I just back from Taipei, Taiwan for a long weekend trip via FlyScoot. My last trip to Taiwan was 3 years ago and this time round I mainly explore Taipei. I have been posting some photos on social media and everyone has been asking me what’s there to explore the city?
So, I decided to come out with this post to show you why. This is to for those who want to visit Taiwan in the future.
GETTING TO TAIPEI, TAIWAN
You will most likely arrive at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport. You can check out the transportation mode here to get to Taipei city. And with the launch of Taoyuan International Airport MRT this March 2017, it made the whole journey so much easier. With the ticket fare NT$160, you will arrive Taipei Main Station for within an hour time. You can also use EasyCard ( known as our Ezlink Card) to access as well.
ACCOMODATION IN TAIPEI
Where to stay in Taipei? It all depends on your budget and what type of travellers you are. From hostels to hotels, you can get everything check here.
Once you get everything settle down, let’s move on the main topic of this post.
1. Night Markets
Night Markets are one of the must-visit lists when you are in Taipei, Taiwan. Taipei is well-known for their night markets, which is available till late night. The night markets here sell household goods, apparels and street food. It is basically similar concept as Malaysia ‘pasar malam’. But what make their night markets attractive is their street snacks. The popular night markets include Raohe Market, Shilin Market and Liaoning Market.
2. Taiwanese Street Food
Never leave Taiwan without trying their street food. Taiwanese street food is delicious and affordable. You can get them from the night markets and the local eatery. Some of the Taiwan dishes you should try include braised pork rice, beef noodle, stinky tofu, flaky scallion pancakes and local desserts. Their peanut brittle ice-cream spring roll is one of the popular dessert that you should include in your food list. Their braised pork rice is simply sinful and yet satisfying. Their pancakes are chewy and flaky. The ingredients used are fresh as well. Simply addictive!
🇹🇼TW Food: Good morning! When in Taipei, you must try Taiwanese breakfast at least once. I love their crispy you tiao with cold soy milk. And do try their salty soya bean and their flatbread too! We queued for approximately 25 minutes and managed to secure a good spot for breakfast too. Here's the snippets of the overall process! Address: Hua Shan Market Level 2, No.108 Zhongxiao East Road, Sec. 1, Taipei, Taiwan. #hztravelogue #hzfooddiary #hazelxtaiwan #hzigvideo #阜杭豆漿
Or get up early to join the queue for Fu Hang Dou Jiang. Their queue is quite insane but I managed to queue for 25 minutes and secure a good spot for breakfast. You can read more here.
Taiwan is also one of the shopping paradise especially Wu Fen Pu (五分埔) area. This area is very well-known for its bargain hunts. Wu Fen Pu is the place where most Taipei retailers get their stocks from and it is usually cheaper as compared to other areas in Taipei. It is like Bugis Street, Singapore but in larger scale. You can bargain for better pricing if you purchasing for 2 or more apparels.
4. Explore Tamsui (淡水)
Tamsui is located at the northern tip of Taiwan and approximately 40 minutes from Taipei via MRT. It is also easily accessible and best for a day trip as well. Tourists like us can explore the beautiful landscape called Tamsui Fisherman’s Wharf and Tamsui Old Streets for their streetfood. If you want to do something different, try out the horse riding experience at Tamsui Beach. It was amazing especially during the sunset timing. Tamsui also serves fresh seafoods which you can consider to have your dinner there before heading back to Taipei.
How to Get There: Take Red Line to Tamsui Station.
Tamsui Fisherman’s Wharf- Upon arriving Tamsui Station, exit 2 and take bus (Red 26) , 836,or 857 .
5. Shifen & Jiufen Old Street
Spare a day trip to Shifen Waterfall and Jiufen Old Street when you are in Taipei. It is located about 30 kilometres east of the city. It is easily accessible via train and best to travel early morning so that you have time to explore both places. Shifen is known with its railway tracks and it is a popular spot to send hand-painted lanterns into the sky. It is worth a trip to pen down your wishes and sends it up to the sky. Then explore Jiufen Old Street where most shops and eateries are gathered along side and along the step pathway.
How To Get There: Take the train north to Ruifang Station and walk towards Mingdeng Road. Find the bus station (Local Residents Plaza) next to the police station and take routes 827 and 788 heading towards Jiufen. You can read the direction details here.
6. Enjoy Beitou (北投區) Hot Springs
Beitou is known for its hot springs and it can be a day trip from Taipei City using the MRT. All you need to do is to take the Red Line to Beitou Station and transfer to the pink line to Xinbeitou Station. You will reach your destination within a 5 minutes walk from the station. It is like a countryside resort town. Soak into the hot spring heated pool and enjoy the natural hot springs. There are public and private hot springs so make sure you do your research before you get there. It is like a getaway from the city.
How to Get There : Take Red Line to Beitou Station & change to Pink Line ( 1 Station) to Xinbeitou Station.
7. Hike to Elephant Mountain
If you want to have an amazing view of Taipei 101, hike up to Elephant Mountain. It is right in the middle of the city where it is surrounded by green mountains. The most perfect moment to hike up is during sunrise and sunset to capture that golden moment. The main trail leads will lead you to different perspective views of Taipei. It will take about an hour or two.
Address: 110 Taiwan, Taipei City,
Opening Hours: 9:00AM – 5:00PM (Daily)
Taipei also has several major events/ festivals throughout the year. Chinese New Year (Lunar New Year), Dragon Boat Festival and Mid-Autumn Festival are the three main traditional Chinese festivals. Apart from that, there are also other festivals such as Lantern Festival (Shang Yuan Festival). This festival takes place on the fifteenth day of the Lunar New Year. On the night of the festival decorative lanterns are seen on the streets. Taipei City Government holds annual Lantern Festival each year with events and one of them is the Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival. Thousands of visitors will gather together to release the lanterns, with wishes written on them into the sky. What a beautiful sight! So, check out the current events on your travelling month so that you can join the fun too!
9. Escape to Yilan
Yilan is a country in Taiwan located near to Taipei. It has a unique geography of overlooking the sea on one side and being surrounded by mountains on three other sides. The country is also known for its scenic spots cold and hot springs and nature trails.
If you are travelling from Taipei to Yilan by public transport, the quickest way is to take the Kamalan Bus at the Taipei Bus Station. I started my journey to Yilan once I landed Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport. There are buses that take you directly to Taipei Bus Station. The tickets can be purchased on the spot. The bus departs every 15mins and the journey takes 55mins time.
Read more on places to visit in Yilan here.
🇹🇼TW: "Love -Hate relationship with the cafes in Taiwan". ❤️-Love the cafe theme & ambience. 💔-Hate because there is a minimum spending at least 170 TWD ~ S$8.00 & above per person. So if you are going cafe hopping on Taiwan, make sure you bring enough cash… 😂. #hztravelogue #hazelxtaiwan #hzthoughts #tamedfox
If you are into minimalist list and café-hopping person, I would suggest you to visit the cafes here. Each cafes have their unique theme/ concept which definitely a place for instagrammers. However, the café culture here is rather different from Singapore and Malaysia. There is a minimum spending/ minimum order for each person. So be sure you take note on this. If you are thinking to take an interior shot, I would suggest you to just take a quick one. Alternatively, order a takeaway drink and share with your friend. The takeaway drink price is slightly cheaper. Although café-hopping here is expensive, I really love the interior and ambience of the cafes. They also provide FREE wifi to customers.