The essential guide for a perfect Taipei trip!
How to Conquer the Best of Taipei in 3D2N
Taipei has so much to explore, where do we even start? You no longer have to worry about #FOMO. Here’s how to conquer the best of its food and scenery in just 3D2N! Can you beat our kiasu itinerary? 😎Tripsle your way to Taipei and save!
Posted by Tripsle on Tuesday, 25 July 2017
Taiwan is an amazing place with a little something for everyone and its capital Taipei is a chip off the bigger block, with all its goodness compressed into a 271.8 km² of land.
With its unbeatable street food, bustling city-scapes and mountainous beauty merged into one city, it might be hard to decide on what to get your hands on. So here, we narrowed down the best Taipei has to offer into a 3 day itinerary.
Are you ready to conquer them all in? Let’s go!
(For all the Taiwan travel basics, check out our Ultimate Taiwan Guide!)
Grab your coffee fix at Fujin Street
Who doesn’t love a good cafe? If you’re still exhausted from your flight, here’s the perfect place for you to head to if you are looking for somewhere to relax and explore at the same time.
Fujin is a street in Taipei filled with quaint cafes. There are a myriad of cafes to choose from but most people choose to have their brunch at Fujin Tree 353, Beans and Beats and Kyushu Pancake Cafe.
Address: Fujin Street, Songshan District, Taipei City, Taiwan 105
Explore the glistening Xinyi District
Xinyi District can be considered the city center of Taipei, with glistening buildings and skyscrapers. Think of it as the 5th Avenue of Taipei!
1. Eslite Bookstore
Eslite (Xinyi Branch) is the largest bookstore in the whole of Taiwan with 8,000-square meters of space to immerse yourself in. If you think Kinokuniya is huge, this place will make your jaw drop!
It is home to not just a whole assortment of books (in mainly English and Mandarin), but also a children’s museum in the 5th floor and a shopping and food court in the basement. There are also many CDs, art materials, music scores; basically everything you can imagine in a bookstore.
Whether you are a bookworm or not, we’re pretty sure you would walk out with something you would enjoy.
Here’s a plus point: It’s located near Taipei City Hall MRT and is open all day and late into the night. Join the locals who often pop by just to spend the afternoon.
Address: No.11 Songgao Road, Xinyi District, Taipei, Taiwan
Opening Hours: 10am to 2pm, every day
2. Taipei 101
If you search Taiwan, this iconic skyscraper is sure to appear. Currently among the tallest buildings in the world at 508m tall, the Taipei 101 offers the best panoramic views of whole of the city. On a clear day, you can even get views all the way to the Taiwan Straits!
Take the fastest elevator in the world to the observatory decks at the top in just 37 seconds. There are both indoor and outdoor observatories – the latter being at the very top of the whole building, on the 91st floor. Remember to bring your windbreakers along if you plan to head outside as it tends to get super windy.
Address: Taipei 101, No. 7, Section 5, Xinyi Road, Xinyi District, Taipei City, Taiwan 110
Opening Hours: 9am-10pm every day (last admission: 9:15pm)
Tripsle me to Taipei 101!
Did you know that Taipei 101 has the highest Starbucks in the world?
To find it, head to the business entrance instead of the shopping entrance. There is a minimum spend of NT$200 but that’s definitely worth it for this record breaking coffee spot. Visitors are also only allowed to stay there for up to 90 minutes and no slippers and shorts are allowed- so remember to dress well!
Tripsle Pro-Tip: Call Starbucks to make a reservation at least one day in advance. You cannot enter without making a booking!
Opening Hours: 7:30AM–8PM
Contact: +886 2 8101 0701
Chow down street food at Raohe Night Market
Raohe Night Market is possibly the second best night market in Taiwan. (To find out which comes in first place stay tuned to the end of the article!)
It’s just about a minutes walk from the Songshan Station, and you can’t miss its huge bright red entrance that lights up after the sun sets.
Smack in the middle of the entrance is one of the best snacks Raohe has to offer: Fuzhou Pepper Buns. It has a savoury pork filling and a crisp, flaky crust dotted with sesame seeds. There is a perpetual long queue for it – always a good indicator of how good the food is.
Other great street snacks include their deep fried milk and torch grilled angus beef. Head there with an empty tummy or you are sure to regret it!
Location: Raohe Street, Songshan District, Taipei City, Taiwan 105
Opening Hours: 5pm–11pm, every day
Soak in Nature’s wonders in Northeast Taipei
Day 2 is full speed ahead to the Northeast Area of Taipei where lots of unique landmarks and quaint old streets stand- spots you must not miss if you are looking for the complete Taipei experience.
Booking a private transport is recommended for exploring North-Eastern Taipei Area because public transportations are often indirect, infrequent and packed with tourists even on weekdays.
For a more pleasant journey, we recommend booking this Shuttle Bus that will take you from Ximen to Yehliu, Yin Yang Sea, the Ping Xi area, and then back to Ximen in time for dinner.
Tripsle me a Northeast Taipei Shuttle Bus!
1. Yehliu Geopark
Begin the day at Yehliu Geopark, a beautiful coast at the Northern tip of Taiwan. It’s filled with all sorts of unusual rock formations from mushrooms to their famous “Queen’s Head”.
The Queen’s Head bears a striking resemblance to Queen Elizabeth I at a certain angle. Try finding the perfect angle for your shot! It’s been there for 4,000 years but might not last 10 more due to erosion. Make sure to head over soon if you don’t want to miss it.
Tripsle Pro-Tip: Head there when it opens at 8am daily to avoid the crowd. The Queens Head tends to get very crowded especially when the tour groups start to arrive.
Location: No.167-1, Kangton Rd.,Yeh Liu Village, Wanli Dist., Xinbei 20744, Taiwan
Opening Hours: 8am to 5pm, every day
Tripsle me to Yehliu Geopark!
2. Yin Yang Sea
This is a sea that’s a marbled swirl of blue and yellow. Depending on the tide, the waters sometimes looks like it is split into half! Sounds impossible but is true.
This destination little out of the way from Yehliu, but it is an unusual phenomenon and free for all to observe, and it’s easy peasy to get there if you get the proper transportation needed -such as a private transport or shuttle bus.
Tripsle Pro-Tip: If you have time, head up the nearby mountain to get the best photos of the split sea.
Location: Ruifang District, New Taipei City 226, Taiwan
Explore the timeless Ruifang and Pingxi District
Begin your exploration of the Pingxi area at Jiufen, an old street with cobbled steps and wooden shop houses that overlooks the surrounding mountainous terrain and East China Sea.
Peek into the nooks and crannies of the old street and you might find yourself turning round the corner into another lane with more to explore. There are also some well-known Jiufen sweet treats such as Grandma Lai’s Taro Balls and Ah Zhu Peanut Ice Cream Rolls. Make sure you get your hands on them, they aren’t hard to find!
Tripsle Pro-Tip: Jiufen Old Street was the inspiration to the setting of Studio Ghibli’s movie hit “Spirited Away”. If you are a fan of the show, look out for the movie-themed trinkets and snacks. Try spotting the similarities of the buildings too, you’ll definitely spot more than just a few.
Location: Jishan Street, Ruifang District, Xinbei 22450, Taiwan
Tripsle me to Jiufen!
2. Golden Waterfalls
Take a 30-40 minute hike, shuttle bus, or public bus 788 or 856 to the nearby Golden Waterfalls. Most people do not know about this hidden gem next to Jiufen that runs golden-brown due to the metal residue from the old mines nearby.
Tripsle Pro-Tip: The falls look the best after a heavy rainfall.
Location: Jinguashi village, Ruifang District, Xinbei, Taiwan
Shifen is the spot to release sky lanterns as well as take your “那些年” (You Are The Apple of My Eye) -styled railway shots.
There are many vendors for you to choose from. The average cost per lantern is NT$100~150 each. You will be provided with a gigantic paper lantern and some paint for you to write and draw whatever wishes you have (P.S. most people ask for riches and good grades). The staff are usually very friendly and will volunteer to video you releasing your lanterns into the sky.
These lantern painting and releasing are all done, somewhat oddly, on the train tracks of the Pingxi Line. So every hour, a warning will sound and a train will rumble along the exact same track. Prepare to move out of the way!
While you’re there, visit Shifen waterfalls which is just a 20 minute hike away!
Location: Xinbei, Taiwan
Get some serious shopping done at Ximending
When night falls, hit Ximending (aka the Shinjuku of Taiwan) which is a popular shopping district where youths go to shop and eat.
There are many trendy and affordable fashion shops in the area. Compared to the regular night markets, this street is filled with significantly more international brands such as Uniqlo and Watsons, and less street food.
But that doesn’t mean the food there isn’t good! The number one thing you must try out here is the Ah Zong Mian Xian which sells one thing only: it’s rice noodles. It’s a store without any tables or chairs and yet still has long queue when during the hot summer months.
Other world-renowned stores like the Modern Toilet restaurant are also located in the area.
Tripsle Pro-Tip: Some outlets charge you for plastic bags, so bring a reusable bag along!
Location: Wanhua District, Taipei 108, Taiwan
Spend the purrfect morning in Houtong Cat Village
If you adore these furballs, skip the cat cafes and hit this Cat Village just 35km East of Taipei. Among the hills and old mines is this village filled with hundreds of cats.
There are cats in little huts, cats on the railings and cats in pots, There are cat cafes and cat art works and and cat images on signboards.
Locals and tourists alike both adore the cats here because they saved the old coal mining village from becoming a ghost town (and also because they are just so adorable).
Tripsle Pro-Tip: Instead of staying in the village center where all the tourists gather, head to the outskirts area such as the bridge to play with the cats away from the crowd.
Location: No. 70, Chailiao Road, Ruifang District, New Taipei City, Taiwan 224
Hike through Yangminshan National Park
Yangminshan is one of Taiwan’s beloved nature spots and it’s spans across 114 square kilometers of lush green hills.
Make sure you visit their Liuhuanggu Sulfur Valley Geothermal Scenic Area and Xiaoyoukeng to catch the smoky sulfur steaming from beneath the ground. The air is sometimes completely covered in the smoke and it always smells like rotten eggs (or farts)!
There are an abundance of things to do there including:
Yangmin Park – A Chinese-styled garden near the entracne of Yangminshan National Park
Qingtiangang Grassland Trails – Hiking trails with one of the best views of the National Park
Tripsle Pro-Tip: Check for the weather forecast before heading to Yangminshan. Parts of the park do not have shelter easily available. You can also check out this web page for a live video of the park and its weather condition and crowd.
After exploring the park, head to to the nearby Japanese- styled hot springs. Some of the best hot springs in the area are in found in Beitou and the waters are naturally heated from the earth- perfect for relaxing any sore muscles from hiking.
Location: Jhuzihhu Rd, Beitou District, Taipei 112, Taiwan
Tripsle me a Yangminshan and Hot Spring tour!
Get the best night market experience at Shilin
Last but definitely not the least is the ultimate night market in Taiwan. Shilin is the largest and commonly praised as the best night market in the city, with an abundance of street snacks and affordable shopping.
The food vendors in Shilin open relatively early and you can start eating your way through it around 5pm. We recommend going at around 7-8pm when all the stores are open and when the crowd arrives for the lively atmosphere and full night market experience.
Other than food, there are also cinemas, arcades, and karaokes dotted around the night market.
Tripsle Pro-Tip: Look out for the entrance to the Underground Shilin! You’re in for a lot of yummy treats!
Location: No. 101, Jihe Road, Shilin District, Taipei City, Taiwan 111
Opening hours: Approximately 5pm- 12mn
I’m ready for my trip!
Now that you’ve got the activities settled, you are almost completely ready for a fantastic Taipei getaway! Don’t forget to get an unlimited 4G WiFi Device you can pick up in Taiwan to stay connected on the go. Also check out these car rental and car charter services if you are looking for complete flexibility for your trip.
If Taipei is just a part of your whole Taiwan adventure, a great and fuss-free way to get between the cities is via the Taiwan Railway and Taiwan High Speed Rail. Check out our 3 Day THSR and 5 Day Taiwan Joint Pass guides for more information.
Tripsle me to Taiwan!