Taipei, Taiwan’s capital, has been attracting tourists all over the world for its picturesque destinations and mouthwatering food. This travel guide will divulge into the places you need to include in your Taipei itinerary and basic information you need to know.
Where to get money changed
Taipei’s currency is NTD or New Taipei Dollar. Upon arriving at the TaoYuan Airport, you may already get your money changed at the airport. A train station is connected to the airport, making it easier for you to get to your hotel or BNB. Those on late night to early morning flights may take either the city bus or a cab since the train stations are closed at that time.
Best time to travel to Taipei
The best time to travel to Taipei is between March to May. During this period, the temperature is perfect at an average of 22 degrees Celsius. Meanwhile, at night, the weather becomes much cooler so if you’re planning to go on a night market stroll, make sure to bring a light jacket.
Getting around Taipei
You don’t have to worry about language barriers as Taipei is a global city with numerous English speakers. The train stations and road signs have English translations as well. Of course, there is always the handy Google Maps, which can help you navigate through the streets of Taipei.
Cabs, like in any other country, are much more expensive in Taipei versus taking the train or a city bus. Trains and buses are incredibly systematic and the connectivity is seamless. You may opt to get the unlimited train passes for 3 days if your city itinerary is packed. It’s totally worth it and very convenient as you don’t have get a ticket on every train ride. This unlimited pass can also be used in city buses.
Is there WiFi?
Numerous pocket WiFi providers offer their services at the airport for a very minimal price. You may also book ahead online through their websites or apps. Some of which we have tried are Klook and KKday. Both offer pocket WiFi services that allows connectivity for multiple people. All you have to do is claim the device at the airport upon arrival and return it there before departing Taipei.
Where to stay in Taipei
Taipei is brimming with options for accommodations– from 5 star hotels to BNB’s. Feel free to choose whatever floats your boat! The best advice is to stay within walking distance of a train station. This makes it easier for you to get to tourist attractions because they are easily connected by the transport system.
Places in Taipei that should be in your travel itinerary
1. Night Markets
Taipei is sprawling with night markets and it’s a must to visit them while you’re in the country. Night markets commonly offer a wide range of street food and Taiwanese delicacies, apart from A LOT of clothing stores. If you’re thinking of going on a food trip and shopping spree combo then head out to visit Taipei’s most famous night markets.
Ximending Night Market: located a few steps away from the Ximen station. They are open from 6 in the evening til 11. Here, you will find the Instagram-famous cheesy bacon potato. It takes around 45 minutes in line to get a hold of your dish, but it’s definitely worth the wait. You can also find torched cheesy oysters, grilled wagyu, and milk tea stalls around the Ximending Night Market. If you don’t feel like munching on street food, there are air-conditioned restaurants around the area as well.
Shillin Night Market: a 10- minute walk away from Shillin station. Almost all of the night markets in Taipei open and close at the same hours. At Shillin Night Market, you will find the Taiwanese delicacy, stinky tofu. We can affirm that it tastes so much better than how it smells. For those who are a little more conservative in trying out dishes, try the street takoyaki and ice cream sandwiches for dessert.
Raohe Night Market: a 5-minute walk from Songshan station. Raohe Night Market is known for being the home of Taipei’s best black pepper bun. It deserves much credit for how it tastes! The lines are incredibly long, so feel free to grab some grilled Taiwanese sausages first to munch on while waiting. Raohe Night Market also features the salted potato swirls in long sticks and the large flavoured chicken fillet.
2. Taipei 101
Taipei 101 is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the city. To get here, get off at the Taipei 101 station by taking the red line. It is literally 101 stories high. The Taipei 101 Observatory allows you to get on the 98th floor upward for 360 degree views of Taipei. You may choose to visit the Observatory at sundown so you can see the majestic sun setting at the horizon while the city lights up for the evening.
At Taipei 101’s lower floors, there is a mall that houses a huge Din Tai Fung branch and retail stores with familiar designer stores like Zara, Gucci, Cartier, and the like. Taipei 101 is the luxury shopping haven of Taiwan’s nationals. Surprisingly, goods come out much cheaper than their retail prices in other countries.
3. Shifen Old Street
Pretty sure you have seen at least one photo on social media featuring Shifen’s flying lanterns. Shifen Old Street is in New Taipei City, which is roughly a 40 minute drive from Ximen. The most efficient to get here is to take a tour bus through various online DIY travel websites or take a cab.
Shifen is a unique experience on its own. You will find locals selling flying lanterns along a train track. Choose any one of them, list your wishes on the lantern, and let it soar! The locals are very helpful in getting you that perfect shot for the ‘Gram. Take note though that the train track is still operational and there are instances where you have to run off the rail when the train is coming.
Located in New Taipei City, Jioufen features a charming neighborhood of local stores selling unique food and crafts. Ideally, you can take a tour that goes from Shifen to Jioufen. Doing so is more efficient both cost and time-wise. If you would like to go on a craft shopping spree and get to try local delicacies, this is the place to visit.
Here, you will find yourself in awe with hundreds of things to see! To top it all off, it shows you a gorgeous view from up its hill.
5. Yehliu Geopark
Yehliu is located at the north coast of Taiwan, 24 kilometers from Taipei. If you are coming from Jioufen, you can go straight to Yehliu as it is only a 30-minute drive away from there. Yehliu is famous for its rock formations by the sea. Most visited formations are the Queen’s Head and the Dragon’s Head, aptly named after how their shapes look like to the naked eye.
BONUS: Houli Flower Farm in Taichung, Taiwan
To feed your social media page with more drool-worthy photos, head to the Houli Flower Farm outside of Taipei. The Houli Flower Farm is known for its vast gardens overflowing with flowers and art installations in the middle of each garden.
It’s quite a long road trip from Taipei to Taichuch, but this destination is very much worth it. Being surrounded by nature and all its vibrant colors can give you the relaxing feel that you need out of any good vacation. Houli Flower Farm might just be the most unforgettable part of your trip.