An Introvert's Guide to Taipei

QiXing Mountain | © Po Sing Tew / Flickr
QiXing Mountain | © Po Sing Tew / Flickr
Photo of Ciaran McEneaney
22 June 2017

No matter how much you love your friends that travel with you or the local people you meet on your journey, there comes a time when you need some ‘me’ time. And for the traveling introvert, this is pretty much every waking hour. So should you find yourself in Taipei and in need of some quality alone time, then follow our guide for a pain-free trip.

For the culture lover

Taipei is full of intriguing and sometimes quirky museums, but by far and away the most interesting has to be the National Place Museum. It’s not as busy a place as you’d expect especially if you go during the week and avoid school holidays.

Containing over 700,000 Chinese empirical artifacts, the museum is quite large, and on a sunny day, it’s nice to wander the grounds. The museum itself is usually an oasis of calm where you can enjoy the exhibitions without interruption.

National Palace Museum, 221 Zhishan Road Section 2, Shilin District, Taipei City, Taiwan

For the bookish introvert

Libraries are a great place to take a break from the bustling city, but at times they can be just as intense with people queueing up to get a seat during busy hours. So instead of hitting the library why not try a bookstore. Now, of course, bookstores are noisier and busier than libraries but not if you pop in at 1am.

Eslite’s Dunnan branch is the only 24-hour bookstore in Taipei and has an extensive range of books in their English section. Here you can relax in the small hours of the morning and enjoy a spot of light reading.

Eslite Dunnan Branch, 245 Dunhua South Road Section 1, Daan District, Taipei City, Taiwan

For the nature lover

For those that enjoy their green spaces, there are plenty in Taipei, but the most famous and largest is Daan Forest Park. This green oasis set within the maze of busy streets in the Daan district offers the perfect opportunity to enjoy a spot of nature without the need to leave the city. There are plenty of green areas to set down a blanket away from the paths, so you’ll have no trouble finding a secluded spot.

If taking to the hills is more your thing, then set off for Yangmingshan National Park Visitor Center where you’ll find information on the many hiking trails that run through one of Taiwan’s most beautiful national parks. Again, like the museum, this should really be a weekday trip, so there won’t be many people there to bother you as you take a leisurely hike through the park.

For the food lover

If you enjoy street food, then Taipei is your heaven, but unfortunately for the introvert, enjoying food from the street vendors means taking a trip to a night market packed with people. So what to do for a nice quiet meal?

Take the Gondola to Maokong and enjoy lunch and some of Taiwan’s best tea at one of the many tea shops in the area. Head out on a weekday to avoid the crowds, and you’ll have your pick of the best places with the most spectacular views. And don’t forget your camera.

Maokong Gondola Station, Lane 38, Zhinan Road Section 3, Wenshan District, Taipei City, Taiwan

For the keep fit introvert

Hitting the gym in Taipei is no trouble at all as there are plenty of public gyms throughout the city. But an introvert would surely prefer a more peaceful and relaxing way to keep in shape that doesn’t involve being surrounded by scores of sweaty bodies.

The city’s extensive network of riverside parks offers the perfect tonic to a day in the bustling city. There are many YouBike stations dotted near entrances to the riverside so you can hop on and hop off anywhere along the way. It’s an amazingly relaxing experience that makes you wonder if you’re in a city at all.

Huazhong Riverside Park, Wanhua District, Taipei City, Taiwan

For the music lover

Music soothes the soul but not when it comes in an arena packed with crowds dressed in band merch. The obvious choice for the introvert in Taipei is to head for the National Concert Hall for one of their many concerts. And although there will be crowds, the whole atmosphere is very relaxed and civilized.

If that’s too much for you, then take a walk around C.K.S. Memorial Park where the concert hall is located. You’ll find that on any given day, there are several groups of musicians practicing in the cool shade of the covered walkway that surrounds the park.

National Concert Hall, 21-1 Zhongshan South Road, Zhongzheng District, Taipei City, Taiwan

For the movie lover

While watching a movie by yourself is a thoroughly enjoyable experience, making your way through the crowds to pick up your ticket, buy some food, and then find your seat is not. So instead of going to see the latest releases head for a second run movie theater.

Nanshan Movie Theater is the best second run theater in the city, and if you time your trip to the movies right, you might get lucky and find that there are double or even triple bill tickets available. Head there during the day from Monday to Friday, and you might only have to share the cinema with a dozen or so people.

Nanshan Movie Theater, 1, Lane 24, Tonghua Street, Daan District, Taipei City, Taiwan

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