Best Things to Do in Taipei, Taiwan

For any trip to East Asia, digging into all the best things to do in Taipei is a must.

Taipei, the exciting capital of Taiwan, is one of the region’s most underrated places to visit. More often than not, the top tourist attractions in Taipei catch travellers off-guard. For a city lacking the fame of neighbouring capitals, Taipei packs a punch. (And, nope, I didn’t see it coming either.)

First-time visitor to Taipei? Start with the basics. Zip atop Taipei 101, one of the world’s tallest buildings. Eat Taiwanese food at Shilin Night Market. Learn about the history of modern Taiwan at Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall. Or marvel at the cultural heritage of Taiwan at Longshan Temple. I promise: All will be among the highlights of any Taiwan itinerary.

Need more ideas for where to go in Taipei? Strap in and plan your trip with this complete guide for what to do in Taipei including all the best places to visit in Taipei…

What to see & do in Taipei

Gawk at the city from above at Taipei 101

There’s quite literally no way you can end your Taipei itinerary without seeing Taipei 101

Rarely a block slips by where you can’t see this magnificent landmark. One of the top Taipei points of interest, Taipei 101 is always peeking into your view to keep you on track. But don’t stop there.

The observation deck of Taipei 101 is where most travellers set their sights.

For NT$500, you can hop into the world’s fastest elevator. You’ll get to see the world’s largest wind damper. This impressive engineering feat keeps one of the world’s tallest buildings from toppling over.

Taipei 101

The 360-degree panoramic view of Taipei City atop Taipei 101 is magnificent. Viewing the city from above here is, no doubt, one of the best things to do in Taipei. It’ll give you a grander appreciation of the enormousness of the city than wandering the city centre neighbourhoods can.

Taipei 101 is also home to several shops. More intriguing, there’s also a smattering of restaurants strewn throughout the building.

Keep scrolling and you’ll learn about the most famous restaurant at Taipei 101 later on… ;)

Learn more about the Generalissimo at National Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall

No man had a greater impact on modern Taiwan than Chiang Kai-shek. And if you ever wanted to learn more about the Generalissimo, National Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall is where to do it.

Political opinions aside, the architecture of Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall is impressive. It’s a great place to start your Taipei sightseeing trip.

The white facade, overlooking Liberty Square, reflects a simple, uncluttered modern Chinese aesthetic. Atop the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall, a royal blue roof adds flair. It features an intricate 8-sided classic design, symbolizing wealth and prosperity.

Morning view of Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall

Inside the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial you’ll find a memorial library and a museum. The museum host various exhibits depicting the history of modern Taiwan. If you have any passing interest in Asian history be sure to take a quick look.

Walk through Beitou Hot Springs Park (Qinshui Park)

Located to the north of Taipei City, Beitou is one of the most popular day trips from Taipei.

For most travellers, the usual starting point for a Beitou day trip is Beitou Hot Springs Park. The well-manicured public space splits alongside the geothermal river. It’s built up with walkways that wind along with the river.

Beitou Qinshui Park

Hot Springs Park is also home to Beitou Hot Springs Museum (closed Mondays) and Beitou Library. In the park, you’ll also find Millennium Hot Springs. This public hot spring is a budget-friendly alternative to the area’s more expensive spas. Come with patience. You’ll no doubt have to queue up to get in.

To get here, take the Tamsui-Xinyi Line from Taipei Main Station to Beitou MRT Station. Switch to the Xinbeitou Line, travelling one stop to Xinbeitou MRT Station.

Browse cultural artifacts at the National Palace Museum

When China and Taiwan split during the Chinese Civil War, so too did their most precious cultural artifacts. Fearing their destruction, none other than the Generalissimo planned to ship the best of the best off to Taiwan.

Not all the pieces the Generalissimo earmarked for Taiwan made it here. But the ones that did were worth the hassle.

National Palace Museum

No understanding of Chinese cultural history is complete without a visit to the National Palace Museum.

In total, the museum is home to almost 700,000 artifacts. They range from precious jade figurines & bronzes to ancient ceramics. You’ll also find paintings dating as far back as the 7th-century.

Most of the artifacts are housed for safe-keeping. There are still thousands on public display throughout most of the year.

Unusually enough for Taiwan, the main building of the museum is open 7 days a week. (Yes, even Mondays!)

To be sure, it isn’t the easiest attraction to reach on your trip. But if you’re interested in Chinese history and culture, there’s no substitute for a ride out here.

Hike up Elephant Mountain (Xiangshan)

There’s no sugar-coating it. In Taiwan’s extreme heat and humidity, clambering up Elephant Mountain (Xiangshan) won’t be easy. For the great views and escaping the chaos, however, it’ll be well worth your effort. This trek is one of the must-do activities in Taipei.

Stairs at Elephant Mountain

From the Elephant Mountain hiking trail entrance, a solid 10 to 20 minutes of stair climbing awaits. (There’s plenty of opportunity to rest along the trail, if you need it.)

After you’ve collected a Crossfit-worthy bucket of sweat, savour spectacular views of the skyline. There are several great panorama points on Elephant Mountain. This is definitely one of the best places to see in Taipei!

Get spiritual at Longshan Temple

The city’s most famous temple, Longshan Temple is a must-see while visiting Taipei.

The temple is more than a historical relic; it’s an active place of worship. Unlike most you’ll encounter in Asia, Longshan isn’t affiliated with any major religion.

Chinese folk deities are worshipped here with fervor. (And with a small donation and a little guidance from other worshippers, you can join in, too.)

Dragon Lantern at Longshan Temple

What you see here now is hardly the original. It’s been destroyed and rebuilt far more than Taipeiers would like. But Longshan Temple has always maintained its grace.

Spend a little time here during your trip to explore the intricacies and the deep symbolism. You’ll emerge with a deeper appreciation of Taipei and Taiwan.

Longshan Temple is located in Wanhua District, one of the oldest areas in Taipei. Elsewhere in district, you’ll find a handful of other beautiful temples. The well-preserved Qingshui Temple and Bangka Qingshan Temple, located to the north, are worthy of a quick detour.

Catch a glimpse of the future at Ximending

It’s no Shibuya Crossing, but Ximending is as close as you’ll get to it in Taipei.

Ximending in Wanhua District is the consumerist heart of Taipei. And as the neon lights jolt into the sky, it’s one of the most interesting places to go in Taipei for night wanderers.

Busy Street in Ximending

Even during the day, Ximending is a trendy shopping mecca. It’s especially popular with the well-to-do younger crowd. International brands are a favourite around here. (As a Canadian, I was pleasantly shocked to spot a Roots store in Ximending!)

SEE ALSO: Best Hotels in Ximending

Notable food stalls and restaurants also grace the area.

Keep on the look out for Ay-Chung Flour-Rice Noodle. This well-known Ximending culinary hotspot is one of the best places to eat in Taipei for a quick snack.

Marvel at Beitou Geothermal Valley (Hell Valley)

If Iceland floated over to Asia, it might look something like Beitou Geothermal Valley.

The jade waters, filling the lungs of Beitou with its sulfurous steam, drop a Blue Lagoon vibe. (Wait. Let’s hold off on that comparison for now.)

Beitou Thermal Valley

Unlike other hot spring areas in Beitou, Geothermal Valley isn’t a good place to take a dip.

The waters here sit near boiling point and are quite acidic. There have been a few incidents with careless visitors here. Enough that Geothermal Valley got slapped with the unfortunate nickname, Hell Valley.

As beautiful as it is to gawk at, the name is fitting. Stay clear and admire from afar.

Go hiking at Yangmingshan National Park

Looking to escape Taipei on a day trip? Set your sights on the peaceful mountainscapes of Yangmingshan National Park. This gorgeous park is one of the coolest places to go in Taipei.

Located only an hour from Taipei City, this Taiwan national park is the perfect place for a leisurely hike around Taipei. Unlike Elephant Mountain, the trails here are easy to tackle, even for beginners.

Yangmingshan National Park

The most accessible and popular hike departs from the Visitor Centre to the summit of Qixing Mountain. It’s only about 2.5 kilometres in length.

If you wish to continue further down the trail, you’ll land upon Xiaoyoukeng. At this geological marvel, you’ll witness fumaroles puffing sulphur into the air.

To get to Yangmingshan National Park, take a ride on the MRT from Taipei Main Station to Jiantan MRT Station. Bus R5 to the park departs every 15 minutes outside the station.

Entertain the kids at Taipei Zoo

Of all the family-friendly activities in Taipei, visiting Taipei Zoo might get you the most brownie points from little ones.

Taipei Zoo

Taipei Zoo is the largest in Asia, easily putting it among the top points of interest in Taipei.

The variety of animals—originating from all around the world—is astounding. But the true rockstar here, and the animal most likely to elicit mega cheers from the kids, is Yuan Zai, the first Giant Panda born in Taiwan.

Experience the heart of the city at Liberty Square

If Taipei City has a heart, it’s Liberty Square in Zhongzheng District.

Whenever Taiwanese take to the streets in protest or a special guest drops by for a visit, Liberty Square is where it goes down.

Liberty Square

Taipei locals clearly enjoy this public space. Filter in at any time of day. You’ll find Taipeiers using the space to jog, play mahjong, practice t’ai chi or simply chill out.

Catch the city’s quirkier side at Huashan 1914 Creative Park

Whomever said Taipei was bleak & boring clearly never spent time in Huashan 1914 Creative Park.

The complex occupies an abandoned winery & sake distillery. It reminds of the quirkier side of Taipei.

Huashan 1914 Creative Park at Night

The collection of buildings hosts a mish-mash of rotating museum exhibits, restaurants, shops, cafés, and bars.

Huashan 1914 is one of the more fun & interesting areas to wander around in Zhongzheng and one of the best places to visit in Taipei. Like Forrest Gump’s box of chocolates: You’ll never know what you’re gonna get here!

Catch at performance at the National Theater and Concert Hall

You may be tricked into thinking the duo of buildings on the west end of Liberty Square hail from Taipei’s early history.

Nope. Not even close. Even I’ve been around longer.

National Theater

The National Theater Hall and National Concert Hall are fraternal twin performing venues. The buildings were completed in 1987 in traditional Chinese architectural style. Despite their young age, the venues are attractive and among the coolest things to see in Taipei.

The stages are graced by performers of all types. The range from popular local artists to some of the biggest performers on the planet. (Think more Kirov Ballet or Three Tenors, and less Taylor Swift or Justin Bieber.)

SEE ALSO: When is the Best Time to Visit Taipei?

If you’re lucky enough to be in town for a big performance, there’s a good chance the theater or concert hall will be the go-to place. The Taipei International Arts Festival and Taipei Film Festival are also hosted here.

Chow down at the lesser-known Gongguan Night Market

The colossal Gongguan Night Market is one of the biggest and most interesting night markets in Taipei. It’s located along the Da’an District and Zhongzheng District border

Gongguan

With National Taiwan University across the road, the crowd here is often youthful. The flavours here skew more towards trendy Southeast Asian than traditional Taiwanese.

SEE ALSO: How to Spend the Perfect 48 Hours in Taipei

Wandering among the vendors and finding the popular stalls isn’t too difficult. A few specialities to look out for include bubble tea, pan-fried buns and Cantonese-style roasted duck.

Explore Taiwan’s past at the National Museum of History

I can’t imagine Mainland China is thrilled by the massive collection of Chinese relics at the National Museum of History in Taipei. (Surely, they’d prefer to hold them in Shanghai or Beijing, no?)

National Museum of History

And who’d blame them? The artifacts at the museum are stunning. Even if you’re not an art- or history-buff, you’ll appreciate the intricacy and craftsmanship of the displays here.

Whether you decide to pay the NT$30 entrance fee, the building is an architectural masterpiece. It’s worth a trip out for a gander.

The National Museum of History is closed on Mondays.

Chill out in Taipei Botanical Garden

Need a break from the busy streets? Seek out the Taipei Botanical Garden. This little gem sits beside the National Museum of History.

There’s no place in the city like Taipei Botanical Garden. Originally established for research, today the garden stands as one of Taipei’s favourite escapes from the urban buzz.

Taipei Botanical Garden

If you need ideas for what to see in Taipei, walking along the boardwalks and trails will impress. They’ll transport you through a variety of scenes. You’ll walk past a bamboo garden, rainforest-esque jungle, exotic flowers, and a lotus pond.

Get the latest gadgets at Guanghua Digital Plaza

Want to keep up with the latest Taiwanese electronic gadgets? It’s easy: Pop into Guanghua Digital Plaza.

Within the six-storey building you’re bound to find whatever technology you’ve been craving. (Although probably not at the bargain-basement prices you might expect.)

Guanghua Electronics Market

Before the new space-age building popped up, the marketplace was more traditional. Today, there’s less opportunity for bargaining. In Guanghua Digital Plaza, prices are, as in Western countries, posted. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to grab yourself a few perks!

Grab breakfast at Dongmen Market

Dongmen Market is a rarity in the Taipei market scene. It’s one of the few places in Taipei that starts frying up traditional Taiwanese street food goodies at the crack of dawn rather than twilight.

This small traditional market isn’t necessarily worth a special trip. But if you happen to be fighting off jet lag early in the morning in Zhongzheng District, grab a breakfast at Dongmen Market with locals. It’ll be tasty & memorable detour.

Dongmen Market

Unless you speak and/or read Chinese, ordering will be a challenge. If in doubt, go with a traditional Taiwanese breakfast treat like an oyster omelette. You can’t go wrong here!

Eat silky xiaolongbao at Din Tai Fung

Eating at Din Tai Fung in Taipei 101 is a life-affirming experience. It teaches the harsh lesson that every Chinese takeout dumpling you’d ever eaten at home was bumbling mess.

Dumplings at Din Tai Fung in Taipei 101

In case there was any doubt, yes, the silky-smooth dumplings at Din Tai Fung are worth waiting in the permanent line-up for.

Even if you hobble to the gates as the restaurant is opening up for lunch, the queue can be staggering. Wait it out. You’ll thank me.

Get a history lesson at Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall

Few men are revered on both sides of the Republic of China (Taiwan) and People’s Republic of China (China) divide. Sun Yat-sen is one of them.

And if you decide to visit Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall, you’ll learn how important this leader was to China. On both sides of the strait.

Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall

Getting to the memorial hall only involves a short northwest detour from Taipei 101.

Even if you aren’t interested in packing in a history lesson, wander around Zhongshan Park. This small park, where the hall is located, is a nice break from the hustle of Xinyi.

Get creative at Songshan Cultural & Creative Park

Songshan Cultural & Creative Park is one of Taipei’s most interesting attractions. Built upon an abandoned cigarette factory, this creative hub is Xinyi’s answer to Huashan 1914 in Zhongzheng.

Taipei City built the complex to spark creativity and innovation. And it looks like it’s doing a fine job.

Huashan 1914 Creative Park

At Songshan Park, you’ll scope out trendy art galleries, rotating exhibitions, and event spaces. And who knows? A walk here may even inspire a creative spark of your own.

Browse indie art at Red House Theater

The historic Red House Theater is one of Taipei’s finer redevelopment stories.

This turn-of-the-century Japanese-built market house sits among Taipei’s most recognizable landmarks. And the path wasn’t easy. Once a derelict eyesore, the theatre has transformed into one of the most important cultural venues & creative hubs in Taipei.

Red House Theater

Much like Huashan 1914, the Red House Theater appeals to Taipei’s artistic community. Drop by this must-visit Taipei attraction to browse works from independent artists. You can also catch a performance or simply enjoy a coffee in an ultra-hip atmosphere.

Catch a glimpse of the past at Bopiliao Old Street

Bopiliao Old Street dates back to the Qing Dynasty. It’s one of the few historic Taipei points of interest left unswept by modern development.

It couldn’t have been easy in Taipei’s building boom. Surprisingly, the government chose history over economics. And it did a remarkable job restoring Bopiliao to its former glory.

Bopiliao Historical Block

The architectural styles here aren’t uncommon elsewhere in Taiwan. Within Taipei though, there aren’t many parallels.

Wandering around the Bopiliao Historical Block channels the city’s less-industrialized past. (It seems like lifetimes ago.)

Interested in a mini-history lesson on the area? The Heritage and Culture Education Center of Taipei can fill in all the details.

Visit “Snake Alley” on Huaxi Street in Wanhua District

Not long ago, Huaxi Street Night Market was a carnivalesque sideshow. The market either drew visitors in for the freakshow. Or it completely scared them off.

Huaxi Street is a little tamer these days. But it’s probably still less savoury than you’d hope for your first Taipei night market experience.

Huaxi Street Night Market

Yes, the “snake alley” moniker still holds true. But unless you’re fascinated by weird foods (and are not above risking a swift bout with salmonella), give the “exotic” stuff a pass. You’ll be far happier sticking to the more traditional meals here.

Eat to your heart’s content on Guangzhou Street

Guangzhou Street Night Market is favoured by native Taipeiers over neighbouring Huaxi.

It’s the more traditional of the two markets. Guangzhou Street relies more on the quality & flavour of the food than on sleazy gimmicks to attract the crowds.

Guangzhou Street Night Market

On the whole, the dishes here are cheaper and more flavourful than its neighbour. (Whether that’s only from regaining your appetite after seeing—God knows what—deep-fried next door, I can’t say.)

A famous dish to try here is glutinous rice in pork intestines. It tastes better than it sounds, and looks worse than it tastes. (But if it’s okay with you, I’ll stick to my bubble tea.)

Chow down at Shilin Night Market

No visit to Taipei is complete without a evening out in Shilin Night Market. Whether you go for the tasty flavours or to wage war against your claustrophobia, it’s a wild ride at the most famous night market in Taipei.

Ever chaotic Shilin Night Market

Choosing among the myriad of vendors, stretched across several city blocks, can be overwhelming.

Besides all the delicious Taiwan food delights, don’t miss out on Shilin’s sweets. My personal pick for dessert is the Oreo milkshakes near the southern entrance. Not exactly authentic, but it washes down pork sausages and oyster omelets just fine.

Entertain the family at the National Taiwan Science Education Center

Unless afflicted with an incurable love of science, you’ll likely pass on the National Taiwan Science Education Center. For family travellers, however, visiting this museum is one of the best things to do in Taipei. It’s a great break from temple-hopping and food-hunting for the kids.

The exhibits here cover all things science. From math and physics to chemistry and earth science, it’s all here.

National Taiwan Science Education Center is even “foreigner-friendly.” English translations are peppered alongside the fun & entertaining exhibits.

Wander about the humble Confucius Temple

As the focal point of Confucian worship in the city, Confucius Temple deserves a quick look. Even if you visit only to compare its austere & humble features to other temples, it’s worth the detour.

Confucius Temple is also free to enter. There’s little reason you shouldn’t wander into Datong District to check it out.

Confucius Temple

Inside the temple, you’ll discover interactive displays (in English, too). They’ll teach you all about Confucius and Confucian values.

Unsurprisingly, you’ll often find school groups on educational field trips here.

Marvel at the ornate designs of Bao’an Temple

Bao’an Temple is the Taiwanese folk religion neighbour of Confucius Temple. It features a façade that’ll capture your attention immediately.

It’s more ornate than most temples around Taipei, and, undoubtedly, one of the most striking in the city.

Bao'an Temple

Compared to Longshan, Bao’an receives far fewer visitors. (In fact, when I visited, it was almost devoid of tourists.)

Remember: This is an active place of worship, not a tourist attraction. Respectful behaviour is a must.

If all the temple-hopping in Dadaocheng and Datong got your stomach growling, head over to nearby Dihua Street. The street hosts many cheap & delicious street food vendors and great local restaurants.

Dihua Street is also one of the most happenin’ places to celebrate Chinese New Year in Taipei.

Eat yourself into a frenzy on Ningxia Road

With my accommodations only ten minutes away by foot in Zhongzheng, I slipped into Ningxia Night Market quite a few times during my visit.

Popular with locals, Ningxia is still quite busy. What I loved was how it’s easier to navigate, and, more importantly, easier to escape from than other Taipei night markets.

Ningxia Night Market

For the most part, the market extends down just one road: Ningxia.

Vendors here jangle all the best Taiwanese street foods in front of you. You’ll find favourites like fried chicken and oyster vermicelli (my personal favourite here—yum!). And, of course, that nasty little beast of a snack, stinky tofu.

Oh, and let’s not forget bubble tea ;)

Take a breather at Da’an Forest Park

New York has Central Park. Taipei has Da’an Forest Park. Citizens have affectionately dubbed Daan Forest Park the “Lungs of Taipei.” Now, it would be hard to imagine the city without it.

Da'an Forest Park

Like the Botanical Garden in Zhongzheng, Daan Forest Park is a welcome escape from Taipei City. Taipeiers love wandering the walking paths and animal-spotting within the park’s 26 acres of greenery. You’ll love it, too.

Shop among the millennials at Shida

Unlike other night markets in Taipei, Shida Night Market is geared more towards shoppers than foodies.

After a change in regulations, a slew of Shida’s vendors scurried elsewhere. Young entrepreneurs swooped in to set up shop and peddle the latest fashions.

Nowadays, like Ximending and Gongguan, Shida is a favourite among hip millennials. It’s a great destination for a fun evening hunting for bargains.

Shida Night Market

That’s not to say that you can’t find a tasty meal here, too. Keep on the watch here for pan-fried dumplings (heng jian bao). It’s a thicker and more filling dumpling than the more common xiaolongbao (steamed dumplings).

Experience traditional Taiwanese fare on Linjiang Street

You’ll quickly see: Tonghua Night Market (Linjiang Street) is less flashy than other Taipei night markets. And that’s why you’ll love it.

Linjiang Street Night Market

The flavours here are varied. They range between everywhere from sweet to savoury.

For street food, seek out the market’s well-known fried shrimp balls, boar sausages, and red bean cake.

Savour in the sweetness at Yu Chocolatier

Taipei is justifiably famous for its food, but chocolate? A visit to Yu Chocolatier might convince you otherwise.

This small café serves up some of the best chocolate in Taiwan. It combines the sophistication of French chocolate-making with Asian flavours. (Think chocolate with tropical fruits or tea!)

Check out the museums of Taipei Expo Park

It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what Taipei Expo Park is.

At one end is Yuanshan Park, an area filled with well-tended gardens, and Maji Maji Square, an international hawker centre. At the other, you’ll find two top museums: Taipei Fine Art Museum and Taipei Story House.

Taipei Expo Park

Even further afoot, you’ll get to check out Xinsheng Park. The park is home to Lin An Tai Historical House and Museum. You’ll also see pavilions left over from the 2010 Taipei International Flora Exposition.

At any rate, whatever your interests you can find a reason to spend some time here.

Peruse the Taipei Fine Arts Museum

Welcome to one of the largest modern art collections in Asia! If you have any passing interest in art, you’ll stroll through the six-storey Taipei Fine Arts Museum.

Taipei Fine Arts Museum

Admittedly, art is not my thing. But the design of the building itself—especially when lit up un the evening—is outstanding and worthy of the walk.

Eat pepper buns on Raohe Street

I’m not sure where Raohe Night Market falls among the most popular with Taipeiers. If my observations are correct, I would imagine it’s high up there.

Raohe Street Night Market

I remember Raohe Night Market for two things: dense crowds and pepper meat buns. Of course, there’s more to it than that.

Start with the pepper meat buns. The most famous stall in Taipei is parked near the entrance. You can’t miss it. Follow the queue.

Other local favourites to seek out here include oyster noodles, herbal spare rib soup, and Taiwanese-style tempura.

Worship Mazu at Ciyou Temple

For visitors to Raohe keen on sightseeing in Taipei, Ciyou Temple is a lovely surprise.

This beautiful temple graces the space to the right of the main gate. It’s s dedicated to Mazu, a Chinese patron goddess said to protect fishermen and sailors at sea.

Ciyou Temple

The architectural details here are stunning, especially when lit up. It’s not hard to get lost in its intricacies. (Try not to block the sidewalk as you gawk at it—this is a busy corner!)

Shop at Core Pacific City (Living Mall)

If humans colonized Mars, I’d expect its first shopping mall to look something like Core Pacific City, or the Living Mall as many Taipeiers call it.

The unmistakable dome adorning the mall’s façade has become a Taipei landmark. Even if you aren’t interested in shopping, it’s worth taking a look at if you’re in Songshan District.

Core Pacific City

Although it’s fallen out of fashion in recent years, Core Pacific City remains one of the better places in Taipei to shop. Businesses are spread out over 15 above- and underground floors.

Not that there’s ever a shortage of food in Taipei, but aside from the 400 stores, there’s over 80 restaurants at the Living Mall to tempt your taste buds.

Zip up the Maokong Gondola

After spending so much time exploring the streets, one of the best things to do in Taipei is zipping up the Maokong Gondola.

Tea Fields at Maokong

The Maokong Gondola cable car traverses 4.3 kilometres to its upper terminus. As you climb, you’ll be treated to stunning vistas of Taipei City and the surrounding mountains . You’ll even see a mountaintop temple on the way!

Arriving in Maokong, there’s ample opportunity for hiking. Various trails skirt through its tea plantations and up into the hills.

The trails are surprisingly well-marked. It’s unlikely you’ll get lost unless you choose to go off-path. Be sure to carry a lot of water. Even with the breeze and elevation, it can still get quite hot up here!

Hiking trails not calling out to you? A must-have experience in Maokong is to drop into one of the teahouses perched along the plantations for fresh tea with a view.

Savour in ah-gei at Tamsui Old Street

Travelling around Taiwan, places like Tamsui Old Street aren’t exactly rare. Nonetheless, if you’re popping out to Tamsui, Old Street is a great place to take a stroll.

Tamsui Old Street

As with sorting out where to go in Taipei in general, the biggest reason to come to Tamsui Old Street is for the food.

The vendors here offer up remarkable treats like ah-gei, a famous Tamsui stuffed tofu snack, and fish ball soup. Kids, if scared off by all the weird foods, will dig the fun carnival games scattered along the boardwalk.

Indulge in Taiwan’s colonial past at Fort San Domingo

You’ve probably already guessed that Fort San Domingo isn’t named after a famous Taiwanese war hero.

The history of Fort San Domingo is as complicated as any. After housing a list of rulers almost as long as a list of Taylor Swift’s ex-boyfriends, it deserves at least a short walkthrough.

Fort San Domingo

For the spectacular mountain and river views alone, Fort San Domingo is worth the trek.

Eat among the sunrise crowd at Tamsui Fisherman’s Wharf

Once again, food’s the word at Tamsui Fisherman’s Wharf. Here you’ll find much of what you’d expect in any self-respecting Taiwanese culinary marketplace.

Fisherman's Wharf

The offerings here are hardly as diverse as what you’d find elsewhere. If you happen to find yourself wandering about in Tamsui though, it’s a fantastic place for a snack.

Watch the sunrise at Lover’s Bridge

Travelling to Taipei as a couple? Seeking out Tamsui’s most clichéd activity of watching the sunrise at Lover’s Bridge is non-optional. (Just ask any one of the hundreds of pairs sharing your view!)

Lover's Bridge in Tamsui, Taiwan

Lover’s Bridge itself gives off a funky futuristic vibe. After dark, it’s one of the coolest things to see in Taipei. Watch as it springs to life in the evening in a technicolour blaze. It’s no wonder that it’s a favourite shooting location among Taiwanese soap opera directors!

Where to stay in Taipei for sightseeing

With the top tourist attractions spread around the city, there’s no true definitive answer for where to stay in Taipei. Get your accommodations search started with these top-rated hotels & places to stay in Taipei…

  • Roaders Hotel: This unique boutique hotel is wedged between Taipei Station and Ximending. It’s fashioned upon a American wild west & road-tripping concept.
  • Hotel Relax 5: This 3-star hotel is one of the top mid-range hotels in Taipei. It shows off cosy modern rooms and is just steps away from the main train station.
  • The Okura Prestige: This supremely luxurious hotel is one of the best luxury hotels in Taipei. It features palatial rooms and a delightful rooftop pool with epic views.

Recommended sightseeing tours

Want to get the most out of your trip? Before you get started planning out what to do in Taipei, don’t miss out on the all best tTaiwan’s capital offers. Check out these Taipei tours..

  • Taipei by Night Tour: This exciting evening tour slips into some of the top Taipei tourist attractions . It includes a sampling of dumplings at mouth-watering Din Tai Fung. You’ll also get to experience a spiritual awakening at Longshan Temple and visit bizarre Huaxi Street. End with a towering look at Taipei 101, once the world’s tallest building.
  • Private Taipei Night Tour: This evening tour flashes some of the city’s best night scenes. The tour includes stops at the breathtaking Bao’an Temple and a local market in Datong. You’ll also get to hike up Elephant Mountain to watch the skyline twinkle under moonlight.
  • Ultimate Taipei Sightseeing Tour: Get the full Taipei experience on this action-packed full day tour. It includes stops to check out some of the most interesting things to see in Taipei. You’ll also enjoy excursions outside of the city to Yangmingshan National Park and Beitou Hot Springs. Tour ends at the granddaddy of all Taipei night markets, Shilin.
  • Taipei Half-Day Tour: This 3-hour half-day tour focuses on Taipei’s cultural attractions. It also includes entrance to the National Palace Museum.
  • Ningxia Food Tour: Chow down on some of the best food in Taipei at one of the city’s tastiest night markets on this drool-worthy tour! The tour includes a taste of 5 different local dishes.
Ryan O'Rourke

Ryan O'Rourke is a Canadian traveller, food & drink aficionado, and the founder & editor of Treksplorer. Join Ryan as he explores the world two to three weeks at a time from his home base of Canada with Treksplorer's independent and unsponsored mid-range luxury travel guides including itineraries, things to do, where to stay, when to visit, and hiking & walking trails.

DISCLAIMER: Treksplorer is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com and its affiliated international sites.

DISCLAIMER: You'll notice that from time to time I link out to recommended hotels/tours/products/services. If you purchase anything through these links, I'll receive a commission. It won't cost you anything extra, but it will help keep me trekkin' on and delivering more free (and unsponsored!) travel information to you. Thanks :)