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No visit to Taiwan is complete without a stop in its capital, Taipei. It’s a small city, but don’t let its size fool you, there are plenty of things to do in 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.
So if you’re not sure what to do in Taipei, keep reading for some of our favorite attractions!
- Best Things to Do in Taipei
- 1. Visit the Taiwanese Temples
- 2. Check Out The Sun Yat-Sen Memorial
- 3. Pass By Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall
- 4. Check Out the Ceramics of The National Palace Museum
- 5. Explore Yangmingshan National Park
- 6. Explore the Taipei Neighborhoods
- 7. Get Lost in the Night Markets
- 8. Shop Until You Drop at The Taipei Markets
- 9. Take a Day Trip to Long Dong
- 10. Explore Taipei Nightlife
- 11. Attend a Festival in Taipei
- 12. Visit Beitou Hot Spring
- 13. Ride the Maokong Gondola
- 14. Take the Kids to Taipei Zoo
- 15. Take a Day Trip to Juifen, Shifen, and Yehliu Geopark
- 16. Hike Elephant Mountain (Xiangshan)
- 17. Check Out The Views from Taipei 101
- 18. Visit the Pet Cafes
- 19. Catch a show at the National Theater and Concert Hall
- Getting Around Taipei
- Where to Stay in Taipei
- Best Time to Visit Taipei
- Before You Go
Best 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.
1. Visit the Taiwanese 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.
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.
The Xingtian Temple is one of Taipei’s busiest and is dedicated to Guangong, the god of war and martial arts.
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.
2. Check Out The Sun Yat-Sen Memorial
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.
3. Pass By Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall
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.
4. Check Out the Ceramics of The 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.
5. Explore Yangmingshan National Park
Yangmingshan National Park is a short drive from the city and is famous for its volcanic peaks. It offers stunning natural beauty, hot springs, and hiking trails.
The park is known for its cherry blossoms in the spring, making it a popular destination for visitors during this season.
However, the park is beautiful year-round, with lush greenery and scenic landscapes that are perfect for outdoor activities like hiking, biking, and picnicking.
Yangmingshan is also home to numerous hot springs, which are known for their therapeutic properties and are a popular destination for relaxation and rejuvenation.
6. Explore the Taipei Neighborhoods
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!
7. Get Lost in 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 street 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.
Some of the most popular night markets to check out are Shilin Night Market and Ningxia Night Market.
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.
Be sure to try 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!
8. Shop Until You Drop at The Taipei Markets
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 a shopping mall with 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.
9. Take a Day Trip to Long Dong
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.
10. Explore 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.
11. Attend a Festival in Taipei
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.
12. Visit Beitou Hot Spring
Beitou Hot Spring one of the most famous hot springs in Taipei.
Located just a short train ride from the city, Beitou is known for its natural hot springs and stunning mountain scenery.
The hot springs of Beitou are said to have healing properties due to their mineral content, making them a popular destination for relaxation and rejuvenation.
While you can’t soak in the spring itself, you can visit nearby spas or onsens and enjoy their hot spring baths, which are both indoors and outdoors, surrounded by serene natural beauty.
13. Ride the Maokong Gondola
The Maokong Gondola is a 30-minute cable car ride takes you to the quaint village of Maokong, known for its tea culture and stunning mountain views.
As you ascend to the top, you’ll pass over tea plantations and charming villages, with panoramic vistas of Taipei City and Taipei 101 visible in the distance.
The gondola’s glass-bottom cabins provide a unique and thrilling perspective of the lush greenery and steep cliffs below.
At the top of the gondola, the village of Maokong is known for its markets, tea houses, and hiking trails through the tea fields.
14. Take the Kids to Taipei Zoo
Taipei Zoo is a world famous zoo located in the foothills of the mountains of Taipei. It’s home to over 400 species of animals, many of which are rare and endangered.
Taipei Zoo is known for its giant pandas, which are among the most popular attractions at the zoo.
You can see the pandas up close and learn about their unique behaviors and habits by attending educational talks and feeding sessions.
15. Take a Day Trip to Juifen, Shifen, and Yehliu Geopark
If you’re looking to explore beyond Taipei, a day trip to Jiufen, Shifen, and Yehliu Geopark is one of the most popular day trips you can take.
This tour is an excellent way to experience some of Taiwan’s most beautiful and unique attractions.
Jiufen is a charming mountain town known for its winding alleyways, teahouses, and stunning views. It is said to have been the inspiration behind the Studio Gihbli film, Spirited Away.
Shifen is famous for its picturesque railway, where visitors can write their wishes on lanterns and release them into the sky. It also has a scenic waterfall, the Shifen Waterfall, known as the Niagara Falls of Taiwan because of its size and volume of water.
Yehliu Geopark is a unique geological wonderland characterized by unique rock formations, including the iconic Queen’s Head.
16. Hike Elephant Mountain (Xiangshan)
If you’re looking for hiking trails near Taipei, Elephant Mountain is one of the closest trails to the city.
The hike offers stunning views of Taipei 101, the city skyline, and the surrounding mountains.
The trail is relatively short, taking approximately 20-30 minutes to reach the top, making it an accessible hike for all fitness levels.
Along the way, visitors can enjoy beautiful scenery and lush greenery while observing the natural habitat of local wildlife.
17. Check Out The Views from Taipei 101
Taipei 101 is probably the most famous attraction in Taipei and should not be skipped.
This iconic landmark is the tallest building in Taiwan, and was once the world’s tallest building at 509 meters before it was over throne by the Burj Khalifa in Dubai.
From the 89th floors, you can visit the observatory which has an observation deck that provides breathtaking views of the city and surrounding mountains.
The view is particularly stunning during sunset and at night when the city lights up, making it a perfect spot for romantic moments or to take memorable photos.
The building itself is an architectural masterpiece, featuring a unique architecture inspired by traditional Asian pagodas.
As well as check out the views, you can explore the impressive interior and learn about its construction and history through interactive exhibits.
18. Visit the Pet Cafes
Pet cafes are a unique experience that are popular in Asia.
Animal lovers traveling to Taipei may want to visit one of these unique cafes where customers the opportunity to interact with animals while enjoying coffee and snacks.
Cat cafes are particularly popular in Taipei, with many different locations throughout the city offering visitors the chance to play with cats and kittens while relaxing in a cozy and calming environment.
Other pet cafes in Taipei include dog cafes, where visitors can hang out with furry pups and give them treats and cuddles.
There are even cafes that feature other animals such as hedgehogs and rabbits.
19. Catch a show at the National Theater and Concert Hall
If you’re looking for things to do in Taipei at night, consider catching a show at the National Theater.
The theater is a cultural landmark that hosts a variety of performances, including traditional Chinese opera, ballet, plays, and concerts.
The National Theater is known for its impressive architecture, featuring a stunning modern design that incorporates elements of traditional Chinese culture.
The theater’s grand stage and state-of-the-art sound system make it the perfect venue for enjoying live performances.
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 likely to be an MRT station next to any attraction you want to see, including from the airport.
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!
When you want to travel further afield or check out some of the other top things to do in Taiwan, then you will find high speed rail trains from Taipei Main Station.
Where to Stay in Taipei
Grand Hyatt Taipei: Adjacent to the dazzling Taipei 101 Tower, the luxury Grand Hyatt Taipei is conveniently located in the vibrant Xinyi District.
Caesar Park Hotel Banqiao This 5 star hotel in Banqiao, Taipei is located a 3-minute walk from Banqiao Railway Station, Caesar Park Hotel Banqiao boasts a fitness centre and a rooftop outdoor pool with exceptional views of the city.
Hotel Royal Beitou Hot Spring Resort is very close to the Beitou station and is a luxurious five-star hotel. Each luxurious room has piped-in mineral-rich hot water so you relax in the hot tub in your own room.
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!
Arguably, the best time to visit Taipei is during the fall (September-November) and spring (March-May), when the weather is comfortable, and there are fewer crowds.
Fall is an ideal time to visit Taipei because of the cooler temperatures and clear skies.
The average temperature ranges between 20°C to 25°C, making it perfect for outdoor activities like hiking, exploring night markets, and enjoying festivals.
Spring is also a good time to visit Taipei as the temperatures are mild and flowers are in bloom, creating a beautiful atmosphere. It’s also the season for cherry blossoms and other festivals such as Chinese New Year and the Lantern Festival.
Summer (June-August) can be hot and humid with occasional typhoons, but it’s also the peak season for tourists, so expect more crowds and higher prices.
Winter (December-February) can be chilly, especially in the evenings, but it’s also a great time to enjoy hot springs and winter festivals.
Before You Go
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!
Before you go, whatever it is you need, head to a 7-Eleven first. You’ll be surprised by how many things you can do at a 7-Eleven in Taipei.
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!
We hope this guide helped you map out your Taipei itinerary and gave you some inspiration for things to do. If you have any more ideas, let us know in the comments.
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 for more travel tips and special travel deals!
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