The capital of Taiwan, Taipei, is a famous city and has a lot of things to do and see. People often call Taipei the ugliest city in the world. It was settled in 1709 and after WWII it replaced Tainan as the capital of Taiwan.

 

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Where is Taipei?

Taipei is located in the north of Taiwan and it is surrounded by New Taipei City. Since 2010 New Taipei City (formerly Taipei County) is no longer part of the Taipei district and it became New Taipei City, this has made the size of Taipei city much smaller.

Even though Taipei City is small, it is still like a concentration of Taiwan, meaning you can find everything there.

 

How to get around Taipei?

Taipei and New Taipei city share the same transportation such as Metro, bus, bicycle, which is very convenient and easy for anyone travelling around the north of Taiwan.

 

When is the best time to travel to Taipei?

Taipei is situated in a subtropical area and it makes the weather very interesting. Each season has its own beauty. However, the best time to visit Taipei is from the end of winter to early summer (Feb to Jun) and also the end of summer to early winter (Sept to Nov).

The reason I do not recommend you travel to Taipei during summer or winter is because it is typhoon and rain seasons.

Where to go in Taipei?

  • Bopiliao Historical Block
  • Longshan Temple
  • Beitou Hot Spring
  • Yangmingshan National Park
  • Xiangshan (Elephant Mountain)
  • Taipei 101 Obervatory
  • National Palaces Museum
  • Hushan 1914 Creative Park
  • Shi-men Ting
  • Night Market

Bopiliao Historical Block

剝皮寮歷史街區


Taiwanese say, Fucheng, Lugang and Manka (一府二鹿三艋舺)These three words presented three different cities, Fucheng (now Tainan), Lugang (a small town in Changhua), and Manka (Wanhua district in Taipei).

taiwan map

Fucheng, Lugang and Manka were the most important harbours cities or towns during the Qing dynasty (1644 to 1912), and they shows the history of Taiwan, and how most cities were settled in the south before the north.

taipei-what-to-do-bopiliao-historical-block
Photo by MiNe on Flickr

Nowadays, people like to hang out in modern places more than in historical places, this caused Bopiliao Historical Block to become less popular than before, that is until the Taiwanese movie Monga was released and changed people’s minds.

 

People return again

The people and the local governments started to recognise that these historical places are important and should be saved and visited often. Manka was well-known for gangs and illegal trade, so they decided to rebuild and restored the reputation of this area to attract tourism.

taipei-what-to-do-bopiliao-historical-block

When you go to Bopiliao Historical Block, you will be able to tell the difference immediately between this area and other districts in Taipei, because a lot of the buildings and houses are from before WWII it makes this area looks more exotic. You will see the houses and buildings are a mix of the different styles, Western, Chinese and Japanese styles that show the long history of Taiwan.

Recommend : Taipei Free Walking Tour Historic Route

 

Bopiliao Historical Block’s information

  • Opening Hour : TUE – SUN 9:00 – 21:00
  • Admission fee : Free
  • Address : Lane 173, Kangding Road, Wanhua District, Taipei City, Taiwan 108
  • Transport : Metro – BL10. Longshan Temple Station

Longshan Temple

龍山寺


Longshan Temple is not far away from Bopiliao Historical Block, since they are all in the same district (Wanhua). In my previous post where I mentioned that Longshan Temple is one of the top 10 must go places in Taiwan because of its fame and popularity.

taiwan where to go Longshan Temple
Photo by Maren Wilczek on Unsplash

At that time, people who particularly disagreed with the government delivered the messages that should not be discussed openly and planned protests against the government in Longshan Temple because this is a place that nobody would feel suspicious of government listening.

 

What is religion in Longshan Temple

Longshan Temple accommodates more than one religion; it is important for Tao, Buddhist, and Confucian religions, so people will go over and pray to the God they believe in. People believe that a lot of wishes that have prayed in Longshan Temple come true.

longshan-temple
Photo by nnice on Flickr

There are a few things you should know before visiting a Temple in Taiwan, such as always remember to step over the threshold while you enter the doorways and so on. Longshan Temple is an important icon for Taipei as well as Taiwan and I highly recommend you check it out if you want to know more about Taiwanese life style.

Recommend : Longshan Temple with a local English Guide

 

Longshan Temple’s information

  • Opening Hour : MON – SUN 6:00 – 22:00
  • Admission fee : Free
  • Address : No. 211, Guangzhou Street, Wanhua District, Taipei City, Taiwan 10853
  • Transport : Metro – BL10. Longshan Temple Station

Beitou Hot Spring

北投溫泉


Within 30 mins of travel from the centre of Taipei by public transport, you will arrive at Beitou Hot Spring area. Beitou hot spring is one of the most popular hot springs in Taiwan. In 1894, a German businessman, Ouely, discovered it and founded a hot spring club, the year after Taiwan was colonised by Japan.

nature in taiwan beitou hot spring
Photo by familyfriends754 on Flickr

During this period, the Japanese saw that the water quality is amazing in Beitou and believed that it could bring a lot of tourism and produce a high profit and decided to build Beitou as a Hot Spring town and also build Yilan as a Cold Spring Town.

In Beitou Hot Spring Area, there are some free hot springs available for anyone to use. For most public hot springs you only need to pay a small admission fee; however, you can also consider staying in a hotel that provides private hot spring tubs which is a good option for anyone who needs a hotel room and a private hot spring tub.

Recommend : Hot Spring Experience in Beitou

 

Places near Beitou Hot Spring

Going to a hot spring is definitely a must-do-thing in Beitou; however, there are also others places you can visit in the area, such as the Beitou Library that was considered one of the 25 Most Beautiful Public Libraries in the World by Flavorwire.com. There is also the Beitou Hot Spring Museum where you can get to know more about hot springs and the area.

taipei-what-to-do-beitou-library
Beitou Library, Photo by Camille San Vicente on Unsplash

You will learn the history as well as information about the benefits of visiting a hot spring. Taking a bath in a hot spring is something I recommend as well.

Recommend : Beitou Hotels in Agoda | Beitou Hotels in Booking.com

 

Beitou Hot Spring Museum’s information

  • Opening Hour : MON – SUN 9:00 – 17:00
  • Admission fee : Free
  • Address : No. 2, Zhongshan Road, Beitou District, Taipei City, Taiwan 112
  • Transport : Metro – R22A. . Xinbeitou Station

Taipei Public Library Beitou Branch’s information

  • Opening Hour : MON – FRI 8:30 – 21:00 | SAT – SUN 9:00 – 17:00
  • Admission fee : Free
  • Address : No. 2, Zhongshan Road, Beitou District, Taipei City, Taiwan 112
  • Transport : Metro – R22A. Xinbeitou Station

Yangmingshan National Park

陽明山


Not far away from downtown Taipei, you are able to access the mountainside. At the beginning of this article, I mentioned that Taipei is a small Taiwan where you do not only see a metropolitan/capital Taiwan but you will also see the natural beauty of eastern Taiwan.

taipei-what-to-do-yaminshan2
Photo by stellayuyuyu

Yangmingshan National Park is about 11,456 hectares and the altitude is from 200m to 1200m, the area is near half of Taipei size which is 271.8 km².

 

Things to do in Yangmingshan National Park

Yangmingshan National Park has a lot to offer and many things to do there. Hiking is a great option but is not the only thing you can do and that is what makes it popular.

taipei-what-to-do-yaminshan
Photo by stellayuyuyu

One of the things you can do at Yangmingshan besides hiking is to see the beautiful and elegant flowers, such as Cherry Blossoms, Calla Lilys, Hydrangea and even more all year round. Because Taipei is a very crowded city and the houses are so ugly and really small, a lot of the residents of Taipei go to Yangminshan often on the weekends and refer to it as their backyard.

 

Yangmingshan National Park tourist center’s information

Xiangshan (Elephant Mountain)

象山


Every time when we want to take a look at a tall building, it is always not that easy because it is just too tall.

Xiangshan is the place that can solve the problem for you. The next station after Taipei 101 station is Xiangshan station where you can find the entrance and go on the mountain and have a good look at Taipei 101 and the skyline of the city.

Taipei 101
Photo by stellayuyuyu

Xiangshan is a small mountain and it is very easy to get to by public transport. In addition, hiking in Xiangshan will not take you all day or even half a day. It only takes a half-hour to reach the highest spot and you will be able to see the beauty of Taipei.

Xiangshan is situated in the most amazing spot which is in the centre of Taipei to see the view of Taipei and Taipei 101 but also for anyone wants to unwind city a little bit.

Recommend : Taipei Pinglin and Elephant Mountain Day Tour

 

Xiangshan’s information

  • Opening Hour : Daily 24 hours
  • Admission fee : Free
  • Address : Alley 342, Lane 150, Section 5, Xinyi Road, Xinyi District, Taipei City, Taiwan 110
  • Transport : Metro – R02. Xiangshan Station Exit 2

Taipei 101 Observatory

台北 101 觀景台


Here we are, one of the famous and well-known icons of Taiwan and Taipei is Taipei 101. Taipei 101 is a complex building, it is a combination of commercial companies, a shopping mall and some international offices such as the German Institute Taipei.

taipei-what-to-do-elephant-mountain3
Photo by stellayuyuyu

When you visit Taipei 101, please do not forget to go on the observatory. Taipei 101 was the tallest building in the world between 2003 to 2007 and when you stand on the Taipei 101 Observatory you can enjoy the view of Taipei. It is something quite amazing, particularly for a country which is always hit by earthquakes and typhoons, to have a high building.

taipei 101
Photo by stellayuyuyu
 

What to see in Taipei 101 Observatory

Taipei 101 building has a safety system to keep the whole building safe and stable. When you go to visit the observatory, please make sure to check the Wind Damper (Tuned Mass Damper) which is what keeps the building safe.

Recommend : Online buy Taipei 101 Observatory is always cheaper

Taipei 101 Observatory’s information

  • Opening Hour : MON – FRI 11:00 – 21:00 | SAT – SUN 10:00 – 21:00
  • Admission fee :
    • Entry before 15:00 Adult NT $300
    • Entry after 15:00 Adult NT $600 | Student NT $540
  • Address : F89, No.7, Section 5, Xinyi Rd, Xinyi District, Taipei City, Taiwan, 110
  • Transport : Metro – R03. Taipei 101/World Trade Center Station

National Palace Museum

國立故宮博物院


National Palace Museum is one of the most educational and interesting museums in Taiwan and it has a lot of background stories. Many of the collections are from the old China which is the emperor period before WWII and most of them belonged to Qing or (latter name called Manchu) dynasty (1644 – 1912).

taipei-what-to-do-national-palace-museum
Photo by Brady Montz on Flickr
 

National Palace Museum’s background

You probably heard or read about the National Palace Museum in a website before, but a lot of them do not even mention its complicated background. Currently, Beijing, China also has a museum named the National Palace Museum and the displays and collections which are pretty similar to the one in Taipei.

In 1965, the National Palace Museum in Taipei was officially founded in Taiwan, the reason I said officially is that it was founded in Beijing and brought to Taiwan by a huge group of refugees (Chinese Nationalist Party or also known KMT).

taipei-what-to-do-national-palace-museum2
Photo by nakashi on Flickr

When KMT fought the Chinese Communist Party during the Chinese Civil War (1927 and 1949) it was also the WWII period, after losing the war, they decided to run away from China to Taiwan and in the meantime used Taiwan as a base for their next civil war. Therefore, they brought a lot of amazing collections that belonged to Qing, Ming, and even older pieces of art to Taiwan.

Recommend : National Palace & Shung Ye Museum Ticket

 

National Palace Museum’s information

  • Opening Hour : TUE – SUN 9:00 – 17:00
  • Admission fee : Adult NT $350 | Student NT $150 | under 18 Free entry
  • Address : No. 221, Sec 2, Zhi Shan Rd, Shilin District, Taipei City, Taiwan 111
  • Transport :
    • Metro R16. Shilin Station and transfer shuttle bus R30| S18 |S19 | M1 | 255 | 300 | 304 | 815 to the National Palace Museum (15 mins)
    • Metro BR15. Jiannan Road Station and transfer shuttle bus BR20 | BL7 to the National Palace Museum (10 mins)
    • Metro BR14. Dazhi Station and transfer shuttle bus BR13 to the National Palace Museum (10 mins)

The next fews places are the most popular for young generation.

Huashan 1914 Creative Park

華山1914文化創意產業園區


Huashan 1914 Creative Park is a cool place to hang out with friends and see creative artworks. There are various artworks and events going on every month and if you are a fan of art, this place is definitely worth visiting.

taipei-what-to-do-huashan
Photo by Cheng-en Cheng on Flickr

I have been to Huashan 1914 Creative Park a couple of times for different purposes. The very first time I went there was to see the Japanese band, Vamps, in concert and for the second time I went there to hang out with friends, relax and enjoy the atmosphere.

 

Things to do in Huashan 1914 Creative Park

Huashan 1914 Creative Park in Taipei is similar to the Pier 2 Art Center in Kaohsiung. Both places are gathering tons of designers who are keen to display their portfolio and engage with more audiences who like their work.

taipei-what-to-do-huashan2
Photo by Cheng-en Cheng on Flickr

Moreover, sometimes you will be able to see international events such as Japanese Animation; and sometimes educational events, for example how to become a designer.

 

Huashan 1914 Creative Park’s information

  • Opening Hour : Daily 24 hrs
  • Admission fee : depends on the event but most of them are free entry
  • Address : No. 1, Section 1, Bade Rd, Zhongzheng District, Taipei City, Taiwan 100
  • Transport : Metro – BL14 or O07. Zhongxiao Xinsheng Station

Shi-men Ting

西門町商圈


During the Japanese colonization, there was a lot of Japanese immigration to Taipei and many of the new immigrants settled in the Shi-men Ting area. Shi-men Ting is a Japanese name, Ting in Japanese means district or area. In Shi-men Ting, there is a building called the Red House (紅樓) built in 1908 by a Japanese designer, Kondo Juro, and initially this building was used as a market until WWII.

the red house
Photo by 30308 on Flickr
 

Shi-men Ting’s history

After WWII, the Red House was converted to the first cinema in Taiwan and this made Shi-men Ting the most popular place in Taipei. A lot of residents hang out in this area and spend their weekends and holidays there.

taipei-what-to-do-shi-men-ting
Photo by Chung Shao Tung on Flickr

Shi-men Ting was an icon of fashion for decades until 1990’s, then people gradually hang out more at the Eastern District of Taipei than in Shi-men Ting until the early 2000s, when the Taipei MRT was finally finished. Ximen Station made it much easier for people to return to Shi-men Ting again. The Red House is now an Art market and gay bar.

 

The Red House’s information

  • Opening Hour : TUE – THUR & SUN 11:00 – 21:30 | FRI – SAT 11:00 – 22:00
  • Admission fee : Free
  • Address : No. 127, Hanzhong Street, Wanhua District, Taipei City, Taiwan 108
  • Transport : Metro – BL11. or G12. Ximen Station

Night Market

夜市


The night market is definitely a must-do thing in Taipei. I know that I have mentioned night markets many times in my previous posts. But the night market life in Taipei is really worth it because it is fantastic.

There are a lot of night markets you can go to in Taipei and most of them are a lot of fun.

taiwan where to go taiwan night market

There are tons of the night markets in Taipei and each of them has their own features. The most famous night markets in Taipei city are Ningxia Night Market(寧夏夜市), Raohe Night Market(饒河夜市), Shida Night Market(師大夜市), Shi Lin Night Market (士林夜市).

Some night markets tend to focus on food such as Raohe Night Market. You are able to find some traditional Taiwanese food and the price is actually reasonable if you compare it with restaurants.

If you are looking for cheap food to eat in Taipei, check out Raohe Night Market, it is a great option.

night market
Photo by Kinden Kuo on Flickr

My personal favorite night market in Taipei is Shida Night Market which is located next to National Taiwan Normal University (It is a great school to learn Mandarin if you are interested).

The shops and the stalls in Shida Night Market are of various types, buying food is not the only thing to do, you can shop for other things there as well.

Recommend : Night Market Tour in Taipei

 

Raohe Night Market’s information

  • Opening Hour : Daily 16:00 – 00:00
  • Admission fee : Free
  • Address : Raohe Street, Songshan District, Taipei City, Taiwan 105
  • Transport : Metro – G19. Songshan Station

Shida Night Market’s information

  • Opening Hour : MON – FRI 11:00 – 23:00 | SAT -SUN 11:00 – 00:00
  • Admission fee : Free
  • Address : Lane 39, Shida Road, Da’an District, Taipei City, Taiwan 106
  • Transport : Metro – G09. or O05 Guting Station

Conclusion

Taipei is a small and ugly city, however, there are many activities to do and many places to explore. It is super easy to get around as well, even if you are visiting Taipei for the first time. Besides these 10 places you can hang out in Taipei, of course, there are even more things to do or places to go.

Taipei is a fun city even though it is slightly pricier than other cities in Taiwan and the weather is not so beautiful sometimes.


Travel tools

  • Need A TAIWAN travel brochure, check out Lonely Planet
  • Plan your Taiwan trip via KKday | Klook*

*Both offer cheaper entry tickets to many attractions, such as museums and theme parks. You can even get discounts on sim cards, transportations and much much more.

When I look for flight tickets I usually go to:

Skyscanner is the biggest flight ticket search website

When I look for accommodation I usually go to:

  • Agoda (Tip: if you book a non-refundable room, you usually get a very good deal).
  • Booking.com (my favorite one, easy to manage bookings).
  • Hotels.com (If you book more than 10 nights, you will get one night for free).

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