First of all, get yourself acquainted with the subway map, because it is easy, convenient and cheap (with most rides costing between NT$20-NT$65 (.65 cents to 2 dollars). You can also purchase a one day pass for NT$150 (or around $4.75), which should be perfect, if you’re planning to make all of the further mentioned stops. So, ready, set, let’s explore Taipei!
First stop on the Xiangshan line (pink line #2) is the world famous Taipei 101 Trade Center. It is our first stop today in order to get in line for the equally as famous Din Tai Fung dumpling (xiaolongbao) restaurant, which starts lining up around 10:45am. Get there early, so you don’t have to wait any precious time waiting in the ridiculous afternoon line.
After a very scrumptious lunch, take the elevator up to the 89th floor. Do be be careful as you step on closer to the window – it may be the highest you’ve ever been in your life (Taipei101 used to be the tallest building in the world from 2004-2010). Your stomach may agree with the aforementioned data, since mine felt a bit queasy looking down at all the miniature taxi cabs and buildings.
Either way, visiting the views from Taipei 101 should be on your list, especially if the visibility is high during your trip.
After you’ve traveled down World’s Fastest Elevator (my ears popped twice), walk past the Din Tai Fung restaurant on your way back to the subway (as you snicker at all the fools waiting in line). Next stop on the agenda is the very open and airy Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall. With a subway stop of the same name (at the intersection of Line #2 and green line #3), it shouldn’t be challenging locating this place. Just follow the signs and follow the crowds.
Enjoy yourself as you wait for the changing of the guards ceremony at the top of every hour. They impressed me with their perfectly synchronized movements, their stern gazes and their ability to be perfectly still for an entire hour (no matter how distracting the public around them is).
Next stop on our journey through Taipei in a day is the incredible Longshan Temple. You can travel further down Pink line #2 and transfer at Taipei Main Station to Blue line #5. Only two stops away is the rightly named – Longshan Temple stop. Built in the 1700s, this large temple honors both Taoist and Buddhist deities. I was amazed to see all the food and snacks that were laid on display at the temple. There were even Pringles and roasted chicken, but does anyone actually eat that stuff?!
Lastly, a trip to Taipei would not be complete without visiting one of many the Night Markets. There are plenty to choose from, but I found myself at the end of Green line #3 at Raohe St. Night Market. It was busy, smelly and exciting, as we walked up and then down, picking up snacks, drinks, trinkets and holding our noses past the smelly tofu stalls. I’m usually a big fan of fresh tofu, but what they do to it in Taiwan is beyond me (watch an episode of Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern to find out).
If you’d like to read more about food of Taiwan, get your hungry self over here.
Or, if you feel like extending your 24 hours in Taiwan, go on exploring these 3 weekend getaways from Taipei.
If you’re an artsy, cultural type with a preference for a performance during your stay in Taipei, don’t forget to check out Chinese Opera at the TaipeiEYE.
So there you have it – 1 day, 4 destinations in one amazing capital city of Taiwan. I hope you enjoy this itinerary as much as I did and let me know what/where would you do differently in the comments below.