Taipei Itinerary: the Ultimate Guide!
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Diverse and chaotic, Taipei is one of the most incredible cities in Asia. We spent weeks exploring the city, eating its delicious street food and visiting its temples and museums and have put together our recommended Taipei itinerary. It’s the perfect guide for planning your Taipei itinerary and will help you make the most out of your time in the city. Enjoy!
We’ve shared five awesome days in our Taipei itinerary. It’s possible to see most of the major attractions in the city but we’ve allowed an extra two days to allow the chance to take some of the popular day trips from Taipei. It It’s easy to add or remove days or switch the order to suit your own schedule. Our Taipei itinerary ideas are perfect for first-time visitors or for return visitors looking for ideas on things to do in Taipei.
Taipei Itinerary Essentials
From navigating the city, where to stay and SIM Cards, these are our Taipei itinerary essentials.
Getting into Taipei: after arriving at Taipei’s Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport take the train from Taoyuan International Airport (TPE) to Taipei Main Station – click here for tickets
Getting around Taipei: the Taipei subway system, known as the MRT, is the best way to navigate the city. It’s fast, clean and convenient and we used it to visit most of the sights we’ve mentioned in Taipei. We used a Taipei Easy Card, a rechargeable card which can be used on trains, buses and in some stores for cashless transactions – check prices here!
The Taipei double decker bus tour is another extremely popular transport option. It services the top sights including Taipei 101, National Palace Museum, CKS Memorial Hall and Ximending – check prices here!
Klook.com is hugely popular in Taiwan and is our go to for Taiwan tickets and attractions. Most prices are well discounted compared to buying upon entry.
If you’re planning on visiting a lot of the main attractions, the Taipei Fun Pass is a great option. It includes entrance to 16 of the most popular sights as well as unlimited rides on the MRT – check prices here!
Where to Stay in Taipei
- CityInn Hotel Plus Ximending Branch– we stayed in the CityInn Ximending branch and highly recommend both the location and the hotel. Rooms are compact but fantastic value, service is excellent and the hotel is just a few moments’ walk from the MRT, a Taipei essential – check prices now!
- Taipei Garden Hotel –another great option located close to Longshan Temple and Ximending – check prices now!
- Dandy Hotel, Daan Park –clean, comfortable and located across the street from Taipei’s biggest park, Daan Forest Park – check prices now!
Sim Card and Internet
As with most countries, having mobile data during a trip is invaluable for navigation and research.
There are lots of options on arrival at Taipei’s Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport (TPE) – we reserved a Chunghwa Telecom 4g sim through Klook who offer a slightly discounted rate on the airport price – check prices now!
Taipei itinerary tip: the Chunghwa desk only opens at 8am so make sure your flight times will work if you reserve in advance.
5 Day Taipei Itinerary
Taiwan’s capital city really surprised us with the wide variety of things to see and do. From toilet-themed restaurants to colourful temples, stunning nature and awesome day trips, there’s plenty to squeeze into 5 days in Taipei.
Day 1: Taipei 101, Maokong Gondola, National Palace Museum and Shilin Night Market
Start the day with a trip to the observation deck of Taipei 101, Taipei’s most iconic skyscraper and once the tallest building in the world. The 101 story building is designed to resemble a giant bamboo stick and is visible from all over the city. Taipei 101 is one of the most popular places to visit in Taipei.
The 89th floor indoor observatory and 91st floor outdoor deck offers amazing panoramic views of the city. The views are really incredible and we had a lot of fun spotting different parts of the city and admiring the endless views.
Make sure to stop by the massive 660-tonne wind damper that is located on the 88th floor. The wind damper helps Taipei 101 withstand typhoon gales and earthquake tremors.
We booked our tickets for Taipei 101 via Klook and highly recommend it. You can reserve your timeslot in advance and for the best price using the Klook app. It’s super simple and avoids waiting in extra lines when Taipei 101 gets busy. Taiwan activities are generally discounted on Klook and we used it for all our sightseeing – check prices now!
How to get there: Tamsui-Xinyi Red Line MTR to TaipeMi 101/World Trade Center Station
From Taipei 101 make your way to the Taipei Zoo MRT Station (a 30 minute subway ride) where the scenic Maokong Gondola cable car departs. The 30 minute glass-bottomed cable car stops at the colorful Zhinan Temple before continuing to the quaint mountaintop village of Maokong known for its tea plantations and tea shops.
Taipei Itinerary tip: We purchased combo tickets for the Maokong Gondola and an evening double decker sightseeing tour from Klook in advance and it was awesome value. The gondola is closed most Monday’s so make sure to plan your trip around the gondola’s opening hours – click here to purchase the gondola and night tour combo tickets!
How to get there: Wenhu Line MTR to Taipei Zoo Station.
National Palace Museum
With over 500,000 pieces of Chinese art, the National Palace Museum houses the world’s largest collection of Chinese art span representing 5,000 years of history. The artefacts include paintings, statues, ceramics and calligraphy.
One of the most popular pieces is the Jadeite Cabbage, a tiny replica of bok choy with a locust and a cricket perched on its leaves. It’s thought to have been a gift from the Qing dynasty Guangxu Emperor to his new consort.
The collection was originally housed within the walls of the Forbidden City in Beijing but moved to Taipei following the Republic of China government relocation in 1949 – check prices here!
How to get there: The National Palace Museum is a bit out of the way so grab a cab or use the double decker tour bus to get there. You can also take the Wenhu Brown Line MTR and then switch to a bus for the remainder of the journey to the museum.
Shilin Night Market
Finish the day with a visit to one of Taipei’s legendary night markets, the Shilin Night Market. Shilin is Taipei’s largest night market and has over 500 stalls dotted along its maze of streets.
The food in Shilin is incredible. Three of the stalls have been awarded Michelin Bib Gourmand status which recognises high quality and good value street food. The Michelin Bid Gourmand Stalls are Chung Chia Sheng Jian Bao (cabbage or pork filled pan fried buns), Good Friend Cold Noodles (cold noodles in a sesame sauce) and Hai Yu Pork Ribs.
We also loved the Bin Small Sausage in Large Sausage stall which is a Taiwanese sausage wrapped in sticky rice. Fried chicken is a Taiwan staple and the Hot Star fried chicken stall was another one of our favourites.
There’s a lot more to Shilin than just food and you can do everything from playing arcade games to praying in the temple located in the centre of the market.
How to get there: take the R20 bus from the Jiantan Station (Zhongshan) next to the National Palace Museum or grab a cab.
Day 2: Elephant Mountain, CKS Memorial Hall, Ximending and Raohe night market
One of the best views of Taipei is from Elephant Mountain, also known as Nangang District Hiking Trail. Start the day with a short but steep sunrise hike up Elephant Mountain which rewards with panoramic views of Taipei.
The trail is well maintained with plenty of rest stops and some awesome viewing platforms. The 6 Giant Rocks are picture perfect and likely familiar from Instagram images of Elephant Mountain.
Taipei itinerary tip: Elephant Mountain is beautiful at sunset so save this one for later if you prefer evening hikes.
How to get there: Tamsui-Xinyi Red Line MTR to Xiangshan, the last stop on the line. At Exit 2 of the station there are signs which lead the way to the start of the hiking trail.
Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall
After admiring Taipei from Elephant Mountain it’s time to explore the history of Taiwan with a visit to the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall. The CKS Memorial, officially known as Liberty Square, is an important Taiwanese landmark erected in honour of the first president of Taiwan, Generalissimo Chiang Kai-Shek. The huge square is is home to the National Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall, the National Theater and the National Concert Hall.
The 8 sides of the CKS Memorial Hall represent the fortune and wealth associated with the number 8 in Chinese culture and the 89 steps are symbolic of Chiang’s age at the time of his death.
How to get there: Tamsui-Xinyi Red Line MTR to Xiangshan to Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall Station.
Ximending is a buzzing Taipei neighbor. Lit up by neon billboards, Ximending is always buzzing with people and is a shopping, restaurant and entertainment hub in Taipei. We stayed in Ximending (at the CityInn Hotel Plus Ximending Branch) and loved wandering around it’s busy streets every evening. Make sure to include some time to experience the neighborhood at some point in your Taipei itinerary.
A themed cafe is a Taipei staple and a trip to the Modern Toilet Restaurant in Ximending is as novelty as they come. The entire restaurant is toilet themed. Meals are served in toilets, drinks in bedpans and the seats are full sized toilets! Having filled up on poo themed dishes take a stroll around
Taipei itinerary tip: if a toilet theme isn’t to you taste (we’d certainly understand!) then Central Park Café in the nearby Zhongzheng District is another great option. It’s modelled on the Central Perk Café where Monica, Phoebe, Chandler, Rachel, Joey and Ross frequented in the television series Friends. Sit on the velvet orange couch sipping from a giant coffee mug and relive the greatness of the Friends years!
If you prefer a serious foodie treat, eat at the Fuhung Noodle Restaurant. The shop is located just north of Ximending and is home to some of the best beef noodle soup we’ve ever had.
While in Ximending, stop by the Ximen Red House, a historic building which was once a theatre. The entrance hall of the Red House details the history of the area going back to the 1800’s. Inside there is a cool market with boutique stores selling quirky local hand made souvenirs and art products.
Ximending is amazing for shopping, eating and drinking and is a great place to indulge in a massage, a Taipei staple! Many have prices and options in English so choose from one of the busy parlours and sit back and relax.
How to get there: Songshan-Xindian green Line from Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall Station to Ximen Station, which is the heart of Ximending.
You might choose to spend extra time in Ximending and wrap up the evening there. If you want to move on then follow the rest of the day’s itinerary below:
Bopiliao Old Street
Known as the cultural center of Taipei, Bopiliao Old Street is steeped in history. During the 19th Century, Bopiliao street was the commercial center of Taipei and coal was the principal trade. The Taiwanese government restored the area in the early 2000s to preserve and protect its legacy.
How to get there: it’s an easy 15minute walk from Ximending. If you prefer the MRT take the Bannan Blue line from Ximen to Longshan Temple Station.
Longshan Temple is next on the agenda. Longshan is Taiwan’s most famous and well-loved temple and is located in the historic neighborhood of Wanhua. and is dedicated to a mix of Buddhist, Taoist and Confucian faiths. The temple and its grounds are beautiful and it’s fascinating to watch and listen to the worshipers praying and making offerings in a haze of incense and burning candles.
Taipei itinerary tip: Many visitors participate in a fortune telling ritual which involves stones, a stick, a fortune sheet and a lady who interprets the outcome!
How to get there: Longshan Temple is a few minutes walk from Bopalio Street.
Day 3: A Taipei park, the world’s highest Starbucks and Beitou Hot Springs
Start the morning with a visit to one of Taipei’s parks. Our favourites are
- Daan Forest Park, Taipei’s largest park
- Huashan 1914 Creative Park, a re purposed art, design and cultural venue
- 228 Peace Memorial Park, a poignant tribute to the thousands of Taiwanese who died in the February 28, 1947, massacre.
Starbucks Taipei 101
Visit the world’s highest Starbucks which is located on the 35th floor at Taipei 101 and offers spectacular views of Taipei. A visit to Starbu