Traveling to Taiwan? Wondering what to do in Taipei? Steeped in culture and history, Taiwan’s capital offers an enticing array of exotic night markets, mesmerizing temples, picture-perfect monuments and world-class restaurants. Offering a perfect blend of deep cultural roots and a modern-day, metropolitan feel, there’s absolutely no shortage of things to do in Taipei, Taiwan for everyone.
Whether you’re a history buff or a bona fide foodie, there’s a little something amazing and special that awaits you in this metropolis. But, with so many things to do in Taipei, planning a trip to this Oriental hub can feel overwhelming, especially for those visiting for the first time. That’s why we’ve designed this Taipei travel guide, highlighting the revered sights, sounds and experiences in Taiwan’s governmental, cultural and financial epicenter.
Here are the Incredibly Fun Things To Do that wouldn’t want to miss when you set foot in Taipei, Taiwan:
Visit the National Palace Museum
Fond of exhibits and museums? Then, make sure to include a stopover to the National Palace Museum to your list of things to do in Taipei! With a visit to this treasure trove, you’ll get to feast your eyes on the largest and arguably the best collection of Chinese art in the world. Billed as one of the most majestic places to visit in Taipei, the museum displays a vast collection covering treasures in religious objects, jade, ceramics, lacquerware, bronzes, statuary, calligraphy and painting.
Some of the most beloved items inside the museum date back over a thousand of years into the Chinese history, like the Buddhist artifacts inherited from the well-known Forbidden City. And, did I mention that it also showcases special animal specimens and rare dinosaur fossils?
Go on an affordable eating spree at Shilin Night Market
For food enthusiasts, no list of things to do in Taipei is complete without a visit to the Shilin Night Market. Praised for its culinary delights, this Taiwanese market is, hands down, the best place in the city to savor delectable local favorites and Taiwanese snacks. From friend chicken steak and tempura to stinky tofu and bubble tea, this colorful market displays the local Taiwanese culture in a vibrant environment. A must-eat street delicacy in this market is the oyster omelet, which is made wonderfully with sticky potato starch binding oysters and friend eggs together.
Savor the views from Taipei 101
Looking for breathtaking things to do in Taipei, Taiwan? Why not pay a visit to the tallest skyscraper in Taiwan – Taipei 101? With an impressive elevation of 1,667 feet, this towering figure once held the title as the tallest building on the face of earth from 2004, until Dubai’s Burj Khalifa was finished in 2010. As a matter of fact, this skyscraper is so tall that you can spot it from practically anywhere in the city. To me, though, the best way to experience the building – one of the most fascinating attractions in Taipei – is to take a ride on the fastest elevator in the world to the 89th floor observatory.
Once there, take a self-guided tour, before climbing your way to the outdoor deck, to soak up the awe-inspiring bird’s eye view. As an added bonus, the shopping mall’s atrium, near the building’s place, is a fabulous place to enjoy a cup of tea, following a shopping spree.
Check out Taipei Zoo
Even if you’re not an animal lover, a visit to the celebrated Taipei Zoo should still be a shoo-in to your list of things to do in Taipei. Not only is it one of Asia’s largest zoos, but this wildlife sanctuary is also a great place to roam around and explore Taiwan’s flora and fauna. Divided into a few sections, this animal kingdom is home to tons of animals, such as koalas, kangaroos, giant pandas and a variety of African wildlife. To make things even better, Taipei Zoo hosts a medley of shows and activities for all ages, from time to time.
Climb Elephant Mountain
Yearning for outstanding cityscape views? Don’t forget to include Elephant Mountain to your Taipei travel itinerary! Labeled as one of the best free things to do in Taipei, this overlooking spot will sweep you away with its magnificent cityscape panoramas. But, for a memorable climb to Elephant Mountain, visit it before sunrise or sunset, and cherish the stunning sights and hues over Taipei, Taiwan.
See National Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall
Speaking of free things to do in Taipei, another admission-free worth visiting in the city is the National Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall. Built in honor of the National Party’s controversial leader in Taiwan, the memorial hall showcases an extraordinary bronze statue as well as an informative museum that gives you a glimpse into his life. I suggest that you visit the memorial hall at dawn, so you can join or see the local practicing tai chi. Afterwards, stroll around and enjoy the serene gardens and eye-catching Chinese ponds surrounding the memorial hall, before the museum officially opens.
Unwind at Yangmingshan Park
Need a break from the hustle bustle city life? For nature lovers, a layover at Yangmingshan Park should be on top of your list of things to do in Taipei. Located on the city’s outskirts, Yangmingshan will appease you with its verdant gardens, lovely rivers and striking mountains.
Hit Taipei Botanical Garden
Another perfect spot to chill and escape the bustling city grind is the Taipei Botanical Garden, nestled beside the National Museum of History. For more than a hundred years, the gorgeous garden has been inspiring Taipei citizens with its lotus ponds and superb floral blooms.
Experience the themed restaurants in Taipei
Want to experience something a bit different in Taipei? On the lookout for weird things to do in Taipei? For a one-of-a-kind and eccentric dining experience in this city, try one of the bizarrely wonderful themed restaurants in Taipei, like the Modern Toilet, Hello Kitty Sweets and Barbie Café.
Pay homage to Longshan Temple
There are so many temples in Taipei, and if you only have one to choose from, pick Longshan Temple. Deemed as one of the top things to do in Taipei, Longshan Temple, built in 1738, is by far the largest and most dramatic temple, with waterfalls outside its entrance, making it both memorable and melodramatic. And while it’s defined officially as Buddhist, Longshan is essentially a multi-denominational temple worshiping Matsu, Taoist and Buddhist deities.
Drop by Shimen Wedding Plaza
Shimen, as Taiwan’s first wedding plaza, is pretty distinctive, thanks to its Mediterranean-inspired architecture with bell towers and white corridors. Established in 2008, this remarkable plaza features the seemingly endless sea as its backdrop, producing surreal photographs and making it one of the best things to do in Taipei for shutterbugs. With its crystal clear waters and azure skies, the natural landscape of Shimen adds a sense of extravaganza, offering a taste of Greece in Taipei. Reminiscent of Southern Europe’s leisurely and romantic environment, this serene haven is hard-wired for couples and families.
Hop on the Maokong Gondola ride
At 4 kilometers long, the 30-minute Maokong Gondola ride is much a tourist attraction as a mode of transportation in Taipei, Taiwan. On a clear day or night, you’ll be put on a state of bliss with the fabulous views across Taipei. Just make it a point to take the crystal cabin, so you’ll see through the bottom and cherish the sights.
Once you reach the top, join a tea tasting tour, and make your trip even more worthwhile. Trust me, it is definitely one of the can’t-miss things to do in Taipei, Taiwan.
Take a day trip to Taroko Gorge National Park
They don’t call the Taroko Gorge National Park as one of the most beautiful and sought-after natural attractions in Taiwan for nothing. Praised for its heavenly topography, the foremost tourist draw in Taiwan encompasses a spectacular range of landscapes. Nature lover or not, this should be a priority, when building a list of things to do in Taipei, Taiwan.
Shop at Guanghua Digital Plaza
Are you a gadget lover who’s looking for techie things to do in Taipei? Make your way to Guanghua Digital Plaza, and keep up with the latest gadgets in Taiwan. Within this 6-storey building, you’ll discover and catch whatever technological innovations that you’ve been craving for.
Soak up Ximending Youth shopping district’s electric energy
Nicknamed aptly as the “Harajuku of Taipei”, Ximending Youth shopping district pulsates with colors and life, flanked incredibly with a string of fashion shops, restaurants and vibrant bars. Built during the Japanese period as a recreation center, this district is, today, a certified Taipei attraction, and a darling among youngsters in Taiwan. One of the favorite things to do in Taipei for fashion connoisseurs, the place is also loaded with eateries and boutique cafes.
Be awestruck by Jiufen Old Street
A Japanese-era gold mining area, this mountainous town has a plethora of sights and scenes that will remind you of the award-winning anime movie – Spirited Away. And, even if you’re not a fan of this Japanese flick, the town still dazzles and will entice you with its otherworldly sights.
Enjoy some quiet time at Daan Forest Park
Inspired by the Big Apple’s Central Park, Daan is a splendid and refreshing oasis that offers a soothing respite, amid your Taipei vacation. Known as one of the top attractions in Taipei, this 64-acre haven has all the qualities of an ideal and marvelous urban park, featuring pavilions, ponds and a skating rink. What’s more, it has amphitheater, a jungle gym and a playground with some swings.
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