Whether this is your first time in Asia or your second, this first-timer’s Taipei travel guide will show you all that there is to discover. Taipei is a sprawling city and with so much to see and do, you could get lost down the lantern-stringed streets for hours.
Taipei was not the kind of city I had expected for Asia. It was my first time visiting Taipei so I was excited to explore it on my own. It was organized yet there were whizzing motorcycles, it was cosmopolitan yet felt tropical. There was the kind of upscale dining you’d expect, but for every 5 star restaurant there was a food cart to match. You could experience both sides of the spectrum and truly enjoy both. Taipei is a city for those who love food and who love to explore endless streets. A trip to Taipei is the experience for those looking to be surprised by somewhere that is too often overlooked.
There are so many things to do in Taipei, so take a look at where to say in Taipei and use this travel guide to help plan your trip!
The First-Timer’s Taipei Travel Guide
What to Know Before Visiting Taipei
- Taipei has a great international airport that is easily reached with many direct flights. Landing in Taoyuan International Airport, you can take the shuttle bus (U-bus) to the Taoyuan High Speed Rail station to access Taipei Main Station. Pre-arranged transfers with a hotel is also advised.
- Once in the city of Taipei, the MRT (metro) is easy to use. Be sure to get an Easy Card at a Seven Eleven to use for easy entry into train stations.
- The Easy Card is your best friend as you can use it for trains, busses, buying food at Seven Eleven and even taxis. This is like their local credit card.
- Cash is king here and though most nice restaurants and cafes will accept credit card, cash is still needed for many places.
- Uber is very affordable and practical for getting around Taipei. Avoid rush hour as traffic can be painfully slow.
- I’d suggest a translating app to assist while traveling in Taiwan. English is widely spoken in Taipei but a few phrases in the local language always helps.
- I would recommend a minimum of 4 nights if you plan to do a day trip at least once. The city is big, with plenty to do and eat.
- If you’re not to sure what to expect in Taiwan, take a look at this post on why I fell in love with the city.
Through looking at the different seasons, I believe the best time to visit Taipei is during the fall. It is cool weather and the least amount of rain.
The summers in Taipei can be hot and humid, so I’d avoid the peak of summer if you don’t love the heat.
Where to Stay in Taipei
- CHECK inn: Centrally located and footsteps from the MRT, this is a good, well-priced option. It is a young hotel and features a good cafe for breakfast and coffee as well. (this is where I stayed)
- W Taipei: For those looking for a luxe experience, this design-forward hotel is the spot. Well located and beautiful, it’s an upscale stay.
Browse all Taipei hotels here:
Where to Eat in Taipei
- Addiction Aquatic Center: Easily some of the best sushi I have ever had, this place is a must. A cash-only sushi bar inside a fish market that is stunning and a great night out in Taipei.
- Cafe Megane: A beautiful space serving incredible onigiri and other delights like waffles with peanut butter sauce!
- Din Tai Fung: This is a classic and almost on everyone’s list when in Taipei. Dim sum and soup dumplings are a must on a visit to Taipei. Pro-tip: Put your name on the list and head to the top of Taipei 101 before settling for lunch or dinner.
- Choose me Cafe & Restaurant: Solid cafe for coffee and small plates.
- Pinecone Restaurant: Inventive dishes in a beautiful space, like Japanese-fried chicken over spaghetti.
- Aura Pizzeria: Come here for your pizza cravings.
- Ay Chung Flour Rice Noodles: The place (with lines) which serves some incredible Taiwanese noodles and food.
- Yongkang Beef noodles: An iconic dish from Taiwan, beef noodle soup is a staple during a trip.
- Tamed Fox: Beautiful space with a brunch menu.
- Ice Monster: A must try is Taiwanese shaved ice and this place serves some of the best.
What to Do in Taipei
- Checkout the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall is one of the best things to do in Taipei.
- Shop and cafe hop down the tree-lined Fujin St.
- Go to the top of Taipei 101 and catch the view. Be sure to put your name down at Din Tai Fung before going up.
- Catch sunset over the city from Elephant Mountain.
- Explore the National Palace Museum to see Chinese art and artifacts.
- Head to the neighborhood of Ximending where you can shop through multiple merchants and there’s plenty to eat.
- Hit a night market while in town, like the Shilin Night Market.
- Take a day trip to Jiufen.
- If you’re looking for a great view over the city, be sure to head to Taipei 101.
- One of my favorite places to visit from Taipei is also Sun Moon Lake.
If you’re looking for a guided day tour, take a look at these options:
*Bon Traveler was welcomed as a guest of Taiwan Tourism Bureau. As always, all opinions are own.
This post was originally shared in November 2017.
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PS — Are You Booking a Trip Soon? Use My Booking Checklist!
These are the sites I use most to book my own trips. Using the links below is a great way to support Bon Traveler’s travel journalism at no extra cost to you. If you need help organizing your itinerary, get my free travel itinerary template here.
1. Book Your Flights
Use Skyscanner to find the best flights. It searches 100s of airlines and websites across the globe to ensure you’re not missing out on any route options or deals.
2. Book Your Accommodations
Use Booking.com for hotels and guest houses. They have the biggest inventory and consistently offer the best rates.
3. Book Your Tours & Experiences
4. Book Your Car
Use Discover Cars or Rentalcars.com to find the best car rental deals. I recommend comparing rental agency reviews on Google to ensure you are booking with the best company in that destination, as the reviews are often more accurate than the car rental search engines.
5. Don’t Forget Airport Lounge Access
Get a Priority Pass membership to gain access to 1,400+ VIP lounges and airport experiences worldwide. The Priority Pass app is the first thing I check when I have a layover. I’ve been a member for over a decade, and having a comfortable place to relax before and between flights makes air travel so much more enjoyable.
6. Don’t Forget Travel Insurance
I never leave the country without travel insurance. It provides comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong (ie. illness, injury, theft, and cancelations, etc.). I use it frequently for my travels to stay protected.
My favorite companies that offer the best coverage and rates are: