How to Spend 1 Day in Taipei
The seamless blending of energy, people, history, culture, and cuisine in Taipei offers enough to entertain and educate visitors for weeks. Yet if you’re pressed for time and have only one day in the Taiwanese capital, here are some ideas for how to make the most of your time.
Morning: City Tour
The 300-year-old city of Taipei is a busy mishmash of cultural influences. Get your bearings by starting your day with a sightseeing tour, taking in key attractions like the Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall, Martyr’s Shrine, and Taipei 101. Alternately, take a self-guided tour at your own pace aboard the hop-on hop-off bus, which stops at more than 20 points of interest around the city. Onboard audio commentary gives you additional insight into what you’re seeing as you go. After working up an appetite, grab lunch at one of Taipei’s many authentic dumpling houses for some xiao long bao soup dumplings.
Afternoon: National Palace Museum
Taipei’s National Palace Museum houses one of the world’s best collections of Chinese art and historical artifacts, many of them smuggled out of China to be protected during the Cultural Revolution. It’s well worth setting aside an afternoon to escape the heat and explore the museum’s treasures on your own or with a guide. If museums aren’t your thing, make your way to Beitou Hot Springs instead for an afternoon enjoying a Taiwanese pastime: soaking in the outdoor pools. Swing by the Beitou Hot Springs Museum to learn more about the history of these popular Japanese-style baths.
Night: Night Markets
No trip to Taipei would be complete without a visit to one of its many lively night markets. While it’s possible to shop for clothes, souvenirs, and household items at many of them, they’re best known as culinary playgrounds where you can sample an array of local specialties. Make sure you find the best bites by joining a guided food tour; sample oyster pancakes and pork leg rice at Ningxia Night Market, bubble tea and grilled octopus at Shilin Night Market, or fried dumplings at Shida Night Market.