Before my recent trip to Taiwan, I never really realised just how much there was to do in the city. Our trip was about 5 days long and it was just perfect to see almost everything in the span of time. You really just need to make sure you plan and schedule all the trips ‘cause some places were 30-40 mins away but car so if you’re going to that town, then you might as well make the most of that location without having to go back and forth.
This trip has definitely showed me some pretty cool things you can do on your next trip to Taipei. Here are a few of the things I got to try and would recommend:
Taipei 101 – Shopping + Observatory
TAIPEI 101 Observatory’s elevators are Guinness Record-breaking high-speed pressurised elevators in 2004.It takes only 37 seconds to reach the 89th Floor. At 382 meters above the ground the 89F Observation Floor offers visitors a commanding view of the city and Taipei Basin at all directions.
Experience the Tea Culture
For centuries, tea has been an important part of Taiwanese culture and to this day, there is a lot of focus on the rituals surrounding tea and how it’s prepared. It was pretty cool to get to try their famous oolong tea and experience the rituals that goes into each tea time.
We went to CHIAO Tea Salon which was a very quaint tea salon that tight us the proper way to serve and enjoy the teas in a cute, modern setting. This place is also very ‘instagrammable’ which is always a plus.
Xinyi Public Assembly Hall
Xinyi Public Assembly Hall is the former site of Taipei City’s Military Dependents’s Village, called the “Sisinan Village”. It is a fascinating contrast to the neighbouring towering Taipei 101 and surrounding modern buildings, a compelling testimony of Taipei’s urban development. They also have cute cafes inside and is just a short walk away from Taipei 101.
Try the Xiao Long Bao
This was so good. I had it every chance I could – in the night markets and in a restaurant I found on trip advisor. Many people were raving about Din Tai Fung ‘cause that’s where the chain started but I wanted to try the ones that were locally made and not from a chain and I was not disappointed. If you have time, drop by Jinding Xiaoguan in Neihu District. They only take cash, though, so come prepared.
I only got to visit the Raohe Night Market but if that was any indication of what the night markets are like, then I’m in! The market was bustling with so much happening, I could barely keep up. The fortune tellers, gadgets, clothes, and all the food was enough to last me three days. They had dishes from waffles and milk tea, to exotic ‘whatchamacallits’ on a stick. I wasn’t too adventurous to try it all out but I did have a waffle, some milk tea, and some xiao long bao and I was a happy camper – weird mix, I know! I was also able to find some cool gadgets for my camera and phone at a steal which is great considering the prices elsewhere.
Shop in Everrich
While on our trip, we got to tour Everrich Duty Free both Downtown and at the airport terminal and I just loved how convenient shopping with them was.
The six-storey downtown branch offers a service where anything you buy downtown can be delivered at the international terminal for your to pick up before your flight. That means I didn’t have to worry about making everything fit in my luggage! Perfect for people like me.
The downtown mall even had a section for everyone’s needs. With more than 500 international famous and local special brands, they have everything from designer goods, jewellery, skin care and cosmetics, alcohol, souvenirs and more! It was literally a one-stop shop for whatever I needed for my trip or to take home. I love places like that. When you can find everything you need in one place, it makes shopping so much easier!
Plus the duty free prices, make this giant building one of the must go place in Taipei If ever you’re in the area, drop by Everrich so you can see exactly what I mean.
As a special treat to all my Southeast Asian readers, they have a promotional campaign: you can get a welcome gift by showing this post, and participate the lucky draw. See the poster below for more details!
Address：No.129, Jinzhuang Rd., Neihu Dist., Taipei City 11469, Taiwan (R.O.C.)
Yehliu Geopark is home to a number of unique geological formations including the iconic “Queen’s Head”, and is located along a cape stretching out from the town of Wanli. The drive up to the park is also quite beautiful and if you can request that your driver stop by the cliffs, you can get some pretty cool cliff shots by the water.
Make a Wish
Part of the enchantment of Taiwan is it’s strong beliefs in the magic folk stories (or truths) which I love. I feel like these traditions they keep connect the new generations with the ones that came before.
The romantic in me couldn’t resist when we were told we were to light lanterns in Shifen. It was even more special ‘cause I got to make a wish with my best friend, Laureen.
We both wrote our wishes on the lantern and set the lantern ablaze as we watched it fly up into the sky. Who knows if our wishes will come true but it’s a nice, symbolic experience to share with your loved one. Just make sure to step aside when the train comes by!
Jiufen was once the center of gold mining built by the Japanese but is now a town that’s full of alleyways rich in history and culture.
It’s hillside location in the northeast of Taiwan places it next to the mountain and facing the sea providing a romantic atmosphere with cool breezes and occasional fog.
While you’re here, I suggest a visit to the taro ball restaurant overlooking the view. I couldn’t quite catch the name but the view was pretty nice and the cool weather made for a perfect match with the warm taro ball soup.
Visit the Kavalan Whisky Distillery
To all the whisky enthusiasts out there, the Kavalan whisky distillery would be a must-see while you’re around. The huge distilling plant holds so many stills it’s amazing to see just how it’s all made, and with the huge production they have going on, it’s no surprise that they were number one. Just a heads up though, it’s quite a drive away from the city so you should keep that in mind when planning around it. While we were driving around it seemed like there wasn’t much else around the town but rice plants and houses so if you were to go it would really just be to tour the plant. If you can, try to request someone from the company tour your guys as well so they can answer all your questions and really give you an idea of what goes down. Also, don’t forget the tasting they give at the end of the tour! You might want to visit with something already in your belly.
On your way home, drop by one of the many themed lounges at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport’s Terminal 1.
After five years of intensive work, services and facilities have been improved in Terminal 1 of Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport.
The airport is the first and last thing you see when travelling to Taiwan, so Everrich made sure that each of their lounges told a story of Taiwan culture.
With a total of 14 lounges, their balance of creativity and culture will remind departing passengers of the beauty of Taiwan just before they leave.
If you find that planning your trip in it’s entirety is a bit overwhelming, then I suggest getting the help of the ones who took care of our itinerary – Lion Travel. They are the biggest travel agency in Taiwan and they definitely know what they’re doing. If you can, ask for Tony! He was the sweetest tour guide I’ve ever had and it honestly felt like we were traveling with an uncle / family member. They were in charge of scheduling our whole trip and our transportation to each location so all we had to worry about was showing up and they took care of the rest.