When touring the capital of Taiwan, Taipei 101 is most probably the first thing that would come to mind. With its overwhelming height of 508 meters, this infamous skyscraper is the one attraction in the city that you cannot miss.
But while this national landmark offers hundreds of floors for you to explore, a handful of restaurants of wide culinary variety, one of the fastest elevators in the world to take you to their observation decks, and a singularly breathtaking view of the city, there is definitely more to Taipei than a tall building. Here are five other attractions that one shouldn’t miss when in town:
Where: Zhongshan District, Taipei, Taiwan
This temple is one of Taiwan’s treasured gems, and 20,000 visitors can attest to that. Dedicated to Guan Yu, the Taiwanese god of war, the Xingtian Temple is a sought-after spot for individuals to seek for divine guidance, make offerings, or simply be in awe of the temple’s intricate design and beautiful architecture.
How to get there: Take a bus with selected routes stopping at the temple. You can also ride the train and get off Xingtian Temple directly.
Viyahe tip: Take a peek into the future as foretold by consulting the many card and palm readers at the Xingtian Temple’s underpass avenue, a.k.a. The Fortune-telling Street.
Xinyi District, Taipei, Taiwan
Where: Xinyi District, Taipei, Taiwan
View the city skyline from a totally different perspective — one with Taipei 101 in it! Also known as the Xiangshan Hiking Trail, the easy 40-minute climb presents countless opportunities to take scenic photos of the entire city from different heights. It’s no wonder photographers flock to this spot!
How to get there: Ride the MRT Red Line to Xiangshan station, leave from Exit 2 and walk to the Hiking trail for about 20 mins.
Insider tip: Hike up in the afternoon to get a glimpse of the sunset and of the city lights at night. Don’t worry about getting off the mountain; the trail is well-lit.
Fort San Domingo
Where: New Taipei City, Tamsui District, Taipei, Taiwan
Taipei 101 is definitely not the only formidable structure in the city. Built during the Spanish reign in the 16th century, Fort San Domingo tells most of Taiwan’s rich history through the canons around the vicinity and the preserved furniture and fixtures adorning the place.
How to get there: Ride a train going to Tamsui station and then take bus no. 26 or 836 going to the Fort.
Viyahe tip: Plan an educational field trip: a group of 20 persons or more gets you in at TWD 40 for adults and TWD 20 for children — TWD 20 less than the usual rates (TWD 60 for adults and TWD 40 for children).
Beitou Hot Springs
Where: Wenquan Street, Beitou District, Taipei, Taiwan
In Taipei, 20 minutes of travel is all you need to experience some thermal R and R. Beitou, the mountainous region north of the city, boasts of hot springs and degree pools, popular with locals and tourists alike.
How to get there: Take the MRT Red Line going to the Beitou station then transfer to Xienbeitou. Upon exiting the station, walk for about 5 minutes and you will find the hot springs.
Viyahe tip: Get to know Beitou beyond the baths by visiting its museums, gardens and even its library. Planning on staying the night? Reserve a room in advance as Beitou’s private hot springs are very famous.
Shilin Night Market
Where: Jihe Road, Shilin District, Taipei, Taiwan
There are two main reasons why you should drop by one of the largest and best night spots in Taiwan’s capital: fashion and food. The Shilin Night Market is the home not only of the best bargain finds (perfect when shopping for trinkets for your loved ones), but also of extraordinary delicacies for the tummy: the country’s signature bubble tea, skewered squid, grilled chicken hearts, oyster omelettes and the ever-famous stinky tofu.
How to get there: Take the train (Red Line 2) to Jiantan station then walk to Exit 1 and cross the street to enter the night market.
Viyahe tip: Make the most out of your food trip by getting there early. Most food vendors have a Cinderella curfew: they disappear like pumpkins when the clock strikes 12!
This article may have only listed five, but there are many more places in the cultural kaleidoscope that is Taipei. We at Viyahe assure you that we’ve got your travel essentials covered, so we challenge you to get off the beaten track and explore!