Taipei Tourism Information
The capital of Taiwan has a lot to offer to the traveller, in recent years the city has modernised tremendously making it more accessible for tourists, easier to navigate around the streets, more international and the creation of many new attractions and points of interest for the visitor. The capital offers great sights, both from natural mountains and hills surrounding the city's impressive skyscrapers!
It's also a mecca for food lover's, where to find every kind of asian dish and cuisine. Nightlife is also popular in Taipei, every scene is represented, bars, clubs and relaxation hot-spring saunas are also popular! Definitely a city where you can't get bored!
Taipei has a humid subtropical climate. Summers (June-August) are hot sunny and humid, with average daytime temperatures reaching well over 35°C. However, winters (December-February) are cool and mild, with temperatures of around 20°C. Due to Taipei's location, it is affected by the Pacific typhoon season, which occurs between June and October.
The rest of the year it's fairly warm, so the best time to go to Taipei is from November to February, for more pleasant temperatures during the day, and slightly more fresh during the evening, but without feeling cold.
Taipei is a very advanced and modern metropolis where public transportation is well developed, everywhere you go, is easy to reach by public transport.
First, arriving to Taipei's main international airport, you can connect into the city centre by bus, train or high speed rail. The cheapest option is to take the direct bus link into the city centre. Bus 1819 goes to Taipei Main Station, with a frequency of 15min in either direction and the trip takes just under one hour.(Price is 135 TWD). The busses are big enough for luggage and provide free WiFI.
Another option, is to take the train (more like a metro but express) the MRT Airport line, (Purple Line) part of the Taoyuan Metro system, takes you directly to Taipei Main station and then you can interchange with the Taipei Metro. Tickets cost 160 TWD one way and there is a stop at Terminals 1 and 2. Note to take the express service which takes 35min rather than the commuter one, 1 hour. There is also high speed rail, if you are connecting to other cities in Taiwan. But you need to take the MRT first from the airport to Taoyuan HSR Station, and transfer to the High Speed rail.
Within the city, the metro is the most popular transport system and is very easy to read and understand with English translation numbers and electronic panels which give you live information on the go. Below you will find the metro map for Taipei available to download.
You can buy single tickets, day tickets for 150NT or 24/48/72 hours tickets (180/280/380 NT respectively). As well as the Easycard if you stay longer in Taipei. (see below). There is also a good network of local busses around the city and with sings in English. To take the busses, you normally have to touch in and out as you board them. However, sometimes its only needed once. To know what to do, it's quite simple, follow a local behind and copy what they do! When taking busses, note that busses with 3 numbers are local busses for the city and busses with 4 numbers are regional for other cities.
✔️Tip: buy the "easycard": It's the Taipei multi-use electronic card. You can use it on the metro, busses and the Gondola to the Maokong Gondola (next to Taipei Zoo). As well you can pay with the card on convenience stores and other shops. It costs 100NT plus the balance you want to load it with. It will save you a 20% versus single tickets (tokens) on the metro. It's also worth noting that the card is also valid for some intercity services on trains. As well the card can be used in other transport network cities like Kaohsiung city. For more information visit the official website for the easycard.
When visiting Taipei, you can't help to notice that everywhere you look, the soaring Taipei 101 Tower might be in sight! It is the capital's greatest engineering feat, and one of its best-loved sights. One that, not only is a tourism attraction of Taipei, but it is the symbol of the city too, as advertised in so many tours and brochures of the city.
Another popular attraction is the National Palace Museum. Through its collection of ancient artefacts and artwork, it showcases some fascinating aspects of Chinese culture. For travellers interested in Taiwanese spirituality and religion, a visit to the Longshan Temple is a must. As the sun goes down the night markets open up. They're usually packed with tourists and locals. Also Taipei has many bars and nightclubs which open every day for the night owls.
If you want to get away from the crowds, visit one of the spas in the northwest, like the Beitou hot springs or go hiking the Yangmingshan National Park.
There is a lot that the city offers for the travellers, and every year you can find new attractions or shopping malls opening. It's a modern city which is constantly developing and growing. But also there is a lot of history and tradition in Taipei, if you investigate deeper into the city.
Below are the the main highlights to visit in more detail:
- The Taipei 101 Tower, it's the tallest green building in the world at a height of 449m. The complex hosts a shopping mall, restaurants and the observatory which is open from 9am to 10pm. It has one of the fastest lift ever built, reaching the 89th floor in only 37 seconds! The views from the observatory are excellent at 382 meters. (tickets cost NT600 per adult). It's also possible to go up to level 91 for an outside view. Open till 22h. It's recommended to skip the queues by buying your ticket online at Kkday.com and for a cheaper price!
✔️Tip: Visit Xiangshan, also known as Elephant Mountain. It is close to the Taipei Metro Xiangshan Station. It is 183 m high and from it's hiking trail you can see great views of Taipei city, the Taipei 101 Building! Along the trial you can find the Six Giant Rocks which are a tourist attraction in itself here. Come during the day or on clear nights to see great views for free!
- The National Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall is a national monument, landmark and tourist attraction. The key attraction is the Bronze Statue Hall, where everyday between 9.00 and 17.00 takes place the change of the guards. There is also an exhibition hall about the history of the building and the events which have taken place here. Other impressive buildings around the area are the Arch of the Liberty Square, the National Theatre and the National Concert Hall.
- Ximending, a neighbourhood and shopping district of Taipei where you will find everything you need from gadgets to clothes. An interesting building you will find here is the Red House, built in 1908, this 8-sided structure features exhibits, a teahouse, markets & theatres. Also it's the mecca for entertainment and nightlife.
From sport style bars, alternative pubs, the 🌈gay scene centre of Taipei, outdoor terraces and good music, open to everyone in a setting of neon lights, Ximending has a lot to offer for those night lovers! You will find this area next to Ximen Station. As well there are plenty of restaurants, cinemas and bars along the area close to the station. It's worth to visit especially in the evening.
- Shilin Night Market, is one of the largest, most popular night markets in Taiwan with regard to food, and also one of the most popular points of Taipei's nightlife among visitors. Located in Taipei's Shilin District, 70 metres from MRT Jiantan Station. The maze of alleyways is filled with a variety of local, traditional, and international merchandise that attract locals and foreigners alike. The night market consists of two major elements: general merchandise and local cuisine.
- Maokong, it's known as the most scenic spot in Taipei to drink quality, locally grown tea. There are many tea houses, offering high quality local tea, (Oolong tea specially) many of which you can sit inside and marble the sites. If you rather just go for a walk, it's also possible to do it around the mountain and discover the local beautiful scenery, and can snack along the way with plenty of food stalls along the streets.The best way to reach Maokong is to take the Maokong Gondola scenic cable car up the mountain from MRT Taipei Zoo Station, NT$100 each way with the easycard.
✔️Tip: Best to go there before sunset, take a walk, view the sun going down behind the mountains for excellent photo opportunities and later have dinner and tea at the many tea houses and restaurants around the area.
- Yangmingshan National Park: is one of the nine national parks in Taiwan. This National Park is famous for its cherry blossoms, hot springs, sulfur deposits, fumaroles, venomous snakes, and hiking trails, including Taiwan's tallest dormant volcano, Seven Star Mountain (1,120 m). The best time to visit is March for the cherry blossoms or late September and October for the change of the leave colours. To get there you can take the MRT to Jiantan station and then change to bus 127 to take you directly to Yangmingshan National Park. The park is free to visit. Along the trails you will find food stalls, water-falls, benches to sit, some statues and plenty of beautiful scenery to photograph.
- The Taipei National Palace Museum, is a world-class museum that hosts a collection of treasures kept by generations of Emperors ruling from the Forbidden City (In Beijing). In WWII, Nationalist troops seized the most important pieces in order to prevent invaders from ransacking China's national treasures. A twist of fate eventually brought these treasures to Taiwan. The Taipei National Palace Museum is designed in the style of a Northern Chinese palace.
Also it's worth noting to visit the Zhishan Garden which are next to the museum. Entry is free to the gardens if you have a museum ticket, however the control is not strict. Entry to the museum is 350 NT per adult.
To get there take the MRT Tamsui-Xinyi Line to the Shilin Station, exit 1 and walk first road on the right for the bus stop, take bus R30 direct to the National Palace Museum. Other busses stopping nearby are 255, 304, 815 and Minibus 18. Another option is to take the MRT Wenhu Line to the Dazhi Station and take bus B13 to the National Palace Museum.
- Bitan Scenic Area, it's a popular lake offering scenic cliffs, pedal boats, eateries and a suspension bridge for pedestrians to cross over and visit some of the temples hidden away in the greenery. You can visit the impressive Taoist temple with several levels (free access) and also a Buddhist temple nearby after crossing the bridge. There are also several walking trails around the area. To get there take the green line MRT to Xindian Station.
- Lungshan Temple of Manka is a Buddhist temple in Wanhua District.The temple was built in 1738. To get there take the blue MRT line to Longshan Temple Station.
- Another popular place to visit is Tamsui, located along the north coast about 40 minutes from Taipei by MRT. (Danshui station on the red line). The area is a must visit location for all visitors to the Taipei area. Most renowned for its amazing sunset landscape, Tamsui is home to a large array of snack stalls, restaurants, cafés, shops, street performers, traditional cultural performances, and is the gateway to Taiwan's scenic North Coast. A special attraction ticket for tourists is available for NT$80, permitting access to Tamsui Museum, Hongmao Cheng, Tamsui Customs House Museum, and Hobe Fort. Buy your ticket at the entrance of any of those attractions. (closest one is Customs House Museum).
✔️Tip: Take a ferry to Bali Left Bank or Fisherman's Wharf: Enjoy beautiful views as you cross the Tamsui river, and make the most of your visit to see the nearby towns, old streets and local fisher's wharf. The ferry ticket fares are cheap, only 23 NT one way or 45 NT return. (can use e-card also). The sailing time is around 10 and 15 minutes from Tamsui to Bali and Fisherman’s Wharf respectively. At Bali, there are bicycles to rent to discover the area or you can go walking ( around 4 Km of cycles lanes). Also there is a small night market.
If you are staying a little longer in Taiwan and want to explore more of the islands beauty, history and culture, why not visit many of the beautiful little towns and places accessible by train or bus less than 2 hours away. We have put together a list of a few places you will not be disappointed on!
If you want a secluded beach to swim in, an old mining town to visit, or perhaps experience the Sky Lantern; check out Day Trips out of Taipei.
Taipei is not only about eating or partying, you can also relax and unwind in one of the city's top attractions, the volcanic hot-springs. Few cities can boast such a natural abundance of world-class, volcanically activated hot water springs on their doorstep as the Taiwanese capital. And thanks to Taipei’s ever-improving public transport system, heading out for a quick soak in perfect 60 C waters, has never been easier. The hot springs are ideal for one time visit, or in a package including Hotel accommodation.
The services offered range from hot-spring baths, saunas, water treatments, oil massages, aromatherapy treatments, karaoke (optional) or fine dining. (depending on the type of Hot Spring).
There are several areas renowned in Taipei by their popularity:
- The area around Beitou, supplied naturally by the geothermal energy of neighbouring Yang Ming Shan (the still active volcano, itself a National Park) became an obvious location for the beer halls, tea gardens, bathhouses and intimate hotels so beloved of the era. In Xin Beitou, mountain greenery and sulphur vapours stimulate the senses. Straight across from the train station is the Hot Spring Museum, a painstakingly restored Japanese colonial-era bathhouse containing all you ever needed to know about the history of Beitou's spas. For another 5 min walk you can reach the Thermal Valley, with impressive scenes of hot vapour waters. Also of interest is the Beitou Museum (120 NT entrance fee), as you walk uphill is a road looping up into the steaming foothills, with most of the best Taiwan hot spring resorts. To access this area take the MRT to Beitou on the red line, and change to the one stop line towards Xin Beitou.
- The area of Xingyi, located out of the city centre, it's also popular for Hot Springs, for those only wanting to experience a one time Hot Spring sensation more than a resort or overnight stay, then Xingyi is ideal. It also has the advantage of being cheaper, (200 NT per person, unlimited time) as frequented more by locals. To get there take the Red line to Shipai Station. Walking there is all uphill so would be a good idea to get a bus or a taxi from the metro station. Take the bus opposite the MRT station of Shipai, number 508, 8 or 536 all take you to Xing Yi Lu Si ( stop name 行義路三) where the hot springs are located. Note that busses finish around 22h.
Taipei is great place to go out at night. There are plenty of venues for all tastes. As mentioned above, for a more alternative scene with friendly staff and a relaxed attitude head to Ximending, open to everyone, 🌈thus renowned to the gay community and all other alternative crowds.
Other areas, with a more luxury feel and style are around and next to Taipei 101 Building. Frequented by foreigners as well as locals, this area has all the glamour of being in the heart of the elite shopping and business district of Taipei.
Taipei offers everybody's pick on shopping; from luxury boutiques and malls to night markets offering local products, handmade and plenty of all kind of souvenirs you can think of. Also, its good to know, that the city is divided in different areas where to find/buy your desired items. So, depending what you are after, you might possibly need to take the MRT.
For those who are looking for an authentic Taipei shopping experience and like a bargain, the night markets are the places to head for. At Shi lin (Jiantan MRT) you can find everything from clothes to traditional regional foods. Other night markets can be found at Songshan and Gongguan (same station names) All these markets, provide the best stop to grab a bite on the move whilst looking at the stalls and shops along the tight narrow streets.
If you are looking for souvenirs, then try the Chinese handicraft market (1 Syujhou Road).
For major shopping and the more common brands the place not to miss is Ximen, with its colourful neon lights and streets full of great shops, selling all kind of stuff from shoes, clothes, souvenirs to some electronics, department stores and accessories. This area is also great for restaurants and nightlife. (see more on the Nightlife tab).
If it’s a more up-market shopping experience you’re looking for then head towards (Taipei City Station MRT) and the Living Mall (Core Pacific City). These stock the usual brand name which cater for the high-end markets and boutiques.
Taipei is more expensive than mainland China. The quality of the establishments are better and staff are able to speak some English. Hotels can cost around €35 per night whilst hostels are cheaper if you don't mind sharing (€15 per night). Safety is very good in Taipei,and there is hardly any crime. However if you find very cheap Hotels, most often they will be locally run Hotels with poor front desk service and the conditions could be worse than on the pictures. Look up reviews before booking!
Also it's possible to book private accommodation, with Airbnb as it becomes more popular in Asia.
Taipei is bigger than it might seem at a first glance, therefore there is always something new to see or do. To see the city comfortably and in a relaxed mode 4 nights would be enough, with a weekend included, to enjoy the city's nightlife and night markets.
Taipei Photo Slide 📷