Posted by: cj | December 3, 2008

A week in Taipei, Taiwan

I was born in Taipei but came to the States when I was 3 and haven’t been back since the fourth grade. Last summer, I went back to visit family for the first time in 15 years and was amazed at how modern and metropolitan it had become since my last trip.

Here are some hotspots I was able to fit into my week-long trip.

Shi Lin Night Market—Taipei is world renowned for its night markets, and the one in Shi Lin is considered the largest and most famous in the city. Night markets are pretty much a mix of street vendors and semi-indoor stalls that open around 4 p.m. and stay open well past midnight. You can find anything here and for cheap: clothing, dvds, jewelry, accessories; you name it, you’ll probably find it. Do go hungry; the food is the best. Some things to try:

toppings for shaved ice and lemon aiyu on the right

toppings for shaved ice and lemon aiyu on the right

  • num num num

    num num num

    fried chicken steak- the pieces are as big as your head

  • lemon aiyu – an icy, sweet and refreshing drink
  • shaved ice – with toppings ranging from fresh fruits to sweet red bean
  • bubble tea, with boba (tapioca pearls) – love, love, love.
  • grilled Taiwanese sausages
  • kebabs – pork, chicken, squid, the list goes on and on
  • oyster omelets
  • ohahmisua – oyster vermicelli in soup
  • sheng jian bao – buns filled with pork, mushroom, or cabbage
  • stinky tofu – I personally can’t bring myself to eat this, but it’s famous and a lot of people I know love it.

Taipei 101—Currently the tallest building in the world and hailed as one of the Seven New Wonders of the World by Newsweek Magazine. There are 101 floors of shopping, dining, private businesses and clubs.

Visit the observation deck at the top for panoramic views of the city and a self-guided tour on one of their handheld devices.

Danshui—A popular waterfront location north of Taipei that offers views of beautiful sunsets. Ferries run across the river and there are fine dining seafood restaurants and coffee shops. There’s a night market here too, and look out stores specializing in traditional handcrafts and arcades, where people can try to catch live fish with paper nets. You can also buy baby turtles for pets.

Danshui at sunset.

Danshui at sunset

Ximending—The “Harajuku” of Taipei. It’s a trendy pedestrian area for shopping, especially for shoes and clothes. There are more than 20 theaters and 3,000 vendors, and is a popular area for small concerts, album launches and street performances.



More shopping? Try the Taipei Underground Market and the Shin Kong Life Tower.

Nightclubs—There are several all-you-can-drink nightclubs, with prices averaging around 600 NT, which comes out to about $17.95 US. A friend and I went to Party Room in the Living Mall and I was surprised to find that the music was mostly mainstream hits in the US.

National Palace MuseumThis museum  has one of the world’s largest collection of more than 650,000 pieces of ancient Chinese artifacts and artworks, most of which were owned by China’s ancient emperors. The jade cabbage and piece of pork carved from jasper are among the most famous pieces.

Lin Family Gardens—An ancient Chinese traditional style mansion and garden with many pavilions, arches and ponds.

A bridge spanning a pond in the Lin Family Gardens.

A bridge spanning a pond in the Lin Family Gardens, located in Banchiao.

Stumble It!



  1. Aww.. I want to go to taiwan again!

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