Taipei is a unique global city where traditions, culture and innovations seem to co-exist in perfect harmony. Compared to other Asian cities, the warm & hospitable nature of Taiwanese makes exploring Taipei so much easier. Time can be a challenge when trying to experience the multiple facades of Taipei from the lively street-food scene, loud night markets to the highbrow National Palace Museum. We’ve compiled a list of must-visits in the city to assist with your trip planning.
1. Taipei 101 Building
With a height of 101 floors commemorating the renewal of time, this towering skyscraper is the perfect way to see Taipei from above the clouds. The central tower features a series of eight segments of eight floors each. From the Chinese perspective, the number eight is associated with abundance, prosperity and good fortune.
2. National Palace Museum
The National Palace Museum and the Palace Museum in the Forbidden City in Beijing, China, share the same roots from the old Palace Museum in Beijing due to the Chinese Civil War. Helmed as one of the largest museums in the world, it has a permanent collection of more than 696,000 pieces of ancient Chinese imperial artefacts and artworks from over 10,000 years of Chinese history – Neolithic age to the late Qing Dynasty. Most of the collection are high-quality pieces collected by China’s ancient emperors.
3. Mengjia Longshan Temple
The most famous temple in Taiwan – Mengjia Longshan Temple was built in 1738 by Fujian settlers. It performed more than just a place of worship; the temple was also a gathering place for these Chinese settlers. Located in the old village part of Taipei, Wanhua District, this temple has stood the test of time and lasted through several natural disasters and wars. The local are consistently rebuilding and restoring this historical architecture to preserve this piece of history.
4. Shilin Night Market
Indisputably the most popular night markets, one can shop and feast to your heart’s desires at this considerable night market. Although there is a large selection of clothes and accessories, tourists usually patronize the market for its famous local street food such as Sausage Wrapped in Glutinous Rice, Stir-fried Squids, Oyster Omelets, Shilin Super Size Sausages, Ribs Stewed in Chinese Herbal Medicine. Shanghai Bun, Qinwaxiadan, Scallion Pancakes, Paopao Ice, Huge Chicken Cutlet, and many more. Experience Taipei and do as the locals do here!
5. XiMenDing & Red House Theatre
Cementing is the mecca for youth culture. Regardless of weekdays or weekends, you are sure to find crowds of people filling the labyrinth of endless streets engaged in a wide range of activities from street performances, kitschy themed restaurants to innovative retail outlets. Don’t be fooled by Red House Theatre antiquated exterior, its interior comprises of interesting Taiwanese indie art shops. If you’re fortunate, you might just run into a Taiwanese pop star holding an album-signing event there on some Sundays!
6. Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall
This hall is dedicated to commemorate the national founding father Dr Sun Yat-Sen’s unparalleled morality, revolutionary conducts and to promote Dr Sun Yat-Sen’s doctrine. The majestic, solemn main building, set against the Chung Shan Park has become more than just a crown jewel in Taipei’s eastern district – it has also brought a new facet to the local culture and arts scene.
7. Lin Family Mansion & Garden
Located in Banciao, Lin Family Mansion & Garden best represents the architecture style from southern China. The Family used to be one of the most powerful and influential families in Taiwan and contributed significantly to the development of Taiwan economic infrastructure. Covering a total area of 20,000 square metres, it is necessary to have a tour guide lead to enter the mansion’s interior.
Founded during the Qing Dynasty, this small town was build due to gold rush during the Japanese occupation in 1893, thus explaining Japanese influence on both its architecture and culture. After the war, gold mining activities declined, and town exists mainly as a tourist destination filled with Chinese and Japanese style cafés, tea houses, souvenir shops and a fantastic view of the ocean.
9. Dan Shui & Fort San Domingo
Danshui (Tamsui) is one of the most popular day-trip tourist spots in Taipei. The charming riverside town is known for its wide variety of street food, delicate handicrafts and beautiful scenery. Danshui is also a town that is rich in history. Located on its hilltop is Fort San Domingo that’s named after the first fort built by the Spanish in 1628. Local residents then called Dutch disdainfully as ‘Hong Mao’ hence leading to the name Hong Mao Chen (紅毛城) which literally means “red hair fortress” in Chinese.
10. Yang Ming Shan National Park
Located in the north of Beitou, Yang Ming Shan is the only national park in Taiwan with volcanic geography and hot springs. The gorgeous mountain scenery and soothing weather also made Yangmingshan National Park an excellent summer resort for both local and tourist. The best time to visit is between January to May for its flower blossom festival.