We began our morning with an early breakfast and catching a bus behind the train stationto Yangmingshan National Park. Once you get to the park, there are local circular buses within the park to take you around. They get very crowded. The park is large and not too far from the city. You can easily spend an entire day there wandering and hiking from one area to another. We were fortunate to have a beautiful day, only one of a few on this three-week trip.
These are some of my favorite foods around Taiepei, most of which is food found around the street. You can go your entire trip in Taiwan and not even set foot in a restaurant. It’s so much fun to walk around the city feasting with your eyes at everything that is cooked and ready to eat in front of you. In fact, I think I preferred the street foods to the actual restaurants we visited.
One restaurant I can and definitely recommend is the original Ding Tai Fung on Xinyi Road in Taipei. It’s a small three story restaurant that’s always busy. Go at an off-peak hour (for a late lunch as we did) and the wait will be less. There’s always a crowd gathered outside, but the wait is worth it! There are lots of locations around town and globally, but from what we heard, this was the best.
Many of the markets we went to in Taipei were surrounding temples which make sense as a gathering place in the city. Since it was Chinese New Year, there were lots of lanterns and decorations adorning the temples. It made for some extra colorful shots.
Taipei is a really charming city and like many Asian cities, really comes to life after the sun goes down. There are many districts that come to life after dark and many night markets with street vendors galore.
The skyline is dominated by Taipei 101, one of the tallest buildings in the world. It’s a very unique structure and the design looks like a stack of Chinese takeout boxes stacked on top of each other.
A must-see and do when visiting in Taipei is to hike up Elephant Mountain (象山). The trail of stairs begins about 15 minutes just to the southeast of Xiangshan Station, the end of the #2 red line (Tamsui-Xinyi). The best time to go is around sunset for a spectacular view of the city. It’s a twenty minute strenuous hike to the top, but well worth it for the view! It’s a safe trail, well paved, and well lit. Even at night, there were plenty of people walking up and down. The views from the top are better than those from Taipei 101’s observation deck because you get to see Taipei 101 and the rest of the city. It’s also free! After you finish taking in the view, head down to Taipei 101 for dinner which is only a short walk or two MRT stations away.
Xinyi (信義) / Taipei 101
The Xinyi district is home to Taipei 101. It’s a new neighborhood that I’m guessing got redeveloped after Taipei 101 was built. There’s many new office buildings and several western hotels including a Grand Hyatt and W. Inside and around Taipei 101 is a large shopping mall and large food court. As it was the week before Chinese New Year, it was very festive with year of the sheep decorations.
Jiantan is one of the main stations to visit. Outside the station are many shops and busy streets. This is where we spent the first half of our first day when visiting the National Palace Museum. It has a really neat design that looks like a suspension bridge. At night, the Shilin Night Market opens, and there’s many streets of different food and shops. This is a real fun place to walk around and people watch!
Xi Men Ding (西門站)
Ximending is the Times Square of Taipei. There’s many bright lights, TVs, and people walking about, especially at night. A bit of history behind the area, it was set up as an entertainment, theater, and business district under Japanese rule. In the main area, you won’t find many street vendors as it’s mostly clothing stores and restaurants.