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Taipei Taiwan Travel Guide

by Viola

Taipei being the capital of Taiwan, is a bustling city with a lot to do and see. I have been to Taipei three times and have discovered something new on every trip. I think 3 days is the perfect amount of time to spend here. This quick guide will cover my best recommendations on what to do, what to eat and where to stay in this awesome city!

 

*Psst this post contains affiliate links, which means, at no extra cost to you, I may earn a commission if you make a purchase.

 

How to get to Taipei

It’s easy to get from Taipei Taoyuan International Airport to the city. Once you pick up your luggage at Arrival, you can go down stairs to buy a bus ticket to Taipei Main Station. The bus comes quite often and the ride takes about one hour.




 

What to do in Taipei

Walk around Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall

One of the most prominent landmarks in Taiwan, the CKS Memorial Hall was built in honor of the former president of Republic Of China, Chiang Kai-Shek. You can appreciate the architectural beauty of this national monument and learn about the history of Taiwan here. Check out these blue tiled roofs. I thought they are very unique from the red tiles you usually see in other parts of Asia. Don’t you think so?

 

Pray at Longshan temple

Explore Taoism at Longshan temple located in the Wuhua district. Taoism is an old religion from China. There are gods and goddesses responsible for granting all sorts of wishes, from love, to fertility, to careers. You can see many people praying with incense sticks in the temple, and a huge offering table filled with all sorts of food from fruits to candy. What interested me the most were the intricate sculptures on the rooftops and ceilings. So interesting!taipei longshan temple

 

Take pictures in the Bopiliao Historical Block

Very close to Longshan temple is a street with some of the oldest architecture in Taipei. Bopiliao Historical Block is another great place to learn more about Taiwanese culture and history. Head in the education centre that houses all sorts of interesting exhibitions. The area is also super Instagram worthy with its colorful mural art on stone walls!

taipei bopiliao

 

 

Snack around a night market

This was actually the first thing I did when I arrived in Taipei on my first trip, at midnight on a weekend. Straight from the airport! Call me crazy. The city has a huge night market scene. Perfect for those of us who love late night munchies. The most popular night markets are Shilin and Raohe. But there are many others that are less well known if not better. Check out Ningxia night market for a smaller crowd and delicious snacks.

 

Visit Taipei 101

Located in the Xinyi district of Taipei, this super skyscraper used to be the tallest building in the world up until 2009 when it was surpassed by the Burj Kalifa in Dubai. It’s beautifully designed and an iconic architecture in Taiwan. Gawk at its majesty from the outside before you go in and check out its huge multi-level shopping mall. You can also go up to the observation deck for a panoramic view of Taipei.

taipei 101

 

Hike up Elephant Mountain

If you want the best shot of Taipei,  Elephant Mountain near Xiangshan Station. The trail is about 1.5 km long and fairly moderate. The view at the top is fantastic. It’s quite striking to see just how much Taipei 101 sticks out in the skyline. I recommend going to Elephant Mountain in the late afternoon. This way, you can watch the sunset over the city. Make sure to have your camera charged and ready.

 

Explore around Zhongshan district

Zhongshan is a nice central district in Taipei. It has everything: shopping, dining, parks and night time entertainments, you name it! Any stroll around may bring you to an interesting street. I loved walking around this area. There are many buildings with character and fun looking restaurants. Be open to get lost!

taipei

Chill in Da’an Forest Park

A green oasis in the middle of a busy city, Da’an Forest Park is the biggest park in Taipei. The temperature is significantly cooler here in the summer. Come for a relaxed stroll or for some physical activities. There is a skating rink, children’s playground, a jogging loop, and lots of nature! Try to spot some of the animals that live here like ducks and turtles.taipei-daan-park

taipei-daan-park

Take a day trip to Jiufen

Jiufen is technically not in Taipei anymore, but you absolutely must go here! This charming little mountain town is about an hour and a half from Taipei by bus. Jiufen old street’s narrow alleyways are packed with many cute little shops, from handy craft souvenirs to tea houses to street snacks! Try to find the teahouse that inspired the famous animation film “Spirited Away” by Miyazaki Hayao! Here is a detail guide to Jiufen.

jiufenNote: If you have a lot of time, there are more awesome day trips you can take from Taipei. Check out this post on visiting the beautiful Taroko Gorge, written by Jill from Reading The Book.

 

Soak in a hot spring at Betou

After a long day of sightseeing, take the MRT to the Betou hot spring area (located near Xinbetou station) and treat yourself to a nice hot bath. There are many hotels with public and private baths. A private bath is not bad a choice if you want some alone time.

The one we went to here was 1,450 NTW for 90 mins for two people which works out to be about $25 USD per person. Very reasonable.

Get a massage

Another great way to relax is to get a massage of course! There are massage houses all over the streets in Taipei. My partner and I decided to get a foot massage for 30 minutes. It costed 500 NTW which is less than 20 bucks USD. It was totally worth it! We later heard from a local friend that there are even better massage deals near the Ningxia night market area, 1000NTW for 90 minutes! We will just have to go find this spot on the next trip.

 

What to eat in Taipei

The simple answer is really to eat everything but here are some of my favorites and recommendations!

 

Xiao long bao

A Chinese classic/soul food, xiao long bao is mini soup dumpling steamed in bamboo baskets. One of the most famous places to eat xiao long bao has to be Din Tai Fung. This Taiwanese chain has many locations. I visited the one in Taipei 101’s basement. Be prepared for a long wait of around 70 minutes. Those juicy dumplings are worth it though!

Dim Sum

Since I’ve been living in Japan for awhile, I’ve really missed going dim sum (Hong Kong style brunch with mini dishes and tea) in the morning. It was literally heaven when my partner and I discovered this amazing dim sum restaurant, Citystar in Zhongshan. I can say that it was one of the best dim sum I’ve ever had! Hence that we ordered almost everything on the menu and went back twice!

Seafood

Surrounded by the sea, Taiwan is a paradise for seafood lovers. 一品活虾 (Yi Pin Huo Xia) is a restaurant I highly recommend. Their huge prawns are so fresh and meaty. The fish is also delicious. Taken here by a Taiwanese friend, I was thoroughly impressed.

taipei 101

 

Bubble tea

Where else to get some of this popular drink than its place of origin, Taiwan! There are many bubble tea shops along the streets where you can grab a refreshing drink on a hot day. I tried the most recent hot trend that is bubble tea served in a light bulb. It was probably the most millennial food I’ve ever tried but hey it was cute. You can find this shop in the basement of Taipei 101.

Fresh fruit juices

Besides bubble tea, you can get delicious fresh juices in Taipei. Sugarcane, guava, avocado, and so much more! Just my luck, my favourite, mangos, were in season when I visited in August. Juice heaven!

Stinky tofu

The most infamous street food. You can smell the stinkiness from a mile away. Many people can’t stand the smell of stinky tofu but once you get over the smell, the taste is pretty good! I personally like it. Do you dare to eat this?

Grilled skewers

Pork sausages, intestines, vegetables, chicken, almost anything can be found on a skewer and grilled at the night markets. Be adventurous and give everything a go!

 

Where to stay in Taipei

YOMI Hotel

We stayed in this hotel on our last trip and got a free upgrade to a huge room! YOMI Hotel is very conveniently located by a 5 minutes walk to Shuanglian subway station. The rooms are clean and the staff are very friendly and helpful. The hotel no longer offers breakfast but hello, so much good food to eat in Taipei so not a problem!

taipei yomi hotel

Address: No. 28, Section 1, Ming Sheng East Road, Zhongshan District, Taipei, Taiwan 104
民生東路一段28號, 中山區, 台北市, 台灣 104



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Going to Taiwan soon? Plan your trip in 4 easy steps

Book A Flight: Find the cheapest flights on Skyscanner, my go-to search engine. 
Find A Hotel: Score affordable accommodation on Booking.comReceive $16 off your first booking with my link here
Buy insurance: You never know what may happen on the road. Protect your trip & gear with World Nomad, the best travel insurance company ever. Get a quote here.

Read up on the best advice: Love a good old fashion guide book. Suggested reading: Lonely Planet: Taiwan Travel Guide

Bon voyage!

 

Viola

Read these Taiwan posts next!

7 Cute Cafes and Restaurants in Taiwan You’d Want to Instagram

Two Weeks Taiwan Itinerary

Taipei Taiwan Travel Guide

Exploring Jiufen: What to Do and Eat

Taichung: The Most Underrated City in Taiwan

Sun Moon Lake: A Serene Escape in Taiwan

Alishan: Best Sunrise and Hiking Spot in Taiwan

Kaohsiung: Why you shouldn’t miss this vibrant city in Taiwan 

What to do in Tainan: A Quick Travel Guide

 

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10 comments

Nancie September 6, 2018 - 12:12 am

The last time I was in Taipei was to go to the top of 101. Unfortunately, it was rainy and foggy that day, so 101 is still on my bucket list.

Reply
olivia September 6, 2018 - 1:34 am

That dim sum looks incredible and I think I would want to relax in that spa all day long.

Reply
Brittany September 6, 2018 - 3:50 am

Aww man I miss Taipei night markets. So much good food! I would eat lunch and dinner at every night market I came across! This blog makes me feel nostalgic.

Reply
Leigh September 6, 2018 - 6:22 am

I can see why you’ve visited Taipei three times – there really seems to be a lot to do! I am drooling over the dim sum pics especially – we don’t have good Asian food in Southern Arizona, let alone Dim Sum!

Reply
Meenakshi September 6, 2018 - 12:12 pm

O wow…this post is so different from the other posts I have read on Taipei. I definitely want to visit the Bopilio block owing to its historic relevance 🙂

Reply
Alice Ford September 6, 2018 - 3:37 pm

I really want to visit Taiwan. The food, nature and culure look great. Jiufen looks beautiful. I would have to add that to my list of things to see in Taipei. It seems like there is just such an endless amount of things to do here.

Reply
Shivani September 6, 2018 - 3:56 pm

I’m officially intrigued by the CKS Memorial Hall and their blue rooftops. I have had tofu here in my hometown but reading, by the way, it’s stinky, I guess I might not dare 😀

Reply
Carrie September 7, 2018 - 2:01 am

I keep hearing Taipei is great, so would definitely like to visit sometime! The suggestion for a less crowded night market is super helpful…sometimes the crowds can be overwhelming at the most popular ones. And I agree –the blue tile roofs are so interesting and unique compared to the typical East Asian architecture!

Reply
Anna September 7, 2018 - 4:21 am

Taipei is one of my favourite cities, there’s so much to do, especially foodwise. On my last trip, I did lot of activities you mentioned and can’t wait to try rest when I’m back soon!

Reply
Oke September 7, 2018 - 7:01 am

Wow, this post is very comprehensive! I’ve always wanted to go to Taiwan and this definitely covers all I need to know before I make that trip.

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