Your full guide to Taipei

See where futuristic architecture collides with time-honoured cultural heritage in Taipei, Taiwan’s effervescent capital city…

Team Wanderlust
12 August 2023
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Discover Taiwan

Taiwan’s vast capital, Taipei, is an amazing city where modern architecture rubs shoulders with vibrant street markets, top-notch museums, cultural sites and heavenly food. All this is underpinned by an excellent public transport system that will never leave you stuck. It’s a microcosm of many of the best things about Taiwan, except written on a massive scale, making it the perfect introduction to this dazzling and endlessly fascinating country.

How to get around Taipei

Taipei has an excellent public transport network, including an impressively efficient metro system that should, quite frankly, make most other major cities in the world do a walk of shame. Taipei’s metro is known as the MRT (Mass Rapid Transport), and includes a line to Taoyuan International Airport. The best way to buy tickets is via an EasyCard, which can be topped up as required, and is used for MRT and bus journeys as well as in convenience stores.

Taipei’s must-see highlights

Taipei 101 is the city’s undisputed architectural highlight (Taiwan Tourism Bureau)

  • – Standing at just over 508m tall, the Taipei 101 building is Taiwan’s most iconic piece of architecture. When completed in 2004, it was the first building in the world to exceed half a kilometre in height, and it remained the world’s tallest building until the completion of Dubai’s Burj Khalifa in 2009.
  • – The National Palace Museum is among Taiwan’s most prestigious museums, and has one of the world’s largest collections of Chinese art, plus a wealth of artistic and cultural treasures. Among its highlights is an impressive jade collection.

  • – Set among beautiful gardens, the imposing Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall was built in honour of Taiwan’s former president, who remains a hugely important figure in the country’s history. Make sure you catch the changing of the guard.

  • – Longshan Temple is one of the oldest of its kind in Taipei, built in 1740 and dedicated to worshipping the Guanshiyin Buddha.

  • – Don’t miss visiting at least one night market in Taipei – Shilin night market is one of the largest.

Where to eat

Taipei’s famous Shilin night market (Shutterstock)

Taipei has such an astonishingly good range of places to eat. From Michelin-starred restaurants to the show-stealing street food in the capital’s vibrant night markets, it’s hard to know where to start. And along with the rest of Taiwan, it also has some of the best vegetarian options you’ll find anywhere. Taipei is the perfect introduction to the world of Taiwanese cuisine. Highlights include Din Tai Fung, which has unbelievably good dumplings; Yansan or Shilin night markets for wonderful street food (several places there having been awarded a Bib Gourmand from Michelin); and Yang Shin for superb vegetarian dishes. You really are spoilt for choice, so your stomach won’t fail to be satisfied.

Where to stay

Taipei has an range of accommodation to suit pretty much any budget, from luxury stays to hostels. Some good areas to make a base include Ximending District; the upmarket area around Taipei 101; the old streets of Dadaocheng District; and the area around Taipei Main Station. Two standout examples include Taipei Regent, which is a superb five-star hotel, and Home Hotel, a good-value stay close to the Taipei 101 building.

How to spend 48 hours in Taipei

Day One


Begin your time in the Taiwanese capital with a visit to the Taipei 101 building. The observation deck offers unforgettable views over the city, and the lift up (just 37 seconds, at a top speed of 60kph) is an experience in itself. You can also see the building’s massive wind damper, one of the largest in the world with a diameter of 5.5m. Then head to the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall, where you can learn more about Taiwan’s history before watching the impressive changing of the guard.


After lunch, spend some time at Longshan Temple, which is arguably among the most beautiful in Taipei as well as being one of the country’s most culturally significant buildings. The atmosphere is exceptionally peaceful, and there are some fine architectural details. Stroll down Yongkang street, which has excellent restaurants – ordering some mango shaved ice here is a must – then visit a traditional tea house.


After dining out at one of the city’s many superb restaurants, finish your first day in Taipei with a visit to some of the capital’s vibrant night markets – either Shilin or Yansan is a good bet.

Taipei 101 (Shutterstock)

Longshan Temple (Shutterstock)

National Palace Museum (Taiwan Tourism Bureau)

The view of Taipei from Xiangshan (Shutterstock)

Day Two


Spend the morning in the National Palace Museum, with its astonishing collection of Chinese art spanning several thousand years, including breathtaking works in jade, pottery, bronze, painting and calligraphy.


For a bird’s-eye whirlwind flight over Taiwan’s epic landscapes, grab a seat at the i-Ride VR experience. Head to Dihua District and explore the area around Dadaocheng Wharf, beside the Tamsui River. Then visit Ximending, a hip, pedestrianised shopping area with cafés and boutiques where you’re likely to find street performers as well as some good street art. It’s also one of the most LGBTQ+-friendly areas in the city. For another option, Yangmingshan National Park is another beautiful area of landscape that is worth exploring and is within easy reach of the capital thanks to Taipei’s Metro system. When you’re there, you can hike over rolling green mountains and bathe in its hot springs.


For the ultimate view out over Taipei (that isn’t from inside the Taipei 101 building), head for Xiangshan (Elephant Mountain), a hill with a flight of 500 steps that leads up to a magnificent viewing platform. Note: it’s another 100 steps to the top from there.

Feeling inspired?

For more information, head to the official Taiwan Tourism Bureau website.

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