Taipei: 3 Things to see in one day


We decided it would be a good idea to break up our flight to Seoul by dropping by Taipei on the way. And after an action packed and enjoyable 24 hours in Taiwan’s capital city, we congratulated ourselves on having such a great idea. 

Whilst 24 hours doesn’t sound like a long time, it is amazing what you can cram in during a short space of time. Especially as most of the activities we had chosen to do were either a short walk or metro ride away. If you fancy retracing our footsteps to follow is more information about my top three recommendations of things to do.

Trek up Elephant Mountain for a bird’s eye view of the city

We set off in the morning before it got too hot, bought an all-day metro token from our nearest metro station which was Zhongshan, as we were staying in this area which is recommended for first time visitors.

Our first mission for the day was to get off at Xiang Shan station to climb up Elephant Mountain and enjoy picture perfect panoramic views of city. To climb to the top is free using the concrete steps provided. There is however a price to pay and that is listening to your children repeatedly saying, ‘are we nearly there yet?’. So, speaking from experience I suggest you take with you essentials like sensible shoes, enough drinks to keep them hydrated, snacks to keep them quiet and quite a lot of patience.

People of all ages, shapes and sizes were completing the walk, even young children and there are places to stop and rest along the way. It took us about 25 minutes to get to one of the top platforms when we decided we had seen enough and headed back.

Take in the iconic Taipei 101 building

Next stop, that was within walking distance was a trip to the top of Taipei 101. This striking looking green building is designed to look like a piece of bamboo. It’s not the tallest building in the world anymore, but it does have three cool features that make it stand out from the crowd. 

Taipei 1

The building that boasts 101 floors, which explains the name, not only has a lift that travels at 1010 metres per minute it also has a rather impressive mass damper helping it remain upright in an earthquake, something I tried not to think about during our visit. And finally it is home to one of the world’s highest Starbucks situated on the 35th floor. If that sounds like your cup of tea you will need to book at least 24 hours in advance. We weren’t that organised but we were extremely lucky that for us there were no queues or need to pre book. We do seriously encourage booking a ticket to visit the tower observatory though, if only so you have peace of mind.

Taipei 2

Check out Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall

From the tower we passed the enormous queue to get food from the Din Tai Fung restaurant and cut through Daan Park to head to the national monument that is Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall. It is surrounded by gardens with fishponds and conveniently located next to the National Theatre and National Concert Hall. It was the perfect place to take some pictures and enjoy a spot of people watching.

Taipei 3

Day trips for those with more time on their hands

If we had had a bit longer there are a couple of day trips that seem to be popular with tourists that we might have tried. So, if you find yourself with more time on your hands than us, you might want to explore the idea of a trip to Jiufen, with its alley ways and old tea houses it is meant to be particularly pretty at night when it’s all lit up. You can book a tour through Klook or if you want to get there under your own steam get catch the TRA train from Taipei Main Station to Ruifang Station and then hop on a 20 minutes bus ride to Jiufen.

The other options out of the city is a trip to see the Shifen Waterfall, you will find the marvel affectionately referred to as the Little Niagara of Taiwan about 90 minutes away from the main city and a 15 minutes walk or e-bike from Shifen itself. The other activity the area is famous for is letting lanterns go on a train track and hopping out the way every hour when a train passes through.

Taipei and its food

It would be wrong of me not to also point out that many people just visit Taiwan to eat amazing food, after all it is the birthplace of the Din Tai Fung restaurant chain and the country that gave us bubble tea. So why not visit one of its many night markets to sample the local delicacies including oyster omelette or braised pork over rice, which sadly we never got to try as my kids insisted on sampling the meals at McDonalds and we were too tired and hungry from all the walking on our whirlwind tour to argue!

If you’re done with Taipei, Hong Kong is another city that’s worth a visit!

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