Taipei is not usually considered a beautiful city.
it lacks the iconic skyline of New York. the shiny, glittering, glass-and-metal buildings are few and far between. you won't find much European charm. instead, the architecture runs to drab tile and cement. unlike Shanghai or Singapore or even Philadelphia, it has only one skyscraper: Taipei 101. and the rest of the city seems a low sprawl in comparison. the buildings are old - but not ancient - worn by years of blistering heat, humidity, and typhoons.
the beauty of Taipei is hidden. it winds through neighborhood roads and back alleys. an unexpected patch of green park. red lanterns in doorways. the intricate details of tilework. temples peeking out between storefronts and apartments.
but it is there, if you look.