Posted October 10, 2018

One Day in Taipei

Eat + Drink

Even if you only have 24 hours, you can still put together a snappy Taipei itinerary that takes in the sights—and the local flavors while you’re at it.

Early Bird Ideas

Here are some ideas to kickstart your day and shake off the jet lag.

  • Head to one of the city’s many parks to people-watch meditative group tai chi or ballroom dancing. Da An Park, Taipei’s largest, 2-28 Peace Memorial Park, or Fine Arts Park are our top picks.
  • Catch the hypnotizing morning chanting at Longshan Temple, the city’s most important place of worship. Ceremonies usually begin at 6 and 8 a.m.

    longshan temple image credit nick kembel

    Count the number of deities lining the halls at Longshan Temple. Although dedicated to the Buddhist Goddess of Mercy, the temple also houses a range of displaced religious statues. Image credit: Nick Kembel

  • Try a traditional Taiwanese breakfast at Yonghe Soy Milk King, with classic items such as flaky sesame pastries, plump steamed buns, hearty sticky rice rolls, and warm soy milk. Everything is made in house, and even with the language barrier, you’ll survive just fine by simply pointing at whatever looks good.

    taiwanese breakfast image credit nick kembel

    Calling all breakfast lovers: Taipei knows what’s what. Don’t leave the city without sampling a traditional Taiwanese breakfast. Image credit: Nick Kembel

  • Register and swipe your MRT EasyCard to hire a YouBike and cycle along one of the city’s airy riverside parks.
  • Defy the sunset crowds and climb the Four Beasts (Elephant, Lion, Leopard, and Tiger Mountains) in the morning.

Afternoon Indoor Escapes

The afternoon summer temperature in Taipei can soar, while late afternoon can bring downpours in any season. Take a post-lunch breather with one of these suggestions.

  • Go back in time at the National Palace Museum, which houses the world’s largest collection of ancient Chinese art and artifacts.
  • Sing your heart out in a private room at a KTV (karaoke) bar. PartyWorld is one of the most popular. For a better selection of English songs, try little-known EST, the city’s only KTV-bar specializing in (English, Korean and Japanese tunes.
  • Stroke fuzzy felines at Dog & Cats, one of the city’s best cat cafés. They’ve got multiple cats plus a single resident dog, hence the name.
  • For a coffee break minus the four-legged company, try Café Monument, on the second floor of a baroque style red brick structure dating back to the 1930s.
  • Get a bird’s eye view of the city from the observation deck on the 89th to 91st floors of Taipei 101, once the world’s tallest building. Try to arrive around dusk to catch the sunset, which is soon followed by the city’s transformation under the glow of neon lights.

    taipei city view image credit nick kembel

    Enjoy birds-eye views from up high at Taipei 101, where the city especially sparkles in the late afternoon light. Image credit: Nick Kembel

All-Night Eats

If you’re wondering where everyone is in the evening in Taipei, they’re packed into the city’s restaurants and night markets, where eating isn’t a race—it’s a marathon.

temple at night image credit nick kembel

Taipei hums with energy once the sun sets. Locals chow down on street eats at the night
markets, or head indoors for hot pot, quick fries and sweet treats. Image credit: Nick Kembel

    • Rather than committing to one restaurant, snack till you drop at one of Taipei’s night markets, such as Shilin, Raohe, Ningxia or Tonghua.
    • If local and greasy is your gameplan, then seek out a quick fry—a style of hole-in-the-wall restaurant that specializes in pan-fried dishes heavy on the seafood and watered down with local Taiwan beer. Pin Xian is a solid choice, but might have a wait. You can always find a table at one of the many options along Chang An West Road, between Zhongshan North Road and Xinsheng North Road.
pork xiaolongbao image credit @hungryintaipei via twenty20

Bursting with flavor, pork xiaolongbao takes our vote for tastiest dumpling in the city! Image credit: courtesy of @hungryintaipei via Twenty20

  • In the winter, hot pot is a must. For quality over quantity, try Tripod King, one of Taipei’s most reputed. Each traditional, three-legged pot comes with two flavors of soup base: Sichuan-style spicy and pickled cabbage, and dishes are served a la carte rather than the typical serve-yourself, all-you-can-eat affairs.
beef noodle soup taipei image credit @hungryintaipei via Twenty20

In Taipei, it’s always soup o’clock, especially when tender beef noodle soup is on the menu. Image credit: courtesy of @hungryintaipei via Twenty20

  • For dessert, treat yourself to a heaping mound of shaved ice topped with fruit, Q (chewy) balls, and sweetened condensed milk at Ice Monster. You can’t go wrong with their mango or bubble tea shaved ice!
  • For a romantic nightcap, check out the new collection of stalls at Pier 5 of Dadaocheng Pier Plaza serving riverside bites until 11 p.m.
  • While the classic American late night snack may be pizza, Taipei locals finish where they started: in a 24-hour traditional breakfast shop like the one mentioned earlier.

– Nick Kembel

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