As the capital city of Taiwan, Taipei (台北) is a large cosmopolitan city where it is the economic, political and cultural centre. Taipei is both modern and traditional; the city has a vibrant nightlife and delicious world-class cuisine.
Moreover, Taipei is one of the best cities for solo travel. The city is safe, easy to get around and very affordable. Even if you don’t know how to speak Mandarin or read Chinese, don’t be afraid to visit one of the friendliest cities. Taiwanese people are the happiest and most helpful people I’ve met.
I’ve visited Taipei many times and I keep coming back because I love the city. And I want other solo female travellers to see what I see. So, I compiled a list of the best things to do in Taipei for a first-time solo traveller. If you have never been to Taiwan and are wondering what to do in Taipei alone, then keep reading.
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Table of Contents
Before you take a solo trip to Taipei Taiwan
Before you travel solo to Taipei, take a look at my post on all my best tips for travelling to Taiwan alone. I included a lot of information, including getting a Taiwan SIM card, transportation around the country and more.
Here are a few more travel tips for travelling solo to Taipei:
- Taipei is a safe city for solo female travellers. Even though the city feels safe, every traveller should always take safety precautions.
- Taipei is affordable for most visitors. The city has fantastic cheap accommodations, inexpensive food and many free activities.
- Download the Google Translate app on your mobile. It can help with everyday conversation and reading the menu.
- Plan your solo trip to Taipei with the following festivals and events:
- Chinese New Year (late January to mid-February) – celebrate the lunar year for the first 15 days of the new year.
- Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival (15th day of Lunar new year) – the grand finale of Chinese New Year celebrations in Pingxi.
- Mid-Autumn Festival (mid-August) – annual Moon Festival with moon cakes, dragon dances and fireworks.
How to get to Taipei Taiwan
Most international travellers will arrive in Taipei because more international flights are flying into Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport.
The easiest way to get into the city is by taking the airport express from Taoyuan Airport MRT to Taipei Main Train Station. It takes about 35 minutes on the express train and costs NT$150.
The train is the best option if you travel from other parts of Taiwan. There are also long-distance buses, but the train is the easiest and most predictable.
Taiwan High-Speed Railway (HSR) is the fastest way to travel between Taipei and Kaohsiung. Check the HSR train schedule and cost here.
Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) is the regular train that connects most cities around the island. Check the TRA train schedule and cost here.
How to get around Taipei on your own
My favourite way to see Taipei is on foot. But the city is quite big, so you might want to take public transportation while you are in Taipei.
But before you get on a subway or bus, I recommend buying a rechargeable smartcard called EasyCard or iPass. Either card is good for taking public transportation in major cities in Taiwan. You can get one at any major train station or convenience store in Taiwan.
Taipei Mass Rapid Transit (MRT)
Taipei Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) is an efficient subway system in Taipei. You can buy a single-journey ticket where the rate depends on the distance/number of stops. Or get a one-day pass and take as many subway rides as you like.
Taipei Joint Bus System
Sometimes it is better to take the public bus when the MRT does not reach certain places. Tap your EasyCard or iPass when you get on the bus and alight.
To find a bus, select your destination in Google Maps, which will show you several bus routes.
Uber is a ride-hailing company where you can order car rides. It is like a cab, but you can order one via your smartphone.
20 best things to do in Taipei alone
If it is your first time in Taipei, you must be wondering what to do in Taipei because there are so many attractions and the city is quite spread out.
The good news is that Taipei is really easy to navigate. And with the easy-to-use public transportation system, you have no problems spending four to five days in Taipei is best to see all the city’s highlights.
So in no particular order, here are my 20 best things to do alone in Taipei for independent travellers.
What to do in Taipei: best tourist attractions
1. Visit all the major landmarks in Liberty Square
If you have never been to Taipei, you’ll have to start your self-guided sightseeing tour at Liberty Square (also called Freedom Square), where you can see several major landmarks in the public square.
Within the public plaza of 240,000 square meters, you can see:
- Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall (中正紀念堂) – a national monument built in memory of Chiang Kai Shek, the first President of the Republic of China. It also houses cultural exhibitions inside the grand building.
- National Theater (國家戲劇院) and National Concert Hall (國家音樂廳) – the twin performing arts venue for music, dance and theatre.
- Liberty Square Arch – also known as the Gate of Integrity, is a historic gate with five archways.
2. See the capital’s tallest skyscraper: Taipei 101
As the tallest skyscraper in Taipei, the building has 101 floors, as the name suggests. And it was at one point (2004 to 2010) the tallest building in the world.
Definitely see the tall building and look for these highlights:
- Take the speedy elevator to the Observation Deck on the 89th floor to see an unobstructed view of Taipei. Admiring the city view and lights is one of the best things to do at night
- Shop at the big shopping mall at the base of the building.
- Try Taiwanese food at the massive food court.
- Visit the world’s highest Starbucks on the 35th floor. But you must make a reservation first and spend a minimum of NT$250 per person.
- Watch the spectacular light show and fireworks if you are in Taipei on New Year’s Eve.
3. Visit one of many museums in Taipei
If museum is your jam then I have good news for you: there are over 45 museums in Taipei. They range from the biggest museum in Taiwan to smaller ones that focus on a specific theme.
You could try visiting all the museums. Or you can check out some of my favourite ones:
- National Palace Museum (NPM) (國立故宮博物院) – learn about Chinese art at the most important museum in Taiwan, which has the largest collection of ancient Chinese artifacts. And even if you don’t see everything, look for the Jadeite Cabbage and the Meat-Shaped Stone.
- Taipei Fine Arts Museum (TFAM) (臺北市立美術館) – the first museum in Taiwan dedicated to Taiwanese contemporary art.
- Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA Taipei) (台北當代藝術館) – many exhibits showcasing modern art, digital art and multimedia art. MOCA Taipei hosts lectures, workshops and other art events focusing on modern art.
- Ama Museum (阿嬤家-和平與女性人權館) – a one-of-a-kind museum that honours women when the Japanese occupied Taiwan.
Taipei: things to do in different neighbourhoods
4. Wander around the lively Ximending area
If you visit only one area in Taipei, it must be Ximending (西門町) because the pedestrian walking area has many things to do and see. Shops are open during the day, while the night market comes alive when the sun goes down.
Try to visit Ximending both day and night. And make sure to look for these attractions:
- Red House Theater (西門紅樓) – the historic red brick mansion from the Japanese colonial period is now used for cultural activities.
- Rainbow Six – a six-colour rainbow with “Taipei” painted on Hanzhong Street symbolizes gender equality and diversity.
- Colourful street art – many colourful graffitis are around Taipei Cinema Park.
- Ximending Night Market – meander the streets of Ximending and find street food around the night market.
- Try some of the best Ximending food – including breakfast at Yong He Soy Milk and Michelin beef noodles at Lao Shandong Homemade Noodles
5. Roam around the old neighbourhood of Bangka
If you want to see old Taipei, go to Bangka (艋舺) in Wanhua District, just south of Ximending. The old neighbourhood has historic temples, streets, and traditional eateries.
While you are in Bangka, look for some of these highlights:
- Longshan Temple (龍山寺) – built in 1738, is one of Taiwan’s oldest temples and survived WWII and many natural disasters. See the pair of copper-cast dragon pillars.
- Bopiliao Historic Block (剝皮寮歷史街區) – walk the brick-paved pedestrian streets and see cultural exhibits inside the restored buildings from the Qing Dynasty.
- Shintomicho Cultural Market (新富町文化市場) – take Instagram photos at this horseshoe-shaped heritage building from the Japanese colonial time.
- 36 Rice Cake Dessert (三六食粑) – try traditional Taiwanese desserts and sweet treats.
- Huaxi Street Night Market (臺北華西街夜市) – covered market with several Michelin street food stalls.
6. Shop and eat on Dihua Street in Dadaocheng
In the historic neighbourhood of Dadaocheng (大稻埕), there are many things to do, eat and buy on Dihua Street. On the main street, you will find tea houses, dessert shops, cafes, food markets, temples, art galleries, etc. Many shops sell medicinal tea, dried goods, fabric and much more. If I don’t travel with my 7kg backpack, I would buy many things here!
Here are some things you must do in Dadaocheng:
- Buy locally made souvenirs from Gao Jian Home Goods Store and Lao Mian Cheng Lantern Shop.
- Look for tea and dried goods from traditional medicinal stores like Huang Yu Sheng.
- Drink Oolong tea at South Street Delight Tea House.
- Rent a traditional cheongsam (traditional Chinese dress) at 貳零年華 salon 1920s and take photos around Dadaocheng.
7. Explore the neighbourhood around Yong Kang Street
Yong Kang Street is the main street in a lovely local neighbourhood in Da’an District. You can find local Taiwanese restaurants, bubble tea shops, souvenir shops, and Michelin-rated restaurants along the main road and side streets.
Here are some highlights around the neighbourhood of Yong Kang Street:
- Din Tai Fung (鼎泰豐) – while there are many locations worldwide, this is the OG. The soup dumplings are simply the best! Also, try the chocolate dumpling; they don’t have it anywhere else! And it is a one Michelin-star restaurant in Taipei.
- Tian Jin Scallion Pancake (天津蔥抓餅) – I tried the scallion pancake with egg and basil at this popular food stall. It is so good (and I don’t even like scallions!)
- Yongkang Beef Noodles (永康牛肉麵) – try their Michelin-level beef noodles.
- Scone shop (悄悄好食) – best homemade scones in Taipei
- Lai Hao (來好) – a cute shop selling typical Taiwanese souvenirs
Best things to do in Taipei alone: pamper yourself
8. Get a massage, reflexology and head spa
One of the best activities for a solo traveller is to pamper yourself by going to a day spa or hair salon. Many day spas around Taipei offer exceptional packages for massages and reflexology. Prices are affordable, and the service is top-notched.
And when you get a hair wash at a hair salon, it includes a shoulder, neck and head massage. And some salons will have specific head spa packages too.
Here are some of the places I tried in Taipei. Highly recommend all of them:
- The Village Spa (村之閣) – get free ear candling, hot stone massage or cupping when you get the 100-minute or 130-minute massage.
- Young Song (不老松足湯) – very affordable foot massage and foot bath at this 24-hour foot reflexology spa.
- H Gallery Aveda 永康店 – been here twice for a haircut. The haircut included a shoulder, neck and head massage.
What to eat in Taipei for foodies travelling to Taiwan
9. Try Taiwanese breakfast
Taiwanese breakfast might be my favourite type of breakfast, and many places in Taipei serve typical breakfast food like egg pancakes, rice rolls, dumplings, turnip cakes, small steamed buns, and soy milk. Oh, and Taiwanese breakfast sandwiches are awesome too!
Wake up early and find one of these breakfast joints:
- Yong He Soy Milk King (永和豆漿大王) – O.M.G. If you are a fan of Taiwanese breakfast like I am, you may want to come here a few times. Everything on the menu is good.
- 阜杭豆漿 (Fuhang Soy Milk) – a Michelin-level breakfast which includes their specialties: soy milk and oven-baked thick bread.
- 良粟商號 (Liáng sù shānghào) – popular cafe serving soft-boiled egg sandwiches.
10. Try traditional Taiwanese food
Food is a big part of Taiwanese culture. And when you are in Taipei, you can try many types of traditional Taiwanese food, such as scallion pancakes, beef noodle soup, braised pork rice, pineapple cake, and so much more.
You can find traditional food at local restaurants and night markets. Here are some places to look for:
- J&G Fried Chicken (繼光香香雞) – get their signature popcorn chicken (original or spicy), made with tender and juicy pieces of chicken breast.
- Xi Men Gin Fong (西門金鋒魯肉飯) – serves many typical dishes like braised pork rice, turkey rice, vegetables and homemade soup.
- Snowflake Shaved Ice Dessert (花藏雪) – their shaved ice mountains are very Instagrammable.
- Sunny Hills (微熱山丘) – a famous bakery selling pineapple cake. If you are a tourist, you can try a pineapple cake for free!
11. Drink milk tea and bubble tea
Taiwan is all about milk tea and bubble tea. And no matter where you are in Taiwan, you can find milk tea anywhere!
This is great news for tea lovers like myself. I can’t get enough of Taiwanese milk tea, which is black tea with whole milk. But there are many other variations of this classic tea, like Oolong tea, green tea, with or without milk, and many more combinations.
As for bubble tea, or boba tea, they are small tapioca balls that are soft and chewy. They make an excellent addition to milk tea and other flavoured drinks.
I really like milk tea from 樺達奶茶 and any boxed milk tea from 7-Eleven. As for bubble tea, 50 Lan is cheap, and you can’t go wrong with Tenrens.
12. Eat cheap Michelin food
175 restaurants and food establishments in Taipei were awarded the Michelin title (from Bib Gourmand to 3-star distinction). And many of the recognized places offer affordable food that everyone can enjoy.
Look for these Michelin cheap eats in Taipei:
- Lao Shandong Homemade Noodles (老山東牛肉麵) – beef noodle soup in Ximending.
- Yi Jia Zi (一甲子) – stewed pork rice and fish ball soup near Ximending.
- Fuzhou Ancestor Pepper Pie (福州世祖胡椒餅) – pepper bun at Raohe Night Market.
- Liu Yu Zi (劉芋仔蛋黃芋餅) – deep-fried taro balls at Ningxia Night Market.
- Fang Chia Chicken Rice (方家雞肉飯) – shredded chicken rice at Ningxia Night Market.
- Yuan Fang Guabao (源芳刈包) – stewed pork in a steamed bun at Huaxi Street Night Market.
13. Eat your way around Taipei Night Markets
While it is possible to visit all the night markets in Taipei (there are 17!), you will need a few weeks to try everything. Here are my 5 favourite night markets in Taipei if you have limited time:
- Raohe Night Market (饒河夜市) – one of Taipei’s oldest night markets, and it has over 600 meters of food stalls.
- Shilin Night Market (士林觀光夜市) – the night market is a bit confusing, but all you have to do is to follow the crowd and the food stalls.
- Ningxia Night Market (寧夏夜市) – a small night market that has excellent Michelin recommendations.
- Ximending Night Market (西門町夜市) – it is not the biggest night market, but Ximending has delicious street food and excellent local restaurants.
- Nanjichang Night Market (南機場夜市) – it is a smaller night market, but it opens early and is a local favourite.
Outdoor activities around Taipei
14. Go on an easy hike around Elephant Mountain
For nature lovers, spend a few hours hiking around Elephant Mountain (象山). It is an excellent day hike with a great view of Taipei.
And if you follow the paved path and signages, you can discover other trails and viewpoints in Four Beasts Scenic Area (四獸山風景區). Bring water and snacks.
How to get to Elephant Mountain: take the MRT to Xiangshan Station (R02) on Tamsui-Xinyi Line (red) and exit via Exit 2. Walk across Xiangshan Park and find the start of the trail.
15. Take the gondola and visit Maokong
Take a half-day trip to Wenshan District and visit Maokong (貓空), a beautiful spot just at the edge of the city where you can sip tea made from locally grown tea. And the best way to see the area and all the tea fields is by taking the scenic gondola ride.
How to get to Maokong: take the 30-minute Maokong gondola scenic cable car from Taipei Zoo Station.
Other things to do alone in Taipei: outside of the city centre
16. Visit the quaint town of Jiufen
A visit to the quaint town of Jiufen (九份) must include a stroll through Jiufen Old Street, where you can find unique local Taiwanese snacks and teahouses.
While you are in Jiufen, wander off the main town and search for the Golden Waterfall, a cascading waterfall with a golden colour. And make sure to bring a pair of hiking shoes with you. There are numerous hiking trails, including Teapot Mountain and Banpingshan Trail.
How to get to Jiufen: the easiest way to travel from Taipei to Jiufen is by taking bus 1062 from Zhongxiao Fuxing Station to Jiufen Old Street bus stop.
17. Release a sky lantern at Shifen
Shifen (十分) is a railroad town east of Taipei known for its beautiful waterfalls: Yanjingdong Falls and Shifen Waterfall.
And if you are spending the day in Shifen, you must participate in one of the most iconic rituals in Shifen: releasing a sky lantern along Shifen Old Street. It is one of my favourite activities in Taiwan!
How to get to Shifen: take the TRA train to Shifen Station (change trains at Ruifang Station).
18. Experience hot spring culture at Beitou
Beitou Hot Spring (北投) is a popular hot spring town near the city centre. Learn about the history of Beitou and experience hot springs via free thermal pools or public hot springs like Millennium Hot Spring. Or better yet, stay overnight at one of the hot springs hotels like Waterhouse Hotel.
How to get to Beitou: take the MRT to Xinbeitou Station (R22A) on Tamsui-Xinyi Line (red) exit via Exit 1.
19. Go on an epic hike in Yangmingshan National Park
When you spend a day in Yangmingshan National Park (陽明山國家公園), you can meander through a series of hiking trails, see hot springs and indulge yourself fully in nature.
Since the national park is quite big and there are many ways to start hiking, research and see which trails you want to tackle for the day. And make sure to wear good hiking shoes and warm clothes as it is cooler in the mountains.
How to get to Yangminshan National Park: the easiest way to get there is by taking Royal Bus 1717 (bound for Jinshan) at Taipei Station. Alight at Yangminshan National Park Administration stop.
20. Visit the waterfront town of Tamsui
Tamsui (淡水) is a waterfront city with a small-town charm. In the old part of town, there is the main street called Tamsui Old Street, where vendors sell local food and souvenirs. Look for Danshui Market, Fuyou Temple and Tamsui Longshan Temple.
Follow the path along the riverbank and make your way to Fisherman’s Wharf. The journey is quite scenic and relaxing.
How to get to Tamsui: take the MRT to Tamsui Station (R28) on Tamsui-Xinyi Line (red) and exit via Exit 1.
Taipei solo trip: where to stay
Plenty of excellent hostels and hotels are suitable for people travelling alone. The best area to stay is near Taipei Main Station because you are within walking distance of the train station, MRT, and Ximending. But honestly, you can stay anywhere because public transportation is very efficient.
I have a detailed post on where to stay in Taipei as a solo traveller, but here is a quick summary:
- Star Hostel Taipei Main Station ($) – My favourite budget accommodation in Taipei! I love the common area and the delicious breakfast they serve each morning! Oh, the dorm room and bathroom are nice and clean.
- Check prices & reviews: Agoda
- Monka Hotel ($$) – An affordable boutique hotel in Wanhua District, right beside Longshan Temple. For what you pay, you get a very modern contemporary double room. Read my hotel review here.
- Check prices & reviews: Agoda
- Kimpton Da’an Hotel ($$$) – The best modern contemporary hotel in Taipei is located in Da’an District. Enjoy the beautiful modern guest room, have a cocktail at Wine Hour and borrow a bike for free.
- Check prices & reviews: Agoda
Want to join a tour in Taipei Taiwan?
Are you ready to take a solo trip to Taipei, Taiwan?
I hope so because Taiwan is one of my favourite countries, and Taipei is an excellent starting point for your solo trip.
As I mentioned before, I recommend spending about four to five days in Taipei so you can really see the capital city and eat all the delicious food. But even if you have one day in Taipei, you can see and eat a lot! Ha!
Let me know in the comments if you have any specific questions about travelling solo to Taipei or if I missed any attractions and activities that should be part of this list.
Thank you for reading my Taipei solo travel post
You might also like these other posts on solo travel in Taiwan:
Introduction to Taiwan
- Things to know before visiting Taiwan
- How and where to buy a Taiwan prepaid SIM card
- How to spend 3 weeks in Taiwan
- 22 must-eat food in Taiwan
- Top 10 must-try Taiwan 7-11 Food
Northern Taiwan posts
- Where to stay in Taipei for solo travellers
- Dadaocheng Taipei: what to do, buy and eat on Dihua Street
- 9 Places to eat breakfast in Taipei
- Top 21 food to try in Ximending in Taipei
- 7 Best day trips from Taipei
- A complete beginner’s guide to Beitou Hot Spring
- How to travel from Taipei to Jiufen
- Bitoujiao Trail: short and easy hike from Taipei or Yilan
- Monka Hotel: affordable Taipei boutique hotel
- Kimpton Da’an Hotel: best luxury boutique hotel in Taipei