Article Date: 29-12-2016
Its approaching that time of year again where everyone goes mental, watches some fireworks, gets blind drunk and wishes everyone a Happy New Year.
I think the whole world knows one of the best places to see the New Year in Taipei City is at Taipei 101. If you live in a bubble or a hole in the ground and don't know, Taipei 101 formally the world's tallest building will be rigged up with a load of fireworks, then blasted off after a mighty count down.
The countdown is lit up at the top of 101 prior to the boom. Mass counting, cheering and a load of gong xi fa cai(ing) later you are standing in the new year, which is exactly the same as the previous year, but for that night alone everyone thinks things are gonna be different and they might be. Who really knows then the world sobers up and realises work is around the corner again, the boss is still the same, and life hasn't changed vaguely.
Anyway as previously mentioned in the introduction to this ramble pretty much the best and only place to be on New Year's Eve in Taipei is at 101 with the other million or so people crammed into a certain amount of square feet.
During the evening, they have live bands and famous people on a stage somewhere near the front of the shopping area around 101 in Xinyi district. That is if you can be bothered to get there early enough or battle your way through the crowd like a maniac.
Other people try and go for a view with a good vantage point, but if your thinking of going to Elephant Mountain, also make sure you get there early. I have never been there for New Year's Eve but I expect and imagine it to resemble something of a war zone with wannabe hipster photographer mongs battling it out for the best spots. If you do go to the top then make sure to get there early and take a massive bag of rations to see out the day and night otherwise you will have no hope of getting the best spot. Make sure to leave your bag in your spot for those damned toilet breaks.
Since I have been in Taiwan, I have been to 101 three times in total for New Year. The first was just me and the Mrs, the second was a drunken mess of partying, dancing, breakfast, more partying then stumbling into bed and waking with a mighty hangover. Since then I have gone tea total and last year's New Year was the best of all. Apart from one vital part, which was the most important.
In the hours leading up to the big countdown we went to my Mrs' old highschool friends flower shop close by Xinyi Road. We ate hot pot, and played board/card games as the hours disappeared and the night flew by.
At around 11:40ish we decided to head out and batter our way to a viewing point for the countdown and the BOOM! The previous years BOOM! had been very good so we were looking forward to this one.
Then came the countdown...10! 9! 8! 7! 6! 5!!!!!!! 4!!!!!!!!! 3!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!2!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 1!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
We were stood on the wrong side of 101. We could see no fireworks at all, just a big dirty dark cloud!!! We were those unlucky people they always talk about on the news every year who pick the wrong side and only get to see the cloud from the fireworks shooting out.
So all night, and we only got a group photo but nothing from the fireworks. I didn't even know what they looked like, you really do see nothing if you pick the wrong side. I had to go home and watch the news to see what the display was actually like, and no that's no lying bullshit. It was that crap and if you are only here for one year you don't want that shit! No one wants that shit.
BE WARNED - it happens to someone every year. Apparently you can look online to check things like wind direction and which way the cloud will blow after the fireworks have been blasted out to meet the world. This time we have learned and we (more likely the MRS) will be looking it up.
As New Year's Eve is on the weekend this year if you want a good position i'd suggest you be in the Xinyi area pretty early. By early I mean shit hot early, as in be there for the whole day and night. Remember your competiting for a good viewing spot with roughly a million other folk or so. (That is just a guess but it feels like that on the evening.)
The transport in Taipei again is excellent. If you are taking the MRT expect it to resemble a sardine tin as people crush in to any available space they can. I again will be taking my scooter and finding somewhere to park, actually getting there on the scooter was not that much of an issue. Getting out was a nightmare. Parking was an utter disaster, which often requires moving some others to create space. If your a Scooter Ninja like me you will have no issue at all.
Which ever transport option you decide to take, expect it to be jammed, be it bus, MRT or your own transport.
The busses will be running until 2am in Taipei City, and the MRT will run for 24 hours from New Year's Eve but Taipei City Hall and Taipei 101 MRT stations will be closed. Visitors are advised to take the next surrounding ones at SYS Memorial Hall, Yongchun, Xinyi Anhe or Xiangshan.