Rêveuse City Guide: Top 5 Places In Taipei, Taiwan

Rêveuse City Guide: Top 5 Places In Taipei, Taiwan

Taipei is our motherland so we have plenty of childhood memories of summers spent in some of the best parts of Taiwan. From dipping our toes in the hot springs on the side of the road to catching tiny iridescent coloured fish from the night markets. However, our favourite escapade was scurrying down to our local 7/11 and immersing ourselves within the cartoon covered sweets packaging and the alien looking drinks. Even to this day, the thought of choosing a new drink each time fills us with delight and nostalgic memories (we recommend a large bottle of refreshing Yakult, yes they exist(!), to cool you down on a hot summers day). 

Taiwan itself is a great place if you're looking for an introduction to places to visit in Asia. Being a small island, it doesn’t feel as overwhelming compared to other nearby countries where you want to cram in as many cities as possible into the itinerary. It's also the perfect location, with Hong Kong being about one and half hours away and Japan and Thailand being around three hours away if you plan on going to visit other countries in Asia as well.

To give you another perspective of Taiwan, we wanted to share with you the places that we recommend going to see, including places that aren’t on the first pages of the google top search recommendations.


LUNGSHAN TEMPLE. The Lungshan Temple is especially lively during the summer where worshippers come with arms filled with exotic coloured orchids and juicy, plump and richly coloured fruit. The experience itself at Lungshan temple is truly a cultural experience, where the waft of incense, the subtle hum of prayers being whispered and the clang of the wooden moon shaped fortune tellers being dropped on the floor will fully immerse yourself within Taiwanese culture. It is rich in history, being 300 years old and a survival of a bomb raid, and as a result, the temple is looked after by locals to preserve the heritage of the site.

1914 HUASHAN CREATIVE PARK. Originally housing a tobacco and wine factory, the buiding has now been transformed into a creative space for visitors. The façade, steeped in history remains the same to this day, housing independent boutiques and makers who explore traditional and contemporary making crafts. Here you can find trinkets and gifts that are unique to Taipei such as home grown food and beverages, stationary and fashion related items. Within the Eslite building of the creative park you can also book yourself into one of their many handcraft and making lessons, where professionals can teach you leather making, glass blowing and jewellery making. Depending on the time you travel, be sure to check out their page on events, installations, exhibitions and performances. We managed to visit during the opening of a TIME photography exhibition they had going on which we thoroughly enjoyed, however the space is definitely worth checking out even if its just to enjoy the tearooms with a serene view of their lotus filled lake.

BIKE RIDE FROM MEI LI HUA TO TAM SUI. If you enjoy doing some exercise whilst seeing places on a different path, try the bike route that starts at the Miramar shopping centre that goes all the way to Tam Sui. We rented the public orange YOUBIKES which you can take out with your Easycard at the bike docking stations. From there its free to use for 30 minutes or just 20NTS every half an hour after. The scenic route starts at the Xia Ta You Park and goes alongside the Tam Sui river. Along the way you can see many of the tourist monuments, such as the Grand Taipei Hotel and the Red Guangdu Bridge. We recommend about half a day with this bike ride and the rest can be spent exploring Tam Sui and taking the 10 minute ferry ride over to Bali (not to be confused with the magical island Bali, Indonesia) using your easycard for 45NTS return.

ELEPHANT MOUNTAIN. Located about 5 minutes away from Xiang Shan station towards the end of the TAMSUI red line is the entrance of the elephant mountain hike. The cobbled steps that disappear behind the bowing tree branches are imbued with the many invisible footprints that have taken their ascent into an adventurous hiking experience in the middle of the city. Although the stairs may seem never ending in the beginning, you’ll be at the viewing platform in no time where you’ll be able to witness the captivating natural and built architecture that have a harmonious presence together with the magnificent architectural dominance of the 101 which watches over the city proudly. The duration of the hike will take about 1 hour, depending on your speed and how many photos you take at the top. It can be a great morning workout to get your day started before the scorching sun decides to appear (especially during the summer).

NIGHT MARKETS. Known for its vibrant and vivacious night markets, explore the many gems that are scattered all over Taipei. Night markets are the perfect opportunity to get stuck into a variety of traditional Taiwanese treats all in one go. Our absolute favourites that we order every time we visit include the fried calamari with a squeeze of lemon, the fried mochi covered in powdered peanut and chocolate sauce, the soya pudding desert with peanuts and tapioca bubbles, oyster and braised intestine mee sua noodle soup and lastly the infamous stinky tofu. For first timers we recommend visiting Rao He and Shi Lin Night Market, both of which are abundant with delicious snacks, fashion and home goods. Please note that for vegans and vegetarians, options may be limited so make sure to do some research on specific food stalls before visiting.


LIMITLESS ESCAPE ROOM. If you're travelling with a group of friends or even in a couple we really enjoyed our time at Limitless Escape Room. The staff are really friendly and the task itself was fun and more on the medium - difficult side to complete which our fellow escape room aficionados commented on.


DIN TAI FUNG. This michelin starred restaurant is opening up locations internationally, but as the original home make sure to book in advance or accept to wait in line to try their infamous pork dumplings and their beef noodle soup. The freshly made pastry can be witnessed through the spectator area where an efficient team work hard in the kitchens to produce the tasty little morsels.

FU HANG SOY MILK. For breakfast make sure to check out Fu Hang Soy Milk. The restaurant opens from 5.30am with a long queue that winds around the building and up the stairs so prepare to wait if you plan on visiting. We recommend the hot soy milk and the oily bread stick.

ICE MONSTER. Whether it's deep into the summer months of winter time we always include Ice Monster on the list. Essentially a bowl full of shaved milky coloured ice with a selection of pre chosen toppings such as fruit, peanuts, green tea and chocolate but there's just something about this place that makes it stand out amongst the rest of ice dessert places. Our favourites are the fresh mango ice which they serve in the summer (or frozen mango when not in season) and the hot bowl of traditional red bean soup.

  • When travelling in Taipei, the Metro is as easy to navigate as the Underground is in London. All you require is the Taipei Easycard which you can purchase at the airport, 7/11 or Family Mart for 100NT (approx £3) and from there you can top up and use it on a pay as you go system where a single journey can cost as little as 30NT (approx 80p). All credit left on the card can be refunded to you at the end of your travels.
  • Another tip that has become a habit when midnight snacks are calling in the midst of jet lag is the ease of just bringing out the easycard and making swift payments of foods and other items in convenient stores. You can also use it when seeing/ using some tourist attractions such as at Mao Kong Gondola at Taipei Zoo and the Taipei public bike rentals.
  • In terms of cultural etiquette, theres a strict rule of no eating or drinking on the MRT (even water!) as it encourages litter. Therefore you’ll find that most carriages are relatively clean. If you do happen to forget however, expect some stares or even a tap on the shoulder letting you know of this rule!
  • When visiting Taipei, night markets will definitely be on your list of go to places and so something that you may have already had experience of doing already is haggling! Haggling can seem daunting at first, especially within another country but if you stand your ground, you can definitely bag a great deal and use the money you saved on buying yourself a treat at the food market. Haggling generally works for items such as clothing, shoes and general bric a brac rather than food.
  • If you happen to include a worshipping temple on your trip, make sure to enter through the dragons entrance to pray for happiness and exit through the tiger to ward off misfortunes.
  • Taiwan in general can get overwhelmingly hot during the summer months so make sure to bring a bottle of water, a fan, mosquito spray and light clothes when you travel. Itineraries can also be planned with indoor events scheduled during the peak of soaring temperatures and hikes completed in the beginning of the day or just as the sun sets.
  • Known for its delicious crumbly decadent pineapple cakes, Taiwan is home to many other juicy and delicious fruits such as mangoes, rambutan and Taiwanese pear so do try to experience the many fruits Taiwan has to offer!

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