This section is dedicated to take away all your "I wish someone had told me that before I went!" experiences. This way, you are better prepared for what to expect, what not to expect and can spend less time settling in, and more time making new friends in your chosen hostel. We share our insider knowledge of tips, tricks and important things to look out for in Taipei. To help you make friends with Taipei before you visit, we've included a few helpful and fun things you should know about the area. Enjoy!
There are a few things you should know about Taipei hostels and the city in general. Besides comparing the best and cheapest hostels in Taipei for you, we also highlight what we have liked, disliked and things to look out for.
Taipei is a stunning and vibrant city, characterized by friendly people and safe streets. With more than 2.6 million inhabitants and many motorbikes, you will see it is quite easy to navigate in the city with public transport.
Actually, the public transport is so good that the metro is the easiest way to get to Taipei city from the Airport.
Note: read about the Easycard on the recommendations.
How to get to Taipei city Center from the Airport? From Taoyuan Airpot to the city Center, the easiest way to travel is by Metro (MRT). It takes just around 35 minutos to reach main station Taipei. Please bear in mind that the metro station does operate from 6am to 11pm.
As we collected tons of useful information, here you have an index, just in case you want to jump to any point directly:
Table of Contents
- 1. Where to stay in Taipei?
- 2. What to see in Taipei?
- Best things to do in Taipei
- 3. Where to eat in Taipei?
- 4. Day trips from Taipei
- 5. Special things to do in Taipei
- 6. What should be prepared in advance?
- 7. Travel itinerary
- 8. Curiosities
- 9. Money matters
- Backpacking Taiwan: Summary
If it is your first time in Taipei, I recommend you to read all the information.
1. Where to stay in Taipei?
We know you are looking for a hostel, that is why you are in Hostelz, right? At Hostelz you will find the best hostels in Taipei Taiwan for you, as well as getting the cheapest deal. The best areas to find cheap hostels in Taipei is around Taipei main station. There you will find tones of cheap places.
Which are the district names around the Taipei main station?
Zhongzheng District. Great hostels in this area include Taiwan Youth Hostel & Capsule Hotel and Uinn Travel Hostel
For those looking for the best district to stay in Taipei, I do totally recommend Ximending or Ximen area. Ximending is one of my favorite neighborhoods. It is a bustling commercial district, but it is also full cafés, bars and restaurants, street art, street food, history, LGBT-friendly scene and many quirky shops - and quirky restaurants. Ximending district is also one of the most popular areas in Taipei.
The streets are pedestrian streets only, making it even more comfortable to stroll around. Leaving the hostel and moving around is very easy - the MRT connects almost every place in and around the town.
The metro in Taipei is one of the best in Asia and it's cheap, safe, and very clean. Buy an easy card, you will use it in all the public transports (more info below) . There are also many buses around the city, but they are a little difficult to use, because destinations are mostly written in Chinese.
Here are some must-mention hostels in Taipei to consider:
- Star Hostel Taipei East - top rated
- Meander Taipei Hostel - free breakfast
- Bouti City Capsule Inn - party vibes
- Sleepy Dragon Hostel - for solo travellers
- Taipei Discover Hostel
- Ximen WOW Hostel - fast, free wifi for digital nomads
- Next Taipei Hostel - either by Main Station or Ximending
Always check reviews and make use of the hostel's email address if you have any burning queries before you book.
2. What to see in Taipei?
There are plenty of things to do and see in Taipei, that’s for sure. Let’s break it down: 3 places you must visit in Taipei if you only have 2 days:
2.1 Taipei 101
Taipei 101 is the most iconic building in the whole city. Shaped like a bamboo stalk, it was the world’s tallest building during more than 5 years (2004-2010). You can go up to the observation deck - floor 89th to 91st - and have a look at the city.
Tip: Make sure it is a sunny day. If not, you might get disappointed.
For those on a shoe string budget, there is a way to skip the fee at the Taipei 101. You won’t be at the top of the building, but you will be high enough to get some neat views of the city.
Here is the deal: there is a Starbucks at the 35th floor. For getting there, you will have to call in advance (only mandarin-speaking, so get your hostel receptionist to speak for you). You will have 90 minutes to enjoy your coffee and there is a minimal charge of around 9$ per customer. Bear in mind there is also a dress code, as this Starbucks is on a financial building. That means no shorts or open shoes.
How to get to Taipei 101 from Taipei Main Station? A metro runs every 10 minutes for a small fee, taking around 12-minutes.
2.2 CKS Memorial Hall
Officially known as Liberty Square, CKS Memorial hall is one of the most impressive sights in Taipei. There is a massive square from the Memorial hall to the Gate. I recommend you to walk around, and enjoy the views from all perspectives.
Going in the memorial hall is free of charge, so go for it!
Also, the photo from the steps admiring the gate and the garden area is quite cool too. In this area, you will also find the National concert Hall and the National theater. If you love culture, you can easily spend 2-3 hours there.
2.3 Elephant mountain
While Taipei 101 has great views over the city, I prefer the ones from the Elephant mountain. The hike to the top is just 15-20 minutes form the park entrance but make sure you bring water with you. From the top you will have a beautiful view over the city. Nevertheless, sometimes it is quite full and if you want to get the famous photo on the top of the rock overlooking the Taipei 101 there might be a long queue.
You will see many queues in Taiwan. Of course during these 2-3 days you should also eat, go to a quirky restaurant, drink bubble tea… read more on the eating section to get really cool tips.
2.4 Presidential Office Building
This is located in the Zhongzheng district and is well worth seeing if you appreciate unique architecture. It was designed during the Japanese rule of Taiwan.
Left wanting more or looking for a Taipei attractions blog? Here are 20 fun things to do in Taipei that you may never have thought of.
2.5 Join a free tour
There are some tours around the city worth joining. Ask the staff at your hostel - some of them hoste free tours themselves.
2.6 Dalongdong Baoan Temple
This majestic temple in Datong district will impress you. Not only because it is big, more than 900 square meters. Also because the whole temple is built in line with the Feng-Shui practices.
Notice the stone carvings, stone lions, dragon columns, stone bamboo windows and wood, stone and clay carvings.
2.7 Dihua street
Located in the oldest neighborhood of Taipei, you will see a long shopping street with many shops under symmetric arches. Along this shopping street, which is around 800-meters long, you will find lots of Chinese shops with traditional herbs and medicines. Really interesting. Also a great place to buy some cashew nuts.
2.8 Change of guards at Chang Kai-Shek
Check the change of guards at Chang Kai - Shek Memorial Hall. It happens every day, every hour from 10am to 4pm.
2.8 Huashan creative park
A cultural and arts center located on a former sake brewery that boost lot of arts and exhibitions. There is always something going on here, specially on the weekends.
2.10 Longshan Temple
The most famous temple in Taipei. Always at the top of every traveler’s list, Longshan temple will impress you.
There are many other temples worth visiting around Taipei. My favorites include: Songshan Ciyou, Qingshan Temple, and Guandy Temple.
2.11 Enjoy Da-an Forest park
One of the best parks to visit in Taipei. The green park has a pond, a greenhouse, many different birds and a playground for children. If you are traveling with your family, make sure to include it!
2.12 National palace museum
Wanna learn more about Taiwan and their history? Then National palace should be on your list of places to see.
2.13 Red House theater
Also known as the red house, it is an historic theater. Make sure you go inside, there are some local quirky shops inside.
2.14 North gate
Once the most important historical site in Taipei, it is the only gate that remains from the Qing dinasty.
Note: Taipei has 5 historic gates around the city.
2.14 Maokong Gondola
At the end of the Taipei Metro line, concretely in the metro stop Zoo, you can take a bottom glass cable car to the tea hills. During the ride, you will be able to see the tea fields of Baozhong oong tea. Once there, you can visit a traditional tea house and experience a tea ceremony.
2.15 Confucius temple
Confucius temple is full of information about the history of Confucius. Do not miss the free Confucius-themed shows in the 4D cinema. Nine screenings are held throughout the day starting from 10am to 4pm.
2.16 Attend a Baseball match
Watching a Taiwanese baseball game is a fun experience. Even if you do not like baseball, you can feel like a star. Why? It is probable that you get feature on a big screen TV, as you will definitely stand out from multitude. Expect also friendly (and shy) Taiwanese looking at you, even coming to you to ask for selfies.
3. Where to eat in Taipei?
Taipei is great for eating out — 24/7! If you are in Taipei (and Taiwan) make sure you go to a night market. They are fun! Even though you will sometimes smell stinky food.
In Taiwan I saw many dishes and dishes I have never seen before. You will see long queues on the market, those are the best spots for the locals! But there will be plenty of options.
Just a quick note: if you are vegan or vegetarian, there will not be many options for you at the night market stalls, so make sure you have eaten something before.
Top 3 Taipei night markets
Nights markets in Taiwan is the countrys #1 sport, all Taiwanese go there to try the trendiest/ delicious dish. In fact, there are more than 10 night market vendors that are recognized on the Michelin Gourmand list. More than 10 in such a tiny country! These are some of the most affordable Michelin dishes in the world, so if you are into that… welcome to heaven.
Here you have my favorite markets:
The largest market in the city and one of the top visited. A part from a lot of food - and stinky tofu - you can play arcade games. The show is really fun to watch!
My favorite market in Taipei. The location and setting could not be more perfect, there is one temple before going in the street which is beautiful, make sure you enter to have a look.
This market is just a few minute walk from Ximending shopping area. Is the most convenient market if you are staying in Ximending or if you want to have a drink afterwards.
Wanna visit them all? Here are all the night markets in Taipei: Huaxi, Jingmei, Liaoning, Lehua, Nanjichang, Ningxia night market, Rahoe, Shida, Shilin night market, Tonghua.
Places to eat in Taipei
Taipei is full of restaurants, eateries, market halls, night markets… it can be overwhelming to choose between so many places, so here you have some restaurant recommendations for not failing on your hungry games:
Ding Tai Fung
The most famous dumpling restaurant - they even have chocolate dumplings! Just make sure you make a reservation or arrive very early to avoid queues. Ding Tai Fung is so famous that they have different branches abroad, including one Michelin star restaurant in Hong kong.
Quick fry / Hot fry
This popular restaurant is an informal eatery full of groups of people. Dishes are heavy, most of them fried as the name indicates. You will see locals combining the fried food with lots of Taiwanese local beer. A fun and local place, interesting to experience.
Yong Kang Beef Noodles
Recommended by Taiwan Lonely planet, this place is always full. Of course the dish you should order is Beef noddles. If you want to go there to dinner, make sure you go early.
Taipei fish market - Addiction aquatic development
This is the place where you can get the freshest seafood in the whole city! And it is also delicious. It is in the Taipei fish market, so... fish lovers go here.
This thematic restaurant has become famous because is the place where people pay to eat shit. Don’t get me wrong, I did not try it so I do not know if the food is tasty or not. I mean people eat food in....well... shit form… from a toilet basin.
The most famous shaved ice in Taipei. You will hear a lot bout Shaved ice, and you should not leave Taiwan without trying it.
Food to try in Taipei
There are many traditional foods in Taiwan, actually people say food paradise is Tainan - where many locals that go during the weekend just for the night market. Taipei is definitely a foodie hot spot too, with plenty of different dishes.
Wanna be adventurous? You can try many new dishes in Taipei: pig ears, pork intestines, duck tongue, blood on a stick… you will find many "challenges" all around the city.
You will find many noodle shops all around the city. Some of them specialize only in one flavor, some eateries will offer you different flavors... Just explore, it is difficult to go wrong here.
Even though Din Tai Fung is the most famous in Taiwan, there are plenty of tasty dumpings all around the city.
A Taiwanese specialty that… stinks! You will smell it all around the country, so the sooner you try it the better so you can decide if the smell is horrendous or delicious.
Even though it is a hot dish, Taiwanese eat this also in high summer temperatures. The best/ funniest way is to share a hot pot with more people, even different hot pots with different flavors so you can try different specialties.
Taiwan is the place where bubble tea (also known as pearl milk tea) was born. Do not leave the country without trying it.
These are very different from the sweet pancakes you have in mind, but are also delicious! Try the Wenzhou Street Daikon Pancake.
Taiwanese love to breakfast. Normally they have loads of carbs, soy milk, and eggs. A considered Taipei best breakfast would be:
- 甜豆浆 (Tian Dou Jian) – Sweet Soy Milk
- 蛋饼 (Dan Bing) – Omelette Cake
- 油条 (You Tiao) – Fritters
- 葱油饼 (Cong You Bing) – Scallion Pancakes
Adding the names in Mandarine so you can order it everywhere.
You will see fried chicken everywhere in Taipei, on every night market too. The most famous place to eat fried chicken in Taipei is Hot-Star.
A traditional dessert that you must try.
While this is normally more a souvenir I recommend you to try it a soon as possible, it is delicious! You can try many different pineapple cakes and decide how many of them you want to bring home with you. The most famous shop in Taipei is Chia te Bakery.
Where to go to have a drink?
For those willing to have a drink or have a night out, you can go to:
Beer-craft lovers, Taipei has a Mikkeller bar (one of the world most famous beer craft bar) to fulfill your delicate desires.
The secret speakeasy-style cocktail bar that everybody wants to try in Taipei.
There are many cafés around the city that are themed cafés: Friends café, Alice is coming, and many many more…
4. Day trips from Taipei
There are definitely lots of day trips that can be made from Taipei. If you don’t want to pack and unpack, just make a base in the the Taiwanese capital and go and explore during the day.
Have more time? I would recommend you to spend one night in Jiufen and hike the teapot, a mountain with a tea pot form.
A lovely suburb by the ocean where many locals go to watch sunset during the weekend. It is said to be the best sunset in the whole country! Make your trip even more worth it and stop for some seafood.
A very famous area with thermal baths that can be reached by public transport. Thermal springs are all over the country, and Beitou is a wise choice for your first Taiwanese hot springs experience.
A scenic place with an 80 meter waterfall.
North of Taipei, you will find this geopark with many unusual geological rock formations. The world’s most bizarre limestone rock formation I have ever seen. The most impressive part? They have been carved by… the forces of nature!
This is a small cute town to escape from the city. There are beautiful sea views, rolling hills and many tea houses and small shops to explore. It is one of the most popular cities to visit during the day from Taipei so I totally recommend you to stay overnight so you can see it with less people.
Sun Moon lake
Even though I think you should take more time to go to Sun Moon lake, there are many people that just go for a day trip. Sun Moon lake is the largest lake in Taiwan and one of the most beloved, famous, and crowded destinations.
Thousand island lake
An attractive area with a scenic panorama. Turquose waters, rivers… and tea plantations.
This rural town is visited every day by many tourists. Most of them want to see the train rail, which passes very near the houses, some others only want to release a lantern (this is a popular activity in Pingxi). There are many other things to do around the area, such as visiting the dramatic Sifen falls.
Wanli UFO Village
This UFO-like pod house ruins are one of the most bizarre places I have ever seen. It is a photographer’s (and Instagramers) magnet, so expect to see some crazy people trying to get into the houses. When I visited it, some houses were locked -I do not know if somebody lives there.
5. Special things to do in Taipei
I mentioned a couple of things already that you can do in Taipei, but here I mention those special things that can be only done in Taipei - (some of them in Taiwan):
Quirky things to do in Taipei
5.1 Eat in the loo with your friends
It sounds weird, it will be (a bit) weird… and fun. Modern toilet restaurant is a restaurant where you sit on an actual toilet. Plates are not too appealing, but it is really a fun experience.
5.2 Eat Stinky tofu
Yes, it stinks, …yet it is tofu. And one of the most known delicatessen in the country, so you should try it and decide whether is it really worth it to keep chasing it on the night markets or not.
5.3 KTV karaoke
KTV in Taipei is a night out that you will remember. KTV is a very popular place to have a party night singing out loud with your friends. I know, karaoke might not be your thing - neither is mine, but this is a private room where you will be able to sing, drink and laugh with your (new) friends all night long. The last trend with the cool kids is using this reems as a private cinema. As there are also TV rooms you can just watch a movie. Plus, On KTV karaoke you get 24-hour customer service.
Tip: drinks are cheap in case you need help to start singing.
5.4 knife massage
Ever thought how to add adrenaline to a massage? Well, give the massagist 2 knives and see how nervous can you be before receiving the massage. Worry not, these workers are well trained, they won’t kill you neither hurt you. Apparently, the knife blades remove negative energy. Where can you get a knife massage? Go to Knife Massage in Taipei City Mall.
5.5 F.R.I.E.N.D.S café
How many times do you have the chance to go to a café that looks like the friends café set? For those younger generation, it might sound weird, but all the millennials and older people I am sure you know which series I am talking about, right?
5.6 Fortune telling
Fortune telling is a part of Taiwanese lifestyles. There are many fortune telling shops in the underground alley near the Longshan Temple. Unfortunately, most fortune tellers only speak Chinese or Japanese, but there is a bird which plucks cards from a pack. Let us know about what the future holds for you!
5.7 Stay in a weird room (in a love hotel)
Love hotels are famous all around Taiwan. These are themed bedrooms, most of them very impressively decorated which you can rent for a day or simply some hours. Sato castle impresses you from the very first step. You enter in a castle, where you can choose your fantasy room and then… well, from here it’s up to you! Some people just wanna use the jacuzzi and sleep in a very unreal bedroom setting.
5.8 Ride one of the 3 world’s fastest elevators in the world
Taipei 101 does not only offer stunning views to the city, it also will let you experience one of the fastest elevators in the world. A handy info-graphic will tell you every moment exactly how fast you’re going.
Special things about Taiwan
There are 2-3 things that are very special in Taiwan, and I wish I had known before going.
5.9 It is a bike paradise
If you like biking, Taiwan will be a paradise for you. It is very common for locals to cycle, as well as many people look for a cycling adventure around the island. If you want to cycle around Taiwan, steak to the eastern coastline for the beginning of your journey. After that, go up to the west coast.
You can rent your bike in Taipei (professional bikes) or even bring your own if you are a bike nerd. Here you have all the things you should know to prepare your cycling trip
5.10 Taiwan is a super secure destination
I would say, it is one of the greatest places I know for female solo travelers who want a bit of adventure. During my trip in Taiwan, which lasted 2 and a half months, I met a girl who was traveling around with her hammock looking for tea plantations. She was sleeping mostly in the hammock.
Camping and nature lovers…. in Taiwan your dreams can come really true! Imagine sleeping in a hammock on a tiny island with sea views… it is possible, I visited her in the camping spot.
5.11 Hitch- hiking is "accepted"
On the east coast it is very usual that people do hitch-hicking, as there are not so many buses or good connections. I recommend you to try it. It was one of the most beautiful experiences. A woman, who didn't speak any english, pulled up and brought me to the next village with a smile on her face. Just make sure you get the name written in Chinese at your hostel and ask them where to stop for having more chances (the locals know where the cars have to drive).
5.12 Taiwanese people are extremely helpful
Even if they do not speak English, most of them will try to help you. I would be very glad to hear if they say also that about all the tourists that visit them. What do you think, wanna collaborate on this “beautiful world” scenery?
6. What should be prepared in advance?
There are some things that you might consider before traveling to Taiwan,
What are some cultural dos and donts in Taipei Taiwan? Also inlcuded below!
First of all, bear in mind there are monsoon seasons. Meaning, if you choose the “wrong dates”, you might have tones of rain. The southern part of the island is the first to experience the monsoon, with heavy rains between may and September. Avoid these monsoon seasons so you can enjoy most of the country some rains here or there, but not heavy rains and typhoons.
Also, they experience typhoons, which normally start in May and run as late as November. In general, from September to November are the best months to visit, as the typhoon season is ceasing, and the rainy season has finished.
September and November offers the perfect combination of cool and dry weather. Nevertheless, I traveled around from February to April, and had a bit of rain, but not so much. There were some rains always going on at some point, that is why Taiwan landscapes are so lush, right?
Mother nature is strong in Taiwan. There are earthquakes, too. Worry not, any modern buildings in Taiwan are constructed with earthquake safety in mind.
There are many different hikes all around in Taiwan. In many hikes, you will see there are some man-made constructions: stair cases, pavement paths… Some others, are more challanging, like the Dakeng Trail in Taichung (It looks like a wooden staircase. It seems easier than it is, it will be very useful to wear some gloves).
In case you want to go hiking, there are many scenic hikes that I could recommend you, but there are some important things you must know.
Some paths require a permit, for example in Taroko National park there are some paths that require a trail permit, some others do not require any permit.
Check the conditions of the trails you are willing to do in advance to see the conditions and the fees that might apply at https://www.taroko.gov.tw
Also, if you want to hike, bring your necessary equipment and utensils with you - hammock, shoes, cooking pots…
Note: If you forget anything, there is a Decathlon (sports shop) in Taipei.
If you plan to do a bike tour, contact the agencies in advance for information, some of them are fully booked many months in advance.
6.4 Language barrier
Many Taiwanese have little or no chance to practice their english outside school. Therefore, you will see many people cannot communicate in English. As soon as you arrive at your hostel in Taipei, ask the staff to write you the basic things you will need, for example:
- How much is it?
- Do you have food?
- I am vegetarian / vegan
- Thank you
You could also have google translator on your phone and try to translate on the go.
6.5 Get an easy card as soon as possible
To move around Taiwan, you will use an Easy Card. This is a card that you will be able to recharge in any 7/11. This card is designed for use on local buses, MRT, Youbikes… and even convenience stores. You will be able to pay your coffee just taping this card. The Card itself cost 100 NTS. You can recharge it as many times you need. Get one as soon as possible because you will definitely use it.
6.6 7/11 has it all
Even though you might deny the importance of 7/11 at the beginning, don’t fight against it. They have it all:
- coffee to go,
- possibility to warm up food and eat there,
- cheap beers which can also be consumed in the supermarket…
As well as some medicines, tickets, travel cards… and everything you could imagine. It is also a good place to find people who speak English, even in the most remote areas.
6.7 Queuing is trendy
You will see queues all around the country. The longer the queue, the most people it attracts… Try to avoid rush hours or you will just wait in the queue for… hours.
6.8 Buy a poncho
As soon as you get to Taipei, buy a poncho. I read before going to Taiwan to bring and umbrella but an umbrella would have not helped me against rain coming in all directions (due to the windy conditions). Do yourself a favor and buy a quality poncho that you can reuse as many times as necessary during your trip
6.9 If you are western, you will feel you are different
What is Taipei like for Western tourists?
During my trip in Taiwan, I think I met around 30 backpackers from Western countries.
Yes, in around 2 months. And I met a 5 people group once… So you will notice some people watching you a bit curiously. Taiwan receives many local tourism, as well as China and Korean tourism, but not many western tourists yet. You will be excited to mingle even with your country-fellow visitors. Take each opportunity you can to talk with other travelers that have been around, they can give you tips from the places they just visited: how to get there, how much was the entry etc.
6.10 Weekends are busy in the hostels
As a backpacker, I don't like to plan too much. I do not know if I will like one place and would love to extend, or if I will find some other interesting people to travel with. Nevertheless, I learned a lesson in Taiwan: Book your hostels beforehand for the weekends, or you will have little to no choice.
During the weekend, many Taiwanese groups travel around the country, so hostels get very busy. It is the perfect time to meet locals, but you have to be a bit courageous, as they travel in big groups.
6.11 Obey Metro etiquette
Wait what??? Yes, the metro in Taipei is super organized, so follow the rules:
- line up for the train,
- stand on the right of the escalator,
- no gum, no food or drink (even water).
Follow the rules or you will be fined.
6.12 Coffee is expensive
Having a seat to sip your black coffee will not be cheap. It will be tasty, but it won’t be cheap. There are many coffee places that I can recommend you in Taipei: Zabu, Chamber café, fika fika, Gabee... If you are on a string budge, go 7/11. Rumor says they use the same beans as Starbucks.
6.13 Don’t talk about politics
I am sure you have a lot of political questions, so did I. Try to avoid the politics questions unless you see the other person wants to talk about it. The relationship between China and Taiwan is extremely complex and people are very sensitive. Do not cause offense. Do not talk about it unless that person asks/shares first.
Do not tip whether it’s in restaurants, hotels or taxis. It is considered as an offense. Tips are welcomed in bars.
6.15 Temple rules
In the temples, don’t step on the extra step (the higher stage that separates the inside and outside of the temple) while entering/leaving.
7. Travel itinerary
So if you have just 2-3 days, you can remain in Taipei, but if you have more time, go explore Taiwan! It is a beautiful country, and you will find lots of diversity.
For me, the best areas in Taiwan where outside the cities.
Let me help you plan for you some itineraries combining Taipei. For more itineraries, visit our hostels in Taiwan page.
- 1-2 days: stick to Taipei. You've got plenty of information about what to do.
- 2-5 days: combine Taipei with some day trips or a night over (Jiufen, Beitu.)… You could also add kaoshiung to your plan, but I would prefer to explore more the north (Yeliu)
- 10 days in the east coast: Taipei - Taroko - Taitung - Green island - Kenting
- 10 days west coast: Taipei - Taichung - Tainan - kaoshiung
No doubt you have some personal curiosities about Taipei. This section should have the major ones covered for you.
8.1 When you hear Beethoven...
It is very curious to see what happens when you do hear the Beethoven song along the streets in Taiwan. It is... the trash truck! When the truck arrives, you will see all the neighbors bringing the trash to the trash truck. In some countries, I heard they use the same song for the ice cream truck, so I admit I was disappointed the first time I heard it.
8.2 How many kinds of tea are produced in Taiwan?
Taiwan is famous for its tea which are of four main types:
- oolong tea,
- black tea,
- green tea and
- white tea.
If you are a tea lover, bear in mind the most accessible growing tea areas are Sun Moon Lake, Alisha, and Luye. For the absolute tea nerds, it is possible to visit a tea producing area and buy tea directly form the growers or in local shops in that area. Just go to the different tea houses, ask around, and you will be able to buy super fine tea to bring with you home. One of the best souvenirs ever.
8.3 About Airbnb Taipei
Airbnb is forbidden in some villages. Or maybe there are strict building rules. I remember once I went to an Airbnb where the women told me I had to lie and say I would stay for months, even though I was leaving in 3 days. A very uncomfortable experience that would recommend you to avoid. Therefore, inform yourself beforehand if Airbnb in prohibited in that area before booking any place.
Muiu Inn is a cool Taipei capsule hotel alternative to Airbnb.
Couchsurfing works quite well in Taiwan. Use it to get to know some locals beforehand and you will have incredible experiences and reach places you never thought.
8.5 Vegetarians, do not suffer
There are many veggie restaurants all over the country. Normally, you will find a buffet restaurant where you you pay per weight. Near the train station in Taipei, you willl find Miander vegetarian on the 5th floor inside the shopping mall QSquare. The easiest way to find them is to find the food courts in the shopping malls.
There are motorbikes everywhere, so watch out before crossing any street. Bear in mind you won't be able to hire any motorbike in Taipei city. The city council has forbiden that tourists ride, as there were many accidents. If you want to rent a scooter in the rest of the island, you will need your international driving license. Make sure you bring it with you.
8.7 Tap water
Tap water is not potable. Nevertheless, there are many free fountains everywhere. Bring your water bottle with you, you will be able to fill them in the hostels, police stations, many resturants and also in the temples.
9. Money matters
I know you might wonder... Is Taiwan cheap? Let's be clear. Taiwan is more expensive than Thailand or Indonesia, but it is still cheaper than Japan or Singapore. In comparison to China, prices are more or less the same. Transport might be a bit cheaper in Taiwan, as distances are smaller. Nevertheless, do not expect a super cheap country. Neither an expensive one.
Food could be around 2-3$ in the night market or food courts, around 8$ in a restaurant. Coffee is super expensive, but if you are looking for quality tea, it will be cheaper than many other countries.
What about hostels? Well, a private room can be around 25$ while a dorm is around 13$. Not bad, right?
Backpacking Taiwan: Summary
That is all the information I would have loved to receive before my trip to Taiwan, I hope you have it all now. Well, maybe you just wanna select your hostel in Taiwan? Use the filters above to select your day and preference and start packing your backpack. See you there!
Written by local enthusiast for Taipei hostelsMiika