So, we spent a weekend in Taipei, Taiwan for February 16-19 & Lunar New Year occurred on the 16th. Ideally, you’d like to get there the week before the actual day so that you can celebrate the festivities leading up to the day, but the weekend fell on a four day from work so I figured it’d be worth it still to go!
First things first, once we got there, we got an MRT 3 day pass & round trip to the airport for under $20USD. Highly suggest as Taipei’s metro system was super easy to use.
We packed so much into 2.5 days! Try to keep up & here we go:
I have to begin with these. We were there for three nights so we visited three.
- Ningxia Night Market– This was the first market we visited and would be ideal if you’re looking to try Taiwanese Market food!
- Roahe Night Market-Hands down, my favorite! It was a HUGE open air market with a picture of food, gifts, small shops and places to eat. If you only had to visit one market in Taipei, this is the one I suggest visiting!
- Shilin Market-This market came upon every single list, blog post, & recommendation I received. However, it was indoor and mostly tourist souvenir stands. As controversal as it is: I could have skipped it and been fine!
We booked a day trip through Viator.com to visit a few areas that would’ve been a little more difficult to get to and we were short on time. It was a rainy, colder day, but it was worth the journey! Jiufen is a decommissioned gold mining mountain town, originally built by the Japanese and now a maze of alleyways of tourist shops, tea shops, food stands and much more. If you’re familiar with the movie “Spirited Away,” it is based off this area and they even have an alley dedicated to it. How to get there: We booked this tour. Although expensive, we felt it was worth it and had plenty of free time to explore.
Shifen Old Street/Pingxi
We made our very own paper lanterns & let them go to make a wish. Apparently, this practice is controversial for the environment, but we were told that they get recycled and I thought it was a truly fun experience! If nothing else, make a trip out here to walk around, people watch and observe what some people wish for 😉 How to get there: The same tour previously mentioned included everything needed to get there & for the latern experience! The travel there was a good 45 minute-1 hour to both of these sites so you have to take in mind the hotel to hotel car service included.
This hike is ideal for outdoor activity and getting a perfect view of the city & Taipei 101 from above. Although the stairs aren’t steep, there are many so ensure you have a good meal before & plenty of water! How to get there: Xiangshan station (象山), the last stop of Red Line past the exit for 101, leave from Exit 2 and follow the signs for about 10 minutes to the entrance of the trail.
Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall
I cannot describe to you how LARGE these structures were. I went to this site shortly after we arrived on day one…maybe I was in a daze, but the whole experience feels like a blur because I could not fathom the size. Definitely a Taipei must do! How to get there: It was within walking distance to our hotel (about 1 km and it was a nice day out)
On our walk from our hotel to the Memorial Hall, we came across the cutest little place called 2/28 Peace Park I’ve never heard of:
This national park lies in the hot spring area of Taipei. We went to the park & headed to a traditional Taiwanese Hot Spring experience afterwards which was SO unique! There were three different levels once I entered the baths: mild, hot & scorching. It caused me anxiety trying something so new (you’re separately by gender so guess what: you enter the spring water 100% bare!), but so relaxing once I calmed down. How to get there: We booked an afternoon tour with a private tour for under $30USD online! It’s about an HOUR outside of the tour with traffic.
This shopping district really brought the Taiwanese experience together for me. I have been to China, Japan and I live in Korea–Ximending literally had aspects of ALL three! It was a really neat hybrid for me because I think that was the first area I have noticed clear influence from modern Korean shopping culture. You could compare it to Myeongdong in Seoul or Shibuya in Tokyo. How to get there:
Addiction Aquatic Center
If you like seafood, you cannot skip it!!! I’ve devoted an entire blog post to it, which you can read here 🙂
Although it was rainy most of our trip and because of the New Year, I couldn’t experience some of the FOOD or museums I had wanted to, I still had a nice time! My favorites were Roahe Night Market, the Aquatic Center & Jiufen! Thanks for memories, Taiwan & thank you for reading along!
Happy traveling xoxo