Taipei 101 and night markets are the two main attractions that most tourists think of when you mention Taiwan’s capital city, Taipei. But there’s so much more to this vibrant city than the former tallest building in the world. Here’s our pick of the best in town.
Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall
The monument to former military and political leader Chiang Kai-shek is a beautiful building set in a quiet central city park. Most tourists come to see the changing of the guard which happens on the hour, from 9am to 5pm.
Dr. Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall
Dr. Sun Yat-sen was the former leader of the KMT party and the first president of the Republic of China, which we also know as Taiwan. The park around the memorial hall is a nice place to relax in the afternoon while the hall itself houses some of Sun Yat-sen’s personal items.
This is by far and away the best place to get a bird’s eye view of the city, and Taipei 101 in particular. It’s a short and not too taxing hike to the top, and it’s the perfect location for a few snapshots of the city skyline.
Bopiliao Old Street
This historical street has been restored to its former glory and now houses a free museum. Here you can wander through the old buildings and learn about how the citizens of old Taipei lived their daily lives.
Taiwan’s most famous hotel has been host to many foreign dignitaries and celebrities. It’s a wonderful building with a historic feel. Even tourists who are not staying at the hotel come to enjoy afternoon tea and take photos of the impressive structure.
Just short walk from the Grand Hotel is the Martyr’s Shrine. It’s a peaceful memorial to the soldiers of the KMT who died in the Chinese Civil War. You can also watch the changing of the guard here too.
Shilin Night Market
You can’t visit Taipei without taking a trip to the night market, and Shilin is about the most famous of the lot. This huge night market has everything from local street food to cheap clothing.
National Palace Museum
Home to the world’s largest collection of Chinese Imperial artifacts, the National Palace Museum is an impressive museum with equally impressive permanent and visiting exhibitions.
Chiang Kai-shek Shilin Residence
The former president’s official residence is set within beautiful botanical gardens and is now open to the public after years of restoration work. The building is full of interesting items that once belonged to both Chiang Kai-shek and his wife, who was known as Madame Chiang.
Danshui Old Street
A wonderful old street in the old fishing village of Danshui (which is now more of a town), Danshui Old Street checks all the boxes for quaintness, food, and souvenirs.
Fort San Domingo
Originally built by the Spanish and then rebuilt by the Dutch, Fort San Domingo is relic of Taiwan’s colonial past. It was also once an unofficial embassy of the UK.
Not too far from Fort San Domingo lies Hobe Fort. This solid military structure was never actually used in a war, but it is nevertheless an impressive building and has stood the test of time very well.
Also in Danshui, you’ll find Lovers’ Bridge by Fisherman’s Wharf. It’s a nice place to take some photos and enjoy a spot of lunch in one of the many local seafood restaurants.
Arguably the most famous temple in Taiwan, Longshan Temple has survived innumerable earthquakes, typhoons, and a few wars. Damaged by bombs during World War II, it has been lovingly restored by the local community.
National Taiwan Museum & 228 Memorial Park
The National Taiwan Museum is two separate buildings: the main wing is located in 228 Memorial Park, while the second building is across the street in a former bank. Both buildings are filled with interesting exhibits on the natural history of Taiwan and its aboriginal tribes. When you’re finished here, you can take a walk through the park.
The Presidential Palace
The Presidential Palace was built during the Japanese Colonial period and is quite the impressive feat of architecture. It houses the day-to-day working office of the president, but some sections are open to the public.
Huashan 1914 Creative Park
Set in a former winery, this creative park is now home to a variety of shops, cafés, restaurants, and exhibition halls. Here you’ll also find a lot of local craft and artworks for sale.
Miramar Ferris Wheel
The Miramar Ferris Wheel offers a wonderful view of the city. It’s located within a department store where you can also do a spot of shopping or dine in one of the many restaurants.
Yangmingshan National Park
One of Taiwan’s most incredible parks, Yangmingshan is a wonderful day trip just outside the city. The park has plenty of hiking trails and there are even some fumaroles where you can see steam rising from vents in the ground.
We couldn’t name the top attractions and leave out Taipei 101. Still the tallest building in Taiwan, a trip to the top is well worthwhile.