What are the best things to do in Taipei?

Whether you have a month or only a couple of days to spend in Taipei, there are plenty of things to do. Here are our top picks:

1. Shilin Night Market. One of the most famous bazaars in Taiwan, the Shilin Night Market is the place to be as dusk settles. When you smell the stinky tofu, you’ll know you’re close. At this nightly fair of vibrant foods, shopping and socializing, you’ll satisfy both your taste buds and your sense of adventure.

2. National Palace Museum. For the history buff in us all, this national treasure is home to thousands of years' worth of artifacts dating as far back as the 10th century. From Chinese art to underground vaults full of jade, the museum is one of the best in the region. And if you’re really studious, check out the 2-28 Memorial Museum for a closer look at Taiwan’s historic Feb. 28, 1947, massacre that acted as the catalyst toward democracy.

3. Taroko Gorge. Surrounded by forests and mountain peaks, the marbled Taroko Gorge is one of the most picturesque visions in all of Taiwan. From waterfalls to cliffs, hidden temples to hot springs, a stop in this national park is a must for intrepid travelers. Take a one-hour trek on the Shakadang trail to see some of the highlights. It's a great day trip from Taipei.

4. New Bei Tou Hot Springs. Taiwan is famous for its hot springs, scattered throughout the country. Some of the easiest-to-access springs are located at New Bei Tou. Here, you can explore the history museum, which explains how the hot spring culture evolved. Note that it’s no longer acceptable to take a dip au natural.

5. Taipei 101. On a clear day, the world’s second tallest tower possesses the best panorama of Taipei. Standing at 1,671-feet tall and heads above the city’s otherwise modest buildings, the skyscraper is a sign of the city’s ambition and tech-savvy nature. Take the elevator 91 floors up to the observation deck, where you can marvel at the hand-carved coral and peer through floor-to-ceilings windows at the city below.

  • On October 5, 2014
    Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question: Forbes Travel Guide Inspector

    What are the best restaurants in Taipei?

    Food may as well be sacred in Taipei. With Japanese and Chinese influences, the cuisines range from Sichuan spices to vibrant sushi, and tend to be heavy on pork and vegetables. Whether you’re yearning for a five-course molecular dining experience or simply want to sample the street stands, there is something to satisfy every craving. Here are a few of our favorite places to eat:

    1. La Petite Cuisine. Silky foie gras. Figs. Quail. The rich, delicate combinations at La Petite Cuisine impress all gastronomes. One of Singapore’s most celebrated chefs, Justin Quek, quietly opened this elegant, approachable French bistro in 2008. It has flown relatively under-the-radar, but not for lack of quality. Service is flawless through the Taipei restaurant, and basement seating is especially intimate.

    2. Chintai. Serving some of the best seafood in Taipei, Chintai is a must. You’ll have to snag a cab to a forgettable part of town, but the cluster of customers surrounding Chintai augurs well for your meal. The restaurant is unpretentious, serving up formidable heaps of orange salmon roe, cod and prawns to diners sporting everything from three-piece suits to jean shorts. Ask for the “ultimate seafood on rice,” the restaurant’s most esteemed dish.

    3. Old Wang Beef Noodle Soup King. A traditional favorite among locals, Old Wang Beef Noodle Soup King is near the presidential palace in Taipei. The constantly long line is a testament to its fragrant broths, juicy meats and springy wheat noodles.

    4. DN innovación. For Spanish molecular gastronomy, don’t miss DN innovación in the heart of Taipei city. Brainchild of chef Daniel Negreira, this cozy, ultra-modern spot whips up dishes even more mesmerizing than the décor. From the seemingly simple house-made breads and canon of Spanish wine to the more complicated squid-ink-covered yam, DN innovación marries traditional flavors with memorable haute flair.

    5. Ay-Chung Flour-Rice Noodle. Legendary for its thick noodle soup, Ay-Chung Flour-Rice Noodle draws a crowd for good reason. Located in the Ximending district, this Taipei restaurant has been a local favorite since it opened in 1975. It’s hard to miss, as dozens of people are found standing around outside, green bowls in hand.