Taipei is where most tourists are familiar with and will explore if they are in Taiwan. Despite being really crowded, it is still one of the most popular tourist destinations, all thanks to its great food, entertainment and culture.
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Travel Options from the Airport
You will most probably be landing at Taoyuan International Airport. From Taoyuan, there are a few options you can travel to Taipei. You can take the High-Speed Railway, Airport MRT or a shuttle bus. Based on our personal experience, it is recommended to take the Airport MRT as it is the most value for money option. From the Taoyuan Airport MRT station, hop on the MRT down to the Taipei Main Station, where you can transfer to other lines to reach your accommodation.
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Where to Stay in Taipei – Available Accommodation Options
Accommodations prices vary widely in Taipei, depending on location. Hotels near Ximending will cost at least 60 SGD per night during the non-peak season. Hotels near Taipei main station will start around 40 SGD. Capsule hotels will be slightly cheaper, starting from around 20 SGD. For people considering Airbnb, prices start from 40 SGD but again, it depends on the area you are staying at.
Things to do in Taipei
Let’s start with shopping!
Without the need to say, Ximending will come to your mind. There is a wide variety of shopping here, from luxury items to local brands.
For bubble tea lovers, you are in for a sweet treat! You will be spoilt by the number of local brands here. Xinfutang, Koi (or 50 Lan), Sharetea, Tiger Sugar can all be found here, without the long queues.
There is also a lot of street food to enjoy here. Street food like HotStar fried chicken, stinky tofu, “cong you bing” (scallion pancakes), Ramen Nagi, Sushiro, Ah Zhong Mee Sua and our favourite Xin Mala Hotpot (新馬辣經典麻辣鍋) can all be easily found. Let us go in-depth on why it is our favourite.
Fun fact: According to a survey made by CEOWorld Magazine (site seems to be down), Singapore is ranked #1 for the best street food in the world. But really? Even we Singaporeans doubt the reliability of this study!
And no, this isn’t sponsored. But if Xin Mala Hotpot wants to sponsor us, please contact us. We love you. 如果新馬辣經典麻辣鍋想要贊助我們，請與我們聯繫。我們愛你。Alright, that was just us side-tracking, continue reading… 😉
In short, Xin Mala Hot is a Mala Hotpot restaurant. That’s right, you probably already guessed it from the name. However, what makes it stand out from the rest is that not only it is a buffet, but the food quality is excellent. You also get free flow of meats including wagyu beef, wagyu beef curry, Matsusaka pork, tiger prawns, scallops and sea bass. Wait that’s not all! There is also free-flow beer and Haagen-Dazs. You heard it right, and this is not fake news.
How much does it cost? It is priced at a nett amount of 800 TWD (roughly 35 SGD).
Well enough about that, let’s get back to other things you can visit do in Taipei.
Great places to visit other than Ximending include Gongguan, Wu Fen Pu, Eslite Xinyi and Longshan Temple Underground Shopping Bazaar. For people looking for luxury items, Taipei 101 will be the place to go. For those on a mid-range budget, you can consider the various department stores. ATT 4 Fun, Core Pacific City, SOGO, Shin Kong Mitsukoshi Mall and Miramar Entertainment Park are some places you should check out. At Miramar Entertainment Park, there is also a Ferris wheel for keen photographers to take some picturesque photos from high up.
Apart from shopping, Taipei also has many cultural experiences to offer. The two most popular museums are National Taiwan Museum and the National Palace Museum. If you are a more artsy person, you could consider the Taipei Fine Arts Museum and the Museum of Contemporary Art Museum. Another good choice is the New Taipei City Hakka Museum if you want to learn more about the Hakka culture in Taiwan.
For nature lovers, there are some places to check out in Taipei too. Be sure to hike up Xiangshan to catch a beautiful view of Taipei at night. The hike will take about 15 minutes at a reasonable pace. Another alternative will be the Jiantanshan Trail. For those who still want to catch a night view but do not want to hike, you can take the Maokong Gondola near Taipei Zoo Station. For the people who are willing to spend, or if you really want to see Taipei from its heart, Taipei 101 Observatory Deck is another viable option. Slightly further from Taipei, Yangmingshan National Park is also a good choice for scenic views.
Other than hiking, there are other ways to enjoy the view of Taiwan. Still outside of Taipei, but nearby, is the Yehliu Geopark. You will get to see strange rock formations that resemble a Queen’s Head. From there, you can consider travelling to Shifen to catch a glimpse of the waterfall and light up some iconic lanterns. Be sure to take a photo along the railway tracks where You are the Apple of my Eye 【那些年，我們一起追的女孩】was filmed. Coming back to Taipei, Tamsui River Mangrove Nature Reserve is one place you should get dirty at. If you are looking for a chill cycling experience, we would recommend the river along Rainbow Bridge. After you are done, hop on the rainbow bridge to take some nice photos and walk over to Raohe Night Market – which brings us to our next topic…
Nightlife in Taipei – Great Food with Great Vibes
Night market! Taiwan is well known for its night market. Raohe and Shilin are two of the most popular tourist night market, which means it is going to be packed. We preferred the less-commercialised night markets that are catered more for the locals, such as Shida Night Market, Gongguan Night Market, Ningxia Night Market and Linjiang Street Night Market. However, these places are still going to be crowded since Taipei has lots of tourists, albeit not as crowded as the more popular ones like Shilin Night Market.
Since the night is still young, do hit up some clubs in Taipei. The clubs are concentrated near Xiangshan Station. The most popular ones are AI, OMNI, WAVE, KLASH and IKON. There are bars you can visit too if clubbing is not your thing. After your clubbing session, head over to the nearby
Keisuke to enjoy the lobster ramen Ichiran to enjoy their signature ramen. This brings us to our last topic.
Taipei’s Restaurants & Gourmet Food
Not only is Taipei known for its street food, but it has tons of good restaurants you should check out. As mentioned earlier, Xin Mala Hotspot is one of them you must visit. Other than that, you can check out the original Ding Tai Fung at Xinyi road. Buzzfeed recently did a worth it series in Taiwan so give it a watch and see what suits your taste. Being a tourist destination, Taipei is home to a wide range of cuisines. There is Ng Ah Sio Bak Kut Teh from Singapore, RAW which serves French cuisine or European cuisine at MUME. Taipei is also home to many Michelin restaurants such as RyoGin, Sasa, Saffron and Page.
Although you probably have visited (or will visit) Taipei, there is still so much to eat and do considering the city is constantly upgrading and developing itself to attract tourists. Be sure to share with us what are your must-dos or must-eats in Taipei!