๐Ÿง‹ Taiwan Guide: 5-7 Day Itinerary + 20 Great Things To Do

A woman sitting on a railing with an elephant symbol and a tall building in the background.

Taiwan is an underrated island destination with breathtaking nature, accessible hot springs, and globally renowned street food markets.

Five to seven days is enough time to thoroughly enjoy the capital city of Taipei and do a few day trips to other popular destinations.

I spent an extraordinary week in Taiwan, and here, I share amazing things to do and tips to optimize your trip itinerary. This post covers:

  • โญ๏ธ Top things to do in Taiwan
  • ๐Ÿ—“๏ธ 5 to 7-day optimized itinerary
  • ๐Ÿ“ Taiwan map with key places
  • ๐Ÿ  Where to stay
  • โœ๏ธ Taiwan trip planner

Planning a trip? Here’sย what to know about Taiwan.

Lists By Lukiih is readers-supported. If you buy through an affiliate link on this post, I may earn a small commission. Thanks!

6 Essential Tips for Visiting Taiwan

My friend, Ella Park-Chan, lived in Taiwan for three years and provided these helpful Taiwan travel tips.

๐Ÿงป 1. Bring toilet paper for bathrooms.

Many public bathrooms in Taiwan don’t provide toilet paper. I folded a few sheets of toilet paper and carried them in a Ziploc in my bag.

Many Taiwanese bathrooms are also squat toilets.

๐Ÿš‡ 2. Ride Taiwanโ€™s trains and visit their stations.

Taipei’s metro, known as the MRT, is punctual, clean, and well-maintained. The metro stations have everything, including clean bathrooms, water fountains, charging stations, and trash cans (street trash cans are uncommon in parts of Taiwan).

Taiwan’s train system, operated by the Taiwan Railway Administration (TRA), is also great and will take you to most places around the country. A high-speed rail can take you from northern to southern Taiwan in less than three hours.

See more tips on how to get around Taiwan.

The blog author standing in line and waiting for the metro at an indoor station.
Waiting in line to board the MRT.

๐Ÿฅž 3. Visit the Family Marts and 7-Eleven’s.

Unlike the convenience stores in the United States, the convenience stores in Taiwan (i.e., Family Mart, 7-Eleven) are well-maintained and clean.

They have a great selection of packaged meals, a clean place to eat and rest, reliable ATMs, and a convenient way to print.

๐Ÿ‡ฏ๐Ÿ‡ต 4. Be respectful and follow the rules.

Taiwan was colonized by Japan for 50 years in somewhat recent history between 1895 and 1945, so it has a strong Japanese influence.

One such influence is that the locals are polite and tend to follow the rules (e.g., they wait in line when boarding the metro and stand on the right side of the escalators to let others pass).

๐ŸฆŸ 5. Bring mosquito repellent.

Mosquitoes in Taipei can spread the dengue virus, and you’ll see signs around the city encouraging you to protect yourself.

Although most people won’t have a severe reaction, if you’re a mosquito magnet (like me), bring mosquito repellent. I like to use a bug-repellent lotion since it protects me better than the spray alternatives.

Learn other practical tips when traveling to Taiwan.

๐Ÿ’ฐ 6. Carry cash.

While credit cards are sometimes accepted, Taiwan still primarily operates on cash, so bring some cash.

Note that USD is not widely accepted, so you need to exchange cash for Taiwan’s official currency, the New Taiwan dollar.

See my entire Taiwan trip budget.

Itinerary for Taiwan

Below is a great way to spend five to seven packed days in Taiwan, featuring the best things to do in the largest city, Taipei, and popular destinations nearby.

If you want to explore the southern and eastern parts of Taiwan, which are also amazing and more off-the-beaten-path, you’ll need more than a week or return after your first trip.

7-Day Itinerary Map for Taiwan

This map has all the recommended places in the seven-day Taiwan travel itinerary below.

7-Day Itinerary for Taiwan

With this itinerary, you’ll spend two to three full days in Taipei and visit popular destinations outside the city. The destinations recommended here are often the highlights for visitors.

To help you plan efficiently, Iโ€™ve included suggested times for each activity based on my firsthand experience.

The Taiwan trip planner below has this seven-day itinerary prefilled.

Day 1 โ€“ Arrive in Taipei
โœˆ๏ธArrive at Taiwan Taoyuan International AirportMorning
๐Ÿ Have lunch and settle down12:30โ€“2 pm
๐ŸŒณVisit Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall2โ€“3:30 pm
๐Ÿ›๏ธCheck out Taipei 101 shopping center4:30โ€“5:30 pm
๐ŸŒ…Catch the sunset at Taipei 101 observatory5:30โ€“6:30 pm
๐ŸฅŸEat dinner at Din Tai Fung7โ€“8 pm
Day 2 โ€“ Jiufen Day Trip
๐Ÿฅ›Have breakfast at Fuhang Soy Milk7:30โ€“8 am
๐ŸฎTake a day trip to JiufenAll day
Day 3 โ€“ Full Day in Taipei
๐ŸฅšEat breakfast at a 7-ElevenBefore 8 am
๐Ÿ‰Catch the prayers at Lungshan Temple8โ€“9 am
๐Ÿšถ๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธExplore Ximending Walking District9:30โ€“12 pm
๐ŸœHave lunch at Lao Shandong Homemade Noodles12:15โ€“1 pm
๐Ÿ˜Hike Elephant Mountain2โ€“3:30 pm
๐ŸŒณRide the Maokong Gondola or take a breather4:30โ€“6:30 pm
๐ŸŒ™Have dinner at Raohe or Ningxia Night Market7โ€“8:30 pm
Day 4 โ€“ Taroko Gorge Day Trip
๐ŸฆTake a day trip to Taroko GorgeAll day
๐ŸŒ™Have dinner at Dongdamen Night Market6:30โ€“8 pm
Day 5 โ€“ Travel to Taipei or Sun Moon Lake
๐Ÿšถ๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธExplore Hualien or restMorning
๐Ÿš‹Train back to Taipei or visit Sun Moon Lake3โ€“5 hours
Day 6 โ€“ Choose Your Own Adventure
๐Ÿ“ If you’re back in Taipei, visit Yangmingshan National Park or Yehliu Geopark.All day
โ˜€๏ธIf you’re in Sun Moon Lake, spend a day there and account for the 3-4 hours it takes to return to Taipei.All day
Day 7 โ€“ Northern Taipei and Depart
๐ŸŒก๏ธRelax in a Beitou hot spring10 amโ€“1 pm
๐ŸฅฆVisit National Palace Museum2โ€“3:30 pm
๐ŸŒ™Visit Shilin Night Market (if you have time)4 pmโ€“flight
โœˆ๏ธDepart from TaiwanEvening

5-Day Itinerary Map for Taiwan

This map has all the recommended places in the five-day Taiwan travel itinerary below.

5-Day Itinerary for Taiwan

With this itinerary, you’ll spend two full days in Taipei, visit Jiufen, and check out Taroko Gorge. The latter two are often highlights for visitors.

To help you plan efficiently, Iโ€™ve included suggested times for each activity based on my firsthand experience.

Day 1 โ€“ Arrive in Taipei
โœˆ๏ธArrive at Taiwan Taoyuan International AirportMorning
๐Ÿ Have lunch and settle down12:30โ€“2 pm
๐ŸŒณVisit Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall2โ€“3:30 pm
๐Ÿ›๏ธCheck out the Taipei 101 shopping center4:30โ€“5:30 pm
๐ŸŒ…Catch the sunset at Taipei 101 observatory5:30โ€“6:30 pm
๐ŸฅŸHave dinner at Din Tai Fung7โ€“8 pm
Day 2 โ€“ Jiufen Day Trip
๐Ÿฅ›Have breakfast at Fuhang Soy Milk7:30โ€“8 am
๐ŸฎTake a day trip to JiufenAll day
Day 3 โ€“ Full Day in Taipei
๐ŸฅšEat breakfast at a 7-ElevenBefore 8 am
๐Ÿ‰Catch the prayers at Lungshan Temple8โ€“9 am
๐Ÿšถ๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธExplore Ximending Walking District9:30โ€“12 pm
๐ŸœHave lunch at Lao Shandong Homemade Noodles12:15โ€“1 pm
๐Ÿ˜Hike Elephant Mountain2โ€“3:30 pm
๐ŸŒณRide the Maokong Gondola or take a breather4:30โ€“6:30 pm
๐ŸŒ™Have dinner at Raohe or Ningxia Night Market7โ€“8:30 pm
Day 4 โ€“ Taroko Gorge Day Trip
๐ŸฆTake a day trip to Taroko GorgeAll day
๐ŸŒ™Have dinner at Xiang Duck Taipei8:30โ€“9:30 pm
Day 5 โ€“ Northern Taipei and Depart
๐ŸŒก๏ธRelax in a Beitou hot spring10 amโ€“1 pm
๐ŸฅฆVisit the National Palace Museum2โ€“3:30 pm
๐ŸŒ™Visit the Shilin Night Market (if you have time)4 pmโ€“flight
โœˆ๏ธDepart from TaiwanEvening

If you want to get out of Taipei and see Taiwan in five super-efficient days without worrying about transportation or the language barrier, you can book an all-inclusive guided tour that takes you to the best places to visit around the small country.

With Less Time: What To Skip in Taiwan

If the above Taipei itineraries are too busy and you need more downtime, here are the things I would skip:

  • Skip the National Palace Museum โ€“ The museum shows an impressive collection of artifacts, but its most prized artifact is a cabbage sculpture made of jade, which may only be exciting if you’re an art enthusiast.
  • Skip the Maokong Gondola โ€“ The ride is very scenic but farther out of the city center. You can hike Elephant Mountain or visit Taipei 101 for scenic views closer to the city.
  • If you can only do one day trip, choose between Jiufen and Taroko Gorge โ€“ They’re two very different day trips, so prioritize whichever interests you more (e.g., a picturesque village vs. a national park). I wouldn’t prioritize Sun Moon Lake as it’s significantly further out, and visitors don’t find it as unique as the other two.

10 Great Things To Do in Taipei

Having spent seven packed days in Taiwan, I share my recommendations and honest opinions on the top attractions and activities below, listed in rough order of priority.

All prices mentioned here are in USD ๐Ÿ’ต .

1. Hike Up Elephant Mountain

๐Ÿ˜ Why: Elephant Mountain is a metro-accessible hike in Taipei that will give you a fantastic city view. The view includes Taipei 101, an iconic building that was the world’s tallest building until 2010.

A tall, teal building towering Taipei's city skyline against a blue sky.
View of Taipei from Elephant Mountain’s overlooks.

๐ŸŒŸ Top Thing To Do: The main activity is to walk up Elephant Mountainโ€™s ~600 steps to get a great view of Taipei. There are also several other hiking trails if you want to extend your stay.

The best place to take photos is at the overlooks on Elephant Mountain. The lookout point at the summit is not a great place to take photos, as it is blocked by trees.

A man walking up staircases that don't end with a Chinese sign for "elephant" on the left.
Elephant Mountain has ~600 steps.

๐Ÿš‡ Getting There: Ride the Taipei MRT to Xiangshan Train Station, take exit 2, and walk 10 minutes along the park until you see a set of steep stairs, which will be the start of Elephant Mountain.

You can also go on a biking tour that includes a hike up Elephant Mountain.

๐Ÿ’ฐ Admission Fee: Free

โฐ Suggested Duration: 30 to 90 minutes, depending on hiking pace

๐Ÿ€ Lukiih’s Take: Elephant Mountain is great if you want a metro-accessible activity that will get your heart rate up while rewarding you with a view. It was one of my favorite places in Taipei; you can’t get a better view this close to the city.

Return to itinerary โ†‘

2. Take a Day Trip to Jiufen

๐Ÿต Why: Jiufen is a small, picturesque village in the mountains an hour east of Taipei. Itโ€™s known as the town that inspired Spirited Away, but director Miyazaki denies this. The atmospheric streets and traditional teahouses make it a popular destination.

A building decorated with lanterns nestled in a mountain.
One of Jiufen’s most popular views. (Photo by my friend, Jacob Bleth.)

๐ŸŒŸ Top Things To Do: In Jiufen, you can:

  • Enjoy tea and snacks at a traditional teahouse with incredible mountain views
  • Walk through the famous Jiufen Old Street, that’s filled with shops and local snacks
  • Hike up Keeluung Mountain Trail for a view of Jiufen
  • Visit several of Jiufen’s nearby attractions, including Golden Waterfall, Shifen Waterfall, and Teapot Mountain

Check out the great things to do in Jiufen in detail.

The blog author holding a small cup of tea sitting next to a view of mountains and red lanterns.
Enjoying snacks and tea at A-Mei Teahouse in Jiufen.

๐Ÿš‡ Getting There: You can get to Jiufen by taking public transportation or a taxi/Uber. This Jiufen guide breaks down how to get there without needing a rental car.

If youโ€™re visiting by car or taxi, you can stop by the Golden Waterfall and/or hike up Teapot Mountain on the way from Taipei to Jiufen.

A woman with her hair blowing in the wind, standing on top of a mountain overlooking the ocean.
Windy at the top of Teapot Mountain.

๐Ÿ’ฐ Expected Cost: Jiufen has no entrance fee, but parking in Jiufen and Teapot Mountain costs about $3 each.

โฐ Suggested Duration: Half a day to a full day

๐Ÿ€ Lukiih’s Take: Jiufen is a picturesque town worth visiting, especially if you can make the waterfall and mountain stop along the way. The tea house experience is incredibly unique and charming, albeit brief. Jiufen was one of my favorite places in Taiwan.

This Jiufen trip guide shares a detailed itinerary.

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3. Eat Affordable, Local Taiwanese Food

๐Ÿš Why: With its cheap, unique, and delicious food, Taiwan is often considered a foodie’s paradise.

๐Ÿœ What To Eat and Where: Below are Taipei restaurants I tried and loved, recommended by my friend, Ella Park-Chan, who lived in Taiwan for three years.

  • Din Tai Fung โ€“ This is the original location of the internationally renowned restaurant known for its excellent soup dumplings. I also love their spicy noodles, pickled cucumber, and chocolate soup dumplings. Expect a long wait (about one hour) during peak lunch and dinner times.
Two people sitting at a dining table with dozen of soup dumplings in front of them.
Din Tai Fung’s fresh soup dumplings.
  • Fuhang Soy Milk โ€“ Locals consider this the #1 breakfast place. Their sweet soy milk was delicious, and their salty soy milk was one of the most unique things Iโ€™ve eaten. Get there before 8 am if you want to wait less than 30 minutes. This place is cash-only.
Two bread sandwiches with eggs and two soy milk in bowls, one which has fried bread dough.
Fuhang’s salty and sweet soy milk.
  • Lao Shandong Homemade Noodles โ€“ Beef noodle soup is a must-have in Taiwan, and this local place serves it well without frills. This place is cash-only.
A chef with a mask proudly holding out fresh, handmade noodles.
Handmade noodles at Lao Shandong.
  • CoCo (multiple locations) โ€“ Bubble tea originated in Taiwan, so youโ€™ll easily find excellent bubble tea shops everywhere. CoCo is one of the popular chains, and I thought their tapioca pearls were fresh and chewy.
Woman holding up a milk boba tea and half-bitten preserved egg.
Coco’s milk boba tea with a 7/11 preserved egg.
  • Chia Te Bakery โ€“ Taiwan is famous for its pineapple cakes, and this bakery is known to serve some of the best ones. I enjoyed the different flavors of pineapple cake (e.g., salty egg yolk, red bean, melon) and packed a few to bring home.
Blog author holding a tray with packaged pastries organized on it.
Taking Chia Te’s pineapple cakes home.
  • Orange โ€“ This upscale restaurant served some of the best shabu shabu Iโ€™ve ever had for a relatively affordable price. However, advanced reservations are required.
A pot with broth containing vegetables, mushrooms, corn, etc, over a stove on a dining table.
Orange’s shabu shabu is fresh and generous.
  • Xiang Duck Taipei โ€“ If youโ€™re craving Peking duck, this restaurant makes them with a delicious crispy skin. Their milk dessert is one of my favorite desserts in Taiwan.
Peking duck served on a plate with two cartoon-bread with peking duck as tongues.
A surprise Halloween-themed Peking duck buns at Xiang Duck Taipei.

๐Ÿ€ Lukiih’s Take: It’s a loss if you don’t try some quintessential Taiwanese food because the price-to-quality ratio is unbeatable.

If you’re unfamiliar with Taiwanese food, you can go on a highly-rated private street food tour to learn and eat your way with a local guide.

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4. Take a Trip to Taroko Gorge

โ›ฐ๏ธ Why: Taroko Gorge, the hallmark of Taroko National Park, is one of Taiwanโ€™s top scenic attractions, known for its marble mountains, shrines, and sky-blue river. It’s a popular destination for hikers and tourists.

A blue river crossing through a tree-heavy forest.
Walking along Shakadang Trail in Taroko Gorge.

๐ŸŒŸ Top Things To Do There: There are several sites to visit inside Taroko Gorge:

  • Shakadang Trail โ€“ This is one of the most popular trails that runs along a beautiful blue river. Make sure to get there early to beat the traffic.
  • Eternal Spring Shrine โ€“ This shrine, nestled inside a mountain, commemorates the more than 200 workers who died building the highway in the early 1900s.
A woman on an Asian-style shrine with red bricks on a waterfall.
Eternal Spring Shrine in Taroko Gorge.
A long suspension bridge on a mountain with green trees.
Bulowan Suspension Bridge in Taroko Gorge.

Taroko Gorge is near Hualien City. Hualien is quieter than Taipei but has a huge, lively night market called Dongdamen that I thought was better than many of Taipeiโ€™s night markets.

๐Ÿš‡ Getting There: To get to Taroko Gorge, you can do a day tour from Taipei or travel to Hualien by taking a train from the Taipei Main Station.

See how to get to Taroko Gorge from Taipei in detail.

๐Ÿ’ฐ Expected Cost: Taroko National Park has no entrance fee. I paid $28 for the round-trip train to Hualien. My Hualien Airbnb was $40, split between two people, and my tour was $93, including tip. The tour was on the pricier end (larger groups are cheaper, and our tour only had three people).

โฐ Suggested Duration: 1 to 2 days (I did 2 days to also explore Hualien City)

๐Ÿ€ Lukiih’s Take: If you have the time to get out of Taipei, Hualien feels like a great first-timer’s day trip that offers beautiful nature and one of the best night markets that outshine the ones in Taipei.

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5. Eat at a Taiwanese Night Market

๐Ÿš Why: Taiwan is famous for its bustling night markets and street foods. Night markets also allow you to try a variety of affordable local foods all in one area.

A well-lit Asian temple at night.
Entrance to Raohe Night Market.

๐ŸŒŸ Where To Eat: These three are considered Taipei’s best night markets:

My favorite night market was the Dongdamen Night Market in Hualien City due to its large size, food diversity, and quality.

A night market with shops showing bright lights while people walk around.
Dongdamen Night Market on a rainy night.

๐Ÿœ What To Eat: Street food recommended to me by my Taiwanese friends that I think are worth trying include:

  • Spicy scallion with fried egg โ€“ The sauce used on the spicy scallion is incredible. I ate this at three different night markets, but the ones in Dongdamen were much better than the ones I had in Taipei.
  • Fried sweet potato balls โ€“ These are very good and not as heavy or oily as they look. I only saw them in the Ningxia and Raohe night markets.
  • Oyster omelet โ€“ The oyster omelet is a unique Taiwanese dish worth trying.
  • Grilled squid on a stick โ€“ These giant squids were much more tasty than I expected. The vendors know how to grill it to a good consistency, and the sauce has good flavor.
  • Stinky tofu โ€“ Stinky tofu is a Taiwanese delicacy you might dislike, but it’s worth trying for fun.
A woman standing next to a food stalls with an octopus leg in between a pair of chopsticks.
Grilled octopus at a Taipei night market.

If you need help navigating the night markets, you can also book a private tour with a knowledgable guide to show you the best Taiwanese street food.

๐Ÿ’ฐ Expected Cost: Night markets donโ€™t have entrance fees. Expect to spend about $1 to $3 per food item. With some planning, you can eat a meal for less than $5 at Taiwan’s night markets.

โฐ Suggested Duration: You can spend one to three hours at a night market, depending on how long you want to wander around and how many food items you want to try.

Bring cash and small change for the night market, as many stalls are cash-only.

๐Ÿ€ Lukiih’s Take: Taiwan is famous for its night markets. My local friend, Ella, summed it up best, “I feel like it would be weird if you don’t go to a night market while you’re in Taiwan.”

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6. Catch the Morning Prayers at Lungshan Temple

๐Ÿ™ Why: Lungshan Temple is a beautiful 300-year-old temple. The best time to get there is between 6 am and 8 am so you can observe the locals’ song-like prayers for the various Chinese deities.

An Asian-style temple with decorative dragon roofs and people praying around it.
Listening to the morning prayers at Lungshan Temple.

๐ŸŒŸ What To Do There: While listening to the prayers, you can quietly walk around and admire the temple’s architectural details.

A 20-minute walk away from Lungshan Temple is the Taipei Tianhou Temple. Tianhou Temple is another ornate temple worth checking out if you want to temple hop.

๐Ÿš‡ Getting there: Lungshan Temple is in Wanhua, Taipei’s oldest and most historic district.  You can take the MRT to Longshan Temple Station and take a short walk to the temple.

๐Ÿ’ฐ Admission Fee: Free

โฐ Suggested Duration: 30 to 60 minutes. Budget more time if you plan to walk around Wanhua District.

๐Ÿ€ Lukiih’s Take: If you like observing peaceful spiritual ceremonies, catch the prayers at Lungshan Temple in the early morning. Otherwise, stop by at any time to admire the temple’s designs. Even if you don’t visit the temple, walking through Wanhua District is unique, as it has a much older atmosphere than other parts of Taipei.

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7. Go Up to Taipei 101โ€™s Observatory

โ›…๏ธ Why: Taipei 101 is one of the tallest buildings in the world and was the tallest until 2010. The building has a well-designed observatory with a great view of Taipei and many high-end shops that you can browse if you want to be indoors.

A sky-view of Taipei the city while the sunset sets in the horizon.
Sunset from Taipei 101.

๐ŸŒŸ Top Things To Do: The best thing to do at Taipei 101 is to catch the sunset at the observation deck. While going up to the observatory, you will also get to ride one of the fastest elevators in the world (it was the fastest from 2004 to 2015). Taipei 101 also has many fun photo stations.

Two people jumping and posing in front of a light-up sign that says "Taipei 101".
Taipei 101’s photo station.

๐Ÿš‡ Getting There:  Take the MRT to Taipei 101 Station and walk a minute to the building. Book tickets on the 5th floor of Taipei 101 to go up to the observation deck.

๐Ÿ’ฐ Admission Fee: Starts at NT$600 (roughly $19)

You can get last-minute tickets to Taipei 101’s observatory. The only exception is during sunset when it’s very popular.

โฐ Suggested Duration: 30 to 60 minutes is sufficient to see all four sides of Taipei 101’s observatory and to take some photos. Budget more time if you plan to shop around as well.

๐Ÿ€ Lukiih’s Take: I generally donโ€™t find observatories impressive, but Taipei 101’s observation deck is the best one I’ve been to. The photo booths are fun, the mass damper exhibit is scientifically interesting, and the view is impressive at sunset.

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8. Visit Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall

๐Ÿ‡น๐Ÿ‡ผ Why: Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall is a national monument and a popular tourist spot. Itโ€™s surrounded by a pretty park where locals hang out, and the National Theater and Concert Hall are within a short walking distance.

A decorative, Asian-style building with red columns.
The National Concert Hall near Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall.

๐ŸŒŸ Top Things To Do: Walk or run around the park and look at the three stunning buildings in the complex: Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall, National Concert Hall, and National Theater. There’s also a changing of the guards in Chiang Kai-shekโ€™s main hall every hour.

A white building with a decorative top and archway on green grass.
Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hallโ€™s changing of guards.

๐Ÿš‡ Getting There:  Take the Taipei MRT to Chiang Kai-shek Station and walk to Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall.

๐Ÿ’ฐ Admission Fee: Free

โฐ Suggested Duration: 60 to 90 minutes

๐Ÿ€ Lukiih’s Take: If you’re tight on time or are not interested in going inside any of the buildings, the park surrounding the memorial hall is well-designed enough to warrant a visit. I also find it fascinating to watch the elderly locals at the park engaging in their active community exercises, which is not a sight I often see in the United States.

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9. Explore Ximending District

๐Ÿ‘Ÿ Why: Ximending District is a walkable district with shopping, food, street art, and Japanese culture. It’s also a very happening location, especially at night and early evening, where you might catch a few street performers.

๐ŸŒŸ Great Things To Do: Ximending is a great place to walk around and enjoy the lively atmosphere. You can:

  • Check out the shops โ€“ The streets are lined with tattoo parlors, arcade games, trendy bubble tea flavor places, claw machine arcades, graffiti art, and more. I got a nice haircut here for $30, which included a tip.
  • See street performers โ€“ They usually come out at night.
  • Eat at a few food stalls โ€“ Pro tip: the Dian Dian Tea stall serves pawpaw smoothies, which are hard to get elsewhere.
A street with Chinese signs and anime-decorated posters.
Ximending Walking District during the day.

๐Ÿš‡ Getting There: Take the Taipei MRT to Ximen Station and walk two minutes to the Ximending District.

๐Ÿ’ฐ Admission Fee: Free

โฐ Suggested Duration: 1 hour for a quick stroll to a full day of exploring

๐Ÿ€ Lukiih’s Take: Ximending District is fun to check out if you want to be around a younger, busier, and more touristy area of Taipei. It’s also a great place to be at night.

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10. Take a Dip in a Beitou Hot Springs

๐ŸŒก๏ธ Why: Beitouโ€™s hot springs may not be the most beautiful, but its proximity to Taipei makes it a perfect place to relax and get away from the city for a few hours.

๐ŸŒŸ Where To Visit: There are several hot springs in the Beitou area, and they vary in different ways: distance from the MRT, public vs. private, mixed-sex vs. sex-segregated, and price point. I visited the hot spring at Spring City Resort because it was mixed-sex, and I wanted to be with my friends.

The most interesting thing offered at the Spring City Resort was a hot marble stone you could lay on and take a soothing nap.

๐Ÿš‡ Getting There: Take the MRT to Beitou Station and walk or take a shuttle to your preferred hot spring.

๐Ÿ’ฐ Expected Cost: Hot springs’ prices range from budget to luxury. I paid $25 at Spring City Resort, which is considered mid-range. My ticket included a shower, locker, towel, shower cap, and sandals.

โฐ Suggested Duration: You’ll need at least three to four hours to visit a Beitou hot spring, including the 40 minutes required to get to the Beitou area from Taipei.

๐Ÿ€ Lukiih’s Take: The hot springs in Beitou are not a must-visit. I think it’s only worth visiting if you want a relaxing experience only a metro ride away.

If you prefer more guidance or want to fit in many things in a short period of time, book a full-day custom tour that visits several of Taipei’s attractions mentioned above.

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10 Great Things To Do in Taiwan

In rough order of closest to furthest away from Taipei, here are ten other popular things to do in Taiwan if you’re staying for a longer trip:

1. National Palace Museum

The National Palace Museum, located in the northern part of Taipei, has the worldโ€™s largest collection of Chinese artifacts and art. Its most famous work is the “Jaded Cabbage. ” The museum attracts visitors from all over the world for its historical significance and picturesque surroundings.

This museum is worth a visit if you’re an art enthusiast. Otherwise, it’s one of the first things my local friend tells people to skip if they have limited time in Taipei.

๐Ÿ’ฐ Admission Fee: NT$350 (roughly $11)
โฐ Opening Hours: 9 amโ€“5 pm; closed on Mondays
๐Ÿ“ Getting There From Taipei: 1 hour by MRT

2. Maokong

Maokong is known as Taipei’s tea town because it used to be the biggest tea-growing area. You can ride a Maokong gondola for scenic views, explore mountain hiking trails, and visit the nearby Taipei Zoo.

๐Ÿ’ฐ Gondola Price: Starts at NT$70 (roughly $2)
โฐ Opening Hours: Usually 9 amโ€“9 pm
๐Ÿ“ Getting There From Taipei: 20 minutes by MRT

3. Yangminshan National Park

Yangmingshan National Park, located in New Taipei City, is home to hot springs, terraced ponds, and even a crater lake. You can visit Yangminshan’s top attractions with a half-day guided tour.

The park also features over 60 hiking trails, making it a very accessible hiking park near Taipei.

๐Ÿ’ฐ Admission Fee: Free, but you need to pay for parking
โฐ Opening Hours: 8:30 amโ€“4:30 pm
๐Ÿ“ Getting There From Taipei: 30 to 50 minutes by car

4. Yehliu Geopark

Yehliu Geopark, located in New Taipei City and sometimes coupled with a trip to Jiufen, is known for its unique rock formations. The sea has eroded the landscape, leaving a bunch of honeycomb and mushroom-shaped rocks.

๐Ÿ’ฐ Admission Fee: Free, but you need to pay for parking
โฐ Opening Hours: 8:30 amโ€“4:30 pm
๐Ÿ“ Getting There From Taipei: 30 to 60 minutes by car

5. Lukang

Lukang is a town located on the west coast of Taiwan. It’s known for its traditional buildings and cultural heritage. Its historical charms draw in a lot of artists and creative people.

๐Ÿ’ฐ Admission Fee: Several of Lukang’s temples have small admission fees
๐Ÿ“ Getting There From Taipei: 2 to 3 hours by TRA train

6. Sun Moon Lake

Sun Moon Lake, located in Central Taiwan, is the countryโ€™s most famous lake. It’s a beautiful spot for swimming and boating, and the surrounding mountains offer stunning views.

๐Ÿ“ Getting There From Taipei: 4 hours by TRA train

Return to itinerary โ†‘

7. Alishan

Alishan, located in Central Taiwan, is famous for the Alishan National Scenic Area, which covers a vast area of mountain terrain. The area is also known for its tea plantations and many hiking trails ranging from easy to hard.

Alishan is also famous for its cherry blossoms, which bloom between late March and early April.

๐Ÿ’ฐ Admission Fee for the Alisha Forest Railway: Starts at NT$300 (roughly $10)
โฐ Opening Hours: Open 24/7
๐Ÿ“ Getting There From Taipei: 5 hours by TRA train

8. Tainan City

Located in southern Taiwan, Tainan City is the country’s oldest city and the birthplace of many traditional Taiwanese foods. It is known for its ancient temples, local cuisine, and friendly residents.

๐Ÿ“ Getting There From Taipei: 3 to 4 hours by TRA train

9. Kaohsiung City

Located in southern Taiwan, Kaohsiung City is the third-largest city and an economic hub. As such, It offers everything from lively night markets and art galleries to a scenic port and pond.

๐Ÿ“ Getting There From Taipei: 3 hours by TRA train

10. Kenting National Park

Kenting National Park, located on the southern tip of Taiwan, is famous for its beautiful beaches and lush vegetation. Many say that it’s a relaxing park, but thanks to its natural beauty, it’s often very crowded and touristy.

๐Ÿ’ฐ Admission Fee: Mostly free except a few areas
โฐ Opening Hours: Varies by area, but typically open 24/7
๐Ÿ“ Getting There From Taipei: 5.5 hours by TRA train

Where To Stay in Taipei

Here’s some guidance on where to stay in Taipei.

๐Ÿ  What To Consider

When choosing accommodation in Taipei, consider the following things:

  • Proximity to an MRT station โ€“ You’ll likely rely on Taipei’s excellent public transportation, so it’s convenient to stay within a 5 to 15-minute walking distance of an MRT station.
  • The neighborhood โ€“ Taipei, like many other cities, has distinct neighborhoods. Staying in Ximending, which is more tourist-friendly, will have restaurants opened later and be noisier than a neighborhood like Daan, which is much more residential and local.
  • Mid-range pricing โ€“ Taipei offers a wide range of accommodations. If you plan to spend minimal time in your accommodation like I did, paying for accommodation that’s roughly $50 per night is very reasonable.

๐Ÿ  Where I Stayed

I stayed at two hotels in distinct neighborhoods during my one-week trip to Taipei. Here are my honest thoughts on the accommodations.

๐Ÿ  Hotel #1: I stayed at CHECK Inn Express in Daan District, where I paid $36 per person per night.

  • ๐Ÿ‘ Pros โ€“ The hotel was relatively local, with enough shops, attractions, and restaurants within walking distance. It was a straightforward accommodation with no extra frills or amenities.
  • ๐Ÿ‘Ž Cons โ€“ The rooms are tiny (e.g., there’s no space to open your carry-on luggage), and housekeeping isn’t included. For around the same price, you can stay at a much more happening place, which is why I stayed in a second hotel.

๐Ÿ  Hotel #2: I also stayed at Amba in Ximending District, where I paid $40 per person per night.

  • ๐Ÿ‘ Pros โ€“ Ximending is a happening place with many attractions and food options at night. The rooms were nice, and the included breakfast had many options.
  • ๐Ÿ‘Ž Cons โ€“ This is nit-picky, but the gap under the entrance door was fairly wide. I could hear hallway noises, and I suspect that’s how mosquitoes kept entering the room.

Taiwan Trip Planner

To make your travel planning easier, download the trip planner below and use it as a starting point. The planner has country-specific travel information, an itinerary, a packing list, and a map with key places pinned.

The trip planner is built on Notion, which I use for all my travel planning (I genuinely love this tool). If you don’t have Notion, creating an account is free.

Three Notion template screenshots are shown: travel information, itinerary, and map + packing list templates.
Preview of Taiwan trip planner.

Thoughts? Questions? Leave a comment below.

Lists by Lukiih is Readers-Supported

If you find my travel tips helpful, say thanks with a bubble tea๐Ÿง‹!

4 Comments

  1. Mae

    Hi Thank you for this! Is it possible to do all this by staying in 1 hotel ximending area?

    1. Lukiih

      Hey Mae, it is possible to do everything from 1 hotel in the Ximending area. The only thing that might be a bit difficult is doing a day trip to Hualien/Taroko Gorge; you’ll have to get up really early and get back later if you’re staying in Taipei. Have fun on your trip!

  2. Jennifer Diamond

    This guide was extremely helpful in planning my trip as I used it for my base! Thank you so much!

    1. Lukiih

      Glad to hear it, Jennifer! Feel free to DM me if you have any feedback on the guide.

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