Taiwan ranks as one of my top favourite travel destinations because it's really affordable, easy to navigate, sells lots of cute clothes/souvenirs, and is also filled with delicious food (and bubble tea)! I've solo-traveled to Taipei twice already, and loved it each time. Below is my one week travel itinerary. I hope this inspires you to visit sometime in the future!
Once you arrive at the airport in Taipei, be sure to purchase an Easy Card. to ride the metro. The metro is the main form of transportation in Taipei, and super easy too to navigate too. Uber is also a convenient and affordable option for transportation.
I stay in Ximending everytime I visit Taiwan because it's the centre of youth culture and known as one of the best places to stay! Surrounded by endless shopping, restaurants, street performances, claw machines, and bubble tea - there's always something to do in Ximending! I highly recommend booking an Airbnb here if you're looking for a vibrant area that's alive during the day and night. Below are the Airbnbs that I've stayed at:
- Link to Taipei Airbnb (#1): WhoseHouse-1 /2MinToXimending/500mToMRT/FreeWi-Fi
- Link to Taipei Airbnb (#2): 胡思 - ComfyZone - 9mins to Ximen MRT / Portable Wi-Fi
- Link to Taipei Airbnb (#3): CO CO @Taipei MRT西門站(3-6人房)Free wifi egg
Pre-paid sim cards are available for purchase at the airport, or I highly recommend booking an Airbnb that includes a free portable WiFi egg. Note: It's helpful to carry a portable charger incase the portable WiFi runs out of battery.
Taiwan is known as one of the most affordable travel destinations, so you could definitely get by with budgeting $50/day, but I did $100/day because I knew I wanted to shop while I was there. I exchanged $1,500CAD for the two weeks I was staying in Taipei.
ONE WEEK IN TAIPEI ITINERARY: AT A GLANCE
Day 1: Exploring Ximen, 50 Lan Bubble Tea, Wu Fen Pu, Raohe Night Market
Day 2: Chun Shui Tang (春水堂), Taipei 101, Donguri Republic, Shilin Night Market
Day 3: Mala Hot Pot, Tom's World, National Palace Museum & Din Tai Fung
Day 4: Shifen Old Street and Shifen Waterfall & Jiufen Old Street
Day 5: Cafe by Juicy Diary, Cheng Kai-Shek, Elephant Mountain Hiking Trail, Ice Monster
Day 6: Addiction Aquatic Development, Beitou Hot Springs, Tong Hua Night Market, Chen San Ding (陳三鼎青蛙鮮奶)
Day 7: Tim Ho Wan, Tam Sui Old Street
TRY NOODLES @ AY-CHUNG FLOUR RICE NOODLES
Priced at less than $2 CAD, the Ay-Chung Flour Rice Noodles were a recommended dish on blogs, so I went to try it myself! These noodles were very flavourful and a filling snack for breakfast. There was also a nearby vendor selling dumplings which was honestly some of the best I've ever tasted.
GRAB BUBBLE TEA @ 50 LAN (50嵐)
The oolong milk tea with coconut jelly was my favourite drink at 50 Lan! I also tried the original bubble milk tea (came with a mix of large and small pearls), but it tasted pretty average and didn't impress me much. I felt like the original milk tea from Chatime, Coco, or The Alley back home in Canada were better.
TAKE A PICTURE @ THE NORTH GATE
As a solo-traveler, one of my favourite things to do is to walk around and explore at my own pace. I found the North Gate while I was looking at Google Maps, and decided to just check it out. It was a large structure in the middle of the streets of Taipei, and I liked how the doorway reminded me of a portal - where walking through one side would bring you to an alternate dimension.
SHOP FOR CLOTHES @ WU FEN PU
Wufenpu is a large wholesale garment market that mainly sells women's clothes and accessories. You can definitely spend 1-2 hours just shopping around, especially since there are tons of great deals and stylish pieces at a highly affordable price.
EAT AND SHOP @ RAOHE NIGHT MARKET
When visiting the Raohe Night Market, the #1 food you must try is the Black Pepper Buns. These can be found at the entrance of the night market and are super delicious! There's also a lot of great souvenir shopping that can be done here (or any night market in general)!
After wandering around throughout the day, you can head back to Ximending to either eat dinner (I had risotto at Cream Seafood Risotto), or you can continue to snack (Hot Star Fried Chicken is a popular option).
PLAY CLAW MACHINES @ XIMENDING
One of my favourite things to do in Taiwan is to play the claw machines, and Ximending is filled with endless machines! Every round costs NT$10 (which is roughly $0.44 CAD), and for most claw machines, prizes are guaranteed once you spend a certain amount.
BUY ANIME MERCH @ MAGFREAK
If you're into anime, definitely check out MagFreak in Ximending! This place was filled with so many cute anime keychains, accessories, plushies and more. I actually felt like this store had better merch than Japan in some places.
HAVE BUBBLE TEA AND LUNCH @ CHUN SHUI TANG (春水堂)
Chun Shui Tang (春水堂) is famous for being the "creator of pearl milk tea." As a milk tea lover, I had to try it... and I've got to say, that after taking a sip of their milk tea, I was pretty impressed. The milk tea had a light, creamy feel with just the right amount of sweetness, and the top was layered with crushed ice that made it fun to drink. If I were to give it a personal rating, it would be 9.5/10!
EXPLORE TAIPEI 101
Did you know that Taipei 101 was the world's tallest buildings, until 2010 when Dubai finished building the Burj Khalifa?! (Lol I just found that out from googling), but there's an observation deck that provides a breathtaking outlook of the city. I didn't buy the observation tickets when I visited though, and spent my time exploring inside the mall instead.
SHOP FOR STUDIO GHIBLI GOODIES @ DONGURI REPUBLIC
If you're a fan of Studio Ghibli films, then you'll have lots of fun browsing around Donguri Republic! The storefront displayed a large Totoro, and the inside had the iconic No Name character from Spirited Away.
SHOP AT @ ATT4FUN
Shop! Shop! Shop! I bought this really cute Gudetama shirt for only $4 CAD at Uniqlo! "Chill out and do nothing" hehe.
EAT AND SHOP @ SHILIN NIGHT MARKET
The Shilin Night Market is the largest night market in Taipei. If you only have time to check out one night market, definitely mark this one on your list! It has an incredible mix of delicious street food, souvenir shopping, stylish apparel and accessories, and also features some fun carnival games!
ENJOY AYCE HOT POT @ MALA HOT POT
Mala Hot Pot is an all-you-can-eat restaurant in Ximending that my friend recommended to me, and we had an amazing time there! Starting out, we were able to choose two different soup bases for our hot pot. Afterwards, we took our empty plates towards the food station and continuously filled it to our heart's content. For drinks, there was a milk tea and lemon tea dispenser, and for dessert, they had a great selection of Häagen-Dazs ice cream!
Address: 108, Taiwan, Taipei City, Wanhua District, Xining Rd, 157號2f
Hours: 11:30am - 4:00am
PLAY AT THE ARCADE @ TOM'S WORLD
I absolutely love playing games and getting competitive with my friends haha, so visiting the arcade at Tom's World was one of the highlights of my Taiwan trip! They had a fun selection of multiplayer games that made for some really great memories.
EXPLORE HISTORY @ NATIONAL PALACE MUSEUM
Ngl, the National Palace Museum was pretty boring inside for me LOL we spent most of our time making up stories of the artifacts instead haha, but the outside had some really beautiful views!
TRY XIAO LONG BAOS @ DIN TAI FUNG
Din Tai Fung is a world-renowned Taiwanese restaurant most famous for its soup dumplings (xiao long baos)! Definitely make time to try these if you can! The queue can be a bit long though, so just keep that in mind as you plan out your itinerary.
WRITE YOUR WISH ON A LANTERN @ SHIFEN OLD STREET
Watching lanterns float into the sky was a super cute scene to watch. Although I didn't personally purchase a lantern and write a wish on it, I enjoyed the atmosphere and vibes.
WATCH THE SHIFEN WATERFALL
We trekked in the rain to visit the Shifen Waterfall and once we got there, it just looked like a normal waterfall to me LOL. Maybe it's because I've already seen the Niagara Falls in Canada, so the difference between the two were drastic. In hindsight, I'd probably skip the Shifen Waterfall and spend the extra time exploring elsewhere.
EXPLORE JIUFEN OLD STREET
Jiufen (the place where "Spirited Away" was based on) was an incredibly vibrant street filled with delicious food stalls and souvenir shopping! We tried roasted mochi, taiwanese sausages, sweet taro balls, and I bought a few small bubble tea keychains to brings home for my friends! Jiufen was one of the highlights of my Taiwan trip - definitely mark this on your itinerary if you only have a few days to spare.
VISIT CHENG KAI-SHEK MEMORIAL HALL
The Cheng Kai-Shek Memorial Hall is a famous national monument created in memory of Chiang Kai-shek, the former President of the Republic of China. The buildings are beautiful, and it's a popular tourist attraction for photos too.
Address: No. 21號, Zhongshan South Road, Zhongzheng District, Taipei City, Taiwan 100
TAKE A HIKE @ THE ELEPHANT MOUNTAIN HIKING TRAIL
Located near Taipei 101, the Elephant Mountain (or Xiangshan) trail is a 15-20 minute hike away from a stunning outlook view of the city. When hiking up, I recommend taking a left at the fork of the path. We originally found this tip online, and I can definitely say it was a better and easier option to follow.
EAT SHAVED ICE @ ICE MONSTER
After hiking, treat yourself to some shaved ice at Ice Monster nearby! Shaved ice is one of my favourite desserts, especially the milk tea flavour! For this shaved ice though, we tried a seasonal flavour. This was lime and lychee and was very refreshing!
RENT A BIKE AND RIDE ALONG THE ZHONG ZHENG RIVERSIDE PARK
Near the exit of MTR stations are YouBike bicycle rentals available at an insanely affordable rate (NT $10 for 30 mins)! This was 100% one of our highlights in Taiwan as we peacefully biked along the neighbourhoods and Zhong Zheng Riverside Park.
GET A MASSAGE @ HUAXI NIGHT MARKET
Massages in Taiwan are incredibly cheap compared to Canada, so we couldn't resist taking up the offer for a massage here! We found this place in the Hua Xi Night Market, and got a foot massage the first day (~$16) - and a full body massage the next (~$30 CAD). I don't remember the exact place and prices, but if you visit the Hua Xi Night Market, you'll definitely find many great massage options!
EAT ACAI BOWLS @ CAFE BY JUICY DIARY
Funny enough, I had my very first acai bowl here in Taipei, Taiwan because my friend wanted to try this place! I found it funny because it's not a local dish at all, but it was really good and inspired me to have a healthier diet haha.
HAVE FRESH SEAFOOD @ ADDICTION AQUATIC DEVELOPMENT
I think this might've been the place where I tried oysters for the first time LOL. My friends were a huge fan of them, and I remember trying it thinking "oh cool," but didn't understand why they were so expensive haha. After tasting more oysters over the years though, I've learned to appreciate them more. Aside from oysters, we also tried some crab and sushi!
VISIT THE BEITOU HOT SPRING MUSEUM
The Beitou Hot Spring Museum was an interesting place to visit! The Thermal Valley was especially cool to see with the steam rising in the air.
Address: No. 2, Zhongshan Road, Beitou District, Taipei City, Taiwan 112
Hours: 9:00am-5:00pm (closed on Mondays)
SHOP AND EAT @ TONG HUA NIGHT MARKET
One of the specialties from the Tong Hua Night Market was the sesame tangyuan (a Chinese dessert similar to mochi). A local friend brought us here, and it was legit a hidden gem that we wouldn't have known about otherwise!
Location: Yu Ping Yuan (御品元冰火湯圓)
Address: No. 31, Alley 50, Lane 39, Tonghua Street, Da’an District, Taipei City
DRINK BUBBLE TEA @ CHEN SAN DING (陳三鼎青蛙鮮奶)
Popular for its brown sugar milk tea and tapioca, Chen San Ding (陳三鼎青蛙鮮奶) was a bubble tea stop we made right before closing! We actually took a taxi straight here from the night market LOL and we ran to order before it was too late hahah.
HAVE DIM SUM @ TIM HO WAN
The BBQ Baked Pork Buns in Tim Ho Wan were one of the most mind-blowing foods I tried in Taiwan. I actually had them earlier in the week, but they were SO good that I had to come back on my last day. I knew that once I left Taiwan, it'd be a long while before I'd have the chance to eat them again.
STROLL AROUND TAM SUI OLD STREET
After satisfying my BBQ Baked Pork Buns craving, I headed over to Tam Shui Old Street (which was actually recommended to me by my Airbnb host). The area was close to the water and gave me a great opportunity to fly the drone in an open space! I was really happy about that, and then afterwards I strolled along Tam Shui Old Street to do some quick eating and souvenir shopping.