Taipei is the colourful capital city of Taiwan with up-market shops, bustling night markets, ornate temples, and world-class cuisine. Just outside the city, there is beautiful countryside and mountains with good hiking trails. It is perfect for visitors of all ages and interests as there are just so many things to do in Taipei.
The city is easy to get around as there is good public transport. If you want to get your bearings, why not join a walking tour on your first day? It is a wonderful way to see the key sights. Takemeaway.com organizes daily walking tours and pub crawls too!
To save precious time queuing, many visitors to Taipei load the Klook app onto their mobile to pre-book tickets for the various attractions.
Visit the Taipei 101 skyscraper
Seeing the panoramic views from this iconic building is one of the top things to do in Taipei. Opened in 2004, Taipei 101 stands 509 meters and is one of the world’s tallest buildings. It dominates the city’s skyline and was designed to look like a large bamboo cane. The 101’s elevator is one of the fastest in the world and in just 39 seconds you will be standing on the observation platform on floor 89! If you are born brave, there is an outside observation platform on the 91st floor!
Explore the popular parts of the city
Taipei is divided into several districts and each has its own character. Ximending is a pedestrianized shopping area that is perfect for souvenir hunting. There are great restaurants for a truly authentic meal and strangely, if you enjoy foot massages, you will get the best ones in Ximending!
Danshui (Tamsui) also has plenty of character. It was once the city’s port, but today Old Street is packed with all sorts of shops and street vendors and it becomes particularly lively at the weekend. Whilst you are in this part of town, enjoy a stroll along the quayside from the Old Customs House.
If you fancy a rest during the day, there are many cafés and tea houses and the trendy drink in these is bubble tea – either hot or cold.
Admire the temples
There are several beautiful temples in Taipei. Longshan Temple in Wanhua District was built in 1738, and severely damaged in the Second World War, but has been rebuilt with the most intricate architecture. The temple honours Guanyin, the goddess of mercy. XiaHai Temple in the centre of the city is popular as it is where singles go to pray that they find love.
There are two temples worth visiting in the Datong District that are among the top things to do in Taipei. The first is the 18th-century temple of Dalongdong Baoan which houses two beautiful dragon columns. At night, this temple looks spectacular. The second temple is dedicated to Confucius, the philosopher who is so important in Taiwanese culture.
Take in some museums
The National Taiwan Museum is the oldest in the country and gives an insight into the country’s rich history and Aboriginal tribes. It is also a place to learn about the flora and fauna of Taiwan. Visiting this museum is one of the popular things to do in Taipei so it is best to avoid weekends. Booking tickets in advance through K-look will save queuing time.
Taipei Astronomical Museum is both fun and educational and has exhibits explaining astronomy, telescopes, and modern technology. In contrast, Taipei Fine Art Museum displays the work of both international and Taiwanese artists and hosts visiting exhibitions. If you prefer contemporary art, MOCA (Museum of Contemporary Art) is the place to go.
Have fun at the night markets
There are plenty of great restaurants in Taipei, but nothing beats the fun of tasting local specialties cooked in front of you at one of the buzzing night markets. This is definitely the tastiest thing to do in Taipei! With 400 stalls, Shilin is the largest night market in the country. There are great food stalls and a dazzling array of other goods for sale. Raohe is a single street that is packed with food stalls and known for its black pepper buns. The Chen Dong rib stall has been recognized by Michelin. The ribs taste special as they are marinated in medicinal herbs. The Hsiao Wang stall in Snake Alley has gained the same prestigious recognition for its steamed pork and pickles.
Relax in beautiful hot springs
The Beitou hot sulphur springs are situated in a lush valley with flowers, birds, and butterflies at the bottom of Yangming mountain. The springs are easy to reach on the pink MRT line to Xinbeitou and you can smell them as you get near the station! You can rent a private room with a hot tub in one of the spa hotels or enjoy ‘people watching’ at the public Millennium Hot Spring. Whilst you are there, pop into the Beitou Hot Springs Museum which is in the first public bathhouse built there in 1913.
Enjoy a superb cuppa in Maokong
Maokong is an important tea-growing area and is a fun place to visit. Take the MRT to Taipei Zoo and then jump on the cable car that follows a four-kilometer route up and over the mountain to Maokong. There you will be able to sample locally grown tea in one of the tea houses as you enjoy amazing views of the city. If you can, plan to go there late in the afternoon so you can watch the sunset and see the night views of the city too
Elephant Mountain is another popular place to watch the sunset. The hike takes about 20 minutes. It is also a good vantage point for spectacular nighttime views of Taipei. Take the MRT to Xiangshan and then walk through Xiangshan Park (10 minutes) to reach the start of the Elephant Mountain Trail- take plenty of water with you. If you are feeling energetic, there are three other mountains to climb- Tiger, Leopard, and Lion.
If you get there earlier in the day, there is the option to hike into Yangmingshan National Park which is a memorable thing to do in Taipei. The park has numerous trails of varying lengths, difficulty, and many fumaroles which are vents in the rock emitting hot steam reminds everyone that this area was once an active volcano.
Believe it or not, even if you manage to see all that we have suggested during your stay in the city, you will barely have scratched the surface as there are just so many things to do in Taipei, best to plan on spending longer there!