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I spent 3 nights and 2 days in Taipei, the capital City of Taiwan and I really enjoyed my stay there! I didn’t know what to expect which I guess is always the best way but it truly blew me away and let’s say I was very sad to be leaving!
Although two days in Taipei is not that long and certainly not enough, I did cover a lot of ground and saw quite a bit of Taipei City as well as picking up on lots of things I loved about Taipei which I wanted to share as I hope more people consider Taipei and Taiwan as place to visit in Asia seen as it doesn’t seem as popular as the likes of Japan or Hong Kong. I also picked up on a few things I was glad I knew about Taipei before arriving and a few things I wish I had known, so I have noted these Taipei Travel Tips for your trip to Taipei too!
TRAVEL INSURANCE FOR TAIWAN
First up, have you got travel insurance for Taiwan yet? I am covered with World Nomad’s who I really recommend! They are designed by travellers, for travellers with excellent customer service and a range of cover options.
Get a free quote here while you’re thinking about it:
SIM CARD FOR TAIWAN
I found the wifi pretty good in Taiwan but i do think it’s best to have a local sim card so you have constant internet access.
The best way to get a sim card for Taiwan if your phone is unlocked is to buy this EasyCard & Sim Card package deal in advance. You’ll need an EasyCard to get around on transport in Taiwan anyway and at the same time you can get a Taiwan Sim Card with 4G and pick them up at Taoyuan Airport when you land.
If your phone is locked or you don’t want to go to the hassle of getting a sim card, I suggest getting a portable wifi device for Taiwan which you can get delivered to your home free of charge 2-3 days before you leave for Taiwan!
I wasn’t sure what Taipei would be like to visit, would it be hard, complicated, confusing with no English spoken or shown?
However, if I had to sum up my 2 days in Taipei in one word it would be- Easy. Because it was. I got around the city easily, I got to all of the attractions easily, I found food easily, the communication with the locals was easy. It was just simple and easy and I really appreciated that.
Taipei Travel Tip: They speak Mandarin in Taiwan. Of course, this is a hard language but I recommend learning a few phrases. I also saved some phases on my phone which I showed to people and this helped me with my food choices especially!
I loved Taipei’s MRT so much! Like I said above, I got around Taipei so well and this was because of the MRT. I stayed in a hostel right next to an MRT station which was really handy and as well as being easy to navigate and cheap, it’s really efficient too with regular trains and it doesn’t take long to get from one side of the city to the other via metro.
The Taipei MRT is fully signposted with all the tourist attractions on so you know which exit to leave at, all stations have toilets in them (which are clean!) and there’s Wifi in Taipei in all the metro stations and on the trains!
Taipei Travel Tip: Before your first MRT journey purchase a top-up EasyCard. It costs 100NTD which is non-refundable but it still makes the journeys cheaper than buying single tickets, plus it’s much less hassle. I spent 300NT$ on top-up credit in 2 full days plus 1 evening and 1 morning to get to the main train station.
Plus you can use the EasyCard all over Taiwan on all the public transport.
Be sure to get an Easy Card at the start of your trip in a metro station or pick an Easy Card & Sim Card package deal up in the airport via this service.
(100NT$ is £2.45 / $3.25 USD)
I had no idea how expensive Taiwan would be, I just knew I wanted to go, however, I was pleasantly surprised by how much things cost in Taipei and that Taipei can be visited on a budget.
Like all Cities, it’s up to you how much you spend on food and attractions etc but a lot of the best Taipei attractions are free to enter and the night food markets in Taipei make eating really cheap too!
It’s not cheap cheap like Vietnam for example but it’s definitely not Japan prices, lets put it that way!
Taipei Travel Tip: If you are on a budget in Taipei be sure to look into the supermarkets like 7/11 and Family Mart for food. They have so many decent lunch and snack options for a low price and they have seats inside and many locals seem to sit inside and eat.
Related Post: How Expensive is it to Visit Taiwan?
If you want to SEE my trip to Taipei, have a watch of my YouTube video here and keep reading for my Taipei Travel Blog:
I stayed at Star Hostel East Taipei and it was such a good base! Most of the accommodation in Taipei it seems is in the West of the City but this Eastern Neighbourhood was really cool and so close to many MRT stations and Taipei 101. The interior is gorgeous and very Taiwanese, plus I loved that we were given hostel slippers! I had a private double room which was very comfy and the dorms they offer look great too.
With a Taiwanese Breakfast included and lovely staff, this is definitely one of the best hostels in Taipei and I really recommend it!
Taipei Travel Tip: It’s always good to book accommodation in advance, check out the Star Hostel East Taipei here!
AIRBNB IN TAIWAN
Taipei has some great Airbnb options like this which will make you feel like a local! To get $30.00 off your Airbnb stay(which is one nights free accommodation in Taipei!),open a new account using this promo code!
Taiwan is famous for its night market and of course Taipei does not disappoint. Many of the night markets like Shilin night market and Raohe night market have been dubbed ‘tourist night markets in Taipei’ however locals still go to them and it’s a great way to experience Taiwanese culture, in fact the stands have limited English on them which shows that they are still a very local affair.
Food is a big part of the night markets but there are also stalls selling lots of different things and in Shilin night market especially there are lots of arcade games. Don’t stick to just Shilin and Raohe though, if you are an adventurous eater I’d recommend heading to some night markets that are not dubbed ‘tourist night markets in Taipei’ on the map so you get to experience even more of a local side of the city.
Taipei Travel Tip: If you are vegetarian or vegan in Taiwan be prepared for a much more limited variety of foods! I ate but I ended up eating a lot of fried food.
Related Post: A Vegetarian Guide to Taiwan’s Night Markets.
Taipei Travel Tip: Also do not expect the stall owners to speak English, some will but if their stands have no English on them it’s likely they won’t speak it. So either point, hand over your money and hope for the best, or keep moving on to another stall.
I could have easily spent a 3rd and 4th day in Taipei however I managed to see a lot in just over 2 days and planned my 2 day Taipei itinerary well.
Many of Taipei’s best tourist attractions are close together, or at least not far on the MRT meaning you can easily plan a route around the city and section off the best things to do in Taipei this way to save time so you don’t have to go back and forth across the city.
Saying that I feel like the major tourist attraction is Taipei 101 (which I recommend visiting) and the rest are not hugely iconic places, or at least they weren’t for me. I like Cities like this as you don’t feel like you are constantly running from one iconic place to another just to tick it off, you can see which tourist sites in Taipei appeal to you and see them.
Here are 50 Unmissable Things to Do in Taipei!
Taipei Travel Tip: For more ideas on what to do in Taipei in 2 days, have a look at the Taipei section on my Taiwan Itinerary.
Like all good Asian Cities, Taipei has a lot of culture to it despite it being a modern City. There are temples all around the City and even after spending just 2 days and 3 nights in Taipei, had I left Taiwan I would have felt like I had an idea of what Taiwanese culture is about, or at least much more of an idea than I had before I arrived. This makes Taipei a great City Break destination too if you are living in this part of Asia and are able to pop to Taipei quickly. If you’re ever left wondering ‘what to do in Taipei’, look for a local Temple to visit.
Although Taipei is a sprawling City it’s really easy to get out of the City and into the Countryside. Even a walk up Elephant Mountain- one of the most popular things to do in Taipei, will take you into nature. From here there are many other Taipei hikes too.
You can also visit hot springs in Beitou just North of Taipei City, and head to Maokong via cable car which is a Tea growing area of the City offering views of the City and also lots of walks and hikes in nature.
Taipei Travel Tip: If you go to Maokong I recommend giving yourself plenty of time as there are so many walking paths up there! Also use your EasyCard to pay as you get 20% off the normal price.
Taipei Travel Tip: Elephant Mountain viewpoint gets busy with tourists during the day and hot too. It’s recommended that the best time to visit Elephant Mountain is early in the morning to avoid this. However, I’ve heard sunset is also the best time to see Elephant Mountain too because if it’s clear you’ll see the perfect sunset over the City.
Not only is there a lot to see in Taipei but it’s a great base to see more of Taiwan from! I moved around the Country in my one week in Taiwan but you could also spend up to one week in Taipei and do lots of day trips as Taiwan’s train system is very efficient and quick, and Taiwan is a pretty small island.
Popular day trips from Taipei are Jiufen, Beitou Hot Springs, Yangmingshan National Park, Tamsui and many more which are all slightly closer to the City, but day trips to Taichung are also popular and do-able as the train takes just 1 hour.
Taipei Travel Tip: You cannot book train tickets around Taiwan online, you have to get them at the train station. I heard that trains during the weekends and holidays book up fast and even if you go during the week it’s probably best to get a train ticket in advance just in case. Train tickets can be purchased in advance at Taipei Main Train Station. The lady that served me spoke perfect English and it was a very easy process.
I had no doubts that Taiwan and Taipei would not be safe for solo female travel but I can confirm it is anyway. I felt totally totally safe in Taipei. All the locals seemed very friendly keeping themselves to themselves.
I also felt as a foreigner and tourist in Taipei that I didn’t stick out, I felt like I blended in despite not blending physically. Maybe because Taipei does have a bit of a digital nomad and expat scene or that everyone is used to tourists, either way, I felt very comfortable in Taipei.
Taipei Travel Tip: I only had interactions with a few locals aside from people in shops and restaurants but they were all very nice and I’d encourage you to try to get in a conversation.
Related Post: Solo Travel Guide to Taipei, Taiwan.
Taipei, or at least from what I saw of it, is a very clean and organised city which I appreciated. One way I found it very orderly straight away, probably because I came from South East Asia, is that everyone waits at the traffic lights, no one darts across the road! Everyone queues orderly at the MRT too and in general it was a very rush and hassle-free City, another reason I found it so easy!
Taipei Travel Tip: I don’t know if there are law’s against Jay Walking in Taipei but it’s probably best to wait at the lights like the locals just incase!
Finally, I tend to love Cities that I feel I could live in and even after just 3 nights in Taipei I got this feeling because of all of the above points. I’m sure to live there might not be as easy as visiting but it seems like Taipei does have a good digital nomad scene so you never know if you’ll find me there in the future!
I hope this Taipei Blog convinces you that a trip to Taipei is a must and that it must be included in your Taiwan itinerary and gives you some helpful travel tips for when you go!
To SEE Taipei, have a look at my YouTube Video here!
To read more of my posts on Taiwan, have a look here:
I was hosted by Star Hostel East Taipei in return for content however I fully recommend the hostel.
I’m Ellie Quinn!
I’m a travel addict who has been travelling on and off since 2010. In the Summer of 2018 I quit my office job in London, left my flat and I now travel and blog full time! Yes, I’m living that dream!
NOV-DEC: PROBABLY INDONESIA
If you want to join or read more about the details of the group tour.