Taipei is a popular holiday destination for travellers to Taiwan, given that it is an accessible city for connecting to other parts of the beautiful island. But wait, how long should you stay in Taipei so that it has a chance to exude its charms before you explore other parts of Taiwan? Read on to find out how you can have an enjoyable Taipei trip filled with activities you shouldn’t miss within 72 hours!
Yong Kang Street – a Taiwanese gourmet haven
Located at Da’an District Xinyi Road, Yong Kang Street is a notable gourmet street in Taipei that you must not miss for authentic Taiwanese cuisine. The iconic landmark next to this gourmet street is the world-renowned Din Tai Fung flagship restaurant, specialising in xiaolongbao (Chinese name for soup dumplings). Besides upmarket restaurants, there are also many independent restaurants, cafes and even night market carts that cater to all sorts of budgets with a variety of specialties to choose from. You can also chill out at the popular Smoothie House’s two-storey flagship store at No. 9 Yong Kang Street and tuck into a bowl of its best-selling dessert – the Fresh Mango Snowflake Ice (190 TWD, 5.80 USD). Perfect for mango lovers and those with a sweet tooth, the desserts are served in big bowls here, loaded with fresh and generous fruits, as well as really smooth and melt-in-your-mouth snow ice!
To get to Yong Kang Street, take the MRT to Dongmen Station and upon leaving Exit 5, walk south on either Lishui Road or Yong Kang Street. Be sure to check out the neighbouring lanes and alleys for noteworthy surprise finds too!
Shida Night Market – one of Taipei’s most trendy neighbourhoods
After checking out Yong Kang Street, head to the nearby Shida Night Market at Taishun Street, approximately 10 to 15 minutes by foot. Alternatively, you can alight at Taipower Station exit 3 to get to this night market nearby the National Taiwan Normal University.
Shida Night Market may not be very big compared to other Taipei night markets, but it attracts visitors with its quirky and trendy selection of cafes, bars, shops and food stalls. Possibly because it is located near the university, there are many stylish boutiques run by young entrepreneurs selling exquisite designs that are hard to find elsewhere. Not only does it serve as a great place to shop for fashionistas out there, this night market is also home to several popular local delicacies such as braised noodles, onion pancakes, etc. You may visit this hippy attraction from 6.00pm till 11.30 pm on weekdays, and it opens earlier from 2.00 pm to 11.30 pm to cater to the huge weekend crowd.
Get a beautiful view of Taipei 101 at night
Taipei 101 was the tallest skyscraper in the world at 509.2 metres when it opened in 2004 until the Burj Khalifa in Dubai opened in 2010. Regardless, it remains an iconic landmark of modern Taiwan to date, featured frequently in various forms of media so there is no reason to miss it when you are in Taipei, isn’t it? For 500 TWD (15.30 USD), you can take in an excellent unobstructed view of the city in all directions. Indoor and outdoor observatories are located on the 89th and 91st floor. To get the most out of your ticket value, visit at night for a magnificent night view of Taipei city.
The interesting part of making your way to the observatory lies in the elevator ride. It takes a mere 37 seconds to reach the observatory on the Guinness World Record-breaking high-speed elevator! Do take note that Taipei 101 opens daily from 9.00 am to 10.00 pm, so watch your time if you want to make it to the top!
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Explore Ximending – the "Harajuku of Taipei"
A trip to Taipei is not complete if you do not visit the “Harajuku of Taipei” – Ximending, accessible via Ximen Station exit 6. This is a hip and trendy hangout place for the young and young at heart, attracted by the huge variety of fashionable boutiques, eclectic mix of bars, clubs and restaurants in the first pedestrian shopping zone in Taiwan.
The famous Ay-Chung Flour-Rice Noodle (阿宗面线) headquarters is located in the heart of Ximending along Emei Street. The oyster flour-rice noodles costs 30 TWD or 0.90 USD for a small bowl and 65 TWD or 2 USD for a large bowl. Before you think you will be eating oysters here, nope, it’s actually bits of salty cured pig intestines with soft strands of rice flour noodles blended in thick gravy. Try it for yourself and you will realize why there is always a queue at Ay-Chung.
Furthermore, during weekends, the frequent free performance and promotional events by local budding talents or Mandopop stars in the area will allow you to better understand the local pop culture. It’s also highly likely you will be able to see youngsters decked in unique cosplay costumes, exactly like what you may see in Tokyo’s Harajuku on weekends. If you feel like doing nothing, simply have fun people-watching in this fashionable district. Who knows, you may be able to gather some fashion tips to bring home too!
Nightlife at Shilin Night Market
OK, let’s face it. In a street food paradise like Taiwan, and 12 night markets spread across the densely populated capital, it’s weird if you don’t visit another night market for your second and last night. Visit the largest and most popular night market in Taipei – Shilin Night Market – before you head home tomorrow and stuff yourself with all the mouth-watering street delicacies you can find here! Sink your teeth into yummy delights such as the Hot Star large fried chicken, Taiwanese pork sausage wrapped in sticky rice sausage, bubble tea, just to name a few.
Getting to Shilin Night Market is convenient with Jiantan Station located about 5 minutes by foot from exit 1. If you are a night owl, the night is still young after a hearty feast at Shilin! Why not make your way to a Cashbox Partyworld karaoke joint, just like what the locals like to do? It is the largest karaoke chain in Taiwan boasting large and posh outlets. You can either visit the outlet about 10 minutes away from Shuanglian Station or at the Ximending outlet. The latter is housed in a modern building that can be mistaken as a modern hotel, featuring big comfortable karaoke rooms with private washrooms, huge LCD screens and wonderful sound systems. Have fun singing to your heart’s content!
Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall
Seems like you have had all the fun in being a gourmet and experiencing the local culture over the last 2 days? Don’t forget to visit the Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall, a national monument erected in memory of the former President of the Republic of China to gain a deeper appreciation into the history and development of democracy on this beautiful island. You should hang around and watch the honourable guard-changing ceremony that happens every hour from 10 am to 4pm daily. Every movement they make is in perfect synchronization with the others! Admission is free at this memorial hall and it is accessible via the Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall Station on the red MRT line.
If you still have some time left before your flight home, you can do some last-minute shopping at the Taipei Main Station shopping mall, where you can buy some souvenirs or local specialties such as the Sun Cake (butter cookies with maltose fillings) from Li Yi Cake Shop. Located just outside Taipei Main Station is the Kuo-Kuang West Bus Terminal, where you can take the airport bus to Taoyuan International Airport conveniently.
Enjoy the short but fun-filled holiday in Taipei
Time in Taipei flies pass quickly, because there’s just so much to do with the limited time you have. With only 72 hours in Taipei and at least 6 items (mentioned above) on your to-do list, bet it will be an activity-packed holiday filled with joy and excitement! This short trip will leave you hanging for more of the vibrant capital in future!
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