Great Things to See and Do in Taipei

Taipei, the capital of Taiwan and its most populous city, is the epicenter of tourism for the country (although most people come only for a short stop, as it is an important air hub for Asia).

And although there is a lot to do elsewhere in Taiwan, even if you don’t leave Taipei, you will still find a lot to see and do in the area to fill almost a week.

To help you plan your trip, here are my top things to do in Taipei:

1. Take a Free Walking Tour

One of the first things I do when I arrive at a new destination is a free hike. They will show you the location of the country and help you to see the highlights of a place while learning a little about its history and culture. You will also have access to a local who can answer all your questions.

Like It Formosa offers free daily walking tours of Taipei. Its tours focus more on cultural history than its competitor Tour Me Away, which also offers free walking tours aimed at the backpacking public (Tour Me Away also runs bar tours).

2. Visit the National Palace Museum

The National Palace Museum houses more than 70,000 artifacts from Imperial China, most of which were brought to Taiwan during the Chinese Civil debate (1929-1947). In addition to the permanent exhibitions, there are changing exhibitions throughout the year, as well as a children’s section. There are also free daily tours in English. If you are unable to join the tour, please get the audio guide. While the descriptions of the artifacts are very detailed, the audio tour goes even deeper and gives you a deeper insight into what you are seeing and what period it dates from.

3. Soak in the Hot Springs

The Beitou hot spring area is a popular destination because it is located on the MRT (subway) and only 30 minutes from the city center. There are many resorts, spas and inns in the area where you can enjoy a dip in a hot spring. You can also visit the Hot Spring Museum (housed in an old bathhouse from 1913), the historic Xinbeitou Railway Station (a historic railway station from 1916) and the Thermal Valley (a nearby sulfur lake with h

iking trails).

4. Go Hiking

Taipei has many hiking trails on the outskirts that are easily accessible. There are easy, moderate and challenging trails as well as short and full-day hikes. Here are a few that are worth a visit:

Xiangshan Trail: An easy 45-minute hike with beautiful views of Taipei. It is only a 10-minute walk from Xiangshan MRT Station.

Bitoujiao Trail: This moderate hike is an hour’s drive from the city and takes you along the coast. The trail is located in Ruifeng District, 11 km east of Jiufen. The hike takes 2-3 hours.

Jinmianshan Trail: An easy 1.5-hour hike in Yangmingshan National Park. The trail starts a 10-minute walk from Xihu MRT Station.

Huang Didian Trail: A challenging tightrope walk that takes about five hours. From Muzha Station, take the bus to Huafan University and get off at Huangdi Temple. From there, the path is a 25-minute walk away.

Pingxi Via Ferrata: A moderate 2- to 3-hour hike with many steep sections. Only for experienced hikers. The trail starts just five minutes from Pingxi Railway Station.

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