๐Ÿง‹Taiwan Guide: 17 Great Things To Do + 5-7 Day Itinerary

The blog author sitting on a railing with an elephant symbol, with a tall building in the background.

Taiwan is an amazing island country with affordable, delicious food; metro-accessible hiking trails and hot springs; and Japanese-influenced culture and temples. I enjoyed my trip to Taiwan so much that I wanted to live there.

Here, I share practical tips on traveling to Taiwan based on hours of research, experience, and crowdsourcing recommendations from my Taiwanese friends. This post covers:

  • โญ๏ธ Great things to do in Taiwan and my honest reviews of them
  • ๐Ÿ—“๏ธ 5-7 day Taipei itinerary, including trips to Jiufen and Taroko Gorge
  • ๐Ÿ“ Taiwan map with key places pinned
  • โœ๏ธ Taiwan trip planning template
  • ๐Ÿš‡ How to get around and where to stay in Taipei

This post is focused on Taipei, the capital of Taiwan, one of the richest cities in Asia, and a cultural and commercial hub that mixes modern and traditional life. Taipei is where visitors, including myself, tend to spend most of their time during their first trip to Taiwan.

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase through them, I may earn a small commission, at no extra cost to you. Thanks for your support!

Trip Planning Information for Taiwan

Here is some important travel information on Taiwan to save you trip planning time.

โญ Known For

Taiwan is known for:

  • Street food and night markets
  • Open-minded and polite locals
  • Taipei 101, one of the world’s tallest buildings
  • Beautiful nature and lake accessible from the cities

๐Ÿ“ Location

Taiwan is an island country in the Pacific Ocean located southeast of China, northwest of Japan and north of the Philippines.

๐Ÿ’ฌ Language

Taiwan’s official language is Mandarin Chinese. 25% of the population speaks English in the largest city, Taipei, but English is otherwise not widely spoken.

Some basic Mandarin phrases to learn when visiting Taiwan include:
– “Ni hao” which means “How are you?”
– “Xie xie” which means “Thank you”

๐Ÿ›ƒ Visa

A Taiwan visa is not required for United States nationals visiting for up to 90 days.

๐ŸŒŽ Time Zone

Taiwan’s time zone is the Taipei Standard Time. Here’s the country’s current time.

๐Ÿ’ฐ Currency

The local currency is the New Taiwan Dollar. At the time of writing, the exchange rate is $1 USD = 30 NT.

๐Ÿ’ณ Credit Card

You should carry cash at all times as Taiwan’s economy is largely based on cash transactions, even at established businesses. Some larger businesses will accept cards.

๐Ÿ’ต Tipping Etiquette

Tipping is not expected in Taiwan, but consider tipping service workers (e.g., tour guides). Most restaurants add a 10% service charge when dining in.

๐Ÿ”Œ Outlet

Taiwan has the same outlet type as the US (i.e., type A, which is the two flat parallel pins, and type B, which is the two flat parallel pins and a grounding pin), so an adapter may not be needed. During my Taiwan visit, I never had to use my adapter.

๐Ÿ“ฑ SIM Card

Taipei has good Wi-Fi infrastructure, but you’ll likely still want to get a SIM card to get around Taiwan. My Google Fi’s international plan worked perfectly well during my Taiwan trip. You can get a $20 credit when you use my Google Fi referral code here.

๐Ÿ’ง Tap Water

Taiwan’s tap water is safe to drink and generally of higher quality than a lot of advanced nations, but locals filter and buy bottled water anyway.

โ˜€๏ธ Best Time To Visit

September to November is the best time to travel to Taiwan when the weather is pleasant and mild with a decreased chance of rain.

April to October is the summer season, when the weather is humid and hot (averaging 65ยฐF to 85ยฐF).

October to April is the winter season (averaging 65ยฐF to 75ยฐF).

๐Ÿ—“๏ธ How Long To Visit

You can spend one to two weeks in Taiwan, depending on how many cities you plan to explore.

You’ll need a minimum of three days to explore the capital, Taipei, and you can add one to two days for each day trip you plan to take from Taipei.

I visited for a week and felt that I could have easily stayed more than two weeks exploring the country.

The Taiwan trip planning template below has all the information above in a downloadable Notion.

5 Essential Tips for Visiting Taiwan

My friend, Ella Park-Chan, lived in Taiwan for three years and provided these helpful tips to me when visiting the country.

๐Ÿงป Tip #1: Bring toilet paper for bathrooms.

Many public bathrooms in Taiwan donโ€™t have toilet paper and a lot of them are squat toilets. I folded a few sheets of TP and carried them around in a Ziploc in my bag.

๐Ÿš‡ Tip #2: Use Taiwanโ€™s metro and visit their stations.

Taiwan’s metro, known as the MRT, is clean and well-maintained. The stations have everything, including clean bathrooms, water fountains, charging stations and trash cans (street trash cans are not common in some areas).

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

๐Ÿฅž Tip #3: Visit the Family Marts and 7-11s.

Unlike the 7-11โ€™s in the United States, the convenience stores in Taiwan provide packaged meals, a great place to eat and rest, ATMs and a convenient way to print.

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

Taiwan was colonized by Japan for 50 years, so it has 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, stand on the right side of the escalators to let others pass).

๐ŸฆŸ Tip #5: Bring mosquito repellent.

Mosquitos in Taipei can spread dengue fever and you’ll see signs around the city encouraging you to protect yourself.

Although most of the population won’t have a severe reaction, if you’re a mosquito magnet (like me), consider bringing some mosquito repellent. I like to use a bug-repellent lotion since I think it works better than the spray alternatives.

Getting Around Taipei

Once you land at Taoyuan International Airport (TPE), you can take the metro (the MRT), shuttle bus or taxi into Taipei. Welcome Pickups, a highly-rated airport transfer service, is also a great option for the same price as a regular taxi if you want to have an English-speaking driver ready for you when you land.

Once you’re in Taipei, the best way to get around is by using its great public transportation.

Public Transportation

In Taipei, you can easily get around by taking public transportation, which includes the metro, bus, shared bike or train.

๐Ÿš‡ Metro aka The MRT (Mass Rapid Transit)

Taipeiโ€™s metro, the MRT, is an efficient and convenient way to get around Taipei. There is a dedicated MRT line that runs to and from the airport. Here’s Taiwan’s metro map in English.

  • How to buy an MRT ride: Buy a one-time blue token or an EasyCard (aka IC Card) at the station kiosks. The station kiosks only accept cash; I found that the station attendants are willing to break larger bills.
  • Riding the MRT: Taiwan has a polite culture that tends to follow the rule, so remember to act accordingly when riding the MRT. The MRT tends to be very quiet and is always on time.

If you are going to be frequently riding the MRT like I did, I recommend getting an EasyCard for convenience, despite the 100 NT (~$3 USD) non-refundable cost of it. Any remaining balance on your EasyCard can be refunded at the end of your trip.

A hand holding a card with a cute cartoon on it, with metro kiosks in the background with Chinese writing on them.
Buying an EasyCard at an MRT’s kiosk.

Take advantage of Taipeiโ€™s MRT; itโ€™s clean, safe and affordable. It was my primary way of getting around. I spent $25 USD on the MRT during the week I stayed in Taiwan.

๐ŸšŒ Bus

The bus system in Taiwan is also very convenient. I used it several times when I couldn’t get to places by the MRT.

  • How to hail a Taiwan bus: When waiting at a bus station, make sure to wave at an approaching bus or it wonโ€™t stop. This happened to me; I stood at the station and the bus continued on without stopping because I didn’t wave.
  • How to ride the bus: You can use the MRT EasyCard to ride the bus. When you board the bus, tap your card once. Tap it another time when you’re exiting the bus.

If you’re running on a tight schedule, note that Google Maps doesn’t have accurate Taiwan bus schedules.

You can also take a shuttle bus from Taipei to popular destinations like Jiufen and Sun Moon Lake.

๐Ÿšฒ Bike

There are several Youbike docking stations in Taipei that you can use once you register your card at an MRT station.

๐Ÿš† The TRA Train

Taiwan’s trains are operated by TRA and they’re great for day trips outside of Taipei (e.g., to Hualien, Sun Moon Lake). Many train routes run regular trains as well as express trains. The two best ways to purchase and claim your train ticket are:

  • Through a Taiwanese mobile app (iOS, Android). Booking a train ticket only reserves it, so you need to claim it as well. If you donโ€™t claim your ticket (whether in person or digitally) within 20 minutes of departure time, they can give it to someone else.

    Once you download the app and get through the small annoyance of figuring out how to turn on โ€œEnglish modeโ€, booking and claiming your ticket through the app is easy. If your booking has multiple tickets, each rider will have to download the app to claim their own ticket.
  • In person at the train station. If you don’t want to deal with the potentially confusing mobile app, you can also buy train tickets in person at the stations. Some Hualien train times are very popular and need to be booked in advance. When I booked a train to Hualien a week in advance, a few of the afternoon departures were sold out.

Donโ€™t book train tickets through the website. Itโ€™s confusing and the only way to claim a ticket digitally is through the mobile app.

Most trains will depart from the Taipei Main Station. Google Maps has several โ€œTaipei Main Stationsโ€ depending on whether youโ€™re catching a train, bus or the MRT. Double-check the โ€œSubway servicesโ€ section of the location on Google Maps to make sure it is the right place for your need.

Other Ways to Get Around

To get around Taiwan without relying on public transportation, you can ride-share, take a taxi, rent a car or rent a scooter.

๐Ÿš— Ridesharing Apps

Taiwan has Uber, which is fairly affordable (a 35-minute trip cost me $12 USD). Given how great the public transport system is, I mainly used Uber to save nontrivial travel time (e.g., I used it to go to the Beitou Hot Springs to cut the travel time from one hour to ~30 minutes).

๐Ÿš• Taxis

Taiwanโ€™s taxis are yellow and can be found around Taipei. I used a taxi once to get to Taipei from the airport once I landed since there wasn’t any Uber around at that time and I wasn’t familiar with Taipei’s MRT yet.

๐Ÿš™ Rental Car

You need an IDP (International Driver Permit) to rent a car in Taiwan. Taiwan drives on the right-hand side like the US.

๐Ÿ›ต Rental Scooter

Many locals travel via a scooter or moped in Taiwan, but youโ€™ll likely need an IDP or a local license depending on where you rent a scooter.

Taiwan Map With Recommended Places

This Taiwan map has all the recommended places pinned in Taipei, Taroko Gorge and Jiufen.

10 Great Things To Do in Taipei

After spending an activity-packed week in Taiwan, here are 10 great things I recommend doing in rough priority order.

1. Hike up Elephant Mountain

๐Ÿค” Why: Elephant Mountain is a metro-accessible hike that will give you an amazing view of Taipei that includes one of the world’s tallest buildings, Taipei 101.

๐ŸŒŸ What to do there: Walk up Elephant Mountainโ€™s ~600 steps and get a great view of Taipei. There are also several other trails if you want to extend your hike.

If you want to take photos of the views, the best place to take them is at the overlooks. The lookout point at Elephant Mountain’s summit is not great as itโ€™s blocked by trees.

A tall, teal building towering Taipei's city skyline against a blue sky.
The view of Taipei 101 from one of Elephant Mountain’s overlooks.
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: Take the MRT to Xiangshan 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. Alternatively, you can book a biking tour that includes a hike up Elephant Mountain.

โฐ Suggested duration: You’ll likely spend 30 to 90 minutes hiking Elephant Mountain, depending on how fast you want to hike the stairs and how many photos you take.

๐Ÿ’ฐ Expected cost: Elephant Mountain is free as it doesn’t have an entrance fee.

๐Ÿ€ My 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 that’s closer to the city.

2. Take a day trip to Jiufen

๐Ÿค” Why: Jiufen is a small, charming Japanese-inspired village in the mountains an hour east of Taipei. Itโ€™s known as the town that inspired Spirited Away, but director Miyazaki denies this.

๐ŸŒŸ What to do there:

  • Enjoy tea and snacks at a traditional teahouse with amazing mountain views.
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.
  • Walk through Jiufen Old Street, look at shops and sample local snacks and quick bites (e.g., Taiwanese sweet sausage on a stick, almond tofu with tapioca dessert, mochi-like rice cakes with red bean).

๐Ÿš‡ Getting there: You can get to Jiufen by taking public transportation or a taxi/Uber. This Jiufen day trip guide breaks down how to get to Jiufen in more detail.

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

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.

For more hikes and nature, consider visiting one of Taiwan’s top natural attractions, Taroko Gorge near Hualien City.

โฐ Suggested duration: You can spend half a day or a day in Jiufen. Youโ€™ll likely spend at least four hours in Jiufen and one hour traveling each way.

๐Ÿ’ฐ Expected cost: Jiufen doesn’t have an entrance fee, but parking in Jiufen and Teapot Mountain costs about $3 USD each.

๐Ÿ€ My take: Jiufen is a picturesque town that’s worth visiting, especially if you’re able to make the waterfall and mountain stop along the way. The tea experience at the tea house is especially unique and charming, albeit brief. Jiufen was one of my favorite places in Taiwan.

This Jiufen day trip guide has a day trip itinerary and shares great things to do and eat there.

3. Eat affordable, local Taiwanese food

๐Ÿค” Why: Taiwan is known for delicious and affordable food; itโ€™s often a foodieโ€™s paradise.

๐Ÿœ What and where to eat: Below are Taipei restaurants I tried and loved that were recommended to me by my friend, Ella Park-Chan, who lived in Taiwan for three years. I spent an average of $12 USD per day on food.

  • Din Tai Fung. Internationally known for its amazing soup dumplings (tasty broth and thin skins), this is the original DTF location. I also love their spicy noodle, spicy pickled cucumber and chocolate soup dumplings. I spent $17 USD here and waited 15 minutes around closing time. 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. I was told this was the #1 breakfast place by more than one local. 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. I spent $3 USD here. 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 milks (left and right, respectively) with bread.
  • Lao Shandong Homemade Noodles. Beef noodle soup is a must-have in Taiwan and this local place serves them well with no frills. I spent $6 USD here for a regular bowl and some side dishes. Cash only.
A chef with a mask proudly holding out fresh, handmade noodles.
Fresh, handmade noodles being made at Lao Shandong.
  • CoCo (multiple locations). Bubble tea originated in Taiwan, so youโ€™ll easily find 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. Taiwan is famous for its pineapple cakes and this bakery is known to serve some of the best. I thoroughly enjoyed their various flavors (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. An upscale place, this was one of the best shabu shabu Iโ€™ve ever had for a relatively affordable price. Advanced reservations are required. I spent $40 USD here, which made it the most expensive meal I had in Taiwan.
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. If youโ€™re craving Peking duck, this restaurant makes them with a delicious crispy skin. Their โ€œmilk dessertโ€ is one of my favorite desserts. I spent $24 USD here.
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€ My take: Regardless if you’re a foodie or not, given the quality-to-price ratio, it’s a loss if you don’t try some quintessential Taiwanese food.

4. Take a trip to Taroko Gorge and stay a night in Hualien

๐Ÿค” 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.

๐ŸŒŸ What to do there: There are several sites to visit inside Taroko Gorge, including:

  • Shakadang Trail, one of the most popular trails, running along a very blue river. Get there early to beat the traffic. There are snack stalls available ~1 mile into the trail.
A blue river crossing through a tree-heavy forest.
Walking along Shakadang Trail in Taroko Gorge.
  • Eternal Spring Shrine, a shrine nested inside a mountain to commemorate the 200+ workers who died building the highway in the early 1900s.
A woman on an Asian-style shrine with red bricks on a waterfall.
Looking out the Eternal Spring Shrine.
A long suspension bridge on a mountain with green trees.
Looking out at the Bulowan Suspension Bridge.
  • Hualien City is the closest city to Taroko Gorge. Hualien is quieter than Taipei, but has a huge, lively night market called Dongdamen that I thought was better than Taipeiโ€™s popular Ningxia night market.

๐Ÿš‡ Getting there: To get to Taroko Gorge, you need to travel to Hualien first by taking a train from the Taipei Main Station. You can also do a day tour from Taipei that directly goes to Taroko Gorge by bus, but I recommend enjoying Hualien and breaking up the travel time.

This thorough day trip guide to Taroko Gorge outlines how to visit the national park and what are its top attractions.

โฐ Suggested duration: You can visit Taroko Gorge in a single day or over two days with a night in Hualien. I did the latter and enjoyed exploring Hualien.

๐Ÿ’ฐ Expected cost: Thereโ€™s no entrance fee for Taroko National Park. The round-trip train to Hualien was $28 USD for me. My Hualien Airbnb was $40 USD, split between two people, and my tour was $93 USD, including tip. The tour was on the pricier end (larger groups are cheaper and our tour only had three people total), but I thought it was worth it.

๐Ÿ€ My 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.

5. Eat at a Taiwanese night market

๐Ÿค” Why: Taiwan is famous for its lively night markets and street foods. You can try many different local foods all in one area. It’s also a great way to eat affordable meals.

๐ŸŒŸ Where to eat: These three are usually considered Taipei’s best night markets:

My favorite night market was Dongdamen night market in Hualien due to its large size, food diversity and quality. Taipei, Raohe and Ningxia have similar food quality and serve slightly different foods, but the former felt bigger than the latter.

I didn’t make it out to the Shilin night market because it was the least well-rated by my Taiwanese friends.

A night market with shops showing bright lights while people walk around.
Dongdamen night market in Hualien 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: the sauce they use is incredible. I ate 3 of these. The โ€œspicyโ€ sauce is not that spicy. The ones in Dongdamen were much better than the ones I had in Taipei.
  • Fried sweet potato balls: extremely good and not as heavy or oily as they look. I only saw this in Ningxia and Raohe, and not Dongdamen.
  • Oyster omelet: unique Taiwanese dish thatโ€™s worth trying. I only saw this in Ningxia and Raohe, and not Dongdamen.
  • Grilled squid on a stick: these were much more tasty than I expected. The vendors know how to grill it to a good consistency and the sauce has good flavor. These are at all night markets.
  • Stinky tofu: a Taiwanese delicacy that you might hate, but thatโ€™s worth trying for fun. These are at all night markets.

If you’re unsure of how to navigate the night markets, you can also book a private tour and have a guide show you the best food to eat.

โฐ Suggested duration: You can spend 1-3 hours at a night market, depending on how long you want to wander around and how many food items you want to try.

๐Ÿ’ฐ Expected cost: Night markets donโ€™t have entrance fees. On average, I spent $1 to $2 USD per food item, so you can eat a meal for less than $5 USD at Taiwan’s night markets.

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

๐Ÿ€ My take: 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.”

6. Catch the morning prayers at Lungshan Temple

๐Ÿค” Why: Lungshan Temple is a beautiful, 300-year-old temple where locals pray at 6 am and 8 am daily. The song-like prayers are for the various Chinese deities and last ~1 hour.

๐ŸŒŸ What to do there: While listening to the prayers, you can walk around and silently admire the templeโ€™s architectural details.

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

๐Ÿš‡ Getting there: Lungshan Temple is in the Wunhua District, the oldest and most historic district in Taiwan. You can take the MRT to Longshan Temple Station and walk three minutes to the temple.

โฐ Suggested duration: 30 to 60 minutes is sufficient for a stroll around Lungshan Temple.

๐Ÿ’ฐ Expected cost: Lungshan Temple is free and doesn’t have an entrance fee.

๐Ÿ€ My take: If you like observing peaceful spiritual ceremonies, catching the prayers is worth the early visit. If you simply like temple designs, stop by Lungshan Temple at any time of the day. Even if you don’t visit the temple, walking through Wunhua District has a much older feel than other parts of Taipei.

7. Go up to Taipei 101โ€™s observatory

๐Ÿค” Why: Taipei 101 is one of the tallest buildings in the world and its observatory is well-designed, giving a great view of Taipei.

๐ŸŒŸ What to do there:

  • Go up in one of the fastest elevators in the world (it was the fastest from 2004 to 2015) and watch the sunset from the observation deck.
A sky-view of Taipei the city while the sunset sets in the horizon.
The sunset from Taipei 101โ€™s observatory deck.
  • Take a fun photo at one of Taipei 101โ€™s many photo stations.
Two people jumping and posing in front of a light-up sign that says "Taipei 101".
Jumping in one of Taipei 101’s photo stations.
  • Learn about Taipei 101’s “mass damper” to learn how the building is wind and earthquake-proof.

๐Ÿš‡ Getting there: Take the MRT to Taipei 101 Station and walk a minute to the building. You can book tickets on the 5th floor of Taipei 101.

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.

๐Ÿ’ฐ Expected cost: Taipei 101’s observatory has an $18 USD entrance fee and you can get last-minute tickets in the building. Sunset tickets are very popular.

๐Ÿ€ My 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.

8. Walk around the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall

๐Ÿค” Why: Chiang Kai-shek is not only a national monument and popular spot, but itโ€™s also surrounded by a pretty park area where locals hang out.

๐ŸŒŸ What to do there:

A decorative, Asian-style building with red columns.
The National Concert Hall near Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall.
  • Watch the changing of the guards in Chiang Kai-shekโ€™s building. They do it every hour and it can be viewed indoors or outdoors, after you climb the stairs.
A white building with a decorative top and archway on green grass.
Chiang Kai-shekโ€™s changing of guards can be seen from the outside through the archway.

๐Ÿš‡ Getting there: Take the MRT to Chiang Kai-shek Station and walk 2 minutes over to Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall.

โฐ Expected duration: 60 to 90 minutes will allow you to walk the entire park and look at all 3 buildings near the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall.

๐Ÿ’ฐ Expected cost: Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall is free and doesn’t have an entrance fee.

๐Ÿ€ My 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 older locals at the park engaging in their active, community exercises and comparing it to what I see in the US.

9. Explore Ximending District

๐Ÿค” 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, where you might catch a few street performers.

๐ŸŒŸ What to do there:

  • Walk along the streets and check out the shops, which include: tattoo parlors, arcade games, trendy bubble tea flavor places, claw machine arcades, graffiti art, and more. I got a nice haircut here for $30 USD, which included a tip.
  • If you go at night, street performers and a few food stalls will appear. Note: the Dian Dian Tea stall serves pawpaw smoothies, which are hard to get at other places.
A street with Chinese signs and anime-decorated posters.
Walking through Ximending Walking District during the day time, which is a lot quieter than during the night time.

๐Ÿš‡ Getting there: Take the MRT to Ximen Station and walk 2 minutes to the Ximending District.

โฐ Suggested duration: You can spend anywhere between an hour for a quick stroll to a full day of exploring and shopping at Ximending District.

๐Ÿ’ฐ Expected cost: Thereโ€™s no entrance fee to the district.

๐Ÿ€ My take: Ximending District is fun to check out if you want to be around a younger, busier and more touristy area of Taipei.

10. Take a dip in a Beitou hot springs

๐Ÿค” Why: Beitouโ€™s hot springs may not be the most beautiful, but its proximity to Taipei makes it a popular destination to relax and get away from the city.

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, which was public and mixed-sex since I wanted to be with my friends.

The most interesting thing offered at the Spring City Resort was a hot marble stone that you could peacefully lay on.

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

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

๐Ÿ’ฐ Expected cost: The price point for the hot springs vary from budget to luxury. I paid $25 USD at Spring City Resort, which was in the middle, and that included a shower, locker, towel, shower cap and sandals.

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

7 Other Great Things To Do in Taiwan

In no particular order, here are seven other popular things to do in Taiwan if you’re staying for a longer period of time:

  • Sun Moon Lake. Located about three hours south of Taipei, Sun Moon Lake is Taiwanโ€™s most famous lake and it’s a beautiful spot for swimming and boating, with stunning views of the surrounding mountains.
  • National Palace Museum. Located in Taipei, the National Palace Museum is home to the worldโ€™s largest collection of Chinese artifacts and art. The “Jaded Cabbage” is their most famous art piece.
  • Yangmingshan National Park. About 20 minutes north of Taipei and accessible by public transportation, Yangmingshan National Park is home to hot springs, terraced ponds and even a crater lake.
  • Taipei Tianhou Temple. A 15-minute walk from Lungshan Temple in Taipei, Tianhou Temple is an ornate temple dedicated to Mazu, the Chinese goddess of the sea, and one of the oldest temples in Taipei.
  • Taiwan Lantern Festival. Hosted every year in February or March, the Taiwan Lantern Festival marks the end of New Year’s celebrations and is celebrated by lighting up lanterns, a centuries-old tradition.
  • Kenting National Park. Located on the southern tip of Taiwan, Kenting National Park is a park famous for its beach, corals and lush vegetation. Some claim that it’s a relaxing park, but thanks to its natural beauty, it’s often very crowded.
  • Maokong. Maokong is known as Taipei’s tea town as it used to be the biggest tea-growing area. Here, you can ride a Maokong gondola for some nice views, hike through some great mountain trails and visit the nearby Taipei Zoo.

5-7 Day Itinerary for Taipei

Below is a great way to spend five packed days in Taiwan while doing all the top activities and eating all the delicious food mentioned above. For more downtime, you can do everything in this Taipei itinerary in six to seven days.

This is the improved version of my one-week Taiwan travel itinerary. Iโ€™ve included my actual timestamps to give you an idea of how long you might need for each activity and how to efficiently sequence things.

Taipei Itinerary

The Taiwan trip planning template has this itinerary prefilled.

Day 1๐Ÿž Breakfast at Fuhang Soy Milk (7:20โ€“8 am)
๐Ÿš— Take a Jiufen day trip (9 amโ€“5:30 pm)
(See a more detailed Jiufen itinerary here ๐Ÿ—“๏ธ)
๐ŸฅŸ Dinner at Din Tai Fung (7:30โ€“8:30 pm)
Day 2๐ŸŒณ Walk around Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall (10:30โ€“11:30 am)
๐Ÿœ Lunch at Lao Shandong Homemade Noodles (12:15โ€“1 pm)
๐Ÿš‹ Train from Taipei to Hualien (1:45โ€“4 pm)
๐Ÿšถ๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ Explore Hualien (4:30โ€“6:30 pm)
๐ŸŒ™ Dinner at Dongdamen night market (6:30โ€“8 pm)
Day 3๐Ÿฆ Visit Taroko Gorge (8am-4pm)
(See a more detailed Taroko Gorge itinerary here ๐Ÿ—“๏ธ)
๐Ÿš‹ Train from Hualien to Taipei (4:30โ€“7 pm)
๐Ÿฆ† Dinner at Xiang Duck Taipei (8:30โ€“9:30 pm)
Day 4๐Ÿฅš Breakfast at a 7/11 (10โ€“10:30 am)
๐ŸŒก๏ธ Take a dip at a Beitou hot spring (11 amโ€“2 pm)
๐Ÿšถ๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ Explore Ximending Walking District (3โ€“6 pm)
๐Ÿœ Dinner at Orange (7:30โ€“9:30 pm)
Day 5๐Ÿ‰ Visit Lungshan Temple (8โ€“9 am)
๐Ÿ˜ Hike Elephant Mountain (10 amโ€“12 pm)
โœŒ๐Ÿป Spend some time relaxing (12โ€“5 pm). I shopped, got a massage and haircut.
๐ŸŒ… Sunset at Taipei 101 (5:30โ€“6:30 pm)
๐ŸŒ™ Dinner at Ningxia or Raohe night market (7โ€“8:30 pm)

This Taiwan trip cost breakdown is based on an itinerary similar to the one above and has tips to reduce costs.

Accommodation in Taipei

Here’s what to consider when choosing where to stay in Taipei and where I ended up staying.

๐Ÿ  What To Consider

When choosing accommodation in Taipei, here are some things to consider:

  • Proximity to an MRT station. You’ll likely rely on Taipeiโ€™s great public transportation, so it’s convenient to stay within a 5 to 15-minute walking distance of an MRT station.
  • The neighborhood. 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. Taipei offers a wide range of accommodation. 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

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

๐Ÿ  Hotel #1: I stayed at CHECK Inn Express near the Dongmen station and paid $36 USD per person per night.

  • Pros: The hotel was a relatively local place with enough shops, attractions and restaurants within walking distance. It was very straightforward with no extra frills or amenities.
  • Cons: The rooms are very small (e.g., there’s no place to open your carry-on luggage) and housekeeping wasn’t included. For around the same price, you can stay at a much more happening place, hence why I also stayed at hotel #2.

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

  • Pros: Ximending is a very happening place, with lots of attractions and food options at night. The rooms were nice and the included breakfast has a lot of food options.
  • Cons: This is nit-picky, but the gap under the entrance door was fairly wide. I could hear hallway noises and I think that’s how mosquitos kept entering the room.

Taiwan Trip Planning Template

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

The template is built on Notion, which is what I use for all my travel planning (I’m not paid to say this; I just like the 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 the Taiwan trip planning template (built on Notion).
A Notion template screenshots is shown giving more details to the itinerary.
Preview of the Taiwan trip planning template (built on Notion).

If you have any questions or thoughts, feel free to leave them in the comments below.

๐Ÿง‹ This site is run entirely by me, Lukiih. I spend hours writing each article to ensure its accuracy and conciseness. If you find my site helpful, you can say thanks by buying me bubble tea!


  1. 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.

  2. 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!

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