Monday, May 2, 2016

MUST GO places in Taipei - advises from a local girl

I've always been asked by friends to give some advise about where to go, what to eat, or even where to drink in Taipei as a born and raised local girl, and I think, it'd be better if I could just write them down as a useful guide to help more tourists visiting Taipei.

Basically, I'll give them 3 guides: (1) Places to go, (2) Foods to eat, (3) Bars / Clubs to have fun. And in this post, I'll list these MUST-GO places to go first especially if you only stay Taipei for 2-4 fays.

Here I divided into few days trips based on these places' locations (i put the nearby places to visit in the same day), but you could definitely based on your situation such as, days to stay, weather, or your preference to arrange the best plan fits you! :)

[Day 1]
Morning: 
1. Taipei 101 台北101
2. Chiang Kai-Shek (CKS) Memorial Hall 中正紀念堂
Chiang Kai-Shek (CKS) Memorial Hall
Afternoon: 
3. Pinxi 平溪
It is recommended that you go there in the afternoon, so that you can see all the lanterns with fire flying in the dark sky and it's extremely beautiful. People go there would buy a lantern (around TWD100) and write your wishes on the lantern (it's big), and then you could fire it and let it fly to the sky, it is believed that your wishes would become true if the god had received your sky lantern. :)
  • How to get there:
    (1) Take MRT to: Taipei Main Station (台北車站)
    (2) go to Taiwan Railway Station Exit (台灣鐵路)
    (3) buy a ticket to: Pinxi (平溪) (the best way is you just ask the counter)
    ** You need to transfer to another train at: Raifang (瑞芳): Get-off at Raifang station (瑞芳站) and ask the people where to take the train to: Pinxi (平溪)
    All the Sky lanterns are flying in the sky

    Write your wish on the lantern and fire it up
[Day2]
Morning:
1. National Palace Museum 故宮博物院
A must visit place in Taipei, it has lots of treasures we took while we retreated from China (so the Beijing one has nothing left, only the building. :p)
  • Open daily: 8:30~18:30
  • How to get there:
    (1) Take MRT RED line to: Shilin (士林), EXIT 1.
    (2) then take BUS: 紅30, 小18, 小19, 255, 304, or 815 (around 5 mins, cost TWD15), get off at 故宮博物院; or,
    (3) just call a taxi, it's not far (cost around TWD100).
Afternoon:
2. Beitou Thermal Valley 地熱谷
It's the source of all the hotsprings in Beitou (北投) area located in Yang-Ming mountain (陽明山), as it's full of sulfur and steam, very hot and smoky, and one tourist had fall down into it and was burned to die, local people also call it as "Hell Valley".
  • How to get there:
    (1) take MRT RED line to: Beitou (北投)
    (2) then take a side line (PINK) to: Xinbeitou (新北投)
  • Closed on Monday
    Beitou Thermal Valley
3. Beitou Hotspring Museum 北投溫泉博物館
Built in more than 100 years ago (year 1913), which was the most luxury hotspring at that time, and also favored by Japanese emperor.
Beitou Hotspring Museum
4. Beitou Public Library 北投圖書館
This library located in the mountain and is the 1st "green building" in Taiwan, people said its just like a "tree house", i personally think it's like an "Noah's Ark" in a mountain (let's go on this ark together while the end of the world comes! ha!), and local people love to go there to read and relax.
Beitou Public Library
5. Hotsprings溫泉
After visiting Hell Valley and the Hotspring Museum, you could then enjoy soaking in the hotspring and let your body relaxed. Here I'd recommend 2 hotsprings:
(1) Beitou Park Hotspring 北投公園露天溫泉浴池
This a public one, there're 6 pools and you could see many local people there to enjoy their lives.
  • Cost: TWD40/ppl
  • You need to bring your SWIMMING SUIT to get into the pool
Beitou Park Hotspring
(2) Villa 32 三二行館
This is one i personal like to go, as it's near the Xinbeitou MRT station and it seats beside the mountain, you could see the beautiful Yang-Ming mountain while soaking in the hotspring. And they offer public pool and private room, i'd recommend you just go to the "Public pool" and being naked to become a local people to enjoy the life with others. :)
  • Cost: TWD1680/ppl (weekday), and TWD2200/ppl (weekend)
    Villa 32 for hotspring
5. Night Markets 夜市
There're many night markets in Taipei, and here I'll recommend 2 I personal like a lot based on the foods varieties and specialty. (Night market opens after 6pm and until midnight, so don't go there too early!)
(1) Longshan Temple 龍山寺
I'd highly recommend you go this one as you can also visit one of the most ancient temples in Taipei (built in year 1738), at the same time surf in the big night market and enjoy all kinds of delicious foods here.
  • How to get there:
    • Take MRT BLUE line to: Longshan Temple station (龍山寺)
      Longshan Temple
(2) Raohe Street Night Market 饒河街夜市
There's one very antique and beautiful temple called Ciyou Temple (松山慈祐宮) built for Matsu in year 1753.
  • How to get there:
    - Take MRT GREEN line to: Songshan station (松山)
    • Songshan Ciyou Temple
[Day 3]
Morning
1. Jiufen 九份
A place with many special straits for it's unique topography become a unique mountain town in the early times of Taiwan, here you could see many ancitent Taiwan style builds and know how the people live in the time.
Also, Jiufen is the place where a famous movie was taken there - A City of Sadness, also, it is said that the Jiufen is the place where Miyazaki Hayao came out the scene places of the animation movie - Spirited Away (千と千尋の神隠しせんとちひろのかみかくし).
  • How to get there:
    (1) Take MRT BLUE (or Yellow) line to:  Zhongxiao Fuxing station (忠孝復興), Exit 1.
    (2) then take BUS #1062 (take 2 hours to go to Jiufen);
    OR,
    (1) take TAXI (around 1 hour from Taipei to Jiufen, and approximately 1200~1500TWD/per car, you can share with others if you have more people)
Jiufen streets - Taiwanese old time style
Jiufen streets
Jiufen is a mountain town


** Taipei MRT map