Taipei in 5 Days
Taipei is the capital of Taiwan, an island in East Asia. The city is known for its bustling night markets and street food. Being under the Japanese rolling for 50 years, there is a strong Japanese influence in the architecture, culture and food in Taiwan. Mandarin is the dominant language and the city speaks very little basic English. Weather is dependant on the seasons and be sure to check out the 8th tallest building of the world in this city (Taipei 101). Currency used is New Taiwan Dollar (TWD).
Arriving in Taipei
Most of us will arrive at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport (TPE). The journey from the airport to the city takes about 45 minutes, accessible by cars, taxi, buses and trains (MRT - NEW!). A taxi trip to the city would cost about TWD1,200. Alternatively, you could hop on the train. Unfortunately, we are unable to advise on the cost of train as it was free during the trial stage when we were there. Expect about TWD200 for train.
The airport is nice and comfortable. You would be able to find some bites when you arrive from groceries shops to Subway which is available at the airport.
Google maps work very well in Taipei. If you do neither speak nor read mandarin, a wifi router is highly recommended. You could rent it online and collect it from Taipei airport.
Get yourself the MRT card. The card itself cost TWD100 with no value in it. We topped up TWD400 each for 5 days trip and that is sufficient. Each trip will cost you TWD20-35 depending on the distance. This card could also be used for busses, and purchases in convenient stores which makes it easy to fully utilise the full amount.
All taxis are metered. However, with the drivers speaking and reading very little English, I would strongly recommend having your destination written in Mandarin before boarding.
Taipei is a friendly and inclusive city. They would be very happy to point you to the right direction.
Where to Stay?
We stayed in Ximending, nearest station Ximen. This is a young and hip area and heaven for street food. You will never be hungry if you stay in Ximen area. I am sure you have heard of the XXL Chicken, Torched Beef, Grilled Mochi and lots more. Ximending is where you will find them all.
Also to note that Ximending is where the LGBT bars and clubs are. Hotels recommended would be Midtown Richardson, In-house Hotel and Swioo Hotel.
Touring the city, we would also consider staying in the district of Yongkang. This is nearer to Taipei 101 and the area is lined up with beautiful small cafes and ice desserts which was a little lacking. The nearest MRT would be Dongmen.
The next alternative would be along Taipei Main Station, simply because it is an interchange. It is linked to a giant mall and this is also where you connect to the Airport MRT.
4 Days Itinerary
Arrive at 8am
Breakfast at Yonghe Chinese Breakfast (Beancurd and YuTiao)
Walk to Longshan Temple
Lunch at Zhongxiao Fuxing (SOGO/Breeze Centre)Check In Hotel
RestRaohe Night Market
Check out Taipei 101Drinks at Marsalis Home Bar
Old City of Jiufen
Explore Daan District
Dinner at Ximending Street Food
Explore Yongkang District
Hike Elephant Mountain
Dinner at Ikki Japanese Restaurant
Drinks along Red House, Ximen
Morning Coffee at Starbucks Ximen
Journey to Ruifang, Beitou
Lunch at Xinbeitou
Hot Spring Grand View Resort
Shilin Night Market
Walk around Ximen
Head to Airport