What a powerhouse of a city. It's so easy to get lost in the grandeur of this exciting city life and I'm here to share just a few things you can do in this amazing city.
Truly something for everyone at the bustling night markets of Taipei. Most of them run throughout the week and a few special ones open up on the weekend. If you're a true foody you would really enjoy Keelung night market as well as Dalong night market. A taiwanese night market staple is always BBQ! Skewers of your favorite meats spiced and marinated Taiwanese style. You can truly find anything at a night market if you look hard enough. I was also fortunate enough to try Wintermelon tea. A definite must-try drink!
Another Taiwanese staple is BEEF NOODLES! You can find them pretty much at any restaurant. Prices are not too bad either. They can't compare with $1 pho in Vietnam but I still got away with $3.50 beef noodles. ;) Street food is awesome but once in awhile you just need to have a good sit down meal at a good restaurant. I ate at plenty of restaurants around Taipei. One worth noting is Din Tai Fung. They specialize in Xiaolongbao, a sort of "soup dumpling" dish. Unreal experience at this restaurant and I highly reccomend it to anyone who is in or around the city to check it out. It's also worth noting that I went during Chinese new year in February of 2018. If you are going to be in Taiwan around this time be sure to stock up on food before chinese new year eve. Most shops and restaurants will be closed for up to ONE WEEK after the festivites.
Coffee by day. Beer by night. I found a truly amazing syphon coffee house located down a back alley around the corner from "Formosa 101" hostel. Couldn't tell you the exact district. If you've never had syphon coffee it takes about 7 to 8 minutes to brew just a single cup but it will be the best cup you've had in your life. The name of the small cafe was simply "Syphon". What an awesome little place to just duck away and have a cup of coffee while watching life pass by in the streets of Taipei.
As for beer, I found it was much more cost-effective to just pick up 4-packs of local beer from the familymart of 7/11. Fairly cheap, less than $2 a beer. But I'm defintley a craft beer guy but it was simply too expensive in Taiwan. I'm talking close to $13 a pint, and that wasn't at a very swanky bar either. That's defintley more expensive than back home.
There's a national park to the north of taipei named "Yangmingshan National Park" It was fairly quick and cheap to get to. Myself and a couple hostel mates split a cab from downtown taipei right up the mountain to the park gates. The whole ride cost us less than $15 and that was split 4 ways. The area is simply beautiful and if you can make sure to check out the Qingtingiang Trail. Looks just like the shire from lord of the rings. There is also a pretty extensive trail system in Taipei that extends out to the "elephant trail" where you can get a great view of the 101 tower along with the rest of the city. Theres plenty of national parks to check out in taiwan such as Taroko national park or Kenting national park and each one of them are unique in their own ways. If you enjoy rugged mountains and raging rivers perhaps you would enjoy the east coast Taroko but if you enjoy sand beneath your feet and crystal clear blue waters then kenting national park to the south would be for you. Taiwan has something for everyone!
Taipei has a bustling nightlife and plenty of clubs for those who are into that. Taiwan in general has a very big club culture. When most of your mates knock off and go to the pub for a couple pints after work, you can be guarenteed that there will be plenty of people in Taipei waiting to go to the club. Drink prices are actually pretty cheap at clubs as they try to lure you in with drink coupons or entry bonuses. In Taipei there was a small club named "Triangle" that was just outside of a western-food market. (Also a must try). The vibe was pretty cool and I enjoyed the nights I had overall at each of them. A very las vegas vibe in most clubs in Taiwan.
Transportation in Taipei is flawless. There are trains that go every direction coming every 30 seconds. It's very well laid out and what seems to be perfect. Quite cheap to use and easy to get around. What's not to like? I once took the red line as far as I could go and ended up in Tamsui, a beautiful pier-side suburb with plenty of seafood vendors going up and down the pier selling fried cuttlefish. An alltime memory.
If there's anything super specific you'd like to know about Taipei don't be afraid to message me! I love talking about travel and enjoy hearing and sharing travel stories! Godspeed!