22 Things to Do in Taipei – Play, Eat & Relax!

Did a compilation of some things you can try/do/eat based on my latest Taipei trip. Hopefully, these can be some suggestions to those who are visiting. Personally I think there are many activities you can do there to experience Taiwanese culture, you just have to hunt for it. And it’s all beyond just visiting Taipei 101 and shopping at Wufenpu

1. PAY A VISIT TO NIGHT MARKETS

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What’s coming to Taipei without a trip to night markets. These markets sell a range of street food you can just settle your dinner there, though the food stalls get a little repetitive so you don’t necessarily have to visit all the night markets in Taipei. The locals recommend Raohe (饒河街觀光夜市) and Ningxia (寧夏夜市) and told us to skip Shilin cos they feel that the food at Shilin isn’t as nice anymore

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1. 鸡蛋糕 2. 香肠 3. Fried squid 4. Korean fried chicken with cheese 5. Grilled beef cubes 6. Grilled scallops 7. Fried Milk 8. Grilled mochi 9. Peanut mochi balls

Things we tried at night markets. I personally think that the food is alright, not necessarily the best or must-try (but I really like the fried milk). It’s more like oh that looks so good, so let’s give it a try. I’m sure you will understand what I mean

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Cost: NT200-500

Address: Raohe St, Songshan District, Taipei City, Taiwan 105

Directions: Train to Songshan station, exit 5. The night market will be right across

2. TRY YOUR LUCK AT TAROT READING

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If you have too much things to eat at the night market and needed some time to digest your food, you can try killing time by having your fortune read. This 师傅 has been on broadcast, so we decided to have him read our fortune to us. Personally I think it is accurate to a certain extent, but the thing with fortune reading, you have go with an open mind and take it with a pinch of salt

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Never tried tarot reading before, so was excited to see how it goes and I have to say I was pretty intrigued by it. There are many other forms you can choose to have your fortune told, it broadly depends on what you are asking for

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Cost: NT300

Located at Raohe night market

3. GO PARAGLIDING AT WANLI BY 野馬飛行俱樂部

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If you are looking for something fun and exciting, how about taking a leap of faith off the mountains of Wanli. Wanli paragliding let you experience a different form of Taiwan, with the wind in your hair. They offer free shuttle pickup from Wanli elementary and also provide a go-pro camera for you to record your whole experience

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If you love adventure, you will not want to give this a miss. Even though the whole ride only takes about 5 minutes, I wish I could do it again and again. Call 0932-926289 / 0956-883333 prior to the day before 10pm or on the day after 9am to check if the weather is okay to fly. No reservations needed

Cost: NT1600 (memory card inclusive)

Address: 北基社區上方, Wanli District, New Taipei City, Taiwan 207

Directions: Train to Taipei Main Station, take bus 1815 from Taipei bus terminal and alight at Wanli bridge then call for pick-up

4. RELEASE SKY LANTERNS AT SHIFEN/PINGXI

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Releasing sky lantern is a tradition in Taiwan, as a sign of hope, good luck and prosperity. There are many sky lantern shops in both Shifen/Pingxi which you can write your wishes on these oil paper before releasing it into the sky. Many of these shops also provide photography and videography services so you can capture the moment once you let go of these delicate lanterns

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Different colour combination signifies different meaning and blessings and are priced differently for a single coloured and multi coloured as well. Shifen is a popular place to release sky lantern. If you prefer a quieter location, you can hop onto the train to Pingxi where there is visibly less crowd

Cost: NT150 for single coloured / NT200 for a multi coloured

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If you want a modern version of sky lantern, you can head down to Jintong police station where electronic sky lanterns are released via the screen. Write or draw on the postcards provided and they will mirror your drawings on the sky lanterns. You can then send the postcards back home for memory sake. Pretty cool right?

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Write anything you want! Whether it is a congratulatory message, well wishes or a proposal. The lanterns are “released” at 5.30pm, so be there to watch

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Cost: NT150

And while you are at it, you can also buy a postcard from one of the souvenir shops in Pingxi and sent it back home. Just because, they are so cute #postcardfansalert

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So difficult to pick one!

Cost: NT80

Directions: The Pingxi line will take you to Shifen/Pingxi/Jingtong stations. From Shifen station, walk towards the shops and you will find many sky lantern shops. From Pingxi station, most shops are located near the station itself. From Jingtong station, walk along the shops and out to the Main Street, the police station is located on the right. Ask the locals if you can’t find!

5. VISIT XIMENDING

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And what’s a visit to Taipei without Ximending (西門町). A popular district filled with youth, shopping and restaurants, and sometimes street performances. Who knows if you might bump into any artistes. People who have been to ximending before will probably ask, is there anything there worth to go for? Well, personally I think you can still take a stroll and do some window shopping. Afterall, it’s still Ximending

6. FAR-FETCHED, BUT GOTTA CATCH ‘EM ALL

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Well, if you haven’t given up on Pokémon Go by now, you can catch the Asia exclusive Pokémon aka Farfetch’d. This spring onion bird makes its appearance in Japan and Korea but you can also find them in Taiwan. We caught both of them in Ximending; the first one when we were resting in our airbnb and we sprinted 4 streets down with everyone staring, the other one magically appeared when we were just standing at the traffic light

7. DINE WITH ALPACAS AT OIA CAFE

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There are many cafes in Taipei you can dine with animals around. There’s the famous 阿毛石鍋燉飯 at Ximending where their golden retriever lies around the cafe and 小猫花园 at Fuhua road with more than 10 cats for you to adore. But if you want something different,  how about visiting OIA cafe with 2 white baby Alpacas instead. The two baby Alpacas are the only ones allowed to roam around the cafe as you dine. Just beware of your belongings as these white fluffy animals chew on anything

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awww, the fat butt

Cost: Approx NT450-550/pax

Address: No.12-1 Beizhizi, Houcuo Road, Xinbei, Sanzhi District, New Taipei City, Taiwan 252

Directions: Train to Danshui station. Take buses 821/860/862/863 from Danshui bus station located near exit 2. Alight at Beishi River Mouth bus stop and walk about 1 min to the cafe

8. SETTLE A MEAL AT CONVENIENCE STORES

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Because you will probably see them everywhere

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We know how convenience stores in Taiwan are like. There are just so much food you can buy and eat, you wish you had one like this back home. We had something for a meal from their convenience store everyday when we were there, just because it is cheap and convenient

9. HAVE TOASTS FOR BREAKFAST LIKE A LOCAL

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The locals call these toasts (吐司), some call them sandwiches. The last time I was in Taiwan, I really love these takeaway sandwiches you can buy for breakfast. Served piping hot with choices of ham, eggs and other stuffs, these things make the best options for breakfast

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JSP (呷尚宝) is a breakfast place that sells an array of stuffs from burgers, toasts, omelettes to beehoon. They have a few outlets across Taipei. Take your pick, I am sure there is one you will find a liking to that is cheap and good

Cost: NT40-60

Address: No. 150, Hanzhong St, Wanhua District, Taipei City, Taiwan 108

Directions: Train to Ximen station, exit 1. Turn left once you exit the station and walk about 3 minutes. You will be able to see the cafe

10. HAVE SEAFOOD AT FISH HARBOUR

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Guihou Fishing Port

If time permits, try having seafood at one of their fish harbour. What is better than having fresh seafood caught right from the sea and served fresh to you. There are a number of fish markets in Taiwan, namely Keelung, Fuji and Guihou, which you can make it as a day trip from Taipei. Choose one to drop by and take a look

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We had planned to visit Keelung Bisha Fishery but the cab driver had recommended Guihou Fish Harbour (龜吼漁港) in Wanli cos Keelung is considered expensive for them. So we decided to pay a visit to Guihou instead

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I think Taiwan’s zi char is relatively more bland as they tend to emphasize more on the freshness of their seafood. We love the fish but the rest were just meh

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Cost: Approx NT400-600 per pax

Address: No. 61-1, Yuao Road, Guihou Neighborhood, Wanli District, New Taipei City

Directions: Train to Taipei Main Station, take bus 1815 from Taipei bus terminal and alight at 翡翠灣, then walk about 15 minutes to the fishing harbour. Alternatively, you can hire a private taxi and take a one day trip out of Taipei city

11. HAVE HIGH TEA LIKE A TAI-TAI

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There are no lack of places in Taipei that serves cakes and tea, dining in or take-out at all sorts of budget. Whether you prefer dining at a patisserie or a local franchise like 85度C Bakery Cafe or Yannick (亞尼克), there will definitely be one for the sweet tooth. Do note some of these places have a minimum spending, so check before you enter

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If you are in Wanli district, how about dropping by Yannick for some sweet treat?

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Cost: Approx NT80-100 per pax

Address: No. 127之5號, Masu Road, Wanli District, New Taipei City, Taiwan 207

Directions: Train to Taipei Main Station, take bus 1815 from Taipei bus terminal and alight at Wanli, then walk about 5 minutes to Yannick. Alternatively, you can hire a private taxi and take a one day trip out of Taipei city

12. HAVE A DATE WITH MR. POLAR BEAR

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There are no lack of cafes in Taipei, from themed cafes to quaint tea salons. It’s gonna be really challenging to cover everything at one shot. But if you are looking for a quick cuppa takeaway, how about the cutest 3D polar bear art to go along with it?

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What’s special about the polar bear is the use of marshmallow as its ingredient instead of foam. So you stir the polar bear into your drink and of course, it will eventually disintegrate. Imagine: Hot chocolate & marshmallow. Someone just needs to start this in Singapore. Ha

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I’m surprised the latte actually tasted pretty decent cos sometimes it’s difficult to find quality in visually appealing items. But I thought the coffee tasted too sweet for me after the polar bear melted in the drink. The polar bear latte is their signature drink but if you would prefer a different base, you can always choose mocha or others and top up an additional NT70 for a date with Mr. Polar Bear 🙂

Cost: NT200

Address:  No 7, Zhongxiao East Road, Section 4, Lane 205, Alley 29, Da’an District, Taipei City, Taiwan 106

Directions: From Zhongxiao Dunhua station exit 2, turn left at the first junction and walk about 100m and make a right turn. The stall should be in sight on your left in 10m

13. DRINK – 珍珠奶茶

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Bubbletea or otherwise known as 泡泡茶 is a popular drink in Taiwan. There are stalls everywhere selling these tea-based drinks with pearls, and variations of milk and other toppings

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Oolong Tea with Bubble and Coconut Jelly

50嵐 is the original KOI in Taiwan and is easily recognised by its striking yellow and blue sign. Being located near our airbnb and considering it is cheaper there, that just gives us another reason to buy one everyday even though we know it isn’t that healthy

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Cost: NT30-50

Address: No 136, Hanchong Street, Wanhua District, Taipei City, Taiwan 108

Directions: From Ximen exit 1, cross the road and walk left. You will see the stall in about 2 minutes

14. EAT – 蚵仔麵線

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You can never give it a miss for Taiwanese snacks when you are there. From 蚵仔麵線, 蚵仔煎, 臭豆腐 to 鲁肉饭, there are stalls that sell these everywhere. We never really hunt for them when we were there, but those that we chanced upon, were really delicious

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油庫口 is a rather popular place recommended for its oyster mee sua (蚵仔麵線) and grilled sausages (香腸). The shop isn’t big but you wouldn’t miss it with the staffs standing at the shopfront selling the noodles

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We ordered the 綜合麵線 with a combination of oysters and intestines. Love how silky thin the noodles are and flavourful the broth is, along with the plump and soft intestines and oysters. Eat it with the chilli for that fragrance, it’s really delicious!

Cost: NT40-65

Address: No. 44, Lane 188, Section 1, Wenhua Rd, Banqiao District, New Taipei City, Taiwan 220

Directions: Train to Xinpu station and exit 2. Walk about 10 minutes along the main road and make a left after the hospital. You will see the stall in about 2 minutes

15. EAT – 鲁肉饭

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This small bowl of steamed rice topped with braised meat is a common sight in Taiwan eateries. We love how simple yet delicious this dish can be. The 鲁肉饭 we came across was just below our airbnb, and it was a very popular supper place that operates from 10pm-5am in the morning

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海鲜汤

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炒葱蛋

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阿财虱目鱼肚 also serve a variety of other dishes like 鱼肚, 三杯蛤蜊 and 三杯虾. You know where to go if you are hungry at 3am in the morning

Cost: NT50-200

Address: No. 53, Neijiang St, Wanhua District, Taipei City, Taiwan 108

Directions: From Ximen station exit 1, walk along Hanzhong street and make a right to Neijiang street. Walk about 5 minutes down and you will spot the shop

16. EAT – 豆漿油條

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Another popular Taiwanese breakfast, you can find a list of places to visit when you google 豆漿油條 in Taipei. It’s basically soy milk and fried dough (in a long stick) which you eat them together. A simple yet filling breakfast, the most popular places that offer these include Yong He (“永和”豆獎) and Fuhang (阜杭豆獎)

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We headed to Fuhang close to closing but were met with a super long queue. I figured there were at least 100 people infront of us which makes us wonder when will the queue ever stop. The shop is located in a foodcourt on the second floor, so find a seat and grab your breakfast. We were amazed the queue actually moves in a surprisingly fast speed so don’t be deterred by the long and snaking queue (all the way to the first floor main road)

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Fried dough stick

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Sweet, thick and fragrant soy bean milk with sesame flat bread and eggs (厚餅夾蛋). It is a must-try. The sesame flat bread is so fragrant with a slightly salty aftertaste, sandwiched with a thick omelette. The 油條 was a little too oily for my liking though

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The crowd at 12.30pm

Cost: NT50-85

Address: No 108, Zhongxiao E Rd, Section 1, Zhongzheng District, Taipei City, Taiwan 100

Directions: Train to Shandao Temple station, exit 5. You should see the queue soon

17. EAT – 牛肉面

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Beef noodles in Taiwan is also another specialty. A good bowl of noodles served piping hot in a cool weather is even more welcoming. If you are in Ximending area, try 牛店牛肉面 or 牛公館牛肉麵 which are both well received by locals

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We had wanted to try 牛店 but we always missed their operating hours. Despite that, there is always a queue out of their stall. So we decided to patronise 牛公館 instead. We love how silky smooth the noodles were and the beef was so tender the chopsticks couldn’t hold them together. You can choose between the light or braised broth which are both equally delicious

Cost: Approx NT200

Address: No. 78, Xining South Road, Wanhua District, Taipei City, Taiwan 108

Directions: From Ximen exit 1, cross the road and walk down Chengdu road. The stall is in sight on the left at the first traffic light

18. EAT – 剉冰

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People usually eat shaved ice (剉冰/雪花冰) for summer, we decided to be funny and eat it during winter. Shaved ice is a dessert you see often in summer as a way to cool the summer heat, with mainly ice and different toppings. The locals recommended this stall in Ximending, known for its shaved ice topped with peanut and corn (花生玉米冰)

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楊記花生玉米冰 is a shop with 50 years of history with a variety of shaved ice desserts from olden flavours to modern novelty like mango (seasonal) and pineapple. They also sell hot desserts like red bean soup and peanut soup. We really like their recommended and popular 花生玉米加圓冰. The sweet soft peanuts and crunchy corn mixture was delightful and the chewy taro and mochi balls were so good!

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Cost: NT65-100

Address: No 38, Section 2, Hankou street, Wanhua district, Taipei City, Taiwan 108

Directions: From Ximen station exit 6, walk down Hanzhong street and turn left at Ximen mango shaved ice (on your right). The stall should be in sight in 50m 

19. EAT – 麻辣火锅

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It was a cold and windy evening in Taipei, which was the perfect night for a mala hotpot dinner. And because the hotpot in Taiwan is well-known for being cheap and filling. Imagine buffet style with free flow alcohol, premium beef and seafood and Haagen Dazs icecream. Go where find

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馬辣頂級麻辣鴛鴦火鍋 is a very popular hotpot chain in Taipei. I thought their mala soup base is pretty decent and the additional NT300 for its premium wagyu beef and tiger prawns were worth it. The only thing I didn’t like, was the 2 hour dining time restriction though I’m sure most of us will feel full by the first hour. Still, it is still worth a try. Remember to call early in advance

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Cost: Approx NT400-700 per pax, only cash accepted

Address: No 62, Xining South Rd, Wanhua District, Taipei City, Taiwan 108

Directions: From Ximen station exit 6, walk down Hanzhong street till you see KFC. Make a left on Emei street and walk about 100m. You should be able to spot the restaurant on the second level

20. VISIT A HOTSPRING IN BEITOU OR XIN BEITOU

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The area of Beitou and Xin Beitou are well-known hotspring places. The water from hotspring not only helps in blood circulation but also raises your metabolism rate. We went to an outdoor hotspring cos we thought it would better than staying in an enclosed area

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There are a total of 9 outdoor pools with different functions and temperature

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This is the second time I’ve been to Spring City Resort. I love how they give you a basket of everything you need. Just remember to bring your swimming wear

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Cost: NT800

Address: No 18, Youya Road, Beitou District, Taipei City, Taiwan 112

Directions: Train to Beitou station and exit right. There will be signs of free shuttle 100m away. Check the timing on their Facebook page

21. PAMPER YOURSELF TO A MANICURE

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Girls, if you have time, you can always squeeze in a manicure session. And specially so if you like lots of blings on your fingers because Taiwanese nails are known for over-the-top. We managed to find one near Red House, with a couple more in the vicinity

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The friend and I are not ‘bling’ people, so we went with something safer. Honestly there is nothing special about their manicure experience. The only thing was they used this dentist tool to remove the gel, which was pretty interesting

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Cost: NT1299-1499 for gel manicure with art

Address: No 13, Alley 10, Chengdu Road, Wanhua District, Taipei City, Taiwan 108

Directions: From Ximen station exit 1, cross the road and walk towards red house. There is a small alley to its left. The shop is located right next to it

22. RELAX IN A MASSAGE

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Probably not a city known for massage, we were running out of places to go to. So we decided to look up massage places in Taipei. There are many places in Taipei that you can go to, at all sorts of budget

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Foot massage area

Thousand Miles Massage Centre (千里行) is a mid-range massage and wellness centre located in the financial district. They provide both foot and body massage and also traditional cupping, if you are interested. The place is pretty spacious, and the massage thorough and painful (my threshold is really low). But still, my body feels much lighter and muscles relaxed after the massage. I have to admit the pain was very well worth it!

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Cost: As above

Address: No 62, Section 2, Nanjing East Road, Zhongshan District, Taipei City, Taiwan 104

Directions: From Songjiang Nanjing station exit 2, walk down Songjiang road and turn left at Nanjing East Road section 2. Continue walking for another 200m. The shop is at a junction before the traffic light