16 Things to do in Taipei!

Take yourself through the wanderlust of Taipei and accomplished any of these 16 things within 7 Days! Trust me, it will be nothing short of amazing!

1.Witness the dainty spring blooms at YangMingShan National Park12936605_10153305040365771_8995068679315749488_n
As you enter the season of Spring, Yangmingshan National Park welcomes you with their captivating pretty cherry blossom bloom. There are a few different pit stops in the whole National Park area. You can start off with Hsiao You Keng (with steaming fogs smelling of rotten eggs due to the presence of sulphur in the area, sulphur crystals deposits and boiling water from the ground); Leng Shui Keng (public hot spring area); Qing Tian Gang (lush greenery grassland with scattered grazing cows);  Juan Si Pu Bu (waterfall with fall like thin white threads), Er Zhi Ping (for their magnificant meadows) then to the main Yangmingshan National Park followed by Calla Lily Field (witness the full bloom in the Calla Lily Field during the Calla Lily Festival which is usually held in the March – April period

2.Catch the spectacular view of Mother’s earth artwork at Yehliu12963657_10153305041595771_8308103856518645589_n
Be amazed by the natures’ art work, there are quite a number of unique rock formation such as the famous queen’s head and other intriguing formations like ice cream rock, fairy shoe rock and much more which are spread over 3 areas that you can look forward to when you are there. One advice for you is to take a quick look at the board near the entrance of the rock formation area where they introduce to you what are the different rocks they have and you can look forward to when you are in there, otherwise you may not be appreciating the natural formation as well as you should be!

3.Take a walk down the old streets of JiuFen
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Jiufen-Shifen is a must go area if it is your first time to Taiwan or have not visited the area before. It’s a bustling winding streets that houses truckloads of local specialties and souvenirs. It is also renown for their Peanut Ice Cream, Ah Ma Taro Balls and their handmade Meatballs. Once you’re done with the food and souvenirs shopping, you can head down to the Ying Yang Sea (curiously patached yellow and blue colored sea water which resembles the chinese principle of ying and yang), Nanya Rocks (which is a little similar to Yehliu), Jinguashih (also know as the golden waterfall due to the oxidation of minerals revealing a hue of bright brown that glistens like gold) and Bitou Cape (a trail which bring you to the Bitou Cape Lighthouse).
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4.Light up the sky with Sky Lanterns at Shifen
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One of the traditional things people do in Taiwan and especially in the vicinity of Shifen, it is definitely to light up a sky lantern along the functional rail track (with trains passing by occasionally) as a symbol for blessing and well wishes. Prices are all the same for all the shops, so you can just pick any shop you like and pen your wishes down on the sky lantern before releasing up into the sky. Before that, make a trip down to witness the 40metres wide cascading Shifen Waterfall which often or not, also known as the Little Nigeria Falls due to its’ powerful flow.
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5.Walk the path less taken to enjoy breathtaking views of Taipei 101aaa29b42-a183-490a-9654-69597352fcc1
(image credits to travel.taipei)
Besides viewing 508m tall Taipei 101 up close at Taipei 101 station, take one stop further to XiangShan, Exit 2. Walk along the edge of the park, and take a left at the end of the road. Continue the path till you reach the starting point of Xiangshan Hiking Trail. A distance of 650m consist of mainly steps, you ascend uphill and an amazing birds’ eye view of the spectacular skyscraper awaits you. You can try to catch the sunrise or sunset view for a different skyline. After which, make your way back to Taipei 101 mall, where you can find some upmarket shopping, Agnes B cafe and most important to check out their Food Court! It is definitely one you shouldn’t miss if you’re looking for a cheap yet good meal with variety. Digest your food by venturing into the corner of Xinyi Shopping District or along Songzhi Road with malls like ATT 4 Fun or international brands like Forever 21, GAP or renting a uBike to travel around the heart of city!

6.Immerse yourself in the artsy scene at Huashan Creative Park12974372_10153305050485771_8081832877910308199_n
If you would like to experience the artwork of the creative young aspiring artists, pop by Huashan Creative Park. Previously a Japanese plum wine factory turned into an arty warehouse showcases different genre of exquisite art pieces and holds periodic exhibitions such as the Tsum Tsum, or the lastest addition – Topsy Turvy House that was built by a group of architects from Taiwan. It gets real crowded on weekends! If you would prefer to enjoy the quieter, serene view of Huashan, please pop by on a weekday!

7.Enjoy the love down the streets of Tamshui to Fisherman’s Wharf12932810_10153305063805771_5636888253775222454_n
Start your journey at Tamshui Old Street where you are surrounded yet by another rows of street foods and moving on to some of the gaming stations at the waterfront. Beside the street foods, if you’re adventurous, you can look out for “Museum of the Strange” where they exhibits different strange yet interesting animals such as two headed bats, long neck turtles, heart shaped shell turtle and structures such as water running down the tap which is hanging from mid air, so where is that water source?! After you are done with the Tamshui Old Street, you can either choose to walk or take a bus to the Fisherman’s Wharf. If you choose to walk, you will of course be rewarded with other scenery and attractions along the way such as the Pier, Fort San Domingo. The best time to plan your trip to Tamshui will be sometime in the afternoon where you will start with the street and catch the evening sun at horizon at the Fisherman’s Wharf.

8.Soak yourself in the hotspring of Beitou
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(image credit to clusade1024.pixnet.net)
If you’re feeling tired and aching towards the end of your trip, make yourself comfortable at Beitou Hotspring. Nothing to ease your tiredness except a good soak or relaxation at their Public Bath House/ Hotspring or along one of those Thermal Valley. You can take the opportunity to know more about the history of hot spring at Beitou Hot Spring Museum or take a slow stroll around the greenery Taipei Public Library Beitou Branch and the Plum Garden

9.Make an escapade to the quieter Wulai
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Need an escapade from the city life? Make a day trip to Wulai. Alight at Xindian Station and catch the 849 bus to Wulai. Be warned that the bus gets really crowded on weekends and the interval is probably around 15-20 minutes. Once you reach Wulai, start with their Wulai Old Street selling some snacks, best known for their Grilled Mua Chee or Seasoned rice steamed in a bamboo, also you can visit the Wulai Atayal Museum that has free admission to know more about the history, origins, culture of Atayal. After which embark on a uphill trail to Wulai Waterfall via the Lover’s Path. They used to have a Wulai Log Cart which can bring you to the foot of the Wulai waterfall but a portion of it was destroyed in August 2015 typhoon and has yet to be restored. Once you reached the foot of the waterfall, you can choose to take a Gondola up to the head of the Wulai Waterfall and there holds a mini Yunxian Amusement Park with some peddle boats, natural obstacles, natural trails. Alternatively, you can visit any of their Bathing House as Wulai is also a home to natural hot springs. After spending half a day there, when you’re taking the bus back to Xindian, drop by Bitan which is just next to the station. It’s yet another picturesque scenic area with the 200m long Bitan Suspension Bridge over the Xindian River which you will not want to miss. They also have a stretch of cafes overlooking the Xindian River, at times there will be some Carnivals otherwise, photo worthy pictures with colorful vibrant sculptures at the end of the stretch of restaurants. You can hop into a Pedal Boat along Xindian River too.

10.Walk down the cultural memory lane of Taiwan
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Besides all the bustling vibrant city life, enrich yourself at the heritage sites and memorials filled with history of how Taiwan came by from then till now! Embrace the surreal Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall which document CKS life and career and exhibit the history of Taiwan in the Zhongzheng District and Sun Yat Sen Memorial Hall which is literally known as the ‘Father of the Nation’ which consist of SYS’s life and the revolution he led. If you are passing by both, please be sure to catch the Changing of Guards Ceremony at either location! If you would like to further immerse in their cultural tradition, make a visit to their Taipei Confucius Temple to pray for good results and Manka Longshan Temple for worshipping GuangYin, Mazu and GuanYu.

11.Make a day trip to Yilan
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Yilan, a country in the North East of Taiwan is just located a 1.5hour train ride away from Taipei. Take this chance to experience the duo – Taipei HSR and eating the Taiwan Railway Bento on train!  It is quite a tranquil country in my opinion. There are a couple of things you can do in Yilan. When you alight at Yilan Station, relieve your memories with Jimmy at the Jimmy Park just infront of the station before making your way to the end of Yilan towards WaiAo beach, characterized by their black sand beach along the shore, then towards Lanyang Museum in the Toucheng District. After which make a trip to JiaoXi for some natural open Hotspring and Wufengchi Waterfalls. After which head back to the Yilan main station and board 260 to National Center for Traditional Arts which is quite an interactive place for learning and experiencing the traditional arts of Yilan. Not forgetting the culture of Taiwan, be it in Taipei or anywhere, you will end your day in a Night Market! For Yilan, the most prominent and well known night market will be Luodong Night Market (Look out for the sharing in the upcoming Taiwan’s Night Market Post). Traveling around Yilan may be time challenging as train arrives at periodic intervals, resulting in a lot of time wastage.  Alternatively you can catch the 131 Shuttle Bus which brings you to most of the places i have mentioned above, and one good trick to bear in mind is to know the timing and plan your time well to catch the next bus promptly as the shuttle bus comes only in 20-30 mins interval.

12.Immerse in the scenic view with a cup of hot green tea at Mao Kong
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(image credit to expedia.com)
If you are a tea lover, you definitely must not miss the most scenic spot of Taipei with beautiful surrounding and serving tea with quality tea leave grown locally. Make a pit stop at MaoKong when you are visiting the Zoo!

13.Pamper yourself with cheap shopping at Wufenpu and Underground shopping streets
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Where will be the best shopping with the best bargains in Taipei? Everyone will tell you it is Wufenpu! It is undeniable that it houses a lot of fashion clothing, bags, caps etc. It is really a big area with different segments, some segment are filled with cheap bargains as low as NT100, while some are of better quality and not as much bargains, but still considered reasonable, and some are selling at much higher price which are comparable to outside shopping malls. I don’t deny it has loads of goodies to choose from, but still it all depends if it suits your dressing style. I still prefer shopping at Ximending or even at those night markets, which i find it sometimes more trendier and of better quality. While you are there, some of the drivers may suggest Underground Shopping at Taipei Main Station which i felt it is good for shoes shopping only to me personally. Just remember, you must haggle for those higher priced items when you are at Wufenpu.

14.Savor the best tasty snacks you can find in the Night Markets
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There are just too many night markets all around Taiwan i could name you but do you know some of the different night markets are distinctive by their unique offerings? For instance, Ningxia Night Market is the market full of FOOD! If you need to satisfy your dinner, this is one of the place to go! Remember to join in the queue for their Yam or Salted Egg Yolk Golden Balls and Oyster Omelette! Or one of the bigger Shilin Night Market that spans around a wide perimeter with FOOD (Seafood fiesta, Herbal Duck Soup, Fried Chicken) & SHOPPING (Clothing, Cap, Bags, Laptop Bags, Handphone Accessories)! Another comparable to Shilin Night Market will be Raohe Night Market, though of smaller scale, but the amount of good food (Pan-fried Pepper Bun) and shopping there should not be missed too!

15.Have a crazy fun day at Leofoo Village Theme Park
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(image credit leofoo.com.tw)
If you are on a trip with fun loving people or exhilarating kids, have an exciting joyful day in Leofoo Village Theme Park! Leofoo Village awaits you with their thrilling roller coaster rides, wild animal safari, musical water shows and majestic parades at designated show times!

16.Enjoy the moment with some Cafe/ Theme Restaurant Hopping
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Last but not least how could you forget about visiting cafes? It seems to be in the trend of cafe hopping or visiting theme restaurants with quirky interesting decorations wherever you go regardless of the country you are in. To me one is for a different experience, like an eye opener, second is like a comfort resting corner, enjoying the ambiance and pace with a cuppa and plate of dessert. But it is always an irony – pretty and adorable cafe are usually photogenic, but food are not stomach worthy; whereas those urbane and poised cafe usually serves a good deal of dessert and coffee for enjoyment. There are quite a good variety of different cafe concept you can spot in Taipei such as branded cafe like Agnes B at Taipei 101; Barbie Cafe in Zhongxiao East Road and Pompompurin Cafe in Songshou Road for the cartoon fanatics; Myowa Cafe in Jinhua Street for the Green Tea lovers; Zenique cafe in Yongkang Street for a touch of japanese zen; Topo+ Cafe in Zhongshan N Road; there is just simply too much to mention! But do you know, the best places are usually the ones you come across by chance?

Bonus Sharing!
1.Accomodation – Good 9 Stay at the Heart of Ximending
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It is definitely conveniently and strategically located along one of the alley of Ximending. It is near to Exit 6 which is just opposite Red House Theater. The rates are reasonable with clean and comfortable rooms and shower amenities. Not forgetting a mini fridge to contain your fruit beers to go with your supper while you are there! You are basically surrounded by some of the famous food in Taiwan – Yong He Dou Hua for Breakfast, Ya Rou Bian for Lunch,  BBQ Steamboat Buffet with Hagan Daz Ice Cream for Dinner and Ah Zhong Mee Sua for Supper!

2.Data Plan
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One of the things people fret about during their overseas trip is definitely the connectivity! The instant connection with people or staying  connected with the various social medias. So in Taiwan, it is the least thing you should worry about, very affordable data plan you can obtain from the airport upon arrival. Or if you are like me, whom like to fully maximize my holiday stays – reaching at dawn break, you will realised the telecom shops at the airport have not opened, so fret not! You can easily obtain similar plans at any TELECOM shops in the cities. Please note that why do i stress on the word TELECOM, because for example, Chunghwa brand, they can have Chunghwa Broadband etc, if they do not have TELECOM services, they are not able to sell you the tourist data plans, they do have other normal data plan, but it will not be as worth it as the tourist data plans.

Till then, have a wonderful fun-filled trip in Taiwan!

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