Travel Guide for Taipei First-Timers
Take a step out of your comfort zone and widen your horizons by traveling the world! Going to various places and countries will help you learn about different cultures and traditions, ultimately allowing you to expand your perspective.
So, if you want to satisfy your wanderlust and check things off of your bucket list, now’s the time to start. Begin exploring the world by visiting one of Asia’s beautiful countries, Taiwan. If it’s your first time traveling to Taiwan, then you should start touring the country by going around its capital, Taipei.
Although Taipei City might seem like a small area that you can fully tour within a day, you might be surprised to learn that there are various places to visit in this amazing city. You can also try different activities that will make your trip worthwhile.
To make sure that you’re not wasting any time once you visit Taipei, you have to prepare everything you need before packing your things and traveling to this amazing country. Here is a Taipei travel guide to help you get started.
Decide When to Visit
Before booking your flight and accommodation in Taipei, you should first decide when to visit the country. Although Taiwan has a typically mild climate, its typhoon season may not be too good for travelers like yourself.
If you want to ensure clear, sunny days while touring, you should avoid going to Taiwan from May to September. These months encompass the country’s typhoon season, which is characterized by frequent rains. Other days during these months can also be warm and humid, which is not ideal if you want to stroll around the city. Based on its seasons, the best time to visit Taipei City is from late October to March. During these months, the weather is cool and dry.
On the other hand, if you want to go to Taipei to see cherry blossoms, the best time to visit may be hard to predict. The cherry blossom season in Taipei may happen around February until mid-March, but the blooming of the flowers can happen anytime within this period. So, it’s best to look at weather reports for the cherry blossom season to determine when’s the best time to visit the city.
Book Your Flight
Once you’ve chosen the dates for your first-time travel to Taiwan, it’s time to arrange your flight. Usually, roundtrip flights from the US to Taiwan costs $800 to $1200 depending on where you are in the country and the deals you can find online. It’s up to you to find the cheapest flight you can find without sacrificing your comfort.
After securing your flight, it’s time to look for a way to travel to Taipei City. You should know that you most probably will be landing at Taoyuan airport, which is a few minutes away from the country’s capital. This means that you still need to travel for quite a while before reaching your main destination.
There are a few ways to get to Taipei City from Taoyuan airport. Some of the most common methods you can choose from are:
- MRT: The fastest way of getting to Taipei Main Station from Taoyuan is through the airport MRT. The fare costs about $6 with trains operating until 11:00 PM. Upon reaching Taipei Main Station, you can take another train to the station nearest your accommodation.
- Bus: Another way of getting to Taipei Main Station from the Taoyuan airport is by riding a bus for only $5. This option is the best if you’ll be arriving late in the evening. The bus schedule can be adjusted according to flights’ status, but it will be best to confirm it in advance before arriving at the airport.
- Private Transfer: For a more comfortable way of getting to your accommodation, you can book a private airport transfer in advance. This option allows you to go straight to your lodging from the airport for about $40 – 70, depending on the kind of service and car that you get. You can also coordinate with a travel agency in Taiwan that will take care of all your travel needs for a hassle-free experience.
Find a Place to Stay
Now that you have the means to go to Taipei, you should start thinking about where you’ll be staying while you’re in the city. Taipei has a range of hotels, hostels, and Airbnb hosts found in different districts, including the following:
One of the best places to stay in Taipei is Wanhua District, particularly the Ximending area. This neighborhood features an active environment, which matches the energy of the Harajuku district in Japan. You’ll also like staying in this district because there are several food options available here.
If you like to explore the city’s popular cultural attractions, staying in Ximending is also a good idea. This area is only a few minutes away from various attractions, such as Longshan Temple and Bopiliao Historical Block.
Another district where you should consider staying in is Datong. There are several tourist attractions that you can visit in this area, including the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), and Dihua St.
Datong district is also home to the Ningxia night market, which is an attraction that you shouldn’t miss. Although this night market is smaller compared to Shilin and Raohe, it still offers a variety of street food options:
- Deep-Fried Taro Balls
- Oyster Omelette
- Sesame Chicken
- Mee Sua
- Lu Ruo Fan
- Papaya Milk
Considered as the central district of Taipei, Zhongzheng is home to most of the government buildings of Taiwan. it is close to Taipei Main Station, making it a great place to stay when you visit Taipei.
Since Zhongzheng is at the center of Taipei City, it is also closer to several popular tourist attractions. Some of the tourist spots near or in this district are Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall and Huashan 1914 Creative Park.
If you are looking for a more modern neighborhood to stay in, you should consider looking for accommodation in the Xinyi district. This area of Taipei features various upscale shops, restaurants, movie theaters, bars, and Songshan Cultural and Creative Park making it a haven for people who are looking to spend money on souvenirs, luxury items, and a great experience.
It is also the home to Songshan Cultural and Creative Park, a former industrial plant where you can walk around and learn a little more about Taiwan’s history. There are also stalls that offer locally designed goods in the area.
Additionally, Xinyi district is close to Taipei 101. This means that you can visit the iconic tower anytime you want when you stay here.
Prepare Your Documents
Once all the details of your flight and accommodation are confirmed, you should start preparing the documents that you need to enter Taiwan. One of the most important things that you need to do is ensure that your passport is valid throughout your stay in the country.
If you are coming from the US, European Union, and other visa-free countries, you wouldn’t need to apply for a visa. This is only applicable if you’ll stay in Taiwan for less than 90 days.
Additionally, you might need to prepare extra documents to adhere to COVID-19 guidelines. Depending on the restriction level, you might be asked to pass a negative RT-PCR test to prove that you are not infected with the virus.
You might also need to secure special entry permits or valid Alien Resident Certificates (ARCs). Nowadays, the government of Taiwan also asks travelers to provide proof of their place of quarantine, along with a complete health declaration form and travel and contact history.
For updates and more information on the travel requirements you need, make sure to visit the Taiwan CDC and Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of China websites.
Ready Your Cash
Even if you have prepared your budget for your trip, you can’t use your US Dollars in Taiwan. you need to convert your money to New Taiwan Dollars before going around Taipei City.
What’s good about exchanging currency in Taiwan is that you don’t have to worry about any sketchy independent money changers. All currency exchange services are closely regulated by the government.
You can exchange your money at local banks, like the Bank of Taiwan, China Trust Bank, and South China Commercial Bank. Taoyuan Airport also has a currency exchange service, where you can exchange even your non-major currencies.
Create Your Itinerary
Now that you’re all set for your Taiwan trip, it’s time to think about how you’d spend your vacation in the beautiful city of Taipei. To make the most out of your visit, add these activities to your itinerary.
Explore Taipei City
Discover the wonders Taipei City has to offer by getting on a sightseeing bus, which is more commonly known as a hop-on, hop-off bus. This allows you to get on and off the vehicle as often as you want for the duration of your pass.
These sightseeing buses pass through the city’s most popular tourist spots, such as Taipei 101, Chang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall, and the National Palace Museum. Since you can easily ride and get off the bus, you have more freedom to go around Taipei City and visit different attractions at your own pace.
However, if you want to have a guided tour of the city, you should consider getting a Taipei day tour. Almost all packages offered by agencies include a guide who can bring you to attractions and tell you more about the history of each one. This kind of tour is especially perfect for first-timers who want to get acquainted with Taipei City.
Visit Night Markets
Taiwan is known for its amazing nightlife. Get to experience this by visiting Shilin and Raohe, two of Taipei’s largest and most popular night markets.
These night markets feature different shops and stalls that sell different items. You can also eat different delicious street foods when you visit Taipei’s night markets.
Take a Day Trip From Taipei
If you want to take a break from city life, why not try going on a day trip to other places in Taiwan. There are several agencies that offer trips to different parts of Taiwan from Taipei City.
One of the trips you can take is a Yangmingshan day tour. In this tour, you will visit Yangmingshan National Park, one of Taiwan’s nine national parks. It is known for its stunning volcanic geological features and different natural attractions, including the following:
- Yangmingshan Flower Clock
You can also opt to go on a day tour to Jiufen to learn about the culture in the northeastern part of Taiwan. This tour will take you to the picturesque Jiufen village, where you’ll get to experience its nostalgic charm and learn about its interesting history. You’ll also have the chance to marvel at different tourist attractions along the way, including:
- Nanya Rock Formations
- Bay of Two Colors
- Jinguashi Remains of the 13 Levels
Pack Your Bags and Experience the Beauty of Taipei City
Now that you’ve got everything prepared, all you need to do is ready yourself for the amazing time you’ll have at Taipei City! Make sure to have an open mind when exploring the city so you can appreciate the country’s interesting culture and tradition even better.
Also, don’t forget your camera so that you can commemorate your trip to Taiwan’s capital. Snap lots of great photos and show them to your friends and family when you’re back home!
Lastly, remember to enjoy your time in Taipei City! Try all the activities and dishes you can when you are in the city to make your stay worthwhile.