The perfect guide for first time visitors when in Taiwan. Experience Taiwanese history, culture, and local cuisine, visit the magical Jiufen village all in 3 days.
Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial
The National Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall is a national monument, landmark and tourist attraction erected in memory of Chiang Kai-shek, former President of the Republic of China (Wikipedia).
Personally, this reminded me of Gyeongbokgung Palace in Seoul. The big gates, massive temples work of art – that sort. But the latter is still so massively grand, of course.
And heard there’s the changing of the guards as well? Not sure since we have not witnessed it, or probably we just missed it.
This is Taipei’s famous landmark skyscraper. Super pretty at night!
According to guidetotaipei.com, Taipei 101 is an engineering marvel and the first building of its kind in the world. Spanning 101 stories above the ground at 508 metres, the building was designed as a symbol of technology’s evolution fused with Asian tradition. The building features many pan-Chinese and Asian elements mixed with a postmodern style, and is designed to withstand typhoons and earthquakes common in Taiwan.
Din Tai Fung at Taipei 101
The infamous Xiao Long Bao [soup dumplings] are here! Guidetotaipei.com says Din Tai Fung was awarded one Michelin Star in 2009 at a Hong Kong location, and is one of the most well-known restaurants on the planet.
Personally, though, I still prefer the crab xiao long bao in Shanghai. Still the best. Well, I’m not saying Din Tai Fung’s not good. It’s good but just pricey for me. And they don’t have the crab option. So that steals it, actually.
This is a cable car ride across tea plantations and mountainous side of Taipei.
At the last station, you’ll find a local kind of eating area – with street food and stuff to fill your stomachs. If you explore the area, you can enjoy drinking tea in one of the teahouses.
Guidetotaipei.com says this is widely known as the most scenic spot in Taipei to drink quality, locally grown tea, Maokong is a quaint village located at the top of a mountain providing breathtaking views of Taipei City. Tea aficionados will enjoy Maokong for its wide variety of teahouses and high quality selection, while others looking for a relaxing break from the busy city can sit back with a cup of tea and nice dinner, all while taking in the beautiful views of Taipei.
You can admire the night view when Taipei 101 lights up. Also, it has an observatory deck. You can soar up to the 89th floor with the world’s fastest elevator and take in the amazing 360 degree views of Taipei.
Tip: You can enjoy coffee/tea in Starbucks inside the building. If you have time to spare, you can just chill, relax and enjoy Taipei city view. Note, though, that you have to reserve one day in advance.
Shilin Night Market
Enjoy local Taiwanese cuisine and street food – which means more xiao long bao! If you’re adventurous enough, try the stinky tofu. Well, I’m not a brave soul so I kinda missed this experience.
And just enjoy the night life! This is one of the most famous go-to places of tourists when in Taipei.
Back to Hotel
Rest and recharge for the next day!
Yehliu Geo Park
A landscape of honeycomb and mushroom rocks eroded by the sea. Well-known formations named for their shapes include the Queen’s Head and Dragon’s Head.
Honestly, the rock formations are not that jaw dropping. Or probably, I just don’t fully appreciate this kind of thing. But I totally love the whole area, the coast and the wind blowing in my face, and how it constantly ruins my hair. Kidding. The sight of the sea and the wind is just so relaxing.
Lunch at Yehliu Geo Park/Shifen
Pingxi Sky Lantern
This famous tourist activity brings back your inner child of sending wishes to the sky, hoping someday all those will come true. Really a nice experience. You see, traveling really allows you to step back for a moment and just enjoy the simple things in life, things you wouldn’t dare do in your normal busy life.
Shifen Old Street
This area is a collection of small lanes and alleys in and around the Shifen railway station area. It’s said that this was originally built for transporting coal during the Japanese era. No doubt this area gives out this vintage, old town vibe that I totally adore. Really. Yeah, you know, I’ve always been a trash of vintage, classic ambience. I just like the different emotion, tone and texture (maybe) it makes me feel. Yeah, guess an old soul here. Old quirky soul. Chuckles.
Jiufen Old Street
You will see here the teahouse which inspired one of the scenes in the famous Japanese animated movie “Spirited Away”. My favorite, by the way. This place feels so magical. When we got off the bus, my inner child just couldn’t contain all the excitement. The place is so beautiful! However, it sends out this mystical, creepy mood. Blame it to the mountains, I suppose. I don’t know. I was probably just making all these things up in my head. But that’s what makes this place a little more charming to me.
Anyway, this is my top pick in Taiwan. I’d definitely go back to Jiufen (can’t wait!) and stay there a little bit longer, probably the whole afternoon – just slowly enjoying my tea while reading a book, gazing at the old village in fascination.
Back to Hotel
Rest and recharge for the next day!
Beitou Hotspring/Thermal Valley
A natural hot spring recreation area in the city. The picture above though is the thermal valley – obviously not suitable for bathing. It’s so hot you can see mist of clouds. And it has a very strong odor – they say it’s sulfur.
But there are tons of hot springs in the area which you can enjoy dipping in the waters and just relax, let all the stress slip away.
You can enjoy lunch in the Beitou area to save time
National Palace Museum
This museum has a permanent collection of nearly 700,000 pieces of ancient Chinese imperial artifacts and artworks, making it one of the largest of its type in the world. You can spend your whole afternoon here and just admire all the art pieces. I loved the paintings and the jade pieces.
I’ve found a city tour bus to aid you in your sightseeing. You might like to check it out as well HERE.
You see, I’m a trash of DIY tours but to be honest, I also get tired and lazy with all the planning and researching. I’ve experienced this myself in Busan. I didn’t have much time to plan and going out with the locals was also not an option back then for whatever reasons. Lucky enough, joining a city tour bus which helped me just hop-on and off in the popular destinations saved my whole trip! Truly convenient and very flexible tour offer.