Booking a fortnight before our departure, mum and I headed to Taiwan for 5 days. I was never drawn to Taiwan for i-dont-know what reason and since it was my virgin trip there, I had initially planned to do everything. You know, all the ‘things to do’, ‘places to see’, ‘best food in taipei’ & ‘shopping in Taiwan’ but this is mum’s revisit to Taipei. Her only agenda was to shop and eat. So! where to shop, eat and what to see?
WHAT I DIDN’T EXPECT
Really friendly, courteous people! Yes, I do speak and understand mandarin so it’s easier to get around and communicate but Taiwanese politeness is commendable : ) You can really feel the warmth and genuine from the locals. Navigating the train and bus system was a breeze considering how big Taiwan is. I was most impressed by how naturally green the city is. Parks are spotted everywhere and you can find plenty of city parks and national parks such as Yang Ming Shan, Taroko National Park, Shei‑Pa National Park within 5 minutes – 1 hour out of Taipei City.
WHERE TO STAY
We stayed at a boutique hotel, 2 mins walk from NTU Hospital station and 7 mins walk to Xi Men Ding. I would recommend staying anywhere along the Blue train line (BL Banan Line). This is the line most convenient to all the main points of interest – Taipei 101, Airport, Taipei Main Station, Xi Men Ding and with interchange stations connecting to all other train lines.
Night markets are well embedded in the lives of the Taiwanese. Known for their night market, which opens all over the city in the evening selling a wide range of trendy apparel and household goods, their main attraction is still street food. It’s always difficult to decide on what to eat as you will be spoilt for choices and with so many night markets in Taipei city but here are the popular ones.
- Shilin Night Market 士林夜市
Nearest train station: Jiantan
Address: No. 101, Jihe Road, Shilin District, Taipei City
Opening hours: 5pm to 1am daily
- Raohe Street Night Market 饒河街觀光夜市
Nearest train station: Songshan
Address: Raohe Street and Sec. 4, Bade Road and Fuyuan Street, Taipei City
Opening hours: 5pm to 12am daily
- Huaxi Street Night Market 華西街夜市
Nearest train staion: Longshan Temple
Address: Intersection of Guangzhou Street and Huaxi Street, Wanhua District, Taipei City
Opening hours: 4pm to 12am daily
- Ningxia Night Market 寧夏夜市
- Nearest train station: Shuanglian
Address: Ningxia Road, Datong District, Taipei City, Taiwan 103
Opening hours: 6pm to 12am daily
It was 32 degrees when we were there, as hot and as humid as Singapore which made packing fast and easy since it was kind of like home away from home. An umbrella would be advisable though. It was drizzling on most days.
Summer (June – August)
Fall (September – November)
Winter (December – February)
Spring (March – May)
Taipei is honestly one of those places that you will never get bored. That said, it is possible to go for too shorter time, so at a minimum, I would recommend going for at least 3 nights. Our trip was actually just 5 nights which allowed us to do sooo much and really get into the nitty-gritty of the Taipei city.
Sightseeing: Jiu Fen & Shi Fen, Yang Ming Shan, Hualien & Taroko Gorge, Yeh Liu Geopark, Daan Park, Taipei 101
Culture & History: Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall, National Palace Museum, Zhongshan Hall, Longshan Temple, Sun Yat Sen Memorial Hall
Getting to Jiu Fen & Shi Fen.
To Jiufen from zhongxiao fuxing train station in Taipei, take exit 2 and hop onto bus 1062. The bus stop is located infront of T.KK Fried Chicken. It’s a 40 minute journey and cost TWD100. Getting from Jiufen to shifen, take a bus to Riufang station then train to Shifen station.
Shifen back to Taipei city: Direct city train to taipei main station.