Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Taipei 101 and the "Super Big Wind Damper"

In fulfillment of our obligation as tourists in Taiwan, after visiting the Chang Kai-Shek memorial, we made the trip to Taipei 101 - currently the worlds tallest building.

First stop was the basement food court for some good eats! They have a pretty good food court down there complete with an Auntie Ann's Pretzel stand!! (of course, I had to have one!)

After our dinner of pretzels and a Japanese-style BBQ, we headed up to buy our tickets for the observation deck. I was feeling excited to make the trip to the top until I realized that the ticket price was $400 NT(~$13USD) per person.

I have to say, I was more than a little deterred. Of course I'll spend $400 NT on beer without thinking twice about it, but $400 NT for an elevator ride!? Now that's pushing it!

Thankfully Nick talked some sense into me and we headed up to the top. It is, after all, the tallest building in the world!

I thought it was pretty cool, they gave us boy/girl tickets!

The first thing that impressed me about the building was the elevator. Taipei 101 has the fastest elevator in the world! The observation elevator (which goes from the 5th floor to the 89th floor – 382 meters) takes only 37 seconds to reach the top, topping out at 60 kilometers / hour (over 30Mph)!

I was VERY impressed.

Once the elevator gets going, they dim the lights and play some planetarium music and have a mini light-show on the ceiling. They even have a little electronic display to show you where you are in the building. It’s definitely the chillest elevator I have ever ridden in. I was all about it.

Actually, the elevators were one of the most impressive things about Taipei 101. 101 has 50 elevators and with over 10,000 people working there every day, the average elevator waiting time is less than 30 seconds!!! Just imagine if all transportation was that efficient!

Another really cool feature of Taipei 101 is their “Super Big Wind Damper.”

(Actually, this is a poor translation, the Chinese says "world's largest wind damper")

The tallest building in the world of course must have the largest wind
damper in the world (to help stabilize the building) and it is the only wind damper of this size viewable by the public.

It’s basically just a huge cement ball spray painted gold – but I still found it very impressive. It is suspended from the top by cables and supported on the bottom my hydraulics and by counteracting the wind, it will reduce the buildings movement. Pretty neat.

After checking out Taipei’s sprawling cityscape from the indoor observation area, Nick and I headed up to the outdoor observation deck on the 91st and I have to say…. I was a bit disappointed by it.

I guess you have to take a lot of safety precautions when you are building an outdoor observation deck on the world’s tallest building, but they really obstructed a lot of the view with huge metal grates and a concrete ledge that came up to my chest and extended a couple feet out... BOO I could barely see anything!

The massive metal grate didn’t only serve as an eye-sore, it was also musical…. The wind blowing through them created the most unpleasant ringing sound – on par with nails on a chalk board (or my singing according to Nick). I even took a video so I could share the experience with you:

So we headed back inside to check out all of the cool stuff they had on display: videos showing the building in process, art from around the world, fun facts about 101’s various features and lots of other cool stuff like a huge coral gemstone gallery

And some cool jade sculptures – like this one of a giant cabbage!

Although the outdoor observation deck was a bit of a buzz kill, overall I’d say the trip to the top was definitely worth the $400NT. Not only did we really enjoy ourselves, but now we can say we’ve been inside the world’s tallest building AND the world's fastest elevator! Not too shabby.


  1. Tell Nick his hearing needs checked - your singing is definitely more annoying than that noise...ooops! I meant that the other way around...teehee! Fascinating!

  2. You were not kidding! That sound is AWFUL.