Take a trip to Taiwan’s capital for culture, wildlife and some pretty tasty noodles.
Looking for a slice of Southeast Asia away from the usual backpacker crowds and honeymooning couples? It’s time to check out Taipei, Taiwan.
With vibrant traditions, breathtaking landscapes and mouthwatering cuisine, it’s about time this small island nation received the attention it deserves. Dan and Casey of A Cruising Couple present 10 top things not to miss on a trip to Taipei.
1. Test your taste buds at Shilin Night Market
Get to grips with Taiwanese grub at Shilin Night Market and be a part of the local crowd munching on skewered squid, grilled chicken hearts, stinky tofu, and oyster omelettes. When you’ve had your fill, be sure to wash it all down with a signature pearl milk tea.
2. Soak in the hot springs
Good for all those jet-lagged limbs and aching bones, Taiwan’s hot springs are the perfect place to relax and unwind. The neighbourhood of Beitou is one of the best places to dive in, with plenty of luxury and low cost accommodation to suit all holiday budgets.
3. Hike at Yangmingshan National Park
Escape the city and head for Yangmingshan National Park, just 40 minutes from Taipei Main Station. Also known as Grass Mountain, it’s no surprise that there are plenty fields and hills to ramble across. If you want to amp up the hiking experience, then try a day trip to nearby Teapot Mountain.
4. Slurp up some beef noodles
If you only eat one thing in Taipei, make it beef noodles, the national dish of Taiwan. A pile of doughy noodles, chunks of fatty beef, and a simple broth combine to create this sensational dish. Each restaurant has its own twist; experiment until you find your favourite.
5. Appreciate art at the National Palace Museum
This stunning museum is filled with the world’s largest collection of Chinese art. Check out the Buddhist artifacts and the more unusual artworks, like a model of a boat carved from an olive pit.
6. Rock climb at Long Dong
Take a day trip from Taipei to Long Dong, nicknamed Dragon Cave after one of the rock formations found here. Climb the spectacular 70 metre sandstone crags, or, for those without a head for heights, this is a great spot to go snorkelling too.
7. See Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial
This famous monument was built to celebrate the life and success of Taiwan’s former president Chiang Kai-Shek. The memorial grounds include the National Concert Hall and National Theatre. Take a trip in the late afternoon and try your hand at Tai Chi with the locals who practice here regularly.
8. Shop at Wufenpu
There are plenty of high-end designer shops throughout the city, but Wufenpu is the cream of the crop. This extensive, open-air market has everything from shoes to dresses, not just for you, but for your pets too! Bring plenty of spends, all this designer clobber won’t come cheap!
9. Visit Xingtian Temple
Taiwan is primarily a Buddhist nation, and one temple not to miss is Xingtian Temple. Dedicated to Guangong, the god of war and martial arts, it’s one of Taipei’s busiest. Make you own offerings and keep a lookout for the fortune-telling oracle blocks.
10. Make a pit stop at a 7-11
It might seem silly, but in Taipei, 7-11 supermarkets are an attraction in their own right. Not only can you buy ramen noodles, underwear, or a box of tea bags at any time of day or night, you can also mail packages, pay bills, renew your driver’s license, purchase concert tickets, and drop off your dry cleaning.