Taipei is the capital of Taiwan, an island located in southeast of China. It is one of the top travel destinations for Japanese, because of the short distance from Japan and cheaper price to get around: it’s perfect for a weekend/short holiday destination. I’d been wanting to go there because so many of my friends posted pictures online and they looked amazing; variety of street food and Chinese-influenced architectures totally got me there. So I decided to be a typical Japanese tourist, and go see what attracts people so much.
I spent 4 days in Taipei, including the days arriving in the evening and leaving in the afternoon. Luckily I have a Taiwanese friend there, so she became my local guide for almost my entire stay. Here is my 4 day (foodie) Taipei itinerary; where I went, what I saw and (mostly) ate! (I calculated $1 New Taiwan Dollar = $0.031USD)
16:00 Arrive at the airport
I took a flight from Narita Airport (Tokyo), and arrived at the Taiwan Taoyuan International airport at around 5 pm. It was about 4 hours flight, but as I was editing my video and writing posts, the time passed so quickly. Next time I looked up the window we were about to land!
16:30 Bus departure
There were many buses to get to the city center, but I chose the one to go to Taipei Station, because my hostel is walking distance from there. I bought a ticket at the counter inside, and it cost me $125 ($3.87). The bus leaves every 15-20 min, so I didn’t need to wait for a long time.
17:30 Arrive at the Oxygen Hostel
I had booked 3 nights at the Oxygen Hostel on agoda.com in advance, so I walked there after I got off the bus. The hostel cost me $12 per night, but it was the best hostel I’ve ever stayed so far. (The rating was something like 9.3/10!) There were 8 boxed bed (I don’t know how to call it) so it wasn’t shaky at all, and each had curtains so it was private enough. It has clean beds and showers, and there even was makeup room beside the shower space! (More photos on the page!) I will definitely stay here again next time I visit Taipei.
18:00 Ximen Night Market
I quickly dropped my stuff at the hostel, and headed for dinner with my Taiwanese friend. We first went to Ximen, a big walking street where many young people gather. The place was a little like Harajuku in Tokyo, where young people often hangout.
We decided to stop at a noodle place, where seemed really popular, with a long line in front of it. The noodle had fishy taste, and it was delicious. It had fish balls and coriander. I put some garlic source and vinegar, so I could enjoy different taste in one bowl.
After that we went to a shaved ice place, and ordered red beans and green tea flavor one. Green tea is one of my favorite flavor of all ice cream, so I really liked it. The bowl was really big, so we shared, but we were so full and a little cold after we finished it.
As we were walking around the area, we found this place where you can buy bubble tea, so we decided to get one. I was surprised when I saw the frog picture (Thought it had real frog eggs inside), but it actually tastes just as a delicious bubble milk tea.
20:00 Arrive at Taipei 101
It was still early when we finished exploring Ximen area, so we decided to go to see Taipei 101, the tallest tower in Taiwan. I wanted to see the skyline of Taipei from the top, but unfortunately it was really foggy on that day (probably effects from Mainland China), so we didn’t climb up to the top.
21:00 Arrive at Raohe Street Night Market
After walking around Taipei 101, we headed to the Raohe Street night market. It was one long street with bunch of food places on both sides, so it was perfect for a foodie like me. I was hungry again by the time we arrived at the market.
We first tried seafood soup with lots of ingredients in it, because people were cooking this right beside the street and it looked delicious, so we had to try it! It had same kind of fishy taste same as the noodle we had, and the soup was thick. We were hot after we finished it all. It cost $60 ($1.86).
We found a fruits beer at a convenience store, so we decided to get one each. I bought a pineapple beer, and my friend a grape beer. I had a doubt when I first heard it, but it taste just as normal beer, and also fruity at the same time. I really liked it. It was $37 ($1.14) each.
23:45 Come back to the hostel
It was getting very late by the time we left the night market. The metro was still working, so we took it and got back home.
My friend recommended a place called Yonghe (永和), where you can have traditional Taiwanese breakfast, so I decided to try it. I couldn’t read the menu at all (it’s in Chinese), so I randomly pointed out and managed to order a cup of soy milk and a bread.
11:00 Old Street
I found this old historical block when I was walking to Longshan Temple. It was built in 18th centuries, and now seemed to become one of the top tourist attractions in Taipei. There were art exhibitions inside the buildings, and I enjoyed looking around. I even felt somehow nostalgic.
11:15 Longshan Temple
The temple was located just a few minutes walk from the historical block. The place was full of people, including locals and tourists. People were praying, placing gifts and flowers. It was such a nice opportunity to see an aspect of Taiwanese culture!
12:00 The National Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall
I was supposed to meet up with my friend at 12:30, so I quickly check out this memorial hall on the way. This was also one of the top tourist attractions that I found online. The place was massive, and there were also a big gate on the other end of the place, and two concert halls on both sides. People were practicing dance on the ground, and there were so many of them. I quickly took some pictures and left for the meeting place.
My friend took me to this place where you can try typical Taiwanese food. We ordered some noodles, rice cakes, breads, and soup dumpling. They were super delicious, and we finished instantly. We ordered too many things, so we were completely full at the end (We managed to finish them all!). It cost us $270 ($8.35) in total.
13:45 Dessert Time
After we walked around the area for a while, we decided to stop at the shaved ice place (again hahaha…). Another Taiwanese friend joined us there, so we shared two different things. We ordered banana and red beans with some sticky flower dumplings on it. We were so full after the lunch, but you know you can always eat dessert! (We Japanese call it “Betsubara” (means another stomach)) It cost $230 ($7.12) for those two.
17:00 Aletheia University
It was still an early afternoon when we finished the big lunch, so we decided to head to Tamsui, a place located northwest of Taipei. We took metro to the end of the red line, and got off there. Two Korean friends joined us, and we headed to Aletheia university. It was built as Oxford University first, so all the buildings were in European style. The campus was so beautiful.
When we were walking down the hill after we left the university, we arrived at the Fort San Domingo. I was expecting a nice view from the top, but unfortunately there were too many trees around and also foggy in the air, so we could barely see things. There were humongous shoes at the place, so I decided to get in the picture.
17:15 Ferry terminal
We went down the hill after we left the place, and arrived at the bayside. We walked around the place and watched the sunset on the horizon. We decided to take a ferry to go to the other side, and see what they have. The ferry ticket was $45 ($1.39) each for both ways.
18:15 Bali District
After about 10 minutes on the ferry, we arrived on the other side, Bali district. There was a night market along the bayside. It was a small market, but was different from the ones I went.
My friend decided to get fried squids at the night market. She got a queue ticket, and was told to come back after 10 minutes, because they were going to re-fry the squids. We were too occupied looking around the place, and totally forgot to go get it. When we finally get it, a man put some mayonnaise and wasabi beside, and dried bonito on the top.
When we were walking around the place, we found this little 50s snack store. We have the same kind of store in Japan, where you can buy small snacks for 10 or 20 cents each. I remember I was holding a small amount of money I got from my mom and went to buy as many things as possible. So I felt like I was back in the old times, and had an urge to buy everything in the store! Let me know if there are same things in your countries 🙂
20:30 Shilin Night Market
After we left Tamsui, we decided to go to the Shilin night market, the biggest night market in Taipei. We got off metro at Jiantan Station, and it was about 5 minutes walk from there. There were many narrow streets at the place, crossing each other, and every corner was full of people. I saw many tourists including Japanese.
At one place we tried this dumpling with pork meat inside. It was covered with thick source, so was very hot to eat. But it was delicious, and I liked it a lot.
We felt like drinking after eating some food, so we decided to drop by a convenient store and get Taiwanese-famous fruit beer. The other day I tried pineapple flavor, but this time I tried mango flavor, which I often saw on Taiwanese guidebooks. It was nice to have some drinks after waking around a lot!
22:30 Come back to the hostel
Unexpectedly we spent quite some time at the night market, and it was already pretty late by the time we decided to leave the place.
On this day I went to Yonghe again to get traditional Taiwanese breakfast, but tried different things. I saw this fried doughnut and a bread with some sesame on it at the store, so I got those two for breakfast. I didn’t have much time since I woke up late, so I got them to go and headed to the bus station.
10:30 Bus to National Park
I decided to go to Yangming National Park, which is located in north of Taipei. I took a bus from the bus stop right beside the exit north 2 of Taipei Main Station. It took about an hour to get there, and it cost $30 ($0.93) per person.
11:30 Arrive at the National Park
After I arrived at the bus stop close to the national park, I had to take different bus to get to the main gate of the park. I got off at the tourist information center and ask for information, and started walking. I saw a flower clock and a small waterfall. It was really hot and I was sweating as I walked between each places. There was actually no one else around who’s also walking, so I guess people take bus to look around the place. It was refreshing to walk though!
The national park was too big to explore in just one day, since it has mountains over 1000m high and many other small mountains around it. It will be nice to climb up the mountain and see the entire Taipei city skyline, if it’s not so foggy.
15:30 Bus to Jiufen
Jiufen was one of the top place on my bucket list in Taiwan. I took a bus at Zhongxiao Fuxing Station, and it cost me $100 ($3.09). It was about an hour drive, with stopping several times, and almost all of the passengers got off at Jiufen.
16:45 Arrive at Jiufen
Jiufen is the place where all Japanese want to go when they visit Taiwan. The reason why so many people want to go there is because it’s said this place inspired the movie “Spirited Away”, because the scenes in the movie and the sceneries look really similar. Once you step inside the place, you will feel as if you were in the movie scene, with some old style buildings and block walls. Many of the stores close at around 6 pm, unlike the movie, so make sure you go there early enough to catch this old street and lanterns in your camera!
19:00 Bus to the city center
The place was already getting empty by the time the clock hits 7 pm. I took a bus to Taipei city center from where I got off earlier that day. The bus back to Taipei city center was full of people, so I had to stand almost all the way. Again it cost $100 ($3.09).
20:30 Come back to the hostel
I was really tired by the time the bus arrived at the Zhongxiao Fuxing Station, so I just took metro to NTU Hospital Station and walked to the hostel.
On my last day I decided to try dumplings, because I haven’t tried them for breakfast. I again went to Yonghe and ordered dumplings ($60 = $1.86). It was delicious, but a little too much volume for breakfast. As soon as I finished it, I headed to the destination of the day.
9:00 Train to Maokong Station
I took a metro from NTU Hospital Station to Taipei Zoo Station, where you can change to gondola to go up the small mountain. It took me for about an hour to get to Taipei Zoo Station, the last stop of the brown line.
10:00 Arrive at Maokong Ropeway
The ropeway station was only a few minutes walk away from the Taipei Zoo Station. I bought a ticket at the counter ($120 = $3.71) and got on the gondola. I somehow passed the long line and didn’t wait at all. It turned out that they were all waiting for the crystal cabin, which you can see through the floor.
It took about 30 minutes to go all the way up to the last stop. (There were 3 stops and you can get off wherever you like) I wanted to have a cup of coffee to enjoy the view, but had to go down because I didn’t have enough time. So I just walked around the area and took some pictures.
11:30 Train to the city center
I took the same train as on the way, and headed to the NTU Hospital Station, the closest metro station to the hostel.
12:30 Come back to the hostel
After coming back to the hostel, I quickly checked the e-mail and my flight on that day, and decided to walk to the Taipei Main Station for about 15 minutes, to get a bus to the airport.
13:00 Bus to the airport
The bus terminal to the airport was located on west side of the Taipei Main Station. I bought a ticket at the counter, and it cost me $125 ($3.87). As soon as I got on, the bus departed. Again it was about an hour journey.
It was such a foodie trip throughout the time. I had so many different kinds of delicious food everyday, but there were still much more food to try. I definitely need to come back here again! Also my camera died on the 2nd day and I totally forgot to bring the charger (biggest mistake!!!), so I had to take photos on my iPhone on the last few days. I’m planning to come back this summer (but this time will be the beach time :D), so I’m crossing my fingers not to forget it next time…
Thank you for reading until the end, stay tuned for the next post! 🙂