Located in the centre of Taiwan’s 24 million-person island, Taipei is the cultural melting pot where Chinese and Japanese influences mingle with influences from Southeast Asia and the United States in a unique way.
However, the city of Taipei is economical and accessible to a wide range of visitors. A joyful and vibrant Japanese-style culture blends nicely with the city’s longstanding traditions. A perfect blend of these two cultures is what makes Taipei and Taiwan fascinating places to visit. Cathay Pacific compiled a collection of travel to Taipei advice that will help you get the most out of your time in the city.
Taipei’s Most Popular Attractions and Activities
Taipei has enough to cover many itineraries even if you’re just here for the soup dumplings and not the history or architecture.
1. Explore Longshan Temple
In the 18th century, Fujian immigrants from mainland China came to the island and erected a temple on the place where Longshan Temple is located today. It is one of Taiwan’s most popular temples and has come to symbolise the nation’s pride.
Aside from a few minor additions and improvements to the temple and its surroundings, the temple was built in the 18th century.
Intricate wooden carvings, bright murals, and dragon sculptures embellish the temple’s front, middle, and back halls, respectively. Located in Taipei, this temple is one of the largest and most beautiful in the city.
The fact that the temple is home to adherents of the Buddhist, Taoist, and Confucian faiths means that it receives a large number of daily visitors. On the first and fifteenth days of each month of the Lunar Year, the temple attracts visitors worldwide.
2. Discover Local Art at the Red House
It’s time to get back on the MRT and head to Taipei’s Ximen Station, where you’ll discover the Red House, one of the city’s most iconic structures.
The Red House was originally built in 1908 by a Japanese architect as a department store during the Empire of Japan. Visitors and residents are drawn in by the building’s attractive western-style pattern on the façade and its octagonal shape.
Since then, it’s been transformed into an art and creative marketplace to help promote the work of local artists and other members of the cultural sector in the neighbourhood. This is an excellent starting point to begin your exploration of Taipei’s Ximending district.
3. Explore the Walking District in Ximending
It’s renowned as the Harajuku of Taipei because of its plethora of unique shops and restaurants. A wide variety of shops, restaurants, and entertainment establishments can be found in the neighbourhood.
Many young creative people and tourists from across the world go to Ximending every month for its people-watching opportunities, making it a popular destination for tourists and locals alike.
Though you’re looking for a location to sample some of Taiwan’s street food, Ximending is a good spot to go at night, even if it isn’t a full-blown night market like the others in Taipei. You’ll also find lengthy lines of people waiting to buy Xing Fu Tang’s famed Boba tea.
4. Sunset at National Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall
To enjoy a breathtaking view of Liberty Square Arch and the setting sun, the National Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall is an ideal location. The memorial hall’s vast courtyard, lush greenery, and elevated platform make it an ideal spot to take in the expansive vista of Chiang Kai-shek Square.
Beautiful buildings await your exploration in Liberty Square, the site of the National Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall. Some of Taipei’s most attractive buildings are to be found in Liberty Square, including the National Art Center and Theater on the park’s south and north sides.
If you happen to be visiting the National Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall between the hours of 9 a.m. and 6 p.m., you might catch the hourly change of guard ceremony.
At 6 p.m., you’ll be able to see the Guards march down the hall and to the flag pole in the middle of Liberty Square to perform the Ceremony of the Flag’s Deployment and Departure.
If you’re in Taipei, make sure to check out the National Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall at 6 p.m. for the lavish ceremony.
5. Take a trip to the Taipei 101
Taipei 101, a modern skyscraper located in Taipei’s Xinyi District, is one of the city’s most recognisable structures. The Taipei 101, which has 101 stories and stands at 509.2 m, was previously the world’s tallest building until the Burj Khalifa was erected in Dubai in 2010.
Now, Taipei 101 is the 11th highest structure in the world, and it is one of Taipei’s most recognisable symbols. Taipei and its surroundings may be seen from awe-inspiring heights in a 30-second elevator ride to the 89th floor of the building.
To counteract vibrations in the structure produced by heavy winds and to provide a sense of scale for the amazing tuned mass damper, which can be found on the 88th floor, a 660-ton steel pendulum can be seen swinging.
6. Late at Night, Go For a Hike on the Elephant Trail
For those who aren’t interested in shelling out 600 NTD for a panoramic view of the city, the best alternative is to trek the famous Elephant Trail, which is free!
This is one of Taipei’s best short trails. To enjoy the best perspective of Taipei and the Taipei 101 building, you’ll have to walk a steep paved staircase that takes around 20 minutes.
When the sky becomes purple and the city lights up at nightfall, the Elephant Trail is at its most beautiful. As a result of its popularity with both locals and tourists, this is not going to be a solitary walk in the woods. You don’t need to worry about anything else if you just enjoy the hike and the night sky.
From Xiangshan Station, take Exit 2 and walk south down the Xiangshan Park Road until you reach the end of the road; turn left and follow the Xiangshan Trailhead Road to get there.