July 24, 2024


Obey Your Travel.

Taiwan Itinerary Travel Guide for 3 Days or More (2022)

15 min read


Taipei Exploration

Once you arrive in the heart of Taipei, go and quickly enjoy its iconic landmarks as well as its busy night markets and colorful culture! With that, I’ll be listing the top attractions in the city; however, it would be impossible to thoroughly visit EVERYTHING (unless you swiftly go through every location).

That’s why, depending on your interests, pick the best places that you’d like to see within the day for your Taiwan itinerary based on the descriptions that I’ll be providing below (my top favorites are marked with a star ★); and then, you can visit the rest during your other free time or during your other trip days if you’re staying longer than 3 days in Taiwan.

◘◘ ★ Taipei 101

Formerly known as the Taipei World Financial Center, Taipei 101 was once called the world’s tallest building in 2004 — until Burj Khalifa in Dubai was completed in 2010.

Either way, nowadays, it holds the highest award as the tallest and largest green building in the world according to LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design). By now, I’m sure you’ve heard of this building before; after all, it serves as an icon of modern Taiwan (though it was initially built as a symbol of the evolution of technology and Asian tradition); as such, it is a must to include this on your Taiwan itinerary.

Towering at 101 stories, the base of the building houses several shops and restaurants (such as the famous Din Tai Fung chain) but what most visitors aim to do is to access the observatory. To list out the highlights of the building:

  • 5F Taipei 101 Mall: The floor where you can purchase tickets and take the Guinness World Record high-speed elevator to the observatory on the 89th floor (it travels at 1,010 meters/min or 60.6kph, taking only 37 seconds total). However, it’s best to purchase online to get a discounted price — I will discuss this in the detail in the ‘admission‘ section below.
  • 89F Indoor Observatory: Offers unobstructed views of Taipei. It also has a museum where you can learn about the construction of Taipei 101.
  • 88F Beauty of Taiwan Multimedia Corridor, Super Big Wind Damper, Treasure Sky: The highlight of this floor is at 5.5m (in diameter) and there’s a 660-ton wind damper that’s built in the core of the tower. Apparently, this amazing technology helps keep the building from swaying and helps keep it stand upright. Meanwhile, Treasure Sky is a place where you can find jewel crafts.
  • 91F Outdoor Observatory: This is accessible via the stairs from the 89th floor, but since the winds can get quite strong, this floor is only open on days when the weather is favorable. Anyhow, inside, you will find a small theatre that features films about the annual New Years’ fireworks display set off from Taipei 101.

ADMISSION: General ticket is NT$600 (students are charged NT$540 and children under 115cm are charged free). However, if you book online, you will only pay around NT$400! With this, you not only get a discount but you also don’t have to wait in a long line.
HOURS: 9:00AM to 10:00PM
NEAREST MRT: Red Line (Xiangshan train) to Taipei 101 station or Blue Line to Taipei City Hall Station

◘◘ Elephant Mountain

This is yet another great place for acquiring great views over Taipei especially if you’re into doing some mild hiking! Also known as the Nangang District Hiking Trail or Xiangshan, the hiking trail up to Elephant Mountain is found close to the Xinyi Shopping District and Taipei 101. The whole steep hike takes about 15 to 20 minutes only one way.

TOUR: For a hassle-free experience, you can join an Elephant Mountain day tour which will already include a trip to Pinglin’s Thousand Island Lake, Bagua Tea Plantation and Shenkeng Old Street.
HOURS: It’s best to avoid coming here during weekends because it can get crowded. For the best times to hike, it will be during the late afternoon so that you can catch the daylight, sunset and nighttime views of Taipei.
NEAREST MRT: Red Line to Xiangshan Station (or if you’re in Taipei 101, walk east on Xinyi Road until you reach Xiangshan Station for 15 minutes)

◘◘ ★ National Palace Museum

This is home to the largest permanent collection of ancient Chinese artifacts and artworks (spanning over 700,000 pieces)! They cover about 8,000 years of Chinese art history from the Neolithic to the modern age; plus, most of them are high-quality pieces that were collected by China’s emperors — which means that a lot of them were rooted in the Palace Museum of Beijing’s Forbidden City.

With such a number, it helps to note though that the exhibits continuously rotate because only a small number can be displayed at a time in order to properly preserve them. Still, it’s quite an impressive collection that’s worth visiting if you’re into Chinese culture and history!

Upon admission, you could also access the beautiful garden nearby called Zhishan Garden. Not too far away would also be the Shung Ye Museum of Formosan Aborigines which could be accessed for free once you pay the entrance for the National Palace Museum. (TIP: The National Palace Museum holds free English tours at 10AM and 3PM; book online beforehand to reserve your spot. Whereas the Shung Ye features free tours at 2PM every weekend; no booking is required).

ADMISSION: NT $350 (for students with ID, only NT $150)
HOURS: 8:30AM to 6:30PM from Sunday to Thursday (to 9:00PM from Friday to Saturday)
PROMO: Book online to purchase your admission ticket since it is cheaper
NEAREST MRT: Red Line Shilin Sation (士林)

◘◘ Presidential Building

This recognizable building in Taipei was originally built to act as the Office of the Governor-General during the Japanese colonial period, but it has since been renovated after it was partially destroyed during World War II. By the end of the Chinese Civil War, it served as the Presidential Office Building of the Kuomintang leadership in the city. As such, this is a great place to stop by for your Taiwan itinerary if you want to learn more about the country’s past in terms of political development.

TOUR: For a hassle-free experience, you can join a Taipei city tour which will include a stop to this attraction
HOURS: 9:00AM to 11:30AM from Monday to Friday
NEAREST MRT: Red Line to NTU Hospital Station (pass through Exit 1)

◘◘ ★ Chiang Kai-Shek (CKS) Memorial Hall

Built in memory of the former President of the Republic of China, Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek, this monument is a prominent historical landmark in Taiwan that was opened in 1980 as part of the national park. The square is actually officially called Liberty Square but the name was changed due to political motivations, and due to people still commonly referring to it as the CKS Memorial Hall.

TRIVIA: The 8 sides of the octagon-shaped building represent the number 8 which is often traditionally associated with fortune and wealth as per Chinese symbolism. Meanwhile, the 2 sets of 89 steps represent Chiang Kai-shek’s age of death (and you will find a bronze statue of him in the main hall). One of the great spectacles of this hall too is the hourly changing of the guards on either side of the statue.

TOUR: For a hassle-free experience, you can join a Taipei city tour which will include a stop at this attraction
HOURS: 9:00 AM to 5:00PM daily
NEAREST MRT: Red Line or Green Line to Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall Station

◘◘ National Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall

This is another memorial hall, but this time around, it’s dedicated to the founder of the Republic of China: Dr. Sun Yat-sen. Once you enter the premises, you will find displays showing his accomplishments that spanned from the revolution during and after the fall of the Qing Dynasty. But other than this, the hall is also often used for various performances and exhibitions. You could even enjoy the surrounding park called Zhongshan Park which features gardens, decorative historical walls, and Lake Cui or Emerald Pond which has a nearby exhibition area.

HOURS: 9:00 AM to 6:00PM daily
NEAREST MRT: Blue Line to Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall Station

◘◘ Martyrs’ Shrine

Officially called the National Revolutionary Martyrs’ Shrine, this basically marks the memory of almost 400,000 soldiers who died during the war against the communist in mainland China. The complex, which was built in 1969, is a typical example of the northern ‘palace style’ architecture that was popularised during Chiang Kai-shek’s reign.

For most visitors, much like the CKS Memorial Hall, the Martyrs’ Shrine is known for its changing of the guards or soldiers at the front gate. This event happens every hour until 5PM and lasts for about 20 minutes so it’s worthy to consider for your Taiwan itinerary. Once you’re done watching the guards, just don’t forget to make the most of your stay and explore the surrounding architecture.

TOUR: For a hassle-free experience, you can join a Taipei city tour which will include a stop at this attraction
HOURS: 9:00 AM to 5:00PM daily
NEAREST MRT: Jiantan Station

◘◘ Dalongdong Bao’an Temple

This is a beautiful Taiwanese Taoist temple that received a UNESCO Asia-Pacific Heritage Award for both its restoration and revival qualities of temple rites and festivities. Dedicated to the Taoist saint, Baosheng Dadi, this 900sqm temple is an exquisite structure that is a great example of the traditional decorative arts. If you time your visit from March to June, you could even witness the popular Baoshen Cultural Festival where you can watch parade tours, fire-walking rituals, lion dances, Taiwanese opera performances, puppet shows, and other cultural presentations. For an accurate schedule of the events, see the temple’s website.

HOURS: 7:00 AM to 10:00PM daily
NEAREST MRT: Red Line to Yuanshan Station

◘◘ ★ Maokong Gondola

The mountain village of Maokong is the best spot in Taipei that offers a stunning panoramic view of the city — not to mention, they also have a wide variety of high-quality local tea.

To reach this village, you must take the Maokong Gondola which is a 4-km scenic cable car ride. With their Crystal Cabins or glass-bottom cars, you will be rewarded with amazing views and angles not only over the metropolis but also over the lush Zhinan River as you make your way up to Maokong (the ride spans about 30 minutes).

ADMISSION: One-way NT$120 for adults and NT$50 for children (FREE if you purchase a Taipei Pass)
PROMO: Book online to purchase your admission ticket since it is a cheaper package inclusive of roundtrip tickets with FREE Taipei Double-decker Sightseeing Night Bus ticket for only NT$220.
HOURS: Typically open from 9AM to 9PM on Tuesdays to Thursdays, 9AM to 10PM on Fridays, 8:30AM to 10PM on Saturdays and 8:30AM to 9PM on Sundays (note that the gondola’s opening hours depend upon the weather situation)
NEAREST MRT: Brown Line to the terminus station, Taipei Zoo

◘◘ ★ Mengjia Longshan Temple

This is one of the largest and oldest well-known temples in Taiwan that’s located in the historic Wanhua district. Said to have been built in 1738 by Fujian settlers as a gathering place for Chinese settlers, Longshan Temple has since been rebuilt multiple times after destruction by earthquakes, typhoons, and WWII bombings. Today, it stands as a Taiwanese worship house for a mixture of Buddhist, Taoist, and deities such as Matsu (or the goddess of the sea).

HOURS: 6:00AM to 10:00PM (best times to visit would be at 6AM, 8AM or 5PM when crowds would gather and engage in hypnotic chanting)
NEAREST MRT: Blue Line to Longshan Temple

– – –

Night Markets

Taiwan is a haven for foodies so when the night starts to creep in, choose from any of the night markets below to stuff yourself full!

TIP: For a hassle-free experience, you can join a Taipei Night Market tour for your Taiwan itinerary in order to get the most out of the city’s top authentic Taiwanese dishes and local flavors with the help of a local guide! Otherwise, check out this list of restaurants that you can book online for scoring special deals and rates.

◘◘ ★ Raohe Street Night Market

This is said to be Taipei’s oldest night market! It’s a single pedestrian lane spanning about 600 meters and it goes along Raohe street between 2 ornate gates. Here, you’ll find an array of quaint shops and stalls that serve food, snacks, and other items. For the must-try food items? Come read my post below:

» READ: Taiwan Street Food in Raohe Street Night Market

Other than eating, you can also shop for clothes if you stroll through the nearby Clothing Shopping Outlet in Wufenpu, or you could also visit the Ciyou Temple which is at the eastern end of the night market.

HOURS: 5:00PM to midnight
NEAREST MRT: Green Line to Songshan Station

◘◘ Huahsi (or Huaxi) Night Market

Also called “Snake Alley”, Huahsi is conveniently found next to Longshan Temple, as well as 2 other markets namely Guangzhou and Wuzhou. There is a wide range of food items that you can find here but the most famous ones would be the dishes made from snakes and turtles. If you’re up for something this exotic for your Taiwan itinerary, do try the snake soup! For something more ‘normal’, try the famous Tainan dan-dan noodles.

HOURS: 4:00PM to midnight
NEAREST MRT: Blue Line to Longshan Temple Station

◘◘ Shilin Night Market

This is one of the largest and most popular night markets in Taiwan to tourists. With its maze of alleyways, you can find a variety of local, traditional, and international merchandise — local cuisines included, of course! So make sure that you stop by the underground foodie paradise on the western side of the market. Some of the things to try are oyster vermicelli, fried pork buns, bubble tea, stinky tofu, and oyster omelet.

HOURS: 4:00PM to midnight
NEAREST MRT: Red Line to Jiantan Station

◘◘ Tonghua Night Market

This is a short walking distance from Taipei 101 and it’s the best night market to visit if you want something more local and less touristy. Other than clothing and other merchandise, there are food stalls here that sell sushi, steaks, and dumplings among many other things.

HOURS: 6:00PM to 1:00AM
NEAREST MRT: Red Line to Xinyi Anhe Station

– – –

Taipei Meals

◘◘ LUNCH: Eatogether Xinyi Restaurant

You must NEVER leave Taiwan without tasting the top local fares of xiaolongbao, beef noodles soup, and bubble tea! To get the best of everything, head over to this highly-rated buffet chain.
BOOK: Online

◘◘ DINNER: Any of the night markets

Taipei’s night markets can easily fill you up for dinner; so go and take your pick from any of the previous night markets that I’ve mentioned, and you’re sure to enjoy the night away!

Otherwise, check out this list of Taipei restaurants that you can book online for scoring special deals and rates.

Discover North of Taiwan

After you had your fill of some of Taipei’s key attractions, it’s time to venture out of the city to discover northern Taiwan’s wonders!

◘◘ Day tour to Yehliu, Shifen, and Jiufen

This is one of the best day tours that I’ve ever experienced for my Taiwan itinerary! For a whole day, you will be exploring the following key locations…

  • Geopark: This beautiful limestone cape has a range of interesting rock/geological formations that have been aptly named according to their shape (example: Fairy’s Shoe and Queen’s Head).
  • Shifen Old Streets and Shifen Waterfall: Found in the Pingxi area, Shifen is basically a small town that surrounds the Shifen railway station. This place is famous not only for its picturesque train tracks and marketplace but also for its shops that let you release a Chinese sky lantern — in case you can’t make it to their official Sky Lantern Festival (held usually on the 15th day of the first month in the lunisolar Chinese calendar). Another nearby attraction that you can find is the 20-meter tall Shifen Waterfall which is said to be the most scenic in Taiwan.
  • Jiufen: Once a prosperous gold mining town, Jiufen is now a popular tourist destination for its quaint scenes that relive scenes from the past. Here, you will find picturesque streets and tea houses adorned with red lanterns and some great spots for viewing the Pacific Ocean! If you’re a fan of Miyazaki’s “Spirited Away”, you must visit Jiufen since most of the scenes from the movie were inspired by this place.

DETAILED EXPERIENCE: Read this Jiufen Tour review
DURATION: About 8 hours (return time approximately 5:30PM)

» Want some other day tour options for your Taiwan itinerary? See here to view a complete list.

◘◘ Ximending Youth Shopping District

Dubbed as the ‘Harajuku’ of Taipei, this is the trendy shopping and nightlife haven in the city that has a wide selection of shops, restaurants, clubs, and bars found all throughout its streets. In fact, the moment that I stepped here, it really made me feel like I visited Shibuya in Japan! That being said, before the day ends, go and shop here ’til you drop — or if you’re more into clubs and bars, there is an array of choices for you.

HOURS: It’s open all day up to the night, but the best time to go would be starting from 5PM up into the wee hours
NEAREST MRT: Blue or Green Line to Ximen

– – –

Taipei Meals

◘◘ Din Tai Fung Restaurant

This is the internationally-famous Taiwanese restaurant that makes great-tasting xiaolongbao (a kind of tasty soup dumpling); therefore, no trip to Taiwan is complete without visiting one of its branches — especially its original Taipei branch found on Xinyi Road. Regrettably… the drawback is that there can be an insanely long wait because a lot of travelers also want to get a taste of this place. My advice? Visit in the morning to try and skip the lines!

TIP: If you are pressed on time during your Taiwan itinerary and can’t dedicate hours-long of waiting at Din Tai Fung, you can reserve your spot online at either the Xinyi or Taipei 101 branch — or join a Taipei night tour that includes a dinner at Din Tai Fung. For other substitutes, you can get some great tasting xiaolongbao at Kao Chi.
NEAREST MRT: Dongmen Station (for the Xinyi branch)

◘◘ Other options for Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

If you want great discounted/packaged meals in Taipei for your Taiwan itinerary, check out these online deals. They have choices from hot pots, lobster sets, beef noodles, and more! Otherwise, you can also revisit the night markets for a meal.

BOOKING: Taipei restaurants

Nature Exploration

This day is for witnessing yet another example of Taiwan’s grandeur when it comes to natural landscapes.

◘◘ Day tour to Alishan National Scenic Area

Alishan or “Mount Ali” is Taiwan’s most visited national park. Due to its elevation, you will find interesting flora in its ‘Giant Forest’ that is full of towering 2,000-year-old giant Taiwanese red cypresses. The area also enjoys a cooler climate and an erratic weather pattern so you can experience a cloudless morning with denser clouds of mist or fog in the latter part of the day, and then followed by a lightning storm and some rain (so make sure to pack an umbrella and a jacket).

If you ride the famous Alishan Mountain Railway, you can also visit several key locations in the national park via the Sacred Tree Line, Zhushan Line (for sunrise views over the Jade Mountain), and Mianyuei Line. For hiking-lovers, there are several great trails that you can go through in this location such as the path that leads to the Giant Tree of Mt. Shuishan (the oldest tree in the park at 2,700 years old).

On the way to Alishan with this day tour, you will also get the chance to stop over these additional locations…

  • Fenqihu: This is a medieval mountain railroad town near Alishan. Make sure that you visit its old narrow streets to shop for interesting souvenirs to bring back home, see its old railway museum, as well as to eat their famous ‘Fenqihu lunch box’ at the original restaurant that serves it (found underneath 7/11 on the main road — NT$100 only for takeaway or NT$120 for eating it on the spot).
  • Alishan Shouzhen Temple: This place enshrines the Supreme Emperor of the Dark Heaven (玄天上帝) as its main deity and it is the highest temple in Taiwan in terms of elevation.

DURATION: About 8 hours
MEETING POINT: In this tour, it is possible to pick you up from any of the hotels found in Kaohsiung, Chiayi and Tainan City. Otherwise, if you’re coming from Taipei, they can pick you up from High Speed Railway stations found in Chiayi or Tainan. To get to these train station locations from Taipei, you need to book an HSR train. Book a ticket, or you can also book an unlimited pass especially if you’re staying longer in Taiwan and plan to visit other places outside of Taipei).
PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION: If you want to explore Alishan by yourself for your Taiwan itinerary, once you reach Chiayi station, take the direct bus to Alishan for about NT$300 (one way) which runs between 10:00AM to 11:30AM. There are also non-direct buses that cost NT$221 each way. Take note that the last bus to Alishan is at 2PM and the last bus back to Chiayi leaves at 5:10PM (found near Alishan’s 7-11 store).

» Want some other day tour options for your Taiwan itinerary? See here to view a complete list.

◘◘ Explore the rest of Taipei

Once you’re back in Taipei after your day tour, this would be the perfect time to see the other historical landmarks or night markets that you haven’t managed to visit! (Refer to the list I’ve made under Day #1 to see the number of choices).

– – –

Taipei Meals

If you want great discounted/packaged meals in Taipei during your Taiwan itinerary, check out these online deals. They have choices from hot pots, lobster sets, beef noodles, and more! Otherwise, you can also revisit the night markets for a meal.

BOOKING: Taipei restaurants


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