We were in Phuket, a tropical Thai island, when we started to get excited about Taipei.
Working online allows us to stay places foras long as we want, or for as long as the country will allow us to stay. And our time in Thailand was almost up since visitors are only allowed a one-month stay without a visa.
The dilemma was where to go next. We don’t always know where we’ll go, but that can be apart of the fun sometimes. And this time, a very well done video (that we found on Youtube), by Erwan Heussaff pointed us in the direction of Taipei, Taiwan.
The footage of the night markets, temples, and urban life intrigued us, so we quickly booked an Airbnb and a flight, and were off three days later.
For two months we wandered around the city in the cool spring air and created wonderful memories, met very kind and helpful people, and drank the bountiful amounts of bubble milk tea.
And now we’ve decided to write about Taipei and the wonderful places to see (and eat!). There are so many great experiences you can have in this beautiful city, and we’re happy to share them.
Quick Side Note: There are a few photos that you’ll notice I give credit to others for (with permission). That’s because when we switched over from the iPhone 7 to the iPhone 10… not all of our photos from Taipei were saved. Thanks technology. 🤭
Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial
The Taipei MRT is a very comprehensive subway system that has stops at many of the well-known sites in the city. And the Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall is one of them.
When first coming out of the MRT exit, I was stunned at the massive site of the memorial. It was a large space with captivatingly huge buildings with traditional architecture.
Large red pillars lined the concert and performance halls. The main entrance (which we did not take), was a large white gate with a blue tile roof, and at the opposite end of this gate was the main attraction. A beautiful building housing the statue of Chiang Kai-Shek (the man who became the ruler of Taiwan after WWII ).
The stairs that went up to the large gates and room with the statue, bring you to a wonderful view. Silas and I seriously loved going there at night and looking at the city lights.
This is definitely something to put on your need-to-see list.
Silas and I kind of have a thing for gondolas, so when we found out that Taipei had one, we made plans quickly.
We were not disappointed. For around 10-20 minutes, you’ll hover above a thick green forest, passing by many mountain temples, and hearing nothing but the birds around you.
There are a few stops along the way, giving you the option to get off and explore the temple and paths. For only $8 per adult, this is such a great activity.
Quick Note: The Taipei Zoo is also right next to the gondola. We never made it that trip, but we know it’s famous and something you might want to check out.
If you’re going to pick a place to stay, make sure it’s really close to a night market. They’re everywhere.
Some of the more well-known ones include the Shilin and Raohe Night Market. Shilin is the biggest since it also includes clothing and trinket shops, food stands, and games. However, we both preferred Raohe since we felt it had a better food selection.
In night markets, you’ll find flame cooked steak tips, soup dumplings, fresh juices, pannacotta, stir-fry, creamy purple rice drinks (super good, I promise), noodles, and so much more.
44 South Village
Photo by Jason Song
Under the shadow of Taipei 101, is 44 South Village. It was a residence to military personnel in the 1940’s, but now it is an open complex you can wander through with small artsy shops and an eatery.
Good Cho’s is the main restaurant in the complex, and we both loved it. With great drinks and food, it’s a nice place to relax on a warm Sunday afternoon.
Din Tai Fung
After getting a craving for dumplings and a bit of research, we found Din Tai Fung. Famous for their xiaolongbao (steamed dumplings), it wasn’t something we could miss.
With prompt service, they brought us a tower of bamboo steamers filled with chicken dumplings, pork and truffle dumplings, bao, and taro dumplings for dessert.
The pork and truffle dumplings (our favorite) were filled with juices and bursting with flavor (literally). As soon as you popped one in your mouth and started to eat, it would explode with savory juices and meat.
Songshan Cultural & Creative Park
Originally a tobacco factory back in 1937, it is now a place with gardens, cultural events, a small pond, and eateries. It may be within the city, but it’s a great place to get away from the rush of Taipei.
Yue Yue is a cafe within the Songshan Cultural & Creative Park, but we wanted to talk about it separately since it really has its own atmosphere.
It felt like Yue Yue was our go-to for rainy days. Hopping off the Taipei City Hall MRT Station, we’d make our way down a quiet street, stop to get some small pineapple cakes (a Taiwanese specialty) at a bakery, and then take the wood path beside the pond to Yue Yue.
Inside are shelves filled with books, warm woods, banker’s lamps, hanging Edison bulbs, comfy furniture, and The Beatles and Miyazaki softly playing in the background.
Grab some hot tea and a book and you’re set for a few hours.
San Ding Bubble Tea
Quick Note – I don’t know how I forgot to take a photo of their bubble tea, but Alex was nice enough to let me use his Instagram shot of this amazing drink.
Taiwan is famous for their bubble tea, so why am I just recommending only one place? Well because it’s the best boba I’ve ever had.
For weeks we saw long lines of people and wondered why they were all waiting around some open-air shop like it was a Disneyland ride. Finally a local explained to us that it was for their boba and it wasn’t like any other kind of boba.
We were intrigued so we braved the lines (which were actually really fast so we didn’t wait that long). And then… we finally understood. It’s almost hard to describe the taste, but it was like a creamy caramelized sugar flavor. And I’m pretty sure I gained a few pounds from San Ding since we kind of made it a daily ritual.
So yes, please please, please make sure you go there. It’s so good.
Huashan 1914 Creative Park
Formerly a winery, it has now become a place with great eateries, coffee and tea houses, shops, and live entertainment.
We went here on a cool evening and had fun looking at the vine-covered buildings and people watching.
Dihua Street is a place where time seems to slow down. Spice, tea, sweets, medicinal, and fabric shops line the road while incense rises from a large basin in front of an old temple.
And if you’re looking for a great place to get food or a drink, definitely check out Fleisch. Their teas and coffee are really good (lots of variety), and you can sit next to the window, have a great meal (smoked duck?) and watch the people who come and leave the temple across the street.
Quick Note: People specifically go to this temple to pray for their future spouse. There’s a constant flow of young adorable students offering incense. It’s kind of a cute sight to see.
Photo by Joseph Carmen Russo
The Taipei 101 building is the second tallest building on Earth and has an amazing view.
After eating at the Raohe Night Market one night, we decided to do it on a whim. For $20 a person, we got in a large elevator and headed to the top. It was a weeknight, so it wasn’t very crowded and the view was stunning.
It was one of our favorite nights in Taipei.
Go Temple Hunting! No Seriously.
If you have a free night during your stay in Taipei, then I’d definitely take some evening walks through the city. Check out the Google Maps app to see which ones you’re near and head on out.
We found some amazing temples lit up brightly with amazing architecture and art.
Our favorites are Ciyou Temple (right next to the Raohe Night Market and Songshan MRT station), Jingfu (near the Zhongshan Elementary MRT Station), and Taipei-Fu Chenghuang Temple (near Ciyou Temple).
Photo by aquatic_hi
Addiction aquatic center really is a unique place. In one large room, there are large pools of different sea life that they have grown within the facilities. And connected to it is another very large building that’s part store, part restaurant.
The store is filled with goods such as cheeses, wines, bread, the fish and shellfish they have grown, and so much more. However, the restaurant is the main attraction as you can taste sushi with fish that has been harvested only an hour or so before.
Make sure to go during a time when it’s not crowded or you may be waiting awhile to get your food though!
If you’re someone (like me) who loves themed cafes, Taipei has them. Whether it’s a whole Alice in Wonderland themed food court (found in ATT 4 FUN) or a Rilakkuma Cafe, you won’t be disappointed.
Just make sure to check out their slow times and days (through Google search) as they can get pretty crowded.
I’ve been to many cities, but Taipei was one of the easiest ones to get around in. The traffic was almost always perfect, the transit systems easily accessible and cheap, Uber drivers polite and professional, and people were super helpful when we got disoriented.
If you’re planning to go at some point in the future, I hope that this guide will prove helpful. And if you have any questions about Taipei, please feel free to ask me in the comments down below!
Finally, about 45 minutes from Taipei there is a mountain town called Jiufen! It’s SO worth visiting since it feels like old rural Japan and it has an interesting history (not to mention it’s beautiful).