Where to go in Taiwan? How to go? Famous night market? How do I decide if I only have limited time to stay? — *let’s see if I could help you with these 🙂
Walking thru the Ximending Pedestrian Area, street lights, night market, shopping and food haven – I caught myself admiring this beautiful place in Taipei and nothing beats the experience of having it firsthand and being at the place right at the moment.
I was very happy prioritizing this country out of all my travel plans and bucket list! (*also taking advantage of the fact that the Visa Free for Filipinos was extended until July 2019) Considering this my birthday trip as I turn another year older I made sure that I get to maximize my almost 6D/5N trip with an itinerary and adventure that definitely matches and suits me.
In this blog, I’ll be sharing with you the famous spots and places to see and explore in Taipei, with link for my outskirt itinerary and Taichung escapade, these were all DIY and transpo with the use of trains and MRT ride, night markets you should check out and food trippin’ that shouldn’t be missed out. I’ll be sharing my actual excel file as well before the end of this post.
This blog is part of my 5D/4N Full Itinerary / Guide Post : Taiwan Itinerary for 5D/4N (DIY Guide, Budget, Tips and Finds)
Also read Taichung Itinerary (Central Taiwan) : Taichung Taiwan for a day (DIY Itinerary, Guide, Budget)
I get inquiries if I book my trip with a travel agency who does all the job for me – and I tell you, that I’d want everything personalize on my liking and I decide how long I stay in a particular place, plus I get to immersed in a place and adjust accordingly easily.
So read on…
TAIWAN, the east of the Republic of China, known for its modern cities, traditional Chinese Temples, busy night markets, with mountainous terrain. The Heart of Asia they say it is.
Started my trip pretty early today as we are bound to Taipei by 6 in the morning, booking for seat sale via Cebu Pacific you get flight time either early morning or late evening – so you decide.
We booked this trip 4 months in advance worth P6,000.00 (NTD 3,516 / 114 USD ) you can still score cheaper flight tickets than this. And could even go as low as 2k PHP for 2 way.
Travel time is around 2 1/2 hours and you’ll be arriving at Taoyuan Airport already, you wouldn’t mind the trip actually as it is very close from the Philippines.
Arriving in Taoyuan International Airport before lunch time we secured the simcard I initially booked and paid online via klook.com for that 5 days unli internet for only P525.00 (NTD 298, USD 9) it was a good deal already, if you are more than 3 or 5 in the group better secure and buy the WIFI instead so you save more. I picked this up prior to going to the train transfer.
From the airport – we rode the airport express MRT Train all the way to Taipei Main Station. Travel time is only 36 minutes and it was really convenient reaching Taipei (fare cost NTD 160, Php 280.00, USD 5.20 ) Do take note that it is a violent line of transit. Remember it when you ride back to the airport (*we got lost heading back hahaha!! turns out there is also another express train service but is not heading straight to the airport)
*Reminder : Helpful App — Do not also forget to download via your phone the app “City Rail Map” and choose Taipei Station. This is your guide when checking and exploring each sites and landmarks around.
Once you are in Taipei Main Station, it is the center for all different MRT line as well, check where you are heading for your accommodation.
As for our case I booked via Airbnb for a room for 2 pax for our 4 nights stay. It was only Php 1,500 per night (NTD 854, USD 27) good for 2 pax with a private room and CR, with AC, ref and TV and basic needs you’d be needing during your stay. What I liked about this place is it is near Ximending Night Market just a 5 minutes walk also from Ximen MRT Station *exit at No. 6
You can book it thru here if you find it suited for your taste as well : https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/25761762?bev_ref=&eal_exp=1533977144&eal_sig=9ae9b4dacfabe6128dc971d26f16499a6dc3b4cdc63ff87f9cf6797c3ed44634&eal_uid=85557479&euid=5020c9cf-98c1-e4c1-edba-a2b7da923c59&photo=&s=&user_id=
Hostels is also widely available around Taipei (Go Sleep Hostel, Ximen Corner Hostel or Diary of Taipei) some of the most researched hostel around Ximending. You may also try to book around Shillin Station, or at any station where MRT ride is easy so you save a lot of time as well.
*Note : Personal Note, book your accommodation around Ximending Station, the night market in Ximen is also my favorite and this is where I was able to buy a lot of souvenirs and food to bring home
*the places below is based on my actual itinerary, it was written in an orderly manner how we managed and arranged depending on our liking and schedule as well.
MODERN TOILET RESTAURANT
How to go : ride green line MRT alight at Ximen Station, exit at No 6. Walk via google map to reach Modern Toilet
Estimated Budget : 150 – 200 NTD per pax
Intrigued if it was only hyped online, we still manage to have our lunch here at the Modern Toilet. The interior was thought off, very thematic and interesting, IG worthy on each part of the resto. Price wise, it was a bit expensive but it was worth it!
Each person is required to order 1 dish, prices range (NTD 150 or more ) for a 1 full meal – rice, soup, dish, with cold tea and a free Ice Cream already!
We ordered : 1 hotpot meal and 1 rice meal, the black tea tastes soooo good! If you are more fan of organic tea the green tea would match you as well. You have to option to upgrade your drink so you get a souvenir after. We enjoyed our lunch here, and I must say that it was not just hyped, it’s a matter of what you choose and order. It might seem expensive at first but the experience is what you should look at as well.
How to go : From MRT Station (Ximen Station) ride to red line and alight at Daan Station, transfer to brown line and alight at the last station “Taipei Zoo” walk towards the left side for Taipei Zoo.
Entrance Fee : NTD 60
I wasn’t a fan of animals and zoo isn’t really my thing, but still decided to go over Taipei Zoo, it is said to be the biggest zoo in Asia and what special to see here? – PANDA ❤ ❤
An entrance fee of (NTD 60, PHP 105, USD 1.95) and it was great to explore it as well. You may also use your EC Card and just tap it for entry *it’ll save you time than lining up to buy for a ticket.
Do take note that the zoo is only open until 5PM.
How to go : If you are from Taipei Zoo, opposite it’s area is the Maokong Gondola Taipei Zoo Station, just walk straight for 5 – 10 mins.
Fees : NTD 80 – first station (10 mins ride), NTD 100 – 2nd station (20 mins ride) and NTD 120 – 3rd station Maokong Gondola (30 mins ride)
Cable Car experience all the way to the top of Maokong Station, and entrance fee of NTD 120 per person for 1 way, and same rate applies going back to Taipei Zoo Station.
This was my first cable car experience, and the price was definitely cheap and worth it. It was almost a 30 minutes ride all the way to the 3rd station – the farthest one. You may also drop off at the 2nd station and explore the temples as well.
You may choose between normal cabin or the crystal glass cabin of your liking. It was a scary ride I must say hahahaha!! I was telling myself that I wasn’t afraid of heights hahaha!! But I felt sorta scared coz it was pretty a long ride.
Upon alighting the Maokong Gondola, you may enjoy a short tea meryenda or ice cream stop.
Based on reviews, we tried this sausage for sale for NTD 50 for 2pcs. It was just okay though, taste like “longganisa” in the Philippines hahaha!
How to go : ride back from Taipei Zoo Station brown line, alight at DAAN station. Transfer to red line and alight at Taipei 101 station. Upon exit, walk towards Taipei 101
Entrance Fee : FREE if outside and inside the Mall, if you want a trip on top of Taipei 101 certain charges applies – you may book via klook.com and see the entire scenery and view on top
Who would miss this landmark from Taiwan? This used to be the tallest building in the world from 2004 until 2009 before Dubai beats its record. To date, signature and famous stalls and stores can be seen inside, various food chains including the famous Din Tai Fung Restaurant can also be seen here.
For me, it is okay not to avail the Taipei 101 sightseeing package. Besides, I still have plan to visit the Elephant Mountain for a top view scenery experience as well.
If you opt luxury shopping this is the best place for you. We initially took a visit here before ending our first day in Taiwan. If you plan to eat in Din Tai Fung better arrive early and expect long lines as well.
Since we are a hungry type of travelers we opted to eat in night market instead.
RAOHE NIGHT MARKET
How to go : from Taipei 101 red line, ride MRT and alight at Zhongshan Station, transfer to green line and alight at Songshan Station, exit at no. 5 and walk to Raohe Night Market
If you opt for a food crawl, night market should be your number 1 choice, this whole stretch of food stalls are everywhere!!!! Drinks and milk teas, breads, noodles, rice and everything are all here!!!
I loved how variations of food are everywhere!! Definitely a food crawl experience and it was awesome ❤ ❤ the foodie in me is very happy.
*Notes : Do take note that night markets in Taiwan is only open until 11PM no matter how many people are there, it closes on time.
Ended our day with a bright smile and tons of food and escapades!!!
Overview : The day was bound for temples and museums and anything in between. Most of the sites have free entrance fees which makes it very cheap.
How to go : ride MRT Blue line to Dingpi and alight at Longshan Temple, then walk towards the temple
Entrance Fee : FREE
Be immersed how Taiwan exhibits religion, a short stay where you see people praying and offering food and fruits. A Chinese folk religious temple open for everyone.
You may enjoy this temple anytime of the day and may also offer a short prayer as well.
How to go : walk towards the night market
Open Time : opens only from 4PM – 11PM
We’d initially wanted to have our lunch in Snake Valley however, it is only open by 4PM. If you’ll visit the temple by after noon you may want to see and visit this night market as well.
SUN YAT SEN MEMORIAL HALL
How to go : stay in blue line alight at Sun Yat Sen Station, upon exit walk towards the memorial hall for 2 minutes
Entrance Fee : FREE
Best to visit this place for context and story about Taiwan, it comes with a museum inside where you may learn about Taiwan History as well.
You get to see the changing guards as well and you’d see how each of them sacrifice to watch over the statue inside the hall. It is a 3 floors building and make sure you explore each part of it.
You may also get to see a perfect view of Taipei 101 when you exit at the back part of the hall. And across the place there is also Mcdonald’s (*hahahaah!! It was freaking lunch time when we get here, and the least you’d want to do is to eat something fast!! – thank God for Mcdonald’s everywhere we are!!! Truly a lifesaver hahaha!!
CHIANG KAI SHEK
How to go : ride red line MRT and alight at Chiang Kai Shek station, upon exit a short walk of 2 minutes until you reached Chiang Kai Shek
Entrance Fee : FREE
Who would miss this landmark as well? A national monument, a landmark and tourist attraction that is free for everyone.
You’ll see the changing guards as well every hour and take note that it closes until 5PM so plan your itinerary well.
How to go : take the MRT red line, alight at Xiangshan Station *last station, take exit no. 2 from the exit walk to your right side and straight ahead, you’ll see sign “hiking trail” this is where you should follow until you reaches the starting point for the elephant mountain.
Entrance Fee : FREE
If you wanted to get to see a full view or a perfect spot of Taipei 101 make sure to go over this trail as well.
Research will tell you 20 minutes hiking time, but mind you – it was a long hiking trail of thousands of stairs of various sizes hahahaha! It took us 40 minutes all the way to the top. Good thing there were benches on the side, so every time you’d feel extra tired you get to rest here every once in a while.
Once you reached the top you also have to line up and wait for your turn for that spot for a photo op. If you are scared of heights or you do not master the skills of balancing please be conscious as well as there were no guides on site or harness to protect you from falling.
Be outfit ready as well, be hydrated, bring water with you and determination hahahaha!! To finish thy trail.
You actually have two option when visiting this trail, either do it early in the morning and experience the morning sun hiking up or like what we did around 5PM in the afternoon, less sun exposure hahaha! We were hiking down the trail after almost more than hour.
It was called an Elephant Mountain Trail due to its figure which looks like the elephant long trunk / nose.
SONGSHAN FENGTIAN TEMPLE
Going back to the MRT station, you may also drop by this temple as well.
How to go : from the Elephant Trail, ride MRT red line bound to Taipei Main Station, transfer to green line alight at Ximen Station exit at No. 1, upon exit walk towards the Red House just right next the Police Station.
Its structure from the outside would let you think that this is an old house, with museums inside and sort of.. but I was shocked how modernized it looked like inside.
This Red House, the opposite on what we read on reviews is like a modern and chic selling stores offering various materials from clothing, displays, souvenirs and shirts or make-up, I bought a tattoo here – located at the 2nd level, for temporary tattoo that could last up to 3 days hahaha!
There was also a coffee / tea shop here as you enter the Red House. Roam around and check what would best interest you 🙂
You may have your dinner just right across the Red House at XImending Night Market, you just need to cross the street.
Here’s our actual expense and itinerary in excel file :
AS a whole, I enjoyed how cheap Taipei could be, with almost free entrance fees and charges, cheap MRT Train rides – most especially if you’ll be using an EC Card you get discount each time you ride the MRT.
You’d see in my itinerary that we hardly ride a bus or cab, that is because we fell in love how organized and how efficient all MRT Trains are, everything was inter-connected making it easier for you to roam around and enjoy the sites to see.
There is much more to see!!! But at least we went over to all most sought landmarks around Taipei. During dinner, we make it a point to visit different and try night markets and see what and where we could score and grab cheap finds on food and shopping!
For night market options and food escapade I have written a separate blog post for it for my review and experience; also read : *blog post to follow
This was only 2 days of my 5 days stay in Taiwan, If you want to see the 5D full itinerary also read :Taiwan Itinerary for 5D/4N (DIY Guide, Budget, Tips and Finds)
1 day is spent in Taichung (Central Taiwan, also read : Taichung Taiwan for a day (DIY Itinerary, Guide, Budget)
And 1 day is spent in Northeast Taiwan (also read : *blog post to follow)
I think two days spent within Taipei City to really get to explore the place, is almost enough. I enjoyed going from one place to another and how convenient everything is. You’d hardly be lost in this place and even locals we’re really approachable. They might be some who hardly speak english but still — everything is manageable.
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See what best interests you and plan your itinerary well!!!
Hope this helps you too.
I’ll be happy to share my excel file for your personal trip.
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*All photos were all originals from the blogger @nathaliecsalcedo