Travel

Best Spot for Taipei 101 New Year Countdown (2016)

Back during the time Taipei 101 was newly built and gained as the tallest building in the world from 2004 to 2010, I have already dreamed of spending the New Year’s countdown in front of Taipei 101. I am always amazed of the fireworks spewing all over the building like as if it was magically being lit up with fairydust.

Finally, after a decade, I was fulfilling my teenage dream of spending my new year’s eve in front of Taipei 101. Thanks to Cebu Pacific, for some odd reasons, the holiday travel dates were on sale!

Finding the perfect spot for the countdown is not easy as you are dealing with a couple of millions of people flocking near the sight of Taipei 101.

I have initially thought of spending the countdown either at City Hall or Xiangshan Trail as they have one of the best views for the countdown. But the first question that comes into my mind is how do I go back to my hostel if I need to ride the MRT?

Earlier the day of the countdown, I already walked from Taipei City Hall station to Taipei 101 station to familiarize myself on how I could strategize to get to the MRT as soon as the fireworks ends without getting trapped from the expected humongous mob.

I was puzzled and torn and almost surrender to the thought of going through the ordeal of being stuck until 4am.

As I head back to Taipei City Hall station in the evening for the countdown, I looked at the MRT map and suddenly realized that Xiangshan Station is the nearest end station from Taipei 101.

I had no idea if the station has a nice view or if it’s too near the building but I braved through the thickening crowd towards Xiangshan Station.

At about quarter before 11pm, I have already made it through near Xiangshan Station, and to my surprised, I could not ask for a better view!

The place was not as crowded at the time I got there and I was literally a few meters away from the entrance of the station.

There was a countdown event at an establishment near the station so I plugged my earphones and listen to my music to make the agony of waiting in excitement move faster.

Come eleven in the evening, Taipei 101 begun to be unusually fully lit up and I started thinking that I am literally an hour long before I finally see the fireworks burst into the sky!

As minutes went by, the entire place was getting more and more packed; my face could not deny the happiness the surreal feeling of being part of the crowd.

A minute before midnight, the lights of Taipei 101 shut off and the LED screen on top of the building started counting down. People were already on their feet and all their cameras and smartphones are on the air.

The moment it hits midnight, the fireworks started bursting and flaring up all over Taipei 101. I was like transported back to memory lane of my childhood who gets swooned and mesmerized with fireworks as if it was my first time to see such spectacle!

My eyes were sparkling glued throughout the entire fireworks display (while my right hand was in mechanically pressing the shutter button of my camera, haha). I would not refute, it was my first time watching an extravagant New Year’s eve countdown in front of a 500 meter tall building with fireworks all over it!

But as soon as the fireworks ended, I was taken back to reality that I had to run to the MRT station while everyone was still elated.

It turned out, I was not the only one who thought of that and almost half of the crowd near the station were running towards it. If I were to describe the experience, I would compare it with the scene in Titanic movie where everyone’s trying to get out the ship; but this time, it was the other way around where everyone’s trying to get in.

In spite of the madness, it was chaotically organized and there were crowd control police to tame down the people. They let the people in by batch and I was in 3rd batch that was able to get to the station.

Since it was the end station, I was able to get on the train. But unfortunately in the succeeding stations, the queue were unimaginably massive and only a quarter, or even less, were accommodated.

I am so thankful that my gut instinct was right and I was able to get back to my hostel before 1am.

My first New Year abroad was such an experience to highlight the new year; I could not wait where my feet would take me to whole year round of adventure!