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My Visit to Taipei, Taiwan with a Wheelchair

My Visit to Taipei, Taiwan with a Wheelchair

My wife and I visited Taipei, Taiwan recently on the first leg of a three stop tour of Asia.  Since I have family there, I was able to stay with them and save some money on accommodations.

However, in the past I have stayed at an airbnb in Taipei, which was a bit cramped but manageable.  If you go that route, make sure the host can send you measurements since the definition of accessibility is different in Asia than in the US.  I have also tried to find an accessible hotel in the past, and the language may be a barrier for those that don’t speak Mandarin.  Also many rooms have thresholds or half-steps, so make sure to ask about that.

The accessibility of streets is manageable, but not ideal.  For example, there may or may not be curb cuts, and even if there are, they may be very steep / slightly dangerous.  Also, sidewalks seem to have variable heights, i.e they are not flat or level for very long in the same block.  One of the positives for Taipei is that the subway system is accessible and goes pretty much everywhere.  You can fairly easily find a bathroom by going to the subway, and there is usually also an accessible stall there.  Some subway stops do not have an elevator, but have a robotic chair that you can board to climb stairs.

In terms of shopping, you can visit the mainstream malls like Taipei 101 for high end goods, or the night markets (Shilin, Shida, etc) for street food and more budget conscious shopping.  Another good shopping district is Ximending, which is near a subway stop.  It was a little hard to find a bathroom there, so use the one in the subway or at a nearby hotel.  Also, there is a huge underground mall near the Taipei main rail station, where you can easily spend a day looking around.

If you want to get out of Taipei, Danshui northwest of the city can be a nice place to visit.  It is a wharf area that can be reached by taking the MRT; there’s plenty of shopping and street food there.

We also spent time at national museums, like the Sun Yat Sun & Chiang Kai Shek memorials, which can take a day to visit.  On a previous trip, we went to the National Palace Museum, which is world famous for having a huge collection of Chinese artifacts, many of them taken from China by Chiang Kai-shek when he fled to Taiwan.  You could easily spend a day or two there, if you are interested in museums.

Of course there is also plenty to eat, and if you’re a foodie, you won’t leave Taiwan disappointed!

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