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Greg Rodgers

Summit 101: A 'Secret' VIP Club With a View

By December 26, 2012

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Taipei 101 Taiwan

Photo by Francisco Diez / Creative Commons

What would you put on the top floor of the world's tallest building?

Apparently, the owners of Taipei 101, the tallest building in the world until 2010, aren't in a hurry to tell anyone what goes on up there. The brochure for Taiwan's iconic tower once listed the top floor as an exclusive VIP club known as Summit 101.

Access to the 101st floor is not available via the regular building elevators, which happen to be the fastest in the world. Inquiries about membership or how to get into the secretive club are usually disregarded, even discouraged.

Despite millions of visitors a year to the tower, no one is sure what goes on behind the closed doors.

While us nonmembers can only speculate, the view must be phenomenal!

One fireworks engineer did manage a sneak peak of Summit 101 on his way to the top of the tower just as the elevator doors opened. Tasked with setting up their annual New Year's Eve display, he confirmed: the exclusive club does exist.

Taipei 101, what some describe as a tall stack of Chinese food take-out boxes, is actually meant to symbolize a tall stalk of bamboo. Perhaps few other skyscrapers in the world are as rich with symbolism, feng shui, and design caveats as Taiwan's famous tower.

Aside from being named as the 'greenest tall building in the world' and boasting the world's fastest elevators, Taipei 101 is ingeniously designed to thwart nature's worst threats in Asia. The building is built around a giant, free-hanging pendulum -- the heaviest in the world -- that sways to counter earthquakes and typhoon winds.

Visitors can actually see the big steel ball in action from the restaurants and observation decks.

But one insane Austrian daredevil, Felix Baumgartner, didn't care about Summit 101 or ingenious architecture; he was there on a mission: to do a sneaky, unauthorized base jump from the tower's observation deck. Yes, it was the same Felix who broke the sound barrier during his history-making space jump earlier this year.

Try explaining why you just landed in a Taiwanese park with a parachute on your back.

This week, guest author Amberly Young shares with us the ins and outs of Taiwan travel, and you can read more about visiting the Taipei 101 tower.

Who knows, maybe you'll be lucky enough to get a drink in Summit 101 while you're there. Or maybe not.

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