Wondering what to do in Taipei? Taipei, Taiwan, is an incredible destination just waiting for you to explore. Whether you fancy hiking, culture or food you’re in for a treat. Not only is Taipei a foodie’s haven, it’s a thriving metropolis with so many things to do. While it may seem like the city never sleeps, Taipei has plenty of quiet and peaceful treasures within and makes for a memorable experience for any type of traveler.
Looking back on our 3 months of living in the city as English teachers, we remember some of our favorite pastimes.
Table of Contents (skip directly to the info you're looking for)
- 1 Best Things to do in Taipei Taiwan
- 2 For foodies: Visit the Night Markets
- 3 You must try these Taiwanese snack
- 4 Soy Milk Restaurants
Best Things to do in Taipei Taiwan
Yangmingshan National Park
Located just north of Taipei, you can reach Yangmingshan National Park by bus in about 30-45 minutes. We strongly recommend taking a day to explore this park and to hike to the top of Mt. Qixing. It’s a moderately difficult hike, but it’s constantly uphill. So be prepared to feel the burn! The views of Taipei from above are more than worth the trek.
You’re looking for the S15 bus from the Jiantan MRT Station (the red line). The bus fare is less than $1 USD!
Memorials in Taipei – Chiang Kai-shek and Sun Yat-sen
The history of Taipei, and Taiwan itself, is very interesting. For some great museums and memorials on two influential figures in Taiwan’s history, be sure to stop by Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial hall or Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall. Or both!
Chiang Kai-shek is free to enter. You can also watch the changing of the guard every hour on the hour. Expect a crowd as this event is quite touristy.
Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall’s exhibitions are free but special exhibitions will charge a fee.
Regardless of the memorials themselves, the architecture and surrounding gardens are worth a visit, especially on a beautiful day.
There are countless temples in Taipei and all across Taiwan. One of the most visited in Taipei is Longshan Temple.
We highly recommend visiting for some insight into the religious culture of Taiwan. In addition to Longshan, you’ll find so many temples scattered throughout the city and in the surrounding mountains. We trekked a day hike in the Neihu District and found multiple temples with breathtaking views of Taipei. You can find them anywhere!
National Palace Museum
If you’re a fan of art, culture, and history then the National Palace Museum is for you! There are thousands of years of stories in this museum. From porcelain, to calligraphy, to jade, the National Palace Museum in Taipei makes for a wonderful visit. With so much to explore, we recommend getting the English audio guide so you know what you’re looking at. It makes for a great half-day excursion!
Bubble Milk Tea in the Parks and Gardens
Taiwan is famous for bubble milk tea. You can have super sweet or, like we prefer, less sugary. The boba balls in the bottom don’t appear the most appetizing. But trust us, bubble milk tea is a truly delicious drink. It’s the perfect finisher for a salty snack like soy milk (talking about that soon!).
One of our favorite things to do was grab a bubble tea and walk through Taipei’s countless serene and gorgeous parks. From the botanical gardens to the Da’an Forest Park, you’re able to lose yourself in this busy city and enjoy nature. It’s even more enjoyable with a bubble milk tea in hand.
Taipei 101 is the one building you can’t miss when looking at Taipei’s skyline. Once the tallest building in the world, this skyscraper gives you awesome views of Taipei and the lovely landscape beyond. Since this is a main tourist attraction, it’s one of the pricier things in the city. Expect to pay around $20 USD per person to ride the super fast elevator to the top and get a view.
If you’re looking for a picturesque spot to capture the beauty of this building, then look no further than Elephant Mountain. It’s a very famous spot and the crowds will flock so beware. We visited twice, both times at sunset. One visit was overly crowded and the other time was perfect. Hang around for that great night time shot as well. The crowds will disperse and you’ll be able to soak in the view!
Din Tai Fung
After you’ve appreciated Taipei from above, you’ll find the famous Din Tai Fung. Originating in Taiwan, Din Tai Fung has become an international hit. But don’t let its international success and chain operation deter you. This restaurant offers soup dumplings (xiaolongbao) at their finest and you can’t leave the city without trying them. If you have then shame on you! Din Tai Fung also provides directions (in English!) on how to properly eat the xiaolongbao. It’s an experience you can’t miss!
For foodies: Visit the Night Markets
Since we’re on the subject of food, our favorite subject, then let’s keep going! Night market, anyone? Taipei’s night markets are happening, eclectic locations and they offer up some of the most delicious and savory bites the city has to offer. And they’re so cheap! The touristy night markets are, of course, the most crowded. Don’t let that stop you from going. Shilin Night Market and Rahoe Night Market are a great experience. For a more local take on the night market, check out Nanya Night Market in Banqiao.
You must try these Taiwanese snack
It’s been called the Taiwanese Hamburger or the Taiwanese Snack. Whatever you call it, nothing changes the fact that it’s downright delicious. Rich, savory yet sweet, gau bao is a must-try while in Taipei. The place you must try it is called Lan Jia Gua Bao. The owner is very kind and welcoming to foreigners and he’ll ensure you have a great time and are satisfied. Trust us, you will be.
Pro Tip: Get the half lean, half fatty sandwich. You can thank us later.
Soy Milk Restaurants
Last but nowhere near least, we have to mention soy milk. Soy milk restaurants are scattered throughout the city and offer soy milk, of course, but they’re the best place to have breakfast or lunch. Most offer their own soup dumplings, steamed buns filled with pork, rice rolls, and our favorite, flaky sesame bread piled with egg and pork. It’s a salty meal, no doubt, so be sure to wash it down with a sweet bubble milk tea afterward. Then get to exploring the wonderful city that is Taipei, Taiwan!
We hope this post has given you an idea of the great things that await you in Taipei, Taiwan. If Taipei isn’t on your radar in the near future, then we hope it’s influenced you to rethink it! The island of Taiwan doesn’t just have Taipei. From national parks to gorgeous coastal cities and towns, there is so much to see. For those looking for a beautiful day trip from Taipei, check out our post on Taroko National Park.
Thanks for reading!
This is a guest post by Darah and Garrett fromWhere Food Takes Us.
About the Authors: We’re Darah and Garrett, two mistake-prone wanderers with a mad love for food. Our story began in June 2016 when we eloped in a pink Cadillac in Las Vegas. We quit the 9-5 life two years later to move abroad. Now, unexpectedly, we’re digital nomads who teach English online. Life is full of surprises! We created Where Food Takes Us to share our mistakes (tips!) and tell a unique story. We hope our fellow wanderers can find our words useful and in turn feel inspired to travel and eat the world! Join us as we follow our stomachs from country to country. We’re keeping notes to make that world recipe book one day.