Taiwan is undeniably a hot spot for travelers for the past few years. It possesses an unbeatable mix of culture, history, tradition, food and of course, amazing places to visit and things to do: a wide range of exciting cityscape, the shopping paradise for shopaholics, scrumptious delicacies for eaters, and a mesmerizing countryside to boot for the free-spirited heart travelers.
IMHO Taipei is one of the most captivating cities to visit in Taiwan. If you happen to find yourself with only one single day to spend in the city of Taipei, here is our guide to 24 hours in Taipei, just for you!
Be ready to go on a whirlwind tour of this splendid city! From the infamous architectural feat of Taipei 101 and its ultra-chic surroundings to a unique and ancient decorated temples and old streets. We will also be discovering popular night markets that serve exotic street foods, to relaxing hot springs located in Beitou! If you think that is not enough? Let us pay a visit to the National Palace Museum which is labeled as one of the greatest museums in the world! We will also provide some useful tips for Muslim travelers.
Traveling in Taipei, Taiwan can be daunting, knowing that it is not an Islamic country, thus, guidance is definitely needed to have a Muslim way of traveling. Are you ready? Let’s go through Top 10 things to do in Taipei in just 24 hours.
1) Taipei 101
A visit to Taipei without stopping by at Taipei 101 is like visiting Paris without going to the Eiffel Tower. Yes, that is true! Taipei 101 is an iconic skyscraper in Taiwan and used to be the tallest building in the world between 2004 and 2010. It has 101 floors above the ground and 5 underneath.
You can go up to the top to get panoramic views of the city below. Ticket sales are on the 5th floor of the Taipei 101 Shopping Mall, and the observation decks are located on the 88th and 89th floors. It also has an outdoor deck on the 91st floor opened on some occasions, of course when the weather permits.
In the basement, you can find a decent food court, and the first five floors are taken up by one of Taipei’s glamorous malls.
2) National Palace Museum
Located in Taipei City, the National Palace Museum exhibits the world’s utmost and rarest collection of traditional Chinese art crafts and historical items. These precious treasures include ancient Chinese paintings, archeological remains, ceramics, jade, sculptures, books and many other antiques. This museum is a perfect reflection of the rich cultural heritage of Chinese civilization and ancient Chinese culture. Established in 1925, it was then expanded and remodeled in 1965. Currently, this museum has a superb exterior with tile roofs and moon gates and attracts hundreds of visitors daily, making it one of less crowded Taipei attractions.
3) Long Shan Temple
Long Shan Temple is one of the largest and oldest temples which was built in 1738 and located in Taipei city. It retains a lot of its original features and architectural design. Around Long Shan Temple, there are traditional eateries, antique shops, Buddhists article shops, and Chinese medicine shops. This temple is a mystical place and normally, it is very packed with people stopping by to perform their prayers either on their ways home from work or school. The serenity and spiritual setting of the temple will surely amaze you.
What’s even better, it is free!
4) Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall
The Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall has become a landmark of Taipei City. Located strategically in the heart of Taipei City, the area is 250,000 square meters and it is the attraction most visited by foreign tourists.
The architecture of Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall is inspired by Tiantan in Beijing. The four sides of the structure are similar to those of the pyramids of Egypt. The material is white marble. The roofs are decorated with deep-blue glass as part of the reflection of blue sky and bright sun.
Aside from being a tourist attraction, there are also places for international art performances here. They are the National Theater and the National Concert Hall. World famous musicians perform in this arena showcasing their talents to the visitors.
5) Yangmingshan National Park
So, you think Taipei is all about historical buildings and shopping malls? We are sure that this proves you wrong. Yangmingshan National Park is one of the perfect places to get close to nature in Taipei City!
It’s situated in Mount Yangming and the only national park in Taipei City, thus, it has become more and more popular amongst Taipei citizen and foreigners alike for families, couples, friends and hikers.
The park also features popular scenic sites such as Qingtiangang and the Zhuzihu Scenic Spot. In addition to the spectacular scenery, visitors may also enjoy delicious wildlife cuisine served at the national park. Other than that, this park also features volcanic formations and sweet-scented blossoming flowers during all four seasons. And due to the variety of lovely plants and vibrant flowers that flourish in the park, some people regard Yangmingshan National Park as the “backyard of Taipei”.
6) Beitou Hot Spring Area
Being in a capital city can be a little bit overwhelming. Perhaps, a break? Why not pay a visit to a hot spring.
Located within Taipei City’s vicinity is Beitou, a natural hot spring recreation area. Beitou’s so popular for its natural resources and wonderful scenery. The hot springs are easily reached if you are coming from central Taipei. Just take the MRT to Beitou (on the Danshui line), then, change trains for a shuttle to Xinbeitou.
Once in Beitou, you can hike uphill along the hot stream, under green shady trees and enjoy the picturesque view.
7) Tamsui Old Street
Tamsui District or Tamshui Township is a seaside district in New Taipei City located in northern of Taiwan. It is named after the Tamsui River; the name means “fresh water”. The town is well-known as a site for spectacular sunsets framed by the Taiwan Strait.
Once here, don’t forget to stop by Fort Santo Domingo. This building was originally built by the Spanish, and later on taken over by the Dutch. Tamsui is not only known for its historical sites like Fort Santo Domingo and the romantic attraction such as the Fisherman’s Wharf, but, it is also known for the varieties of interesting shops located on Tamsui Old Street.
This is the perfect place to get a scenic view and at the same time embrace the culture of the locals through their beautiful coffee shops and restaurants located right next to the riverbanks.
8) Shifen Waterfall
Yes, without any doubt, many visitors that come to Taipei lean towards the common activities such as shopping, having xiaolongbao at Din Tai Fung, and taking the rapid elevator up to Taipei 101. While these are all activities are must-do Taipei experiences, there is actually so much more that you can add to your Taipei adventure!
Never underestimate the fact that even you are in the metropolitan city of Taipei, you can’t explore waterfalls. Did you know there’s one situated just one hour away from Taipei?
Trust us, the travel for that amount of time is definitely worth it. Shifen Waterfall is one of the most majestic waterfalls in Taiwan. It is not very tall (20 meters) but very wide (40 meters) and powerful, and really accessible. From Taipei Main Station, you can take a train to Ruifang (about 1 hour). Transfer to the Pingxi line at Ruifang to get to Shifen. From Shifen station, it is about a 20–30-minute walk to the waterfall area. There are many signs along the way that beckon tourists to head to Shifen Waterfall.
9) The SPOT-Taipei Film House
Situated in the Zhongshan district of Taipei City, the SPOT-Taipei Film House was once the residency of the U.S. Ambassador. Now, this place does not only offer movies from different culture diversity in their SPOT cinema, but there are also many other interesting outlets you can check out such as Eslite Bookstore, C25 Coffee shop and exhibition gallery.
SPOT cinema hosts up to six screenings daily starting from 12:00 am to 12:00 pm, it also hosts workshops and exhibitions from experts in different fields to promote the film or creative pieces that are currently on display. Monthly schedule of films and exhibitions can be found at the front desk or on their official website at www.spot.org.tw.
10) Shilin Night Market
After a nice day exploring the nature and beauty of Taipei, why not end it with a final round of shopping? No Taipei shopping odyssey is complete without walking around the infamous Shilin Night Market, in the northern part of the capital.
Shilin is a maze of small streets and alleys that pack thousands of food stalls, small shops, karaoke stores, arcades, massage parlors, and other small businesses. Basically, this spot has it all, items for souvenirs or personal usage, entertainment as well as health restoration.
In Shilin night market, sellers usually commence setting up their stalls at approximately 4 in the afternoon, but the perfect time to be here is around 9:00 pm and midnight. So, sharpen that bargaining skill of yours and enjoy your time shopping in this area!
Halal restaurants in Taipei
Some of the Halal restaurants around Taipei that you can go to are:
1) Yun Tai Muslim Food (No.4 Wenzhou Street, Da’an District) – They serve halal Thai and Yunnanese cuisine
2) Chungkuo Beef Restaurant (No.1 Alley 7 Lane 137, Yian-Chi Street) – They prepare their dishes with no pork, lard or alcohol. This place is highly recommended based on the reviews.
3) Pharaoh’s (No.28 Taishun Street, Da’an District, Taipei City 106) – They serve Egyptian cuisine
If you need help
If at any time during your trip you feel lost, do get in touch with the Chinese Muslim Association at 62, sec. 2, Xinsheng S. Rd., Taipei City, or simply give them a call at (02)2392-7364. They will always be more than glad to help a fellow Muslim out!
What do you think about this Taipei itinerary?
Do you know some places that tourists usually miss? An awesome Muslim-friendly food place? Share with us in the comments!
If you haven’t decided where to head next, here’s a list of 12 Taiwan destinations worth you time. And if need to book a Muslim-friendly hotel in any city, visit our Taiwan country guide for Muslim travelers that also has a Qibla map and a prayer time calendar so you don’t miss your prayer.