Every country in Asia is beautiful, but Taiwan is special for many reasons. In March 2019, Taiwan was listed as the happiest place in East Asia. Taiwan has something that everyone can enjoy. 2.7 million inhabitants but also in other regions of the country. Activities such as whale watching, distillery tripping and the best foot massage you have ever had are not only in the largest city but also in other regions of the country.
Bring your appetite too, because there’s a super casual Michelin star dumpling outpost that you shouldn’t miss and maybe want to eat often. Taiwan is a beautiful country with beautiful national parks, white sandy beaches and a lot of history. It can also be really difficult to find information about things to see and do in Taiwan as it tends to be off the typical tourist trail.
The Taipei 101
The Taipei 101 is the most iconic building in Taipei and a must during your trip to Taiwan. And the elevator, which only takes 37 seconds to get from the 5th to the 89th floor, was the fastest in the world from 2004 to 2015.
On the 89th floor, there is an indoor viewing platform from which you can enjoy a spectacular view of the city from floor-to-ceiling windows. You can also climb the outdoor observation platform on the 91st floor, which is open occasionally when the weather is fine.
Beitou Hot Springs
Beitou Hot Spring, also known as Xinbeitou is just a 30-minute drive north of Taipei and is a popular place to escape the hustle and bustle of the city. Many people visit only for the day, but we would recommend spending at least one night in one of the many thermal hotels that have large, relaxing bathtubs that are fed by hot spring water.
Taipei has its own active volcano in its back yard, and because of the volcanic activity in the area, Beitou Hot Springs enjoys a steady stream of visitors and locals who love to bathe in its healthy waters. In Xin Beitou, mountain greenery and blowing sulfur fumes stimulate the senses. Directly opposite the train station is the Hot Spring Museum, a carefully restored Japanese colonial bathhouse that contains everything you ever needed to know about the history of the Beitou spas.
Taipei’s Night Markets
Taiwan is famous for its busy night markets where you can score a lot on clothes, shoes and other opportunities and finishes. But the best thing to do at Taiwan’s night markets is to try the delicious cuisine. You will find everything from the country’s famous smelly tofu to steamed buns, skewers, bubble tea, mango snow ice and everything in between.
We thought the best night market in Taipei was the Raohe Street Night Market as the food scene there was pretty incredible, check out these 5 Michelin recommended restaurants in Raohe Night Market. Tonghua Night Market is also an interesting night market to visit in the Da’an District, one of the best Taipei neighborhoods to stay at.
Try Stinky Tofu
Stinky tofu is a must in Taiwan and is exactly what it sounds like. You can find this especially at the night markets or at street side memorials, but not in restaurants, as it is usually eaten as a snack.
It’s easy to spot the stinky tofu stalls when you browse the night markets, just follow the smell of dirty feet and trash. Legend has it that smelly tofu was created in an accident during the Qing Dynasty when Wang Zhihe had an abundance of unsold tofu.
Hike the Pingxi Crags
The Pingxi Crags Hike, called Xiaozishan Trail on Google Maps is one of the best hikes that can be easily reached from Taipei in one day. Start with a hike on Xiaozi Mountain on the Xiaozishan Trail, which is a short but tiring walk on a series of concrete steps.
You start at the bottom of the stairs, right near the Pingxi train station. Here it goes up the stairs to the right. And when you arrived at a landing, you’ll see several steep stairs with ropes on each side to help you stay balanced. Take the stairs to the left of the little yellow sign.