Taiwan is a sadly underrated country, and we would urge more people to visit and experience the delicious food, friendly people, and beautiful scenery. This jewel of Southeast Asia also has a rich and interesting culture, the many fascinating things to do in the capital Taipei are a testament to that.
BEST THINGS TO DO IN TAIPEI
Visit the National Palace Museum
The National Palace Museum is huge and has more than 70,000 objects of interest from Imperial China. The exhibits are detailed and absorbing, a curious tourist could easily spend an entire day looking at the artifacts on display.
There are free daily tours in English, or if you prefer being allowed to roam, the audio guide is excellent.
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Explore Taipei’s Temples
One of the most impressive elements of Taipei is that it blends the ancient and modern beautifully. The ever-expanding metropolis has been built respectfully around the many Buddhist and Taoist temples and they are a joy to explore.
Longshan Temple was constructed in 1738 to pay homage to Guanyin, the goddess of mercy. It also contains the statues of over 100 Chinese folk gods and goddesses.
Longshan Temple is a labour of love and an example of resilience. It has been destroyed several times by earthquakes and wars but each time it has been reverently rebuilt by the locals who worship here.
Bao-an Temple was built in the mid-18th century and is a gorgeous building dedicated to the Taiwanese religion. It is a rare and beautiful example of spirituality in the region so is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Visit at night when the temple and her stunning dragon columns are light up, it’s spectacular!
Wander a couple of streets along from Bao-an and you will find Confucius Temple. It’s a simple place that is dedicated to a philosopher who had a huge impact on the culture of Taiwan and China, Confucius. It is a replica of the first Confucius Temple in the great man’s birthplace of Qufu.
See the panorama from Taipei 101
Until 2010 Taipei 101 was the tallest building in the world and it is the perfect place to observe the magnificence of the city from above.
Visit the viewing platform on the 89th floor during the day for the panoramic vista and indulge in the bargain drinks deals on the patio of Morton’s Steakhouse for cocktails and a birds-eye view of the night sky and carpet of lights below.
If you’re feeling a little crazy take a few footsteps outside on the 91st floor. There are plenty of safety bars to prevent falls, but it still gets the adrenaline revving!
Visit Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall
This imposing national monument in Liberty Square is dedicated Chiang Kai-Shek, the president of the Republic of China between 1928 and 1949 and the ruler of Taiwan from 1949 to when he died in 1949.
Liberty Square is a historic part of the city where many protests and rallies have taken place. It’s a huge space built for massive crowds.
Seek out the library and museum within the 75-metre memorial, they tell the story of the life and work of Chiang Kai-Shek and details how Taiwan has evolved into the country it is now.
Wander around Taipei’s Night Markets
Taipei’s night markets are a vibrant place to spend an evening. One of my favourite things to do in this incredible city is going out on a hunt for delicious street food and chat with the cheerful and funny stall vendors.
The biggest of all the markets is Shulin, there are 400 stalls filled with hot food, sweet snacks, and souvenirs.
Tonghua is food-focused and a favourite of the local Taiwanese. So, if you wish to experience authentic Taipei, spend a few exciting hours here.
Did you know that a market stall could receive Michelin recognition for the quality of its food?! Neither did I until I tried the delicacies at ‘Chen Dong Ribs Stewed in Medicinal Herbs’ It’s not a catchy name but my goodness the food is amazing!!
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Relax in Beitou Hot Spring
Beitou Hot Springs are easy to access from Taipei. When the Japanese were in charge the area was developed into a posh resort with hotels and tea houses.
There are public and private baths, each has a different set of rules so check the etiquette before diving out of the changing room in your swimwear!
Try all three types of sulphurous spring to enjoy the full benefits. White, iron (clear), and green sulphur, a unique type only found in Beitou and Akita, Japan.
Once your dip is over and your body has been transformed, visit the Beitou Cultural Museum. The springs have had a huge influence on the culture of this wonderful part of the world and the exhibits tell the stories. From the arrival of Japanese Geisha’s and the hotel bar attendants who zipped around the Hot Spring Hotels on scooters to the use of Beitou is a popular location for the Taiwanese film industry.
Take the Maokong Gondola
The Maokong Gondola will take you on a 2.5-mile ride through the skies above Taipei and the nearby forests. It’s not for those who are scared of heights but gliding along peacefully peeping out at the magnificent views was surprisingly calming.
Maokong is the highest part of the city. The winding pathways between tea plantations and cute little cafes are gorgeous in an afternoon and even more so at night when the sprawling city below is light up.
PLANNING YOUR PERFECT TAIPEI TRIP
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