We decided to make a week long visit to Taipei, Taiwan as our big trip of the year. We’ve heard great things about it’s food, culture, people, and weather this time of the year. Below is a brief guide of some of our experiences there. After spending a week there, we want to go back as soon as possible!
Shangri-La’s Far Eastern Plaza Hotel, Taipei is a great place to make your hub while exploring Taipei. Even if you don’t stay there, it’s a great place to visit for a view of the city from one of it’s top floors for Afternoon Tea, or a relaxing evening listening to live music in one of their bars. We had the pleasure of staying in a Horizon Premier Room which was a luxurious and relaxing experience with views of the famous 101 World Trade Center and a bathtub looking over the city. Breakfast is included in your stay with a buffet or both Eastern and Western choices as well as a fresh fruit juice bar which we loved!
Kimpton Da An Hotel is a posh boutique hotel located in Central Taipei. Once you step into the hotel you feel serene as if you stepped into a urban sanctuary. The service is very attentive in helping you feel at home and to make the most of your time there. Our room had the most modern amenities and thoughtful designs to make the best use of the space. Their location is perfect for a short stroll to restaurants and shopping or to take the subway to other parts of Taipei.
Ibuki is located in Shangri-La Hotel where they feature authentic multidiscipline Japanese cuisine – Kaiseki, Teppanyaki, Sushi and Tempura. We had a delicious lunch there to try their Teppanyaki offerings where the chef’s cook live directly in front of us and deliver the food straight from the stove to our plate.
The Tavernist is a unique destination of its own. Located in the Kimpton Da An Hotel, they serve breakfast, afternoon tea, dinner, with a bar that stays open late for evening drinks. We made a visit for afternoon tea where they offer a variety of sweet and savory options as well as tea or cocktails. The menu consists of many staple items with an asian twist such as their Taro Fries with Chicken Fat Mayo.
Night Market Eats has a list as long of things to eat. The hundreds of stalls around the city serve almost everything you can think of with sweet and savory choices. Some things we tried were: stinky tofu (a Taiwanese speciality!), all kinds of fried food, noodles, rice balls, and so much more!
Some other name worthy foods to try:
Mango Ice Dessert– served year round but especially delicious if you visit in the summer!
Beef Noodle Soup– there are several Michelin Star rated places that serve this famous Taiwanese dish.
Stinky Tofu– It’s as special as it sounds: some people love it some people hate it but you won’t know until you try for yourself!
Soup Dumplings (Xiao Long Bao): The most famous place is Ding Tai Fung but there are many other restaurants that make excellent dumplings as well.
Hot Pot: Tons of places around the city with all types of different selections. Make sure to get some seafood! Taiwan is an island after all.
See and Do
Shrimping is becoming a popular pass time in Taiwan. Shrimps are placed into a large pool like area and you pay by the hour to catch as many as you can! Cook them afterwards to enjoy with a beer.
Elephant Mountain is a great place to get some exercise (climbing a lot of stairs!) and boasts an amazing view of the city and 101 Taipei. Easy to get to and surrounded by lush tropical greenery the whole way!
Jiufen and Shifen are both mountain towns that make for great day trips from Taipei. Experience the small town feel filled with good eats, sipping tea, quieter moments, and fresh mountain air. Don’t forget to write some well wishes on a lantern in Shifen and send it into the sky!
Taipei Zoo is big and cheap! Tickets are less than $5 per person and there’s tons of animals to see including their two giant pandas!
Yehliu Geopark is an hour away from Taipei and an interesting place for a visit. Next to the coast, geological rock formations have been created through the years to form eerie towers.
Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall is a great place for a visit to walk around their beautiful gardens and to see their changing of the guards that happen every hour.