travel guides on several destinations in Asia and is the editor in chief of

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