WHAT TO SEE IN 3 DAYS IN TAIPEI, TAIWAN

Cosa vedere a Taipei, Taiwan what to see
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If you are planning to travel to Taiwan, you will most likely start your trip from Taipei, the capital city and beating heart of the nation.
In this article we will give you plenty of advice on what to visit in Taipei in 3 days, plus useful information about the capital of Taiwan.


HOW MANY DAYS TO STAY IN TAIPEI?

It is worth staying in Taipei for at least 3 nights, depending on how much time you have available. Considering a night of settling in after arriving at the airport, we recommend keeping at least two full days for the city, plus one or two for excursions in the north of the country.

In fact, you could even use it as a base for longer. Taiwan’s fast and reliable trains allow to reach most locations on the island of Formosa in just over 2 hours.

During our recent 15-day trip to Taiwan, we spent a whole week in Taipei. We explored it far and wide, alternating visits to the city with day trips to Hualien (for marvelous Taroko Gorge), and to the most famous tourist places such as Shifen and Jiufen.

day trip to Shifen Jiufen
Jiufen, 30 km from Taipei

There are so many things to do around Taipei, that’s impossible to think of doing them all in one trip.
We’ll give you the most popular ideas and explain how to plan the ideal travel itinerary in Taipei, Taiwan.


TABLE OF CONTENTS AND MAP OF TAIPEI


TAIPEI, TAIWAN TRAVEL TIPS

  • Save time and money in Taipei and across Taiwan with deals on transportation, activities, restaurants and more with Get Your Guide and Klook. We used these sites to book several attractions and had a great time.
    Everything can be booked on the reliable App and online. Especially convenient because their English guides can really simplify your life amidst the writings in Mandarin Chinese.
  • Read our complete Taiwan travel guide here, full of tips and general information about the country.
  • Upon arrival at Taoyuan Airport, the largest in Taiwan, use the MRT metro line which connects the airport directly to Taipei Central Station. If you arrive after midnight, you will need to take a taxi, or book a private transfer from the airport (cheaper for groups of 3-4 or more people).
  • The MRT will be your bread and butter in Taipei, and will take you almost everywhere on this itinerary. You might consider purchasing the Unlimited Fun Pass, a sightseeing pass that includes entry to 25 popular attractions, unlimited MRT and bus travel in Taipei, and other benefits. The Fun Pass is convenient if you carry out all included activities, otherwise simply rely on an Easy Card.
  • Buy an Easy Card at the airport, or skip the queue by pre-ordering it online. Easy Card is the most used tool by Taiwanese citizens for transport. It works on all transportation in Taipei and major cities in Taiwan too, except high-speed rail, and reservation trains.
    An average ride costs 20-30 TWD, less than €1! Furthermore, you can also use the Easy Card for taxis and in convenience stores such as the well known 7-Eleven, and top it up in shops or at any MRT station.
  • Pre-order a SIM card or pocket WiFi device to collect upon your arrival at Taoyuan Airport.


HOTEL – WHERE TO STAY IN TAIPEI?

Choosing where to stay in Taipei is not easy. The city is large, the attractions are scattered and the choice between the various neighbourhoods is wide. The cost of staying overnight in Taiwan was one of the biggest expenses we faced during our stay in Taiwan. The capital is densely populated, so hotels have limited space and high costs. The average price for a 3-star hotel room in Taipei ranges between €70-120 per night.

Where to stay in Taipei best hotel
The city view from our hotel room at Green World Nanjing, in Taipei’s Songshan neighbourhood

Watch out for the lowest offered prices. Several hotels have basic cheap rooms, but these are often extremely small and with no windows! We chose the excellent Green World Grand Nanjing hotel, after spending the first night at the Star Hostel Taipei East. With short notice very few hotels remian available under €100 per night. We always recommend booking in advance to avoid high prices, as you can always take advantage of free cancellation.

Here are some recommendations for the best hotels and hostels in Taipei.


Low budget:

  • Star Hostel Taipei East: this trendy hostel is eco-friendly and conveniently located nearby Zhongxiao Dunhua MRT station.
  • Dan Hostel is a cool hostel in Ximending, the city’s liveliest district, just one MRT stop from Taipei Main Station.
  • Old Door Hostel: There is never shortage of hostels with sleeping pods in dense Asian metropolises! This one is located north of Taipei Main Station, and offers an on-site café where to meet other travellers.


Mid range and family friendly:

  • Nanjing Green World Grand: large rooms with every comfort, such as the amazing Japanese-style toilet. Good breakfast and convenient location for the metro and trains to north-eastern Taiwan (via Songshan Station). The Green World chain also has other hotels in the city such as Green World ZhongXiao and Green World NanGang.
  • АrТrее Ноtеl is a bоutіque hotel near Taipei Arena, with several family rooms and green common spaces inside.


Luxury:

  • W Taipei: The W is Taipei’s hottest luxury hotel. Even if you don’t sleep here, you can go up to the pool bar on the 10th floor or have dinner in their restaurant.
  • Grand Hyatt Taipei: A less modern hotel from the outside, but classy on the inside. Great views of Taipei 101, and an excellent buffet restaurant.
  • The Okura Prestige: Want dream views and a heated rooftop pool? Then have a look at the fancy Okura Prestige.


DAY 0 IN TAIPEI

Welcome to Taiwan! After landing at the airport and settling into your hotel you’ll probably have less than half day left. Reach the night market closest to your neighbourhood in the late afternoon (see our map above). Or go to Taipei 101 to immediately see the famous skyscraper, the undisputed symbol of the capital.

Taipei 101 best view how to go
City view from Elephant Peak, close to Taipei 101


DAY 1 IN TAIPEI

MORNING

One interesting thing to do in the first hours of the day in Taipei is visiting its most important temples, such as Longshan Temple. If you are an early riser and manage to be there at 6am you can enjoy a fascinating singing ceremony. If not, Longshan Temple is impressive any time of the day.

Continue with a walk around the area. Herb Lane, right next to the temple, is a narrow street where various traditional Chinese herbs and medicines are sold. The neighbouring streets are also popular for the many Buddhist religious accessories on sale in the shops.

You could then taste one of the most loved drinks by Taiwanese in the morning: Soy Milk. Try it at Yonghe Four Seas Soy Milk King (永和四海豆漿大王—萬華店). Every time we went out early in the morning, usually between 6 and 8 am, we came across these very crowded stalls where long but flowing queues already formed at the crack of dawn. Here you can buy stuffed dumplings or vegetable rolls freshly prepared on the grill. These are traditionally accompanied with Soy Milk or Milk Tea (another local favourite drink, black tea with milk).

Discover other typical dishes in our Taiwanese food guide.

  • CKS Memorial Hall Taipei
  • Liberty Square Taipei what to do
  • CKS Memorial Hall gate Taipei
  • Taipei cosa fare e vedere
  • Chang Kai Sek Memorial Taipei
  • Liberty Square Taipei Taiwan

If you still have time before lunch, or alternatively later, take the MRT to reach the Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall. The memorial, one of the most important monuments in all of Taiwan, is dedicated to the country’s former president. Chiang Kai-Shek remained at the helm of the Republic of China from 1928 to 1975, both before and after the arrival of the republicans in Formosa.

This majestic Taipei landmark offers halls and museums inside. The building is topped by a large blue and white dome and a statue honouring the former general. Outside, beautiful gardens with flowers and ponds adorn the scene in Liberty Square. Next to the main gate, see the classical Chinese architecture buildings of the National Theatre and Concert Hall in the centre of the square. Liberty Square is bordered by large arches and entrance gates that are also white and blue like the memorial hall.

For lunch, walk or take the MRT to lively Ximen or Ximending area, Taipei’s trendiest neighbourhood. Here among giant screens, lights, sounds and colours, scents of street food, trendy but also absurd cartoon/cosplay themed shops, you never get bored. This classic Far East metropolis setting took our memory back to our trip to Seoul, South Korea.

Ximen is also worth a visit in the evening, when it fills even more with life, music and parties.

Ximending Taipei
Ximen, Taipei


AFTERNOON

After Ximen and the tour of Liberty Square you may need some rest, especially on a typical muggy day. If not going back to your hotel, we recommend nearby Yanping Riverside Park for a break in the greenery. For an interesting historic district of Taipei, reach the Dadaocheng area north of Ximen.

In the late afternoon head towards Taipei 101: it’s time to climb the legendary tallest skyscraper in the country! At 508 meters of height it was the tallest in the world following its construction in 2004.

There are in our opinion two ways to enjoy Taipei 101, both of which we tried on different evenings. The first is free but tiring, the second is simple but paid:

  1. do the Elephant Hike (to Elephant Peak), a steep climb that will take you to several breathtaking viewpoints. The effort will really take your breath away, but it’s worth it, trust us!
    This climb has around 600 steps to the top. It’s much loved by locals and regularly fills up at sunset, especially on weekends (also bring mosquito repellent!). We came on a Thursday and it was crowded too, but spectacular. It’s even better in person than in the beautiful iconic photos below.
    Get off at the Xiangshan red line terminus MRT stop for Elephant Hike. Walk 15 minutes to reach the trailhead, the climbs takes about 30 minutes.
  2. get to the top of Taipei 101, thanks to its supersonic elevators that will take you to floor 89. Like any self-respecting skyscraper in the world, the highest floors of Taipei 101 offer great 360° views, adrenaline-pumping attractions such as the outdoor walk on the panoramic terrace, cocktail bars, and endless opportunities for souvenir photos between floors 89 and 91.
    We got here on a Friday and it was quite busy, but with this skip-the-line ticket we saved time both getting up and down. In fact the elevator queue was longer on the way down than on the way up. There are 3 types of tickets for Taipei 101, at different prices: Standard, Premium skip-the-line, and Observatory for the outdoor terrace on the 101st floor.

In case you were wondering, the Taipei 101 skyscraper is shaped like a bamboo stalk. When visiting you’ll also learn how its unique structure is resistant to strong winds and earthquakes.

Lines for the elevators can easily take up to an hour or more, keep this in mind when planning your visit. Try to go up just before sunset and stay until the night lights come on. We remind you that the visit to Taipei 101 is the most “precious” included in the Taipei Unlimited Fun Pass, so if you get the pass you no longer have to buy the single entrance ticket.

  • Taipei 101 best view how to go
  • Elephant hike Taipei Taiwan
  • Elephant peak hike Taipei
  • Taipei 101 tickets
  • Taipei 101 view from floor 89


EVENING

At this point, especially if you have climbed the Elephant Hike, you’ll be starving and thirsty.
As always during this trip, we relied on a holy Bubble Milk Tea (1.5-2€) to quench our thirst, before reaching the Tonghua night market (Linjiang Street), not too far away. This is a typical local street food market, which catapulted us into the almost infinite offer of foods of all sorts in the Taiwanese panorama.

We tried boneless fried chicken (sometimes you’ll find it as Popcorn Chicken), fried sweet potatoes spiced with paprika, and gua bao, a sort of Taiwanese hamburger. We were shocked by the smell (read: stink) of Stinky Tofu, which is truly faithful to its name. Apparently it’s a local delicacy, the queue was very long, but we just couldn’t ignore our sense of smell.

  • Taiwan street food cosa mangiare
  • Taiwan night markets


Among the many bizarre things seen in Taiwan and its markets, there are often arcade rooms filled up with dozens of machines with mechanical arms. Here you can try your luck and fish for all kinds of items, in particular quirky key rings in the shape of snacks, milk tea, and infinite cosplays!

On the contrary, the evening we went up to the skyscraper, we decided to have dinner at the renowned Din Tai Fung restaurant, located on the ground floor of Taipei 101. Din Tai Fung, now a global chain but originally from Taipei, is among the few Dim Sum (Chinese dumplings) restaurants in the world to have received the Michelin star, 5 times over the years!

Thanks to this voucher, you can take advantage of a tasting menu with 8 small courses. We will remember this dinner for a long time, in particular the Xiao Long Bao (dumplings filled with broth) from Din Tai Fung are out of this world.
For those who want it’s obviously possible to eat à-la-carte, the dishes are more expensive and larger, but the queues for a table are also longer.
With the online voucher you can skip the queue for reservations and reduce waiting times. For reference, we waited about 30 minutes instead of 1-2 hours.

Din Tai Fung Taipei 101
Book here you tasting dinner at Michelin starred restaurant “Din Tai Fung” at Taipei 101 skyscraper


DAY 2 IN TAIPEI

MORNING

We dedicate the second day to northern Taipei. The main attractions here are the National Palace Museum, the Beitou hot spring area, and the Tamsui district at the opposite terminus of the MRT Red Line.
Depending on your interests and the weather, it is feasible to visit two of these three areas in one day.

The National Palace Museum is the most important museum in Taiwan. It’s the most complete in all of mainland China for its collection of Chinese art with over 700,000 artifacts on display. A majestic 3-storey building in which pieces and works brought by the exodus of the republicans in 1949 are preserved, of almost sacred value for the Taiwanese.

The museum opens at 8.30 am and can be reached by taking bus R30 from Shilin MRT station (red line), BL7 or BR20 from Dazhi station (brown line). If you are into art you could spend hours here, however we personally liked the nearby Shung Ye Aboriginal Museum more, a small but interesting exhibition on the presence of the last indigenous tribes of Taiwan. Info on online tickets here.

Entrance to the National Palace Museum is included in the Taipei Unlimited Fun Pass.
Please note: Like many attractions in Taiwan, the museums are closed on Mondays.

Shung Ye Aboriginal Museum Taipei
Shung Ye Aboriginal Museum


For those who have come to Taiwan trained to tackle the many hiking trails, we recommend the Battleship Rock Trail (Junjianyan) in the same area north of the city as an alternative. This hike of about an hour and a half starts from Qilian MRT station and ends at Shipai MRT, offering beautiful views of Taipei from afar.

If you want to skip the museums entirely, choose from the activities below and bring it forward in the morning.


AFTERNOON

From the National Palace Museum, return to the MRT and continue north to Beitou Station. From here the short pink metro line takes you to Xinbeitou, a gateway for the Beitou hot springs area.
This is the most famous of Taiwan’s numerous hot springs, thanks to its very convenient location from the city. The area is popular when temperatures drop in winter months, here too you need to book several weeks in advance for the best spas and hotels.

At the end of May we found it almost deserted due to the warm season, but a cool stormy day still pushed us to try one of the spa complexes, at the Kagaya International Hotel, a wonderful experience that we highly recommend!

Rikaya hotel spa Beitou Taipei
Our private room with hot spring bath at Kagaya Hotel, Beitou

As for Taipei 101, the hot springs area can also be enjoyed in different ways, to suit all budgets. Starting from the public springs (Beitou Public Hot Spring on the map) that cost a few Euros to enter. These are rustic and traditional complexes which, being in classic Japanese style, present the division between men and women. As a matter of fact Japanese and Taiwanese are used to go fully naked inside saunas and hot springs.

The choice is wide and, going up in price, you can find mixed facilities suitable for families, (see this excellent offer for the Spring City Resort) up to hotel spas. Every hotel in Beitou uses thermal water. Guests can stay overnight in the rooms with showers and tubs or rent them for periods of a few hours.

At the Kagaya International Hotel we opted for a private room for an hour and a half, paying around €65. We enjoyed our relaxing hot spring bath overlooking the green hill on a rainy day.

Please note: many spa facilities remain closed on Mondays!

Even when it is not winter in Taiwan, Beitou offers many interesting sights. Stroll along the hot springs park in front of the station, which features a steaming hot stream in cold weather. Visit the Public Library, the Beitou Hot Springs Museum and, a bit further up, the huge steaming Hot Spring Valley.

  • Beitou Hot Spring Park
  • Beitou terme Taipei

Later, return to the red metro and continue to the final station, Tamsui.
Unfortunately we were here in the wet morning before going to the spa, and as a result it was less enjoyable than expected. On a sunny day, the area where Tamsui River flows into the sea offers beautiful views and walks, where as always food stalls abound.

However, we visited the interesting Fort San Domingo. This fortress changed hands from the Spanish, to the Dutch, to the English during the colonial centuries.

Entry to Fort San Domingo is included in the Taipei Unlimited Fun Pass. Or you can purchase this combo ticket for the fort and the adjacent Old British Consulate, a charming former colonial residence.

If time permits, use the ferry to reach Bali Old Street on the opposite bank or Fisherman’s Wharf at the mouth of the river. The latter is a pretty harbour with a beautiful pedestrian bridge known for its wonderful sunsets.

TIP: if you are around the center of Tamsui for lunch, we recommend a small restaurant where you can taste the Xile Beef Soup, a typical Taiwanese soup with tender beef. The name is Xile Beef Noodle Restaurant, near the square in front of Tamsui Station (see map).

Fort Domingo, Tamsui
Fort San Domingo, Tamsui


EVENING

On your way back to Taipei, get off at Shilin or Jiantan MRT to reach Shilin Night Market. This is the largest and most famous market in Taipei, prepare to get lost inside! The outdoor market is huge, plus the air-conditioned underground food court can really save you on a hot day.

In the streets of Shilin stalls are numbered and the most famous and popular restaurants are easy to recognise, because they will always have a long queue! We recommend Chung Chia Sheng Jian Bao (n.16 Xiaodong St) for steamed dumplings and 好朋友涼麵 (n.31 Danan Rd) popular for cold noodles (find the exact location on the map above); also, come before 7 pm if you can’t stand queues!

Shilin Night Market Taipei
Famous 4D maxiscreen at Shilin Night Market

Among other specialties we tasted delicious grilled mushrooms and excellent Pearl Milk Tea. At the corner of the two main streets of Shilin night market you’ll also find the well known 4D advertising maxiscreen, one of the most photographed attractions of the market.

If you haven’t had the opportunity to dine at Din Tai Fung at Taipei 101 (or want to repeat!), there is another branch by the Zhongshan MRT stop. Here too you can use the voucher for the tasting menu and shorten the wait. The chain’s original restaurant is Din Tai Fung Xinyi Branch.

Adding to the “absurd things in Taiwan” list, you can find the Modern Toilet themed restaurant in the Shilin area, where everything is…toilet themed! Taiwanese people have a very unique sense of humor, seeing is believing!

Modern Toilet Taipei
Modern Toilet Restaurant. Ph. credit Taipei Travel Geek


DAY 3 IN TAIPEI – CITY OPTIONS

MORNING

As we had previously mentioned, there are so many things to do in Taipei. We still suggest some attractions in the city for day 3, but our advice is to do at least one if not two day trips, which we talk about in the paragraph below.

Taipei has plenty of Buddhist temples, each more beautiful than the other.
Each temple has its own particular history depending on its branch of Buddhism. We learned this first hand in the city of Kaohsiung, where a Taiwanese guy who spoke some Italian improvised as a tour guide and gave us a private visit to a Taoist temple.

Among the many we visited in Taipei we recommend 3 grouped temples to visit in half a day in the central-northern area of the city:

  1. Confucius Temple: dedicated to the doctrine of Confucianism. This Buddhist practice favours the study of virtuous arts such as calligraphy, music and poetry. Here a skilled scribe gave us some beautiful writings with ideograms created on the spot.
  2. Dalongdong Baoan Temple, a few steps from the previous one, characteristic for its murals, statues of deities and images of dragons above the roofs, all immersed in the unmistakable scent of incense.
  3. Xingtian Temple: a more modern temple, a daily stop for many citizens. Here, even more than in other temples, the practice of stopping for a few minutes to ask the deities for answers to one’s questions is widespread.
    The curious ritual is practiced by throwing the typical red luck sticks on the ground. Depending on the side on which they fall, they’ll either give a positive or negative response to the applicant. For example, Taiwanese people ask whether an exam will be passed or not, or whether a love relationship will be lucky. But also questions about crucial life decisions, such as whether to buy a house, or whether or not to accept a job offer.
    The fact that they throw the sticks repeatedly, until the desired result comes out, is another story…
  • Confucius temple Taipei
  • Best temples Taipei
  • Xingtiang Temple Taipei



In eastern Taipei you can also check out the Songshan Cultural and Creative Park, a short walk from the SYS Memorial Hall.

In the city centre we recommend the Huashan 1914 Park, near the Zhongxiao Xinsheng MRT station. This is an old Japanese-era sake distillery that has been converted into an art park and event venue.


AFTERNOON

Another doable and fun destination in Taipei is the Maokong cable car, also known as Maokong Gondola. This sounds funny for us Italians, as a gondola is the typicaly Venetian boat…

By now you’ll already be an expert of the Taipei MRT, so jump on the brown line (our favourite because it runs on the surface and offers beautiful views) and ride it to the southern terminus, Taipei Zoo.
In fact, here are both the city zoo, a great attraction for families that we personally skipped, and the Maokong Gondola, a long and articulated cable car that flies over the hills around Taipei for over 7 km!

Taipei MRT Metro brown line
The brown line in Taipei runs through the high rise buildings


The route takes 25 minutes from Taipei to Maokong Terminus. There are two stops in between to visit temples, caves, waterfalls, tea plantations, and admire the breathtaking views.
In fact, even though you will be several kilometers from the city, Taipei 101 will always be there to dominate the view with its 508 meters of height.

Around Maokong, multiple paths and streets can be explored on foot or by bicycle. Some shuttle buses can be used with the Easy Card, use Google Maps for timetables and stops if necessary.
The main attractions are the pretty tea cultivations, and we recommend tasting some typical Taiwanese oolong tea in this area. Alternatively you can also taste it in Jiufen, Alishan or around Sun Moon Lake.

  • Maokong Gondola
  • Maokong tea farms
  • Taipei panoramic view from Maokong Gondola

The wide range of activities possible in Maokong would actually merit a full day, but there isn’t time for everything.

As with any attraction, if possible avoid weekends and peak hours. The cable car operates between 9am and 10pm, from Tuesday to Sunday. We came here after lunch and got back around 5pm, admiring a memorable sunset directly from our “gondola”!

The single ticket has different prices depending on the stop you choose. Ranging between 70-120 TWD, (€2-4) per person, also payable with Easy Card.
By purchasing this combo ticket online you will have added value, as it includes 2 single rides on the cable car and a choice of vouchers to use at the refreshment points and Tea Houses once you arrive in the Maokong area.

Please note: There are two types of cable cars and two queues for the Maokong Gondola, regardless of the type of ticket you purchase. The long queue is for the less frequent Crystal Cabins, those with a transparent glass bottom to appreciate the view below (unless you suffer from vertigo!).
The other queue is for regular cabins, which to be honest are equally nice, as the best views are on the sides and not down. If there is too much queue just skip the Crystal Cabin, you won’t miss anything exceptional on the standard cars.

Rides on the Maokong Gondola are also part of the Taipei Unlimited Fun Pass.
If you plan to visit both Taipei Zoo and Maokong Gondola, it is best to purchase this combo ticket. A trick is to visit the Zoo on the way back after the Maokong Gondola. Get off at the last stop of the cable car before the terminus (Taipei Zoo South Station), in order to visit the zoo on foot downhill, and exit down at the terminus of the brown MRT subway.

Finally, for tea lovers, consider this day tour to the Maokong tea areas, which includes a guided tour and transportation to the famous tea factory that is otherwise difficult to reach by public transport.


EVENING

Returning on the brown line you can once again enjoy the evening in the Taipei 101 area, a view that is always incredible in our eyes. Or change at Daan station and reach the lively Ximen with the red line to appreciate it in the evening.

Ximen Ding by night
Ximen by night

Not to mention the night markets, which are always active and a great way to spend less for meals.
As we are lovers of Japanese cuisine, we have looked for and found excellent ramen in Taipei. Japanese specialties are very common in Taiwan.
If you have more of a long trip rather than a short holiday, also consider takeaway food. You can easily order online or pick up and eat at your hotel, an excellent solution after a long day around Taipei.


DAY 3 IN TAIPEI – DAY TRIPS

Depending on your next destination and time available, it might make sense to make an effort and visit destinations like Shifen/Jiufen, Keelung, or Taroko Gorge on a day trip from Taipei. This way you would avoid traveling to your destination, staying overnight there, and returning to Taipei the next day, potentially saving a full day or two.

We have visited the following destinations on a day trip from Taipei and we confirm that it is possible to do so on your own, using public transport, without spending too much and even without guides if desired. Just plan properly in advance, and be willing to wake up early in the morning!

Shifen train trip Pingxi
The Pingxi Line train calling at Shifen, tourist destination some 30km from Taipei

Clearly not everyone has the same possibilities, and it is equally possible to rent a car, a guide, or even a car with driver. Or take one of the many guided tours, which include convenient bus travel directly to the highlight points.

For example this day tour from Taipei is extremely popular for reaching multiple destinations in one day. Including: Yehliu Geopark, Shifen Waterfall, Golden Waterfall and Jiufen Old Street.

It is doable, but a little tricky, to visit them all on your own using public transport. Find out how in our guide to the best day trips from Taipei.


SHIFEN AND JIUFEN

Let’s talk about Shifen and Jiufen, the two most visited destinations in Taiwan outside of Taipei. Unfortunately here is inevitable to find crowds (not even avoiding the weekend can save you this time).

Shifen is the village where lanterns are released into the sky along the rail tracks that cross the village. This activity is now super touristy and available at any time of the day, starting from €8-10 per lantern. Although the manufacturers guarantee the biodegradability of the lanterns, we have read several articles about the potential harm (the lanterns may get stuck in the trees and remain there, in some cases wildfires have started) and therefore we preferred to give it a miss.

Shifen Waterfall Taiwan
Wonderful Shifen Waterfall


This area is undoubtedly very pretty, and it is possible to walk up to the Shifen Waterfall, an imposing waterfall surrounded by greenery. The short walk also crosses a couple of scenic bridges (less beautiful than those of Taroko Gorge). The vast majority of tourists stop near the station or at most by the waterfall, which means you only need to move away slightly to escape the crowds.

Not far away, the other very famous village is Jiufen (old town), perched among the mountains. Jiufen is characteristic for its alleys and stairways decorated with lights, red lanterns and shops selling local delicacies. From sunset onwards the views are truly attractive, but be careful because proper traffic jams of people will form in the most famous corners.

  • Jiufen old town Taiwan
  • Jiufen Teahouse Taiwan



Here too, take refuge in the less frequented side streets. Look for a table in the well-known Jiufen Tea House, the most famous tea house in the country. A cup of oolong tea here will cost you dearly, from 800TWD per serving, around €20. This includes excellent quality and table service with demonstration by the staff.

The tea ritual in peaceful Jiufen Tea House overlooking the mountains was a special moment indeed. Plus you can still keep the tea leaves you paid for as souvenir, a few leaves are enough for the tea and you won’t consume all the amount purchased on site.

Read our complete guide to a day trip to Shifen and Jiufen here, and browse day-trip tours from Taipei here.


TAROKO GORGE

The other day trip we took from Taipei, and certainly our favorite, was to Hualien County to visit Taroko Gorge.

With a 6am train from Taipei we arrived in Hualien at 8.15am. Being low season, we were almost the only customers looking for a moped in Hualien, worried about not being able to. Instead the various rentals were basically only waiting for us, given that here too the majority of tourists arrive by bus or car.

Taipei Hualien train Taiwan
Early bird rise for the Taipei-Hualien train, towards Taroko Gorge


Riding the scooter we reached the entrance to the Taroko Gorge scenic road at 9am. We were able to wander freely throughout the day in the wonderful gorge crossed by blue streams. Among the rivers and waterfalls, the red suspension bridges and the temples set among the rocks, we also met members of an Aboriginal tribe. When they realized that we had left our money in the scooter and we really couldn’t buy anything, they incredibly gave us some food and a drink for free! It felt all surreal and we were left truly stunned by their generosity.

We talk in detail about everything you need to know about Taroko Gorge here.

Having returned the scooter around 6 pm, we got some takeaway sushi to eat on the train, and got back to our hotel in Taipei around 9 pm, tired but amazed for the epic adventure.

Taroko Gorge day trip
One of the iconic spots in amazing Taroko Gorge, a must see in Taiwan


This concludes our guide to the best things to do and see in Taipei. We hope it was useful, don’t hesitate to contact us in the comments if you have any questions or curiosities!

Safe travels in Taipei!


Also read:


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