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TAIPEI TRAVEL GUIDE 2017 | Things to Do in Taipei 2017

TAIPEI TRAVEL GUIDE Taipei 101.jpg

Taiwan is a rising destination for many of us who are curious of how is life in a developed country that doesn’t struggle against the chaotic and problematic public transport, uncollected heaps of trash along the streets, unlit alleyways, snatchers at gunpoint [I personally witnessed this], and all the daily dilemmas that ill and plague developing countries like mine. Or yours. Or probably not.

That being said, I’m running a series of Taiwan Travel Guide. My partner and I spent an entire month of exploring Taiwan. Let me start with our personally experienced Taipei Travel Guide.

This Taipei Travel Guide covers accommodation, transportation, restaurants, and places to visit. If you got questions not covered in the entirety of this travel guide, feel free to leave a trace in the comment section. I visit BWAB every day, so you can always get a reply right away. This is quite long, say around 3K words, so stretch your almost non-existing patience. 😉

Taipei Travel Guide | How to get to the city from Taoyuan Airport?

Well, Taiwan is a developed and organized country! Surpise! So the transportation system is very efficient. There are buses and MRT right in the airport. Huh! If you are in doubt which bus or MRT to take, head to the Information Desk to get the right train line and bus number.

BY BUS | We stayed near Taipei Main Station, so our hostels’ location was very convenient and practical. We took the 1819 bus to Taipei Main Station for 125NTD/person (as of August 2017)The bus stop is conveniently located right outside the airport.

BY EXPRESS TRAIN | 160NTD/person. Slightly more expensive yet a lot faster than the bus. It leaves every fifteen minutes. The train service ends by 11PM.

TAIPEI TRAVEL GUIDE METRO

There is a world thirty feet under Taipei!

Taipei Travel Guide | How to Go around Taipei?

From our hostels, we mainly walked to the destinations we have for the day. We only used the MRT for farther places such as Elephant Mountain and Tamsui. There are five MRT lines running in the city: Wenhu, Tamsui-Xinyi, Songshan-Xindian, Zhonghe-Xinlu, and Bannan.  If you’ve been to Kuala Lumpur or Singapore , their MRT works similar way. You have to either buy an easycard or buy a Metro token from the automated token machines found in the stations. If you don’t know how to use such system, ask the nearest locals for help. (The Taiwanese are very helpful and kind!)

Taipei Travel Guide

Another option is to get a pass (available on 1-day, 2-day, 3-day, and 5-day). Quite expensive if you ask me though. You won’t be riding trains that much in the city. Most places are very walkable. Another option is to get a regular Easycard. You have to pay 100NTD for the card and another 100NTD for a deposit. Using an Easycard allows you get 20% off from the regular train and bus fares.

These passes and cards are available in any Information Center located in any train stations.

Read more about the Easycard in Taipei.

Taipei Travel Guide | Where to Stay in Taipei?

We stayed in three budget and design hostels in Taipei. They are meant for humans who want to stay in a budget yet still have taste and class on accommodation. 😛 One thing I have observed in hostels in Taipei is their high standard for linens. The linens and mattresses are high-quality. Their spaces have a sense of class and elegance that you cannot find in supercheap accommodation.

WHERE TO STAY IN TAIPEI|

Mr Lobster Secret Den Design Hostel: A Quaint Designer Hostel

This hostel is just a five-minute walk from Taipei Main Station. From the Main Station, ask the Information Desk for Y17 (A bus stop I think). But if you got your own Internet connection, simply follow the direction provided by Google Maps. It is very near to Ningxia Night Market and within walking distance to Ximending Youth Shopping District, Longshan Temple, and many other destinations you can read later on.

Mr. Lobster Secret Den Design Hostel is on the 9th floor of a nondescript building of shops. We missed the little signage, but we asked a kind lady and she pointed the sign to us.

Mr. Lobster Secret Den Design Hostel has rooms for families, for backpackers, for couples, for group of friends! We’ve tried their family room (good for five), and it was very spacious with a view of the city. We got our own private shower and bathroom. If you are traveling with friends or family, the room was the perfect for you. They got dorms too. This place was our base in Taiwan. So, we’ve tried the family room, the dorm [really nice, clean, and comfortable], the deluxe double room, and comfortable double room. This hostel knows its stuff. The design and the aesthetics simply spoke for me. So yes, I love this place.

My favorite place of Mr Lobster (and I think everyone’s) is its quaint and classy lounger and kitchen area. And oh yeah, they have a vegan breakfast for free! Water and instant coffee and tea are free all day long!

Address: No. 22, Section 1, Chongqing North Road, Datong District, Taipei City, 103
Phone: 02 2555 8752
Website: http://www.mrlobstersecret.com [You can also book your room here]
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MrLobstersSecretDen/
Internet: Effing good! We streamed Lord of the Rings every night! Haha!
Services available: Tour, Transportation, and Laundry

TAIPEI TRAVEL GUIDE Dadaechong Wharf.jpg

The manicured flower fields in Dadaechong Wharf, Taipei

4U Taipei Hostel: A Creative and Elegant Space

We only stayed a night at 4U Taipei Hostel 真心青年旅館, and we wish we stayed longer. We instantly fell in love with our economical yet elegant double room. The screw wall map on our floor’s lounge area is a concept worth stealing for my future home. Haha! We did not have our own private shower and bathroom, but their bathrooms are clean, spacious, and have a hot-and-cold shower. They also double bed shared bedrooms and single bed dorms. The linens and mattresses are really very comfortable!

They also Beer Pong nights! Haha!

Taipei Travel Guide

Shared rooms with double beds!

Address: 100, Taipei City, Zhongzheng District, 開封街一段37號5樓
Phone: 02 2331 2999
Website: http://www.4utaipei.com/en/ [You can also book your room here]
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/4utaipei/
Internet: Effing good! We streamed Lord of the Rings every night in Taipei! Haha!
Services available: Tour, Transportation, and Laundry

Muiu Capsule Inn Taipei: Small But Quaint

As you may know (maybe not :P), I’m traveling with a 6’6″ (198cm) giant. So sometimes staying in capsule inns is a bit of a problem. We’ve tried Muiu Capsule Inn Taipei’s four-bed capsule room. And as expected, the space was a bit small, even for me. There is no room for luggage in the room. But we managed well. Each bed comes with its own USB port, two power plugs, light, and a laptop desk. Plus, the linen and mattress are pure love. I had a glimpse of their double room. Their double room has bigger space and looks more inviting!

The size of the showers and toilets are fine for me. But not for Tobi. Haha! They’re too small for him. Their bathrooms, toilets, and four-bed rooms are not meant for tall people.

Their lounge/dining/kitchen area though is very quaint and elegant and is equipped with IKEA furniture.

Taipei Travel Guide

The four beds room we’ve tried.

Address: 100, Taipei City, Zhongzheng District, Section 1, Kaifeng St, 37號
Phone: 02 2388 8692
Website: http://www.taipeimuiuinn.com [You can also book your room here]
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MuiuinnTaipei/
Internet: Effing good! We streamed Lord of the Rings every night in Taipei! Haha!
Services available: Tour, Transportation, and Laundry

Bayman Hotel | Spacious and Storied Place

We did not stay here. But we viewed their rooms. The rooms are bigger and more spacious than the ones we had. Most of the rooms have its own private toilers and tubs. The rooms come with a neat, elegant, and minimalist design. Some rooms are Japanese-inspired, that is, the idea of having a tatami room inside the bedroom. This place is very near to the three hostels we stayed in, especially from Mr. Lobster. Bayman Hotel is very close to Dadaechong, one of my favorite places in Taipei.

Taipei Travel Guide

Bayman Hotel’s receiving area

Address: No. 3號, Lane 145, Chang’an West Road, Datong District, Taipei City, 103
Phone: 02 2556 7797
Website: http://baymanhotel.com/en/index.php [You can also book your room here]
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/baymanhotel/

Taipei Travel Guide | Things to do in Taipei 2017


IMPORTANT TIP: Get a map. Hotels often provide them for free. From our hostel, most of the places we visited below were within walking distance. Say, within a fifteen-minute walk. Give walking a go. It is a great exercise, plus it gives a different layer to your journey.


Longshan Temple | It is an important place of worship for the Taiwanese and Chinese. The most famous and most visited temple in Taipei. For non-believers, the architecture is worth the visit. From our hostel, it only took us ten minutes on foot.

TAIPEI TRAVEL GUIDE Long Shan Temple

Taipei Botanical Garden | It is a massive botanical garden. If you are lucky (we were) you can spot an eagle or two in the area. A lot of flowers and trees around. The pond has a lot of tilapia (as usual) and turtles. We walked here from Longshan Temple.



Everytime we are new to a place, we pay homage to walking. Hours-long walking. Say four hours at the least. Despite the convenience of Taipei's public transportation, we let our feet take the lead. Since I am not smart enough to articulate the connection between cities and walking, let me borrow the words of one of my favorite thinkers and essayists: Cities have always offered anonymity, variety, and conjunction, qualities best basked in by walking: one does not have to go into the bakery or the fortune-teller's, only to know that one might. A city always contains more than any inhabitant can know, and a great city always makes the unknown and the possible spurs to the imagination.—Rebecca Solnit, "Wanderlust: A History of Walking" #taipei #traveltaiwan #taiwan

A post shared by Poet | Writer | Blogger (@backpackingwithabook) on



Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall 

A very big property! This place has changing of guards ceremony every hour so make sure you’re there to see it! Who might wonder who the heck is Chiang Kai-Shek? Well, I did not know back then till I wrote this guide. Haha! A complicated and controversial figure, Chiang Kai-shek was a former president of the Republic of China. The memorial hall is a massive place. This was our third destination within a day. We simply walked here from the Botanical Garden.

Taipei Travel Guide Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall 1

Taipei Travel Guide | Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall

Ximending Youth Shopping District 

It is a place that makes your heart happy but pockets sad. I had to look for a good pair of shoes. The one I had (bought in Australia for $12, I think) retired in Nepal. I first thought of buying white sneakers. But the cheapest was 1520NTD (Php2500, $50.25). Huh! Too much for a cheapskate! 😂 Found a place called Just Wear it, and they have very fashionable shoes! Wanted to buy three pairs! 😂 I got the pair I’m wearing in the photos for 390NTD (Php650, $12). The pair was very comfortable for city walking.

TAIPEI TRAVEL GUIDEChiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall

Elephant Mountain 

One of the many places in Taipei to have a lovely view of the city drowning in sunset glow. was very easy to go there. Just take the train to Xiangshan (Red line). The place was quite packed. The hike up was very sweaty and short. Very short. ( I mean, we spent eight or ten hours a day trekking in Nepal.) If you are into cityscapes night photography, this place is one of the spots. Expect a throng of local photographers taking frames after frames of the city. One-way ticket costs 40NTD from Ximending Youth Shopping District.

Taipei Travel Guide Elephant Mountain

Taipei Travel Guide | Elephant Mountain, Taipei

Taipei 101 

This skyscraper is Taipei’s landmark. It is the tallest building you can see in the city. Who would have thought (definitely not me) that this building was awarded the LEED platinum certification, the highest award according to the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system, and it became the tallest and largest green building in the world. Now that doesn’t sound so bad no? This building might make it to my favorite list of architecture.

TAIPEI TRAVEL GUIDE Dadaechong

A scene in Dadaechong, Taipei

Dadaechong

This is the old quarter of Taipei. You can find streets after streets of herbs and spices shops here. We tried steamed rice cake here! Not a fan of cakes but this one was sooooo good. It conjured a lot of childhood memories. We had it at Hoshing, a decades-old bakery of steamed rice cakes and moon cakes! From Taipei Main Station, it is just a ten-minute walk!

TAIPEI TRAVEL GUIDE Dadaechong 3

TAIPEI TRAVEL GUIDE | Dadaechong, Taipei

Dadaechong Wharf

It is another point for sunset admiration. Locals lined up by the river, taking long exposure shots of the sun setting behind the buildings across the river. There is a manicured flower garden too. There is a lot of activities going on here at night. Come here around 4 or 5 in the afternoon.

Taipei Travel Guide Dadaechong

Flower Garden at Dadaechong Wharf

Tamsui District

I thought Tamsui will be off the radar of most travelers, but dang, it is quite popular among local tourists, Japanese, Koreans, and mainland Chinese. This place has a lot of souvenir shops. The walk by the river is very pleasant. Walk your way to Tamsui Fisherman’s Wharf if you have some time. The night scene should be lovely here.

Taipei Travel Guide Tamsui District

Ningxia Night Market

The first night market we visited. It is just within walking distance from our hostel, that’s why. So many food choices that it is not advisable to come here when you are very hungry. Because the time to choose takes very long! What did we have here? Hmm. The legendary minced pork rice (lo rou fan) and the legendary kangkong (water spinach!).

Shilin Night Market

It must be the biggest and the most crowded night market in Taipei! If you are into shopping, this place is for you or not. Expect to spend a lot of moolah (so many cute stuff around) But I did not have a lot of money, so I just looked around had fun poking fun of the things around with Gay of Pinay Travel Junkie and Ayn of Travel Remedy. We had some beer and food here.



Taipei Travel Guide | What and Where to Eat in Taipei?

All right, when it comes to food, we don’t limit ourselves to the cheapest ones. We don’t go to Family Mart or 7 Eleven for a microwable meal (All right, I did once! But it was a midnight snack! These convenience stores though have awesome selections of cake (Tobias’ midnight snacks). We love exploring the different palates of Taiwanese culinary. Our meals range from 35NTD (the cheapest) to 200NTD (the most expensive).


IMPORTANT TIP: Menus are mostly written in Chinese. But some restaurants have an English menu for foreigners too. So if you can’t read Chinese, you can ask for it. Don’t worry, developed countries like Taiwan don’t have a separate price for foreigners. If you need specific food that you want to try, cue, Tobias’ affinity with beef noodles, ask your hostel staff. I’m pretty sure, they have a recommendation or two ready.


Lian Pin Beef Noodles Restaurant | Not a huge fan of beef, so I had a pork rice menu :P. But someone loved beef noodles, and Taiwan is said to have some of the best beef noodles. And Tobias can vouch for that. He’s been to this restaurant two or three times for their beef noodles.

TAIPEI TRAVEL GUIDE Spicy Sour Noodle Soup

Spicy Sour Noodle Soup

Tokyo Tonkotsu Ramen Tokyo Japan | I love the noodles with pork and a slice of egg for brunch. This is one of the many restaurants in our neighborhood.

Traditional Taiwanese Breakfast | We’ve tried this in Taichung and Kaoshung, but we assume places serving traditional Taiwanese breakfast should be somewhere in Taipei too. It involves a lot of eggs, carb, and hot or cold soya milk. You Tiao, Shao Bing, Niu Rou Shao Bing, Shao Bing Jia Dan, and Hot Soybean Milk [Dou Jiang] are some of these items. I’ve tried Shao Bing Jia Dan (wheat cake stuffed with scrambled eggs) and long bao (Taiwanese dumplings, really good!). Tobias always gets hot soya milk and you tiao.

Taipei Travel Guide Food Guide

Tiantian Limei Restaurant and other cheap restaurants at Ximending Youth Shopping District | With two drinks, two bowls of rice pork toppings, pig heads skin, and sauteed bamboos for NTD 195! The cheapest we had so far in Taipei (we had cheaper meals in Taichung and Kaoshung)! Oh yeah, Ximending has fat cats! I chased one!

Lo Rou Fan (Minced Pork Rice) | A rice and pork lover, this tops my list! Haha! It is a very simple meal (usually costs 30-35NTD) for a little bowl. This tastes like rice topped with adobo or humba. A Taiwanese-Filipino connection! Food edition! 😛

Taipei Travel Guide

Minced Pork Rice

Wonton Noodle Soup | I’ve tried pork wonton vegetable soup, Tobias had wonton pork noodle soup. We ordered bamboo and eggplant side dishes. We paid about 195NTD for our meals together (PHP325, $6.5). There is a place we frequent, but everything is in Chinese, so I don’t know the name. The women wear red aprons and star-print kerchief. They have branches all over Taipei. Their menu on the wall is written in Chinese, but they have an English menu for foreign tourists, so don’t worry.

Pepper Cake Taipei Travel GuideBlac

Pepper Cakek Pepper Cake (Hujiao bing) | Every morning, we always passed by this place that only makes and serves black pepper cake. Give it a try. It tastes good! Best eaten while it is hot. Sweet and Sour Noodle Soup | One of Tobias’ favorite soup in Taipei. When we go back to Taipei, he’s going to have it again. There is a place across Lian Pin Beef Noodles Restaurant where he gets his sweet and sour noodle soup.

 

Taipei Travel Guide You Can Read Somewhere Else:

Lonely Planet’s Taipei Travel Guide 
Guide to Taipei
Department of Information and Tourism,Taipei City Government’s Taipei Travel Guide 

Taipei Travel Guide | Quick Day Trips from Taipei

Quick day trips from Taipei are rather popular for tourists who don’t have the luxury to stay longer in Taiwan like we do. The following destinations are the popular day trips you can take from Taipei. Note though that we did not do it ourselves. We stayed in Jiufen Old Street for two nights and just had our own road trips around the area.

Taipei Travel Guide Mt. Keelung Jiufen

The view from Mt. Keelung, Jiufen Old Street.

Jiufen Old Street

This place is quite popular among Japanese or avid fans of Haya Miyazaki’s works especially the award-winning Spirited Away. At daytime, this place is very packed. All places closed up around 9PM, except for famous places like the teahouse.

Highlights from Jiufen Old Street trip are a panoramic view of the bay where Yehliu Geopark is, a quick trek to the top of Mt. Keelung, and of course Jiu Fen’s A Mei Tea House, the inspiration behind the teahouse in Spirited Away.

TAIPEI TRAVEL GUIDE JIUFEN SPIRITED AWAY TEA HOUSE

Yehliu Geopark 

Opening Hours : Open daily from 8AM to 5:30PM
Entry Fee
1. Adult ticket NTD80
2. Half-fare ticket NTD40
-Student (Taiwan only or show ISI card)
For the children aged between 6 and 12.
3. Group ticket (thirty persons upward) 20% discount
4. Courtesy entry: Disabled
Children of height under 115 cm or under age of 6.

Make sure you made there before the closing time. That being said, we arrived there quarter to six. And yes, it is already closed by that time. 🙁 But we still enjoyed our little detour to the other hill by the coast on the other side of the bay.

Yehliu Geopark Taipei travel guide

Photo from Youtube.

Houtung Cat Village 

You, a crazy cat human like the mad blogger behind BWAB? Then a trip to Houtong Cat Village is a need. The cats are so handsome, beautiful, charming, lovely, friendly, and fat. Wow, I’ve never written that many adjectives in a row. If you are traveling with someone else, I’m pretty sure, he/she is going to be embarrassed of your craziness and obsessions of cats and cat photos and selfies. My journey was very well-documented.


That’s quite long, isn’t it? All right! That’s for now! If there are places worthy to be included here, please leave a trace in the comment box! For more photos of our Taiwan trip, check out BWAB’s FB page’s Taiwan album.


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Jona | Backpacking with a Book

Hi, I'm Jona! I write stories and poetry and take a lot of photos, which I'm too lazy to upload. If you want to receive some photos that I don't share here on the blog, please leave your email here. I'm crazy about cats too. Feel free to browse through BWAB, and I would love it if you say hi! For collaborations, projects, and other things, please email me at backpackingwithabook@gmail.com For more stories about BWAB, check here. Connect with us through

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10 Comments

  1. Oh goodness, you have reignited a vague thought I had of visiting Taiwan! Did you only stay in Taipei or take any day trips?
    I always miss out on local breakfasts as my husband can’t cope with “non-breakfast” food in the morning. I miss out on yummy noodles and dumplings 🙁

  2. stellaencina says:

    i have been to taipei but I am coming back next month! i love the hostel choices! I can’t wait to go back and try new places and of course finally get a taste of their local cuisine this time!

  3. Mike says:

    These are some great tips and I wish I had read these before I visited Taipei! If you happen to go back make sure you check out Wulai, we loved the waterfall and natural hot springs by the river.

  4. Tarah says:

    Who knew there was so much to do in Taipei?! This has me wanting to book a flight right now!

  5. Joy Generoso says:

    Quite a long read but worth it. I’ll definitely take some notes from this guide. Planning to visit Taiwan soon. Thanks for sharing a detailed travel guide of Taiwan.

  6. Blair villanueva says:

    Thanks for sharing your Taipei guide. This is the most (almost) complete guide i’ve ever read about Taipei. Where is your next stop?

  7. This couldn’t have come at a better time as I’m hoping to head to Taiwan in November! As such, I’ve bookmarked this for later! Thanks!

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