I wasn’t sure about Taipei when I first arrived, but that’s because I couldn’t do anything for myself. Almost as soon as I got back to my hostel a few days later, that changed very quickly. The people I met definitely helped, but there is plenty more to love about Taipei.
There are coffee shops galore around Taipei and there has to be one for everybody. I went to my fair share in the two weeks I spent in the city. Some more than once, but most just to try as many as I could. Some days I would even have two coffees. I just can’t get enough. And at least once was to try a matcha latte – report, not good.
Minimal Café – for cat lovers
Somebody Café – for design junkies
Friends Café – for Friends fans
Formosa Vintage Museum Café – for history buffs, but bring a coat, it’s chilly!
These are the ones I remember the names of or could find online, but there are plenty more to choose from. Fong Da is rumored to be delicious as well.
2. Temples for days
If you’ve spent any time in Asia, it’s temples for days. They vary by country though, and I liked Taiwan’s and Japan’s equally for totally different reasons. Japan’s were more peaceful, while Taiwan’s seemed to be bustling with people from all over. I loved both. It’s fun to just wander around the streets of Taipei. That’s how I found my favorite one.
3. The Food
I would just categorize this as dumplings and noodles. That was my diet in Taipei. Toss in some bubble tea and night market goodies and you’ve got yourself a foodie’s paradise. I wasn’t a huge fan of Asian food before, but I’ve definitely warmed up to it. It’s just fun to go to all of the night markets and try all the food. Anything for stinky tofu to fried chicken, and oyster omelettes to candied fruit. They have something for everyone, including a toilet themed restaurant.
I only did two of these, but I’m sure there are more. Elephant Mountain is pretty popular with a stellar view of Taipei 101, while Fairy Footprint is a little less known. Both were wonderful, but Elephant Mountain was my favorite. It’s a great place to go for sunset, but the views don’t get worse once the sun is down. It’s really perfect for any time of day.
How to get to Fairy Footprint: Take the MRT to Jingmei station. Go out through exit 1. There will be a board with a map showing you right where the trailhead is.
5. The proximity to the coast
Taipei is the perfect headquarters for exploring northern Taiwan. On the MRT, you can get to one side, Tamsui, and by MRT and a train or two, depending on your destination, you can get to the other side. I spent quite a bit of time in Jiufen, with the awesome hike to Mount Teapot, and also ventured through Yehliu Geopark and Huotong Cat Village, all great day trips from the city.
I think no matter where you are in Taiwan, there will be a night market. Some are more for clothes and stuff, but I think more are for food. I mentioned them in the food point, but they really deserve their own. You get to experience Taiwanese culture and food. They are full of people and the food is delicious and fun to try, even if you most likely don’t know what it is.
This is always important, but especially traveling alone. Most places I won’t go wandering around alone at night, but I had no problem with it in Taipei. I would still be cautious, but I never felt nervous or in danger going from my hostel to the MRT station or to get food a few blocks away down an alley. And people are always willing to help. Lord knows I needed it when I tried to use the MRT the first time and trying to figure out train tickets platforms most times. Somebody walked me and a friend to our MRT station, like eight blocks away once, too. People are awesome.
Have you been to Taipei? What do you think of it? Do you want to go? What is your favorite thing about it?