Taipei is not really visited by tourists – more popular Asian cities such as Bangkok and Hong Kong are picked over the capital of the sweet-potato-shaped island of Taiwan. However, if you do find yourself in Taipei, here are 5 things you should do.
5 things to do in Taipei
1. Night markets
Taiwan has fantastic food – it is a mixture of influences from southern Mainland China, Japan, Beijing, Sichuan, Hunan and Shanghai and Guangdong (among others) and there’s no better place to try it out – cheaply – than at a night market. Some night markets sell clothes and souvenirs, but there are food-dedicated ones, like Shilin, that offer all of Taiwan’s culinary influences in bite-sized morsels.
Where: Shilin Night Market, Shilin – take the MRT to Shilin
Karaoke is one of Taiwan’s biggest hobbies. Unlike in the West, lots of Taiwanese people enjoy doing karaoke stone-cold sober.
Where: Party World, Ximending – take the MRT to Ximen station
The red light district of Taipei is in Wan-Hua District
3. Taipei 101
Once the tallest building in the world, the Taipei 101 offers some pretty vertigo-inducing views from its top floor.
Side note: There’s a great food court at the bottom of the building, where you’ll find Jason’s, an upmarket grocery store that sells, among other exotic products, rooibos tea.
Where: Xinyi District – take the MRT to Taipei City Hall Station
4. Themed restaurants
The themed restaurants in Taipei include an airplane, hospital (where alcoholic shots come in syringes), and a Hello Kitty palace.
Where: Modern Toilet, Xi-Ning South Road, Ximending – take the MRT to Ximen Station
5. Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall
The hall has become a landmark of the city, with its grand, imposing architecture and historic symbolism (Chiang Kai-shek was the former president of Taiwan). There are often performances taking place in the square by artists and musicians, and groups of teenagers practising their choreographed dance moves. In the landscaped gardens, tai chi and kung fu lessons take place.
Where: Zhongzheng District – take the MRT to CKS Memorial Hall Station and take exit 5 out of the station
Photo credit: taiwan.net.tw, lonelyplanet.com/taiwan