During Taiwan’s long history, prehistoric people, indigenous tribes, Dutch, Spanish, Japanese, and Han Chinese have successively populated Taiwan, creating a varied culture and developing different local customs and traditions along the way. When you search for what to do in Taipei, you will be able to come in touch with all aspects of this beautiful country’s multifaceted cultures.
Although a number of sites have been proposed to be listed with Unesco World Heritage, political considerations have prevented any site on the island from being listed. However, at the Heritage and Culture Education Center you will learn most about the heritage and culture of Taipei and Taiwan. This center is located in the historic Bopiliao area of Wanhua District near Longshan Temple. This area has preserved much of its Qing period roots, with arched brick arcades, carved pattern window lattices, and other traces of the city’s early elegance. Old-style shop-houses (with stores in front and living areas in back) also remain from that period, opening a window to the early development of the Bangka (Wanhua) area, lending a unique historical and architectural flavor to the area.
Visitors can learn more about the history of the area at the Heritage and Culture Education Center. The center has different theme displays and hosts special exhibits on Bopiliao as well as educational activities.
The map below will give you a start to learn about what to do in Taipei. Of course, there are many more interesting places. However using the map you can choose the topics of your interest to put on your ‘What to do in Taipei’ itinerary. For references purposes only I have included both airports.
What to do in Taipei map
Please zoom in at the map to be informed what to do in Taipei and hoover over the markers for more details.
|Taoyuan International Airport (TPE)|
|Songshan Airport (TSA)|
|Beitou, hot springs|
Taiwan is famous for its hot spring culture and luckily, you can enjoy it right here in Taipei City. Head to Beitou District in the north of the city, which is famous for numerous hot spring resorts and spas attracting young and old, foreign and local. You can enjoy days of wellness and relaxation in one of Taipei’s most beautiful parts. In addition, you can visit the Beitou Hot Spring Museum, which is exhibiting the history of the district and its famous hot spring culture. To find the Beitou hot spring area, take the metro to Beitou MRT Station and transfer to Xinbeitou line.
Baoan Temple was originally funded by four local clans; the Wangs donated the land and the Chens, Changs, Tsais offered their support. These major clans were often associated with the businesses of 44 kans (shops). As for Baoan Temple’s sphere of worship, it covered the following three areas: Township One: Dalongdong, Huwei, Beitou. Township Two: He-shang zhou, Sanchong pu, Xinzhuang. Township Three: Dadaocheng.
There were three worshipping activities in a year: Baosheng Emperor’s date of birth (the 15th day of the third lunar month), date of ascension (the 2nd day of the fifth lunar month), and Ghost Festival (the 10th –12th day of the seventh lunar month). It was customary for residents of all three townships to take turns funding the events. To celebrate Baosheng Emperor’s birthday, the Tung-an clans would sponsor folk theater opera performances. These “surname series” ran from the 5th to the 28th of the third lunar month; the Chang clan would take the first show and the Wu clan would take the last. One can tell that Chang clan was the most powerful of all, and an old local saying goes: “Dalongdong’s Changs, Gala’s Yangs.” (extracted from www.baoan.org.tw/ENGLISH/index.html)
How to get there:
|Chiang kai-shek memorial hall|
This memorial hall was built in memory of Chiang Kai-shek, the first president of the Republic of China. Work on the hall began in 1976, a year after President Chiang passed away. Design by C.C. Yang, who was also the architect for The Grand Hotel, the memorial hall is white with a blue roof, representing the dominant colors in the ROC flag; while the emblem of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) adorns the vaulted ceiling. A bronze statue of Chiang looks west symbolically to the Presidential Office Building and mainland China. The front plaza of the hall is also a major venue for democratic assemblies.
The Taipei Confucius Temple is modeled after the original Confucius Temple in Qufu, Shandong Province of China. It is located on Dalong Street, Datong District, Taipei City, Taiwan. Among the Confucius temples in Taiwan, Taipei's is the only one adorned with southern Fujian-style ceramic adornments. At the main hall of the temple one can see a black plaque with gold lettering which was inscribed by Chiang Kai-shek that reads "Educate without Discrimination." Every year on September 28, a ceremony with traditional music and stylized dancing is held at the temple in honor of Confucius.
The Taipei Confucius Temple was built in 1879 during the Qing Dynasty when Taipei was established as the prefectural capital of Taiwan. During the period in which Japan occupied Taiwan as a colony, the temple was demolished. It was later rebuilt in 1930 by Wang Yi-Shun
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|Daán forest park|
Taipei is a bustling, modern and vibrant city that truly never sleeps, and while these are all attributes that make Taipei an interesting place to visit, it can be a bit overwhelming. So if you need a break from the hustle and bustle of Taipei but you don’t the energy or time to venture out of the city, there is a haven in the middle of the city called Daan Forest Park.
|Elephant Mountain Hiking Trail|
For the best view of Taipei City, make a hike to the top of Elephant Mountain!
Also known as the Nangang District Hiking Trail and Xiangshan (象山), the hiking trail is located close to the Xinyi Shopping District and Taipei 101.
The best time to hike the mountain is during late afternoon, this way you can catch the sunset as well as a daytime view and stunning nighttime view of the city, however the trail can get relatively crowded during the weekend.
The hike takes a total of around 15-20 minutes to the top, and includes lots of stairs! Remember to take a left at the fork in the path. After around 8-10 minutes, there will be a landing area with facilities and restrooms where the path branches off in multiple directions.
How to get there
That picturesque photo you always see of Taipei City? This is it!
At the base of the trail and the edge of the park is a YouBike station, a public bicycle rental system that is easily rentable using an Easycard. From Elephant Mountain (Xiangshan), you can easily continue on to Tiger Mountain and 9-5 Peak, two renowned trails in Taipei City. For a more detailed map of hiking trails in Taipei City, check here. This mountain may be referred to by the following names: Elephant Mountain, Xiangshan, Mt. Xiang, Mt. Siang.
The Fortress Cafe can be found at 2F of the Zhongshan Hall. It's hard to believe but you can actually enjoy a coffee (or beer or meal) here on the stone terrace of Zhongshan Hall that authoritarian leader Chiang Kai-shek used to stand on to deliver speeches to the people.
|Guanghua Digital Plaza|
|Huashan 1914 Creative park|
Visitors pose outside of an upside-down house created by a group of Taiwanese architects at the Huashan Creative Park in Taipei, Taiwan, Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2016. With a build price of $600,000 and over 300 square meters (3,230 square feet) of floor space filled with real home furnishings, the upside-down house will continue to be on display to visitors until July 22. (AP Photo/Wally Santana)
The buildings of Huashan1914 were build around 1914. Then it was a factory used among Taiwan’s largest wine producers throughout the 1920’s. Over years it has been abandoned and revived in 1997 by the Golden Bough Theatre.
In 2007 the Taiwan Cultural-Creative Development Co. Ltd assumed responsibility for the renovation and operation of the Park and renamed it Huashan 1914. An organically creative environment has been growing ever since. Huashan 1914 now serves as Taipei’s primary creative arts center and a hosting ground for Taiwan’s most significant cultural activities. Examples include the Simple Life music festival and the BiBo student design expo.
Today Huashan 1914 is not only the heart of Taiwan’s creative pulse, but also a bridge to a unique architectural past.
This is one of the oldest temples in Taipei City, it was built in 1738 by the first Chinese settlers, who came from Fujian. The temple is open to Buddhism, Taoism and traditional Taiwanese beliefs. This is also the center of Taipei’s oldest district Wanhua, which is famous for some of the biggest and most traditional markets in the city. The nearby Huaxi Street Night Market is famous for its snake alley, the Guangzhou Street Night Market is the biggest night market, full of traditional “xiao chi” or “little eats”, popular street food enjoyed by young and old. Don’t forget to visit the nearby Xichang Street, famous for herbal shops. One of Taipei’s oldest Streets named Bo Pi Liao is also found in the area. An afternoon of sightseeing and eating must be reserved to explore this part of Taipei. Go to Longshan MRT Station, exit at Exit 1 and turn right to the temple.
|The Lin Family Mansion and Garden|
The Lin Ben Yuan Family Mansion and Garden (Chinese: 林本源園邸; pinyin: Lín Běn Yuán Yuándǐ) in Banqiao District, New Taipei City, Taiwan was a residence built by the Lin Ben Yuan Family. It is Taiwan's most complete surviving example of traditional Chinese garden architecture. The Lin Family Mansion and Garden — along with the Tainan Wu Garden (台南吳園), Hsinchu Beiguo Garden (新竹北郭園), and Wufeng Lin Family Mansion and Garden (霧峰林家宅園) — are collectively known as the Four Great Gardens of Taiwan (台灣四大名園). This residence can be traced back to 1847, at the time a "rent house" for the Lin Ben Yuan family in the north. It was later expanded by the brothers Lin Guohua (林國華) and Lin Guofang (林國芳), becoming the residence of the Lin Ben Yuan family. Currently, the Lin Family Mansion and Garden is under the joint responsibility of the Executive Yuan Cultural Construction Committee, Ministry of the Interior, Ministry of Transportation and Communications Tourism Bureau, Taiwan Provincial Government, and the New Taipei City government for protection and restoration work, who have additionally designated it as a Class-2 Historical Site.
How to get there
|National Palace Museum|
The National Palace Museum is one of the most famous and most visited museums in the world. It’s home to the biggest collection of Chinese artifacts. If you want to browse through 8000 years of Chinese history, this would be the best place in the world to do it. This is definitely one of the biggest gems in Taipei City, even if you’re not a history buff, this museum should be on top of your list of must-see places in Taipei City.
How to get there
|Ningxia Night Market, Ningxia Road, Taipei, Taiwan|
Ningxia Night Market (寧夏夜市) is located in the heart of downtown Taipei on Ningxia Rd. between Nanjing W. Rd. and Mingshen W. Rd. It's a very busy, traditional street night market much like many that existed across Taiwan 20 or more years ago.
The Ning Xia Night Market has had a resurgence.. As most night markets in Taipei, it is visited by locals because of a few famous foods sold there. Also, visitors and tourists can easily get to the market from the MRT
|National Taiwan Museum & Presidential Palace|
The Office of the President is located in an impressive palace from the Japanese times, which was built in the early 20th century. Located in the heart of Zhongzheng district, it’s today the center of political power in the country. When completed, it was the tallest building in Taiwan. Every time I pass by, I am impressed by the unique architecture and the massive tower above the main entrance. Right next to the palace is the 2/28 Peace Park, a small park dedicated to the victims of the massacre from 28th February 1949, a sad part of Taiwanese history. The park features a sculpture, as well as several beautiful pavilions and is today popular with elder locals. Surrounded by the park is the National Taiwan Museum, the oldest museum in Taiwan.
How to get there
|2-28 Peace Memorial park + museum|
|Raohe Street- night market|
Raohe Street Night Market 饒河街觀光夜市 is one of the oldest and most famous tourist night markets in Taipei. It's located in the northeastern part of Taipei called Songshan. The famous main entrance resembling a Chinese paifang is just next to the magnificent Ci You temple (慈佑宮), probably one of the most beautiful temples in Taipei. The food, the history and the temple are three reasons, why every visitor to Taipei should pay this night market a visit.
|grand hotel Shilin|
The Grand Hotel is the tallest neo-classical Chinese building in the world. Located on a former Japanese temple, it rises above the city and offers a great view to the south.
|shilin night market|
Shilin Night Market is the most popular night market in Taipei as well as one of the most famous night markets in Taiwan. Located in Shilin District, it attracts a lot of local and foreign visitors, who peak during the weekend. Try local delicacies such as the oyster omelette, fried chicken cutlet or shaved ice and enjoy the atmosphere.
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|Taipei 101 tower|
The 509m tall Taipei 101 used to be the world’s tallest building when it was completed. The bamboo-shaped skyscraper is still one of the most famous high-rise buildings in the world and definitely Taipei’s and Taiwan’s most famous landmark. Located in Xiny District in the east of the city, it’s standing amid Taipei’s most prestigious shopping area. Upscale shopping malls with branded goods are scattered all over here, if you want to splurge, this is definitely the place to be in Taipei. The nearby Zhongxiao Road, which connects Taipei’s older western parts with the newer eastern districts, is the city’s main avenue. The Zhongxiao East Road is famous for being Taipei’s catwalk – the most fashionable locals shop and dine here. If money is no issue for you, you’re welcome to join them.
How to get there
|Tamsui district walk |
|Taipei underground city mall|
|wufenpu shopping district|
Wufenpu is the largest commercial zone focusing on clothing in Taiwan. There are around 1,000 shops selling different types of clothes, as well as shoes, bags and jewelry in part of them, in a tiny area close to half of CKS memorial hall in size.
Plan a systematic manner of shopping up & down the rows of shops if you intend to comb through each and every one. Otherwise, it'd be so easy to get lost in this shopping maze!
How to get there:
|XIAHAI tempel + DIHUA street|
These are two historic neighborhoods within the old Datong district. Together with Wanhua district it forms the so called Old Taipei, the part of the city, that was inhabited by Fujianese settlers in the early 18th century.
Dadaocheng is famous for old temples and the very long Dihua Street, one of Taipei’s oldest streets, which is famous for its colonial Japanese architecture as well as a plenty of traditional shops. The street is especially lively during the annual Spring Festival, the so called Lunar New Year. A visit to the Ningxia Night Market, one of my favorite night markets in Taipei, is obligatory as well as heading northwards to Dalongdong, the area famous for two impressive temples:
The Baoan Temple and the Taipei Confucius Temple, both located opposite each other. You can well spend a whole afternoon and evening by walking around the historic Datong district.
How to get there
|Xiny Village 44 & Good Cho's restaurant|
In between the 1940s and 1950s, many Nationalist soldiers from Mainland China had to relocate to Taiwan along with their families. For this reason, military villages had to be built all around the island, including in big cities such as Taipei, Kaohsiung, Taichung, etc. Although many villages have been demolished, some are still preserved as cultural and historical sites, including one located in the capital of Taiwan, the 44 South Village (四四南村). Since this site is not always written on usual travel guidebooks, it is still less traveled by, which makes it perfect for travelers who love to take the path less trodden!
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Dumplings & Dining