Bonjour, Taipei

Hello! If you’re going to Taipei soon and are looking up on where are the must-go places and things to eat then you’re at the right place :D

Realise many blogs split their trip up into many separate posts, which can be confusing if you’re trying to piece together a trip itinerary. I am going to share my recent Taipei trip route in just one post so read on!

My itinerary (7 Days 6 Nights, Free & Easy)

1st Day: Arrival, Ah Zong Mian Xian, Longshan Temple, Guangzhou Street Night Market, Huaxi Street Night Market

2nd Day: XinBeitou, Danshui Old Street, Town of Bali, Fisherman’s Wharf, Shilin Night Market

3rd Day: Yong He Dou Jiang, Taipei 101, Hello Kitty Sweets Cafe

4th Day: Taipei Zoo, Maokong Gondola, Tea Centre, Club Luxy

5th Day: Jiufen Old Street, Gold Ecological Park, Romantic Tour, Gao Chi

6th Day : Mainly shopping at major malls – Shinkong, SOGO and the main shopping district

7th Day: Departure

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day1

We stayed in Ximending (西门町), which is basically like the hip shopping district in Taipei. The Ximen Station was right at our doorstep.

After checking into the hotel, we went out to hunt for Ah Zong Mian Xian (阿宗麵線). It is rather well known and it’s located at Emei Street in Ximending. Don’t bother going early or late to beat the crowd cause it is always crowded.

Where to find: Ah Zong Mian Xian (阿宗麵線)
No. 8~1 Emei St., Taipei (East XMD Pedestrian Area) 台北市峨嵋街8號之1
Tel: (02) 02-2388-8808, 2388-8182
Nearest MRT: Ximen Station

Other branches: Zhong Xiao Fu Xing (behind SOGO) and Shilin Night Market

We took a train ride from Ximen Station to Longshan Temple Station to visit the famous Longshan Temple (龍山寺). Take a walk around the temple and feel the unique and beautiful vibe that keeps people coming back. Wait around and see if you can catch worshipers chanting the mantra together. It is very heartwarming to see local Taiwanese put so much passion into their faith/beliefs.

I suggest visiting Longshan Temple in the evening (around 5-6pm) as there are several night markets (which starts around 6-7pm) nearby and you can visit them after the trip to the temple.

Interesting Fact:  Longshan temple was built in Qianlong’s 5th year in the Qing Dynasty and has been restored several times.

Where to find: Longshan Temple (龍山寺)
No. 211, Guangzhou St., Wanhua District, Taipei City
Nearest MRT: Longshan Temple Station

There are 4 night markets surrounding Longshan Temple and they are:

Guangzhou St Night Market(廣州街夜市)
Wuzhou St Night Market(梧州街觀光夜市)
Hwahsi St Night Market(華西街觀光夜市)
Xi Chang St Night Market(西昌街觀光夜市)

It is possible to visit all 4 night markets in one night as they are all within walking distance and they aren’t very huge ones.

Some of the must trys:
Salted popcorn chicken (盐酥鸡)
Pancakes with different fillings at just 10NT-15NT / piece
Pig Trotters (猪脚)
– ‘Big sausage wrap small sausage‘ (大肠包小肠) – This is a sausage wrapped by glutinous rice on the outside!
Black Pig Grilled Sausage 山猪香肠

I didn’t try any seafood or pig-blood cake as I have a sensitive stomach.

Oh, you will realise quite a lot of old men crowding around VCD stalls, because they sell porn in the night markets! Mainly Japanese AV porn. We saw stalls selling sex toys too. They look really low in quality so buy at your own risk!

The Taipei Hwahsi Tourist Night Market. Well known for their exotic foods, such as turtle soup, game meat, and snake blood, snake soup. If you are not a fan of creepy crawlies, I recommend giving this a miss.

Where to find: Longshan Area night markets
Nearest MRT: Longshan Temple Station

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Day2

mapfordanshuibeitou (new)XinBeitou, Danshui Old Street, Town of Bali and Fisherman’s Wharf are located quite near to one another.


Our first stop for the day is XinBeitou, commonly known as Taipei’s hot spring paradise. We took the metro down to Beitou Station, and changed to a smaller train that brings us to XinBeitou in just one stop.

To note: The weather in Ximending was cooling but it was extremely hot in XinBeitou when I went. Nearly died of heat stroke, so dress in layers!

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It is quite easy to navigate around XinBeitou. The signs are all pointing towards the Beitou Park, where you have to head uphill.

Walk in that direction and you will discover attractions like Beitou Library, Beitou Hot Spring Museum and Thermal Valley (also known as ‘Hell Valley’).


The Beitou Hot Spring Museum and a talented artist drawing nearby.


The Beitou Public Library which is known for it’s magnificent architecture.


The thermal valley was simply breathtaking. It was especially hot in this area as the water was bubbling all the time, creating this mysterious looking ‘mist’ that surrounds the valley.


Next stop, Danshui.

We took the metro from Beitou Station to Danshui Station. At Danshui, we explored the Danshui Old Street (淡水老街). The Town of Bali (八里) and Fisherman’s Wharf can be reached via ferry from the Danshui ferry terminal.

Walk along the streets of Danshui Old Street and you will find a few ferry operators which sells tickets to the Town of Bali and Fisherman’s Wharf. Both places are less than half an hour away by ferry.

Danshui Old Street is filled with many food and game stalls. It brings back fond childhood memories. We don’t see such game stalls like these in Singapore anymore.

The town of Bali was really peaceful. Basically the food stalls are about the same as the ones you can see in Danshui Old Street, but the fresh air and scenery is worth it.

I think there’s a theme park called Formosa at this town, so theme park lovers should check it out.
http://www.themeparks.net.tw/eng/park/park02/index.asp



Fisherman’s Wharf is the place to go for lovers. Basically, there’s not much food/entertainment here but this is a really good place to take some nice photos. We visited the lover’s bridge, which is really pretty at night when it is lighted up!

Fun fact: Fisherman’s Wharf was made a popular tourist attraction after it was used in filming in a Taiwanese drama ——-> Meteor Garden. (Japanese remake is called Hana Yori Dango and Korea’s remake is Boys over flowers. I love the Jap version the most!)


Capturing the moment when the sun sets :)

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day3

Yong He Dou Jiang Wang 永和豆漿大王
Okay, so Yong He Dou Jiang is a really popular name in Taiwan for bean curd shops and there are MANY MANY outlets with the same name. We did some research and found that the one is Da’an is one of the most popular & authentic ones. Prices were affordable and there was a good variety to choose from.

Where to find: 永和豆漿大王 (Yong He Dou Jiang Da Wang)
102 Fuxing South Road, Sec. 2
(02) 2703-5051
Nearest MRT: Da’an Station (Need to walk for about 5-10 mins)

Who misses the Taipei 101 when they visit Taiwan? It may no longer be the world’s tallest building but hey, the amazing architecture is still worth the visit! The queue is quite long and we had to wait for an hour or so.

Where to find: Taipei 101
No.7, Sec.5, Xin Yi Rd. Taipei, Taiwan, 110
Nearest MRT: Taipei Cityhall Station (Walk for 10 mins)

We had no plans for dinner so we decided to visit Hello Kitty Sweets Cafe! Everything was so cute and I wanted to stay there forever and never leave!

What I liked:
– Cute Decor (Pink, princessy and hello kitties all around)
– Food looks good for taking photos (but did not taste as good as it looks, so don’t expect too much)

What I did not like:
– There is a minimum spending of 300NT per pax
– Staffs are pretty clueless and rude – no greeting and mixing up orders umpteen times
– Waiting time is pretty long
– Very touristy; many people taking photos and being super excited (including us)

You can order the set meal which costs about 350NT (if I remember correctly) – it comes with an appetizer, soup, salad, main, dessert and drink.

Where to find: Hello Kitty Sweets Cafe

No. 90號, Section 1, Dà’ān Road, Daan District  Taipei City, Taiwan 106
Nearest MRT: Zhongxiao Fuxing MRT station, Exit 3 (5 min walk)

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day4

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We started the day early and headed for the Taipei Zoo station.

Basically you can visit the Taipei Zoo, and take a cable car to Maokong Station to visit the tea plantations in the mountains. The gondola ride was really breath-taking (and a little scary).

There are two types of gondola cabins to choose from: the normal and the one with a glass floor. We chose the one with the glass floor of course!

The ride takes about 20 minutes to reach Maokong Station so enjoy the breath-taking scenery and take lots of pictures on the way up!

Maokong? Why that name?

Maokong is located in the southwest of Getou Mountain in Wenshan District of Taipei outskirts. It is said that tea farmers from southern China came here to open teahouses in the past. Later, the teahouses declined and customers stopped coming. The domesticated cats ran away and thus the place was called “Maokong”.

At Maokong, you will see many tea houses everywhere. Explored a little and settled on a little cafe named ‘Cafe 港’. We had fruit tea and waffles, which again scored higher in the looks department than taste.

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There’s this shop right opposite Cafe 港 which sells superb ice sticks.
We ate ice cream as we walked around and enjoyed the scenery.

Want to learn more about how tea leaves are grown and how tea is made?

We visited the Taipei Tea Promotion Center for Tie Guanyin Tea and Baozhong Tea. There is a guided tour which is free – where you will understand more about how tea is grown. The tea is really cheap here so buy some home!


Instead of going to a night market to eat, we decided on experiencing the night life in Taipei instead. Luxy is one of the biggest clubs in the area (the boy did some research online). Entry wasn’t cheap and if I remember correctly, we paid $20-30 per pax.

Saw some Singaporean army boys there… totally recognisable from their hair and accents! Also, if you hate the smell of smoke, please avoid clubbing cause smoking is legal in clubs in Taipei. I didn’t enjoy it and I certainly wouldn’t club there if I visit Taipei again!

Where to find:
Luxy Club
No. 201, Zhongxiao E. Rd., Sec. 4
Nearest MRT:  Zhongxiao Dunhua Station
Fees: NT$300 for  entry (incl of 2 drinks)
http://www.luxy-taipei.com/20121231/index.html

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day5

Until the 1950’s, Jiufen was a prosperous gold mining town. The town went into sharp decline when mining was discontinued. The quaint streets, tea houses and stunning views of the Pacific Ocean saved it from becoming yet another anonymous mining ghost town. Jiufen is now a popular tourist destination.

Take the MRT to Taipei Main Station and look for Taipei Railway Station (yes, the old railway trains). Get a ticket and head for Ruifang Station. When you get out of Ruifang Station, go across the road and look for the bus stop near Wellcome Minimart.

The Jiufen old street is very crowded with tourists during the day time. Some food you should try when visiting Jiufen – Fishball soup, yuyuan (taro balls), dumplings served hot or cold with sweet bean, and mochi.

We hopped on a bus to Jinguashi where the Gold Ecological Park lies. Jinguashi and Jiufen old street is very nearby, just ask the bus driver whether the bus goes there. Most of them do.

One of the free exhibits was the 四连栋. These 4 houses were occupied by Japanese employees who worked for their mining companies here. They were restored many times to look as close to the original houses as possible.

We stopped for some hot beancurd (Tau Huay) along the way.

At night, instead of visiting the famous Ding Tai Feng for dinner, we went to Gao Chi (高記) (which is located just a corner away from Ding Tai Feng overcrowded with large groups of mainland tourists) for awesome food.

I would recommend trying the 極品流沙包 (golden custard bun) and 元籠小籠包 (Xiao Long Bao). The food is very affordable considering the portion you get. We only spent $40 for 2 paxes for quite a number of dishes.

Address:
5 Yongkang St, Taipei City (台北市永康街5號); 152, Fuxing S Rd Sec 1, Taipei City (台北市復興南路一段152號)
http://www.kao-chi.com/

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day6

Mainly shopping.. to be continued.
For some of my loots, view here :)

12 comments

  1. Good morning,incredible post l enjoyed the trip just by looking at the amazing picture.Gorgeous country ,delicious food .l appreciate your wonderful post.Blessings and regards.jalal(thank you for liking .my post..Farewell/ welcome)

    1. hey elizabeth, thanks for the compliment :)
      wow, it must have been quite an experience living in taiwan at such a young age.
      Are you planning to revisit the place again?

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