taiwan itinerary 2017 for foodie and culture lovers

Taiwan Long-weekend Itinerary for Foodies and Culture Vultures

Hurray, Filipinos are now officially visa-free when traveling to Taiwan! As reported by Philippine Star in this article, for the trial period starting on June 1, 2017 to July 31, 2018, Filipinos can stay in Taiwan visa-free for up to 30 days. With such a rich culture, mouth-watering food, and gorgeous landscapes, who wouldn’t be flocking here as soon as possible right? We know most of you are already itching to go, and some of you have probably booked your flights. So check out this Taiwan itinerary perfect for the next long weekend and have the (food)trip of a lifetime.


Maokong Mountain
Photo by Connie Ma | CC BY

Get a sweeping view of Taipei on your first day for a real feel of its landscape. Maokong is a town just at the edge of Taipei that is famous for its tea plantations and panoramic city views. Explore the town through winding footpaths that take you around scenic tea fields and quaint streets or just sit back and relax in one of the many teahouses.

How to get there: Take the MRT to Taipei Zoo, and from here take the famous Maokong Gondola up to the top. Each cabin has a glass bottom for truly unobstructed views and costs NT$50 each way.

Taipei 101
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The Taipei 101 is the city’s most iconic building, standing tall over the rest of the urban landscape. It’s designed to look like a bamboo stalk, and is a sight to behold from afar. But inside the building is also one of the most stunning views of the city. Climb onto the observation decks on the 88th, 89th, and 91st floors by riding on one of the fastest elevators in the world. If you don’t want to spend the NT$400 for this however, you can also enjoy the view in the highest Starbucks in the world. Take note however that visits here are strictly by reservation only with 1.5 hour-long appointment slot.

How to get here: From Maokong Mountain, take the gondola back to Taipei Zoo. From here you can take the 611 bus to the Taipei World Trade Center Hall 3 and walk to the 101 building. You can also take the MRT to Zhongxiang Fuxing station then transfer to Taipei City Hall station.

Raohe Street Night Market 
Photo by LWYang | CC BY

Some say the Raohe Street Night Market is the oldest in Taipei. To this day, it’s certainly one of the most exciting. Stalls start to open at 5pm, but it isn’t until 7-8pm that the street reaches its peak energy. Get lost in the food options, super cheap fashion finds, and festival games on the side of the road. We suggest making a shortlist of the food you want to try; but if you really don’t know where to start, go with the hu jiao bing or black pepper buns being sold near the main entrance. You won’t regret it.

How to get here: Take the MRT from the Taipei 101/World Trade Center Station to Songshan Station, and walk a few meters to the night market.


Yehliu Geopark
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The awe-inspiring landscape of Yehliu Geopark is one of Taiwan’s most iconic scenes. Tens of rock formations that look like giant mushrooms and candlesticks stand side by side and create an atmosphere that almost looks out-of-this world. It’s also right by the sea, adding to the unique texture of the place. The park itself is not that big, being only 1.7 kilometers long, but make sure to allot time for all the photo ops!

How to get here: Go the KoKuang window at the Taipei West Bus Station Terminal A and take a 90 minute ride to park. Tickets cost NT$96.

Maji Maji Square
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Maji Maji Square is an urban mecca in the Zhongshan District of Taipei. It’s a food court, design hub, events place, and international melting pot in one. Enjoy the gourmet cuisines focused on locally grown and organic ingredients. Stock up on artisanal products like ceramics, vintage home accessories, and unique fashion finds. Or take part in the music from live performers filling the halls. Whether you enjoy these in the hip, al-fresco food court or in the outdoor lawns surrounding the market, it’s a truly local experience that’ll make you feel the city’s spirit. Maji Maji Square is open from 12NN to 9PM daily.

How to get here: From Yehliu Geopark, take the bus back to Taipei West Bus Station Terminal A. From here take the 287 Bus to Tatung University and walk a few meters to Maji Maji.

Elephant Mountain 
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For sunset, tackle the relentless uphill climb on Elephant Mountain and get stunning view of Taipei bathed in golden light. The 15-20 minute hike is ideal for people of all fitness levels, thanks to the stairs leading the way to the top. Whether you take the hike slowly or go with a burst of energy, it’ll definitely make you worthy of all the awesome street food you’re about to consume. Postcard-perfect views of Taipei 101 can also be seen at the top, making it a favorite for photographers.

How to get here: From Maji Maji, walk to the Yuanshan Station and take the red line to Xiangshan Station. From here follow the directions to the trailhead of the Elephant Mountain trail.


Lin An Tai Historical House
Photo by Wei-Te Wong | CC BY

The Lin An Tai Historical House is a 200-year-old structure that’s been rebuilt in the midst of urban Taipei. It once belonged to one of Taipei’s richest families, and a stroll through its grounds is like going back in time. Here you can get a good feel for the kind of life the old ruling class used to live. For the best experience, hire a tour guide who can explain all the architectural, astrological, and historical details abundant in the house.

How to get here: Buses no. 72, 222, 285, 286, 612, and 642 pass by Xingshen Park, which is a short walk to Lin An Tai Historical House.

Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall 
Photo by Tomas Fano | CC BY

No trip to Taipei is complete without a visit to the Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall. It was completed in 1980 in honor of the former president of the Republic of China. The building itself is simple, but no less imposing, befitting of the man’s former life. Inside is a large bronze statue of Chiang Kai Shek, and a museum documenting his life and achievements.

How to get here: From Lin An Tai Historical House, walk a few hundred meters to the Yuanshan Station. Take the red line towards Xiangshan and get off at the Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall station.

Longshan Temple
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The Longshan Temple is one of the most famous and most loved temples in Taipei. Since its construction in 1738, locals have continuously made renovations and improvements to the temple. It’s most remarkable quality is its ornate architecture, filled with Buddhist symbolisms and other Chinese deities. A visit here isn’t only a chance to see classical Taiwanese architecture, but also a chance to feel the soul of the Taiwanese.

How to get here: From the CKS Memorial Hall, walk to the Xin Yi Linsen Road Entrance and take the no. 38 bus towards General Market. Get off at the Longshan Temple stop and walk a few meters to the temple.

Dihua Street
Photo by Alexander Synaptic | CC BY

Dihua Street is one of the oldest streets in Taipei. This is evident in the well-preserved 1800’s-era buildings that are still fully functional to this day. Stroll along its entire stretch to get a feel for the bustle of rustic Taipei. The street is lined with shops selling Chinese herbs, fresh and dried fruits, and produce, as well as more modern hipster clothing shops. You can try dinner at any of the sidewalk eateries, known for their full flavors and super cheap costs. Those looking for love might also want to venture to the City God Temple, an ancient matchmaking temple where singles pray to find their other halves. (It’s full of modern-day success stories too!)

How to get here: Walk to the Longshan Temple bus stop in Kang Ding and take the no. 601 towards Tian Mu. Get off the Yanping and Changan Intersection stop and walk a few hundred meters to Dihua Street.


Thermal Valley
Photo by Charles Luk | CC BY

The enthralling jade waters of the spring in Thermal Valley may look inviting, but bodily contact with it is strictly forbidden. If the steadily rising steam is any indication, the water temperature in this spring is almost 100 degrees Celsius and has a sulphuric quality. But while it’s not ideal for dipping, the grounds are lined with walkways, which allow you to appreciate the spring from different angles and to enjoy the rest of the peaceful and relaxing environment.

How to get here: Take the MRT Danshui Line to Xinbeitou Station. From here walk, in the direction of Beitou Hot Spring Museum to get to the Thermal Valley entrance.

National Palace Museum
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History buffs and culture vultures would love the National Palace Museum for its extensive collection of Chinese artefacts as well as in-depth displays on the history of the Republic of China. The 4-story museum has 2 exhibition halls, plus an adjoining garden, and a museum on Chinese aborigines. It’s a great way to learn the evolution of Taiwan as we know it today.

How to get here: From Beitou Park, take the no. 218 bus to Shilin and walk to the Shilin Zhan MRT station. From the station, take the no. 255 shuttle towards Dalun Wei Shan and get off at the National Palace Museum stop.

Shilin Night Market
Photo by Eduardo M.C. | CC BY

Shilin Night Market is arguably the largest and most popular night market in Taiwan – and for good reason. It’s bustling with life from the opening of the first stall to well past midnight. The food choices here are also exciting, if not a little overwhelming, thanks to the sheer number of choices plus all the people you have to elbow out of the way. Shilin Night Market has a plethora of local delicacies and unique recipes created by the vendors themselves. Fan favorites include oyster omelet, giant fried chicken steak, and of course, stinky tofu.

How to get here: From National Palace Museum, walk to the museum bus stop and take the no. 304 Chengde towards Tan Qian. Get off at the MRT Jiantan Zhan Station and walk to Shilin Night Market.

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