If you plan on visiting Taipei, Taiwan, then get excited! You are in for an incredible trip.
From the lively city to the peaceful mountains, Taipei offers any traveller a memorable stay. In this post, we tell you all about how to get around Taipei, where to stay, what to eat, and what to do in Taipei while you’re there. There are endless Taipei tourist attractions for every traveller. From food-hunting to bargain-hunting, there’s always things to do in Taipei and not one day will pass you by when you’re at a loss on what to do.
Are you ready to dig right into this Taipei travel guide? I am!
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- Where to stay in Taipei, Taiwan
- Things to do in Taipei, Taiwan
- Transport from Taipei Airport
- How to get around Taipei, Taiwan
Where to stay in Taipei, Taiwan
Below you’ll find recommendations on where to stay in Taipei based on districts. There really is no one best place to stay in Taipei – it really all depends on your preferences. Do you want to stay near Taipei 101? Do you prefer to be close to the Taipei food markets? Want to have easy access to shopping?
You can find most of the iconic sites of Taipei in this district. Taipei 101, once the tallest building in the world, can be found in Xinyi. This is a great district to base your trip in because you’re within walking distance to so many things.
That said, prices for hotels and Airbnbs are going to be more expensive in this area. That’s why we talk about a couple other options for where to stay in Taipei below.
If you are hell bent on finding some hotels near Taipei 101, here are some highly recommended ones:
- Just Inn Taipei (Xin Yi) (from USD51)
- Pacific Business Hotel (from USD131)
- Homestay – entire apartment accommodating up to 5 guests (from USD146)
- W Taipei (from USD329)
The Da’an District actually neighbours Xinyi, but it’s drastically different. You’ll find accommodation to be a little cheaper than Xinyi and it’s also a little quieter.
Here, you’ll find some universities, great parks, and also one of our favourite soy milk restaurants, Yong He Soy Milk.
Stay near here and go for breakfast here every morning. Thank us later. 😉
Leaving central Taipei and heading to the border of New Taipei City, Ximending is a hip district. If you’re looking for a lot of nightlife, good food, and a younger crowd, then Ximending is a great spot. It’s also going to be considerably cheaper than central Taipei.
Gven that it draws a younger crowd, there is considerably more English here and it’s a little more westernized. You’ll find world name brands in this area. If you’re looking for something more immersive, we advise staying in a different district.
Things to do in Taipei, Taiwan
Shilin Night Market
A massive night market in Taipei, you’ll find no shortage of delicious and interesting foods to try. There are also a ton of vendors for all kinds of shopping.
We spent a long time in this night market and found it easy to get lost! That’s not a bad thing, though. Street food is around every corner and waiting for you to try it!
As mentioned, this night market is huge. It’s also very crowded and one of the more touristy ones. Keep reading if that’s not your cup of tea!
To get to Shilin Night Market, take the Red Line MRT to Jiantan Station. You can’t miss the bright neon lights across the street.
Rahoe Night Market
Another famous night market in Taipei, we like to think of Rahoe as the other huge market besides Shilin. However, Rahoe is located in West Taipei while Shilin is in the North. Rahoe is different because it’s essentially one long row of food and shops.
It seems to go on forever but that’s probably because we stopped every few metres to investigate some awesome-looking grub.
To get to Rahoe, take the green line MRT to the terminal Songshan Station. Take exit 1 and you’ll find yourself right near Rahoe night market. We recommend taking exit 5 and going through the picture-worthy front entrance!
Banqiao Nanya Night Market
For a more chill and local night market experience, head out Taipei proper and venture into New Taipei City.
Being short term expats, we resided in New Taipei City and got to see a more local side of things.
One of our favorite night markets was Banqiao Nanya Night Market. While not as sprawling as Shilin or Rahoe, there’s plenty to eat. We found more open space to wander and felt more relaxed here.
To get to Banqiao Nanya Night Market, take the blue line to Fuzhong Station. It’s a 10-15-minute walk south from there. Worth it!
Ningxia Night Market
One of the smaller night markets, Ningxia was one of the most crowded. It’s a shorter line of stalls but the locals flocking to this night market made us think it was a special one.
Try all you can here and don’t be afraid to rub shoulders with the locals. The smell of stinky tofu is inescapable, but it’s all part of the experience, right?
You’ll find some cool arcades and games here as well. To get there, take the red or green line MRT to Zhongshan Station. It’s about 10 minutes’ walk west from there.
Milk tea can be hot or cold, sweet or unsweet, or our favourite – loaded with boba balls/ pearls! We could have thrown milk tea in the same bag as night markets, but we think it deserves its own section, seeing as how bubble milk tea originated in Taiwan!
If you’re in the mood for sugar, then try the brown sugar milk tea. Warning, it’s A LOT of sugar. We also recommend green milk tea with sea salt foam. No matter what you try, you can’t go wrong with milk tea!
Soy Milk Restaurants
As mentioned when talking about the Da’an District, soy milk restaurants are a must when in Taipei.
You can find these places all over the city but one of our favourites, Yong He Soy Milk, is in the Da’an.
Breakfast is always more crowded so if you want to avoid the lines and have a more relaxed time, go during lunch! It’s a great afternoon fill-me-up.
Try the hot soy milk soup, dumplings, or shao bing! Another great mention is Sihai Soy Milk in Zhongshan District. They are friendly and everything they make is absolutely delicious.
Xiao Long Bao
Dumplings, dumplings, more dumplings!
Three months of living in Taipei and dumplings always sound good. You can get them at night markets, soy milk restaurants, in a soup, etc. There’s (thankfully) no end to finding these sumptuous little things.
However, albeit it more touristy nowadays, one has to visit Din Tai Fung! It’s an international chain today but it began in Taiwan! No better place to try it than in its original country.
They provide an instruction card on how to properly enjoy xiao long bao and you can even watch how the dumplings being made in this restaurant.
No visit to Taipei is complete without a trip to the top of Taipei 101. It was once the tallest in the world and has since been dethroned, but don’t let that turn you away.
Zoom up in the high-speed elevator and get some great views of this wonderful city. It’s even cooler at sunset!
Taipei is a huge metropolis but there’s more than just city life here. If you find yourself wanting some nature (which you should!) then there are plenty of hikes within reach of their MRT!
The Elephant Mountain Hike is probably the most popular for tourists and for good reason! It’s short (but steep!) and gives you a great view of Taipei 101.
It’s a perfect spot to watch the sunrise or sunset and get some night shots of the neon city lights. For more details on this hike, check out this post on hiking elephant mountain!
Another spectacular adventure in nearby nature is Yangmingshan National Park. We hiked Mt. Qixing but there are many other trails within this beautiful park.
You can find the trails on Yangmingshan National Park’s website but you should stop by the park ranger’s headquarters and have a chat with the very passionate people who work in the national park.
Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall
We’ve talked a lot about food and some sites to see but the history of Taipei, and Taiwan in general, is also worth your time during your visit.
Even if you’re not into history, just gazing upon Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall is worth a trip!
If you make the climb up the steps, then be sure to watch the changing of the guard every hour on the hour until 4 pm!
The National Palace Museum
Like Chiang Kai-Shek, this museum is housed in an awe-inspiring building and the surroundings are captivating. Inside, you’ll find tons and tons of Chinese art, porcelain, jade and plenty more. Take a cab for simplicity or grab a bus. This one is just a short drive north of the city.
Wu Fen Pu
For wholesale shopping, head to Wu Fen Pu! Its seemingly endless streets are filled with all types of very affordable clothing, shoes, hats, etc. You name it, they have it.
Better yet, it’s very close to Rahoe Night Market, so leave some room for night market food! Make an afternoon and evening out of it.
Maokong Gondola and Tea
Maokong Gondola is scenic, fun, and the perfect way to spend a morning or afternoon. Take the brown line MRT to Taipei Zoo Station. You’ll see the signs for Maokong Gondola and follow them from there! It’s just a short walk.
The gondola is a little pricey compared to the rest of Taipei’s public transportation. It’s around USD16 roundtrip for one person.
Once you’ve reached the end of the ride, hop off and enjoy all the tea you desire. There are also some great restaurants with a beautiful view.
Nothing better than seeing green hills and the top of Taipei 101 in the backdrop while sipping some tea.
Transport from Taipei Airport
Getting to Taipei, Taiwan can be low-cost and fast. You can check out JustFly for occasional cheap flight deals for inspiration.
There are two airports in Taipei but the main international hub is located in the city of Taoyuan, hence the name, Taoyuan International Airport.
Luckily, the city of Taipei has made public transport fairly easy and efficient. Our transport of choice is the Taoyuan Airport Express MRT. This 30-minute train ride will take you directly to Taipei Main Station and from there your connection options are a breeze.
There will be ticket machines near the entrance at the airport and ATMs as well. There are some kind staff there to help you navigate the ticket process so just give them an “I’m lost” look and you’ll get help in no time!
However, if you’ve got quite a lot of luggage on arrival like we did then a taxi might be preferable. Taipei Main Station is huge and it takes some time and effort to cover on foot.
How to get around Taipei, Taiwan
Arguably the coolest thing about Taipei is its MRT (subway). Having been to major cities around the world and using the subway many times, Taipei is hands down the best we’ve used! It’s cheap, clean and super fast.
The cost depends on your distance. You can pay less than USD1 for a one way or upwards of USD1.50 for longer distances.
They also offer passes if you plan on travelling a lot within a short period. However, we lived in Taipei for 3 months and found paying as we go to be the best bang for our buck. The cost of your trip is located in the boxes on the map at the station you’re departing from.
See pic below for a reference!
For a complete map of their metro system, go to the Taipei Metro website. You may want to book your accommodation according to some of these metro stops to make it easier for you to get around Taipei!
Another awesome thing about Taipei, and the island of Taiwan, is the high-speed rail! You can go from Taipei to Kaohsiung, the southern major city, in just a couple of hours. That’s covering a lot of ground really quickly! There are also some great stops at cities like Hsinchu and Taichung along the way.
If you’re not near an MRT stop then a taxi makes more sense for your journey. Download an app called FindTaxi. We used this service quite a lot to reserve a cab while in Taipei and it works like a charm every time.
Just have some cash on hand. Taxi rides are never overpriced and the app estimates the cost so you can be prepared.
Buses are everywhere and we occasionally used them. However, they’re an entirely different beast. We don’t know how to read Chinese so the buses can be somewhat complicated. But it’s your decision!
Taipei is a unique destination and we hope you have the chance to visit. From the mouthwatering food to the architecture to the green mountains nearby, Taipei is one of Asia’s delights that will have you yearning for more!