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Things to do in Taipei
As I was researching my upcoming trip to Taipei, I realized there is not a ton of material on this subject circulating the internet! After many hours of research I compiled my own bucket-list of sorts for my week in Taipei.
All of these things to do and places to visit are totally doable with a week in the city! Taipei is much more than just a stop over city, and just a day would be far to short.
Here are the my top ten suggestions for things to do in Taipei!
Feel free to skip ahead to the different portions of this article that interest you!
Getting to Taipei
Getting into the city is super easy from the airport. Their public transport is top-notch everywhere and the airport is not excluded. You can take the HSR (High Speed Rail) into the city, there are signs posted for it around the airport. It should take about 40 minutes.
While you are at the airport make sure to get a SIM for your phone. They will cost around 500NT which is similar to 17 USD. This plan will last you the week of unlimited data.
Transportation in Taipei
Getting around Taipei is easy-peasy, there are bikes, trains, buses and also taxi’s, though, for the week I was there I think I only used a taxi once! The city is a bicycle haven and every single road is designed to have bikes on them!
There are bike shares all around the city and I mean EVERYWHERE, it’s awesome! You will need to register your metro Easy Card, but then you are able to put money on to it, which works for the subways, YouBike shares and even the 7/11’s!
To rent a bike you can just tap your card on the card pad and it releases a bike for you! Important to know though – if the seat of a bike is turned backwards it means that the bike is broken! Don’t take that one, also make sure to check the brakes before tapping a bike out. It wont let you give it back for five minutes.
Other than bikes the metro will also be your favorite way to get around longer distances. Their metro is SO incredibly easy to use. Lines are color coordinated and each stop has different symbols along with names making it super easy to identify which to get off at.
Where should I stay?
I stayed with some friends near the Guting Station which was a great location! It was very central making travel easier. I would recommend when choosing a place to stay to be close to a metro stop which will make transportation a breeze.
Things to do in Taipei
Rent bikes and explore the riverside parks
Something that I absolutely loved about Taipei was its awesome construction of public space. There were so many parks and areas devoted to just chilling out.
There is a river that runs through Taipei and during the rainy season it sometimes floods therefore no buildings can be built there. Instead of just having it be empty space the city has turned it into one large park, complete with bike paths and basketball courts.
Spend an evening riding your bikes and chill-axing with a picnic dinner, you can even watch the sunset from the park!
Marvel at all the 7/11 goodness
Taipei, similar to many other countries in Asia has a 7/11 culture which is so strong. The love for this chain runs deep and the quality is far better than that of its counterparts in the west. 7/11’s here are the go to for ANYTHING. All the brands of different teas, noodles, and even full-blown meals are yummy!
Endless flavors of milk tea line the aisles, and a myriad of bagged food is available to be warmed up! There are 7/11’s on every other corner in Taipei so rest assured that you will never be far from its warm food filled embrace.
Wait in line for some delicious eats
People in Taipei are hard-core foodies!! Any restaurant worth their stuff had a line out the door. People’s absolute dedication to delicious food was 100% displayed in the lines.
Go shopping at the city’s Night Markets
Throughout the city are a handful of popular night markets which are packed with stalls selling your usual tourist souvenirs along with Taiwanese specialties.
Guangzhou Night Market was one of my favorites and it is right next to the Longshan Temple which is really gorgeous! In the Guangzhou Night Market is where I had some of the best noodles ever! There is a stall about half way down the street in the center. She serves just small plates of dry noodles and they were unreal!
Shilin and Raohe Night Markets are also very popular and worth a visit although they are a little bit more outside of the city.
Take day trips to Shifen and Jiufen
If you have the time visiting these two cities is an absolute must! They are vibrant, busy and full of culture.
Shifen was an old coal and gold mining town which developed near the train tracks back in the 1950’s but today it is a quirky little train town nestled in the mountains. I visited over the Lunar New Year so things were exceptionally busy, but it is a hot spot for Taiwanese tourists escaping the city, so the crowds may be an all year thing!
Getting to Shifen
Getting there on public transport wasn’t too confusing but it was time-consuming! It took about three hours each way, but it was much cheaper than hiring a taxi!
We took the train from the Taipei Main Stn. (台北車站) to Ruifang Station. (瑞芳站) then transferred to the Pingxi Small Railway (平溪支線) to Shifen Station. (十分站).
What to do in Shifen:
Admire the lanterns
Shifen is famous for lighting lanterns, why? I am not sure if there is any reason really! Unfortunately this beautiful spectacle is polluting the mountainside terribly. They were nice to look at but the reality of them was less so.
Check out the Shifen Waterfall
This waterfall was absolutely stunning! You can meander around the falls on the manicured paths. The path getting there is beautiful as well. We took a wrong turn and ended up walking through the mountains, but we eventually got there!
Explore the town
The town itself is pretty small but it is very cute! There is a temple nestled back away from the main railroad along with many different cafes.
Jiufen is a small coastal town built into the side of the mountain. It’s lantern lit alley-ways, plethora of different food and amazing ocean views make it a uber popular destination with locals. It is said to be the town that inspired the film Spirited Away, I can 100% see the similarities.
Getting to Jiufen:
To get to Jiufen you must take a bus. The bus was totally comfortable and the drive there really wasn’t too bad at all. Going to up Jiufen you will get some fantastic views of the ocean and landscape.
To get there take the MRT to Zhongxiao Fuxing Station (忠孝復興), from there, exit through exit 2 and go outside Sogo department store. Right next to the Sogo department store there will be a bus stop. There you can take the 1062 Keelung Bus to Jinguashi/Jiufen!
What should I do in Jiufen?
Explore Jiufen Old Street
While you are there, eat as much as you can! Seriously this place is full of crazy good food which is seemingly never-ending. Spend the afternoon exploring all the different stalls and small alleys.
Go for tea at A-Mei Tea House 阿妹茶樓
This tea house is one of the most iconic spots in Jiufen! It is the main building that resembles the buildings in Hayao Miyazaki’s award-winning film Spirited Away.
Visit different Taoist and Buddhist Temples
Scattered all around Jiufen are different temples. I stumbled upon one temple that was gorgeous but I couldn’t find an English name for it, just this, 聖明宮. The Fushan temple is another popular one which is located a little bit further away from the old street.
Visit the Chiang Khai Shek Memorial Hall
No trip to Taipei is complete without a visit to it’s Memorial Hall. It is one of the most popular things to do in Taipei. It is easily accessible by metro you can get off at the stop which is also named Chiang Khai-Shek Memorial Hall or CKS Memorial Hall, on the Green Line.
This monument is in honor of the former president of the Republic of China – Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek. Within the large park is also the National Theater and the National Concert Hall.
Try all the famous Taiwanese Bubble Tea
Taiwan is the home of Milk Tea or rather bubble tea and there are shops everywhere selling it! The bubbles are actually just tapioca balls which are placed in the bottom or top of milk tea. It is absolutely delicious and a definite must try while you are here!
Check out Taipei’s parks
People in Taipei luuuhhhveee their parks, there is so much green space for residents to relax in – it’s awesome!!
Taipei’s Creative Park was really interesting to just walk around and explore. There are a bunch of different art installations and great little shops specializing in artisan goods.
The 228 Peace Park also is a good park to explore, and is home to a number of different memorials. It is a park dedicated to the victims of the February 28th Massacre. In 1945 an anti-government protest was brutally shut down by police killing upwards of 10,000 people.
Take a dip in the Hot Springs
All across Taiwan there are hot springs and around Taipei is no exception. Just a quick train ride out of the city are the Beitou Hot Springs.
Getting to the Beitou Hot Springs
Take the MRT Red Line to the Beitou Station and then transfer to the Pink Line to Xinbeitou, from there all the hot springs and other attractions are just a few minutes away!
The thermal valley is a gorgeous hot spring that is bright blue and tucked back away from everything. You can’t swim here though – the water is boiling!
You can swim however at the millennium Hot Springs which are public baths. No photos were allowed but it consisted of four different temperature baths and all in all was very relaxing.
Be sure to wash your feet before getting into the different baths, and to wear your hair up if you have long hair. It’s also a safe bet to wear a conservative bathing suit. Some people were wearing two pieces but just to be safe I would recommend a one piece.
Wander around the city
Visiting Taipei 101 is a must do on every travellers list, but what people don’t tell you is how expensive it is to go up the elevator to get the view. It was around 20 USD just to go up to the observatory! Instead I opted for some bicycling around to find a good view of the building instead. It is also very popular to hike up Elephant mountain to get a view of the city!
In the center of town there are many different bustling streets lined with shops and cafes. Spending an afternoon around the downtown area just exploring is another fun thing to do. Go from the Red House Theater to see more of central Taipei.
All around Taipei are hundreds of thousands of small little alleys. Some of the best spots we found were just down tiny little lanes!
Happy traveling friends! Let me know if you have any other recommendations for things to do in Taipei!
Curious about solo travel? Check out my guide to taking great solo travel photos here!