Taipei, located at the center of the Taipei basin and on the right bank of the Tamsui River, is the political, economic, cultural, and educational hub of Taiwan. It is also the largest city in Taiwan. While Taipei may come across as a dazzling modern metropolis with its sparkling skyscrapers like the 101 Building, the vibrant nightlife of Ximending Street, and the city's famous nightclubs that never seem to sleep, there is more to Taipei than meets the eye.
When you peel back the layers of the city's fast-paced life, you will discover a heart that beats with a rich history and a spirit that is both ancient and modern. The National Palace Museum houses a collection of tens of thousands of precious historical artifacts, each with its own unique story to tell. The Presidential Office Building, while no longer as opulent as it was in its earlier days, still stands proudly, its walls etched with the city's entire history. The old buildings of Buppeliao Street carry on the city's rich texture and historical legacy. And when the night falls and the city's lights dim, the warm glow and rich aroma of coffee at 24-hour Eslite Bookstore offer a sense of peace and tranquility that is truly Taipei.
In Taipei, you can let loose, have a good time, speak in hushed tones, or simply wander at your own pace. This city offers strength and empowerment to those who understand its true heart.
Taiwan's railway system is made up of two main lines: Taiwan High Speed Rail (Taiwan's version of high-speed rail) and Taiwan Railway (similar to regular trains). Taiwan High Speed Rail is fast and efficient, but costs more. It's perfect for long-distance travel. Taiwan Railway is slower but cheaper, making it a great option for shorter trips.
Monga and Dadaocheng are two historic neighborhoods in Taipei that are full of history. Monga, located in the west of Taipei (now known as Wanhua District), was the first settlement to form in Taipei, basically where it all started. Dadaocheng, situated in today's Datong District, replaced Monga as Taipei's commercial hub during the late清朝period. It was once the center of business development and a hotbed of new cultural ideas.
The East District of Taipei is not a formal administrative division but rather an area that encompasses several eastern districts such as Daan, Xinbeitou, and Songshan. It is a thriving commercial hub with skyscrapers, shopping centers, and offices. The Taipei World Trade Center, Taipei City Council Building, and 101 Building are all located here. Zhongxiao East Road is Taipei's most expensive street, dividing into seven sections as it traverses four districts (Chungho City, Daan District, Xinbeitou District, and Nangang District). This road has helped to propel the rise of multiple commercial districts such as Xinyi and Dunnan. With its myriad of shopping centers and quaint art shops dotting the lanes, Zhongxiao East Road is now a major tourist attraction.
Taipei Lantern Festival
The Taipei Lantern Festival is a highlight of Lunar New Year celebrations in Taiwan's capital. Each year, the main lantern representing the zodiac animal of the new year takes center stage, surrounded by imaginative displays from various groups. Historically held near the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall, the festival has expanded in recent years to include the Xinyi District, bathing the city in dazzling light. Wander through giant glowing lanterns taking shape as animals, buildings, plants and more. Snap photos with folklore-themed installations representing Taiwan's diverse cultures. Sample Taiwanese snacks like tangyuan rice balls as you explore the lively night market atmosphere. As the full moon rises on the 15th day of the new lunar year, join thousands of revelers enjoying the creativity and artistry of the lanterns gracing Taipei's streets.
Yangming Mountain Flower Season
Voted Taipei's top festival, the Yangmingshan Flower Season celebrates the blooming of cherry blossoms, azaleas and tea flowers in the hills north of the city. Following Zhongshan N. Road and Fulin Road to Yangming Park, the floral displays create a beautiful sight along the route. Admire graceful cherry trees exploding in pink, wander through vivid purple and red azalea gardens, and take in the sweet aroma of tea flowers lining the trails. For picture-perfect views, head to popular spots like Zhuzihu Calla Lily Lake and Yangming Shanzhuang. Enjoy a flower-themed meal or pick up fragrant floral souvenirs as you explore the colorful landscape. As a refreshing escape from Taipei's bustle, the Yangmingshan Flower Season provides a window into the natural beauty framing the city during the weeks after Lunar New Year leading up to Qingming Festival.
Taipei International Book Fair
The Taipei International Book Exhibition is Taiwan’s premier literary event, held each February at the Taipei World Trade Center. Organizers select a different honored country each year, making the exhibition an increasingly global affair. Booklovers flock to author forums and signings to connect over a shared joy of reading. Browse rows of books covering every genre, with highlights from the year’s honored country. Meet acclaimed writers from Taiwan and abroad through talks and readings. Pick up unique literary-themed merchandise at vendor booths. The exhibition offers a vibrant atmosphere for bookworms to immerse themselves in new works and celebrate the limitless worlds books provide. With its inclusive spirit and lively exchange of ideas, Asia’s largest book fair invites all to join Taiwan’s flourishing literary scene.
Taiwan Restoration Day
On October 25th, Taipei celebrates Retrocession Day, commemorating the end of 50 years of Japanese colonial rule and Taiwan’s return to China in 1945. After China’s defeat in the 1894 Sino-Japanese War, the Treaty of Shimonoseki had ceded Taiwan to Japan. But following Japan’s 1945 surrender in WWII, Taiwan was restored to the Republic of China. On this day, locals celebrate with cultural performances, speeches, and festivities. Key sites such as the Presidential Office Building and Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall stay open late for special exhibits on Taiwan’s history. Martial arts displays reenact training by anti-Japanese resistance fighters. Dignitaries lay wreaths at monuments honoring those lost during Japan’s occupation and China’s liberation struggle. Joining events on this reflective holiday offers insights into Taiwan’s complex 20th century history.
Taipei Hot Spring Season
Taipei's Beitou district comes alive each autumn and winter during Taipei Hot Spring Season. Dating back to 1896, Beitou’s geothermal springs offer relaxation in North Taiwan. Participating hotels and resorts offer special packages arranged by the Taiwan Spa Association, making it easy to indulge in the mineral-rich, therapeutic waters. Soak in steaming outdoor baths surrounded by Beitou’s lush greenery. Book private hot spring rooms for intimate dips with travel companions. Savor seasonal meals featuring local Beitou specialties after relaxing soaks. Taipei Hot Spring Season provides the perfect opportunity to unwind in the heat of Beitou’s springs and enjoy one of Taipei’s most cherished traditions. Just a scenic MRT ride from the city center, Beitou’s peaceful setting and scenic trails invite you to savor its historic spa culture.
Take a sip of elegant light tea in Maokong
On Fridays in Xining, capital of Qinghai province, Dongguan Mosque becomes a focal point for the local Hui Muslim community. This holiest day of the week draws Hui believers from across the city to gather and pray together. The scene is magnificent, with crowds flooding towards the iconic yellow mosque. If you happen to visit on a Friday, immerse yourself among the throngs to feel the incredible power of faith in action. Even for non-Muslims, witnessing the solemn rituals is an awe-inspiring experience that provides a window into Chinese Islam. As the call to prayer echoes through the mosque complex, take a moment to appreciate the significance of this place for Xining's diverse community.
Beautiful Idol Dramas at MRT Stations
Riding Taipei's subway system offers more than just transportation - it's a chance to glimpse behind the scenes of Taiwan's booming entertainment industry. Over 1,000 movies and TV shows have filmed at Taipei Metro stations, which provide diverse backdrops for productions. Keep an eye out for film crews capturing interior shots aboard the Wenhu Line trains. Meanwhile the underground platforms at Beitou, Taipei Main, and Zhongxiao Fuxing stations are favored for their photogenic open-air crossings. Who knows, you might spot actors bringing a scene to life at one of these bustling hubs. Part of the Metro's charm is stumbling upon a bit of Hollywood magic in action. So next time you're passing through, see if you can catch a dreamy idol drama mid-production.
Didn't you go to the night market? That doesn't count as having been to Taipei
Taipei sizzles after dark, with bars, clubs, and 24-hour bookstores to keep night owls busy. But no Taipei nightlife compares to the energy and allure of its bustling night markets. Hordes of hungry locals flock to lanes overflowing with the sizzle of fried chicken cutlets, the tangy aroma of herbal pork bone soup, and vendors enthusiastically stir-frying piping hot snacks. Smiles abound as people satisfy their cravings, in an atmosphere that encapsulates Taiwanese zest for life. From Raohe Street's glowing lanterns to Ningxia Night Market's dizzying maze of eats, the night markets distill Taipei's addictive mix of flavors and friendliness. Don't leave town without experiencing them first-hand. You haven't really been to Taipei until you've immersed yourself in the delicious mayhem after dark.
Best Travel TimeThe best time to travel to Taipei is in the spring and autumn seasons, which are March April and October November; In terms of climate, October November is the best month, when the urban temperature hovers between 22 and 24 ℃, with few rainy days and comfortable and pleasant weather; For friends who enjoy admiring flowers, they can go there from March to April, when the sea taro flowers on Yangming Mountain are in full bloom, making it a good time to enjoy flowers and go hiking; Every year around the Spring Festival, it is the peak season for traveling to Taiwan. During this period, it is important to book accommodation in advance when traveling. Tips: May to June is the rainy season in Taipei every year; From July to October, Taiwan will enter the typhoon season. Although Taipei City is not facing the sea, it may have an impact on flights and other transportation. It is recommended to consider avoiding the above periods based on weather conditions.
Turpan's scorching summers and frigid winters necessitate proper attire when visiting this oasis city. Average annual temperature is 14°C, but summers see highs around 30°C. Expect 99 days above 35°C and 28 days surpassing 40°C. Though long at 152 days, Turpan's dry summer heat is tolerable given the stark temperature drop at night.
Winters plunge below -17°C on average, requiring layers of warm clothing. Situated in a basin, Turpan offers respite from sun exposure. Still, bring hats, sunglasses and ample moisturizer for the intense desert sun.
Lightweight, breathable fabrics like cotton and linen keep you cool in summer. Swimwear, shorts and short sleeves are fine. In winter, bundle up in parkas, wool sweaters, thermals, gloves and scarves. Check forecasts and dress accordingly to comfortably experience Turpan's bazaars, ruins and vineyards against the backdrop of the Flaming Mountains. Proper attire enhances your trip through every season.
Religion and Culture
Taipei uniquely blends indigenous, Chinese, and global cultures. The Shung Ye Museum of Formosan Aborigines showcases native traditions. Lungshan Temple and other sites reflect Fujianese heritage. Taipei honors Hakka and Confucian rituals too. Diverse communities like military villages enrich traditions.
Layers of history from imperial, Japanese, and postwar eras manifest in architecture. Vibrant modern culture thrives with pop music, creative arts and entertainment. Artistic performances and venues abound.
Religiously, Taipei reflects its migrant roots. Buddhist and Taoist temples predominate, with Taiwan's largest Christian and Muslim populations as well. Deities were often brought by early Fujianese and Cantonese settlers. Southern Taiwanese migrants since the 1950s brought their own gods. Stunning religious diversity makes Taipei a microcosm of Taiwan. Respectfully experiencing this blend of old and new makes Taipei a distinctive, welcoming cultural hub.
Traveling by Boat in Taipei, Taiwan
Taiwan has an extensive maritime transportation network. The main international ports with passenger ferries are Keelung, Kaohsiung and Hualien. Air travel dominates transportation between Taiwan and its outlying islands, as well as Kinmen and Matsu. Currently, scheduled cruise ships sail between Keelung and Okinawa.
Daily ferries from Fuzhou, Xiamen, Quanzhou and other cities in Fujian provide the "mini three links" to Kinmen and Matsu. From there, you can fly to other parts of Taiwan. Direct ferries also run from Fuzhou to Kaohsiung at a much lower price, though susceptible to seasickness.
For budget sea travel, take ferries from mainland China to Kinmen or Matsu, then fly or boat onward to Taipei. Cruise ships offer a leisurely ride from Keelung up the Taiwanese coast and islands. Those prone to seasickness should take planes or short-haul ferries. But for stunning ocean views, you can't beat slow boat rides.
Taiwan is very safe, though visitors should secure valuables and be cautious in crowded areas to deter petty theft. Carry photocopies of travel documents rather than originals when possible.
A few precautions:
- Conceal cash and small electronics like phones in front pockets or bags with zippers. Keep bags in sight.
- Be alert in crowded night markets, on public transit, and at tourist sites where pickpocketing occurs.
- Avoid political discussions, especially in southern cities like Kaohsiung. Though locals are very welcoming, tensions around cross-strait relations remain.
- Research neighborhoods before wandering at night. Stick to well-lit major roads.
- Arrange travel packages through reputable local agencies when possible.
Violent crime is rare in Taiwan. With common sense precautions, Taiwan offers a safe and rewarding journey full of natural beauty, mouthwatering cuisine, vibrant cities, and warm hospitality.
Packing for Taiwan beyond tickets, cash, and documents:
1. Swimsuit and sandals - Many hot spring resorts like those in Taipei and Taitung. Men should opt for swim trunks over shorts at public pools.
2. Small gifts - You'll encounter many friendly locals you'll want to thank.
3. Light, breathable clothes - Pack sparingly since shopping temptations abound! Go bold with sunglasses, sundresses, hats, and bags.
4. Large suitcase - For all the speciality goods and souvenirs you'll want to bring home.
5. Notebook - For collecting train station stamps.
6. Umbrella - Taipei weather is unpredictable. An umbrella can shade you from sun or rain.
7. Motion sickness remedies - For windy mountain roads. Ginger candies or medicine if you're prone to nausea.
8. Sun protection - Hats, sunscreen, and glasses are musts, especially for summer festivals and beaches.
9. First aid items - Bandages, cold medicine, antidiarrheals. People with medical conditions should pack extra supplies.
With the right versatile items, you'll stay healthy and comfortable while enjoying Taiwan's incredible scenery, delightful cuisine, and city energy.
Taiwan offers Youth Travel Cards specifically for domestic and foreign travelers aged 15-30. The cards provide discounts on attractions, transportation, hotels, dining, and shopping to encourage youth tourism.
- Ages 15-30 with valid ID showing proof of age
Getting a card:
- Free of charge
- Bring passport, entry permit, or other identification
- Complete on-site application at select locations
- Major transit hubs like Taipei Main Station, airports, metro stations
- Tourism centers in Taipei City
- Taipei Youth Volunteer Center
- Cards issued in 2006-2008 remain valid until December 31, 2015.
Taiwan warmly welcomes young visitors. Apply for a Youth Travel Card on arrival to unlock savings across the country and fully experience Taiwanese culture, cuisine, and adventure as a youth traveler.