When we first visited Taipei several years ago, it was a spur-of-the-moment trip that lasted just three days. I wasn’t expecting much from that trip but to my surprise, I wound up falling in love with Taipei and Taiwan. It’s a surprisingly cool and contemporary city, one that we could really see ourselves living in given the opportunity.
We’ve been back to Taipei a couple of times since then and the city endears itself to us more and more after every trip. Now that the pandemic is almost over, Taiwan is one of the first countries we want to visit in 2023, and it all starts with Taipei.
If you’re planning on visiting Taiwan soon, then I hope this detailed Taipei travel guide helps you plan your trip.
VISIT TAIPEI QUICK LINKS
This Taipei travel guide is long. For your convenience, I’ve compiled links to recommended hotels, tours, and other activities here.
Top-rated hotels in Ximending, one of the best areas to stay for first-time visitors to Taipei.
- Luxury: inhouse Hotel
- Midrange: Cho Hotel 3
- Budget: I Play Inn
- Sightseeing Tour: Taipei Double Decker Sightseeing Bus Tour
- Night Market Tour: Shilin Night Market Walking Tour
- Car Charter: Taipei Popular Sightseeing Private Car Charter: Jiufen, Pingxi, and North Coast
- Taipei 101: Taipei 101 Observatory E-Ticket｜Night Scene from Sky Lounge
- Travel Insurance with COVID cover (WFFF readers get 5% off)
- Airport Transfers
- Taipei Transport Fun Pass
- WiFi & Sim Cards
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GUIDE TABLE OF CONTENTS
TAIPEI TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS
Because of the current global situation, Taipei travel guidelines have been changing often. To help you with your travel planning, our friends at Booking.com and airheart put together very helpful websites with information on travel restrictions around the globe.
Before planning a trip to Taipei, check Booking.com or airheart for information on travel restrictions to Taiwan. If you do decide to visit Taipei, then you may want to seriously consider getting travel insurance with COVID coverage.
Depending on your passport, you may need to apply for a visa and get other travel documents to enter Taiwan. Check out iVisa.com to learn about the requirements and to apply for a visa (if necessary).
If you’re from the Philippines, then you’ll be pleased to learn that Taiwan has reinstated its visa-free program. Philippine passport holders can stay in Taiwan visa-free for up to 14 days from 29 September 2022 until 31 July 2023. Check out our article on the Taiwan e-visa for more information.
TAIPEI AT A GLANCE
Taipei is the capital of Taiwan. Located in the northern part of the country, it’s comprised of twelve districts with a total population of around 2.7 million. It’s the cultural, financial, and political center of the island so any first-time visit to Taiwan should begin here.
To be honest, I didn’t know what to make of Taipei when we first visited in 2014. At first, I wasn’t as excited to go because I hadn’t heard much about it and its popular attractions didn’t seem all that interesting to me. But as described above, that short three-day visit was all it took to make me a fan of the city and of Taiwan. Ren and I have fallen in love with this country so much that we’re actually toying with the idea of moving there.
There are many things to love about Taipei like its night markets and many museums. But beyond its attractions, what makes Taipei so alluring for me, is the city itself. With conveniences like a cheap but incredibly efficient metro system and its plethora of well-maintained public parks, it’s a city that clearly puts its people first.
BEST TIME TO VISIT TAIPEI
Generally speaking, Taiwan enjoys mild weather year-round with an average temperature of about 23°C (73°F). The rainiest months are from May to September, with June to August being the height of typhoon season. Avoid those months at all costs.
I had an aunt who visited Taipei during that time and she couldn’t go to a single night market because it was raining hard every night. Night markets are a big part of the Taiwan experience so you don’t want that to happen to you. Ideally, shoot for late October to March if you can. The weather is cool and dry and air pollution is at a minimum.
OCT-MAR: The weather in Taipei is most pleasant from around the end of October to March. This is the driest time of the year and temperatures are relatively mild. Spring is the time to go if you’d like to catch the cherry blossoms. They’re notoriously difficult to predict but shoot for around February till mid-March. Some forecasts say April but that may be too late. We traveled throughout Taiwan from 12-24 March and we only saw cherry blossoms once, at Sun Moon Lake.
APR-SEPT: As advised, it’s rainier, warmer, and more humid during these months so it’s best to avoid them if you can. Temperatures often exceed 30°C (86°F) during the summer and it gets uncomfortably humid as well. June till August is the height of typhoon season while September is the rainiest month. Avoid that stretch at all costs because it sucks having to stay indoors and not be able to go to a night market. That happened to us during our one and only night in Tainan and it really did suck.
Climate: Annual Monthly Weather in Taipei
To help you better understand the weather in Taipei, I’ve included average temperature and annual rainfall graphs below. Suggested months to visit are indicated in orange.
TRAVELING TO TAIPEI
Most travelers to Taiwan will be arriving by plane. Taipei has two international airports — Taoyuan and Songshan — but the vast majority of international flights are served by Taoyuan. You can get to the city from Taoyuan Airport by MRT, bus, taxi, or private transfer.
BY MRT: The airport MRT is the fastest way to get into the city from Taoyuan Airport. It takes about 35 minutes to get to Taipei Main Station from either terminal 1 or 2. The fare is NTD 160 with trains running from 6:12AM until 10:42PM. You can buy it in advance through Klook as well. From Taipei Main Station, you can then continue on the MRT to the station nearest your hotel.
BY BUS: The Kuo-Kuang Bus (Taiwan Bus Corp.) is a good alternative to the MRT, especially if you’re arriving late in the evening. After going through immigration and collecting your luggage, proceed to the city bus ticketing counters. Kuo-Kuang Bus 1819 operates 24 hrs and will take you to Taipei Main Station for NTD 140. Follow the link for more information on Kuo-Kuang Bus 1819. From Taipei Main Station, you can then take a taxi or the MRT to your hotel.
BY PRIVATE TRANSFER: Though more expensive, the most comfortable option would be to go by airport transfer which you can book through Klook.
BY TAXI: Taoyuan is around 45 minutes away from the city center so a taxi will be expensive, around NTD 1,000-1,200 depending on traffic. This should be your last resort.
This travel guide assumes that you’ll be arriving in Taipei by plane, but there are many other ways to get there depending on where you are. You can check Bookaway or use the widget below to find route options available to you.
WHERE TO EXCHANGE CURRENCY
Taiwan’s unit of currency is the New Taiwan Dollar (NTD or TWD).
I find that changing currency is less stressful in Taiwan because currency exchange services are strictly regulated by the government. Here, you exchange your currency at banks. You won’t find any independent money changers in Taiwan like you would in other Asian countries, which is a relief.
It’s best to exchange your currency at big local banks like Bank of Taiwan, China Trust Bank, or South China Commercial Bank. We walked in to a smaller bank once and they advised us of a service charge, so I made sure to look for a Bank of Taiwan every time. I did a search on Google Maps and found many Bank of Taiwan branches in Taipei.
If you don’t like brining large sums of cash with you, then a better option might be to withdraw NTD from an ATM. The rates are competitive but just be sure to advise your bank you’ll be using your card overseas so you don’t run into any problems. In my experience, my ATM card works in some machines but not in others.
TIP: When withdrawing NTD from an ATM, some machines may ask if you’d like to proceed “with or without conversion”. Never proceed WITH conversion because this authorizes the foreign bank operating the ATM to do the conversion for you, usually at terrible exchange rates. Always choose WITHOUT conversion so your local bank does the conversion. According to this article on Medium, the difference between rates can be 10% or more.
BEST AREAS TO STAY IN TAIPEI
Taipei has a great metro system so it’s easy to get around, but the Ximending area in Wanhua District is one of the best and most convenient areas to stay in Taipei. It’s a fun and lively commercial area with plenty of shops, restaurants, and cafes.
Other than Ximending, there’s also Zhongzheng, Xinyi, Zhongshan, and more. It all depends on what you’re looking for so I’ll describe each recommended area in this section. I’ll include links and recommendations to each area but you can do a general search for accommodations in Taipei on Booking.com or Agoda.
I’ve created the color-coded map below to help you understand where all these recommended areas are. Click on the link for a live version of the map. (Please note that marked areas are approximations only)
YELLOW – Ximending
DARK GREEN – Zhongzheng
RED – Xinyi
BLUE – Zhongshan
PURPLE – Datong
ORANGE – Da’an
LIGHT GREEN – Songshan
As described, Ximending in Wanhua District is a fun neighborhood with lots to see and do. It’s an energetic neon-lit environment that’s often referred to as the “Harajuku of Taipei”. For travelers like us who enjoy being close to plenty of food options, I think Ximending is one of the best areas to stay in Taipei.
Conveniently, walk a little south and you’ll find yourself in a starkly less commercial and more historical part of town. A mere 15-minute walk from trendy Ximending are some of Taipei’s most popular cultural attractions, like Longshan Temple and Bopiliao Historical Block.
You can book accommodations in Ximending on Booking.com or Agoda. Listed below are a few highly-rated hotels in Ximending.
- Luxury: inhouse Hotel
- Midrange: Cho Hotel 3
- Budget: I Play Inn
Zhongzheng is a centrally located district in Taipei. Staying in this area will put you close to Taipei Main Station and key tourist attractions like Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall and Huashan 1914 Creative Park.
You can book accommodations in Zhongzheng on Booking.com or Agoda. Here are a few of the top-rated hotels in Zhongzheng.
- Luxury: Hotel Resonance Taipei, Tapestry Collection by Hilton
- Midrange: HINOEN Hotel
- Budget: miniinn
Xinyi is a modern financial district that offers upscale shopping and plenty of restaurant options. It’s also close to Taipei 101 so if climbing to the top of this iconic building is high on your list of priorities, then you may want to stay here.
You can book accommodations in Xinyi on Booking.com or Agoda. Here are a few highly recommended hotels in the area.
- Luxury: W Taipei
- Midrange: Pacific Business Hotel
- Budget: 101寵物友善邸家
Zhongshan District is home to many older luxury hotels and riverside parks. Staying here will put you close to a few key attractions like Taipei Fine Arts Museum and Xingtian Temple.
You can book accommodations in Zhongshan on Booking.com or Agoda. Listed below are some of the most recommended hotels in Zhongshan.
- Luxury: The Okura Prestige Taipei
- Midrange: CityInn Hotel Plus- Fuxing North Road Branch
- Budget: Backpackers Hostel – Taipei Changchun
If you’re traveling on a budget, then Datong District is a great area to stay in Taipei. It’s home to lots of budget options and receives fewer tourists so it’s generally quieter than busier areas like Ximending and Zhongzheng. We stayed in this area once and enjoyed it.
You can search for accommodations in Datong on Booking.com or Agoda. Here are some of the top-rated hotels in the area.
- Luxury: Palais de Chine Hotel
- Midrange: Star Hostel Taipei Main Station
- Budget: Yi Su Hotel-Taipei Ningxia
We’ve never stayed in Da’an District, which is a little embarrassing because it’s one of the best areas to stay for people who travel for food. There are lots of interesting places to eat in Da’an, many of which are clustered on and around Yongkang Street. This is definitely where we’ll stay on our next visit to Taipei.
You can book accommodations in Da’an on Booking.com or Agoda. Listed below are a few recommended hotels in Da’an.
- Luxury: Kimpton Da An Taipei- an IHG Hotel, an IHG Hotel
- Midrange: Dandy Hotel-Daan Park Branch
- Budget: DONGMEN 3 Hostel
Songshan District is a more residential area in Taipei. Staying here will put you close to one of our favorite night markets in Taipei – Raohe Night Market.
You can book accommodations in Songshan on Booking.com or Agoda. Here are a few recommended hotels in Songshan.
- Luxury: Mandarin Oriental Taipei
- Midrange: Hotel East Taipei
- Budget: Hostel Jiizu
You can also search for accommodations and homestays in Taipei using the handy map below.
THINGS TO DO IN TAIPEI
1. Get to Know Taipei on a Hop On Hop Off Tour
Going on these Hop On Hop Off bus tours is one of the best ways to become acquainted with any new city. These double-decker tourist buses ply set routes through Taipei’s top attractions like Taipei 101, National Palace Museum, Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall, and Ximending, and you can get on and off as often as you like for the duration of your pass.
Not only is it the easiest way to see Taipei’s top sights, but you can also use it as a way of getting around the city. Click on the link for more information and to purchase tickets to Taipei’s Double Decker Sightseeing Bus Tour on Klook.
Length of Tour: 9 hrs or 24 hrs
2. Get a Killer View of Taipei from the Taipei 101 Observatory
Once holding the distinction of being the world’s tallest building, there’s no better place to get a bird’s eye view of Taipei than from the Taipei 101 Observatory.
Located on the 89th floor, the world’s fastest elevators will shoot you up to the observatory in a mind-numbing 37 seconds. It sure makes up for that 45-minute wait!
You can purchase tickets to the Taipei 101 Observatory at the gate or in advance through Klook.
Suggested Length of Visit: 1-2 hrs
Admission: NTD 600 for adults
3. Eat Your Way Through Shilin and Raohe Night Markets
Taiwan is all about night markets and street food. You can’t go to Taiwan without eating your way through at least one night market.
There are several you can visit in Taipei, but Shilin and Raohe night markets are the city’s biggest and most popular. You’ll find a dizzying array of delicious and cheap street food dishes like flame-torched beef, giant chicken chops, sausages, pepper buns, and a whole lot more.
Aside from all the food you’ll be tempted by, many night markets have shopping and game stalls as well, so there are plenty of other things you can do aside from eating. Don’t be surprised if you wind up spending your whole evening at a Taiwanese night market.
These night markets are easy enough to visit on your own but if you’d like to have a local show you the best dishes, then you might be interested in this Shilin night market walking tour.
Suggested Length of Visit: 2-3 hrs per night market
4. Enjoy the Arts at a Museum or Creative Park
If you’re a fan of the arts, then there are two types of venues you can visit in Taiwan – traditional museums and creative art parks. You can read more about them in our guide to some of Taiwan’s best museums and creative parks.
There are a few excellent museums in Taipei. I’ve been to two thus far – the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) and the National Taiwan Museum. If you’d like to visit both, then Klook offers a combo ticket that gives you access to both museums as well as to the Miniatures Museum of Taiwan.
We prefer more contemporary museums but if you had time to visit just one museum in Taipei, then it should probably be the National Palace Museum. It’s a gigantic museum with a permanent collection of nearly 700,000 pieces of ancient Chinese imperial artifacts and artworks. You can purchase tickets to the National Palace Museum at the gate or in advance through Klook.
Other notable museums you may want to visit in Taipei include the Taipei Fine Arts Museum and the Taipei Astronomical Museum.
If you’re into the arts but want something a little less conventional than a museum, then you can check out one of Taipei’s creative parks. Popular throughout Taiwan, creative parks are typically abandoned industrial spaces like factories and warehouses that have been repurposed into full-time arts and cultural venues.
Apart from holding art exhibits and live cultural shows, they host fashion shows, product design expos, art seminars, and lifestyle bazaars all within an historic, industrial setting. Personally, I prefer these creative parks over traditional museums.
Two of the most popular creative art parks in Taipei include Huashan 1914 Creative Park and Songshan Cultural & Creative Park.
Suggested Length of Visit: 2-3 hrs each at each museum or creative park
5. Go on a Free Walking Tour
Aside from the Hop On Hop Off Tour, another great way to get to know Taipei is to join a free walking tour. Like It Formosa offers three types of free walking tours – Historic, Modern, and Golden Age.
The Historic Tour covers historical attractions like Longshan Temple, Bopiliao Historical Block, and Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall. The Modern Tour takes you to more contemporary destinations like Taipei 101 while the Golden Age Tour brings you back to the 20s which was a period of much cultural and commercial growth in Taipei.
All of these free tours are tip-based so give whatever amount you feel comfortable with. Check out Like It Formosa’s website for tour schedules.
Length of Tour: 2-3 hrs per tour
6. Feel Tiny at Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall
This is one of the most iconic structures in Taipei. If you have a friend or relative who’s been to Taipei, then chances are they’ve posted a selfie on social media with these massive blue and white gates in the background.
As you can probably guess, Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall is a national monument and landmark built in honor of former ROC president and KMT general, Chiang Kai-shek. The sheer size of this place is remarkable.
If you time your visit and come on the hour between 10AM till 4PM (till 6PM on Wed), then you’ll get to see the changing of the guard.
Suggested Length of Visit: 1 hr
7. Get a Killer View of Taipei 101 from Elephant Mountain
Now that you’ve gotten a killer view of the city from Taipei 101, how about getting a killer view of Taipei 101 from Elephant Mountain? If you’re in the mood for an easy hike, then you may want to climb Elephant Mountain which is conveniently located at the edge of the city.
Just take the MRT to Xiangshan Station (Red Line, Exit 2) and walk 10 minutes south to the start of the hiking trail. Don’t worry about your fitness level either. There are plenty of steps but it’s a relatively easy 15-30 minute hike to the top.
Photo by ESB Professional via Shutterstock
Suggested Length of Visit: 1-2 hrs
8. Shop Till You Drop in Ximending
Filled with trendy shops, boutiques, restaurants, and cafes, the Ximending area is where young Taiwan goes to shop and kill time. If you’re traveling to Taipei to go shopping, then you’ll probably be spending a lot of time here.
We stayed in Ximending on our last trip and the place was always buzzing with activity no matter what time of day it was, kind of like Myeongdong in Seoul. It’s especially fun at night on weekends when young Taiwan flocks to the area to party. The atmosphere is electric.
9. Take a Cooking Class
Taking a cooking class on a trip is fun. We’ve done it in Bali, Hoi An, Chiang Mai, Phuket, Tokyo, and Puebla and we’ve enjoyed every single one of them. It’s just a fun, hands-on way of getting to know the local cuisine.
If you’d like to take a cooking class in Taipei, then I suggest searching for one on Cookly. It’s an online booking platform that focuses on cooking classes so in my opinion, there’s no better place to look for a one-day cooking class than on Cookly. Follow the link to check out their available cooking classes in Taipei.
Photo by 54613 via Shutterstock
10. Catch and Grill Your Own Shrimp
This is one of the quirkier things you can do in Taipei but it’s also one of the most fun.
Urban shrimping is a popular Taiwanese pastime where locals cast lines into indoor concrete pools filled with live shrimp. You pay to catch shrimp by the hour and whatever you catch within that time limit, you can barbecue and eat on the premises.
We went shrimping for an hour before heading over to nearby Shilin Night Market. Check out my article on urban shrimping in Taipei for more pictures and information.
Estimated Time to Spend: At least 1 hr
Cost: Starts at NTD 350 per hr
DAY TRIPS FROM TAIPEI
1. Explore Yehliu Geopark, Shifen, and Jiufen on a Day Tour
This tour to northern Taiwan is one of the most popular day tours you can do from Taipei. It’s popular because it takes you to several distinctly different attractions in one day.
Stops may vary between tours but generally, this northern Taiwan tour starts at Yehliu Geological Park – a protected area that’s home to these unusual, alien-like rock formations called hoodoo stones. You’ll then proceed to Shifen to release sky lanterns at a former railroad town before visiting the “Little Niagara of Taiwan”.
The tour ends in Jiufen, a decommissioned mining town that’s home to charming buildings and some of the best street food in Taiwan. Click on the link to book the tour with Klook. You can check out my article on the Yehliu Geopark, Shifen, and Jiufen tour as well for more pictures and information.
A trip to Jiufen and Shifen is one of the most common side trips people make from Taipei. If you’d rather not go on a guided tour, then you can easily visit either or both places on your own. You can even stay the night in Jiufen which is what we did. Check out our Jiufen and Shifen travel guide for more information.
2. Soak in a Hot Spring at Beitou
Beitou is the northernmost district of Taipei. It’s a lovely mountainous area that’s famous for its thermal springs. Developed into a hot spring tourist destination during the Japanese occupation, what I enjoyed most about Beitou is that it looks and feels like you’re in an onsen town in Japan.
If you find yourself in Taipei during the winter months, then I strongly recommend you visit Beitou to soak in one of its many hot spring resorts. If you’ve never experienced a thermal bath before, then you’ll be surprised by how good it can make you feel. It warms you to the core so you feel almost impervious to the cold.
Check out my article on taking a day trip to Beitou for more pictures and information. If you’d like to visit Beitou on a guided tour, then you can book one through Klook.
3. Explore Tamsui Old Street and Fisherman’s Wharf
If you decide to visit Beitou, then you may want to check out Tamsui as well. Both are accessible via the Taipei MRT’s Red Line, with Tamsui being the very last stop on the line. It takes about 40 minutes or so to get there from downtown Taipei.
Tamsui is a seaside district in New Taipei City, located at the northern tip of Taiwan. It’s a fishing town that was once a Spanish settlement and the largest trade port in Taiwan.
Today, it’s a popular tourist destination known for a few attractions like Lover’s Bridge (pictured below), Fort San Domingo, and Tamsui Old Street where you can find street food dishes unique to the area like ah-gei and iron eggs.
Check out my article on taking a day trip to Tamsui for more pictures and information. If you’d like to go on a river cruise in Tamsui, then you can book one through KKday.
4. Spend the Day in Taichung and Visit Fengjia Night Market
Located about an hour south of Taipei via HSR train, Taichung is Taiwan’s second biggest city by population (after New Taipei City). If you enjoy the arts and travel for food like we do, then there are plenty of things to love about Taichung.
Taichung is home to Calligraphy Greenway and its pockets of quirky boutiques. It’s the birthplace of boba or bubble tea, and it’s where you can find the biggest night market in Taiwan – Fengjia Night Market. That alone makes it worthy of a day trip!
I went on a sponsored trip to Taichung not too long ago in relation to the Gourmet Taiwan Festival. The point of the trip was to show people exactly what you can do in Taichung on a day trip from Taipei.
I enjoyed the city so much that Ren and I recently spent three nights there. Check out our Taichung travel guide to help you plan your trip.
TAIWANESE FOOD GUIDE
As described, Taiwan is all about night markets and street food. There are tons of delicious things to eat in this country, especially in the capital city of Taipei. If you’re wondering what you can eat in Taipei, then check out our list of must-try dishes in Taiwan.
Taiwan is home to awesome night markets and delicious street food, but it’s also got some pretty sweet desserts. If you’ve got a sweet tooth, then check out our list of must-try desserts in Taiwan.
Photo by PantherMediaSeller via Depositphotos
WHERE TO EAT IN TAIPEI
1. Ay-Chung Flour Rice Noodles
Google “where to eat in taipei” and this mee sua specialty shop will be on nearly every list. Ay-Chung Flour Rice Noodles offers just one item on their menu, and that’s Taiwanese-style vermicelli or mee sua with braised pork intestine.
It’s absolutely delicious and one of the best things I’ve eaten in three trips to Taiwan. It’s smokey and flavorful and contains the most tender rings of braised pork intestine. They were so tender I could swear I was eating baby squid. So damn good.
What We Paid: NTD 70 (large), NTD 40 (small)
2. Jin Feng Lu Rou Fan
Lu rou fan or braised pork rice is one of the most beloved comfort dishes in Taiwan, second perhaps only to beef noodle soup. The dish consists of minced pork belly that’s been stir-fried and slow cooked in soy sauce till tender, then served over a bowl of steamed rice, usually with a hard-boiled egg on the side.
Many people believe that Jin Feng serves some of the very best braised pork rice in Taipei. It was delicious and comforting and one of the things I miss most from our trip.
What We Paid: NTD 30 (small) / NTD 40 (medium) / NTD 50 (large)
3. Orange Shabu Shabu House
Hot pot or shabu shabu is another must-eat Taiwanese dish. It consists of a simmering pot of soup stock containing a variety of ingredients like thinly sliced meat, seafood, leaf vegetables, tofu, noodles, and various fish and meat balls.
I asked my Taipei-based Taiwanese friend to recommend a good hot pot restaurant in the city, and he pointed us to Orange Shabu Shabu House. According to him, they serve the best hot pot in Taipei hands down. He was right. I’m no expert, but this was indeed the best hot pot I’ve ever had in my life.
What We Paid: Around NTD 1,474 for two
4. Shao Shao Ke
Not only was this one of the most delicious meals we’ve had in Taipei, but it was also one of the most intriguing. Shao Shao Ke serves Shanxi cuisine which is the cooking style of Shanxi Province in China.
Noodles and lamb figure prominently in the cuisine, as does this unique type of vinegar called Shanxi mature vinegar which is produced exclusively in the area. If you like the flavors of lamb and cumin, then you have to eat here. Be sure to get the deep-fried soy cheese puff pastries for dessert as well. They’re divine.
What We Paid: Around NTD 704 for two with drinks
5. Addiction Aquatic Development
Addiction Aquatic Development is one of our favorite places in Taipei. It’s a unique concept that’s basically an upscale live seafood market, gourmet food supermarket, seafood bar, sushi bar, oyster bar, seafood barbecue restaurant, and hot pot restaurant all rolled into an uber stylish space.
Like creative parks, it’s one of those places that defies description. You have to see it for yourself to fully grasp the concept. But the bottom line is, if you like seafood, then you absolutely cannot miss Addiction Aquatic Development.
What We Paid: Around NTD 750 per person with drinks
If you’ve been saving up for that one truly special meal in Taipei, then this is where you need to go. Helmed by Chef André Chiang of Restaurant André fame in Singapore, RAW is a one Michelin star restaurant that ranked as high as number 15 on the list of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants. They offer beautiful degustation experiences featuring the best of Taiwan’s local seasonal ingredients.
Be warned however, that it is notoriously difficult to get a reservation at this restaurant. Check out my article on RAW for more pictures and information.
What We Paid: Around NTD 1,850 / 2,680++ per person
If these six aren’t enough to whet your appetite, then check out our post on 13 Must-Eat Restaurants in Taipei. It includes more pictures and information about the places listed above, as well as instructions on how to get to each restaurant using public transportation.
POINTS OF INTEREST IN TAIPEI
To help you get your bearings, I’ve created this map so you get a better sense of where everything is. Nearly all the places mentioned in this Taipei travel guide are pinned on this map. Click on the link for a live version of the map.
HOW TO GET AROUND IN TAIPEI
Taipei has a great public transportation system so it’s a breeze to get around. We found their metro system to be one of the easiest to understand. You can get to most of the places recommended in this guide using the Taipei MRT, but if for some reason you can’t, then you take the bus or use Uber.
We didn’t have to take the bus in Taipei but if you need to, then I suggest using the Google Maps app (iOS | Android). It’ll tell you exactly which bus you need to take so you don’t get lost and wind up somewhere in Mongolia.
If you plan on using public transportation a lot in Taipei, then there are a couple of transportation cards that you should know about.
Getting around using the public transportation system is so easy in Taipei. If you plan on riding it a lot, then an EasyCard is one of the best investments you can make.
Apart from eliminating the hassle of having to buy single journey tokens, you’ll get a 20% discount with every ride on the Taipei MRT and 15% off on the Kaohsiung MRT with an EasyCard. It works on public buses as well. Aside from giving you discounts and free rides in some cities, you won’t have to scrounge up loose change every time.
You can purchase and top up an EasyCard from any MRT station. It works throughout the country so the cards we bought in Kaohsiung worked in Taipei as well. At the end of your trip, any unused amount can be refunded minus a service charge of NTD 20. It’s super convenient.
We never used it for anything but transportation but you can use it for other things as well like taxis, ferries, TRA trains, supermarkets, convenience stores, even some restaurants and cafes. Follow this link to see the full scope of use of an EasyCard.
Taipei Transport Fun Pass
If you’re visiting Taipei for just one or two days and plan on using public transportation a lot, then you’ll probably want to get a Taipei Transport Fun Pass. It’ll give you unlimited rides on the MRT, city buses, five Taiwan Tourist Shuttle bus routes, and the Maokong Gondola, as well as discounts to over 150 partner shops.
Click on the link for more information and to purchase the Taipei Tourist Fun Pass on Klook.
HOW MANY DAYS TO STAY / TAIPEI ITINERARY
To my surprise, Taipei is only the third biggest city in Taiwan by population. Nonetheless, there’s a lot to see and do in Taipei so you should spend more time here than in any other city in Taiwan.
I’d say four full days is the absolute minimum for a first-time visit to Taipei. It will give you just enough time to see the major attractions in the city as well as make one or two day trips. If it’s your first time traveling to Taipei, then here’s a sample 4D/3N itinerary to help you plan your trip.
• Hop On Hop Off Bus
• Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall
• Taipei 101
• Taipei Fine Arts Museum
• National Palace Museum
• Shilin Night Market
• Longhsan Temple
• Bopiliao Historical Block
• Huashan 1914 Creative Park
• Songshan Cultural and Creative Park
• Raohe Night Market
• Shifen Old Street
• Shifen Waterfall
• Ximending at night
• Tamsui Old Street
• Tamsui Fisherman’s Wharf / Lover’s Bridge
• Fort San Domingo
• Thermal Valley
• Beitou Hot Springs
TAIPEI TRAVEL TIPS
1. Plan your Trip with Sygic Travel
I’ve used this free app to create itineraries for all our trips since 2014. It’s a great easy way to visualize points of interest on a map so you can create the most efficient itinerary possible. Check out my post on the Sygic Travel app for more information.
2. Stay Connected
Having a steady connection to the internet is so important these days, especially when you’re trying to make your way through a foreign country. The unfamiliarity is challenging enough and the language barrier makes it even harder. Thankfully, we can rent a pocket wifi device to help us navigate, convert currencies, and learn how to say “take me to your best xiao long bao” in Taiwanese.
Personally, we prefer renting pocket wifi devices because we find them easier, but buying sim cards is fine too. It’s even cheaper. You can rent a pocket wifi device or buy a sim card through Klook.
3. Check for Taipei Travel Deals
For me, there’s no better place to search for travel deals in Taiwan than on Klook and KKday. They’re both reputable e-commerce travel platforms with a wide selection of tours and activities at great prices.
If you’re looking for deals on tours, shows, transfers, pocket wifi rental, etc, then you may want to check out Klook and KKday. You’ll often find interesting activities that you may not think of yourself so it’s definitely worth a look.
4. Get Travel Insurance
We buy travel insurance on a case-to-case basis. If all we’ll be doing is stuffing our faces with street food for a few days, then we may not get it. But if we plan on doing any physical activities like we did in Taiwan, then we’ll definitely pick up a policy before our trip.
We get travel insurance from SafetyWing or Heymondo. They’re both popular travel insurance companies used by many digital nomads. You can follow the links to get a free quote from SafetyWing or Heymondo. Get 5% off on Heymondo by using our link.
5. Bring the Right Power Adapter
Taiwan has Type A and Type B electrical outlets so be sure to bring the right power adapters for your devices. Electrical voltage is 110V and the standard frequency is 60Hz.
As much as I love Taipei, I’m hardly an expert but I do hope you find this post useful. I’m only sharing some of the things that I learned from our trip. If you have any suggestions or comments, then please leave them in the comment section below. You’re welcome to join our Facebook Travel Group as well.
Thanks for stopping by and have a ridiculously fun time in Taipei!
These are some of the things we brought with us to Taipei. For a more complete list of our travel gear, check out what’s inside our backpack. (NOTE: The following links are Amazon and other affiliate links.)
Some of the links in this Taipei travel guide are affiliate links, meaning we’ll earn a small commission if you make a booking at no added expense to you. We only recommend products and services that we use ourselves and firmly believe in. We really appreciate your support as this helps us make more of these free travel guides. Thank you!
Friday 21st of January 2022
Like you, I have fallen in love with Taiwan. My first trip to Taiwan was twelve nights long. I knew that this would not be enough but I was limited by what else I was also doing on the same trip. So I treated it as an exploratory trip. I spent half my time in Taipei and half on travelling down to Sun Moon Lake and to Tainan. My second trip was much longer — 30 nights. Once again, though, I spent half my time in Taipei but during the other half I travelled right around the island. I had planned to go back for a third and even longer visit but because of Covid, these plans have had to be put on hold.
I think that you have given a good introduction to Taipei, but there is a lot more to the city than you have been able to cover. I find that in Taiwan the more you discover the more you realise that there is still to be discovered. So many visitors to Taiwan allow themselves a week, or perhaps two weeks, and think that they have seen everything that is worth seeing. However, they are kidding themselves. You could spend a year there and not see everything.
JB & Renée Macatulad
Tuesday 25th of January 2022
Hi Alistair, thanks for your comment! I agree, there is so much more to discover in Taipei. We absolutely love Taiwan and Taiwanese people so we'd love to stay for months if we could. But unfortunately, two weeks at a time is all we can get. We'd love to spend months in Kaohsiung or Taichung if we could.
Thursday 27th of May 2021
This is a good travel guide for those who are planning to visit Taipei. An advise that I like to add, is a visit to Maokong with the Maokong Gondola. A nice day-trip is a bus ride to Wulai which takes approx 45min by bus from Taipei. Perhaps, our navigation-system for the metro/subway of Taipei could be usefull as well for (first time) visitors.
Monday 15th of February 2021
Thanks for your information.
JB & Renée Macatulad
Wednesday 17th of February 2021
@Dicky's Karma: You're welcome!
Things to do in Taipei
Monday 4th of May 2020
Taiwan has so much to offer, and it's one of the most photogenic countries in Asia. The food is amazing, too! Had fun reading your travelog.
Saturday 2nd of May 2020
This is a very good an detailed article about Taipei. I would also recommend to try the Maokong Gondola.