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Staying Active and Healthy in Taipei Taiwan

International travelers set for Taiwan’s capital city of Taipei usually arrive via Taoyuan International Airport which is located approximately 30 KM from the Eastern District of Taipei, considered the business, arts, financial and cultural center of Taiwan. This eastern area is mostly made up of three sub- districts: Daan, Xinyi, and Songshan and represents the center of commercial life in Taipei. The area is flush with shops, restaurants, art galleries, museums and offices.

** Editor's Note: Alice Liu contributed content to this article during her Athletic-Minded Traveler internship. She spent 6 weeks of her 2010 summer in Taiwan and gathered the listing details for this post.

Staying active and fit in this vibrant city may seem like a challenge given the plethora of eateries beckoning on every street, active night life, and, for business travelers, a packed schedule. However, with a little pre-planning, business and leisure travelers can maintain their healthy lifestyles. Since Taipei is not unlike other urban cities in the U.S., such as New York and Chicago, walking and using the readily available public transportation (buses and/or “MRT”—subway; the High Speed Rail “HSR”, and regular speed trains “TRA”) will naturally keep the body moving. Additionally, Taipei’s average temperature of 70 degrees F with fairly high humidity (80%) means that breaking a sweat is no sweat! If you visit during the summer, prepare for hotter and more humid conditions.

For those who want to truly “work it out”, there are myriad options: fitness centers for those who have an urge to run on a treadmill; nearby parks for walkers/runners and local universities boast lap pools that can be used for a minimal “drop-in” fee. Additionally, if your schedule permits, busting out of the business center to the outer edges of the city affords even more active options such as bike rentals and trails and natural hot springs. Along these routes, there are often views of the countryside: of the tall mountain ranges, the endless fields, and sometimes a view of the harbor if the route winds toward the sea.

This list will get you started!! Happy & sweaty travels!!

FITNESS CENTERS, LAP POOLS & YOGA

World Gym

WEBSITE: World Gym is one of the biggest fitness chains in Taiwan. It offers an array of cardio and weight lifting equipment with cable TV throughout. All gyms have a 3 lane swimming pool, sauna, and spa. The drop-in fee varies, but often you can secure a freebie via a "free trial" or an online offer. You can view all locations on the Gym's site, but here are three Taipei locations with the distance from the business district noted.

1. Da An District: business/commercial district [0-5 minutes away]
3F, No.6, Sec. 4, Hsin Yi Rd.
Da-an District., Taipei City 106
PHONE
(02)2325-8888

2.  Tien Mu District: international business area/foreigners residential area [30 minutes north]
No.34, Sec. 7, Chungshan North Rd.
Shihlin District., Taipei City 111
PHONE
(02)2875-5050

3.  Taipei Main Station: central commuting area/business district [10-15 minutes west]
B1, No.50, Sec. 1, Chung Hsiao West Rd.
Jhongjheng District., Taipei City 100
PHONE
(02)2311-7000

Taipei DaAn Sports Center


WEBSITE[0-5 minutes southwest] This public fitness center is one of the bigger and better public facilities around. The club boasts a 4-lane swimming pool, plentiful cardio equipment, weight lifting equipment, badminton courts, and ping pong tables. It is free to use, but be mindful that it may be very crowded.

ADDRESS: No. 55, Section 3, Xīnhài Rd, Daan District
Taipei City, Taiwan 106
PHONE: (02) 2377-0300

True Yoga


WEBSITE:  [0-5 minutes northwest] This is one of the more well-known yoga centers in Taipei. It has a spacious lounge and classes are offered throughout the day. It's big! 28,000 square feet!  You can drop-in most often for free.

ADDRESS: Lane 256, Section 3, Nánjīng East Rd, Songshan District
Taipei City, Taiwan 105
PHONE: (02)2716-1234

Action Life

WEBSITE: [10-15 minutes north]. This amenity rich health club offers fitness, dance, swim, yoga and spa services.

ADDRESS: No. 218, Lèqún 3rd Rd, Jhongshan District
Taipei City, Taiwan 104
PHONE: (02)5550-8888

Another Swim Option:  National Taiwan Normal University (NTNU)

WEBSITE: [5-10 minutes west]  This University facility boasts a 50m with 8 lanes and 4 are typically open and designated: one for beginners, two for intermediate swimmers, and one for advanced swimmers. Pool toys, towels and locker rooms available. Our source was told that you can get a week pass for around $10. The "gymnasium" has a plethora of other active pursuits, track, courts, spa, hot tub...

ADDRESS: No. 162, Section 1, HéPíng East Rd, Daan District,
Taipei City, Taiwan 106
PHONE: (02)7734-1111

BIKE TRAILS

Tourists flock to the bike trails that are not far from Taipei. Ask your concierge the best route to get there (via MRT) and bring some cash and photo ID.  There are plentiful rentals at one of the "little tents" -- that are set up just for rentals. Usually the renter simply asks for a phone number and around $5 for a day for the rental. Bring the photo ID just in case and remember to return the bike back to the same vendor. Keep in mind that the cycling is more recreational than "workout."

  1. Bali Bike Trail:  Take MRT on Danshui Line
    (red), and then get off at the Danshui Station. Take ferry at Danshui Ferry
    Port to Bali.
    • MAIN ROUTE:  Guandu Bridge→ Bali Wharf→ Left Bank Ferry Wharf→ Watziwei
      Nature Conservation Area → Shihsanhang Museum of Archaeology→ Formosa Fun Coast
      Amusement park
    • Trail is smooth and easy and follows the river bank. The full trip is only 4 km. Coffee shops, a museum and other "attractions" are along the way.
  2. Guangdu Bike Trail Take MRT on Danshui Line
    (red), and then get off at Guandu Station.
    • MAIN ROUTE:  Guandu MRT Station→ Guandu Plain→ Beitou Garbage Incinerator→ Shilin Night Market→ Jiantan MRT Station
    • Trail runs through a natural park/conservation area. It's very scenic.
  3. Xindian River/Dahan River Bike Trail  Take MRT to
    Shuanglian MRT Station (red line) and transfer to bus “Red 33” to Xining Road. OR, Take MRT to either Jingmei MRT Station (green line), Gongguan MRT
    Station (green line), or Guting MRT Station (green/orange line); walk toward
    Xindian River to enter the bicycle trail.
    • MAIN ROUTE:  Xincheng Line: Xindian Bitan→ Xiulangqingxi Park→ Xiulang Bridge→ Yonghe Emerald
      Riverside Park→ Guangfu Riverside Park→ Jiangzicui Riverside Park→ Fuzhou Art
      Riverside Park→ Xizhou Sports Riverside Park→ Tucheng Mazutian.Yinsan Line:
      Yingge Ceramics Museum→ Ganyuan Riverside Park→ Xisheng Riverside Park→ Shuhong
      Sports Park.
    • Smooth, popular and scenic.

Wow! What a country!

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