Last Updated on April 23, 2021 by queenie mak
As the capital city of Taiwan, Taipei (台北) is a large cosmopolitan city where it is the economic, political and cultural centre. Taipei has a mix of a modern and traditional feel, vibrant nightlife and world-class cuisine. It is a modern city where you will find Japanese colonial houses and lanes as Taiwan was part of Japan from 1895 to 1945.
Moreover, Taipei is one of the best cities for solo travel in Taiwan. The city is safe, easy to get around and very affordable. Even if you don’t know how to speak or read Mandarin, don’t be afraid to visit one of the friendliest cities. Taiwanese people are the happiest and most helpful people I’ve met.
I visited Taipei back in 2003 with my Mom and returned in 2018 and 2019 as a solo traveller. I love the city so much, and I feel I still have a lot to see. I’ll share everything I know so far so you love Taipei as much as I do.
Related Post – The Ultimate 3-week Itinerary for Taiwan
Why Taipei is Great for a Solo Female Traveller
As a solo female traveller myself, my number one priority is safety. I never felt that I was in any danger. Even though the city feels safe, every traveller should continue to practice the usual safety precaution at all times.
Even though it is not the most inexpensive place to visit in Asia, Taipei is considered very affordable for most visitors. There are fantastic cheap accommodation, inexpensive food and lots of free activities in Taipei. If you are a budget-conscious traveller, you will thoroughly enjoy Taipei without spending a lot of money.
Also, Taiwanese people are the friendliest people! I have never felt such warmth and friendliness from locals (other than Japan), and it is such a welcoming feeling. And even if you don’t speak Mandarin, you can totally get by with English in Taipei. You will find that people in Taipei speak a bit more English than the rest of the country.
Before you visit Taipei, Taiwan
Before you go to Taipei, take a look at my post on learning 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.
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How to get to Taipei
From Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport to Taipei
Most international travellers will arrive in Taipei because there are more international flights flying into Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport.
The easiest way to get into the city is by taking the airport express called Taoyuan Airport MRT airport to Taipei Main Train Station.
- MRT: Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport to Taipei Main Train Station
- Time: from 35 minutes
- Cost: NT$150
From Hualien to Taipei
If you are coming from the east coast, you could be coming from Hualien or Yilan. Take the Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) train to Taipei Main Train Station.
Below is a sample route from Hualien to Taipei:
- TRA: Hualien Station to Taipei Station
- Time: 2 hours +
- Cost: NT$440
- Check Hualien Station to Taipei Station train schedule and cost
From Taichung to Taipei
And if you are coming from the west coast, you could be coming from Taichung, Tainan, Kaohsiung or other cities. All of these cities are connected by the Taiwan High-Speed Railway (HSR), and it is the fastest and most efficient way to get to Taipei.
Below is a sample route from Taichung to Taipei:
- HSR: Taichung HSR Station to Taipei Main Train Station
- Time: 60 minutes
- Cost: NT$700
- Check Taichung to Taipei HSR train schedule and cost
How to get around Taipei
My favourite way to see Taipei is by walking. But the city is quite big so you might want to take public transportation while you are there.
An efficient subway system, MRT service the city. You can also buy a single-journey ticket where the rate is dependent on the distance/number of stops. Or get a one day pass and take as many subway rides as you like.
I would 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 a rechargeable card at any major train station or convenience store in Taiwan.
With the smartcard, you can also take the public bus, which is a good alternative when certain places are not reachable by the MRT.
Or you can download the Uber app on your smartphone and order an Uber car and take you around Taipei.
Where to eat in Taipei
It is rather tough to narrow down all the good food places in Taipei. So I will only include the best of the best here.
Below are some budget, mid-range restaurants and other food suggestions. You can find more information about each location in each pin in the attached google map (see above).
- Raohe Night Market (饒河夜市) – one of Taipei’s oldest night market has over 600 meters of food stalls. Don’t miss the Michelin recommended Fuzhou black pepper bun.
- 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. It is one of the largest and most popular night markets in Taipei!
- Ningxia Night Market (寧夏夜市) – a small night market but has excellent Michelin recommendations. Try the liu yu zi (deep-fried taro balls), and Fang Chia shredded chicken on rice.
- 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.
- 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 schedule a few mornings to come here. Everything on the menu is good; you cannot go wrong.
- Tian Jin Scallion Pancake (天津蔥抓餅) – you know it is good when there is a long line-up. I tried the scallion pancake with egg and basil, and it is so good! (And I don’t even like scallions!)
- Niou Dien Beef Noodles (牛店牛肉麵) – a fantastic beef noodle restaurant with a long line-up, but well worth the wait (all the best places have line-ups). They have an English menu as well.
- Traditional Taiwanese Food (西門金鋒魯肉飯) – I love traditional Taiwanese food! Portions are small, so that means you can order more and try different dishes. Try their turkey rice, braised pork and any of the homemade soups.
- Sunny Hills (微熱山丘) – a famous bakery selling a Taiwanese specialty, the pineapple cake. If you are a tourist, you can try a pineapple cake for free!
- Din Tai Fung (鼎泰豐) – I couldn’t leave Taipei without having the famous Din Tai Fung. They have locations worldwide, but this is the OG. The soup dumplings are simply the best! Also, try the chocolate dumpling, they don’t have it anywhere else!
- Addiction Aquatic Development (上引水產) – not sure how they derived the name but this is a Japanese restaurant that serves the freshest sushi in Taipei.
- Snowflake Shaved Ice Dessert (花藏雪) – they have many flavours of fluffy shaved ice, and I had the strawberry tiramisu cheesecake on top of strawberry shaved ice. Totally instagrammable!
Coffee shop, Bubble tea shop, & other beverages
- Untitled Workshop – a hipster coffee shop that has excellent lattes and sells trendy home products
- Chen San Ding (陳三鼎黑糖青蛙撞奶) – my absolute favourite bubble tea is the brown sugar tapioca with fresh milk. It doesn’t even have tea in it. But the combination of the sweetness from the tapioca in syrup and milk is heavenly!
- Draft Land – The bar has cocktail drinks on tap! They also have one in Hong Kong as well.
Where to stay in Taipei, Taiwan
There many accommodations in Taipei. Probably too many! It is one thing you don’t have to worry about.
As solo traveller, there are plenty of excellent hostels that are suitable for people who are travelling alone. The best area to stay is near Taipei Main Station because you are within walking distance to the train station, MRT, and Ximending.
Accommodation prices are very affordable in Taipei. A comfortable dorm bed starts at NT$500 per night.
I have a detailed post on where to stay in Taipei as a solo traveller. I included all my favourite places to stay from hostels to hotels. Below is a quick summary:
- Star Hostel Taipei Main Station ($) – My favourite budget accommodation in Taipei! I love the common area (I have a preference for a large communal table when I work) and the delicious breakfast they serve each morning! Oh, and the dorm room and the bathroom are both nice and clean.
- Check prices & reviews: Agoda
- Meander 1948 Hostel – Taipei Main Station ($) – One of the newer hostels near Taipei Main Station. The hostel is super clean! The dorm bed is comfortable and the hostel serves one of the best breakfasts (for a hotel)!
- Check prices & reviews: Agoda
- Bouti City Capsule Inn ($) -Each bed is surrounded by wood laminate and has a comfortable mattress. Each person has their own lights and locker. The public bathroom is spotless (which is a must!). I love this place so much that I went back a few times.
- Check prices & reviews: Agoda
- Monka Hotel ($$) -An affordable boutique hotel in Wanhua District, right beside Longshan Temple. For what you pay, you get a very modern contemporary double room. Read my full review here.
- Check prices & reviews: Agoda
- Kimpton Da’an Hotel ($$$) – The best modern contemporary hotel in Taipei is located in Da’an District. Enjoy the beautiful modern guest room, enjoy cocktail hour at Wine Hour and borrow a bike for free.
- Check prices & reviews: Agoda
Things to do in Taipei alone
All the attractions in this post are pinned in the interactive map. You can find more information about each attraction by clicking on the individual pin.
Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall (中正紀念堂)
When you visit Taipei, you must visit the Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall. It is a famous national monument built in the memory of Chiang Kai Shek, the first President of the Republic of China.
Walk up to grand staircases and you will see how big the building is. From afar, it doesn’t look that impressive. But when you get up close, the doorway and building look quite enormous.
The ground level of the memorial hall has a library and a museum. The upper level has the main hall with a giant bronze statue of Chiang Kai Shek. There are different exhibits, so make sure to check the website for the latest exhibitions.
Take your time and wander around Liberty Square and see the National Theater is on the right, and the National Concert Hall is on the left. And facing the memorial hall is the Liberty Square Arch.
As the tallest skyscraper in Taipei, the building has 101 floors, as the name suggested. And it was at one point (2004 to 2010) the tallest building in the world.
If you want to see Taipei from above, take the speedy elevator to the Observation Deck on the 89th floor to see an unobstructed view of Taipei. It costs NT$600. Admiring the city view and lights is one of the best things to do at night.
Or indulge in some major shopping at the big shopping mall at the base of the building. There is also a massive food court where you can eat some of the best Taiwanese food.
If you are a fan of Starbucks, you can visit the world’s highest Starbucks on the 35th floor. But you will have to make a reservation first and spend a minimum of NT$200 per person.
And if you are in Taipei during New Year’s Eve, you must watch the spectacular light show and fireworks at Taipei 101 as it is the best New Year’s Eve fireworks in the world.
Longshan Temple (龍山寺)
Built in 1738, Longshan Temple is one of the oldest temples in Taiwan. Located in Wanhua District, one of the oldest districts in Taipei, the temple survived World War II and many natural disasters.
And yet the temple is popular with locals and tourists where it is a gathering place and a place of worship.
If there is only one area you visit in Taipei, it has to be Ximending because the pedestrian walking area has everything you want to do and see. From the best Taiwanese food, including Taiwanese breakfast, souvenir shopping, and many small retail stores.
When your stomach is full, and you need to walk off the food, wander around the small streets of Ximending and find colourful street art.
Also visit Red House Theater (西門紅樓), a historic site with a theatre promoting the Cultural and Creative industries.
Bopiliao Historic Block (剝皮寮歷史街區)
Bopiliao Historic Block is an area full of pedestrian streets with many restored buildings. In the early 2000s, the Taipei government established the Heritage and Culture Education Centre to protect the history and legacy of the area.
Today, you will find brick-paved pedestrian streets and building with different architectural styles like Southern Fujianese, Qing Dynasty and Japanese architecture.
Yong Kang Street (永康街)
Yong Kang Street is the main street in a lovely local neighbourhood in Da’an District. Many popular Taiwanese restaurants and coffee shops are along the main road and the small streets in the area, including the one Michelin star restaurant, Din Tai Fung, on Xinyi Road.
From beef noodles, scallion pancakes, mango shaved ice, bubble tea to many other types of cuisine, you will find something you want to try on Yong Kang Street.
Dihua Street (迪化街)
In a historic neighbourhood of Dadaocheng (大稻埕), Dihua Street runs north to south of the area and has many restored old houses lining both sides of the streets.
There are many things to do, eat and buy on Dihua Street in Dadaocheng. Many shops sell medicinal tea, dried goods, fabric and much more. On the main street, you will find tea houses, dessert shops, cafes, food markets, temples, art galleries, etc.
The area is especially popular right before the Chinese New Year. The New Year Market attracts over 1 million visitors each year during the lunar new year.
Taipei Fine Arts Museum (TFAM) (臺北市立美術館)
Founded in 1983, Taipei Fine Arts Museum is the first museum in Taiwan dedicated to contemporary art. The museum promotes Taiwanese contemporary art and educates the public about the importance of modern art in society.
TFAM has over 5,000 pieces of art, highlighting Taiwanese modern art. Admission is free.
Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA Taipei) (台北當代藝術館)
The building was a former elementary school and a space used as City Hall. Today, the Museum of Contemporary Art has many exhibits showcasing modern art, digital art and multimedia art. Admission is only NT$50.
MOCA Taipei also hosts lectures, workshops and other art events with a focus on modern art.
National Palace Museum (NPM) (國立故宮博物院)
For those of you who want to learn more about Chinese art, then you must visit the National Palace Museum. The museum is considered the most important museum in Taiwan. And with over 3,000 ancient Chinese artifacts displayed at a time, I am sure you will find something at NPM that will pique your interest.
General admission is NT$350.
If you want to see Taipei with a tour, check out some of these tour ideas:
Taipei day trips
Beyond Taipei is a different world. Numerous picturesque hikes, mineral hot springs, cascading waterfalls and lively festivals. There is so much to do outside of the metropolis city of Taipei! Check out some of these day trips from Taipei.
Elephant Mountain (象山)
For nature lovers, take the MRT to Xiangshan and find your way to the start of the trail for Elephant Mountain and continue onto Nangang Mountain (南港山). It is a great day hike, easily accessible, has a great view of Taipei and a great way to walk off all the food!
Take a half-day trip to Wenshan District and visit Maokong, a beautiful spot just at the edge of the city where you can sip tea made from locally grown tea. The best way to see the area and all the tea fields is by taking the Maokong gondola scenic cable car from MRT Taipei Zoo Station.
A visit to the quaint town of Jiufen 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.
It is easy to get to Jiufen from Taipei. So don’t miss this popular day trip spot!
If you are visiting Shifen, you have to participate in one of the most iconic rituals in Shifen: releasing a sky lantern along Shifen Old Street. And for a bit of nature, follow the signs and look for Yanjingdong Falls and Shifen Waterfall.
Beitou Hot Spring is a popular hot spring town not very far from the city centre. There are free thermal pools in the area but if you want to experience hot springs, look for public hot springs like Millennium Hot Spring. Or better yet, stay overnight at one of the hot springs hotels.
Yangmingshan National Park (陽明山國家公園)
For a full day of nature, hot springs and epic hikes, take a public bus to Yangmingshan National Park, which is just north of Taipei. There are many hiking trails, so plan ahead. But make sure to bring good hiking shoes and warm clothes as it is cooler in the mountains.
Tamsui 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.
Are you ready to visit Taipei, Taiwan?
I hope you enjoyed reading my post and planning a solo trip to Taipei! Even if you have one day in Taipei, you can see a lot and eat a lot! Ha! And if you have any other questions that I didn’t cover, let me know in the comments.