Taipei is a city that will very quickly get under your skin. You will love the vibrant energy of the night markets and the array of tasty, sometimes weird but always delicious foods you can snack on until the early hours of the morning. You will marvel at the richly coloured, ornate temples and shrines sandwiched between austere concrete apartments. You’ll shop, eat and explore with such ease that you’ll kick yourself for leaving it so late to visit this amazing city. If you only have a short amount of time, here’s our Taipei Travel Guide to help you make the most of it!
Note: all addresses & directions for restaurants, activities and sights are listed at the bottom of this post. This post contains affiliate links, thank you for supporting our blog by using these links.
Day 1 Morning
Start your day with a traditional Taiwanese breakfast- a word of warning, or a teaser depending on your predilections, prepared to be carb-ed out! Dip tiao (savoury donuts) into bowls of hot, sweet soy bean milk, munch on shao bing a flaky baked flatbread (you can even get a shao bing wrapped tiao, essentially a donut sandwich!) and wolf down dumplings or juicy meat buns. That should set you up for a busy day of exploring! A popular locals spot is Yonghe Soy Milk King and they’re open 24 hours!
Once you’ve broken your fast catch the MRT to Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall. People watch in Liberty Square for a while before wandering up Democracy Boulevard to the memorial that looms large at the end of the boulevard. This imposing yet strikingly beautiful building houses a giant bronze statue of Chiang Kai Shek the former leader of Taiwan and a museum. Be sure to time your visit for the Changing of the Guard which occurs on the hour between 9:00am and 5:00pm.
By now you’re probably getting a bit peckish again right? A short walk away from Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall is Jin Feng (金峰魯肉飯). A restaurant that celebrates the humble, yet supremely satisfying lu rou fan and is widely considered to offer the city’s best version. Considered a staple of the Taiwanese diet, you’ll find this dish at almost every restaurant you visit in Taiwan, because it’s always the right time for braised fatty pork on rice!
If you don’t mind a walk, it’s about half an hour to Huashan 1914 Creative Park (otherwise catch the MRT to Zongxiao Xinsheng). This artist’s enclave is a bustling spot with buskers, rotating exhibitions, shops and restaurants and is worth wandering around.
By now, the days end will be drawing near so head to Elephant Mountain for spectacular views of the Taipei skyline including Taipei 101 as the sun sets. The hike takes about 30 minutes and has quite a few stairs but it’s worth it! If you want to avoid the crowds make your way to the shrine located at Alley 8, Lane 76, Section 6, Xinyi Road, there’s a trail leading up to Elephant Mountain (walk through the shrine to get to the trail) where you’ll only encounter a few exercising locals.
After all that exertion it’s time to fill right up with Taiwan’s national dish, niu rou mian or beef noodle soup. Bouncy wheat noodles, aromatic broth and gelatinous beef shank makes for one satisfying dinner. Lin Dong Fang is our pick- be sure to stir in a dollop of their housemade beef chilli butter for a spicy kick.
Day 2 Morning
Start your day with baskets of xiao long bao, steamed soup dumplings- a perennial favourite in Taiwan. If you’ve never visited Din Tai Fung, Taiwan’s most famous xiao long bao export, then you must make a trip but to skip the queues we think the dumplings at Jin Ji Yuang (好公道金雞園) are pretty damn tasty. They’re less delicate than the ones at Din Tai Fung but they pack a flavour punch and are half the price. Gotta love that!
When you’re done with brekki, grab a bubble tea from 50 Lan which is a few shops down the road and then take a stroll around the area, there are great boutiques, cafes even delicatessens to discover.
Catch the MRT to Taipei Zoo Station and grab the Maokong Gondola, a scenic 30 minute ascent into the mountainous tea region. Spend the afternoon walking around the village, sipping tea in the tea shops and snacking on street food.
Now it’s time to head back into town and try your hand at the popular Taiwanese pastime of shrimp fishing! Locals sit for hours around large indoor pools, drinking beers whilst trying to snag these wily crustaceans. If you manage to catch some giant shrimp you can prep them for eating and cook them under the searing hot grills outside. The easiest way to get here is to catch the MRT to Shilin station and then either jump in a taxi or catch the 255 bus to Zhishan Rd about 5-7 minutes from the National Palace Museum. There are about 5 shrimp pools side by side on this road.
By the time you’re done fishing you’ll either be starving or have just whet your appetite but don’t fear, there’s much eating still to be had! Make your way back to Shilin MRT or go one stop further to Jiantan MRT (close to the food) and eat, shop and explore your way around Shilin Night Market. Don’t miss out on sampling the deep fried chicken from the yellow and red signed stall which is diagonal from Jiantan MRT station and the humungous slabs of wobbly chiffon cake!
48 hours in Taipei, Taiwan, DONE!
We hope this Taipei Travel Guide has helped you eat and explore like a traveller, not a tourist!
Check out our Must Eats Taiwan, 24 Hours in Taroko Gorge, Kaohsiung Travel Guide posts…
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Getting around Taipei:
The MRT has good coverage of the city. Single tickets can be purchased or for ease of travel an Easypass card can be purchased for 100TWD and money preloaded onto the card. Any amount left on the card can be refunded for a 20TWD fee at any MRT station. Using an Easypass gives you 20% off MRT tickets plus you can use it on most buses around Taiwan and at 7/11’s and Family Marts.
We use the app Maps.Me to guide us around cities by GPS using offline maps.
No matter where you’re travelling to we always recommend you have travel insurance. We use and love World Nomads.
The great thing about them is that you can purchase travel insurance while you’re already travelling!
Chasing a Plate’s Pricing Guide
$ under 200TWD (approximately $6 USD)
$$ 500-700TWD (approximately $15-20 USD)
What to eat in Taipei:
Yonghe Soy Milk King $ (for 2 pax)
No. 102, Section 2, Fuxing S Rd, Da’an District
Open 24 hours
Closest MRT: Daan
Jin Feng $ (for 2 pax)
No. 10, Section 1, Roosevelt Rd
Open daily 8:00am to 1:00am
Closest MRT: Chiang Kai Shek station, Exit #2
Lin Dong Fang $$ (for 2 pax)
No. 274, Section 2, Bade Rd, Zhongshan District
Open 11:00am to 4:00am
Closest MRT: Zhongxiao Fuxing or Nanjing Fuxing
Jin Ji Yuan $-$$ (for 2 pax)
No. 28-1 YongKang Street
Open 9:00am to 9:00pm
Closest MRT: Dongmen
Places to visit in Taipei:
Huashan 1914 Creative Park
No. 1, Section 1, Bade Road, Zhongzheng District
MRT to Taipei Zoo Station. Pay for the gondola using your Easypass.
Shrimp fishing $$ (for beers and an hour or so of fishing)
The easiest way to get to the shrimp pools is to catch the MRT to Shilin station and then either jump in a taxi or catch the 255 bus to Zhishan Rd about 5-7 minutes from the National Palace Museum. There are about 5 shrimp pools side by side on this road.
Sleep like a traveller:
We stayed in Airbnb’s during our visit to Taipei. Both were in local neighbourhoods but only a 5-7 minute walk from a MRT station. We would recommend both.
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