If you’re traveling in Southeast Asia for a long time, you might want to get some rest in an urban environment after all the rural areas. Taipei, the capital of Taiwan, is the perfect spot for this.

I usually don’t like to stay in big metropolises on my round the world trip. First, they can be extremely crowded. Second, I feel like I’d need to stay there for weeks to delve beneath the surface.

With these prejudices in mind, Taipei turned out to be a positive surprise. Here are 5 reasons why I loved Taipei.

A big tree near Huashan Park, Taipei.

Taipei has beautiful parks right in the heart of the city.

1. It’s Surprisingly Peaceful

When I first arrived in Taipei, I was wondering where all the people had gone. The streets were relatively quiet, and I could walk around freely without getting stuck in crowds. The city even has plenty of beautiful parks to explore!

Street performers playing with diabolos in Taipei.

Street performers playing with diabolos.

2. The Culture Is Thriving

Taipei is surprisingly peaceful, but it’s not dead by any means. Instead, the city clearly has a living and breathing culture. Whether it’s demonstrations or outdoor martial arts practicing, there seems to be something going on all the time.

An early concept of Toy Story's Woody in the Pixar exhibition.

Toy Story’s Woody wasn’t feeling too well in the early sketches.

3. There’s Plenty of Museums and Exhibitions

There are many great local museums in Taipei, such as the National Palace Museum. Many international exhibitions also pass through Taipei. I visited both a great Pixar exhibition and a not-so-great Avatar: Discover Pandora exhibit, and there would have been dozens of other opportunities around the city.

Taipei 101 as seen from Elephant Hill.

Taipei 101.

4. The Public Transport Is Great

When I visit big cities, I’m always happy to find a good public transport network. Therefore, the great public transport was one of my main reasons to love Taipei. The encompassing metro lines spread around the city, so it doesn’t matter if your accommodation is a bit further away center. Getting from one place to another is both easy and relatively cheap.

Raohe Street Pepper Pork Buns. Food is one of the best reasons to love Taipei.

Food vendors at Raohe Street Night Market.

5. Whatever You Want to Eat, They’ve Got It

Taiwan has a strong food culture. Just go to any local night market in Taipei and you’ll see all kinds of treats cooked in the stands. And if you want to have something more international, you’ll have no trouble finding it in Taipei. (Even the 7-Eleven sushi’s are pretty good!)