I had a few hours in the morning before our meetings began. I used this time to visit the observatory at Taipei 101, which is right next door to the Grand Hyatt. Taipei 101 was the tallest building in the world between 2004 and 2010, and was the first to exceed half a kilometer in height. It took the tallest building title from Kuala Lumpur’s Petronas Towers but has since been surpassed by Burj Khalifa in Dubai.
The views from the top were limited by the low-hanging clouds (which turned to rain 30 minutes after my visit). There was also an outdoor observation deck on the 91st floor.
View of the Grand Hyatt
More photos from the 89th floor can be found here.
The last few levels...seen from the 91st floor
The building's damper helps it sustain winds and earthquakes; all uber-tall buildings have them. The building is one of the few to make its wind damper visible to the public.
The signage is unambiguous
Keeping with the tourist-trap theme, at the top, there were also plenty of opportunities to buy things.
Ice cream on the 89th floor
Extraordinarily detailed carvings
At the base of the building is – what else – a five level shopping mall. The mall is filled with the likes of Louis Vuitton, Tiffany and other high-end western merchants.
Queuing on the fifth floor for the lift to the observation deck there was an electronics shopping section. There were many gadgets on offer – and plenty of people to push them on me. Many of the items looked more advanced than what is available to us in the US.
Except for two other people (who were not with me), I was the only Caucasian person that I saw during the tour of the tower. I like going off the beaten path for Americans.
Here is a link to the building's observatory website. http://www.taipei-101.com.tw/en/OB/index_ob.asp
While probably not something worth making a special trip to go see, if you're in the neighborhood, this was a nice way to spend 45-60 minutes and get a real flavor for the topography of the city.