The Ultimate Travel Guide to Taipei, Taiwan
Table of Contents
If you haven’t been to Taipei, Taiwan yet, then you’re missing out a whole lot on life.
Taiwan is one of the Asian countries that has the most beautiful culture. It gives off the liveliness of Chinese culture and the elegance of Japanese culture combined. Taiwan was conquered by the Japanese from 1895 to 1945, and its Chinese roots continually shape its culture. Taiwan, therefore, has this combination of both Chinese and Japanese influence, and the beauty of the combination, along with a little mix of Taiwan’s own culture, produced a beautiful, whole new culture in itself—this is why I think Taiwan has the most beautiful culture in Asia.
Its capital city Taipei especially showcases Taiwan’s culture. Taipei, noted for its colorful, bustling streets, night markets, and the towering Taipei 101 skyscraper, is a famous tourist destination in Taiwan. Taipei has so much of Taiwan’s culture condensed in its area that it is virtually impossible to run out of new things to see and do here. So if you haven’t been to Taipei yet, it’s time to start planning to—and here’s the Ultimate Taipei Travel Guide to help you out.
In this Taipei Travel Guide Blog, we listed some recommended things to do and see, sample itinerary, best places to stay, travel tips and more.
Starting November 2017, Filipino Passport holders no longer need to secure a visa to visit Taiwan. Philippine passport holders are eligible to travel to the Republic of China (Taiwan) completely visa-free for 14 days.
Visa-Free Requirements for Filipino Travelers
A visa-free traveler only needs to prepare the four documents listed below:
- An ordinary/regular passport with remaining validity of at least six months from the date of entry (Diplomatic & Official passport holders are not eligible for visa-free treatment);
- A return ticket or a ticket for the traveler’s next destination and a visa for that destination if it is required;
- Proof of accommodation (hotel) booking or host/sponsor’s contact information, or arrangements of tour, travel, visit, events and meeting etc.
- A completed “Arrival Card” which may be obtained from the airlines or cruise ship company.
And then present the completed arrival card with passport to the immigration officials at an airport or seaport upon their arrival in Taiwan. (complete FAQ)
- New Taiwan Dollar (TWD) is the currency of Taiwan
- Php100 is approximately NT$57.70
- To avoid currency loss, don’t change your money at the airport
- I prefer ATM withdrawal in Taipei, just make sure to notify your bank that you are traveling to avoid the hassle.
When is the best time to visit Taiwan?
Taipei has a semi-tropical climate characterized by hot and humid weather. The most comfortable season to visit is the fall, when the rainfall is at its lowest and the temperatures average a pleasant mid 20°C. February to April are particularly damp with little sunlight, while the summers can be very hot, but often punctuated by heavy thundershowers.
Taipei is prone to typhoons from May to October, though the highest concentrations are in August and September. Winters can be quite chilly, with temperatures occasionally falling below 10°C at night, though snowfall has never been known to occur.
Summer (June – August)
Summers in Taipei are hot and humid. These months are usually the off-peak period for tourists and it is best for budget travelers since there’s a huge inventory of rooms which may lead to more hotel price markdown.
Fall (September – November)
This is the time of the year when the weather is more enjoyable. It’s not to hot and not too cold as well which makes it a great period to visit Taipei from the weather perspective. October is also the official end of the tropical cyclone (typhoon) season, this means you can expect less rain and more sunny days.
Winter (December – February)
This is the driest months of the year and it’s perfect if you want to do walking tours or outdoor trips. This is also one the busiest since the start of the winter season is Christmas season. If year you hate too much crowd, expensive flights, and hotels, avoid the Chinese New Year celebration in Taipei. It is usually celebrated at the end of January or early February.
The temperature is somehow similar to the fall which is around 20 degree Celsius but there are times that there will be precipitation.
As for when to stay, Taipei, Taiwan generally has a fair climate all year round. However, if you’re the type of traveler who likes walking around, and if you plan on visiting Taipei’s night markets, be sure to avoid the months of July through September. July is usually the hottest month with an average temperature of at least 30°C (85°F), while August to September is usually the rainy months. Although there are several activities you can engage in regardless of weather, nothing beats exploring Taipei with a nice, chill weather, without the hassle of carrying a raincoat or an umbrella along with your shopping bags.
How to get there
Several international airlines offer daily flights to Taipei. In the Philippines, airlines like AirAsia offer flights from Manila and Cebu to Taipei.
AirAsia’s Clark – Taipei route operates with the following schedule.
How to get from Taipei Airport to Taipei City Centre
From Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, you can choose to either ride a taxi or a bus to get to Taipei. Both modes of transportation are available in both terminals. You can be rest assured that the taxis at the airport are safe because they are accredited by the Aviation Police Bureau, but expect that there will be a fare surcharge.
Bus fares, on the other hand, are generally cheaper, and tickets are sold at bus counters. Buses can take you to Taipei Main Station, where you can book a much cheaper and shorter taxi ride to the hotel you booked.
The Taoyuan International Airport Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) is a faster mode of transportation that directly connects the airport and Taipei City. The 51.03 km (31.71 mi) line began commercial service on March 2, 2017.
Taipei Taoyuan International Airport (TPE) Private Transfer to Taipei
- Travel in Comfort! Enjoy a direct private transfer from Taipei Taoyuan International Airport (TPE) to Taipei City.
- Book your affordable Taipei Airport Transfer via KKday
Where to stay in Taipei
Taipei has a lot of good hotels around. YoMi Hotel (check rates), Via Hotel Loft (check rates), Ximen Hedo Hotel Kaifeng (check rates) and Taipei Morning Hotel (check rates) are some of the most affordable decent hotels and have been awarded by TripAdvisor’s Certificate of Excellence as well.
- Ximending– Ximending is a neighborhood and shopping district in the Wanhua District of Taipei, Taiwan. It was the first pedestrian zone in Taiwan.
- Zhongshan – The district features many recreational areas which include Rongxing Garden Park, Xinsheng Park, Yingfeng Riverside Park, Meiti Riverside Park, Zhongshan Fine Arts Park, Dajia Riverside Park, and Taipei Municipal Children’s Recreation Area.
- Da’an District – Da’an has numerous shopping areas. On Zhongxiao East Road, Dunhua South Road and neighboring alleys, there are clothing shops, restaurants serving world cuisines, and major department stores including three branches of the Pacific Sogo Department Store, Breeze Center, the Ming Yao Department Store, and the immense 24-hour Eslite Bookstore.
Getting around Taipei
The lifeline of transportation in Taipei is the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) system. The MRT, oftentimes called Metro Taipei, connects several major stations in Taipei. Metro Taipei displays and announces information in English aside from other languages, which makes it very accessible for non-Chinese speakers.
The most expensive trips only cost NT$ 65, or about US$ 2. Buses are also a famous mode of transportation. Taipei buses also have English displays so it’s also good for non-Chinese speakers. Bus fares are paid per section that the bus passes through, and each section is just NT$ 15, or less than US$ 1. Buses have digital displays that indicate when you should pay and when you can go down.
Use EasyCard while traveling in Taiwan! You can use it for the Taipei Metro, Ubike, Bus Services, Train and even for your purchases at various convenience stores! You can get EasyCard at any MRT Station and can be reloaded at both MRT stations and convenience stores.
Get a Ubike! Its a bike sharing system in Taipei. All you need to do is to register your EasyCard at one of the kiosks located at each Ubike station or online using your local mobile number. If you don’t have a local mobile number, you can use your credit card to rent a bike at any Ubike kiosks.
4 Hour Taipei Private Charter Service – From Taipei
Fun Activities and Places to See in Taipei
Visit Jiufen Old Street in New Taipei City
New Taipei used to be called Taipei County and was a part of Taipei. Now, New Taipei is a separate city that surrounds Taipei. Quite confusing right? Regardless of its origin, Jiufen Old Street is a must-visit tourist destination near in New Taipei. Once a gold mining village established by the Japanese, Jiufen Old Street is now a quaint but colorful small village with plenty of food stalls and shops. Think of it as an old-school shopping district.
Join-in Tour From Taipei: Yehliu, Pingxi, Jiufen
Save money by booking affordable tours.
- Discover some of Northern Taiwan’s most beautiful scenery, just a short 1-hour ride from Taipei.
- Set off your own Chinese lantern in the charming village of Pingxi and eat Taiwanese street snacks at Jiufen Old Street.
- See the Queen’s Head and some of Taiwan’s more unusual natural geological landscapes at Yehliu Geopark.
- Discover the delights of Jiufen, Yehliu, and Pingxi with your own expert, local travel guide, and driver.
- [Book your Tour Here]
Shop some more in Ximending
Ximending is often referred to as the Harajuku of Taipei. It’s the first pedestrian zone in Taipei—meaning no motor vehicles pass by there. You’re free to walk around and shop ‘til you drop, or walk around ‘til your feet hurt. There are countless shops in this neon-lit shopping district and range from individual food vendors to larger buildings. Think of it as an urban shopping district.
How to get there: Take the THSR to Taipei Station, continue by MRT to Ximen Station or you can also take the train to Taipei Railway Station, continue by MRT to Ximen Station.
If Japan has goldfish scooping, Taipei has shrimp fishing. Shrimp fishing is paid per hour, and you’ll be provided with poles, bait (usually chicken liver), and a tray to place your fresh catch! What’s better is you can grill your catch on the spot too. Shrimp fishing indoor pools are located in clusters near Shilin Night Market, where you can…
Hualien Night Tour to River Shrimping with BBQ Dinner
Nowadays, barbecue is not a cuisine but a culture. It has even become an eating lifestyle in many countries. For decades, barbecue as an entertainment event has bonded families and friends in the most traditional way. Children rarely experience, fun catching shrimp in wild brook! [Book your Tour Here]
Buy a souvenir or two from the Shilin Night Market.
The Shilin Night Market is a famous shopping center in town. It opens starting at 4 PM and closes as late as 2 in the morning. There were 539 food stalls as of 2002. These stalls sell both food and nonfood items, and if you want to buy authentic street food (aside from souvenirs), then this is the place for you.
Pray in Lungshan Temple of Manka.
The Buddhist temple of Lungshan Temple of Manka is a famous worship spot. It is home to Chinese deities Mazu and Guan Yu, and was constructed in 1738. During the subsequent years, the temple was damaged during the Japanese rule in Taiwan, and by the American air raids in 1945. Although the parts of the temple were reconstructed after the Second World War, it still stands as one of the most iconic temples that showcase classical Taiwanese culture.
How to get to Lungshan Temple
By MRT: Take the Blue Line 5 to Longshan Temple, the temple is located just north of the station plaza, Exit 1.
By Train: Longshan is located one block north of Wanhua station, accessible by Local service.
Location: No. 211, Guangzhou Street, Wanhua District, Taipei City, Taiwan 10853
Telephone: +886 2 2302 5162
Hours: 6am-10pm Daily
Shrink in front of the massive Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall.
It’s impossible to miss Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall in Taipei. It’s a gigantic white monument that was built in memory of the former President of the Republic of China, Chiang Kai-shek. It’s surrounded by an equally huge park. Moreover, the building is full of meanings. For instance, the octagonal blue roof symbolizes the number 8, which is commonly associated with good fortune. The 89 steps leading to the entrance, on the other hand, symbolizes the age of the former President’s age of death.
- Address: No. 21, Zhongshan South Road, Zhongzheng District, Taipei City, Taiwan 100
- No Entrance Fee
- Hours: 9am to 6pm daily
Visit the National Palace Museum
Located in Shilin, Taipei, Taiwan, The National Palace Museum has a permanent collection of nearly 700,000 pieces of ancient Chinese imperial artifacts and artworks. Trough Chiang Kai-shek’s initiative, he moved some of the collections from China to Taiwan in the late 1940s to escape the Communists. This Museum has a vast collection of beautiful artifacts and is definitely worth a visit.
How to get to the National Palace Museum
- Take the MRT Tamsui-Xinyi Line to the Shilin Station and take bus R30 (Red 30 – Low-floor bus) to the National Palace Museum. Other routes that will take you to and near the Museum plaza are buses 255, 304, 815 (Sanchung – NPM Line), M1, Minibus 18 and Minibus 19.
- Take the MRT Wenhu Line to the Dazhi Station and take bus B13 (Brown 13) to the National Palace Museum, alighting before the Front Facade Plaza of the Museum.
- Alternatively, visitors may choose to take the Wenhu Line and get off at Jiannan Rd. Station, then take bus B20 (Brown 20) to NPM’s front entrance (Main Building).
- From MRT Red Line 2 Shilin station, walk outside the station and board Bus R30, fare NT$15, payable by cash or by using Easycard.
- Busses generally leave every 30 mins on weekdays until 7PM and 15 mins on weekends until 6:55PM.
Location: No. 221, Sec 2, Zhi Shan Rd, Shilin District, Taipei City, Taiwan 111
Telephone: +886 2 2881 2021
National Palace Museum E-Ticket
- Enter the National Palace Museum and view one of the largest Chinese art collections
- Marvel at architecture from Southern Branch of the National Palace Museum
- Discover Taipei’s treasures and learn about Chinese dynasties
- [Book your National Palace Museum e-Ticket Here]
Travel to another world in Huashan 1914 Creative Park.
Huashan 1914 Creative Park has things that you won’t see anywhere else in Taipei. Upside down houses? Check. Giant soup bowl? Check. House covered in green plants? Check. Sophisticated cafes? Check! A funny thing about Huashan 1914 Creative Park, however, is that it was built in 1916, not in 1914. It started out as a winery that was built during the Japanese rule. After being shut down decades later, local artists petitioned to reopen the abandoned winery. Not long after, Huashan 1914 Creative Park came to light, and served, and still serves, as the playground of local artists and their creative minds.
Gaze at the breathtaking views in Taipei 101.
Taipei 101 is one of the tallest skyscrapers in the world next to the Burj Khalifa in Dubai. Taipei 101 is also the tallest green building in the world. The 101-storey building offers the best view deck of Taiwan in its 89th floor. It’s equipped with the world’s fastest elevator that can take you from the 5th floor to the 89th in less than a minute. The scenic view of Taipei is beautiful at all times, but I personally recommend coming to Taipei 101 during the hours of sunset to nighttime—the view of the horizon burning in red and orange before, and the city lights slowly switching on, is just rewarding.
Taipei 101 Observatory Priority Pass Ticket
Climb up to the highest viewing platform of Taipei 101, Taiwan’s most iconic building. Ride one of the world’s fastest elevators all the way to the 89th floor, and check out the spectacular city view.
Taipei 101 Observatory Skyhigh Camping Experience
Visit the Elephant Mountain
Also known as the Nangang District Hiking Trail, is best visited in the afternoon until the sundown. This area provides a beautiful panoramic view of the forest and the beautiful tall buildings.
The trail is close to the Taipei Metro Xiangshan Station. It is 183 m high and has a hiking trail about 1.5 km long.
What to eat
Egg pudding…in an egg.
The How Sweet bakery is famous for its egg pudding…served in actual eggs! The tip of the egg is cut, and the pudding is stored inside. No worries: the eggshell is sanitized and is enhanced so it doesn’t break. How Sweet’s famous egg puddings can be bought from Taipei Main Station.
Bite a crispy fried cuttlefish
If you aren’t satisfied yet with Shilin Night Market’s food stalls, then you’ll be stoked to know that there’s another food-filled night market just south of Shilin, and near SongSan Train Station… the Raohe Night Market. Here, you can spot Taipei’s version of food trucks, and where you can indulge in freshly fried, crispy cuttlefish. Yum!
Indulge in a bowl of beef noodle soup
Your trip to Taipei won’t be complete if you haven’t tried its beef noodle soup at Din Tai Fung or in any noodle shop. The dish usually consists of tender beef, crispy greens, noodles, a bit of spice, and broth that deserves to be rewarded with a huge golden trophy. Most restaurants in Taipei serve their own versions of beef noodle soup, but you should try Regent Taipei’s twist.
You can also try cold noodles. Taipei doesn’t just have hot beef noodles, it also has cold noodles, which you should definitely try as well. Taiwanese cold noodles are usually served with sesame seeds, and sometimes with peanut sauce as well. Each stall has its own version as well.
Scallion Pancake in Yongkang St.
Din Tai Fung is not the only reasons why people visit Yongkang St. This street is definitely a haven for food lovers. From Noodle houses, Bakeries, Fresh Fruit shops, and some shopping areas, there’s a lot of things to do and see in this popular foodie district. Tian Jin Flaky Scallion Pancake is a must try when you visit Yongkang St. This restaurant is hard to miss since you will immediately notice the long queue of customers waiting for their turn. With its semi-crispy pastry, you can choose an egg, cheese, bacon, Taiwanese basil and other options to add more flavor to your Scallion pancake!
[Click here to search for luxury hotels in Taipei, Taiwan]
Pork Xiao Long Bao at Din Tai Fung
If you want to taste one of the best Pork Xiao Long Bao in Taiwan then visit Din Tai Fung in Yongkang St. Steamed pork dumplings or xiao long baos contain minced pork wrapped in freshly made dough, pleated and twisted at the top and steamed.
Spring Onion Pie
Probably one of the most common street food you will find in almost all the night market in Taipei. This Onion Pie is a little bit crispy on the outside but it has sweet and soft dough filled with minced spring onions.
Just like how people hated Durian, this stinky tofu is also delicious but not everyone can appreciate its strong odor. This fermented tofu is also one of the most popular street food that you can find in most night markets in Taiwan.
Super Mango Snowflake Ice with Panna Cotta
This yummy mango flavored dessert has creamy shaved ice with real diced mangoes on the side and a pannacotta on top. It’s really worth it but make sure to be with someone, I had to finish it alone:)
Taipei Night Market Walking Tour
- Sample 12 classic Taiwanese snacks
- Experience a bustling, Taipei night market and learn about Taiwan’s rich food culture from an expert foodie guide
- [Book your Night Market Tour Here]
Free WiFi in Taipei
Taipei is one of those Cities that FREE WiFi is widely available in most public places and some of the city buses called TPE-Free. In order to activate, you need to register online or you can go to the visitor information centers and present your passport for assistance. Once registered, you can also use your account for the nationwide free WiFi called iTaiwan.
If you don’t want to rely on free WiFi access, you can also buy a local sim card that offers 4-7 days of unlimited 3g or LTE data. All you need is to present your passport and another valid ID at the nearest Mobile Carrier shops if you want to buy a local data sim card.
Taiwan Unlimited 4G Portable Wi-Fi Rental
Get your 4G Portable Wi-Fi Rental to access unlimited high-speed internet while traveling in Taiwan.
Trivia about Taipei, Taiwan
- The popular Asian beverage “Bubble Tea” or “Boba” that is made with milk and tapioca pearl originated in Taiwan in the 90’s.
- You can find the world’s very first animated pedestrian light, also known as the little green man to the locals at Xinyi District.
- Taipei 101, at the height of 509.2 meters (1,671 ft), was the tallest building in the world until it was surpassed by Dubai’s Burj Khalifa in 2008. It still claims the official records for the world’s tallest sundial and the world’s largest New Year’s Eve countdown clock.
- The National Palace Museum located in Shilin, Taipei has over 5.3 million visitors in 2015 and ranks sixth in the most-visited museums in the World.
- Tsai lng-wen became Taiwan’s first female president when she won the election in January 2016.
- With over 82,000 participants, Taiwan pride is the biggest LGBT event in Asia and protests in support for same-sex marriage are large and peacefully observed by police, which has led many to refer to Taiwan as one of the most liberal countries in Asia as well.
Taipei, Taiwan Travel and Tour Packages
Day Tour from Taipei: Northern Taiwan Private Charter (Book Online) – For 10 hours, Visit northern Taiwan’s most iconic sites like the Queen’s Head Rock in Yehliu, the Japanese colonial town of Jiufen, and eat fresh seafood at Guei Hou Fishing Harbor.
Taiwan Northeast Coast Day Tour (Book Online) – Escape from the hustle and bustle of downtown Taipei and embark on a fascinating journey to explore Taiwan’s Northeastern coastline and its stunning beaches.
8-hour Chartered Day Tour to Taipei-Hualien (Book Online) – Tour Duration: 8 Hours – Train tickets from Taipei to Hualien is hard to get. If there is a group of you, why not charter a car from Taipei to Hualien? Or charter from Hualien to Taipei? You will be able to see sights along the way that will not be able to see by train. The Suhua Highway is the most beautiful highway in Taiwan. You can get off the car and take pictures, or see sights, which will make the long journey more fun!
- Tours in Taipei: Exploring the Northeast Coast of Taiwan
- Eight Things I Love About Taiwan
- 10 Amazing Reasons Why You Should Visit Taipei Now
We will continuously update this Taipei Travel Guide Blog with new travel tips, updated itinerary, budget tips, hotel recommendations, top places to eat to help our dear readers plan their trip to Taipei. For comments, corrections and suggestions, feel free to comment below:
Originally Published: January 14, 2017
Updated December: June 22, 2018
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