Taipei is the capital city of Taiwan. With its busy shopping streets and contemporary buildings, Taipei serves as the island’s financial, cultural and governmental center. The skyline is crowned by the 508m-tall, bamboo-shaped Taipei 101 skyscraper, with upscale shops at the base and a rapid elevator to an observatory near the top. The downtown area is culturally divided into East and West. The West side, with its narrow streets and road side vendors, is considered the bastion of old Taipei life, whereas East Taipei, with its classy malls, chic boutiques, and stylish restaurants and cafes, reminiscent of those found in Tokyo, Paris or New York, represents the city’s metamorphosis into a modern and international city.