Posted August 21, 2018

1 City, 3 Ways: Taipei

Destinations

The Taiwanese capital’s rich diversity of attractions has something for everyone. Whether you’re an arts & culture buff, an unofficial street food connoisseur, or you prefer trees to sidewalks, this city’s got you covered.

Temple in Taipei Taiwan Nick Kembel

Taipei’s allure starts with its many temples steeped in history and culture. Image credit: Nick Kembel

Traditional Culture & Modern Arts

Taipei’s cultural landscape bears aboriginal roots, with customs originating in ancient China. Today, it’s tied together by distinct local Taiwanese flavor and vibrant modern arts.

  • Take a camera to one of the city’s repurposed art villages. Huashan 1914 Creative Park occupies a Japanese-era winery, while Songshan Cultural and Creative park sits on the grounds of a former tobacco factory. 44 South Village is a lesser-known option, while the least commercial is Treasure Village, home to a living community of artists.
  • Held annually since 2002, usually from April to May, Urban Nomad Film Fest is Taiwan’s largest indie film festival, with a sister music festival on Tiger Mountain.
  • Red House Theater in Ximen, the city’s funkiest neighborhood, is home to the Weekend Craft Market, showcasing local artists and designers. Afterwards, sip a sundowner at one of the bars next door, where you’ll find the best patios in the city.
  • Chinese & Taiwanese performing arts are on display at TaipeiEYE, including Peking opera, Taiwanese folk opera, and aboriginal song & dance performances.
  • Marvel at the intricate roof and wall details at one of the city’s many temples. Longshan Temple is the most famous, while Songshan Ciyou Temple, Xingtian Temple or Guandu Temple are equally stunning (and with fewer tourists).
  • Take a day trip from Taipei to Jiufen’s Old Street. Offering sweeping views and hillside teahouses, its narrow walkways are lined with shops and food stalls.
Lanterns in Taipei Taiwan @phisamorn

Experience the magic of Jiufen’s Old Street on at a night walk under glowing lanterns. Image credit: @phisamorn via Twenty20

A Culinary Paradise

If you’ve got nothing but food on your itinerary, you’re in luck. While upscale dining is always an option, the city’s street vendors and hole-in-the-wall shops serve up the dishes that most foodies come for.

  • Start your day with a traditional Taiwanese breakfast. Breakfast shops are on virtually every residential street. The menus feature classic items like steamed buns, sticky rice rolls, green onion crepes, toasted sandwiches and soymilk.
  • Get to Addiction Aquatic Development early for Taipei’s freshest sashimi and sushi. The stylish grocery/restaurant include a standing oyster and seafood bar, hot pot, seafood BBQ or take-away sets to enjoy at the standing tables outside.
  • Elegantly hip Mume applies New Nordic cuisine principles to local Taiwanese ingredients and is rated one of the top-50 restaurants in Asia.
  • You can’t visit without eating your way through one of Taipei’s night markets. Shilin, Raohe, Tonghua and Ningxia are the best options for first timers.
  • Craft beer lovers make a beeline for Driftwood in Ximen, featuring an array of local and Asian craft suds on tap and a handsome wooden interior.
  • Cocktail lovers will want to find their way into one of the city’s speakeasy-style bars, such as Alchemy or Ounce. There’s also no shame in grabbing a road beer or cocktail-in-a-can from 7-Eleven – it’s what the locals do!
Addiction Aquatic Fish Spread Taipei Taiwan Nick Kembel

Visit Addiction Aquatic for Taipei’s freshest spread of sashimi and sushi. It doesn’t get better than this! Image credit: Nick Kembel

Nature More Accessible than Meets the Eye

There’s a surprising number of ways to connect with the great outdoors right within Taipei’s city limits.

  • The sprawling Da An Park is Taipei’s answer to NYC’s Central Park.
  • Elephant Mountain, right next to the towering Taipei 101, offers picture perfect views of the city. To escape the crowds of sunset chasers, follow the trails to Leopard Mountain, Lion Mountain and Tiger Mountain.
  • In winter, hop on the MRT to Beitou for a thermal spring soak. Millennium Hot Spring is a popular public outdoor spot, while Grand View Resort is the best choice for bathing in luxury.
  • In spring, catch a bus up Taipei’s Yangming Mountain, a dormant volcano, to view the annual spectacle of blooming cherry blossoms. During other seasons, the mountain is dotted with hiking trails and steamy fumaroles.
  • One of the city’s often-overlooked features is its plethora of riverside cycling trails. Take advantage of the city’s bike share system, YouBike. Our favorite route is from Yuanshan MRT station to Raohe Night market. You’ll be able to spot three iconic Taipei structures: Taipei 101, the Miramar Ferris Wheel and the classical Chinese-style Grand Hotel.
Hiking Outside Taipei Taiwan Nick Kembel

Within minutes of the city, you can access hiking trails that offer stunning views of Taipei. Image credit: Nick Kembel

Within an hour or two of the city, you can also reach numerous waterfalls, hot springs, beaches and exhilarating hikes galore.

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