Meeting Locals on a Gap Year Around the World

2 Days in Taipei with Recommendations from a Local

December 10, 2017|Lena
2 days in Taipei with recommendations from a local

If you only have 48 hours in Taipei, you really have to make the most of your time. These are my recommendations for two days in Taipei. Below you can find my recommendations on how to get a good mix of local culture, history, and food (admittedly this itinerary might be a little bit heavy on the food).

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So, grab your notepad and write down all the activities that should go on your list when visiting Taipei (during your gap year or otherwise), with many amazing and unforgettable experiences and tips I got from a Taipei local. If this list is not enough for you there are many more activities not to miss in Taipei.

Stay with Couchsurfing in Taipei

Most itineraries end with the “Where to Stay” part, recommending certain hotels or hostels. But I would like to start out by telling you where we stayed: With a lovely Couchsurfing host.

There really is nothing better than having a local host who can tell you what kind of activities to focus on if you only have 2 days in Taipei.

New to Couchsurfing?
No Problem!

Get started by downloading my Couchsurfing Signup Check List, Personal Request Cheat Sheet end many more printables!

free staying with locals printables

We stayed with Emma, a 20 something Taiwanese girl originally from Tainan, who works in marketing. It just so happened that we were her first Couchsurfing guests and I really hope we were not too much trouble. On our stays we try to follow my personal manner guide (that you can print for yourself if you sign up to my mailing list), that might come in handy if you plan on staying with someone during your travels (spoiler they are all pretty obvious but sometimes we need a reminder, right).

If you want some more information about Couchsurfing in general and some details on how it works I have a blog for you.

Day 0 - Arrival Day

Enjoy the friendly people and food of taipei

We arrived on Thursday in the afternoon at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport. Our first stop was the service counter to receive our portable WIFI which we had booked in advance through klook.com. It was super cheap, we had it in minutes and while it was sometimes noticeably slower than 4G especially at night, it worked quite well to keep in contact with people and to lookup directions on Google Maps.

Klook offers portable WIFI and sim cards for many Asian countries. For everyone like me, who can’t go anywhere anymore without internet connection it is a great way to stay connected during the day. Check out the price in your currency here.

(Pssst. I will let you in on a secret. You can also book tours and other experiences all over Asia using the website, not just pocket WIFI and SIM cards. Have a look!)

 

We arrived in Taipei city and had only time to have some very nice Taiwanese dinner with our Couchsurfing host and her friends.

So in effect, our Taipei in two days itinerary starts on the morning of the next day. Emma and her friends gave us some great tips on where we should go the following day, that I would like to pass on to you.

Day 1

Eating dumplings in Taipei

We started our first day of our Taipei two day itinerary at 10 a.m. and took the red MRT line to Yuanshan Station. On our way to our first stop (the Confucius Temple), we had some dumplings for breakfast, that we bought at two different local shops along the way. They were super fluffy outside and hot and flavorful inside. One with meat the other with cabbage. What a great start to the day.

Confucius Temple

Confucius Temple in Taipei

The Confucius temple was first constructed in Taipei in 1879 and demolished multiple times. All the buildings today are modeled after the original Confucius Temple in Qufu, Shandong Province of China. You can not only admire the beautiful architecture you can also learn about Confucius and the Six Confucian Arts, all written conveniently in English.

Name: Confucius Temple

Admission: free

Opening hours: Monday: Closed, Tuesday – Saturday: 08:30 a.m. – 09:00 p.m., Sunday: 08:30 a.m. – 05:00 p.m.

Address: No. 275, Dalong Street, Datong District, Taipei City, Taiwan 103

Google Maps

Dalongdong Baoan Temple

Baoan Temple in Taipei

Right across the street from the Confucius Temple, you can visit the Taiwanese folk religion temple Baoan Temple, our second stop on our Taipei itinerary.

The temple received the UNESCO Asia-Pacific Heritage Award for both its restoration and its revival of temple rites and festivities. And when walking around it really becomes clear, that the temple buildings are quite beautifully restored and so rich in detail that you can look at everything for a long time and still find more details.

There are many tourists visiting, but also many locals who bring offerings. Throughout the year there are many festivals that are open to the public and free, so when you plan your trip check in advance if you could experience some Taiwanese culture and religion at Baoan Temple.

At both the Confucius temple and the Baoan Temple there were some professional photographers with models taking pictures, which I found very interesting. But I guess the architecture makes for a very beautiful background in pictures.

Name: Dalongdong Baoan Temple

Admission: free

Opening hours: 7 a.m. – 10 p.m.

Address: No. 61, Hami Street, Datong District, Taipei City, Taiwan 103

GoogleMaps

Visit a Local Market

Local Market in Taipei

On our way to the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial (see next point), we stumbled upon the Nanmen market and had a look inside. All the food looked really delicious and I have to say compared to my experiences with markets in other (especially East-Asian) countries it was very clean and smelled really good.

The market had a lot of pre-cooked food that the locals would take home and eat there. But there was also packed dry fruit and nuts and also dry meat of different kinds.

Name: Nanmen Market

Admission: free

Opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday 7 a.m. – 6 p.m. 

Address: No. 8, Section 1, Roosevelt Rd, Zhongzheng District, Taipei City, Taiwan 100

Google Maps

Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall

Chiang Kai-shek Memorial in Taipei

A visit to Taipei wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall. The Memorial is an impressive structure made out of white stone.

Unfortunately, it is currently under construction, but this shouldn’t keep you from visiting. Inside you can learn a little bit about the history of China and Taiwan and also visit the statue of Chang Kai Shek on the top floor.

Changing of the Guards at Chiang Kai-shek memorial hall in Taipei

The statue is protected by two guards who stand on attention for a whole hour and at every full hour, you can see the changing of the guards. We, unfortunately, missed it but were just in time to see the guards exit the elevator on the first floor where they stayed in formation and made their way to the guard room. Their synchronicity was quite impressive.

Name: Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall

Admission: free

Opening hours: 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. 

Address: No. 21, Zhongshan South Road, Zhongzheng District, Taipei City, Taiwan 100

Google Maps

Lunch at Du Hsiao Yueh Restaurant

Du Hsiao Yueh Restaurant in Taipei

At around 3 p.m. we got seriously hungry and went looking for something to eat. Across the street from King Mango (see next stop) we found a restaurant which looked promising. It is called Du Hsiao Yueh and I can strongly recommend it.

We ordered some noodle soup and also rice with beef topping, some asparagus salad and to wash it all down a Taiwanese pineapple beer and some lemon tea. It was all really delicious.

We later found out that the food (and restaurant) originate from Tainan, the city Emma (our host) is from. She told us that there are two branches to the restaurant because the family who runs it got into a fight and separated. One is more traditional, the other more modern. We visited the more modern one. 

Name: Du Hsiao Yueh

Cost: from 100 NTD (we paid 400 NTD for two people)

Opening hours: 11:30 a.m. – 11:00 p.m.

Address: No. 12, Alley 8, Lane 216, Section 4, Zhongxiao East Road, Da’an District, Taipei City, Taiwan 106

Google Maps

King Mango

Mango Snowice at King Mango in Taipei

One of the stops you cant miss on your Taipei itinerary 2 days is King Mango. The place is quite famous with tourists (mainly Japanese tourists as we found out) and rightly so. The price is a bit expensive at 200 NTD but totally worth it. The snow ice comes in a big bowl, ringed with mango chunks and a big ball of mango ice on top. We ate one together and still weren’t able to finish it (mainly because it was so cold).

The taste was heaven for any mango lover. It was sweet and tasted a lot like mango, but balanced really well with the milk flavored snow ice and sweet sauce. If you are like me and not only love mango but also chocolate then you might be surprised that there is a lot of delicious chocolate available in Taipei and all over Taiwan.

Name: King Mango

Cost: 200 NTD

Opening hours: 10:00 a.m. – 10:30 p.m. 

Address: No. 2-1, Lane 2, Yongkang Street, Da’an District, Taipei City, Taiwan 106

Google Maps

Elephant Mountain

Climbing Elephant Mountain in Taipei

After eating lunch and then the gigantic ice cream it was time to work out a little bit. So we climbed Elephant Mountain to get a look at the whole city from above. For free.

We learned it is not only popular with tourists but also the locals love to visit it, not only for the spectacular view but also for the exercise of climbing all those stairs to the top. And it should be on the top of your Taipei 2 days trip.

View of Taipei from Elephant Mountain

The exertion is totally worth it. We arrived just before sunset while it was still light and slowly watched the sky get darker and the city light up below us. The Taipei 101 was shining brightly illuminated in blue color. It is illuminated in different color depending on the day but I really enjoyed the blue.

There are two viewing spots and I strongly advise not to give up at the first one. The second one has 5 gigantic rocks that you can climb on top of and take some really nice pictures of you and the city.

Definitely the best (not food related) activity we did in our 2 days in Taipei and one that you definitely shouldn’t miss.

Visit the Taipei 101

Taipei 101 from the bottom

We decided not to ride to the top of the once tales building in the world, but rather viewed the building itself from it’s bottom. We also did some window shopping in the Taipei 101 mall, a modern mall with many brands inside. 

We had planned to ride up to the Starbucks on the 35st floor of the Taipei 101 but what we found out reading blogs was that apparently you need a reservation in advance. So if you want to do that make sure to have a reservation at least one day in advance.

Linjiang Night Market

Linjiang Night Market in Taipei

One station away from the Taipei 101 is a night market that was recommended to us by one of Emmas friends. The Linjiang Night Market is basically one very long street lined with shops and stalls on either side and the middle. You can not only find the most delicious foods but also clothing shops and other shops selling phone gadgets, accessories and other cheaply produced things. Basically heaven!

We ate our dinner there going from stall to stall and trying a lot of different foods. Some dumplings, fried mushrooms, potato balls and much more.

Drinks at Commune A7

Commune A7 in Taipei in the Rain

Our last stop of the day were some drinks at Commune A7 an open market with modern food and drink stalls that pops up around the modern high rise buildings near Taipei 101. We were able to grab a table and get our drinks and as soon as we had settled down it started to rain. Oh well, we were lucky all day so a little rain at night couldn’t really dampen your spirit. We finished our drinks under our umbrellas and went home.

Name: Commune A7

Cost: Drinks between 155 and 200 NTD

Opening hours: 12 p.m. – 12 a.m. 

Address: No. 3, Songshou Road, Xinyi District, Taipei City, Taiwan 110

Google Maps

Day 2

You still haven’t got enough of Taipei and are wondering what to do in Taipei for 2 days? Good! I have much more to share. Welcome to day 2 of the 2 days in Taipei post:

Since the start of our food tour was at 11 am we decided to sleep in a little bit and make the food tour our first stop of the day. Unfortunately, it had continued to rain all night, and also the whole morning. It continued until around 4 p.m. when it finally stopped. But we don’t let the weather get us down and spent an awesome second day in Taipei.

Taipei Eats Food Tour (Sponsored)

Taipei Eats Food Tour Taiwanese Burger Gua Bao

We were pretty hungry when we started our Taipei Eats food tour in the Xinyi district of Taipei at 11 a.m. But we didn’t have to wait very long for the first food of the day. First some fruit, then some Gua Bao, Bubble Tea, Stinky Tofu, dumplings and more. Everything was extremely delicious and our guide Amber was super nice and knowledgeable about food and also Taiwan in general.

The other participants were a good match, everyone interested in local food and culture and we could exchange many experiences and ideas where to travel to next.

At the end of the tour, no one could eat another bite, but we were really happy and content.

I wrote a detailed review of the Taipei Eats Xinyi Tour. I recommend you check it out and book an unforgettable tour for your Taipei itinerary.

Name: Taipei Eats Xinyi Food Tour

Cost: 70 USD

Tour: 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Shrimp Fishing

Shrimp Fishing in Taipei

Because it had been raining all day we were now really looking for an activity we could do inside. Because we couldn’t really come up with anything we asked our host Emma if she had any ideas. She did. Shrimp Fishing. A Taiwanese past time where you will sit around a pool filled with shrimp and try to catch them with your fishing rod. Afterward you can either grill or boil the shrimp and eat them.

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As a shrimp lover the perfect activity for me. But I soon found out I wasn’t any good at it. Emma, having also never done this before called up a friend who loves to fish shrimps. He took the time to show us how it worked, but even with his kind help we had only caught 6 shrimp in one hour. Oh well, we thought and started to prepare them as our meagre dinner.

The owner of the shrimp fishing place had pity on us and gave us all each 6 more shrimp to prepare and eat. I was of course very happy and it was actually not the only time the Taiwanese people were extremely kind to us.

Shilin Night Market

Shilin Market in Taipei

The biggest and most famous night market in Taipei is overrun with tourists, and in my mind, it doesn’t have to be very high on your Taipei bucket list. If you don’t like crows you should really avoid this part of town.

But, it is a convenient place to try a lot of different food and also buy some souvenirs, play some games and just take in the atmosphere of a busy night market with the vendors shouting and the tourists taking pictures all around you.

Massage

Massage in Taipei

After two days in Taipei with a lot of walking, we were really tired and in dire need of a massage. Compared to Thailand or Vietnam the massage is a little bit more expensive, but still quite a bit cheaper than in Japan or Europe.

There are many massage places around Shilin Night Market, and we felt it might be cheaper to go somewhere less touristy for a massage. In the end, we realized the price was basically the same even somewhere else. So feel free to take up any of the offers for a nice foot or body massage and just relax for a little while.

Cost: 30 minutes 400 NTD, 60 minutes 800 NTD

Transportation

The MRT in Taipei

From/To the Airport

The Airport MRT or a bus connects the Main Station and the Airport. The MRT is 160 NTD, the bus a little cheaper at 130 MRT. Both take roughly the same time. About 30 minutes. Be aware that the last MRT leaves from Main Station at 11:00 pm, afterward you need to take the bus.

Within Taipei

MRT in Taipei

The MRT (Taipei Metro) is the easiest way to get around (at least for the places we visited). There is also a network of busses you could take, but we were fine with just using the MRT for all our destinations.

The day ticket costs 150 NTD and you will need to ride about 6 times to get the price back (one ride cost us between 20 and 40 depending on the distance). So for day one we decided to get the day ticket. For the second day, we decided against it, which was fine. In the end, the single rides cost about as much as the day ticket.

In Conclusion

I really hope you enjoyed reading about our 2 day in Taipei itinerary. We would have loved to stay much longer and also explore the regions surrounding Taipei much more. Next time we visit Taipei a day trip to Maokong via gondola is definitely on the agenda.

If there is anything else you would like to know, or have any questions about the places we visited don’t hesitate to ask in the comments below!

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A two day Taipei Itinerary for Social Travelers | Two Day Trip | Travel Asia | Travel Itinerary Taipei | #Travel #Taiwan
A two day Taipei Itinerary for Social Travelers | Two Day Trip | Travel Asia | Travel Itinerary Taipei | #Travel #Taiwan

Lena

Authors Note:
None of the experiences in this post are in any way sponsored and have all been payed for by myself. The opinions stated are all my own and have not been influenced in any way.
This posts contains affiliate links. I receive a commission if a product is purchased through one of these links, at no extra cost to you. Please support me by purchasing products through my links!

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About Lena

Hi, I'm Lena the founder of The Social Travel Experiment. My mission is to teach about Social Travel, the art of exploring destinations from the viewpoint of locals while learning about Culture, History, Food, and Traditions.

Find out more About Me and The Social Travel Experiment

If you are a business we might be able to work together so check out the Work With Me page for more details

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About Lena

Hi, I'm Lena the founder of The Social Travel Experiment. My mission is to teach about Social Travel, the art of exploring destinations from the viewpoint of locals while learning about Culture, History, Food, and Traditions.

Find out more About Me and The Social Travel Experiment

If you are a business we might be able to work together so check out the Work With Me page for more details

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