With a population of over 2.7 million, Taipei is a fusion of Chinese, Japanese, and Western cultures. It might seem daunting, but the city provides ample opportunities to explore this rich history, and to see natural beauty, modern design, and ancient traditions, all in one day.
Taipei’s vast MRT network made exploring this city a breeze, and it took little effort to get around from place to place. We only spent four days in Taipei, but you could easily spend your entire trip in this city alone.
Today I’m sharing with you our list of the Top 5 Things YOU need to do in Taipei.
First off, we’ll start with two honorable mentions:
2-28 Peace Park:
This park lies in the heart of Taipei’s Zhongzhen District, is located right outside the NTU Hospital Exit, and is a nice change from the hustle and bustle of the surrounding city.
With its well-manicured grounds and walking paths, one can easily spend a few hours exploring the scenery and history of the park. 2-28 Peace Park commemorates the February 28th, 1947 Massacre, when an anti-government uprising turned bloody, and an estimated 10,000 – 50,000 people were murdered. It sounds grisly, but is a great tribute to how far this country has come both socially & politically.
Make this a part of your trip to Taipei!
National Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall & Surrounding Grounds:
Just a short walk from 2-28 Peace Park lies the National Chiang Kai- Shek Memorial Hall.
Easily one of the most recognizable landmarks of the city, the grounds consist of the memorial, the National Theater, the national performing arts center, and even a post office.
Chiang Kai Shek was a Chinese political and military leader who helped shape Taiwan into what it is today. Whether you agree with him or not, these grounds are massive, and a sight to behold.
The hall is reminiscent of Washington D.C.’s Lincoln Memorial, and two guards stand watch over the towering statue of this Chinese leader.
The memorial is free, and at certain times in the day visitors can witness the changing of the guards.
Now to our Top 5!
#5 Beitou Hot Springs and the Thermal Valley:
Situated next to XinBeitou Park, Thermal Valley is a hot spring that has magical mystical qualities to it. The valley has a deep history that goes back more than 200 years, and was at one time known as Hell Valley due to a few tourist incidents.
Thermal Valley has high temperatures between 80 – 100 degree Celsius, and because of its acidic qualities is unsuitable for human contact. At one time, visitors were able to enjoy boiled eggs cooked in the hot spring waters, but as of recently this has been banned due to preservation and prevention.
Along with the thermal valley, there is a hot springs museum, as well as a public bath.
Getting here is super easy – just take the MRT to the XinBeitou Exit, and follow the multiple English signs that point you to your destination.
#4 Taipei Grand Hotel:
Established in 1952, this majestic hotel stands alone as one of the most beautiful places we’ve ever stayed in.
Equipped with 500 rooms that offer a birds-eye-view of Taipei, the Grand Hotel has maintained classic Chinese style and architecture, while also appealing to a new generation of travelers.
Walking into the lobby for the first time was a surreal movie-like experience, and we were blown away by the sheer size of it all.
Our room was spacious, yet comfortable, with amazing views of the Taipei City Skyline. The hotel also offers dining options, has a small museum and gift shop, and a direct shuttle to the MRT station.
Even if you aren’t staying here as a guest, it’s still worth checking out!
#3 Elephant Mountain and the view of Taipei 101:
Having gone up to the top of Taipei 101 the night before, we found that the views from Elephant Mountain were just as impressive – and maybe even better!
This free hike is not overly strenuous, but can be steep in certain parts. We made the mistake of climbing Elephant Mountain with our heavy backpacks, but still enjoyed the hike and breathtaking views at the very top. There are multiple viewpoints at different heights, so don’t just stop at the first one you see!
The views can get a little crowded, especially during major holidays, so it’s recommended to hike early in the morning.
You won’t regret making this one of your stops in Taipei.
Located in the south of Taipei is the mountain village of Maokong. After taking the MRT to the Taipei Zoo Exit and transferring to the Maokong Gondola, this half hour ride to the top offered us amazing views of both the city and mountains.
A round trip ticket costs only 260 NTD, and once you’re at the top, you are free to explore the quaint village. Directly surrounding the station are many street food vendors selling your typical fair, but further down, there are multiple teahouses that offer more upscale dining and traditional tea ceremonies. The views from these teahouses are some of the best in Taiwan which is why this experience is #2.
We took part in a tea ceremony, and enjoyed High Mountain Oolong in the crisp night air while overlooking the city skyline, and it was one of the most memorable parts of our trip, and is something you shouldn’t pass up.
From Raohe and Shilin, to the Michelin starred Din Tai Fung and hole-in-the walls like Sihai Soy Milk King and Jin Feng, we were more than excited to make eating one of our prime activities while in Taipei.
Due to the high quality and quantity of Taiwanese cuisine, you could eat something different every day for a year, and still manage to find new things to try.
It would take multiple trips and visits to this city to take advantage of everything it has to offer, and four days definitely wasn’t enough.