Taiwan is the best kept secret in Asia, and is a great destination to travel. But if you come to Taipei on a business trip or layover, what are the best things to see and do in the city with limited time?
Below we have laid out what we feel are the best one day itineraries in Taipei for those coming to Taiwan for the first time.
Brief Historical Background of Taipei:
The land on which Taipei now stands on what was once part of Basay tribal land. The Basay people had lived on the land for thousands of years before the first Chinese settlers ever came.
Chinese settlers from Fujian began living here during the Dutch rule in the 1600s.
The first Chinese settlers came to the area in the mid-1800's during the Qing Dynasty. They created a public area for drying rice and grain, called Dadaocheng (大稻埕) which also became the central market in the area.
The earliest trading shops were built in 1851, mainly selling rice, sugar, camphor, and tea. Dihua Street (迪化街) was created around this time, making it the oldest street in Taipei. Most of the buildings were one story and made of red brick in Fujian style, and later western style houses were built. The walls and gates of Taipei were completed in 1884.
In 1891, the first train connecting Keelung and Taipei was completed.
During the Japanese era, in 1904 the walls of Taipei were destroyed after less than 30 years, and Taipei was re-planned into the capital of Taiwan.
After the ROC took control of Taiwan, Taipei continued as the capital city, as well as the financial hub of Taiwan. During the Taiwan miracle, many rural families moved from southern Taiwan to factories and offices in Taipei, making Taipei the most populous urban area in Taiwan.
Currently, Taipei is the most advanced and affluent city in Taiwan. It also has Taiwan's most advanced public transportation system, making it easy for millions of commuters to live outside the city where rents are cheaper. Now, most of Taiwan's economic activity is based in this city.
Basic Taipei Travel Tips:
When should you go to Taipei?
In my opinion, the best weather in Taipei is from March-May, and October - November, when the temperatures stay around 26 degrees Celsius and there is not as much rain.
Summers are also nice, with the most sunny weather, but also hot and rainy.
Winters can be cold (but not below freezing) and usually wet.
Overall, there is no wrong answer as to what time of year you should visit Taipei. You will have a great time here at any time of year.
Hotels in Taipei:
High end: We have stayed at and recommend the Yuanshan Grand Hotel, once the tallest building in Taiwan and still the most grand (book on Booking.com here, Tripadvisor here, or Agoda here). We have also stayed at and recommend the Grand Hyatt (book on Booking.com here, Tripadvisor here, Agoda here, or Hotels.com here), Marriot (book on Booking.com here, Tripadvisor here, Agoda here, or Hotels.com here), Sheraton (book on Booking.com here, Tripadvisor here, Agoda here, or Hotels.com here), Shangri-la (book on Booking.com here, Tripadvisor here, Agoda here, or Hotels.com here), and Regent (book on Booking.com here, Tripadvisor here, Agoda here, or Hotels.com here), which are all very high quality hotels in the middle of Taipei City.
We also recommend Fullon Hotel which has locations in Tamsui and Fulong near the beach (book on Booking.com here, Tripadvisor here, Agoda here, or Hotels.com here).
Budget Hotels: We have stayed at and also recommend Fu Chang Hotel in Ximending, which is within walking distance of Ximending shopping district (book on Booking.com here, Tripadvisor here, or Agoda here). We have also stayed at and recommend Hai Xia Your Home which is right in front of Fulong Beach (book on Booking.com here, Tripadvisor here, Agoda here, or Hotels.com here).
Looking for a hotel? We recommend booking through Booking.com here, which provides the best quality selection of accommodation in Taiwan.
Find out where to stay in our Taiwan hotels guide or search for the best hotel deals in Taiwan here.
Tours in Taipei:
There are many tour itineraries that you can enjoy in Taipei that will take you to multiple destinations and arrange transportation. For more information, you can check out Tripadvisor here, KKday here or Klook here, which are both great tour websites that can connect you with the right tour and tour guide for you.
Here are some of the most popular tours of Taipei on TripAdvisor:
Attractions in Taipei:
There are many attractions that you can enjoy in Taipei such as Taipei 101 Observatory, Taipei 101 460 Skyline Observatory, Taipei Children's Amusement Park, Maokong Gondola, National Palace Museum, Yehliu Ocean World, Yehliu Geopark, National Museum of Marine Science and Biology, i-ride 5D cinema, Astronomical Museum, Miniatures Museum of Taiwan, Double Decker Sightseeing Bus, Miramar Ferris Wheel Ticket, Taipei Zoo, Heping Island Park, Ju Ming Museum, Yuanshan Hotel Secret Road, National Taiwan Museum, New Taipei Gold Museum, Futian Leisure Farm, Chiang Kai-shek Shilin Residence, Chi Po-lin Museaum, Beitou Museum, Tsao Wonderland, Railway Museum, Fort San Domingo, 13 Levels Archaeology Museum, Austin Land, Museum of World Religions, Formosan Aboriginies Museum, ASE Parent-child Park, teamLab Future Park, Yukids Island, VR Experience, Bat Cave, Neidong Waterfall, Candlestick Islet, Jurassic Snow Park, Zhonghe High5 Amusement Park, Longshan Temple, Xingtian Temple, Ningxia Night Market, Yansan Night Market, Meteor Garden, Yingge Old Street, and many more attractions on Tripadvisor here, Klook here, or KKday here.
Activities in Taipei:
Don't forget that there are many activities available in Taipei such as Indoor Skiing, Rock Climbing, Hiking, Wakeboarding, Surfing, Speedboat Surfing, SUP / Paddle Boarding, Diving, Snorkeling Kayaking, Canoeing, Water Biking, River Tracing / Canyoneering, ATVing, Horse Riding, Cooking Class, Archery, Ice Skating, Roller Skating, Tree Climbing, Urban Camping, Glamping, Motorcycling, Motorbike Tour, Dragon Boat Racing, Escape Room, Shen'ao Rail Bike, Laser Gun Experience, Batting Cages, Bowling, Paintball, Flight Simulation Experience, Taipei Tram Driving Experience, Rail Simulation Experience, Taipei 101 Observation Deck activity, Strawberry Picking, Professional Photo Shoot, Body Relaxation SPA, Night Tour, Calligraphy Workshop, and more on Tripadvisor here, Klook here, or KKday here.
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You can click here to receive $5 USD on your first Klook purchase.
How to get there:
The only way to get to Taiwan is via airplane. Planes leave daily from Taipei's Songshan and Toayuan Airport.
Taoyuan Airport: Taoyuan is Taiwan's largest airport and typically has cheaper flights and more flight times to choose from. It's about an hour's journey from Taoyuan Airport to the center of Taipei. You can travel via MRT, HSR, bus, or taxi to get to Taipei.
You can get 30% off the Taoyuan Airport VIP lounge on KKday here.
Songshan Airport: Songshan is a small airport in Taipei's city center, and can be a convenient option for people traveling within Asia. The airport is right on the Taipei MRT brown line.
You can book cheap flights to Taiwan on KKday here, Trip.com here, CheapO Air here, or Kiwi here.
How to get around in Taipei:
Taipei's transportation system is convenient and safe. There are many options you can consider to get around in Taipei below:
By Train: Gets you to the city center of all major cities in Taiwan. It is about 800NT to get from Taipei to Kaohsiung. Roughly half the price of the HSR. Book tickets via the normal train (TRA) on Klook here.
By HSR: (High-Speed Rail) – Gets you quickly from north to south. Besides Taipei and Kaohsiung, most of the stations are far from city centers. It costs about 1500NT to get from Taipei to Kaohsiung. You can book tickets to the high-speed rail (HSR) on Klook here or KKDay here.
By MRT: (Mass Rapid Transit, Metro train, subway) – Easily gets you around Taipei and Kaohsiung. You can purchase a discount easy card to use on the MRT from Klook here or KKday here. You can also book an MRT travel pass on Klook here.
By Bus: Buses can be tricky. Long-range buses such as Ubus and King Bus are easier to understand and cheaper than the local train. They can take you to the city center of every city throughout Taiwan and to remote tourist destinations such as sun moon lake. A long-range bus from Taipei to Kaohsiung is about 500 NT. You can also book tickets to travel to Shifen via inter-city bus on Klook here. You can also book a Taipei Sightseeing: Hop On, Hop Off Open Top Bus on TripAdvisor here.
By Taxi: You can take short rides for about 150 NT, or hire a Taxi for a day for around 150 USD.
By Car: If you are looking for car rentals, you can also search Qeeq here, Klook here, or KKday here. You can also check out our car rental guide here.
By Scooter: Looking for scooter rental in Taipei? You can search on Klook here or KKday here to search for options. You can also check out our scooter rental guide here.
By Bicycle: Cycling is the best way to enjoy Taiwan's landscapes if you have the time and energy. Looking for bicycle rentals in Taiwan? You can use Taiwan's many Youbike sharing stations, or search for rentals on KKday here, and search for tours on Klook here. You can also check out our Taiwan cycling guide here. â€‹You can also book a Sunset Riverside Bike Ride and Historical Tour, 4 Hour Cycling in Taipei, Ultimate 8-Hour Cycling City Tour, or Taipei City Bike Tour with Night Market Experience on TripAdvisor here.
For more information, check out our Taiwan transportation guide here.
Tourist Site Map:
Before we get started, below is a map of the places mentioned in this blog:
The Perfect One Day Tour:
The Perfect One Day Tour of Taipei:
1. The Taipei 101 （臺北101）
The Taipei 101 (aka Taipei World Financial Center) is the tallest building in Taiwan, standing at a height of 509 meters. It was the highest building in the world from 2004 to 2010 and is now the 10th highest building in the world as of 2019. It stands as an icon and symbol of Taiwan's economic prosperity and may be the most recognizable building in Taiwan. It also features an observatory on the 89th floor with some of the best views of Taipei...(read more)
88, 89, and 91, observatory floors: 600 NT (20 USD) per person. You can book a discount ticket on TripAdvisor here, Klook here, or KKday here.
101st-floor observation deck (in addition to 88, 89, and 91 floors): 3000 NT (100 USD) per person. You can book a discount ticket on Klook here.
You can book tours to the Taipei 101 such as 101 Top Floor Tour and Dinner at Din Tai Fung, and Din Tai Fung and Hot Spring Experience on TripAdvisor here.
Check out our full guide to the Taipei 101 here.
2. National Palace Museum 國立故宮博物館
The National Palace Museum (aka NPM) in Taiwan has one of the largest collections of Chinese artifacts in the world, and perhaps the finest collection of Chinese art in the world. The museum is open year round and offers tours in many different languages. It is a must-see spot for any foreign tourist visiting Taiwan...(read more)
350 NT per person.
You can book discount tickets to the National Palace Museum on Klook here or KKday here.
You can book a Taipei City Tour with National Palace Museum Ticket on on TripAdvisor here.
Check out our full guide to the National Palace Museum here.
3. Shilin Night Market 士林夜市
Shilin Night Market (aka Shihlin Night Market) is the largest night market in Taipei and also one of the most popular. Full of delicious street food, small hole-in-the-wall restaurants, souvenirs, and clothes, it is a great destination to experience Taiwan's night market culture...(read more)
You can book a Shilin Night Market Walking Tour With a Private Tour Guide on TripAdvisor here.
Check out our full guide to Shilin Night Market here.
Alternatives to the perfect one day tour:
The three places mentioned above should take you most of the day to visit. However if you have more time or do not want to visit the locations above, you can consider visiting the following places instead.
Liberty Square (CKS Memorial Hall) 自由廣場 (中正紀念堂)
If you don't want to spend all day at the National Palace Museum but still want to learn about Taiwan's history, you should visit Liberty Square (AKA Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall). It is one of the most notable landmarks in Taipei, as well as a symbol and gathering place of freedom and democracy. featuring a large public square, Chiang Kai-Shek memorial, opera houses, and gardens. It is officially a monument to the Generalissimo and President of the Republic of China, Chiang Kai-shek. Its iconic scenery and architecture are a must-visit for anyone traveling in Taipei...(read more).
You can also join the Classic Taipei Landmarks Day Tour on TripAdvisor here.
Check out our full guide to Liberty Square here.
Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall 國立國父紀念館
If visiting the former dictator at CKS memorial hall is not your thing, you can still visit Taiwan's National Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall (literally National Founding Father Memorial Hall) sits in the northern part of Xinyi District of Taipei, and includes a large open square and gardens. The inside of the memorial hall commemorates the life of the founding father of the Republic of China, Sun Yat-sen, who is revered on both sides of the Taiwan Strait. In addition, the memorial hall has a performance hall, free rotating art exhibitions, and changing of the guard every hour. It is definitely a sight worth seeing on your trip to Taipei...(read more)
You can also join the Classic Taipei Landmarks Day Tour on TripAdvisor here.
Check out our full guide to the Sun Yat-sen Memorial here.
Elephant Mountain Trail 象山步道
The Elephant Mountain trail (aka Xiangshan Trail) is perhaps the most easily accessible trail in Taipei with perhaps also the best views of the city. This popular and easy hike covers areas of Xinyi and Nangang District and offers excellent views of the 101 and the rest of downtown Taipei. It should be on the top of your list of places to visit in Taipei...(read more)
Check out our full guide to Elephant Mountain here.
Taipei Zoo 臺北市立動物園
The Taipei Zoo is not only the largest and most varied zoo in Taiwan, it is also one of the best zoos in Asia, and at the same time has an extremely affordable price of only 60 NT per adult. If you have time you should definitely stop by and visit this zoo, if not for anything else but to see Taiwan's ingenious animals like the Formosan Black Bear and Sika Deer which are hard to see in the wild...(read more)
60 NT per person
You can book discount tickets to Taipei Zoo on Klook here or KKday here.
You can also book a Taipei Zoo and Maokong Gondola tour on TripAdvisor here.
Check out our full guide to Taipei Zoo here.
Maokong Gondola 貓空纜車
Maokong is only one of a few Gondolas in Taiwan, but it is the most accessible. You can get there via the Taipei MRT. After embarking on the Gondola, you can view grand vistas of Southern Taipei, and then explore the mountainous streets of Maokong, which has tea shops, street food, restaurants, temples, hiking trails, and great views...(read more)
120 NT per person one way from Taipei Zoo Station to Maokong Station.
50 NT per trip for Taipei City residents.
You can book discount tickets to Maokong Gondola on Klook here or KKday here.
You can also book a Taipei Zoo and Maokong Gondola tour, a Chih Nan Temple & Gondola Experience, or a Maokong Tea & Shenkeng Stinky Tofu Private Day Tour with English-Speaking
on TripAdvisor here.
Check out our full guide to Maokong Gondola here.
Raohe Street Night Market 饒河街夜市
Raohe Street Night Market is a bustling night market in Eastern Taipei and one of the most popular in the city. One could argue that Roahe Street is the best night market in Taipei. With a large assortment of great food and snacks, along with the usual night market cheap clothes and everyday items, along with close proximity to public transport, Raohe Street is a must-see destination when you come to Taipei...(read more
You can book a 2-hr Raohe Night Market Walking Private Tour with a Tour Guide, or Taipei at Night: Din Tai Fung Dinner & Raohe Street Night Market Guided Tour on TripAdvisor here.
Check out our full guide to Raohe Street Night Market here.
Tonghua (Linjiang) Street Night Market 通化(臨江)街夜市
Tonghua Street Night Market (aka Linjiang Street Night Market) is a large night market in Da'an District of Taipei City. It's not as touristy as other night markets in Taipei, and you can find almost anything to eat here, along with cheap clothes and accessories. If you want to experience an authentic night market experience while in Taipei, Tonghua is the place to go...(read more)
Check out our full guide to Tonghua Night Market here.
Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more of our guides to Taipei and Taiwan!
More of our guides to Taiwan:
Also be sure to check out our guide to Taipei here.
You can also check out our full travel guide to Taiwan here.
Check out our full guide to Taiwan’s Northern Coast here.
Check out our family and kids guide to Taipei here.
Check out our Taipei Night Market guide here.
Check out our Taipei Museum Guide here.
Check out our guide to Taipei’s Waterfalls here.
Check out our Taipei hiking and trails guide here.
Check out our guide to the best beaches near Taipei here.
Check out our guide to the best day trips from Taipei here.
Check out our guide to Taipei’s Old Streets here.
Check out our list of the best views of Taipei here.
You can also check out our full travel guide to Taiwan here.
We are US Expats that have extensive experience living, working, and travelling in Taiwan. In our day, we had to learn many things about Taiwan the hard way. But we have come to learn that Taiwan is one of the best places in the world for Foreigners to live. Our blog does not represent the opinions of every foreigner in Taiwan. We are just trying to help others learn more about this beautiful country.