August 11, 2010

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Visit Taipei! Best Taipei Travel Guide

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I love Taipei! How about you? I'm sure that some of you who follow my blog for a while now know how much I love it here. Giving the fact, that I've been quite a bit around, I decided to write my own travel guide for those of you, who plan to visit us. And if you're one of those undecided travelers, who is considering various destinations in the region, I hope that my visual appetizer will sway you towards Taipei, because to put it simply: Taipei is awesome!

Taipei is a city that never sleeps.

TAIPEI WHAT?

Taipei 台北 (or 臺北) is a modern East Asian metropolis and the capital city of Taiwan (a.k.a. Republic of China). It's home to roughly 6 million people (source). That might not be that big compared to Asian megacities like Tokyo, Beijing, Seoul or Shanghai, but it's definitely big for a European guy like me. Taipei is located on the northern part of the beautiful island of • Taiwan and its Chinese name literally means "Taiwan's Northern City". Taipei is like a big pie cut into smaller pieces by the rivers Tamsui, Xindian and Keelung laying in the Taipei basin and surrounded by beautiful mountains of Northern Taiwan also known as Xueshan range.

Taipei's modern part Xinyi lights up beautifully at night.

TAIPEI WHY?

Taipei will amaze you: You'll see some of the most amazing sights in this bustling city, eat some of the most delicious food in the world, shop till you drop, meet friendly people and see the most beautiful women you'll ever see in any other city (in case you're a male reader). Taipei will fascinate you with the old and new side by side, with the modern at one corner and the traditional at another. In one day, you can see Taipei 101, the former tallest building in the world and the National Palace Museum, in recent years one of the most visited museums in the world, full of precious historic artifacts representing the history of China at its best. Want to know more? Read on.

TAIPEI HOW?

First you'll need a map. And I made a great one for you. Click on it to enlarge.

Click to see my big Taipei Google map!
The red dots ● ● ● mark Taipei's center. The Western part (on the left) consists of old districts • Wanhua, • Datong and • Zhongzheng, the Eastern part (on the right) is the modern part and consists of new districts • Daan and • Xinyi.

Once you have a map, make a plan. Decide what you want to see in the days you have available. I recommend you to spend at least 7 days in Taipei City or 14 days in Greater Taipei. Of course the more days you can stay, the better. If you truly want to get a grasp of the city, stay 30 days, you won't regret it. But that will acquire a big budget and a lot of time. If you have plenty of that, you'll have tons of fun in Taipei.

ABOUT THIS GUIDE

This post is meant to introduce some of my favorite spots in Taipei and show you around the city. I hope I can give you great ideas about where to go and what to do, if you decide to visit. Taipei is a great place for young and old, for Westerners and Easterners and welcomes people from all over the world. If you keep on reading, you will see Taipei through my eyes and get a glimpse of the awesomeness that awaits you.

IMPORTANT: All these types of • Links lead to one of my own posts about the topic, these types of [Links] lead to a website or a page outside my blog and will also give you further information on the topic. To open links in new tabs, hold down CTRL or ⌘, when you click on them. Check also the bottom of this post for more related links.

TRANSPORTATION

The best way to explore Taipei is by using the Taipei MRT, the city's subway. The trains are quick, extremely clean and not so crowded like in other big Asian cities such as Seoul or Tokyo. Eating and drinking is not allowed. You can buy a token for a single fare or a one-day pass, but I recommend you to buy the EasyCard, it's a smart card system, that enables you to pay for train and bus fares as well as for purchases in convenience stores. To get more info, check • my list of means of transportation in Taipei.

Taipei has one of the cleanest and safest subways in the world.

TAIPEI'S AWESOME SPOTS

TAIPEI 101 AND XINYI

First thing you need to do, when you arrive in Taipei, is to see one of the most incredible buildings the metropolis has to offer: • Taipei 101. It's not only my favorite attraction, it's also the skyscraper that put Taipei on the map in 2004 by becoming the tallest building in the world and remained so for 6 years. Despite the rapid construction of much taller structures in China and the Middle East, Taipei 101 will always be worth to see, because of the unique design and the huge number of innovations. The 509m tall bamboo-shaped skyscraper is located in Xinyi, Taipei's modern district. You can go to the [observatory on 89th floor] or dine in exquisite restaurants on floors 85 and 86.

Taipei 101 at night always looks incredible.

One of my favorite parts of Taipei is • Xinyi, also referred as the East District. You don't only have Taipei 101 there, but plenty of shopping malls, cinemas, restaurants and clubs, that will take many days and nights to discover. Xinyi is Taipei's modern architecture at its best. It's a big, clean and a pedestrian friendly area full of glitz and glamour. You'll see a lot of middle and upper class Taiwanese shopping and eating there. It's something like • Seoul's modern district • Gangnam, only smaller and somewhat more pleasant to walk around, because the buildings are not as tall and as intimidating as the ones in Korea's sparkling capital.

Xinyi is Taipei's shopping paradise.

XIMENDING

Another awesome area is • Ximending, which is the biggest pedestrian area of Taipei and the place to be for young people. It's loaded with cinemas, themed restaurants, shops, pubs and street art. You'll see all kinds of youngsters with unique fashion styles passing by, from fab to weirdo. Ximending is the place to be in Taipei, even, if you're not from the young generation anymore. Young people love to have fun, but there won't be any drunks bothering you. Ximending is very safe as well.

Ximending at night is a magnet for young people.

ZHONGXIAO EAST ROAD

And then there's • Zhongxiao East Road, Taipei's main boulevard, that connects the West with the East, it's the bridge between Zhongzheng and Xinyi. It's Taipei's fashion street, full of high-class boutiques and shopping malls, pubs and clubs, fitness centers, spas and shops that sell branded watches. The richest of the rich can be seen there and the people always dress extremely well, especially the women. Do you want to see the prettiest Taiwanese girls? Go to Zhongxiao East Road!

Zhongxiao East Road is the bridge between the East and West Taipei.

NIGHT LIFE IN TAIPEI

Taipei is full of awesome pubs and clubs, that can be found all over the city. Best website for finding a night club of your preference is [Taiwan Nights], but if you wanna see, how people party in Taipei, check [Steven Vigar's photography]. One of the most famous night clubs is [Luxy]. Besides Luxy, I recommend you to visit [Roxy], which is a reggae and blues bar and two cool clubs to dance your night away: [Legacy] and [The Wall]. Of course there are so many other clubs in Taipei, but I'll only mention few here, so you can get an idea. Steven Vigar, one of the best photographers in Taiwan, allowed me to share some pics from various clubs with you. I chose the ones that will catch your attention instantly. Do you wanna see hot local and foreign girls and guys dancing until dawn? If yes, then come to Taipei and experience the crazy night life.

All four photos with permission from Steven Vigar, thank you!

SHOPPING IN TAIPEI

You have shopping malls literally all across central Taipei. Most of them are located in Xinyi, around • Taipei Main Station and along the famous Zhongxiao East Road. If you want a very good overview, check • my list of shopping malls in Taipei. I would like to take this chance and introduce to you some very specific malls, that are different a bit different. If you take the train to Jiannan Road MRT Station, you'll come to • Miramar Entertainment Park, which is an area full of big shopping malls, cinemas, restaurants and with a big Ferris wheel, one of Taipei's famous landmarks [their homepage]. Would you take your lovely lady for a spin? If yes, come to Miramar!

The biggest Ferris wheel in Taipei is located at Miramar Entertainment Park.

Speaking of big shopping malls, one of them is called the • Living Mall, that comes with a very unique design. The main part is a sphere and it's really cool to walk around there and explore all the shops. The basement floor is a food court with some yummy and affordable food. There are also great cinemas, where you can watch 3D movies.

The Living Mall features a very innovative design.

The • Guang Hua Digital Plaza is a paradise for all fans of computers, peripherals and accessories. It's not only the shopping mall itself, the whole surrounding area is dedicated to computers and photo camera equipment. You can easily spend few hours here and get a good bargain on your favorite gadget or computer.

The Guang Hua Mall is sometimes also called Digital Plaza.

FOOD IN TAIPEI

Of course you won't only come to Taipei for shopping (even though that could be reason enough to visit this amazing city), you will also come to try the incredible food. Taiwanese food is definitely one of the best in the world. Food in Taipei is abundant, you will see restaurants literally on every corner. There are small ones like noodle shops or big ones like hot pot restaurants. In order to have a better understanding what awaits you, please check • my list of types of restaurants in Taiwan. If you don't have budget restrictions, I highly recommend you to go to one of the xiaolongbao restaurants Taipei is famous for. The number one choice is usually the world famous • Din Tai Fung, which originates in Taipei, but there are cheaper and less crowded alternatives such as • Golden Chicken Garden or the • Hanzhou Xiaolong Tangbao restaurant. A different kind of exquisite Chinese food is offered at the • Longdu Dragon Restaurant. If you want a very unique setting, dine in the former Mayor of Taipei's art salon at the • La Mairie Café or rise high and go up on Taipei 101 to the 85th floor. You can combine amazing food with an equally amazing view in • Diamond Tony's 101 Observatory Restaurant.

Xiaolongbao are delicious, but • how do you eat them?

If you're adventurous, then the toilet-themed restaurant • Modern Toilet is definitely something for you. How about a piece of • Gayke? If you need more restaurant recommendations, check • my list of restaurants in Taipei.

Modern Toilet is Taipei's whackiest restaurant.

NIGHT MARKETS IN TAIPEI

If you're looking for traditional Taiwanese food in Taipei, the best place to go are the numerous night markets all over the city. Night markets are full of traditional Taiwanese snacks called 小吃 (lit. little eats) and most of them will become your favorite, but some might appear strange, perhaps even pose a challenge. Would you dare to eat the • frog soup or • chicken testicles? I tried it, it's not bad, but it's certainly not everyone's treat. These types of dishes seemingly strange to Western tourists are just a small part of what you can find in Taipei. The city probably has the most night markets in the world, eating street food in the evening is part of the culture and you have to experience it.

• Shilin night market is the most famous night market in Taipei.

It's full of uniquely Taiwanese food, such as the stinky tofu, Taiwanese sausages, oyster omelettes, steamed and fried dumplings, buns, fried chicken cutlets and much much more. The popular night market so famous, that it doesn't only attract people from all over Taiwan, but also from Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia.

These are some of the must-try little eats.

Some other famous night markets are • Raohe night market in Songshan district, which is usually the second most popular right after the one in Shilin. There is a popular night market near universities: • Shida night market. There's also the less touristy • Tonghua night market, which is worth to mention, because it has some unique foods and • Ningxia night market, one of the oldest traditional night markets in Taipei.

Use • my List of Night markets in Taipei to find the best one for you.

Taiwan is also famous for having some of the best deserts and tea in the region. Something I really recommend to you are two famous ice creams. One is the • Snow King's ice cream, which is famous for having all kinds of crazy flavors such as wasabi, chili, pig's feet, tomato, carrot and basil. Another ice cream I highly recommend to you is • Shin Fa Ting, a famous shop selling shaved ice cream, that consists of very thin layers and melts in your mouth instantly. So tasty! When it comes to drinks, you have to try Taiwan's most famous beverage: • Bubble tea. There are aplenty of shops everywhere, but the best ones are at night markets. A similarly-looking and popular drink is called • Frogs Hit In Milk - it's my favorite and I highly recommend it. For those, who appreciate high-quality teas, Taiwan offers one of the best in the world: Don't miss the • Oolong green tea and if you have a chance, see a traditional tea ceremony.

These are some of tastiest treats in Taipei.

LIST OF TAIPEI'S SIGHTS

Taipei is a relatively young city with its 300 something years, nevertheless it has a very rich and often tumultuous history, which is still visible on the facades of famous historic buildings. Generally, the history of Taipei can be divided in four significant periods: Qing Dynasty, Japanese occupation, Cold War KMT rule and Democratization period. The following list is a collection of Taipei's most notable historic sights, places you should not miss, if you come to visit this amazing city.

NEO-CHINESE LANDMARKS

Most of these buildings were constructed during the Cold War KMT rule (1949-1987) and are based on the idea of a Chinese cultural revival under Chiang Kai-shek. A lot of them imitate classical Chinese landmarks in Beijing or reinterpret the architecture from old glorious Chinese dynasties, especially Tang.

The • Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall is together with the • National Theater and • National Concert Hall one of the biggest landmarks in Taipei. All buildings, completed in the 1980s, are located on • Liberty Square, Taipei's biggest square.

The • Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall from 1972 is interesting on the outside as well as on the inside. Check the • changing of the honor guard every full hour.

The • National Revolutionary Martyrs' Shrine from 1969 is dedicated to the soldiers, who fought for ROC. You can see changing of the guards at every full hour.

The • Chungshan Building from 1966 is the former National Assembly of the ROC. It's one of the finest neo-classical Chinese buildings in Taiwan.

The • Grand Hotel from 1972 is the tallest neo-classical Chinese building in the world.

Today's Chinese-looking • Chienkung Shrine was built in 1928 by the Japanese.

JAPANESE COLONIAL LANDMARKS

These buildings were constructed between 1895 and 1945 during the Japanese occupation of Taiwan. The colonial architects were inspired by classical European styles and loved to incorporate the neo-Greek and neo-Baroque elements in their design.

The • Office of the President from 1919 is Taiwan's center of power and at the same time its grandest palace. You can also visit • the inside of the building.

The • Guest House from 1901 is the former Japanese Governor-General's residence.

The • Red House from 1908 used to be a market, before it became a famous theater.

The • Zhongshan Hall from 1936 is Taipei's former pubic hall.

The • Old Wing of the NTU Hospital from 1912 is a beautiful building.

The • Judicial Yuan and • Control Yuan are very distinct palaces, that are today serving the government of the ROC.

The Former Taipei Waterplant from 1908 is today • Museum of Drinking Water.

The • Bank of Taiwan building from 1939 is a beautiful neo-Greek structure.

The • Beimen Post Office from 1930 is one of my favorite buildings.

The • TTL Corporation building from 1922 features beautiful architecture.

The • Rinzai Zen Temple from 1912 is the only wooden Japanese temple in Taipei.

The small • Puji Temple from 1915 above Beitou is a real gem.

The • Donghe Bell Tower from 1930 is the only remain of a former zen temple.

REMAINS OF QING DYNASTY

Taipei's roots date back to the early 18th century, one could say the city was born under Qing Dynasty. A lot of the original Taipei is sadly lost today, however the former city gates, numerous temples and residences are still preserved and worth a visit.

Out of five historic gates from the late 19th century, four remain today: The original • Beimen and the modified • Dongmen, • Nanmen and • Xiaonanmen.

I recommend you to visit these beautiful residences: • Lin An Tai from 1783, • Lin Family Garden and Mansion from 1847 and the • Lianrang Estate from 1897.

My favorite historic estate is the • Li Family Residence in Luzhou.

• Bopiliao is one of the oldest streets in Taipei.

The • Old Yamen was Qing's center of power.

The • Dadaocheng Wharf is Taipei's old window to the sea.

The • Dihua Street is Taipei's most famous old street.

TAIPEI'S FAMOUS TEMPLES

Taipei is home to some of Taiwan's oldest and famous temples, that attract people from all over the country. Most of them are dedicated to several deities: mixing Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism and folk religion is a common practice in Taiwan.

The • Longshan Temple from 1738 is the most famous temple in Taipei.

The • Baoan Temple from 1742 is one of the oldest temples in the city.

The • Hsing Tien Temple from 1956 is Taipei's most popular temple.

The • Confucius Temple from 1939 is one of the most beautiful temples in Taipei.

The • Chi Nan Temple from 1890 built above Taipei offers beautiful views.

The • Guandu Temple from 1715 is the oldest and most impressive temple in Taipei.

TAIPEI'S CHURCHES AND MOSQUES

Taipei is not famous for religious landmarks outside the realm of Taoism, Buddhism and Confucianism, nevertheless, the city boasts with an impressive mosque and aplenty of smaller yet highly interesting churches, mostly Presbyterian.

The red-bricked • Jinan Presbyterian Church from 1916 and the • Tataocheng Presbyterian Church from 1915 are two of Taipei's most beautiful churches.

The • Grand Mosque from 1960 is Taiwan's most impressive mosque.

UNIVERSITY CAMPUSES

One of the nicest places to hang out in Taipei are the old university campuses from the early 20th century - there are a plenty of them scattered all over the city and they offer a peek into Taiwan's vibrant student life.

The • National Taiwan University known as "Taida" is Taiwan's no. 1 university. You should also check its • College of Social Sciences.

The • National Taiwan Normal University or "Shida" is Taipei's no. 2 university.

The • Chinese Culture University on Yangmingshan offers great views.

MUSEUMS IN TAIPEI

Taipei is famous for museums, that cover Chinese, Taiwanese and aboriginal history, art and various other things. There are a lot of interesting niche museums to explore, check my • List of Museums in Taipei and pick the ones, that seem interesting to you.

The • National Palace Museum is one of the most famous museums in the world. It displays artifacts from 8000 years of Chinese history.

The • National Taiwan Museum offers great collections from Taiwan's history.

The • Taipei Fine Arts Museum focuses on modern Chinese art.

PARKS IN TAIPEI

If you need a break from your sightseeing, then visiting one of Taipei's parks is a must. Check • my List of Parks in Taipei to see which one is best suitable for you.

The • 228 Peace Memorial Park is Taipei's oldest and most famous park.

The • Daan Forest Park is the biggest park in city proper.

The former president's • Shilin Official Residence features a beautiful park.

The Bihu Park in Neihu is located near a beautiful lake.

The Dahu Park is famous for its magnificent Moon bridge.

HOT SPRINGS IN TAIPEI

Taipei is famous for hot springs, the culture was first cultivated under Japan. Beitou with its volcanic waters is one of the best places to experience it. If you want to know how that looks like check • my hot springs guide.

If you want to find a good hot spring hotel, then • Xinbeitou is your best choice.

REVITALIZED AREAS

The local government has invested a lot of efforts to revitalize areas, that were for too long in decay. This includes old factories and neighborhoods, that were transformed into venues for cultural activities and culinary delights.

The • Huashan Creative Park an old factory turned into an art center.

The • Songshan Tobacco Factory is heaven for modern art lovers.

The 44 South Village used to be a soldier's village.

ABOVE TAIPEI

If you want to see Taipei from above, you have several options. From visiting the top of • Shing Kong Life Tower and • Taipei 101 to several mountains, that surround this amazing city. Here is my list of the ones, that offer the best views.

The • Elephant Mountain is one of Taipei's most popular destinations above the city.

• Maokong, famous for excellent tea, is easily accessible with a gondola.

Taipei's • Yangmingshan is breathtaking! It's also one of Taiwan's National Parks. It offers a lot of hiking trails and it's full of historic treasures.

The • Grass Mountain Chateau from 1920 is located on Yangmingshan and offers great views, great food and an interesting exhibition.

The • Lin Yu-tang House on Yangmingshan offers great views as well.

PLACES AROUND TAIPEI

The urban Taipei offers so much to see and to experience, that one might wonder, if there's time to leave the city at all. Nevertheless, every passionate traveler will be eager to explore a city's hinterland, you can't keep a tiger trapped in the cage too long, can you? It so happens that there are numerous hidden treasures to explore in Northern Taiwan. Most of these places are accessible by bus or regular train and can be combined into very interesting day trips, if one knows how to plan well.

JUST A HOP FROM TAIPEI

This is a list of 6 interesting places very close to Taipei, but still far enough to be considered outside Taipei's core urban area. You'll need maximum 1 hour to reach there and another hour to come back, which means that you can combine it with other places.

• Tamsui: This historic small town near the sea is famous for great views, magical sunsets, tasty food, and a lot of historic buildings. Don't miss the Hongmao Castle, the Old Street, the Lovers' Bridge, and a bowl of Ah-Gei. Accessible with the Taipei Metro, it will take you about 45 minutes to reach there from the Taipei Main Station. You can easily spend one whole afternoon there.

• Sanxia: This lovely small town is famous for an Old Street from Japanese times, the magnificent Zushi Temple, and delicious croissants. You can enjoy the atmosphere of a century ago, eat tasty snacks and explore hidden treasures. Accessible with the bus, it will take you about 30 minutes to reach there from the Taipei Main Station. You can spend 3-4 hours there.

• Yingge: This small town is famous for pottery. There is an Old street and a pottery museum, that I highly recommend to visit. If you want to buy some good quality souvenirs, Yingge is a great place to be. Accessible with the regular train, it will take you about 30 minutes to reach there from the Taipei Main Station. You can spend 2-3 hours there.

• Shenkeng: This little town preserved a very beautiful Old Street, which is famous for selling all kinds of tofu. In fact, Shenkeng is known to be Taiwan's tofu capital, and it's attracting a lot of hungry visitors from all over the country and beyond. Accessible with the bus, it will take you about 45 minutes from Taipei Main Station. You can spend 2-3 hours there.

• Bitan: The scenic area consists of a suspension bridge over the Xindian River, that turned into a small lake. You can rent a paddle boat with your loved one and enjoy the beautiful landscape. Accessible with the Taipei Metro, it will take you about 30 minutes to reach there from the Taipei Main Station. You can spend 1-2 hours there.

• Wulai: Wulai is a small town in the mountains south of Taipei. Located deep in aboriginal Taiwanese land, it's full of natural beauty, and famous as a hot spring resort. Don't miss the impressive Wulai Springs, and a walk through the Old Street, that offers a lot of delicious snacks. It will take you around 1 hour to reach Wulai. You can spend few hours there, perhaps even stay overnight.


A LITTLE BIT FURTHER FROM TAIPEI

This is a list of 6 places that are a little bit further away from Taipei, some of them are even located in another county, or in a rural area. You'll need to carefully plan these trips, and generally you'll only be able to visit one of these destinations per day.

• Keelung: This is Taiwan's second biggest port and one of the biggest cities in the northern part of the country. It's famous for the big port, great sea food, and the popular Miaokou Night Market. The city is accessible with the regular train, it will take you about 1 hour to reach there from Taipei Main Station. You can spend one afternoon there.

• Yeliou Geopark: Yeliou's unique rock formations are one of Taiwan's most amazing natural wonders. The small peninsula is famous for a Moon-like landscape and the iconic Queen's Head. Yeliou is accessible with the bus, it will take you about 1 hour to arrive there from Taipei Main Station. You can spend 2-3 hours exploring this beautiful spot.

• Jinshan: This small town in the very north east of the country is famous for hot springs and an Old Street. Jinshan is accessible with the bus, it will take you about 1 hour and 15 minutes to reach there from Taipei Main Station. You can spend 2-3 hours here.

• Jioufen, Jinguashi: These two old mining towns located side by side in Northern Taiwan's mountains are today famous tourist destinations attracting domestic and foreign visitors alike. A rich history, breathtaking views, and a plethora of exquisite teahouses make these two gems an obligatory stop. You can access them with the regular train to Ruifang and then transfer to one of the buses, it will take you 1h and 30 minutes to reach there. You can spend one afternoon or stay overnight.

• Shifen: Northern Taiwan's most popular and arguably most beautiful waterfalls are located in Shifen, a small village in Pingxi. The area can be accessed with the Pingxi Line, one of the smallest branch lines of Taiwan Railways. You have to go to Ruifang, where you transfer to the Pingxi Line, it will take you about 1h and 30 minutes to reach there from Taipei Main Station. You can spend 2-3 hours in Pingxi.

• Daxi: This small town in Taoyuan County is famous for a well preserved Old Street, a dojo from Japanese times and dry tofu. The Daxi bridge over the Dahan river is also one of the famous sights in the region. It takes 1h and 15 minutes to reach Daxi with a bus from Taipei City Hall Station. You can spend a whole afternoon there.


AROUND TAIWAN

Taipei is also a great starting point to explore all of Taiwan. It's well connected with the biggest Taiwanese cities, such as • Taichung, • Tainan, • Kaohsiung and • Hualien. You can take the high-speed train and you'll be in the southern part of Taiwan in about 1.5 hours. Taiwan has so much more to offer than just Taipei: From the famous • Sun Moon Lake and • Alishan Mountain to the breathtaking • Taroko Gorge and the • East Coast, Taiwan is truly Ilha Formosa, an beautiful island full of treasures. Please check my • List of Taiwan's travel destinations and read all my travelogues.

This is me on Alishan enjoying the beautiful sunrise.

IN CONCLUSION

I hope I made Taipei interesting to you, and I also hope that I gave you a plenty of good reasons to visit the city the future. I wasn't paid to promote Taipei by anyone, I just love to share my passion for this amazing city. I will constantly update this post, add new photos and information, if necessary. Please drop a comment below, if you have some questions or anything to say. If you want to know more about me, check my • About Me page. Thanks for reading and sharing!

Taipei Travel Guide by My Kafkaesque life blog
Follow my community on Instagram: • Instagram Taiwan

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OVERVIEW OF USEFUL LINKS

My Greater Taipei Map: Use it to plan your Taipei trip and locate your favorite spots
Transportation tips for Taipei: Get to know what options you have
List of Museums in Taipei: See what Taipei offers to those, who love museums
List of Shopping Malls in Taipei: Useful overview for those who love shopping
List of Parks in Taipei: See how green Taipei can be and where you can take a rest
Types of Restaurants in Taiwan: Understand Taiwan's eating culture better
List of Restaurants in Taipei: Read my reviews about the best restaurants in Taipei
List of Night Markets in Taipei: Find your favorite night market here

[Back to TAIPEI SIGHTS overview][This post was UPDATED on 21st March, 2013]

80 comments:

  1. wow! what a loaded and informative post about Taipei. Can you guess my favorite part?

    also, i've been to taipei airport once in high school, over 10 years ago. they had army men with big machine guns patroling the airport. i remember being a little scared..

    ReplyDelete
  2. @Linda: Your fav part must be the night markets :)

    Oh, these days I've not seen any army around the airport, but I think in the late 1990s, the tensions between the Mainland and Taiwan were high, maybe that's why.

    ReplyDelete
  3. WOOOHOOOOO FOOODDDDD *DROOLSSSSSS* hehehe... Jk :p

    I love this post, very in depth!! I hope I can go there one day too!!! We should all go together!!!!!! AHHHHH! :p

    ReplyDelete
  4. This is a great post on Taipei and as I'm commenting from a short visit to Hong Kong, I have to say that even while I've enjoyed visiting HK for the first time, it really doesn't compare to Taipei in my opinion... it seems to lack a certain amount of character...

    ...of course, I'm traveling with my Taiwanese girlfriend, so we're both biased :)

    ReplyDelete
  5. @Jaimie: Thank you! Taipei is food paradise, so I had to mention it :) Sure, I'd love to greet and meet you in Taipei one day :)

    @Josh: I've been in HK last year and I was impressed with most of the things except food :) But HK is too crowded and you don't have so much beautiful nature like in Taiwan. I'd miss that, if I had to choose where to live :)

    ReplyDelete
  6. Wow great coverage and information. Really like the photos that you took. Im sure if you wanted to you could take this post and turn it into a mini guide book :D

    Yikes, the list of countries I have to go to in Asia just grew @_@

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  7. @FloatingCamera: Yeah, it's like a virtual guide book and I hope that it'll be shared among those who plan to travel. I'll try to update it in the future, hehe. Wanted to make a big post, a post of posts :) Oh yeah, I'd love to see you in Taipei, you could make some awesome photos :)

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  8. Wow! This is a very informative post. I will have to refer to this if I ever go to Taipei. Right now though, if I were to travel overseas my heart is set on Europe much more than Asia. I have yet to visit any part of Europe.
    But I love how you've shown how modern Taipei is. That's really important to me, because as much as I love historical older places I can only spend so much time there before I get home sick and miss modern city life which is what I grew up in.
    This might sound silly to you but I can't believe Taipei has palm trees! And Yay for nightclubs LOL
    And the most beautiful picture in this post (to me) is the Dazhi Bridge. It resembles a beautiful harp to me :)

    ReplyDelete
  9. When you asked to use the photos, didnt know it would be a full-on essay. Great Job, looks and reads well! Cheeahz~!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Nice post. Very informative. I do have one question, why would you think TaiwanNights is the best website for night life. There's nothing even there. Now, I used to be involved with them and now I run http://www.Waakao.com, so i may be prejudiced, but seriously...

    ReplyDelete
  11. wow, this is the mother of all Taipei posts. Will have to digest it all in multiple sittings

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  12. @Karen: Thanks for your opinion, always happy to read impressions from various people. I'm sure you'd love Taipei, it has a lot of yummy food and many shopping malls :)

    @Steven: Well, I asked you for pics, cuz I wanted to have the best, cuz I wanted to write a great post on Taipei. You're the best I know, when it comes to photos of clubbing in Taiwan. Thanks again. Hope people will appreciate your and my work :)

    @DJ Marcus Aurelius: Oh, thanks again for the link to your website. It's much better and I changed all the links to Waakao.com. I hoped TaiwanNights would be relauched, but I have no idea, why they're so quiet for so long. Your site is much better. Thanks again. Cheers :)

    @Jamaipanese: Exactly. It's supposed to be the mother of all posts, hehe. Yes, a lot to digest. I hope it'll be helpful for people who intend to travel to Taipei :)

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  13. Hey Ning, I must say this post was a bit overwhelming (but superbly informative)- because even though I've been to some of the hot spots in Taiwan.. there is still so many places I'm missing out on! I'm truly impressed by your in-depth descriptions.. you would make a great tour guide for Taipei as well :D I love shilin night market.. I'm craving for some more stinky tofu and shaved ice! And oyster omelette (oh ah jian) as well.. Some day I want to dine in 101, the night view looks amazing. But yes, thank you for this comprehensive guide to the city- it will come in very useful when I get to go again! What at pretty girl Lily is, now where are the couple pics? :)

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  14. Well said brother! What a great post about Taiwan. I think that's why you are a very successful and famous blogger! You make the post very informative and interesting. Aha, you can be the latest ambassador too! :D

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  15. looks so fun and beautiful! and i was just talking about your gf ;) haha me and my boyfriend were planning to go to taiwan this summer for a month! it wouldnt have been that expensive since food and accommodations would have been covered by his family there =) yay for us! lol our plans were squashed or should i say delayed when his sister got a job at an airline. meaning if we wait 6 months until she gets off her probation period, we or at least he can get 90% off the airline tickets! then from there we can split the total cost between us sweet huh? so we decided to delay our trip for another year! this post really makes me wish that we went! next year though =) you're so informative and definitely want to go to as many themed restaurants as possible! and go to the night markets and eat a bunch of weird stuff! haha im so excited and thank you so much for this post!!!!

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  16. @Karen USA: Aww, thanks for your sweet compliments. Yes, I tried to write a comprehensive post, which I intend to update and improve in the future. I hope my post will be The Taipei Post :) Well, there are many couple pics on my FB, you can add me by contacting me via mail. :) Thanks for complimenting my girl, she's really a cutie :)

    @Stefanie: Haha.. I don't think I'm successful, but I have my own standards for certain posts and I try to keep that standard high :) And I'm lucky to have such sweet followers like yourself :) Thanks, sis :)

    @-mztoots-: Wow, a month is awesome! You can see cities, mountains and enjoy some great time at the beach. And you'll love the food :) I really hope you get to see Taiwan next year. I think I'd do like you, I'd try to save as much as I can, cuz then you can enjoy your stay for a long time. Thank you for your comment and always welcome to comment again :)

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  17. wow MKL, this is certainly a super detailed entry on taipei. you are surely loving it - alot!

    well, i've never been to taipei so far.. hope to visit one day.. and when i do, i'll check out this post for some info! =)

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  18. @ken: Thank you. Yes, I do love Taipei, I find it a very interesting city :) Do use my posts, they will help you a lot, I'm sure.

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  19. Now, this _really_ is a labor of love. 很不錯啊!

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  20. ahahahahahaah in thw first picture you look as big as the tower....godzillaaaaaa....ninozilla lollllllll xD

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  21. Wow! An awesome post. Enough to make a confirmed Taipei hater like myself reconsider! Great job!

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  22. I died halfway reading this post because it too delicious not sure how to finish it all.

    1) I want to go to Taiwan!

    2) I should go there for my honeymoon. :)

    3) I think I need to prepare lot of money too...

    So how much did you spend roughly on your last trip if you don't mind to share.

    I would want to go there when it gets cold hehehehe

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  23. btw, the map is a great stuff! Its inspired me to do it for Kuching.... will see if my desire burning that long enough to do it....

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  24. @Manju: Haha.. yes.. I photoshopped that pretty well, didn't I? :P

    @Michael Turnton: Thank you. Taipei ain't that bad afterall, huh? :)

    @Netster: Hard to say how much I spent. Since I'm from Europe, my airticket would be more expensive than yours from Kuching. And Lily treated me so much during the trip, she was so generous :) If you ever travel to Taipei, just contact me and tell me how long you wanna be there and what kind of hotel do you fancy. I'll give you a rough estimate of your cost.

    Yeah, I love maps since I'm young and it was a pleasure to do one of my own. I scanned a tourist map, put the parts together and added some photos. The map supposed to be 50MB big initially, but flickr refused to upload :P So I had to make it smaller, haha. But it's still a good one, I think. I'd love to see a Kuching map made by you :)

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  25. O.M.G. Look at those food. Oh glorious food! (I sound like a food junkie :S)

    Yknow what... i doubt i can write something as good as this about Malaysia. What a minute, i don't have to doubt. I'm very SURE i can't do it. :O

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  26. @Mabel: Well, I liked Malaysia, too, when I lived there briefly, but at that time I wasn't so into blogging about food and travel. And I also didn't have a DSLR :) Maybe one day I will blog about Malaysia like this, hehe.

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  27. hey, i read about this on your girlfriend's post on the CCR board of ptt. welcome to the club :) this post reminds me of my first trip to taiwan to visit my girlfriend. you might be interested in reading: homepages.uc.edu/~childrn/taiwan

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  28. @ryan: Hello and thanks for welcoming me. I read your post as well, great photos :) Thanks for dropping buy and keep reading, I'll be soon in Taiwan again, well, end of year :)

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  29. This is soo weird....i could have sworn this article was in chinese yesterday...i distinctly remember the chicks boobs! :p

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  30. @Saby: Hahaha... of course it was in Chinese! It still is. I translated it in multiple languages (English, Slovenian, Simplified and Traditional Chinese) I would not want to trick you. Whose boobs are you talking about? :P

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  31. What, did you get a job in some marketing firm or something? What a giant post! And pretty good pictures you put in there. I've been to pretty much all of the places and tried most of the stuff there and I really, really miss it! Ah. Give it back. :(

    Only part of your article I haven't been doing is the night club part. But I'm going to, no worries. Very soon I hope. I can't wait, actually.

    Oh yeah: You do know that Yang Ming Shan lies within Taipei, right? Just wanted to point out because if you didn't go there already, I can definitely recommend. Also don't forget the hot springs. :>

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  32. @Sander: A giant post, but gave me the most attention ever, got like 10.000 hits in 3 days, because a Taiwanese celebrity linked to me :) I wasn't paid by anyone, I'm doing it purely out of affection for Taipei and Taiwan :) And I translated it in Slovenian, too, because Taiwan is pretty unknown here in my home country :)

    I plan to update the post, when I visit Beitou, Taroko, Yangminshan and some other interesting places in Taipei. :) I'm glad you found yourself here, hehe. We're both fans of Taiwan, aren't we? :)

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  33. Awesome post! Almost makes me miss Taipei :P

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  34. Hello Kafkaesque,

    Just wanted to say I really enjoyed reading your blogs about Taiwan! I'm planning my own short trip for January and this is an enormous resource for my planing. Question on one of your pictures: In your picture of Xinyi's pedestrian area- can you tell me where that is exactly? What mall is in the left and right? Thanks!

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  35. MKL 您好,
    我看了您的blog後,相信您對中文應該可以直接或間接閱讀,
    所以我就以中文回覆,請您見諒;
    真的很高興您喜愛台灣這個島國,
    您走過的地方也相當多,相信也留下許多美好回憶,
    也很歡迎您來甲木誌逛逛與留言,
    我也會常常去您的blog看看的,也很想多看看您那裡或家鄉的照片呢!

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  36. @Anonymous.

    I'm sure Nino is going to come up with a nicer answer to your question in a moment, but I'd just like to put in already that the place with the bridge is almost impossible to miss if you go to some of the interesting places in XinYi District.

    The long pedestrian street goes from Taipei 101 and almost all the way to the nearby MRT station, only separated by some construction going on there. There's also a bridge going all the way, thus making it kind of like a two-floor shopping street. If you visit 101, you'll most likely run into this as well.

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  37. Thank you Sander Tams for answering my question! I cannot wait for my trip!! Just worried how to get around though since I speak zero mandarin! But I think I'll just have to wing it!

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  38. My gosh! This is so informative and useful! I just booked tickets to Taiwan next year, your post will definitely be a good reference for me by then! :)

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  39. Thank you everyone for the compliments and thank you Sander for helping someone with the info :)

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  40. Hey, I like your blog.
    As a Taiwanese I'm really glad that you love Taiwan so much.
    And I like the way you looked Taiwan. It's so interesting.

    BTW,I recently writing my dissertaion about how Taiwanese film and TV industries influence Taiwan's image to foreign people.
    I need some people who are from outside of Taiwan to fill in my questionnaire.

    In order to be respectful, I need to ask you if I can post a questionnaire link on your blog.
    If it is not suitble to post a link in your blog, that's fine too.

    Thank you.

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  41. @TsaiWei: Thank you for your compliments :) Sorry, at this moment I use my sidebar for various personal links and it's already a bit crowded there, so I can't link to your questionnaire. I wish you good luck with your dissertation, though.

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  42. I LOVE THIS ARTICLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  43. @Hipper: Thank you :-D Hope you checked the version in traditional Chinese, too :-)

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  44. Your article gave me a lot of things to think about. Living in Taipei for six years, they are certainly some parts which I consider differently from you. Writing my own thoughts about Taipei in my blog and discussing them with my readers, one gave me an interesting link to an article about Taipei: http://magz.roodo.com/article/2569 (it's all in Chinese, please ask your girlfriend for help, it's really worth it)

    It's like an anti-thesis to your article or, as you will, the insight view of people who live (and still love) Taipei and hope it will even get better in the future.

    I have no intention to spoil the fun and happiness about you promoting Taipei and Taiwan in all postive ways, they really deserve the attention, but also in Taipei, all that glitters is not gold.

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  45. @Dennis: Hey, thanks for your comment, I feel honored. Congrats on living in Taiwan for such a long time. You didn't spoil anyone's party :) I think you see Taiwan with different eyes than what I tried to show in this article. Clearly my post is intended for people to Visit Taipei (hence the title), not to move to Taipei and live there. Maybe I will write such post after living in Taipei for few years :) Here I just focused on food and sights, things a traveler might find useful and interesting. Everywhere I have traveled so far, I've seen many good and bad parts, even in Taipei. But when I travel, I try to enjoy myself. And I hope people, who chose Taipei as their destination, will have fun and focus on the good sides. That's all I tried to convey here :)

    Cheers!

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  46. Today must be my lucky day!

    I've been researching and reading up various posts/forums about Taiwan in the last 2 months, and none are as comprehensive as yours is, thanks so much. I envisage I will be spending the rest of my week digesting your insights, as I'm planning a 14-day DIY holiday in Nov. Current plan is to cover Taipei, Taichung, Kaohsiung, Kenting, Taroko and Hualien before returning to Taipei. Total 6 days in Taipei, and 2 or 3 days in each of the other cities. Would you mind if I come to you for further advice/questions after I've done up my first draft itin?

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  47. @M C: Thank you for the compliments. Unfortunately, I have no time to review travel itineraries. I get a lot of requests for this and I have to decline, I'm very busy and on a business trip now. Please use my blog as a resource and plan the daily activities with great care, I'm sure you'll have a great time in Taiwan. Good luck :)

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  48. Hey MKL, great info you have about Taiwan to such details, I'm grateful to have found your blog while I was doing my own study & research before making the trip to Taiwan.

    My latest 11-days itinerary trip in Taiwan is inspired by some of your sharing, http://malaysianbackpacker.blogspot.com/2012/03/taiwan-11-days-northern-and-central.html

    Thx again

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  49. @andrew lee: Glad to hear that and thanks for the compliments.

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  50. Nice pictures. Great information. I used this information when I traveled to Taipei and what I can say is a great experience for. It was really fun and I will be back again. I LOVE TAIPEI! Thank you for sharing!

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  51. Residential Interiors in GurgaonAugust 14, 2012 at 11:01 PM

    I had never visit there... But according to pics, it seems its a lovely place to visit...I had visited Paris only.Night at Paris was amazing!!!

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  52. The West side, with its narrow streets and road side vendors, is considered the bastion of old Taipei life, whereas East Taipei, with its classy malls, chic boutiques, and stylish restaurants and cafes, reminiscent of those found in Hong Kong, Paris or New York represents the city's metamorphosis into a modern and international city.

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  53. @SkyXHuang: Happy to hear this!

    @Residential Interiors in Gurgaon: Paris is not as exciting as Taipei ;)

    @Bradholister: You are spot on about this.

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  54. Wow I wish I knew of this blog before I went to Taiwan. I was only there three days and it did seem too short. Thankfully I had a nice young man help me organize my time and see a lot of great things you mentioned, like the temples and churches, night markets, Taipei 101 and of course the food.

    I also would like to mention one day I had a chance to see the Northeast Coast and Chiufen, both easy day trips from Taipei.

    I visited a lot of major cities on my last trip to Asia (Beijing, Shanghai, Seoul, Manila and Taipei) and if I exclude the Philippines because I am biased towards it, Taipei and Taiwan were my favorite places in spite of Taiwan being the shortest and final stay in Asia.

    There's a lot to love about Taiwan and you certainly point out all those things. I hope more people get a chance to visit this place. Thanks for your updates.

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  55. I love your blog more and more :)

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  56. Great blog! I'm glad you seem to be enjoying living in Taipei! I was actually born in Taipei but my family moved to Canada when I was 5. I'm going back to Taipei in a couple of weeks for a visit and your blog has really brought back some good memories. I will definitely use some of your tips and recommendations for places to check out!

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  57. Hi MKL.. thx a lot for this post. I currently living in Taiwan, I know Taipei and most of part of Taiwan as well. But this blog is good, give me something to discover more about Taipei. I like the post about old street and Yongkang street. I wanna be there next week.. LOL!

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  58. HI, great blog. It give me a clearer view on where to go during my Jan trip. Can i check what is the temperature right now? is it cold?

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  59. Thanks everybody for your comments and sorry for my late reply.

    @Anonymous: We have great sunny days this week, it's also quite warm, around 20 Celsius. But we used to have 3 weeks of rain. It's very unpredictable. So January might get colder again, around 15 and with rain.

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  60. Great article! You should consider doing a post about the upcoming SPRING SCREAM in Kenting. 2013 will be a big one. Lots of great talent.

    Here is a visual look back at some talent from 2012.
    http://www.upagainstthewall.asia/spring-scream-2012

    Cheers,

    Vigar

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  61. @Steven: I would love to, but my wife is just about to give birth, so we can't travel anywhere right now. I'm sure you'll take some great photos.

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  62. Hi, would you have a list of recommended hotel to stay? Say around USD100 and its near to the MRT station with shops/stalls surrounding the area? Hope I am not too demanding =/

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  63. @Anonymous: Sorry, since I'm resident here, I don't stay in hotels. Check Booking.com, they have reviews and ratings. :)

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  64. Thanks for all this information! It is super useful and i am going to Taipei soon:) I will use you blog posts as a guide!:)

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  65. I'd be happy to see a quarter of the places you wrote about!

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  66. @Anonymous: You're welcome :)

    @Rich Matheson: Oh yeah :)

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  67. Chanced upon your blog while researching on what to do/eat in Taipei. Thank you for compiling everything nicely! Your blog provides the most details and info about Taipei i can find that is in English! Cheers!

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  68. Are you a tour guide or can you be a tour guide for 11-12days?

    I have already booked my air ticket to Taiwan for this October.

    Just wondering...

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  69. @qinghui: Thank you for your kind words :)

    @Anonymous: Sorry, no, I am not a tour guide, although I know every awesome place in Taipei :) I have a job in a completely different field and no time for anything else :(

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  70. thanks for the post! superb!

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  71. Thanks man, followed your guide during my 12 days in Taiwan.

    Your blog is very informative and helpful to me and I believe to other as well.

    Thank you again.

    P/S: There are no more Shida Night Market (as of 21st Oct 2013). Pls correct me if I am wrong.

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  72. Thanks for such a lovely write-up of Taipei! We visited there last year, unfortunately we only had about three days, not nearly enough. I, too, was struck by the beauty of the people. I don't know if you went to Treasure Hill, maybe it was up there and I missed it, but it was another interesting side of the city.

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  73. Hi I just want to say you did a very great job!!! I'm visiting Taipei two days later and your blog is extremely useful ! Thank you for sharing this ! :D

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  74. Thanks, your blog has refined what was a well researched list of things to do & see in Taiwan. Happily I think I'd managed to find pretty much all of the must-see's but added a few from reading what you've said. We will be there for 7 days so we hope to cover as much as we can in that time.

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  75. Hey, thank you so much for informations about places that I definitly have to see in Taipei. I am lucky that I have two months to discover beauty of this city. My next trip will be Elephant mountain and Natinol palace museum. And I really wanna see their zoo, I heard that it´s biggest in Asia, am I right? I am just praying for nice weather, not so hot and not raining, haha. Thanks a lot again!

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  76. I am in love with your tips! You wrote about clubs, so I have to recommend Spark ATT which is soooo close to 101. Amazing parties, I love DJ Junior!

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  77. Hi there, i will travel to taiwan next week and your blog is very helpful. Im looking forward esp those themed restaurants and street food. are there any off the wall/weird places you can recommend?

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  78. Hi, MKL. We were in Taiwan from 12/09/2014 to 19/09/2014 and you know what? Your Taiwan travel tips were consulted by me in planing our trip the most compared to any other Taiwan travel websites! Love your Taipei blog most! We're from Malaysia. Thanks a lot and all the best to you and your family in Taiwan.

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  79. Nice guide with lots and lots to see! I hope I'll have time to go exploring more of Taipei soon.

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