Explore Taipei: Top Ten Attractions
Exporing Taipei: Top Ten Attractions
For some reason Taiwan has never made it onto our top places to visit. We’ve always overlooked it choosing to visit bigger and better countries like Hong Kong and Singapore. So we were very pleasantly surprised at how much we enjoyed exploring the city, tasting the array of foods and mingling with the local Taiwanese people.
With so much more to see and do in this small little country, I have no doubt we will be back very soon to explore the rest.
Unlike Hong Kong and Singapore where the £ might not stretch that far, Taiwan is still super cheap and so you can soak up all there is to see and do without breaking the bank.
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This is definitely somewhere that needs to be added to your Asian adventure if you have a trip planned anytime soon.
Here’s a look at some of the best things to explore around the city and what to expect when you get there.
Liberty square, formally known as Chiang Kai – Shek Memorial Plazza, was an impressive open space with just as impressive Taiwanese buildings strategically situated in each direction of the square. With a 360 degree view you can see the memorial hall, the National Theatre and the National Concert Hall as well as the Gate of Integrity.
We would highly recommend going early morning to get some amazing shots of the building without the interruption of hundreds of tourists.
As soon as the sun comes up they will descend upon the square in hordes. If you stick around during the day for a pic nic or simply to relax in the the expansive gardens and cobbles courtyards, you might even get a glimpse of the changing of the guards.
You can get to Taipei 101 very easily using the MRT, as it is conveniently called the same thing.
This is the case for many other tourist attractions in Taipei, making life much easier for any tourist exploring the city. Standing as the tallest building in Taipei, it’s not surprising that this is always a busy attraction.
Whilst it is a spectacular building both day and night, and the NT$600 ticket to the top may be well worth it, we much preferred to see the cityscape from atop Elephant Mountain close by. This way we managed to include Taipei 101 building in our pics.
If you don’t mind the small 30 minute hike to the top of the mountain, I would definitely recommend taking in the city view from here and pocket the NT$600 for something else….delicious Taiwanes food maybe!
We made the hike to Elephant Mountain at around 8pm when the sun had already set. This was not our origional plan, but our lack of camera battery, made the decision for us.
For this reason I can’t say what the day time view is like or the amount of tourists around, but I can imagine in peak season it would be pretty busy at any time. The hike up for us was fine, it took a short 30 minutes with a few pit stops along the way.
We did see a few struggling on our way up, but I’d say everyone is more than capable of the hike regardless of their fitness ability. My only advice, apart from enjoying the view would be to come prepared for the mosquitoes, summer and winter!
The view is beautiful and well worth the hike.
I would imagine in summer when the weather is a little nicer, you could also pack a pic nic or a few beers and enjoy the views for a little longer, even taking the alternative route down the back of the mountain on your way down.
Ximending Is a bustling shopping district located in the heart of the city. With a number of tourist attractions close by, The Red House, Taipei City North Gate and shopping complexes galore you could easily spend a day getting lost in this area.
The atmosphere, the hustle and bustle of street vendors and the enjoyable performances by local creative acts, scattered down the back streets, Ximending is both a popular shopping district by day and a hip hangout spot by night.
Situated in the bustling area of Ximen, The Red House was originally build as the entrance to a bustling marketplace for the local Japanese during the colonial era of the late 1800’s.
Today The Red House has been transformed into a platform for arts and culture, with regular craft markets, cultural events and even performances in the theatre on the second floor.
The surrounding area is very LGBT friendly and a great way to spend a day or even an evening soaking up the hustle and bustle of the busy streets. This is a popular tourist attraction that can be added to any Taipei itinerary.
While there are an abundance of popular temples scattered around the city that you will undoubtly come across while exploring the streets of Taipei, Longshan Temple is probably one of the most popular, visited by hundreds of tourists daily.
It gets pretty crowded but this will help you blend in as you light your insence, and pretend to know what you’re praying to, as you will no doubt try to do when following tradition.
Located directly across from the popular Huaxi Tourist Night Market, it’s best to visit in the evening to “kill two birds with one stone” as they say.
We ventured through this quirky part of town on our quest to try out the yummy foods famous in this area. We were not disappointed!
Whist it’s easy to find both soup dumplings and the smoothie house with it’s mouth watering mango shaving dessert, in other areas, an afternoon wandering the back alleys of Yongkang is a great way to pass a few hours.
Taipei was most definitely put on the map by its night markets, and there are simply too many to mention in just a few sentences.
We have therefore decided to dedicate an entire post to Taipei night markets alone. It will be on HHIH very soon!.
Whist this is a fairly small city gate situated in the centre of a busy intersection, it is a very beautiful gate, that is of great importance in Taiwanese history.
Built in 1879, it was once the main entrance to the bustling Dadaocheng area of Taipei. While the other gates located around the city were demolished then later restored, the North Gate is the only gate that retains its original appearance.
It now stands as a national monument and thus a reason in itself to make a stop here.
Whist we didn’t visit Wulai Hot Springs on our visit to Taipei for various reasons, we did get a few recommendations from a few locals advising that this was the one to visit. There are a few in and around Taipei, most famously Beitou which you can get to easily by taking the MRT.
If you’re pushed for time and you really want to experience the hot springs in Taipei, hop on the MRT for 30 mins and go check out Beitou Hot Springs. But if you have one full day to dedicate to it, then for sure get yourself to Wulai.
Located just south of Taipei, taking around 1-2 hours by bus, Wulai is a mountainous indigenous district and is famous for its outdoor natural hot springs. With hot and cold pools dotted around the mountain, you will no doubt have a relaxing day surrounded by nature.
Be sure to book a hotel or guest house well in advance if you plan to stay overnight, as they get booked up pretty quick in peak season.
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