With its thriving metropolis that seems to be awake 24/7, Taipei is the perfect destination for those yearning for excitement without sacrificing efficiency and breaking the bank. Apart from its night markets and street food scenes, what makes Taipei so likeable is the convenience that it affords tourists – from its efficient transportation system to the neatness of public parks, Taiwan’s capital will truly make for a memorable trip.
There are two international airports in Taipei – Taoyuan and Songshan. Nonetheless, it’s Taoyuan Airport that caters to most international flights. Some of the airlines that fly to Taipei are listed below.
By metro/MRT: From Taoyuan Airport, you can easily get to the city through the MRT which is also the fastest option. From the airport, it takes around 35 minutes to reach Taipei Main Station. You can then continue your MRT journey until you get to the station that’s nearest to your place of accommodation. Trains run until 10:42 PM.
By bus: If you’re arriving late at night, another option is the Kuo-Kuang Bus as it operates 24 hours. Like the train, the bus will take you to Taipei Main Station. It should be easy to take a taxi from there.
By taxi: While the MRT and bus will only cost you less than NTD 200 each, hailing a taxi to get to Taoyuan’s city hub can amount to NTD 1,000 to 1,200. Another option is to book a private airport transfer especially if you’re travelling with kids or elders.
The most convenient way of getting around is unarguably the Taipei MRT. Running from 6 AM to midnight, the metro system has 107 stations that reach almost all of Taipei’s key areas. You can either purchase a re-loadable EasyCard from metro stations or convenience stores or opt for the Taipei Pass. This pass allows travellers to go on unlimited rides on the MRT and buses for a certain number of days (1-5 days). Taxis are common and while drivers don’t usually speak English, this shouldn’t pose a challenge if you have written down your hotel’s address in Chinese.
1. Taipei 101 Observatory – Start your adventure by getting a bird’s eye view of the city. Once deemed as the world’s tallest building, climbing up to the 89th floor of the observatory will give you spectacular sights of Taipei. Don’t fret because the elevators can bring you there in a whopping 37 seconds!
2. National Palace Museum, National Taiwan Museum, Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) – If you have a limited time, many recommend the National Palace Museum as it houses almost 700,000 pieces of ancient Chinese artefacts and artworks.
3. Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall – Most photos of tourists taken in Taipei feature this majestic landmark. As its name suggests, it was built in honour of the renowned military and political leader Chiang Kai-shek. You can also witness the hourly changing of the guard if you visit between 10 AM to 4 PM.
4. Shilin and Raohe Night Markets – Don’t ever leave Taipei without exploring the city’s cheap street food scene! More than food, these night markets are also great avenues to shop for quirky mementos to bring back to loved ones.
5. Ximending – Known as a trendy area, Ximending offers an array of shops and restaurants. Regardless of what time it is, Ximending’s electric atmosphere doesn’t seem to cease.
Two of Taipei’s biggest night markets are Shilin and Raohe and these two offer a plethora of quick and cheap eats like scallion pancakes, gua bao (steamed buns with fillings), cold noodles, soup dumplings – the list goes on! Pair your food with bubble tea or if you’re craving for something less usual, try stinky tofu which should give you a clue about its characteristic.
Include one of Taiwan’s beloved comfort foods, lu rou fan (braised sweet pork), on your list. If you want to splurge a bit, the RAW restaurant is popular but it also has a reputation for being a place that’s hard to book a table at so place your reservations the earliest you can.
Taipei is a terrific bustling destination and to make your trip as smooth as possible, check reviews diligently and book your flights and reservations with reliable service providers