Taipei Tourism: The City’s Top 10 Attractions

1. Taipei 101

Towering 101 floors above ground and standing at 509 meters from top to toe, Taipei 101 was the tallest building in the world for 6 years before it was surpassed by Dubai’s Burj Khalifa in 2010. Built to withstand the country’s constant onslaught of typhoons and earthquakes, Taipei 101 is every structural planner’s dream come true and is truly a sight to behold.

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Metro stop: Taipei 101

2. Ximending

Known as the “Little Tokyo” of Taipei, the pedestrian zone of Ximending is a hotspot for Japanese food, fashion and quirky culture. This area is busy all day but the most exciting time is when the sun goes down. You will be impressed by the myriad of neon lights, people and delicious smells wafting from every alleyway and corner. When you are there, be sure to check out Red House Theater, a historical building and former market built during the Japanese occupation. Also, if you are into themed restaurants, Modern Toilet calls this area home.

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Metro stop: Ximen

3. Mengjia Longshan Temple

Built in 1738, this temple has been rebuilt and renovated several times no thanks to natural disasters and wars. Even so, it remains one of the busiest and most stunning temples in Taipei. If you only have time for just one temple visit, make it this one.

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Metro stop: Longshan Temple

4. Bo Pi Liao Old Street

Not too far from the temple is Bo Pi Liao Old Street, a perfectly preserved historical district built during the Qing dynasty that also boasts buildings from the island’s early post-war period. Traditional homes and shops make up this street and visitors are invited to enjoy the street’s magnificent cultural and historical presence.

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Metro stop: Longshan Temple

5. Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall

Erected in memory of General Chiang Kai Shek, the memorial hall and its ground are definitely worth visiting as they boast traditional Chinese architecture with Taiwanese flair. The memorial symbolizes liberty and democracy so do not be surprised if you stumble upon a mass gathering demonstrating freedom and other political issues.

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Metro stop: Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall

6. Beitou Hot Springs

Said to have healing powers, hot springs are mineral-rich heated springs produced by the Earth’s crust. The northern district of Taipei is very famous for its wealth of hot springs and many locals believe that a bath in these springs will encourage good blood circulation and improved health. No trip to Taiwan is complete without a soak in one of them. If you do not want to stay at one of the many resorts peppered in the area, just hop onto the MRT in the city and get off at Xin Beitou station, located right opposite Qinshui Park. With plenty of baths and hotels located around the park, you can walk to the closest public hot springs of your choice, enjoy a soak and head right back to the city center.

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Metro stop: Xin Beitou

7. Night Markets

Taipei’s slew of street night markets sell everything from fried chicken cutlets to the latest fashion trends. This is perhaps the best place to head to if you want to try typical Taiwanese eats and rub shoulders with some locals. Some of the most famous night markets in the city are Shihlin, Raohe, Shida and Linjiang. Expect a fun-filled, noisy, crowded and vibrant atmosphere no matter which market you head to. Be sure to head over with an appetite.

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8. Wu Fen Pu

If you are a shopaholic then you must head over to Wu Fen Pu, the city’s most famous wholesale garment area. With over a thousand stores to choose from, you will undoubtedly find wholesale bargains on the latest fashion trends. Try not to head over on a Monday as it is the day most retailers head over to stock up hence the wholesalers will probably not have time to entertain you.

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Metro stop: Houshanpi

9. Elephant Mountain

For the best view of Taipei City, hike your way to the top of Elephant Mountain. It is more of a hill than a mountain and the lookout point is easily accessible via stairs so it isn’t exactly a hike but more of a walk up the stairs. It should take a relatively fit person not more than 15 minutes to head up. The best time to head over is at sunrise or sunset. I advise you to do this on a weekday as it gets pretty crowded over the weekends. 

Metro stop: Xiangshan

10. Din Tai Fung

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No trip to Taiwan is complete without a visit to Din Tai Fung. This chain restaurant was born in Taiwan in 1972 and ever since then, has made waves around the world. In 2010, its Hong Kong branch was awarded one Michelin Star, the first Taiwanese restaurant to be awarded with such an elevated culinary honor. Must-tries are the pork chop fried rice, braised beef soup, pork xiao long paos and taro dumplings. Service is impeccable, the ambiance is top notch and the prices truly affordable for a restaurant of such caliber. Be sure to dine at the Taipei 101 branch just so you get to kill two birds with one stone. Reservations are strongly encouraged. Head to http://www.dintaifung.com.tw/en/ for more information.

Metro stop: Taipei 101

Getting around is simple. Either jump into a cab or take the city’s supremely efficient train system, the Taipei Metro. I recommend taking the latter during rush hour as the traffic can be horrible, especially when it is raining.

Day or night, Taipei is every wanderluster’s dream come true. The city is chockfull of friendly locals, great eats, a fantastic public transport system, beautiful architecture and an awe-inspiring balance between old and new. From luxury hotels to budget stays, Taipei is the sort of city that magnanimously caters to travelers from all walks of life, making it a fantastic place to travel to no matter the time of year.

Lianne Choo

Born in Singapore and raised in Malaysia to multi-racial parents, Lianne is a bonafide travel and food junkie. Having traveled extensively to over 30 countries, Lianne has lived in Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Honolulu and Paris and now calls Taichung, Taiwan home. She speaks fluent English, Malay and French and is currently improving her conversational Mandarin skills. She prefers a life of free spirited travel and freelancing than one spent cooped up in an office. When she's not off on an adventure, you can find her whiling her time away with books, good movies and even better food.

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