A Local’s Guide to Taipei

Asia has received quite a lot of travel attention recently, as more foodies, digital nomads, and adventure-seekers flock to this exotic region for its many bewildering sights. However, most will go to see the famous Gardens in Singapore, or head straight for the honey-hued beaches of Thailand, whereas certain areas have yet to steal the touristy spotlight for their incredible beauty. Enter: Taipei, the capital of Taiwan, and an urban marvel that blends the extraordinary Chinese and Japanese culture with Western influences.

Have you been in Taipei?

Alas, when you head to Taipei the very first time, you’ll be overwhelmed by the sheer selection of possible spots to visit. Beware, foodies, as the city is famous for its delicious menu, while its fusion of history and modernity presents a perfect backdrop for your explorations. Without further ado, let’s take a look at a few must-do items on your Taipei checklist, so that you’ll be prepared for a marvelous adventure of a lifetime when you arrive!

History in the making

As any versed traveler, you ought to start with the essentials. One of the most notable buildings that has made Taipei famous is the Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall 捷運中正紀念堂 built in memory of Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek. Its white marble combined with piercing blue make it an architectural marvel, but the surrounding green areas are equally stunning to stroll through. Also, keep an eye out for outdoor exhibitions, since you’ll find an occasional artist boasting some of their most prominent work there.

Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall

Mingling with the locals

In a city whose population counts over two million people, and has a touristic reputation that draws people from all over the globe, it pays to choose your stay wisely. For starters, opt for a reputable Taipei hotel 台北酒店 that will give you access to nearby landmarks for a history lesson, but also to some of the finest eateries on the map.

The former means you’ll get your fair share of sightseeing, while the latter will put you smackdab in the heart of the local population where you can get a glimpse of their authentic lifestyle and pace of living. And what is the purpose of exploring new regions if not to immerse yourself in new cultures?

Escape to its emerald treasures

A remnant of the Japanese influences, the famous Beitou Hot Spring 北投溫泉 is both a historic sight and a modern-day favorite for locals to get away from the concrete jungle of Taipei. Located at the base of the Yangming Mountain, it’s surprisingly easy to reach via the local metro – so don’t miss out on its healing perks and stunning greenery surroundings.

Don’t forget to take a selfie!

Temple hopping 101

If you’ve been to other Asian regions, you already know that temples are somewhat of a common theme of their cultures. That is precisely why you’ll find Taiwan’s capital and its surrounding areas to be a treasure trove of beautiful, well-preserved temples. Originally built in 1879, Confucius Temple 台北市孔廟 is one of those testaments to the region’s conflict-riddled history, as well as its roots in philosophy. With dozens of temples in addition to this one, you’ll be able to travel back in time and get a better understanding of their religious beliefs founded in Taoism and Buddhism.

Fill up on smelly tofu

In Taipei, people apparently regularly have a hankering for smelly tofu, hence the colorful (and somewhat smelly) Shen Keng Old Street 深坑老街 in all of its stinky glory! This is one of those places unique to the Asian region, and a place that will teach you that the Asian cuisine you’ve tasted in the West is nothing like the real deal. A locally beloved delicacy, and an ingredient often found in many of their meals, tofu comes in many shapes and sizes on their menu – try anything from barbecued tofu, tofu ice cream (yes, it’s a thing), all the way to boiled tofu.

Fried Stinky Tofu

However, if you’re up for a more diverse foodie setting, a trip to Dihua Street 迪化街 is the oldest, tastiest nook of Taipei for foodies and shopaholics alike. Just remember to go hungry, and brace your taste-buds for new, never-before discovered tastes!

Everything about Taipei, its history, culture, and its mindset is enthralling. Make sure to add it to your bucket list, and you’ll be in for a real travel treat!

44 thoughts on “A Local’s Guide to Taipei”

  1. Taipei looks like such an incredible place to escape to for an adventurous (or relaxing) vacation! It’s definitely on my travel bucket list, and a location I hope to make it to one day.

  2. What a great guide. Maybe I’ll be able to get there someday and see it myself!

  3. I have never been to Asia but reading your post makes me feel like Im missing out closed in here at home, time I started travelling.

  4. Wow what an adventure! Asia is on my bucket list! Particularly the Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall! This place looks amazing!

  5. I have to say that I would be one of those travelers who heads to Thailand. Simply because I’m not overly confident in my international travel yet.

  6. This is amazing information! I’ve never heard of this spot before, but I definitely would love to add it to my bucket list.

  7. I would love to explore Taipei as a local and really enjoy all types of tofu offered there! What an amazing place to visit!

  8. What a BEAUTIFUL place! I am definitely adding this to my bucket travel list. Thanks for sharing!

  9. I was in Taipei last year and had the smelly tofu, and I still miss it. I was hesitate to try it at the beginning, but once I had a bite I just could not put it down. I hope to return it one day and revisit some places you mentioned, and taste the good food again.

  10. I would definitely not miss out on some temple hopping when I’m in Taipei! Looks like a place with so much culture and history to share!

  11. I have never in my life heard of smelly tofu and that certainly does peak my interest but all in all this looks like a great Place to visit anyway!

  12. Taipei sounds like an amazing place. I’ve been to several Asian countries, but I haven’t been able to get there yet. I’d love to go one day.

  13. I look forward to trying that stinky tofu dish. I bet it is as delicious as kimchi.

  14. This is an amazing adventure! I would love going temple hopping. All of the history these buildings have been a part of would be great to see.

  15. Taipei has never occurred to me as a place that I should visit but after reading your post it looks such an exciting destination. Maybe I should start focusing on Asia.

  16. There are so much stuff to do in Taipei. The food and the culture there is massive. I love this a lot.

  17. Oh my gosh, Taipei looks so lovely! Though I’ve never yet been myself, reading about your adventures here make me want to come over all the more.

  18. I lived there for two years. It was a work experience I treasure up to this day. My little students were such sweethearts! Taiwan is a lovely country. They know how to care for their natural resources and it really amazed me how they convert their landfills in to pretty parks. The biggest perk I got? I was able to learn speak and understand Mandarin. I wish I was able to learn to read and write too!

  19. I want to visit Thailand, so badly, only yesterday I was looking at images of the beautiful beaches and dreaming of wanderlust.

    Great post

  20. I’ve never been to Taiwan, even when I did live in Hong Kong for some time. I wish I did!

  21. I’ll tie one looks like a nice place to go. Maybe one day I’ll go.

  22. OMG I love Taipei and how much do I miss travelling! I really enjoy Dihua market as you mentioned and loved trying all the different foods. for some reason we didn’t go to Taipei 101. Can you believe it? Maybe it’s time to go back again!

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