Awesome things to do in Taipei, Taiwan

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Looking for things to do in Taipei?

No visit to Taiwan is complete without a stop in its capital, Taipei.

Steeped in history and culture, Taipei provides its visitors with world-class restaurants, picturesque monuments, exotic night markets, and intoxicating temples – all in a safe, cosmopolitan cityscape.

There’s a little something for everyone in Taipei, and it’s the ideal place to use as a stepping-stone for exploring the rest of Taiwan.

Things to do in Taipei

One could easily live in Taipei for years without seeing all that it has to offer.

However, if you’re visiting Taipei for a few days, there are certainly a few major attractions to include on your bucket list.

Taiwan Temples

Taiwan is primarily a Buddhist nation; temples to various gods are present all over the country. When visiting Taipei, be sure to check out the following temples:

The Longshan Temple is one of Taipei’s oldest, dating back to 1738. It is a multi-denominational temple worshiping Buddhist, Taoist and Matsu deities.

Longshan Temple Taipei Taiwan
Longshan Temple

The Confucius Temple is devoted to the memory of Confucius, China’s greatest teacher, and offers free tours and classes to further its tradition of education.

This temple values simplicity and lacks some of the adornment popular in other temples.

Confucius Temple Taipei Taiwan
Confucius Temple

The Xingtian Temple is one of Taipei’s busiest and is dedicated to Guangong, the god of war and martial arts.

Xingtian Temple Taipei Taiwan
Xingtian Temple

At many of the temples in the city, you’ll find people praying with incense sticks and leaving food for the gods.

It is also common to see people throwing small oracle blocks to the ground. This is a method of fortune telling, in which ‘yes/no’ questions can be answered via the way the blocks land.

 Sun Yat-sen Memorial

Sun Yat Sen Memorial Taipei Taiwan
Sun Yat Sen

Sun Yat-sen is considered the founder of modern China; the Sun Yat-sen Memorial serves as a monument to the leader as well as a social and educational center.

There is a decent museum that provides information on Dr. Sun, although little of it is in English. The changing of the guard is an interesting watch.

Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial

Chiang Kai Shek Memorial
Chiang Kai Shek Memorial

In addition to the Sun Yat-sen Memorial, be sure to stop by the Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial.

The memorial grounds include the National Concert Hall and National Theatre, a beautiful area to wander with locals on a late afternoon. Tourists can also climb the stairs at the memorial to view the colossal statue of and tribute to the late Chiang Kai-Shek.

 National Palace Museum

National Palace Museum Taipei Taiwan
National Palace Museum

If you enjoy museums, then a visit to the National Palace Museum is a must.

Taiwanese have a running joke that this is the place to go should China ever decide to bomb as it is filled with the world’s largest collection of Chinese art.

Some of the pieces date back thousands of years into Chinese history, including Buddhist artifacts inherited from the Forbidden City.

Yangminshan Park

For nature lovers, we recommend a stop at Yangmingshan Park.

Just on the outskirts of Taipei city, Yangmingshan has mountains to climb, rivers to trace, and gardens to wander. There are options for all fitness levels, and the mountains are truly stunning.

Best Taipei Neighborhoods to explore

Danshui Taipei Taiwan
Danshui

One of the amazing things about Taipei is that one moment you can be walking past towering skyscrapers and world-renowned stores like Gucci or Prada, and the next you can be meandering down small alleyways with traditional red lanterns adorning small, family owned restaurants.

Our advice would be to set out in any direction and get lost.

  • Da’an is a great district to start your explorations. The contrast between old world charm and modernity is everywhere.
  • Danshui is a quaint, riverfront neighborhood on the outskirts of Taipei. Check out its bustling Gongming St and waterfront walkway, where street vendors, performers, and carnival games are plentiful.
  • Beitou is the best neighborhood in Taipei to experience hot springs. Stay at a chic hotel with private hot springs, or simply take a dip in the public hot springs open daily. Remember to bring your swim cap though—they’re required!

Taipei Restaurants  

The night markets!

If you want to truly understand Taiwanese culture, then experiencing a Taiwanese night market is a must on your things to do in Taipei list! They’re chaotic and crowded, but night markets provide an intimate look at how many Taiwanese spend their weekends. And of course, the food is delicious!

Be brave and try the stinky tofu or chicken hearts on a skewer, or opt for the safer oyster omelets and fried chicken. Be sure to wash it all down with a signature pearl milk tea.

If you are looking for a sit-down dining experience, be sure to visit Din Tai Fung. The famous dumpling house has venues all around the world, but it originated in Taipei.

For an eccentric, one-of-a-kind restaurant, try one of Taipei’s theme restaurants. It’s not so much about the food as the ambiance; remember to bring your camera! Some of the more popular options are the Barbie Café, Hello Kitty Sweets, and the Modern Toilet (where, you guessed it—all the food comes served in toilets!)

While the food is just average, a stop at the Taiwan Beer Brewery is a great place to sample the local brew and enjoy live music.

You Can’t Visit Taipei Without Eating …

Beef noodles

Taiwan’s national dish, there is even an annual beef noodle competition where chefs compete to create the most scrumptious variation.

A pile of noodles, chunks of fatty beef, and a simple beef broth combine to create this sensational dish. Each restaurant has its own unique flavor; experiment until you find your favorite!

Best shopping and markets in Taipei

Wufengpu Taipei
Shopping at Wufengpu

If you’re looking for unique, budget purchases, then head to Taipei’s night markets.

Along with food and beverages, you’ll find clothes, trinkets, souvenirs, shoes, and home goods. You can find almost anything! Shilin is Taipei’s biggest night market and one of our favorites.

Taipei has a weekend Jade and Flower market. This is the best place to pick up handcrafted souvenirs and jewelry. The local disabled population makes most of the handicrafts, so it’s also a great way to give back to the community.

If you’re looking for clothes, nothing beats shopping at Wufenpu. Here you’ll find over 100 wholesale clothing shops. You can literally find anything here, including purses, belts, women’s clothing, men’s clothing, baby clothing, puppy clothing (seriously), jewelry and shoes.

Wufenpu is as inexpensive as it gets in Taiwan, and all of my proudest purchases have come from here.

Where to stay in Taipei

If your looking for where to stay in Taipei choose from the largest range of hotels, apartments, and guesthouses with our partner Booking.com. You get free cancellation on most rooms, and in most cases you only pay when you stay.

Taiwan Culture

Elephant lantern

Taiwan’s numerous festivals are reason enough to visit the island!

If you’re in Taipei after Chinese New Year, be sure to check out the Sky Lantern Festival, which portrays hundreds of large themed lanterns, traditional Chinese lanterns, and modern electric lanterns.

Every spring, the small town of Jhuzihu outside of Taipei is overcome by white, delicate Calla lilies, as field after field bursts into nearly two million blooms during the Calla Lily Festival.

Finally, in June, attend (or even take part in!) the dragon boat races in honor of Dragon Boat Festival.

Taipei Nightlife

Remember that Taiwanese don’t party so much. If you want to drink with Taiwanese, your best bet is to head to a local restaurant with large, round tables.

Often Taiwanese will invite you to join them, and before you know it you’ll be taking shots of Taiwan beer all night long. Remember, the term ‘gambe’ means bottoms up!

There are many western style bars and clubs to keep you going until the wee hours of the morning. Revolver and The Brass Monkey are almost always packed with foreigners and good places to socialize.

Dance the night away at the club Luxy, where occasionally there are performances by popular artists like LMFAO.

Getting Around Taipei

Taipei is an extremely easy city to navigate.

The MRT (metro) can get you just about anywhere in the city at a very affordable cost.

There’s also numerous bus lines and of course taxis. Most locals drive scooters, though you will need a Taiwanese license to rent one and it can be extremely dangerous driving in the traffic if you’re not used to it!

Finding Wi-Fi in Taipei

Wi-Fi is available for free at most cafes and restaurants, and even some convenience stores.

You’ll also find visitor/tourist information centers at many metro stops, where there is always free Wi-Fi and computers available for use.

But it even gets easier than that – if you have a local phone number, visit a tourist center and pick up your free registration password for iTaiwan, a free Wi-Fi network throughout the island

Best time to visit Taipei

One of the biggest downsides to living in Taiwan is the constant rain. The winters are surprisingly cold, too. We prefer the months of October and May, when the weather is comfortable and the skies very blue!

Favorite Side-Trip

Long Dong Taiwan
Long Dong Taiwan

Travel in Taiwan is very convenient with its intricate train, high-speed rail, and bus networks. Plus, Taiwan itself is quite small, making trips around the island easy!

There are tons of options for day trips from Taipei, but our favorite would definitely be Long Dong – stunning scenery, world-class rock climbing, and great hiking and scuba diving.

If you’re an outdoor enthusiast, you’ll love Long Dong. The east coast of Taiwan is arguably the most beautiful, and just a few hours away from Taipei by train.

Best Insider’s Tip for Taipei

Whatever it is you need, head to a 7-eleven first. These stores are so much more than the convenient stores we are accustomed to in the west.

You can mail packages, pay bills, buy full meals and coffee (and underwear), fax, buy concert tickets, pay speeding tickets… the list goes on and on!

I love Taipei because

There are so many reasons why we love Taipei, but the first answer is always the people.

Taiwanese are incredibly hospitable and generous, going above and beyond to help foreigners. I have never felt so welcome anywhere in the world!

Plan Your Trip to Taipei

We always start our travel research with these trusted websites listed below:

Accommodation in Taipei

  • Booking.com has over 400 properties in Taipei including hotels, apartments, and hostels. You get free cancelation on most rooms and a best price guarantee.

Flights to Taipei

  • Skyscanner is a comparison website that searches millions of flights. Once you find your best flight deal, they send you to book directly through the airline or agent (no middlemen) or extra fees.

Car Rental in Taipei

  • RentalCars.com is the world’s biggest car rental booking service that compares all the major brands like Hertz, Avis, Alamo, Enterprise, Europcar and Thrifty. Amend or cancel your booking online easily.

BIO – Dan and Casey are two lovebirds slowly, indefinitely traveling the world. They share practical travel tips, top-notch travel photography and inspiring travel tales on their blog A Cruising Couple. When they aren’t on the computer, you can find them training for marathons, cross-country cycling, and drinking wine, though not normally at the same time. Connect with them on facebook and twitter for more travel tips and special travel deals!

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Do you have tips on things to do in Taipei? Share in the comments below.

37 thoughts on “Awesome things to do in Taipei, Taiwan”

  1. Very informative post. I goes along with a lot of what I have heard about Taiwan, especially the night markets. Taiwan is somewhere I have wanted to spend some time in for a while. Obviously with the whole visa on arrival things, it makes it much easier than mainland China.

    I have one question, you mentioned that the people are the reason that you love Taiwan so much, but how similar / dissimilar do you find them to those on mainland China. I spent two months on the mainland, and although I really enjoyed it, I found the people to be a mixed bag, more good than bad, it has to be said, but there are some who you must be wary of.

    1. Thanks for the comment! I haven’t been to China, so I can’t really compare, but I would say that in the two years I lived in Taiwan, I only had positive experiences with the locals. That’s not to say I even liked everyone I met, but I never felt like I was in danger or someone was trying to take advantage of me. You always have to be careful and aware of your surroundings-people are people everywhere- but I would say a highlight for most visitors to Taiwan is the people they meet there 🙂

  2. I went to the Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial. It was beautiful. I was amazed at how the guards looked frozen like statues. I like your post. I gives a bunch of great options on my next trip. Thanks for taking the time to share.

  3. Honestly, before I read your post Taipei is not on my list of the countries I will visit. Never thought that this country has this very amazing attractions. Thanks for sharing with us your trip in Taiwan.

  4. I’ve been 4 times to Taiwan and visited all these places, except the Long Dong, it’s a nice tip for a future travel there! -Next April, by the way :-)-

  5. Can’t get enough of temples pretty much anywhere in Asia. Just so darned beautiful.

    Okay, theme restaurants are a novelty, but how about theme airport lounges? Although I never did anything in Taipei but loiter in the airport, that facility has a Hello Kitty waiting lounge! Such a trip to see all those Kitties with clocks in their bellies, reporting various time zones around the world.

  6. Hey sorry but “gambe” isn’t really correct. It’s gan 乾 bei 杯 (乾杯)which literally means dry cup. Drink ’till it’s dry! Bottoms up.

  7. This is an extremely detailed guide to Taipei, looks like you had a fantastic time. We also visited Taipei and loved the city so much we wanted to go back but ran out of time in Southeast Asia.

    We wrote up a very short story of our trip on our travel blog if you are interested:

    http://www.whoneedsmaps.com/destinations/taiwan/

    Thanks for sharing, we will definitely be stopping by this website before we head off on our next trip!

  8. Hi,

    I will be visiting Taipei itself on April next year.I’m going to visit WuFenPu on 4th April 2016,which is the 1st actual ChingMing Day.

    Will WuFenPu open on that day?If it is not, I may need to change my schedule which is quite tight as I’m gonna be dere jus for 5 days

    Need some assistance.

    Thank you.

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