HOW TO SPEND 1 DAY IN TAIPEI
Taipei is one of the most underrated cities in Asia. Growing up, it was a second home to me, as I regularly visited relatives every year. Over 20 years later, I’m still not sick of it. Taipei is a city that is constantly changing. It’s a magical place where you can go from a shiny modern department store to a traditional Buddhist temple in a single block. It’s also the ultimate foodie city. Taipei food trends come and go, but some classics are here to stay. From the famous boba milk tea to the rather infamous stinky tofu, Taiwan is worth a trip if only for the food, and Taipei has it all.
No city can be done justice in only one day…but if you were to only have a single day in Taiwan, here’s a list of the best places to visit.
1. LUNGSHAN TEMPLE
Start off your day in one of the oldest neighborhoods, home to one of the most famous Buddhist temples in Taiwan called Lungshan. Temples are a huge part of daily life for Taiwanese people, so visiting a temple is a great way to learn about the local culture. Make your way through in a counter-clockwise direction and be mindful of the incense and candles – things can get pretty hectic if you happen to visit on a prayer holiday. While you’re in the area, you can also check out Bopiliao Historic Street to walk through Taipei’s history.
2. BREAKFAST IN ZHONGZHENG DISTRICT
After the temple you hop back on the MRT and transfer in Ximen to get to CKS Memorial Hall Station. Zhong Zheng District is the heart of Taipei, home to important government buildings, and one of the most famous monuments. There’s great authentic food in this area. Grab traditional breakfast pastries from JiangSu, or a grilled sandwich from GaoShanXiao. If you want a place to chill with AC and wifi, go to Gakuden. They have breakfast combo specials, and a spacious seating area upstairs.
3. CKS MEMORIAL
Grab your breakfast and head over to CKS Memorial Hall. The park is one of the most serene and photogenic places in the city. It’s like the Central Park of Taipei. Take some time to explore the park, and to check out the National Theater and National Concert Hall. The main hall (the one with the blue roof) hosts the big statue of Chiang Kai She in the main chamber at the top. The lower level is an exhibition hall, usually featuring Taiwanese history and art, as well as visiting exhibitions from around the world. At the top of each hour from 9am to 5pm, you can also witness the changing of guards in the main hall.
4. LUNCH IN DONGMEN
Then, walk over to DongMen. Walk up an appetite, because you’re headed to foodie street. Aka YongKang Street. Home to the original Din Tai Fung. And to refreshing mango shaved ice. And flakey scallion pancakes slathered in garlic soy sauce and house hot sauce. And of course, world famous beef noodle soup. Whether you’re looking for street food or a fancy restaurant, you’ll find it all right here.
5. SONGSHAN CREATIVE PARK
Time to walk it off again. Taiwan has a tradition of converting abandoned factories into cultural centers, and Songshan is one of the biggest. It used to be a tobacco factory back in the day, and now is a series of galleries, cafés, and a beautiful hotel / department store / bookstore (Eslite). It’s a great place to kill a few hours while appreciating local artists. Depending on the weather, you could hole up inside no problem. Be sure to check out bakery Wu Pao Chun downstairs in Eslite, an internationally-recognized bread champion of Taiwan. If you need an afternoon pick up, there are plenty of cafés in the area. Wander through the alleys and find one that suits your aesthetic. From Zhanlu to Coffee Alley,you might end up accidentally eating a whole other meal!