TAIPEI - the capital of Taiwan is often the first stop on many a tourist trail.
This beautiful building is synonymous with the city of Taipei. Having held the title of the world’s tallest building from 2004 to 2010 and with its unique form, shaped like a stalk of bamboo emerging from the city, one can clearly understand why Taipei is so proud of this building. The building also houses an enormous tuned active mass dampener which is visible to the public. To view Taipei 101 from an unusual angle, make your way to Takemura Izakaya which is just a 10-minute walk from Elephant Mountain MRT station, from where you can see Taipei 101 straight on through the narrow alley. Alternatively, climb the 400 steps of Elephant Mountain for fantastic views of the whole city and Taipei 101.
It is well worth climbing the 400 steps up Elephant Mountain to enjoy the free and impressive views over the city and of Taipei 101. The paved and good enough to traverse at night should you want to see the city lit up in the dark (if you have a headlamp or cell phone torch that would be handy). The trails of Elephant Mountain extend well beyond the 400 steps up to the viewpoint, so if you are keen to get a little more exercise and fresh air, feel free to explore them further.
Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall
Free to visit, the Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall is situated within Liberty Square which also houses the classical-Chinese style National Theatre and National Concert Hall. If you are inside the Memorial Hall on the hour, you can see the changing of the guards.
Walk Dihua Street
To get a feel for the old Taipei, with its many spice shops and small local restaurants lining the streets.
Although there is no shortage of temples to visit along the streets of Taipei, Longshan Temple is one of the oldest and most famous temples in the Wanhua district of Taipei. It is also notably a multi-denominational temple. You will notice many people tossing two crescent-shaped wooden blocks as part of their spiritual ritual – they are asking the divine spirits for advice. Anyone is invited to take part in this ritual, however, please do so with reverence.
Ximending Walking District
Ximending is a vibrant neighbourhood and shopping district with a large pedestrian zone which is often called the "Shibuya of Taipei". Things really come alive after dark, with the streets filling with youngsters socializing, shopping and grabbing a bite to eat. We would suggest arriving before sunset to witness the fun transformation from peaceful to bustling.
Modern Toilet Restaurant – This novel restaurant has made its mark for the way it names and serves its dishes. We didn’t eat there, but apparently the food isn’t bad and it’s well worth the giggle.
Snake Alley / Huaxi Street Night Market
While this night market is small and less varied in comparison to others, this is where you will find restaurants serving snake… if that is your thing!
Gondola to Maokong
From the Taipei Zoo, take the gondola up to Maokong to enjoy the view over Taipei and a cup of traditional tea. Be sure to check online that the gondola is operational before you go (it can be closed due to weather). Try to get into one of the “Crystal Cabins” which have glass bottoms for even better views! Note that the tickets are one way and that you either need to purchase a second ticket to return or take a bus down. Paying with your EasyCard will get you a discount last time we checked.
Ride a YouBike along Taipei’s Riverside Parks
There are hundreds of drop-off points for the bikes, often around MRT stations in Taipei and New Taipei City. You’ll need a local phone number and EasyCard (metro card) to register at one of the kiosks, or you can swipe a credit card for one-time use.
Drink pearl milk tea
(also known as Boba or Bubble Tea)
This delicious local drink is a staple and is available on almost every street corner and at every night market. At first, it’s strange sucking up squishy tapioca balls through a straw, but the idea grows on one as they are so tasty! We can recommend the traditional milk pearl tea as well as the burnt brown sugar boba tea.
Fisherman’s Wharf & Tamsui Lover’s Bridge
A scenic spot to enjoy the sunset from. You can also get a “Tower ice-cream” nearby which makes for a rather crazy photo!
Visit One of Taipei's Night Markets
There is no shortage of night markets in Taipei (or the rest of Taiwan for that matter). Some of the larger night markets include Shilin & Raohe but you can’t really go wrong with any of the others either. We would suggest going to the ones that are most easily accessible to you.
Firefly watching – See these wonderful insects light up the night skies at Tsuei Lake in Muzha Park. Check the local website for seasons and happenings.