Taipei, Taiwan’s capital city, is recognized as the world’s manufacturing and information technology center. In addition, it is also developing itself into becoming a global hub for tech entrepreneurship.
Taipei has always been globally competitive and as a travel destination, it offers visitors a wide array of attractions – museums, temples, nature getaways, and seemingly limitless shopping and dining options – making it one of the most visited travel destinations in Asia. It is, without a doubt, an exciting city to explore and below are the top ten things to do when visiting Taipei.
1. Visit Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall.
One of the most popular landmarks in Taipei is the Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall, a national monument erected in honor of Chiang Kai-shek, the former President of Taiwan. Located in Zhongzheng district and designed by Yang Cho-cheng, the memorial hall lies at the east end of the Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Park. The national monument was renamed Liberty Square in 2007.
2. Explore Ximending.
A shopping district in Taipei, Ximending is often likened to Harajuku or Shibuya in Japan. A huge favourite among local and foreign visitors, it offers a wide selection of bookstores, boutiques, clubs, and pubs, and stores that sell anything related to Taiwanese fashion and Japanese culture. It attracts millions of visitors per month.
The area is also home to several historical sites built during the Japanese era such as the Mazu Temple and the Red House Theatre.
3. Shop the Shilin Night Market.
Located in Shilin district, the Shilin Night Market is the largest and most popular night market in Taiwan. It is a massive market, boasting of hundreds of stalls, shops, and small restaurants. The food court alone has more than 500 stalls. Additionally, the streets are dotted with roadside food vendors. You’ll also find lots of arcades, cinemas, and karaoke joints in the area. The night market is open from 4pm to 1am.
4. Take a dip at Beitou hot springs.
Beitou, about 30 minutes away from Taipei city centre, is a recreational area known for its hot springs and breathtaking scenery. The hot springs, a popular attraction drawing numerous visitors daily, is said to provide relief to numerous conditions like arthritis and dermatitis, just to name a few.
Beitou hot springs make for a relaxing, inexpensive cultural experience; entrance fee is less than 2 USD per person.
5. Pay homage to Longshan Temple.
Just a stone’s throw away from the Taipei Metro Longshan Station in Wanhua district, Longshan Temple is a Buddhist temple that dates back to 1738. Built by the first Chinese settlers from the Fujian province in Mainland China, the temple also has altars for Chinese folk dieties like Guanyin, Mazu, and Guanyu.
6. Enjoy the spectacular panoramic views from Taipei 101.
Featuring 101 floors and one of the world’s fastest elevators, Taipei 101 is a skyscraper in Xinyi district. A popular landmark in Taipei, it is also recognized as the tallest and largest green building in the world. The building has indoor (88th and 89th floors) and outdoor (91st floor) observatories. Both observatories offer amazing 360-degree views of the city.
Aside from the observatories, one of the reasons why visitors flock to Taipei 101 is that it provides for an exquisite culinary experience. It offers a wide selection of dining options, including fastfood-style and gourmet restaurants.
7. Tour Xingtian Temple.
Built in 1967 in honor of the Chinese diety Guanyu, the god of businessmen. Xingtian Temple attracts thousands of visitors each day, a majority of them businessmen who come to worship and thank Guanyu for their successful business endeavors. The 700-square metre temple is adorned with dragon scultptures.
The temple is easily accessible via the MRT Xingtian Temple Station.
8. Relax at Yangmingshian National Park
Another must-visit attraction in Taipei is the Yangmingshian National Park, a natural reserve featuring gorgeous natural landscapes and the most scenic spots. Covering an area of more than 11,300 hectares, the park is popular for its hot springs, waterfalls, hiking trails, biking trails, and picnic spots, making it ideal for day trip and ecological tours.
Admission to the park is free.
9. Climb Maokong Hill.
Maokong Hill is located in Taipei’s Wenshan District. The magnificent view of the city it offers together with its collection of teahouses and restaurants, make it a top tourist attraction in Taipei. There are also many climbing and trekking trails leading to the hill so it is top-of-mind for tourists who want to engage in outdoor activities during their trip to the city.
10. Walk along Jiufen Old Street
Nestled in the ocean-facing hills of New Taipei City, Juifen Old Street used to be the mining hub in Taiwan. The small village, dubbed as Taiwan’s version of Santorini, is popular for its romantic atmosphere and culinary offerings. When exploring Jiufen, never miss the chance to have your fill of the delectable street food. Must-trys are the taro balls, taro cakes, egg pudding, and the chewy rice cakes.
A must-visit during your exploration of Jiufen is the Gold Ecological Museum, where you’ll learn a thing or two about the history of mining gold, as well as valuable lessons on environmental education.
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By: Brendelyn Balaga