Taipei is the capital city of Taiwan. With a population of approximately 2.7 million people, this bustling city is a vibrant melting pot. Japanese, Chinese, and Southeast Asian cultures all come into play here, making this a fascinating choice that draws visitors from around the globe. From the street food and night markets to the museums and hot springs, Taipei offers a seemingly endless range of delights. It’s impossible to experience it all in a day, but this itinerary will give you a good start.

Early Morning: Enjoy a Taiwanese Breakfast

Soy milk is a staple of the Taiwanese breakfast, and you’ll find that many of the city’s most popular breakfast restaurants put a heavy focus on it. Qin Lao Shi Soybean Milk is a restaurant that’s been serving soybean milk and breakfast specialties for three generations. Try the egg tarts or Jiangsu Lionhead bun to start your day right.

Dinguan Soy Milk is another popular restaurant that you’re sure to hear about if you ask around for the best breakfasts in Taiwan. The restaurant opens at 4 a.m. to begin satisfying its loyal customers. Order the xiao long bao (steamed dumplings) or yau char kwai (Chinese crullers).

National Palace Museum
National Palace Museum in Taipei.

Midmorning: Tour the Museums

Taipei offers a dizzying range of museums to explore. Choose one or two that capture your interest, and spend the morning exploring their exhibits. It’s almost impossible to leave the city without absorbing some fascinating nugget of new knowledge.

  • Taipei Fine Arts Museum: With a collection of nearly 5,000 art objects, this museum is arguably the most popular destination in the city for art aficionados. The museum focuses on Chinese and Taiwanese art. Rotating exhibits keep the offerings fresh.
  • Shung Ye Museum of Formosan Aborigines: Focused on the indigenous peoples of Taiwan, this museum transports you back in time to explore Aboriginal cultures native to the area. Displays feature ritual objects, personal clothing and decorations, and daily living utensils.
  • National Palace Museum: The largest museum of its kind in the world, the National Palace Museum features almost 700,000 pieces of ancient Chinese imperial artifacts. An audio touring system allows you to personalize your tour of the museum with informational audio to complement each exhibit.
  • Miniatures Museum of Taiwan: Located in the basement of a simple tower block, this museum is easy to miss, yet impossible to forget for those who find it. The private museum features stunningly detailed miniatures of 19th-century London, classic storybook scenes, a Japanese garden, and more.

Noon: Grab a Bento Box Lunch

Bento boxes are compact, simple meals that are particularly popular in Taipei. Grab one to try for yourself to get the full cultural experience of this city. Fei Qian Wu is best known for its unagi bento box featuring soft grilled eel on rice. Addiction Aquatic Development features an assortment of bento boxes that have outstanding sushi and sashimi. If you’re not in the mood for seafood, head to Da She Lun Japanese Restaurant and order the pork cutlet bento box for a satisfying lunch.

Beitou Hot Springs
The Beitou Hot Springs in Taipei

Afternoon: Visit the Beitou Hot Springs

The Beitou Hot Springs is an expansive attraction that includes several different highlights. The free Beitou Hot Springs Museum is an informative place to start. You must remove your shoes to enter this museum, but sandals are provided for your visit. Here you’ll learn about the history of the hot springs. Beitou was constructed in 1913 using Victorian and British architectural elements. The museum elaborates on the creation of the hot springs, their cultural significance, and their historical value.

The Millennium Hot Springs Public Bath House in Beitou lets you experience the springs for yourself. This bath house consists of a series of soothing open-air pools that you can soak in. Three are hot springs and two are cold. All are sulfuric, so you should take off your jewelry and tie up long hair before entering. Bring your swimwear, as you must soak your whole body in the springs. You’re not permitted a foot-only soak. Entrance to the springs is NTD 40.

Before leaving Beitou, head to the Thermal Valley for a stunning natural sight. This deep volcanic crater filled with steaming water maintains a temperature between 176 and 212 degrees Fahrenheit. You’ll begin to feel the heat on your approach to this area that’s aptly nicknamed “Hell Valley.”

Late Afternoon: Go Wild at the Taipei Zoo

With an extensive range of unique exhibits, the Taipei Zoo is set to delight any visitor. The Formosan Animal Area is home to the Asiatic black bear and Chinese pangolin. The Temperate Zone Animal Area features lynx, lesser pandas, and wild horses. Desert animals, Australian animals, Asian rainforest creatures, and African animals all have homes here. Bird World is home to 1,200 individual birds belonging to more than 130 species.

Zoo enclosures serve as a climate-controlled home for creatures that may not thrive in Taipei’s natural environment. You’ll find a Koala House, Penguin House, and Panda House as well as an Insectarium for all things creepy or crawly, and the Amphibian Reptile House is the place to go to see scaly friends.

If you’re itching to learn more, don’t miss the Animal Ecology and Dinosaur Museum at the zoo. This educational center includes a zoo library, auditorium, hands-on children’s museum, and several themed exhibitions. Taxidermy specimens and recreated habitat and ecosystem displays will help you understand more about the history and nature of various types of wildlife, both past and present.

Evening: Explore the Memorial Halls

Taipei’s memorial halls stand in honor of important historical figures in Taiwan’s history. The Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall is a national monument built to honor Chiang Kai-shek, the former President of the Republic of China. Inside, you’ll find relics, photos, and exhibits relating to the life of President Chiang, from his family life to his presidency. The surrounding memorial park covers nearly 62 acres and features Chinese gardens, fish ponds, and walking paths.

The Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall was built to honor the founder of modern China, Dr. Sun Yat-sen. The hall’s original purpose is evident in the exhibits that illuminate the life of Sun Yat-Sen and the Xinhai Revolution. Today, the hall also plays host to live performances and cultural exhibitions. You never know what you may find when you stop in, making this an intriguing stop in your day.

Night Market
Raohe St. Night Market in Taipei.

Late Night: Sample the Night Markets

Taipei takes on a whole new air around dusk as daytime streets transform into lively open-air food markets. Stroll one or more of these night markets to get a delicious taste of the city’s favorite local snacks, dishes, and drinks. The largest and most popular night market is the Shilin Night Market, located across from the red line Jian Tan MRT stop. Try the stinky tofu or stinky bean curds washed down with Kaoliang Rice Wine or Taiwan Beer.

The Ningxia Night Market is another top pick, particularly if you’re interested in snacking your way through the night. The oyster omelets are particularly good here. You’ll also find quick street eats like the barbecued squid on a stick or grilled cheesy scallops. The Ningxia Market is about a 15-minute walk from the Zhongshan MRT station.

Taipei’s night markets are typically open till at least midnight, so you can spend hours strolling the streets, browsing various wares. In addition to the food, these markets may also feature clothing and souvenirs that will give you a little something special to take home.

Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport

Flying to Taipei, you’ll travel through Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport. In 2016, this bustling airport served over 40 million passengers, averaging 115,000 passengers a day. The airport serves over 50 airlines, including United Airlines, Turkish Airlines, Korean Air, Japan Airlines, Hong Kong Airlines, Emirates Airlines, Delta Airlines, and Cathay Pacific Airways. You’ll find this airport well-equipped to meet all your needs.

Arrival in Taiwan

Passengers arriving in Taiwan must have a valid passport and customs declaration form. Foreign nationals need a visa, arrival card, and boarding pass. The arrival procedure includes a human quarantine inspection for signs of illness and passport control before arriving at luggage claim. After luggage claim, you must pass an animal and plant quarantine inspection as well as a luggage inspection at customs.

Departure From Taiwan

Plan to arrive at the airport two to three hours before your flight departure to allow adequate time for the departure procedures at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport. You will need a valid passport and boarding card to get to your flight. Passengers traveling to the U.S. can check no more than two pieces of luggage weighing 50 pounds each.

Many airlines offer self-service check-in procedures via mobile, online, or at common-use self-service kiosks in the airport. Check with your airline to find out which of these options, if any, are available to you in Taiwan.

Transportation

Public transportation is common in Taiwan and operates very efficiently. Shuttle buses can transport you to the THSR station, where you’ll have access to cities throughout Taiwan, including Taipei. There are also several buses from the airport that will take you to Taipei’s MRT stations and other major drop-off points around the city. Taxis are available, but this is a costly option and best avoided unless you have a lot of luggage or are traveling at night, outside the hours of other transportation options.

Taipei 101
Shopping in Taipei

Shopping

Taoyuan International Airport offers several shopping choices that will help you fill your hours here if you’re waiting for a flight. If you’re looking for a distinctive shopping experience, head to the Hello Kitty Gift Gate, adjacent to the only Hello Kitty themed lounge in the world. If you prefer other cartoon characters, hit Kidland where you’ll find classic Disney friends, including Mickey and Minnie.

If you still need to pick up souvenirs from your trip, try the Aboriginal Craft Store, San Tsai Tang, National Palace Museum Gift Shop, and Formosan Aborigines. These stores carry a wide selection of art, artifacts, crafts, and cultural pieces that are perfect for friends and family back home. Clothing and jewelry stores, bookstores, and affordable duty-free shops abound in the airport as well.

Dining

Your flight home from Taiwan may be quite long. Grab something to eat before you take off to make the trip more comfortable. The airport offers several different types of cuisine. Sample wonton noodles at Chee Kei, Cantonese dim sum at I-Mei Dim Sum, or Hainan chicken rice at Nanyang Kitchen. You’ll find Japanese specialties at Ichiban Ramen, Saboten Japanese Cutlet, and Tokyo Curry.

If you’re not in the mood for Asian cuisine, Pian Piano Italian Restaurant and Li Si Fang serve pasta. Familiar chains like Burger King, McDonald’s, and Subway are on hand as well. Satisfy your sweet tooth at Cold Stone Creamery or the TransAsia Bakery. There’s something suited to any taste.

Traveling through the Taoyuan Airport is usually a smooth and efficient experience. Simply keep the appropriate documents on hand and make sure you’re on time so you can enjoy the best experience possible.

Where to Stay in Taipei

Taipei offers a stunningly diverse selection of accommodations. You can book anything from a sophisticated room overlooking the city to a compact hostel bunk in a hall filled with other travelers. This means that there’s something appropriate to any budget and travel style. Whether you want to settle into a communal lounge with visitors from around the world, or you prefer the privacy of your own house rental, Taipei is equipped to please.

Grand Hotel
The Grand Hotel in Taipei.

Luxury Hotels

If you’re looking for luxury, you’ll find plenty of places with pampering amenities in Taipei. W Taipei is one of the area’s best options with its ultra-modern air and full complement of services. Even the standard Wonderful Rooms at the W Taipei feature floor-to-ceiling windows, motorized curtains, feather duvets, rainforest showers, and mixologist laboratories. The heated outdoor pool measures 82-feet by 21.3-feet. Sitting on the 10th floor, this watery paradise offers stunning views of the cityscape. For more indulgences, the Away Spa is on hand with a full treatment menu.

The Hotel Proverbs Taipei offers a distinctly refined air with its postmodern architecture and rooftop pool. Not only does this hotel offer free WiFi, but it also provides complimentary portable Wi-Fi device rentals. Customize your comfort with a pillow menu, and end the night with a delicious drink from your in-room minibar.

Other luxury picks in Taipei include the Taipei Grand Hotel, Regent Taipei Hotel, and Okura Prestige Taipei. With features like on-site dining and full-service luxury spas, these locations offer so many comforts that you may never want to leave the property.

Mid-Range Accommodations

Mid-range hotels abound throughout Taipei, offering reliable comfort at manageable prices. The Dandy Hotel is one such pick. With 73 guest rooms, you’ll get the perfect blend of personal attention and affordability. Complimentary internet and free coffee and tea are available in the guest lounge. A daily breakfast buffet will help you start the day off right, while the airport shuttle service ensures a smooth transition at the beginning and end of your stay.

The Roaders Hotel is an ideal choice if you’re traveling with children. Amenities include a game zone, self-serve snack bar, and children’s play area. Relax with a cup of coffee while your children enjoy a fun assortment of toys and games, or you can challenge one another on the free arcade machines. The lobby even features a photo booth that generates free headshot photo stickers.

Hostels

If you’re looking for a cheap room in Taipei, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the innovative options that are available at low rates. Taipei takes the concept of a traveler hostel to a whole new level. The Space Inn is aptly named, offering a futuristic setting for your stay. You’ll cozy up in compact bunk beds with privacy curtains for your night’s sleep. During the day, amenities include complimentary coffee, free Wi-Fi, foosball, table hockey, and a selection of books and magazines.

The Homey Hostel is another option that lives up to its name. Guests here enjoy a complimentary breakfast, free Wi-Fi, and free lockers and luggage storage. Mingle with others in the Female Dorm or Mixed Dorm, or book a private room with either twin bunk beds or a standard double bed.

Vacation Rentals

Are you looking for an opportunity to experience Taipei like a local? Consider booking an apartment or home rental in the city. You can find comfortable accommodations with all the comforts of your own home, including a full kitchen, private bathroom, living room, and one or more separate bedrooms. Ideal for an extended stay in the city, these private vacation rentals offer a supremely comfortable experience, often for far less than you might expect.

If you’re planning a trip to Taipei, Taiwan, you have endless options for personalization that will transform your vacation into an experience that’s perfectly suited to your travel personality. Get started putting it all together at GoDoTrip. We’ll help you find all the right picks for your stay so you can enjoy Taipei any way you please.