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What to do in Taipei: Your Ultimate 1-Day in Taipei Itinerary

Taipei, dare I say, is one of the most underrated cities in Asia. I got the opportunity to spend a day and a half there, but I was so mesmerized by it's beauty that I'm planning to return and explore it more.


the view of Taipei, featuring Taipei 101 and its nearby buildings

The sheer amount of activities (FREE activities!), the blend of nature and urban appeal, and the stimulating architecture of the city captivated me. If you happen to be there and are looking for a one-day Taipei itinerary, here's exactly what you should do.


Insight & Tips on Taiwan & Taipei

The island is home to breathtaking mountains and lakes, delicious food, a vibrant culture, as well as a rich (& controversial) history. It's capital, Taipei, is one of the world's global hubs and it's impossible to get bored there. It's home to iconic memorials and feats of architecture, including Taipei 101, which was the tallest building in the WORLD from 2004-2010.


Transportation

It's certainly a very modern city, which makes it incredibly easy to navigate with their efficient train systems and transit apps. I would definitely suggest buying an EasyCard so that you can quickly and easily hop on and off public transport throughout the city.


It's also one of the safest tourist destinations in the entire world, which allowed me to venture through the city aimlessly without having to be on guard all of the time.


Accommodation

There are so many hotels, from luxury to budget, throughout the entire city. Since it's such a safe city with efficient public transport, you can't really go wrong staying in any of the districts. Just book a hotel near a train station if you want the ease of being able to explore the city at any moment.


It's also a great city for backpackers with many affordable options. I opted for the Meander Hostel, which was in walking distance of the Ximending night market. They also offered free activities for guests, such as walking tours. Staying in a hostel is a great way to experience a city for less money and I recommend the Meander.


A Taipei Itinerary

Here comes the fun part! The small nation is packed with endless things to do, so let's get into your ultimate Taipei itinerary.


1. Wake up early and hike Elephant Mountain trail


There's no better way to start the day than with a little bit of nature and exercise. And when I say "little bit", I'm most definitely under-exaggerating.


I honestly was not prepared for the Elephant Mountain trail. I thought that it was going to be a peaceful walk, embedded in the green hues of nature. I did not anticipate that my armpits would be profusely sweating 10 minutes into the hike. It was basically a continuous uphill walk for nearly a mile. Think of it as going on the stair master for 30-40 minutes straight.


a brown sign with Chinese letters and an elephant on it point left
the entrance marker to the Elephant Mountain Hiking Trail

But an interesting observation that I made was that a lot of the people hiking up and down the trail were solo elderly hikers. I was actually quite impressed and only a little bit threatened by the 80-year olds with canes who were speeding past me on the trial.


And I know that I've been making out to be a really intense feat of arduous labor, but in actuality, it was a delightful hike. You are completely engulfed in nature for the entirety of it. I felt that I had never realized how beautiful the color green was until it was all around me at the Elephant Hiking Trail. It was peaceful, refreshing, and it just felt clean to breathe.



And the view at the top... It's one of the most show stopping views you will ever experience.


I happened to make it to the top at the same time as a child and his family. And what I assumed to be an 11-year old boy gazed out at the view before him and just produced the words, "holy shit". Holy shit was right!


His parents must have been so mesmerized by the view that they forgot to reprimand their child for swearing, and I have to say I was too. When you've been in what feels like the jungle, completely immersed within the trees and bushes for so long, and you make it to the top to see the beautiful city and all it's glory, it's shocking. Because you pretty much forget that you are still in Taipei, and not actually the jungle.


It's the perfect way to add exercise into your travels and it is probably my absolute favorite part of my Taipei itinerary.



2. Coffee stop!


The great thing about the Elephant hiking trail is that it spits you out at a perfect location. In the heart of the Xinyi district, you get to experience all the wonderful parks, coffee shops, food places, as well as soak in the view of the base of Taipei 101.


I decided to venture into an adorable little cafe I found along the street, called the Sunshine Cafe. With it's warm, cozy interior, it was the perfect place to get a tea and lunch after a hike.


I got the Earl Grey Lavender tea and it was quite literally the best tea that I've ever had -so don't skip out on it!



3. A picnic at Chiang Kai Shek memorial


The train ride back to the hostel led me right past the Chiang Kai Shek memorial, which was the perfect place to take my lunch and have a picnic,


pink flowers in a field of grass in front of a white, Taiwanese builing

For you history lovers out there, Chiang Kai Shek was the first president of Taiwan after its declared independence in 1949. The memorial serves as a tribute to the president, with a museum and library detailing his life and the history of Taiwan. It's a wonderful, FREE, way to learn more about the nation.



The unique architecture of the buildings surround the square makes it a lovely spot to admire the Taiwanese architecture.


4. Explore the old streets


a woman in a wheelchair being pushed in an alleyway by another woman
the alleyways of Bopiliao Old Street

There are many streets and blocks in Taiwan that capture its history. These are known as "old streets" and there are various ones throughout the city where you can learn about the Republic of China's background. It's a great, educational experience to add to your Taipei itinerary.


I decided to take a walking tour with my hostel to discover the Bopiliao Historical Block. It's a well-preserved street with houses and shops dating back to the Qing dynasty which ended in the early 1900's.


I got to experience some of the games that school children from the Qing dynasty used to play and see how they lived back then. Even for those who are not interested in historical tours, it's fun to just play these games and admire the architecture.


We walked around the block during sunset and it's was beautiful to see lanterns light up the streets as the sun descended.


5. Check out some temples


Temples are everywhere in Taiwan. And they are great, free, places to get in touch with your spiritual side as well as learn more about Eastern religions.


I experience Lungshan temple, with the guidance of a tour guide from my hostel. It was nice to go with a guide so that I could learn in depth about each of the temple's traditions and deities.


However, if a guide is not an option for you, temples are still wonderful ways to really just soak in the beautiful, golden designs feel the spirituality around you.


Lungshan temple hosted many different Gods, all adorned in different ways and with different traditions attached to them.


My favorite tradition was that of the love God, where you would (with his permissions) receive a piece of red string that you keep with you. Once the string disappears, it means that the love God has connected you with your true lover and you both must go back to the temple to thank him.


I still await my red string which I keep in my backpack to miraculously disappear!



6. Experience the night markets


blue, string lights over a busy Taiwanese street
the Christmas lights were out at the Ximending Night Market

A Taipei itinerary would not be complete without visiting one of their famous night markets.


When the sun goes does, the night markets arise, filling the night with delicious smells, fun games, and bright lights. There are tons of these markets throughout the city, some of the most popular ones being the Shilin, the Raohe, the Ningxia, and more.


Being so close to the Ximending Night Market, that was my go-to place for a midnight boba. This night market is home to Taiwan's most Instagrammable road -the rainbow road, so it's also a fun place to take selfies! This market was great for buying adorable little souvenirs. I saw so many cute shops selling stickers, jewelry, and nick-nacks of all sorts so if you're looking to take home little gifts for your friends, this is the place to go.



I also ventured to the Raohe street night market, which I was totally impressed with. There was so much interesting food that it was almost overwhelming. It was definitely one of those moments where I wished that my appetite was infinite and my ability to gain weight non existent because I got the indelible urge to try everything!


Night markets are just such a vibrant way to experience an exciting atmosphere, brewing with animation.


What to do in Taipei: A Conclusion


This guide is a wholesome mix of cultural, aesthetic, and fun things to do, but it's just a starting point to the wonderful things that the city has to offer.


While this is just a one day Taipei itinerary, it is not enough time. Taipei is the kind of city that you go to and realize that there is always something to see. The day is filled with nature, beautiful memorials, and adorable coffee shops, and the nights are filled with glowing temples, and bustling markets.


If you want to get more of a visual sense of Taipei, check out some of my Taipei reels on my Tashie's Travels Instagram by clicking the button below.



Live your best adventure!



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