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Taipei is the national capital of the Republic of China, otherwise known as Taiwan. It is in the northern part of the island in a basin between the Yangming Mountains and the Central Mountains. It is, with 2.6 million inhabitants, the fourth largest administrative area of Taiwan, after New Taipei, Kaohsiung and Taichung. However, the Greater Taipei metropolitan area, which encompasses the central Taipei City along with the surrounding New Taipei City and Keelung, represents the largest urban cluster in Taiwan with nearly 7 million people. Taipei serves as the island's financial, cultural, and governmental center. (less...) (more...)
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Points of Interest in Taipei
Taipei has often been skipped by tourists in favour of its East Asian rivals such as Hong Kong, Shanghai and Tokyo, but those who take the time to visit Taipei and look around will soon find that Taipei is just as vibrant as any other major city, and is full of a certain charm which makes it unique in its own right. Just spend a day wandering around Taipei's streets and you will start finding many surprises.
- National Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall. The (中正紀念堂) is the famous symbol of both Taipei and the Republic of China. It is here that the nation's flag is raised every morning, and the huge court yard in front of the memorial serves as a place for both national celebrations as well as a platform to voice one's disapproval of the government. The memorial consists of a large bronze statue of Chiang Kai-shek, watched over by two motionless honor guards who are replaced every hour in a rifle twirling ceremony. Downstairs, there is a museum of Chiang's life, complete with his cars and uniforms. Even if you are not into memorials, the gardens, with their Chinese style ponds, are definitely worth a visit. The memorial has its own MRT station on the Xindian line. The grounds of the memorial are also a favorite place for locals to gather and practice martial arts, though you'll have to be there early if you want to see this. Most people begin their work-out at around sunrise, and will have left for the office before 8AM.
- Taipei 101 (Taipei 101 stn, MRT Red Line). (臺北 101). Officially known as the Taipei International Financial Center (臺北國際金融大樓), this 101-floor, 508-meter high skyscraper is in the Xinyi District of Taipei and is the second tallest skyscraper in the world. The tower is rich in symbolism; it was designed to resemble bamboo rising from the earth, a plant recognized in Asian cultures for its fast growth and flexibility, both of which are ideal characteristics for a financial building. The building is also divided into eight distinct sections, with eight being a number associated with prosperity in Chinese culture. The internal architecture of Taipei 101 is similarly awe-inspiring. Pay attention to ornate details on the structural beams, columns, and other elements. Taipei 101 is perhaps most notable for its feats of engineering. It was the world's tallest building from 2004 to 2010, as determined by three of the four standards designated by the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat. It also boasts the world's second fastest elevators, which will zip visitors up to the 89th-floor observation deck in a mere 37 seconds (cost: NT$400 for adults, NT$370 for kids under 12). It's worth taking a ride up, as the views are stunning. It opens 10am - 10pm daily. The best time to visit would be in the late afternoon when you spend a couple of hours and see both day and night views of Taipei. You can also go up to the outdoor observatory on the 91st floor (note that while it's possible to go to the outdoor observatory in a wheelchair, the view is negligible, as the concrete railing is too high to see over). Don't forget to look toward the middle of the building, where you'll see the world's largest spherical tuned mass damper (one of three) that keep the building steady. Attached to the tower is a large, up-scale mall. While the stores are unremarkable in that they offer the same brand-names as stores in other major cities around the world, the open and spacious design of the structure itself definitely makes it worth a visit. Located next to the cafes on the fourth floor is Page One Bookstore, which has one of the largest selections of English books in Taiwan. A supermarket specializing in imported food items is located in the basement. (See also the "shopping" section for more on the mall).
- The Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall (國父紀念館) is constructed in the memory of Dr. Sun Yat-sen who is the founding father of the Republic of China. The construction of the Memorial commenced in 1965 in conjunction with the 100th anniversary of Sun Yat-sen's birth. It was opened in May 16, 1972, with the majestic architecture and placid landscape covering an area of some 115,500 sq. meters. The park named Zhongshan Park marks the front yard of the Hall. On the inside, there is a 19-foot bronze statue of Dr. Sun Yat-sen, watched over the day by motionless military honor guards, along with a library of 400 seats storing over 1.4 millions books. The 100 meter long Zhongshan corridor links the main hall to the four large exhibition buildings where contemporary arts and historical articles are frequently on display. The Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall has grown into much of a community center, and is much less touristy than the newer and larger Chiang Kai-shek Memorial. There is an auditorium which has weekly lectures and seminars on aspects of art and life. It is also a popular site for public concerts.
- National Theater Hall (國家戲劇院) and National Concert Hall (國家音樂廳) - Located in the grounds of the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial, it is an are excellent place to see performances of a Taiwanese play or a dance troupe. They also host many international events. Taiwan's National Symphony Orchestra  performs at the National Concert Hall. The building's neo-classic Chinese architecture is especially stunning when flood-lit at night.
- National Taiwan University (台灣大學, or 台大<Tai-da> for short). Taiwan's pre-eminent institution of higher education, NTU is on the south side of Taipei. The campus grounds are surrounded by several blocks of shops, bookshops, cafes and tea houses popular with students and scholars. This is one of the main transportation hubs, as many buses stop here. While you wait for your bus, or before you go underground to catch the MRT, you can shop for clothing, accessories, books or trinkets. Browse through the stalls and booths directly across the street from the main entrance of the university (don't forget there is a lot more just behind the main street), grab a bite or two of the popular snacks, such as fresh fruit, spice-cooked meats, soy goodies, sky high ice cream cones, sweets, shaved ice, tapioca teas, fresh bread, and more. You can also sample the yummy Taiwanese fried chicken chain Ding Gua Gua. Try a "Gua Gua Bao," a flavorful sticky rice pouch. There are many American fast food restaurants across the street on the right of the University, right next to several wonderful bookshops. Nearest MRT station: Gongguan (公館) on the Xindian (Green) Line.
- The Grand Hotel. (圓山大飯店). A 5-star hotel near Yuanshan, it has been rated as one of the world's top ten hotels by the US Fortune magazine in 1968, although it is now no longer so reknowned. It opened in May 1952, and expanded several times before becoming the landmark it is today. The swimming pool, tennis court, and membership lounge were constructed in 1953. The Golden Dragon Pavilion and Golden Dragon Restaurant opened in 1956 and the The Jade Phoenix Pavilion and Chi-Lin Pavilion opened in 1958 and 1963 respectively. The main Grand Hotel building was completed on the Double Tenth Day of 1973, making it an instant icon of Taipei. And this hotel is a part of scene in the Taiwanese film - Eat Drink Man Woman by the world famous Director - Ang Lee.
- The National Palace Museum (故宮博物院) - The world's best collection of Chinese historical artifacts and antiquities. The museum is in Shilin. The nearest MRT station is Shilin (士林), with frequent buses from Shilin heading for the Palace Museum. Look for the displays on the buses. Some are written in English. It's a must-see for first time visitors.
- Shung Ye Museum of Formosan Aborigines (順益台灣原住民博物館), 282 Zhishan Road. Sec 2. Located opposite the National Palace Museum in Shilin.
- Hua Shan Cultural and Creative Industry Center (華山創意文化園區), 1 Bade Road. Sec 1. This former brewery has been transformed into a creative space in a park. The exhibitions here are well presented and imaginative and the theater performances, while less formal than those at the National Theater, are still first rate. The center also has a great cafe with outdoor seating, an excellent place to watch Taipei at work and play over a cappuccino.
- Taipei Fine Arts Museum (台北市立美術館), 181 Zhongshan North Rd. Sec. 3 (near the Yuanshan MRT Station on the Danshui line) . Open Tues-Sun 9:30AM-5PM. Adult admission NT$30, concessions NT$15. The museum displays work of local and international artists.
- Spot - Taipei Film House (台北之家), Zhongshan North Rd, Sec. 2 (nearest MRT Station: Zhongshan on the Danshui line) . This former residence of the U.S. Ambassador has been transformed into an art center that focuses on independent films. In addition to screenings, the house also has great cafes and restaurants that spill out onto balconies and into the garden. The book store offers a good selection of hard-to-get art/independent films on DVD, though for other movies, prices are lower at regular DVD rental stores. Open Tues-Sun, 11AM - 10PM. Admission is free.
- Museum of Contemporary Art (台北當代藝術館), 39 Changan West Rd. The, nearest MRT station - Zhongshan (on Danshui line). Taiwan's first art space dedicated to contemporary work. The red brick, former Taipei City Hall is easy to locate on an otherwise unexceptional road. Open Tues-Sun, 10AM-6PM. Admission NT$50.
- Taipei Artist Village (台北國際藝術村), near Shandao Temple Station, Exit No. 1, walk to Tian Jin St. and turn right to Beiping E. Road. . This village provides residency programs for Taiwanese artists and others from around the world. They provide gallery and studio space for artists. They also have a few cafes which are excellent for a mid-day break while exploring Taipei. The space is open during normal weekly business hours and you are free to roam around the village.
- Taipei Story House, ☎ +886 2 2596-1898. (台北故事館) – The house is in the same plot of land as the Taipei Fine Arts Museum (see above listing). . This tea merchant's 19th century European style house has been converted into a space for telling the story of Taipei and tea. There are permanent exhibits on these subjects as well as visiting exhibitions and the occasional traditional music concert. The patio serves as a tea garden, which offers pleasant views over the Danshui River and beyond. Open 9AM-6PM. Admission NT$30.
- National Museum Of History (國立歷史博物館), 49 Nanhai Rd, ☎ +886 2 2361 0270. This museum is in Taipei Botanical Garden, which is famous for its varied selection of exhibits, including Tang dynasty tri-color pottery and Shang dynasty bronzes. Open Tues-Sat 10AM-6PM, closed Mon. Admission NT$20.
- National Taiwan Museum (國立台灣博物館), 2 Xiangyang Rd, ☎ +886 2 2382 2699. (Nearest MRT station 'National Taiwan University Hospital' on the Danshui line.) – This museum is in 'Peace Park' (near Taipei Main Station) in a splendid Baroque and Renaissance style building. Opened in 1899, it was Taiwan's first museum and focuses on anthropology and the fauna and flora of the island.
- Miniatures Museum of Taiwan, ☎ +886 2 2515-0583. (袖珍博物館), B1, 96 Jianguo North Rd, Sec. 1. This is a small, private museum that is a monument to patient and steady hand. The 40 bulb chandelier, which is the size of grain of rice, is one of the many impressive pieces on display. Transportation from the Main Station on buses 307, 527, alight at Nanjing East Road and the Jian-guo North Road intersection. The museum is in the same building as Thai Airways. Open Tues-Sun 10AM-6PM (last admittance 5PM). Adults NT$180, concessions NT$150, children NT$100.
- Su Ho Memorial Paper Museum (樹火紀念紙博物館), 68 Changan East Rd, ☎ +886 2 2507-5539. Sec. 2. This museum was founded by Su Ho Chen, one of Taiwan's last few masters of papermaking, and who was killed in 1990 in a plane crash. You can enjoy exhibits about paper, and make your own sheet of paper here. Open Mon-Sat 9:30AM–4:30PM (Closed Sun and Spring Festival). Admission NT$100, NT$180 with paper making.
- Discover Center Of Taipei, ☎ +886 2 2757-4547. (台北探索館), 1 Shifu Rd. Located just inside the main entrance of Taipei City Hall, this is a good place to know the history and culture of Taipei City. Open Tues-Sun 9AM-5PM, closed Mon. Admission is free. Nearest MRT station is Taipei City Hall.
- Museum of Drinking Water (自來水博物館), 1, Siyuan St near the Tai-da campus. The Museum of Drinking Water was completed in 1908, and is the first pumping station and filtration plant in Taipei. The museum is in Taipei Water Park. (see Theme Parks section) Open: 9AM-6PM (tickets offer till 5PM), closed Mon. The nearest MRT station is Gongguan on Xindian Line.
- Beitou Hot Spring Museum (北投溫泉博物館). Was built by the Japanese as Taiwan's first public bathhouse in 1913 and it was the biggest hot spring bathhouse in East Asia in its day.
- Tittot Museum (琉園水晶博物館), ☎ +886 2 2895 8861. 16, Ln 515, Zhongyang North Road sec.4. Just east of Guandu MRT station on Danshui Line, this is the first glass works museum in Taiwan and Asia. Open Tues-Sun, 9AM - 5PM. Adults, NT$100, concessions NT$50, Group tickets NT$80.
- Daan Forest Park (大安森林公園) is one of Taipei's newest parks. The park rests on 26hectares in central Taipei bordered by Xinyi Road, Jianguo South Road, Heping East Road, and Xinsheng South Road. Due to its size and location, it is also known as Taipei Central Park. Bus lines 15, 52, 235, 278, 284, 20, 22, Xinyi Main Line service this park.
- Taipei Botanical Garden (植物園) – The gardens are nearest MRT station 'Xiaonanmen' on the green line between the MRT Ximen station and MRT C.K.S Memorial Hall station. This beautiful garden has inspired the citizens of Taipei for over one hundred years. The lotus ponds are a hallmark of the park and are especially captivating when the these symbols of peace are in full bloom and swaying in the summer breeze. The gardens are close to the National Museum of History. (see Museums/Galleries section)
- 228 Peace Park (二二八和平公園) – This park is on the north side of Katagalan Boulevard and the MRT station 'National Taiwan University Hospital' on the Danshui line. The park was founded by the Japanese in 1907, and was originally called New Park (新公園). The name was changed in 1996 to commemorate those killed in the 228 Incident of 28 February 1947. The park is popular with practitioners of taichi and senior citizens playing Chinese chess. The National Taiwan Museum marks the northern entrance to the park. (See Museums/Galleries section.)
- Zhongshan Fine Arts Park (中山美術公園) – This park is south of the Taipei Fine Arts Museum. The open green space and many stabiles are on display in the park.
- Dajia Riverside Park (大佳河濱公園) – This park is a 12 km long green belt on the south bank of the Keelung River. One of the beautiful banks in Taipei. Basketball, tennis, and badminton courts are available, as are bicycles for rent. The Red 34 bus between the MRT Yuanshan station (Danshui Line) and Dajia Riverside Park.
- Longshan Temple. (龍山寺) – This temple is where countless generations of Taipei citizens have come to pray and seek guidance at times of trouble. As the temple is dedicated to Guanyin (the Buddhist representation of compassion) it is officially defined as Buddhist, but there is a great amount of folk religion mixed into the fabric of the beliefs at this temple. However, if you want to feel the real heartbeat of Taipei, one that is far removed from the skyscrapers and shopping malls of East Taipei, this is the place to come. It just oozes with character, although don't come expecting to find teachings on meditation. The area around Longshan Temple, Wanhua, is one of the original districts of Taipei. And, while much of the traditional architecture has been lost, the area still maintains a traditional feel. It is here that the blind masseurs congregate to offer their skill. Likewise, this is the area where the Taiwanese come to learn who they should marry or what to name their children by consulting one of the many fortune tellers that set up shop along the roads and alleys around the temple. The temple is located at 211 Guangzhou Road (near junction with Guilin Road) and is open daily from 5AM to 10PM. The nearest MRT station is 'Longshan Temple' on the Ban-Nan Line.
- Red Theater. (紅樓劇場) – The Red Theater just sits directly outside the southwest exit of MRT Ximen station, near the Ximending shopping area. It was Taiwan's first modern market as well as a theater in Japanese rule before, now there is an exhibition hall and a small playhouse.
- Zhongshan Hall. (中山堂) – North of Ximen MRT station. The buildings were completed in the period of Japanese rule on December 26, 1936. In 1945, The former Taipei City Hall was renamed as Zhongshan Hall. In 1992, the building has been identified to Second monuments of the country. Later it was assigned as a cultural space that hosts cultural and art events.
In the South of Datong District, Dadaocheng (大稻埕) is a historic heart of Taipei. Dadaocheng, it can be literally translated as large open space for drying rice in the sun. There is one of the oldest communities in Taipei. Getting this old area, you can take the Danshui Line (Red Line) MRT to Shuanglian Station. From Exit 2, walk west down Minsheng West Road (about 15 minutes).
- Dihua Street (迪化街) – This street located alongside the Danshui River in Dadaocheng, rows of old shophouses from late 1880s hold Taiwan's oldest wholesale dried goods market. On Dihua Street Section 1, Xiahai City God Temple (霞海城隍廟) was built in 1859. City God (城隍爺), who watched over the citizens in the district and decided a person's fate after death. Today this temple remains the area's religious and social center, and one of Taipei's most important places of worship. Every Chinese New Year, Dihua Street is the most popular place in Taipei where local residents buy snacks and sweets for Chinese New Year festivities.
- West of Dihua Street and Xining North Road, there is a small, short lane called Gui-De Street (貴德街) (it was previously called Western Houses Street). This lane once fronted the Danshui River. In the 1880s, the world famous Formosa Oolong Tea came from a nearby wharf. At the time, many wealthy merchants invested in building along the lane in order to attract international trading firms. One was Chen Tian-lai (A.D. 1872-1939), a Taiwanese tea merchant, who was fabulously rich for his time. His home was one of the model Taiwanese residences on this land and his neo-Baroque home is still standing. (No.73 Gui-De Street)
Dalongdong (大龍峒) is at the Datong District's north end, north of Dadaocheng and is one of the oldest communities in Taipei. Baoan Temple and Confucius Temple are both famous historical sites located in this area.
- Baoan Temple. (保安宮), 61 Ha-mi St, the nearest MRT station is 'Yuanshan' on the Danshui Line. Construction began on this temple in 1805 and it was completed 25 years later. Baoan is a Taoist temple and one of the leading religious sites in Taipei. The temple's main deity is the emperor Baosheng, the god of medicine. The mural paintings and sculptures that adorn the building are considered some of the most impressive in Taiwan, and the temple won acclaims in the 2003 UNESCO Asia-Pacific Heritage Awards.
- Confucius Temple. (孔廟) - Just next to Baoan Temple, the Confucius Temple was built in 1879 when the Qing Court changed Taipei into a prefecture of the Province of Fujian, China. It was established to serve as the largest educational center in northern Taiwan. Every September 28, a large number of people from Taiwan and abroad come here to watch a solemn Confucius birthday ceremony and eight-row dance. The temple is located at 275 Dalong St, the nearest MRT station is 'Yuanshan' on the Danshui Line.
- Xingtian Temple. (行天宮) is located at the corner of Minquan East Road and Songjiang Road. The temple was built in 1967 and was devoted to Guangong (A.D. 162-219), a famous deified general who lived during the Three Kingdoms period, and he is an important character in the Chinese classic Romance of the Three Kingdoms. The temple forbids the killing of animals as an offering, so you will see offerings of only fresh flowers, fruits and tea on the main altar. Many believers feel that this is a very efficacious temple, and it is frequently thronged with people praying for help and seeking divine guidance by consulting oracle blocks. Outside the temple, the underground pedestrian passages under the Minquan - Songjiang intersection are filled with fortune-tellers and vendors who take commercial advantage of the temple's popularity.
Even though very little ancient architecture remains in Taipei, four of Taipei's five original city gates still stand. The city walls which surrounded the old city and the West Gate were demolished by the Japanese to make way for roads and railway lines. Of the four gates still standing, the Kuomintang renovated three of them in its effort to "sinicize" Taipei and converted them from the original southern Chinese architecture to northern Chinese palace style architecture, leaving only the North Gate (beimen 北門 or more formally Cheng'en men 承恩門) in its original Qing Dynasty splendour today. This gate sits forlornly in the traffic circle where the Zhonghua, Yanping and Boai roads meet.
- One day in Taipei - if you have only one day to spare and would like to catch a feel for the city.
Taipei has a semi-tropical climate characterized by hot and humid weather. The most comfortable season to visit is the fall, when the rainfall is at its lowest and the temperatures average a pleasant mid 20°C. February to April are particularly damp with little sunlight, while the summers can be very hot, but often punctuated by heavy thunder showers. Taipei is prone to typhoons from May to October, though the highest concentrations are in August and September. Winters can be quite chilly, with temperatures occasionally falling below 10°C at night, though snowfall has never been known to occur.
Hot Springs (溫泉)
Hot springs come in various brands in Taipei, ranging from basic, to plush spas at five star hotels. The basic free 'rub and scrub' type public baths are run by the city. Most hotels offer the option of a large sex-segregated bathing area that generally consists of several large baths of various temperatures, jacuzzi, sauna and steam bath and also private and family rooms (NB: the law in Taiwan states that for safety reasons, individuals are not allowed to bathe in the private rooms, and there must be at least two people). Some hotels also have outdoor baths (露天溫泉), which offer restful views over the surrounding country-side. Prices range from around NT$300 to NT$800. Public hot spring etiquette requires that bathers thoroughly wash and rinse off their bodies before entering the bath, do not wear clothing, including swim wear (though this is not the case for mixed-sex public areas) in the bath and tie up their hair so that it does not touch the water. Finally, people with high blood pressure, heart disease or open wounds should not enter the baths.
There are three main places to have a soak in the Taipei area:
- Beitou (北投)
- Wulai (烏來)
- Yangmingshan National Park (陽明山)
Hiking is a popular exercise in Taipei. The main hiking spot in Taipei is Yangmingshan National Park (陽明山國家公園). There are dozens of hiking trails in the park.
- Elephant Mountain Hiking Trail (象山步道) - A short walk from Taipei 101 in Xinyi District. Steep steps lead up into a shaded, forested hill overlooking the city. The entrance is poorly signposted. Elephant Mountain, about 200M high, is one of the Four Beasts Mountains, and paths from here go up to higher peaks in Nangang.
Festivals & events
Taipei hosts numerous festivals throughout the year, but as many follow the lunar calendar the dates according to the Gregorian calendar are inconsistent. Unless you possess a lunar calendar, it is recommended you check the Taiwan Tourist Bureau's events section before planning to attend an event.
- The Golden Horse Chinese Language Film Festival. This is often referred to as the Oscars of the Chinese film world, and while films in the awards section are all in Chinese, they have English subtitles and, there is also a large non-competition foreign language section.
- The Lantern Festival is a dazzling display of lanterns and lasers which runs for several days around the fifteenth day of the lunar new year. While the main city event is held at the Sun Yat-San Memorial Hall and Taipei City Hall grounds, Renai Road perhaps offers the most elegant display, with the whole tree-lined boulevard transformed into a delicate tunnel of lights. Pingxi in Taipei County celebrates the festival with the release of huge lanterns that float serenely across the night sky, carrying with them the dedications and aspirations of those who release them.
- Dragon Boat Festival commemorates the death of the Chinese patriotic poet Qu Yuan (born 340 BC), who drowned himself in a river out of despair that his beloved country, Chu, was being plundered by a neighboring country as a result of betrayal by his own people. The festival is marked by races of colorful dragon boats held at various locations throughout the island, with one of the best places to view a race in the Taipei area being the Bitan River in Xindian. Special sticky rice balls called zongzi (pronounced like "dzongdz") are also eaten on this day. The festival falls on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month.
- Taipei International Travel Fair, Taipei World Trade Center.
- Taipei Film Festival. (台北電影節). An international festival with two award sections – Taipei Award Nominees and International New Talent Nominees. Films are shown at several venues throughout the city.
- Children's Recreation Center. Is an amusement park located on Zhongshan North Road Sec. 3, nearest MRT station is 'Yuanshan' on Danshui Line. The center was created by city government in 1991. It has old-fashioned rides, folk art museum, IMAX theater and more. This place is great for younger kids.
- Taipei Water Park. (自來水園區) 1 Shiyuan Street is situated in Gongguan area and was newly opened in 2007. The park is built around the Museum of Drinking Water. Many facilities are all about water. The most popular are water slides and swimming spas. But the facilities are open only in summer (entry included with the museum ticket)
- Taipei Zoo. (台北動物園), 30 Xinguang Rd Sec. 2. Nestled in a tight, lush valley, Taipei Zoo has all the leisurely charm of a large park, but for your NT$60 you also get the enjoyment of wandering through trees and along lanes with a variety of animals and birds. Unlike many traditional zoos, the animals here are not confined to cages, but allowed to roam freely in open paddocks, and it is a very clean and well maintained facility. Furthermore, due to the city government's education policy, the zoo is very much an integral part of Taipei life. So much so in fact, that when an old elephant, Lin-Wang (林旺), became ill and died several years ago, several generations turned up, many with tears in their eyes, to say their farewells. The zoo is in the suburb of Muzha. The entrance is just outside the terminal stop on the Muzha MRT line, 'Taipei Zoo'.
Taipei probably has one of the highest densities of restaurants in the world. Almost every street and alley offers some kind of eatery. Of course, Chinese food (from all provinces) is well represented. In addition, Thai, Vietnamese, Japanese, Korean and Italian cuisines are also popular. Basically, East Taipei, especially around Dunhua and Anhe Roads, and also the expat enclave of Tianmu are where to clash chopsticks with the rich and famous, whereas West Taipei offers more smaller, homey restaurants.
Don't forget to go to one of the many "hot fry" (熱炒) restaurants in Taipei where the locals go to eat Taiwanese food and drink beer and Kaoliang. Be prepared for a noisy atmosphere, tiny seats, lots of empty beer bottles and excellent food at a low price.
Due to the sheer number of restaurants, it is almost impossible to compile a thorough list, but below are a few recommended restaurants catering to specialist tastes.
Night markets (夜市)
Several night markets (夜市) are located in each district. Some are open during daytime, and all are open until around midnight. Night markets consists of restaurants and stores at the permanent locations and little booths along the center. Every night market has a huge variety of food, so any night market you find is a good bet for good food. Because of the vast selection, the recommendation is to go with a few people and share the food. Vendor food is generally safe to eat, but use common sense though if you have a sensitive stomach!
The most famous one in Taipei is the Shilin Night Market (士林夜市). It is easily accessible via the MRT at either the Jiantan (劍潭) or Shilin (士林) stations. Locals in Taipei view Shilin as touristy, with food catering to the tastes of mainland visitors.
Another excellent option is Ning Xia Night Market (寧夏夜市) located near the Taipei Circle (建成圓環) and accessible via the MRT at Zhongshan (中山) station.
Raohe Street Night Market (饒河街觀光夜市) is also a viable option. It is a mere stone-throw distance away from the TRA-administered Songshan (松山) railway station.
Some of the best known night market snacks are:
- Oyster vermicelli (蚵仔麵線; ô-á mī-sòaⁿ)
- Fried chicken fillet (雞排; jīpái)
- Stir fried cuttlefish (生炒花枝; shēngchǎo huāzhī)
- Spareribs with herbs (藥燉排骨; yàodùn páigǔ)
- Aiyu Jelly (愛玉冰; ài-yù-bīng)
- Soy braised foods (滷味; lǔwèi)
- Tien Hsiang Lo, ☎ +886 2 2597-1234. (天香樓), B1, 41 Minquan East Rd, Sec. 2. (The Landis Taipei Hotel). Authentic Hangzhou cuisine. Reservations are recommended.
- Pearl Liang (漂亮中式海鮮餐廳), 2 Songshou Rd (Grand Hyatt Taipei), ☎ +886 2 2720-1200. 2F. Offers unique, fresh, live seafood and dim sum.
- Shang Palace, ☎ +886 2 2378-8888. (香宮), 6F, 201 Dunhua South Rd Sec. 2. (Far Eastern Plaza Hotel). Specialize in Cantonese and regional Chinese cuisines. Note: Dim sum is available for lunch only.
- The Pengs' Traditional Hong Kong Cuisine, ☎ +886 2 2772-9839. (彭家園), Guangfu South Road, Lane 240, No. 49 (Close to Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall MRT Station, Exit #2)., . Opened approximately 30 years ago, both the food and the decor of the restaurant have not changed since. Known for being more authentically 1980s Hong Kong than most restaurants in Hong Kong today.
- Din Tai Fung, ☎ +886 2 2321-8928. (鼎泰豐), 194 Xinyi Rd Sec. 2 (Entrance of Yongkang Street). Famous for its steamed pork dumplings. Worth a detour. Several locations in Taipei and worldwide. Gets very crowded even on weekdays so book in advance.
- Taiwan Pa, ☎ +886 2 2732-7010. (太玩吧), 1F, No.155, Sec.2,AnHo R.d. Business Hour: 8:00p.m-3:00a.m
(Mon.-Sat.)Famous for mix-Taiwanese tapas. Great collection of local wine http://www.chinapa.com.tw/taiwanpa/
- Peking Do It True, ☎ +886 2 2720-6417. (北平都一處), 506 Renai Rd Sec. 4. This is the place to go if you crave good Beijing cuisine. Visitors may be surprised to see a large photo of former U.S. President George H. W. Bush on the wall, taken when he ate at the restaurant during his trip to Taiwan in 1994.
- Yin-Yih Restaurant, ☎ +886 2 2341-7799. (銀翼餐廳), 2F 18 Jinshan South Rd Sec. 2. Dedicated to old style Yangzhou cuisine.
- Shan Xi Dao Xiao Mian, ☎ +886 2 2378-7890. (山西刀削麵), 2, Lane 118, Heping East Road Sec. 2. (@ Fuxing S Road, near Technology Bldg MRT station, is in an alley of Taiwan National University). Serving knife cut noodles, which are known for their chewy texture. As the name suggests, a block of noodle dough is held and the noodles are cut straight off of the block. Cheap and very popular, but no English menus.
- Yongkang Beef Noodle, ☎ +886 2 2351-1051. (永康牛肉麵), 17, Lane 31, Jinshan South Road Sec. 2. One of the top-twenty beef noodle shops in Taipei. Note: Yongkang Beef Noodle occupies the former location of Lao-Zhang Beef Noodle, which now located next to it.
- Kiki Restaurant (Kiki 老媽餐廳), ☎ +886 2 2752-2781. 28, Fuxing South Road Sec. 1. Just Opposited the Breeze Center, This restaurant serves authentic Szechwanese peppery hot pot.
- Soy Milk King of the World (世界豆漿大王), 284 Yonghe Road, ☎ +886 2 8927-0000. Sec. 2. Near the MRT Dingxi Station, located just outside of Taipei City, in Yonghe City. It's the original "Yonghe Doujiang" (from which all other places copied), it's open 24-hours and it's cheap!Soy Milk King of the World 
- Xian Ding Wei Restaurant (鮮定味), address (總店地址): 台北市長安東路一段67號(總店), tel (電話): 02 2567 3331. Near to MRT ZhongShan Station, just take a taxi to go, should cost you around NT$100 max.
- Tainan Tan-tsu-mien Seafood Restaurant, ☎ +886 2 2308-1123. (台南擔仔麵), 31 Huaxi Street. Legendary in the Huaxi Street Tourist Night Market (Snake Alley).
- Ching-Yeh, ☎ +886 2 2571-3859. (青葉餐廳), 10, Lane 105, Zhongshan North Road Sec. 1. The most famous Taiwanese restaurant in Taipei, beside the Zhongshan North Road.
- Shinyeh's Table, ☎ +886 2 2778-8712. (欣葉蔥花), 2F 201 Zhongxiao East Road Sec.4. Near the MRT Zhongxiao Fuxing Station, located right inside the Tongling Department Store. It's the newest Taiwanese cuisine restaurant in Taipei. Menu has English.
- Taiwan Pa, ☎ +886 2-2732-7010. (太玩吧)Business Hour 8:00pm–4:00am 1F,No.155,Sec.2,Anho Road, Taipei, Great variety of new trend Taiwanese tapas !
- Niu Ba Ba (688 Beef Bowl) (牛爸爸牛肉麵), ☎ 886-2-2778-3075. Zhongxiao East Road, Sec. 4, Alley 27, Lane 216, No. 16 (台北市忠孝東路四段216巷27弄16號) The most expensive beef noodle soup to be had in Taiwan. On average this dish costs 120 NT. Owner Tony Wong has bowls ranging from a few hundred all the way to 10,000 NT (~300 USD). The simple decor belies the intricate process Wong uses to deliver beef noodles for Taipei's foodies.
- Thai Guo Xiao Guan, ☎ +886 2 2367-0739. (泰國小館), 219 Tingzhou Rd Sec. 3. (Near National Taiwan University). This small Thai restaurant is in Gongguan.
- Thai Heaven Restaurant, ☎ +886 2 2392-5969. (泰平天國), 60 Roosevelt Rd Sec. 2. Near Taiwan Normal University (Shi-da) this restaurant serves fire-hot Thai cuisine. Try the Moon Shrimp Cake and Green Papaya Salad.
- Thai Star, ☎ (02) 2719 6527. Fu Xing N. Rd. Alley 231 #2. Shrimp Toast, Beef Stew, Chicken, Papaya Salad are most famous dishes!
- Andy Cuisine Restaurant （泰味廚房）， Banqiao City, Taipei County. 板橋市華興街58號 Banqiao City, Huaxing Street No. 58 this is the main restaurant but they have other branches at the Xinpu MRT stop and Jiangzicui MRT stop. Food is out of this world. Curries, Bbq'd chicken/pork, salads are good. Spicy though, just ask for "xiao la" if you would like it not as hot. Its located off two MRT stops on the Yongning-Nangang MRT station just minutes from downtown Taibei. 
- Mitsui Japanese Cuisine (三井日本料理), ☎ +886 2 2594-3394. 30 Nong-an St. The best Japanese cuisine in Taipei.
- Mei Guan Yuan, ☎ +886 2 2331-0377. (美觀園), 36 Emei St. Located in Ximending Pedestrian Area. This restaurant has served authentic Japanese sushi and sashimi since 1946. (Note there's another restaurant opposite the road from this with exactly the same name - that's the old location of this restaurant and doesn't serve as good sushi.)
- Shabu Sen, ☎ +886 2 2596-9568. (鮮), 63, Minquan East Road, Sec. 1. This place serves great Japanese/ Taiwanese style hot pot dishes. It is a family run restaurant. The environment is clean and refreshing. The owner Ms. Chiu hand picks her ingredients daily from the market. My favorite is the kobe beef pot and mushroom pot. The price is very reasonable with well selected ingredients. English menu available.
- San Niu, ☎ (02) 2708-3959. Da An Rd, Sec. 1, Alley 169 #3 Fresh sashimi and tempura shrimp. Less expensive than most Japanese restaurants of this quality. Clean, comfortable environment.
- Korean P&L B.B.Q Restaurant (P&L 韓式烤肉), ☎ +886 2 2362-1637. 47, Longquan Street. Located near the Taiwan Normal University (Shida) and in Shida Night market, this small place serves traditional Korean barbecue, kimchi hot pot and spicy rice cakes.
- Pusan House, ☎ +886 2 8369-3919. (釜山館), 10, Lane 13, Pucheng Street (second lane on right off Shi-Da Road when traveling from Heping East Road). A small, clean Korean restaurant in Shida area. Popular with students.
- He Jiang All You Can Eat Korean BBQ for under NT$500. Fu Xing S. Rd Sec. 1 #5 Fl.3 Tel: (02) 2578 3573, 0933738970
- PaPaGio' Italian Restaurant (喬爸爸義大利美食餐廳), 22, Alley 6, Lane 170, Zhongxiao East Rd., Sec 4. Best accessible by MRT since it's next to Exit 5, Zhongxiao Dunhua Station. Wide selection of authentic Italian food, featuring appetizer, pizza, risotto, meat, seafood courses, and great dessert. Run by Italian chef.
- Thanh Ky, ☎ +886 2 2321-1579. 1, Lane 6, Yongkang Street. Always busy and popular with Vietnamese expats and locals. Rice noodle soup with spicy beef and curried beef or pork is a specialty.
- Calcutta Indian Curry House (加爾各答印度咖哩屋), 70 Xining South Road (at E'Mei Street), ☎ +886 2 2389-3878. Basement Level of the Wannian Shopping Complex. (Ximen Ding District) - One of the more popular Indian restaurants, conveniently located in the Ximen Ding district. Moved in early-2012 from their prominent Kunming Street location to the basement food court level of the Wannian Shopping Complex. A bit hard to find, but definitely worth it.
- Tandoor Indian Restaurant (坦都印度餐廳), ☎ +886 2 2509-9853. 10, Lane 73, Hejiang Street.
- Out of India, ☎ +886 2 2363-3054. (印渡風情), 26, Lane 13, Pucheng Street (second lane on right off Shi-Da Road when traveling from Heping East Road). - food ok, but not great value.
- Namaste Curry, ☎ +886 2 2362-9538. 2F. 16, Lane 316, Roosevelt Road sec 3 (near Gongguan MRT Station). - friendly and warm atmosphere - good reasonably priced food, but lunch menu was so-so.
- Carnegie's, ☎ +886 2 2325-4433. Anhe Road, Section 2, No.100 (near Far Eastern Hotel). - While not an Indian restaurant per se, Carnegie's features many Indian dishes, and they have an excellent "Curry-Out" menu if you feel like bringing a curry or two home with you.
- Sababa, 8, Alley 54, Lane 118, Heping East Road, Sec. 2 (across from the Xinhai Road entrance to Taiwan National University). Tel:+886 2 2738-7769, and 17 Lane 283, Roosevelt Road, sec 3. Tel:+886 2 2363-8000 . Authentic Middle Eastern cuisine served in a warm and cozy atmosphere.
- Flavors restaurant, ☎ +886 2 2709-6525. Ren Ai Rd. Sec.4 No.13 Alley 26 Lane 300. Located on a back street of busy Renai rd with a lush garden in front and warm and cozy atmosphere inside. One of the few real western restaurants with a western chef. Flavors serves great grilled steaks including rare meat like venison, amazing selection of appetizers in a casual fine dining way. Flavors have been voted Taipei's best unexpected find in 2008. Details on .
- Grandma Nitti's Kitchen, ☎ +886 2 2369-9751. 8, Lane 93, Shida Road. Located in the Shida area, this restaurant serves a great selection of dishes such as burgers, sandwiches, pastas, Greek omelets, Tex-Mex fajitas and more. Very popular with American language teachers and students.
- JB's, ☎ +886 2 2364-8222. 148, Shida Road. A European pub and restaurant in Shida area serving traditional European fare on the first floor. The second floor features the main bar and activity center. Steak pie and fish and chips offered here are some of Taipei's best.
- Forkers, No. 8, Alley 10, Lane 223 Chung Xiao East Rd. Sec. 4. +886 2 2771 9285. Burgers, quesadilla, sandwiches, salads, etc. Details on .
- KGB Kiwi Gourmet Burgers, Shida Rd, Lane 114, no. 5. Tel (+886) "2" 2363 6015. Come out of Taipower MRT Exit 3. It is opposite the Wellcome supermarket in the lane. Excellent gourmet burgers in a relaxed cafe style setting. There are 11 NZ beef burgers, 10 free range chicken burgers, 3 NZ lamb burgers and 9 vegetarian burgers. Opened by 2 kiwis, everything is made on site to high standards. There are NZ beers, real milkshakes, fruit yoghurt smoothies, Rooibos tea, Savanna & Hunters cider. This the website 
- Whalen's, ☎ +886 2 2739-3037. No. 145, Section 2, Ānhé Rd, Daan District, Taipei. Located right across AnHe road from Carnegie's Bar, Whalen's offer delicious Canadian cuisine such as Poutine and Quiche Lorraine, as well as breakfast omelets and waffles. They also offer a variety of beers. Whalen's operate from 10:00 AM to 10:00 PM (Final order). Reservation is recommended since the restaurant is considerably small.
Pizza is easy to find in Taiwan with major chains such as Pizza Hut and Domino's. Besides the usual variety, Taiwan also has its localized variants e.g. seafood supreme, pepper steak, corn, peas etc.
- Alleycat's Pizza, 6-1 Lishui Street (near the intersection of Xinyi Road and Jinshan South Road), ☎ 886 2 2321-8949. B1. Generally considered by ex-pats to be the only edible and best traditional Italian pizza in Taipei.
- Casa Della Pasta, ☎ 886 2 2567-8769. 7-1, Lane 11, Zhongshan North Road, sec 2. Reasonably priced pizzas. Authentic Italian decor and staff are quite friendly.
- Mary Jane's Pizza, 89 Wenzhou St, ☎ 886 2 2369-5333. No. Taipei (near Taida). Great thin crust pizza at reasonable prices, they also do delivery.(About 180 to 300 for a pizza) .
- Ruth's Chris Steak House, ☎ +886 2 2545-8888. (茹絲葵), 2F, 135 Minsheng East Road, Sec 3. Perhaps Taipei's best-known and best American steakhouse.
- Wang Steak House (王品台塑牛排), 169 Nanjing East Road, ☎ 886 2 8770-7989. Sec 4. An upscale chain steakhouse known for its signature "Wang steak".
- Lawry's Steak House, 105 SongRen Road, ☎ 886 2 2729-8555. B1,
- Jimmy's Kitchen, 77 Ren Ai Rd, ☎ 886 2 2711-7750. Sec. 4, B1 kobe steak, rib eye, filet mignon, and many other cuts
Vegetarian food (素食) is also common fare, with the city boasting more than two hundred vegetarian restaurants and vendor stands. Another Taipei specialty is vegetarian buffets. They are common in every neighborhood, and unlike the 'all-you-can-eat' buffets listed below (which charge a set price, usually ranging from NT$250 - NT$350 including dessert and coffee/tea), the cost is estimated by the weight of the food on your plate. Rice (there is usually a choice of brown or white) is charged separately, but soup is free and you can refill as many times as you like. NT$75–120 will buy you a good sized, nutritious meal. Note that many of these veggie restaurants are Buddhist in nature and so meals do not contain garlic or onion (which traditionalists claim inflames passion).
- Lotus Pavilion Restaurant, 153-155 Xinyi Road, ☎ +886 2 2703-5612. B1, Sec. 4 (entrance in alley behind Changhwa Bank. An upscale all-you-can-eat buffet.
- Heart of the Lotus Garden, ☎ +886 2 2560-1950. 2F No. 108 Xinsheng North Road, Sec. 2 (near intersection with Jinzhou Street -. This is another upscale all-you-can-eat buffet.
- Om Ah Hum, ☎ +886 2 2362-3919. No. 6, Alley 18, Lane 60, Taishun Street (off Shida Road -. Located in traditional wooden building and emphasizes fresh and natural vegetarian dishes. While the red toy poodle inside the restaurant claims all the attention, don't forget to try the casserole and the flaky crust soup which are house specialties.
- For a special Taipei street experience, check out the veggie vendor outside No. 30, Lane 216, Zhongxiao East Road Sec. 4 (in the alleys behind the Dunhua South Road Eslite Mall and book store). The rice noodles are especially delicious and cheap and a plate of their dougan (dried tofu) makes a great side dish.
- Armillydo, ☎ +886 2 2358-2677. 13, Lane 170, Xinsheng South Road, Sec. 1 (enter from Lane 243, Xinyi Road, sec 2 -. Organic restaurant with Zen style decor. (only tea, no longer lunch & dinner)
- King Join, ☎ 02-2701-3225. No 18 Shin-Wei Rd. Traditional Chinese setting.
- KGB Kiwi Gourmet Burgers (see International food for details) has 9 vegetarian burgers.
- Minder Vegetarian. This is a restaurant chain offering the above-mentioned vegetarian buffet. Aside from the usual line of vegetarian dishes, contemporary cuisine such as rice rolls, tempura and a range of desserts, all entirely vegetarian, are offered as well. Major branches in Taipei are available at Taipei Main Station 2F, Breeze Taipei Branch, No. 3, Beiping North Road, Eslite Bookstore B2, Xinyi Branch, Xinyi District, No. 11, Songgao Road and Eslite Bookstore B1, Dunhua South Branch, Da-an District, No. 245, Dunhua South Road, Sec. 1.
- Myst, #12-9F, ATT4FUN Building, Song Shou Rd., Xinyi Dist. (台北市信義區松壽路12號9F) Tel (English):09 5891 4777. Tel (Lounge/Booth Reservations):09 1143 9997. Currently the hottest night club in Taipei. Often cited as having the best view of the Taipei 101 building. Large and active dance floor. Wednesday night is ladies night.
- Sparks, B1, No.45, Shi-fu, Rd. (Taipei 101 Shopping Mall) 台北市市府路45號B1. Located at the base of Taipei 101. Busy scene.
- Luxy, 201 Zhongxiao E. Road. 5F, Section 4, near the Zhongxiao Dunhua MRT station. One of the most well-known clubs in Taipei. Luxy has two levels: the lower level has a side room playing house/techno and a main room playing hip-hop; the upper level is a lounge with a small dance floor over-looking the main room. Cover charge goes up after 11PM. Get there early to avoid a line.
- Ziga Zaga. No.2, Song Shou Road Grand Hyatt Taipei. This club specializes in cocktails and Italian cuisine - both the service and food are excellent. It's popular with locals and expats. Ladies Night is on Wednesday nights.
- The Wall Live House, 200 Roosevelt Road, ☎ 2930-0162. B1, Sec 4. Mostly Taiwanese bands playing everything from rock to reggae.
- Carnegies, 100 Anhe Road, ☎ +886 2 2325-4433. Sec 2. With an outdoor patio, it's perfect for those who prefer a quieter and less smoky atmosphere. The scene is geared toward the 30+ expats and locals.
- Indian Beerhouse, 196 Bade Road, ☎ +886 2 2741-0550. Sec. 2. Its a beer house with a dinosaur skeleton themed decor. Customers can enjoy the greasy night-market style snacks with kegs of beer. All you can eat and drink for around NT$580. Update: Bar has closed down since 2010.
- Taiwan Beer Bar, 85 Bade Road. Sec. 2. A godsend for the thirsty budget traveler in a city of pricey bars, this is most certainly the cheapest bar in town. It's attached to the brewery where Taiwan Beer is made, close to the intersection of Bade and Jianguo Roads. The restaurant is located in an inconspicuous warehouse deep inside the brewery entrance. What it lacks in ambiance it more than makes up for in value. NT$50 per mug of Taiwan Beer, NT$100 per liter. Interior and exterior seating are available. This is a great place to find the rare Taiwan Draft Beer, which has a 2-week expiration and usually can only be found in a few restaurants and stores in the same city as the brewery.
- Standing Room, 508 ChangChun Road. Taipei. It is the standing style bar and restaurant with a traditional Japanese hors d'oeubres, with world wide classic beverages. Its perfect location to have the quick dinner and drink for a busy business person. open Mon-Sat, "Happy Hour" everyday open-8:30PM.
- My Place Bar & Restaurant, No.3-1 Lane 32 Shuang Cheng St, (02)2591-4269. Still going strong after 25 years. Serves great food, has two bars, pool table, and shows live sports on multiple screens. There is outside seating for smokers. One of the premier bars in Taipei for watching the upcoming World Cup. Happy Hour selected beers $100, special draught beer $100 all night.
- The Brass Monkey, 166 Fuxing N. Road, ☎ +886 2 2547-5050. No. Great atmosphere with live sports shown on big screens. There’s always something going on - it’s never a regular night. Friendly staffs are ready to serve you with good food and a wide selection of drinks. Go have a dance on their famous Thursday ladies nights.
- Fourplay Cuisine, 67 Dongfeng Street (台北市大安區東豐街67號), ☎ 0227083898. Hours: Mon-Thurs 6pm-1am. Fri&Sat 6pm-2am. A quiet bar/restaurant with creative drinks. Your shot may include a helium balloon, a water pipe, fire or dry ice.
Taiwan's speciality tea is High Mountain Oolong (高山烏龍, a fragrant, light tea) and Tieguanyin (鐵觀音, a dark, rich brew).
- Wisteria House, ☎ +886 2 2363-7375. (紫藤廬), 16 Xinsheng South Road, Sec 3. Wisteria is set in a traditional house, complete with tatami mats, and is a great place to spend an afternoon relaxing with friends and soaking up the atmosphere of Taiwan.
- Hui Liu, ☎ +886 2 2392-6707. (回留), No 9, Lane 31, Yongkang Street. Located next to the small and verdant Yongkang Park, Hui Liu is a modern style tea house. In addition to serving Chinese tea, Hui Liu is also famous for its organic vegetarian meals and hand made pottery.
- Teng, ☎ +886 2 2321-9089. (藤居), 29, Lane 61, Linyi Street (between Renai Road, sec 2 and Xinyi Road, sec 2). A rustic tea house and art studio in the heart of Taipei.
The mountainous Maokong area of Muzha in the Wenshan district of the city has dozens upon dozens of teahouses, many of which also offer panoramic views of the city. Its especially spectacular on a clear evening. A Maokong Gondola (cable car) system  services the Taipei Zoo MRT station to Maokong. The S10 bus comes up from the Wanfang Community MRT station.
Nothing is better on a hot and humid Taipei day than a refreshing glass of juice made from a huge assortment of fresh fruit!
- Happy Fruit Juice Bar, ☎ +886 2 2343-2393. (水果樂園), 53 Yongkang Street. Located next to the California Grill burger place on Yongkang Street near JinHua intersection, Happy Fruit Juice Bar is a fresh fruit juice bar decorated with a Greek cafe interior. The store is family owned and run by a mom and four sisters. They serve tea, fresh fruit juice, milk pearl tea and other drinks. It's a great place to grab something cool and refreshing on a hot day. Also, Happy Fruit Juice bar's right beside the Mofo burger joint.so it's a perfect place to get a healthy drink to wash down that burger afterwards, or to simply sit down at after a trek through Yongkang St!
While traditionally a nation of tea drinkers, in recent years the Taiwanese have really embraced the cafe culture, and all the usual chains can be found here in abundance. For cafes with more character, roam the back streets near National Taiwan University between Xinsheng South Road and Roosevelt Road. More cafes are located in the area around Renai Road, Section 4 and Dunhua South Road. There are also some interesting and characterful places between Yongkang Park and Chaozhou Street, and in the alleys around Shida Road. However, for a particularly impressive range of styles, visit Bitan in Xindian, where all the cafes offer restful views over the river and mountains beyond (though can be noisy at weekend).
- Salt Peanuts (23, Lane 60, Taishun Street, near Shida) is highly recommended for its laid back atmosphere and great selection of retro-rock.
- Cafe Moda Taipei, 1F, No 11, Lane 49, Sec 1, Anhe Road, Daan District (Zhongxiao Dunhua MRT Station exit 3, turn right on the first lane, after 4 blocks you will find it on your left side)), ☎ +886-2-8771-7608. 11AM-10PM. For people who prefer the new concept of a boutique cafe, the specialty of this place by far are the 100% Organic Guatemalan quality coffee beverages they offer in a cozy ambient mixed with art fashion and great music. A small but fancy terrace is perfect for enjoying beverages on a fresh day. They also have imported beer, wine, tea, juices and other snacks in their menu, including cheese and Italian fruit cake. They have a multicultural staff fluent in Chinese, English, and Spanish (German and Japanese depending on the day you go), so feel relaxed if Chinese is not your mother tongue as this place is geared for expats and locals that prefer a stronger kind of gourmet organic coffee. Coffee beverages between NT$120 and NT$200.
- Minimal Cafe, 106台北市Taipei泰順街2巷 Tai4Shun4 Jie1 Lane 2, #42, Daan District, Taipei City, ☎ +886-2-2362-9734. This cafe is famous for having many resident cats living inside of it (49, according to the wait staff). In fact, the owner of this cafe loves cats so much, stray ones are adopted, spayed/neutered, then allowed to live in the cafe. Thus, as you drink your beverage, don't be surprised if cats are checking you out. This cafe is indeed clean despite all the cats, and has tasty mid-range priced desserts and coffee, as well as salads/meals. The cats are friendly, if not always looking for a warm lap to sleep on. The younger cats might jump from lap to lap, just to find a playmate, even if the wiser, older cats do not care for such schenanigans.
- Trilobite Cafe. No. 64-2, Section 2, JìNán Rd, Jhongjheng District Taipei City, Taiwan (台北市濟南路2段64-2號, 1+2F). Serves excellent coffees offering a wide selection of espresso. The two resident dogs are very friendly too.
- Coffee Lab. No. 6, Lane 64, Section 2, ZhōngXiào East Road, Jhongjheng District Taipei City. This small coffee shop roasts their own beans on site. 3 resident cats keep patrons company as they sip carefully crafted lattes.
- Cafe Flat White 106台湾台北市大安區 永康街41巷12號. An excellent and airy cafe serving a fine selection of coffees, light eats and delicious desserts. Local art is on display on the walls.
- GaBee.. No 21, Min Sheng East Road, Section 3, Alley 113. Probably the best cafe in Taipei for coffee lovers. Winner of the 2008 Barista championships, they take coffee and latte art very seriously. The waffles are excellent too.
It has been said that Los Angeles has no center. In contrast, one could say that Taipei is all center, and as such it has been given the epithet - "the emporium without end." Basically, however, the main shopping area can be divided into two districts: East and West. West Taipei is the old city and is characterized by narrow streets packed with small shops. The Western district is also home to most government buildings and the Taipei Main Station. East Taipei boasts wide tree lined boulevards and the four main shopping malls are located in this area. Popular shopping destinations in East Taipei consist of the area around the ZhongXiao-DunHua intersection and Taipei 101.
- Xinyi District is the seat of the Taipei mayor's office and the Taipei city council. The Taipei Convention Hall, the Taipei World Trade Center, Taipei 101, Taipei City Hall, and various shopping malls and entertainment venues make Xinyi the most modern cosmopolitan district of Taipei. Xinyi District is also considered the financial district of Taipei. The Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall is also in the district. Much of the district used to be wetlands, explaining the abundance of space for construction projects as this was one of the last places in Taipei to be developed. The district is arguably the premiere shopping area in Taipei, if not all of Taiwan. Xinyi District is anchored by a number of department stores and malls. In addition, numerous restaurants are located in the area, especially American chain restaurants.
- Taipei 101 Mall (see Landmarks section)
- Shilin Night Market has stores selling hand bags, clothing, and more. Most of the merchandise consists of imitations. To get there, take the MRT Tamsui Line to Jiantan Station. The food court is located directly across the street from the station with the rest of the night market spreading out to the north.
- Miramar Entertainment Park is a standard shopping center with the usual merchandise. It houses the only IMAX theatre in Taiwan as well as the Miramar ferris wheel which offers great views of Taipei city.
- Eslite Mall (誠品 Chengpin) is an upscale market-style shopping center with a 24 hour book shop (with a good English selection) on the second floor and ethnic music store in basement. 245 Dunhua South Road (near intersection with Renai Road). However, as of January 2010, this is the only Eslite Mall that opens 24 hours.
- Breeze Center (微風廣場 Weifeng Guangchang), 39 Fuxing South Rd, ☎ +886 2 6600-8888. Sec. 1 (near the intersection with Civic Boulevard). Open: 11AM-9:30PM Sun-Thur, 11AM-10PM Fri-Sat.
- The Core Pacific Living Mall (京華城 Jinghua Cheng), reportedly Asia's largest shopping center under one roof, has many stores open 24 hours a day. It also has a large food court, cinema complex, and the nightclub Plush (located on Bade Rd near intersection with Guangfu South Rd).
- East Taipei is the main shopping area of Taipei, also it is located at the center of Taipei. The busiest part of this area is in between MRT Zhongxiao Dunhua Station and MRT Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall Station (Bannan Line). The axis of this shopping area is Zhongxiao East Road, Sec. 4, which is surrounded by numerous of department stores. "SOGO" has three branches in this area, mainly sales various of boutique. Another notable one is Mingyao Department Store which has the flagship store of Uniqlo in it.
East Taipei is also famous for the small stores inside the alleys. Having massive flow of people for both fancy and local dinning, 216 Lane with Din Tai Fung and 688 Beef noodle is always crowded in holidays. On the other hand, Daan Road in the other side of the area, has more elegant clothing shops. Beside the intersection of Zhongxiao East Road and Daan Road stands Bistro 98, a ten-story building with stylish restaurants. Other alleys also have an interesting array of small shops and boutiques. Buddha Statues, prayer flags and other artifacts associated with Tibetan Buddhism can be purchased at Potala, 2F, 2-4, Lane 51, Da'an Rd. Tel:+886 2 2741-6906. The staff speaks English and the prices are reasonable. For those interested in all things Nepalese you should check out Jay Shiva Shamyoo Himalayan Handicrafts, located in the basement of 1 Lane 146, Zhongxiao East Road, sec. 4. Tel:+886 2 2740 2828.
- Those interested in picking up inexpensive electronic goods and cameras should wander the lanes and alleys around Kaifeng Street and Zhonghua Road (near Taipei Main Station).
- Computer buffs will enjoy a visit to Guanghua Digital Plaza (光華數位新天地), originally called Guanghua Market (光華商場). Specializing in computer and electronic goods, this market has the largest number of stalls selling hardware and software under one roof in Taiwan, and all at very competitive prices. While there, check out the enormous DVD and VCD selection (remember to check DVD region codes) and used book stores. The old location on Bade Road. under the Xinsheng overpass was demolished in January 2006, and all of the shops have moved to a new building at the southwest corner of Civic Boulevard and Xinsheng North Road in July, 2008, a short walk from the old location. The new building comprises six floors: the first floor contains an exhibition area for new products and a food court; the original vendors of the old market are located on the second and third floor; floors four and five include vendors and shops from the Xining Electronic Market; and the sixth floor houses product repair centers.
- The Station Front Area (站前) is a section of downtown Taipei just south of the Taipei Railway Station. It is a bustling area filled with shops and stores of all kinds, but it is particularly well known for it's high concentration of bookstores due to the bloom of bushibans (as known as cram schools). In recent years, stores specializing in electronics and computer hardware has also grow fastly. Electronic and computer junkies take note, some smaller vendors will allow you to bargain down prices on large purchases (i.e. a custom built PC). Popular places in this area to shop for computer hardware and software include:
- Nova, a four storey collection of small computer and electronics vendors in what can be described only as a high tech bazaar (located across the street from the railway station on the west side of the Shinkong Mitsukoshi department store).
- K-Mall, located in the former Asiaworld department store on the east side of Shinkong Mitsukoshi, this trendy mall specializes in electronics of all kinds and is a location for large companies such as Asus, Samsung, Benq, and Acer to showcase their newest products.
- The Taipei Zhongshan Metro Shopping Mall (Easy Mall) is a long underground shopping area that houses several stores selling all manner of items, not necessarily limited to electronics. A few stores in the Easy Mall carry current and vintage video games, hardware and software. They also perform hardware modifications on consoles. The Easy Mall is accessible through the basement of Taipei Railway Station.
- Ximending (西門町) is the trendy shopping area just west of Downtown. It's popular with local students. If it's pink, plastic, and imported from Japan, you can probably find it on sale in a store here. Visit BM should you looking for nightlife activities. To get to Ximending, take the MRT Blue (Bannan) Line and get off at Ximen Station.
- Zhongshan North Road (中山北路) is a tree-lined boulevard featuring numerous international and local brands. Gucci and Louis Vuitton are among the brands who operate stores along this street. This road, particularly along the second section, is also famous for its numerous wedding picture studios and gown boutiques. It is possible to find a great deal for wedding portraits here as competition is stiff. This road runs parallel to the MRT Red (Danshui/Beitou) line.
- Weekend Jade Market (假日玉市) – Located under an elevated expressway, reaching from Renai Road & Jianguo South Road intersection down Jianguo Road. till Xinyi Rd. In addition to jade, flowers and many other kinds of handcrafts and jewelry can be purchased. There are actually three different markets, the Weekend Jade Market, Weekend Flower Market and Weekend Handicrafts Market in this same location. As the names suggest, they are open only on weekends until 6PM.
- For handicrafts, visit the Chinese Handicraft Mart (中華工藝館) , 1 Xuzhou Rd (on corner of intersection with Zhongshan South Roadd).
- Pottery enthusiasts will enjoy a visit to Yingge in Taipei County (Take train, and get off at Yingge Station). Old Street is a crescent of beautiful pottery shops interspersed with coffee shops and tea houses.
- Mountain Hard Wear, 7 Ln 284, Roosevelt Rd, sec. 3, Gongguan (nearest MRT - Gongguan) Tel:+886 2 2365-1501, plus a few stores within a few doors of each other are professional trekking and backpacking stores offering a wide range of high quality equipment. These stores are just north of the junction with Zhongxiao West Rd on Zhongshan North Rd, sec 1 (west side of the road).
- Taipei has great book shops, and roads such are Chongqing South Road, are packed with stores specializing in Chinese language books. The following book stores all have good selections of English titles:
- Eslite, ☎ +886 2 2775-5977. (誠品) – Eslite offers a good selection at most of their branches, although the 24 hour flagship store (2F, 245 Dunhua South Rd. has the best selection. Eslite Book Store and shopping mall (11 Songgau Road), which incidentally is the largest book store in Taiwan, have the greatest selection. The Songgau Rd branch is located next to MRT Station 'Taipei City Hall'.
- Page One, ☎ +886 2 8101-8282. On the fourth floor of the shopping mall at Taipei 101 has a very large and varied selection of English titles.
- Caves Books (敦煌) has two branches (54-3 Zhongshan North Road, Sec 2, near Yuanshan MRT Station. tel +886 2 2599-1166). This is a temporary location, while the old store is demolished and rebuilt. The other branch (5, Le 38, Tianyu St, Tianmu. Tel:+2 886 2874-2199) is one of the original book stores in Taipei specializing in English titles. And, although it has been surpassed by the newer arrivals, it is still a good place to pick up a popular novel and English language text books.
- Lai Lai, ☎ +886 2 2363-4265. (來來), 4F, 271 Roosevelt Road, Sec 3. – This shop has a small but interesting selection of English material.
- Crane Publishing Company, 109 Heping E Rd. 6F, Sec 1. Tel+886 2 2393-4497, 2394-1791 - Specialists in English language text books and teaching material.
- Bookman Books, ☎ +886 2 2368-7226. Room 5, 2F, 88 Xinsheng South Road, Sec 3. - This is an excellent collection of English literature books, albeit a little expensive.
- Mollie Used Books, ☎ 886 2 2369-2780. 17, Alley 10, Lane 244, Roosevelt Road sec 3. - You'll find a reasonable selection of English titles here.
NB: In order to protect the environment, a government policy rules that plastic bags cannot be given freely at stores in Taiwan, but have to be bought (NT$1) - bakeries being an exception as the items need to be hygienically wrapped. Re-usable canvas and nylon bags are sold at most supermarkets.
This article is based on Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike 3.0 Licensed text from the article Taipei on Wikivoyage.