The city and the countryside, the old and the new, high culture and the downright dirty. Whatever you’re looking for, Taipei has everything today’s discerning traveller could wish for. Set in a natural basin amongst lush green mountains, the city is just a stone's throw away from unspoiled beaches and wild coastline. The city itself has all the distractions a modern metropolis can offer, while at the same time providing a glimpse into its ancient past.
If you’re looking for a taste of old Taipei, then head for the Wan Hua district. Located on the Dan Shui River, Wan Hua was an important Chinese trading post and the prosperity of the period is reflected in its ornate temples, one of which is the Lungshan temple. Another historic part of the city is the Da Tong (Tatung) district. Among the winding alleys you will find European style colonial buildings standing beside intricate Chinese temples.
Take a stroll down Di Hua Street, which is lined with traditional shops selling all manner of potions and cure-alls! The Shi Lin (Shihlin) district is renowned for its bustling night market, whilst Taipei’s vibrant night scene bumps and grinds until the early hours in nearby Da An (Ta An). In the bustle of modern Taipei, Zhong Shan (Chungshan) the former commercial centre is now known for its shops, bars and cultural sights, which include the Taipei Fine Arts Museum. The current hub of commercial activities, Song Shan (Sungshan) is also one of the most cosmopolitan districts and packed with foreign restaurants. Zhong Zheng (Chungcheng), the political centre, is home to municipal parks and museums, of which the Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall is the most renowned.
Taipei has so much to offer, lots to see and experience. There is everything from ancient temples to night markets to keep both first-time and return visitors occupied. There are also plenty of museums to visit, like the National Palace Museum, and abundant green parks to stroll around.
The regional cuisine is a mix of Chinese, Japanese and aboriginal Hakka styles. It is also influenced by its island geography and the scarcity of arable land. Fish and poultry, therefore, play a large part in local cooking. However, the base of all dishes is made up of seasoning varieties particular to Asian cooking, such as soy sauce, rice wine and sesame oil, supplemented with black beans, peanuts, chilli peppers and a local variety of basil.
After a long day of city sightseeing or shopping, there is nothing better than to relax with a cup of coffee at a cafe. Taipei has a great cafe culture, and you will find plenty of coffee shops around the city. Many of them offer fresh coffee, tea and if you happen to be craving something sweet they have tasty desserts.
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As the sun sets on another day of trading, the city turns its attention to the serious business of fun. Under the shimmer of the neon-lit sky, the city’s bars come alive to the sound of laughter and the shouts of "Gan Bei" (dry the cup!). If you still have the energy after the day’s exertions and are looking to shake it off, then head off to one of Taipei’s nightclubs. The pace is frantic and the atmosphere charged as crowds groove until the early hours.
Taipei is a shopping extravaganza that caters to every budget. For those who are looking for an authentic Taipei shopping experience and like a bargain, the night markets are the places to head for. At Shi lin (Jiantan MRT) you can find everything from clothes to traditional regional foods.
Stop for a bite to eat at one of the roadside food vendors, whose specialities include oyster omelettes. Looking for souvenirs? Then try the Chinese handicraft market (1 Syujhou Road), or Lin-Tien Bucket Shop, the only handmade wooden bucket shop in Taipei (108 Zhongshan N. Rd), or visit the Zau Ho Market where you will find the Shandong Hsiaomo Sesame Oil Shop, which has been trading for nearly 150 years and sells all manner of cooking oils.
If it’s a more up-market shopping experience you’re looking for then head towards (Taipei City Station MRT) and the Living Mall (Core Pacific City). These stock the usual brand name goods.
Nationals of many countries are eligible for a visa exemption program, provided they fulfil a number of requirements: passport validity for at least 6 months following the date of entry, along with a confirmed return ticket or confirmed ticket to the following destination.
The list of countries whose nationals are eligible for the visa exemption program is continuously updated, and varying periods of stay are allowed to different nationalities (consult the Taiwan Consular Affairs website for current information). Nationals of other countries will need to apply for a visa; individual requirements vary by nationality.
Best Time to Visit
To avoid the hot and humid temperatures of the summer, it's best a trip to Taipei (and more generally, Taiwan) is planned for either autumn (October - November), or March - April. It can get crowded around Chinese New Year (February), as many come for the festivities.
Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport is located 40 km southwest of Taipei.
There are several busses to choose from between the airport and Taipei. The bus number 1819 goes to Taipei Main Station and the journey time is 55 minutes. It departs from the airport every 15-20 minutes between 05.40-01.30 (03.00 additional departure). Tickets are sold at bus counters. There is also the bus number 5201 that runs between the airport and to Taipei City every 15-20 minutes. Further routes available. www.taiwanbus.tw
The most efficient transport from the airport to Taipei is the high-speed train, which takes around 22 minutes. Frequent shuttle busses (leave every 15-20 minutes) transport passengers between the high speed train station and the airport from 06.20 to 23:15.
Tickets must be purchased ahead for each journey. Tickets are sold at the
Taoyuan Airport: UBUS service counters at Arrivals Lobby of Terminals 1 and 2. www.thsrc.com.tw
At the Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport taxis are located at the north side of the Terminal 1's Arrivals Lobby and the south side of the Terminal 2's Arrivals Lobby. Taxi fare is based on the meter plus a 15% surcharge.
Address: Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, Taoyuan
Phone: +886 3 398 3728
Subway (MRT) is easy and fast to use around the city. You can buy your ticket from the machines located in every MRT station (coins and bills are accepted). MRT day passes (TaipeiPass) without limits on journeys, distance and can be used on all routes. You can also get the transportation card EasyCard at any stations and convenience stores.
The bus network in Taipei is frequent and efficient. There are several bus lines operating around the city and most of them have English signs. At the bus stop make sure to flag the bus down when you see it. Easy Card is accepted by all busses. Main transfer hub is Taipei main Station and operating hours for the busses are 05.30-23.00.
Phone: +886 2 218 12345
Toll Free Taxi Hotline: 0800-055850.
Service hotline: 55688 by cell phone
405-88-888 by pay phone
Taipei Taxi Service
+886 935 998 959
Taipei's central post office is located south of the train station. There is another post office in the station itself.
Red post boxes are for international mail, green - for local postings.
Address: 114 Zhongxiao West Road, Taipei
Phone: +886 2 2311 4331
There are many pharmacies throughout Taipei:
No. 133 Déxíng East Road, Shihlin District, Taipei City
+886 2 8866 2055
Opening hours: 9.00 - 22.00
Nanjing West Road, Datong District, Taipei City
+886 2 2559 4835
Opening hours: 09.00 - 20.00
For all off-hours’ emergencies contact:
National Taiwan University Hospital
Address: 1 Changde Street, Taipei
Phone: +886 22312 3456
More Information: Zhongzheng District
Country code: + 886
Area code: 02
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