Taipei City is a thriving area full of vibrant nightlife and exciting culinary delights. And while there are many popular tourist attractions around, such as Taipei 101 and CKS Memorial Hall, this city offers so much more than impressive modern-day architecture. So for your trip to Taipei, try to include some of these sights on your itinerary.
Take a nightscape photo from the top of Elephant Mountain
Not far from Taipei 101, there’s a small mountain that overlooks the city. It bears the unusual name of Elephant Mountain and it’s hands down, the best place in the city for cityscape photography. The hiking trail is easy enough, and it’s worth heading up there just before dusk, so you get both daytime and nighttime views. Oh and if you have one, bring a tripod for your nightscape photo.
You’ve probably heard of stinky tofu, and if you’ve been near any of the city’s night markets, you might have even smelled it. But to experience the true majesty of this malodorous dish, you’ll need to head for Dai’s House of Stink. Here you can choose from a variety of fermented tofu concoctions, all of which stink to high heaven.
The National Palace Museum in Taipei isn’t just any old museum. This impressive building is home to the world’s largest collection of Chinese Imperial artifacts. The vast majority of the pieces on display were rescued by the Chiang Kai Shek led government that fled to Taiwan during the Chinese Civil War. It’s a great experience and offers you a true vision of life and art during Chinese Imperial rule.
Just down the road from the National Palace Museum is where you can enjoy one of Taiwan’s more unusual experiences – shrimping. Locals love it while expats and tourists also find it quite the novel way to spend an evening. Armed with a bucket of bait and a rod, you sit by a large man-made pool trying to catch some shrimp. You then barbecue your catch on the grill and enjoy with a cold beer from the fridge. Simple but surprisingly fun.
The once prosperous gold mining town of Jiufen lies just a short bus or train ride from the city center. It’s now a thriving tourist town and a hub for hikers who want to explore the surrounding countryside. But before you venture too far, you have to check out the old gold mine before moving onto the golden waterfall. The waterfall’s golden hues are thanks to the mineral deposits from the area’s gold mining days.
In the mountainous district of Wulai, you can ride a tiny train to an Atayal aboriginal village before taking a cable car to the waterfalls. It’s a wonderful way to spend an afternoon, and the scenery is simply magnificent. The local tribe members here are incredibly friendly, and there are many stores and restaurants where you can try the local aboriginal cuisine.
Walk the cobbled stones of Yingge’s Old Street to see the incredible range of locally made ceramic wares in the pottery shops. Some stores offer customers the opportunity to make their own pottery while there’s also an old brick kiln that you can take a walk through. Although Old Street has been redeveloped, the government tried their best to retain some of the history and character of the street, and they’ve done a pretty good job.
Food lovers the world over know that it’s only in Taiwan where you’ll find the best beef noodles. But not only that, here in Taipei is also where you’ll find the most expensive. At Niu Ba Ba’s, customers pay NT$10,000 or about US$330 for a bowl of Presidential Noodles. Don’t worry though as they also have bowls at much more affordable prices.
Taipei’s Beitou district is home to Yangmingshan National Park, and here you’ll find some pretty incredible scenery, some of which offers great views of the city. But the area is more famous for its hot springs than its views, and there are quite a lot of private hot spring resorts in the area. However, the easiest to get to is the public hot spring located just a short walk from the local MRT station.
Taiwan is famous for its night markets and in Taipei City you’ll find that there are plenty to choose from. But one of the most famous is Shilin Night Market. The place comes alive once the sun goes down and the vendors set up their stalls. Here you can find everything from clothing to toys and more besides. If you’re out here, grab an oyster omelet from one of the food vendors. It’s a popular Taiwanese dish that is definitely worth trying.