Probably the most underrated Asian capital, Taipei is also Asia’s most laid back capital city. Steeped in history and culture, Taipei offers its visitors world-class restaurants, picturesque monuments, exotic night markets, and mind-blowing temples – all housed under the safe, cosmopolitan cityscape. This Taiwanese city is not as popular among tourists as other Asian cities like Bangkok and Hong Kong which is why not many people know that Taipei has so many things to offer and is just as charming as any other capital in the world, even though its sights are not as immediately apparent as they are in other big cities.
However, as of 2013, over 6,3 million overseas visitors came to Taipei, making the city the 15th most visited in the world and in 2014, the popular entertainment website Buzzfeed listed the capital as the No.1 most remarkable place for solo travel. We compiled a list of some of the top things you can do or see in Taipei. Have a look!
One of Taiwan’s best selling points is the fantastic food and one of the best places to try it out is the night markets. The food is diverse, with influences from China and Japan, and it all be tasted from the stall-lined lanes of a night market. You can wander around, trying bits and pieces like fried oyster omelet, fresh seafood, tofu, spring onion pancakes, mango ices, and fried chicken, to name a few.
Karaoke is, as in most Eastern-Asian countries, one of Taiwan’s biggest hobbies. If it is your first time traveling in this part of the world, don’t be too surprised to hear people sing and screaming their lungs out even though their talent is questionable. Unlike westerners, the people of Taiwan love singing in karaoke rooms so if you happen to find yourself in the middle of them, have fun without laughing at your singing abilities, even if it means you’ll need a drink or two before that.
Taipei 101, once the tallest building in the world is a landmark skyscraper located in Xinyi District, offers some pretty vertigo-inducing views from its top floor. The building even has an indoor observatory on its 89th floor and an outdoor one on the 91st floor. The views are breath-taking and the elevator is the highlight of the building because of its fast ascending speed.
Themed restaurants like the already famous Modern Toilet restaurant where you can eat out of a toilet bowl and they serve food that looks like feces. If you can’t handle that there are other themed places like an airplane, hospital and a Hello Kitty palace.
Hiking is also one of Taipei’s fun to-do activities. Despite being a big city, there are some beautiful natural escapes within the perimeter where you can go on a hike on different trails, most of them being accessible by public transportation.
Wufenpu Market is best known for wholesale garment market, located at the foothill of Sishou Mountain. You can buy ridiculous t-shirts printed with nonsensical English words or Asian-influenced clothes. This is the place to go if you’re looking for cheap clothes. The Wufenpu market is a labyrinth of stalls and you can spend hours wandering around.
Tea Ceremony is a huge part of Taiwanese culture and even if you are not a tea person you really should try going to one to see one. It’s a great way to find more about Taiwan’s culture.
If you visit Taipei you should also try going to one of its hot springs. The public hot springs have changing rooms and various pools. In a hot spring you move from pool to pool of increasing heat until you get into the hottest one but be careful to take this progression slowly or else you can actually feel a little nauseous. Nevertheless, the experience is very relaxing and Taiwanese people believe that wallowing in the hot springs has a lot of health benefits.
Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall is dedicated to Dr. Sun Yat, the father of the Republic of China. The memorial hall is a very popular tourist attraction mainly because of its historical importance. History, art exhibitions, library with 300,000 books, the hall’s surrounding park and the changing of the guards are some of the things you will see here.
Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall is a landmark of Taipei thanks to its grand, imposing architecture and historic symbolism, as Chiang Kai-shek was a former president of Taiwan. The square where the memorial hall sits upon is also the place where artists and musicians exhibit their work.