12 UNIQUE EXPERIENCES IN TAIPEI, TAIWAN
Food - Culture - Entertainment - Traditions
enjoy this list specially curated for a memorable experience in a memorable city.
1.enjoy a food tour at the Shilin Night Market
The Shilin Night Market consists of two major elements: merchandise and more importantly, a local cuisine food paradise. There, you’ll find musicians playing on the temple steps, a sea of Taiwanese traditional food, fun carnival-style games and a variety of souvenirs and clothing stands to fill your luggage with. A night or two at this market is sure to guarantee the satisfaction of both your spirits and palate, be sure to try Taiwans’s famous Oyster Omelet (蚵仔煎), Stinky Tofu (臭豆腐), Bubble Tea (珍珠奶茶), and a fried bun (生煎馒头) or two (preferably two).
Opening hours: Monday to Friday: 4PM till 12AM, Saturday to Sunday: 3PM till 1AM
2.have fresh seafood at the taipei fish market
If you like seafood, you'll enjoy this place. It’s pretty straightforward: a supermarket that strictly curates fresh seafood where you can have a meal. There are many options, including precooked ones to take away, everything is quite tasty, but definitely a bit pricy compared to most restaurants in Taipei, however, one thing is for certain: you pay for what you get in a very positive way. Most places are cash only so be sure to bring that with you, as for seating areas, there are a few in the middle of the market but chances are you will eat while standing. Make sure to arrive early (before 10:30am) and preferably don’t go on the weekends as it tends to get crowded.
Opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday: 7AM till 8PM, Monday: 10AM till 6PM
3. Go tea tasting amidst the trees
Tea & Taiwan go hand in hand, so if you’re the type that likes to enjoy the occasional cup, or you’re a die hard tea fanatic, consider heading over to Wistaria Tea House near Da an Forest Park (alternatively search for another popular tea shop if this one doesn’t suit your aesthetics). Even when it’s crowded, there’s a ruling sense of calm probably due to the excess of green surrounding the area.
Taiwan has a health care system that encompasses and covers both western and traditional medicine. As such, traditional Chinese medicine is still widely practiced. If you don’t want to try your luck at the different concoctions that you might get prescribed to for different ailments (chronic diarrhea, back pain, .. ), a safer bet would be to try acupuncture or cupping therapy, which is believed to restore your body’s balance and increase blood flow, which itself has a lot of different proven benefits. You can even try a knife massage (48$) if you’re feeling more adventurous. Little side note, if you randomly stumble upon a massage parlor and fancy a foot massage, beware that they are also considered as a part of Chinese medicine and they’re more focused on intense grinding to get rid of tensions than the relaxing reflexology you might be used to.
5-enjoy CHINESE opera
Shows at the TaipeiEye feature a combination of Chinese folklore, opera, traditional dances and acrobatics. All are performed in colorful traditional attire and face painting accompanied by live Chinese instruments. It’s quite impressive and entertaining to both the eyes and ears and the plays are all translated into Korean, Japanese and English in the form of subtitles on one side of the stage. If you’ve never been to a Chinese theatre performance, this is unlike anything you might have experienced: think Circle du Soleil meets Italian Opera.
Most people would recommend the elephant mountain hike, and so do I: if you only have a maximum of one hour to kill. However, something better would be to stroll around the different trails that will bring you further into the mountain and surrounding vegetation where you will get to see Taipei from a higher vantage point. There are several options to pick from and I don’t particularly recommend one over the other, just see what works for you, personally I just randomly strolled around with one friend for a couple of hours until we decided to start going down instead of up. It was quite a memorable experience as we reached the elephant mountain at sunset and got to walk around the rest of the path during the night (all trails are illuminated by lamps), there was no one around and it felt like we were in the middle of a Hayao Miyazaki movie.
7.get your FORTUNE told BY BIRDS OR HUMANS
Fortunetelling is embedded into Taiwanese life and you can find rows old shops near temples or in malls undergrounds that offer this service. You can go near Longshan Temple (one of the popular temples of the city) and search for birds hopping along tables, choosing pictured cards for their customers, or you can go the more traditional route if bird fortune telling isn’t your thing and visit the underground mall beneath Hsing Tian Kong temple which is a very popular fortune telling spot for Taiwanese.
+A 20-minute session cost varies anywhere between 10$ and 64$.
8.FISH&GRILL YOUR OWN SHRIMPS
As someone who has never gone fishing prior to this experience, sitting down near a pool with some bait sounded like a weird idea, but when it comes down to it: it’s the same thing as hangout out with your friends at a cafe, just way more fun and tasty (and kinda weird). Taiwanese go with their friends and family, drink some beer, eat some shrimp, and enjoy themselves. The place will usually provide you with a net, a rod and some bait and will help you cook them on the BBQ, you can even add a few extra dishes from the menu. This is pretty unique to Taipei and chances are you’ll end up having lots of fun.
River tour over at Hualien if you want something more ‘natural’: link.
Average price: 15$ for an hour.
9.POTTERY CLASS WITH A BIT OF CHINESE SPICE
I don’t usually recommend ‘‘classes’ in my lists because they aren’t really specific to a country, I mean, sure a cooking class in a different country than your own is sure to be entertaining and unique if you like cooking but that’s a given. However, I will recommend this pottery class in particular because you get to make Chinese pottery (they also offer other types of crafts including embroidery), in a very inviting environment and you can shop around for some actual pottery or sip a cup of tea or coffee in their nearby shop, making it an overall very pleasant experience.
I enjoyed a great cup of tea, watched a movie (there’s an indie theatre there), magician and dance crew performances, bought souvenirs, did some window shopping and attended a photography exhibit, all in the space of an afternoon and 2 hectares of space at the Huashan 1914 Creative Park, which, fun fact: used to be a privately owned winery. Shops sell unique local items, and food stalls and restaurants are present throughout the park. The place is pretty popular and tends to get crowded, but people are very respectful of your space and you’ll never feel overwhelmed. There’s always something new and exciting going on so make sure to check it out more than once if you can. This is one of my favorite places in Taipei as it offers a truly unique ambience.
11.hang around in an art space
You don’t need to be a big fan of art to consider going to one of the many art spaces that Taipei has to offer: chances are you’ll end up having lots of fun either way because the art tends to be quite interactive and embedded in new quirky concepts that are sure to peak your curiosity. Most museums have english explanations and english speaking staff and the entrances are either free or very affordable. For a concise and tailored list of these art spaces check out this article: TOP 9 ART SPACES IN TAIPEI, TAIWAN.
12.Enjoy a breath of fresh air riding alongside the rivers of TAIPEI
If you look at a map of Taipei, you’ll soon notice that it’s actually crossed by a few rivers, and the area surrounding these rivers is colored in green. Most of these rivers are actually surrounded by riverside parks, and they make for very pleasant and peaceful small getaways inside of the city. I think getting around these parks by bike is the best way to fully absorb the beauty without having to worry about walking too much and getting tired. There are hundreds of bikes drop-off points at Taipei MRT stations and here’s a link that shows you how to rent one: Youbike.
Riverside parks in Taipei: list.