The Best Things To Do In Taipei

Written By: Derek Ainsworth

The capital city of Taiwan, Taipei is a unique mix between modern and colonial — it’s historic roots infuse an interesting amount of southeast Asian, American and Japanese influence, as well as Chinese culture. A relatively new city in comparison to much of the region, Taipei is 300 years old and allows visitors to explore the city as if it was a museum of generations gone by. From Japanese-era homes to military barracks and a plethora of shop and museums in between, Taipei needs a good amount of time to explore and soak in, in order to get a good sense of this Taiwanese capital city. While the contrast of attractions and ambience might seem confusing to an outsider, visitors and residents alike come to love the quirkiness of Taipei. In one part of the city you’ll find a puppet museum and in another you’ll most definitely be intrigued by a restaurant serving dishes in an old hospital ward. When you want to visit a city that’s like no other in the world, it seems as if Taipei is the only logical choice.

Foodies especially love visiting this Taiwanese city. Most people don’t eat at home, as their apartments don’t even feature kitchens! For this reason, you’ll find a vast amount of street food that’s not only super delicious, but also very inexpensive — perfect for a budget traveler. One of the best places to pick up a variety of local and casual foods is by heading out to a night market and sampling many of the street vendor’s offerings. Of course, the locals will also recommend that you wash down your tasty servings with some of the local Taiwan beer.

Visiting Taipei offers just about everyone with any interests something to see or do. Like history and architecture? The number of palaces and historic points of interest will keep you entertained throughout your entire visit. If exploring quaint neighborhoods and experiencing things you won’t find at home is what you like to do while traveling, Taipei will leave you mesmerized and enticed to come back time and time again!


Taroko Gorge National Park

Stunning, magnificent and diverse – descriptions that really don’t do justice to the experience you will have at the Taroko Gorge National Park. With a multitude of walking trails, you will see gorges and rainforests, sweeping valleys, cascading waterfalls, and beautiful landmarks that blend in with the environment that surrounds them. Start at the Visitor Centre, and choose the trail best for you, and have a great day exploring this amazing park!


Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall

The importance of the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall will strike you as you approach this stunning landmark, with its octagon white walls and pagoda roof reaching 76-metres high. Built to honour the first President of the Republic of China – who the monument is named after – explore the magnificent structure, stroll around the twenty-five hectare gardens, and visit the museum to learn more about Taiwan’s history.


National Revolutionary Martyrs’ Shrine

A visit to the National Revolutionary Martyrs’ Shrine is a chance to learn about Taiwanese history, where respect is given to the 390,000 military personnel and civilians that have lost their lives in conflicts the country has endured over the years. Located on Chingshan Mountain, admire the architecture and explore the shrines and buildings that make up the complex, and stay for the changing of the guard at the beginning of each hour.


Taipei 101

A great way to get your bearings in Taipei, is to take the super-fast elevator to the 89th floor of Taipei 101; a building that reaches 508 metres into the sky. At the observatory – at a height of 382 metres – you will enjoy stunning 360 degree views of the city and its surrounds, listen to the audio tour to identify the landmarks and learn about the history, and plan the itinerary for your upcoming trip! If the weather permits, you can even head to the outside deck on the 91st floor!


Longshan Temple

Dating back to 1738, the Longshan Temple has survived the ravages of war, and has emerged as one of the most beautiful and oldest temples in Taiwan. The complex has several exquisite structures; admire the entrance and the ornate carvings, and marvel at the beautiful decorations that adorn the buildings and the temple itself. The temple remains a popular place of worship, respecting a range of religions.


Hell Valley (Geothermal Valley)

The natural hot springs of the Beitou District of Taipei are more commonly known as Hell Valley (Geothermal Valley). The sulphurous fog and hot steam signal their presence, and temperatures can reach up to one hundred degrees Celsius! As you wander through the district, enjoy the surreal mixture of mist and heat, then head to the Beitou Hot Springs for a healing dip, in waters that are just the right temperature for bathing!


Shilin Night Market

Follow your tastebuds to the Shilin Night Market and immerse yourself in the amazing culture of Taipei. Located on an old wharf on the Keeling River, spend the evening exploring more than 530 stalls selling a diversity of foods; some you will expect to see, and some will be quite confronting! Come hungry and enjoy a culinary feast and a few drinks at the bars – you won’t regret it!


Shifen Waterfall

Catch a train to Shifen Station and enjoy a picturesque stroll to the beautiful Shifen Waterfall. The cascading waterfall – forty-metres wide and twenty-metres high – has captured the imagination of many, with its torrent of water creating a rainbow mist as it pours into the pool below. When you’re finished at the waterfall, take some time to explore the surrounding area, and absorb the culture and scenery before heading home.


Taipei National Palace Museum

The Taipei National Palace Museum holds one of the world’s most comprehensive collections of Chinese art, with over 700,000 objects displaying the history over 8,000 years. Meander through the galleries and admire the stunning artefacts on display, with ceramics, historical documents, detailed calligraphy, and stunning landscape paintings. The diversity of this museum is awe-inspiring and will hold you enthralled as you move from exhibit to exhibit.


Alishan National Scenic Area

Take a trip to central Taiwan and discover the calm beauty of the Alishan National Scenic Area. Explore the many hiking trails and soak up the stunning views of valleys and mountains, with sunrises that you will never forget. Don’t miss a ride on the Alishan Forest Railway, built in 1912, it’s a unique ride and you will see breathtaking views.


Yehliu Geopark

Nature decided to become an artist when it created the beautiful rock sculptures at Yehliu Geopark. Discovering these magnificent natural creations – on the north coast of Taiwan – is a must. Make sure you visit the Queen’s Head for stunning views, and seek out the unique formations that are scattered through the park, with names like Elephant Rock and Kissing Rock!


Beitou Hot Springs

After exploring Taipei, it’s time to soak away those sore muscles, and a great place for that is the Beitou Hot Springs. Located in lush surroundings and with scenic vistas, it will feel as if you have arrived at a country resort. There are five pools to choose from, from cold to hot, so take time out to relax and treat yourself for a day.

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