“Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer.” Why do you travel? What does travel mean to you? Some people are all about the tourist attractions whereas others are more interested in authentic local experiences.
A lot of us living here in Taipei get visitors every once in awhile. Showing people around can be stressful sometimes, but I recently discovered a new concept about traveling that changed the way I show friends around when they are in town. This new concept is just to be myself. My daily life as a local in Taiwan is actually one of the best authentic local experiences for my visitors. So here’s my version of the “36 hours in Taipei”, combining some tourist spots with some off the beaten paths.
3pm: Afternoon Tea Time
“Want to experience what it’s like to dine in a fancy atmosphere where the waitresses and waiters cater to your every need? Or perhaps you just find yourself hungry during the wee hours in the afternoon. Afternoon tea will satisfy your hunger, as well as introduce you to a whole new experience in Taipei.”
Read More: Pinkies Up: 5 Must-Try Places for Afternoon Tea
*543 Recommends the honey toast at “Dazzling Cafe”.
7pm: Do What Locals Do For Fun- Shrimping
“Shrimping is a popular local Taiwanese activity that’s precisely what it sounds like, fishing for shrimp! It takes place inside a big shack-like shrimp farm where you sit on plastic deck chairs while fishing from a pool filled with live shrimp.”
Read more: Gotta Catch ‘Em All: Shrimping at Shilin
9:30pm: Eating and Shopping at Night Markets
“It’s hard to talk about Taipei (and Taiwan, in general) without mentioning its night markets. In fact, don’t say that you’ve enjoyed the city unless you’ve indulged in a night of strolling along narrow alleys filled with snacks, cute dresses, shoes, and much more.”
Read More: Night Owl: The Taipei543 Guide to Night Markets in Taipei
*543 Recommends Ningxia night market for food and Shida night market for shopping.
9 am: Taiwanese Traditional Breakfast
“With breakfast joints occupying almost every other street corner in Taipei, Fu Hang Dou Jiang has done impressively well in attracting a loyal following of breakfast eaters who are willing to travel the distance and wait in a long queue, just to sink their teeth in one of the most satisfying shao bing (roasted flatbreads) in the city.”
Read More: Come Early or Leave Hungry: Fu Hang Dou Jiang
11am: Artsy & Old School Taipei
“Dadaocheng literally means ‘big rice-drying field’, and once served as an important port of Taiwan, famous for textile and tea trading in the early 1900. In fact, Yongle Market (永樂市場) is still popular for fabric shopping today. Dadaocheng was also the center of the infamous 228 incident. Nowadays, the narrow alleys with century-old buildings, once forgotten, have been remodeled and refunctioned to be a center of culture and creativity.”
Read More: Strolling Through “Old” Taipei in Dadaocheng (大稻埕)
3pm: Adventure at Ximending Area
“If you visit Ximending on any weekend, you’re sure to find crowds of people filling the labyrinth of endless streets. Just one MRT stop away from Taipei Main Station, Xi Men is a stop where you can find countless restaurants, shopping and fun attractions to fill up your day.”
Read more: The Many Adventures at Ximending: 7 Must-Do Attractions
7pm: Hotpot for Dinner
“The steam rises slowly as the soup begins to boil, and you eagerly toss in the raw food that’s on stand-by and wait for it to cook in the soup. Yes, hot pot season is here! As chilly weather starts to creep up on Taipei, people are looking for food that can warm them up amidst the gray skies and dreary rain.”
Read More: Hot Pot Hot Spots: Guide to Hot Pot Restaurants in Taipei
*543 Recommends Tripod King (鼎王) & Wu Lao Guo (無老鍋).
10pm: Pre-Drink at Fourplay
“Don’t bother asking for the menu here, there isn’t one. Fourplay is all about what you like. Simply let the bartender know and he’ll concoct a drink catered to your tastes.”
Read More: Fourplay: The Art of the Well-Crafted Cocktail
12am: The City That Never Sleeps
“There’s just something sexy and exciting about the city at night, as the sun sinks and the sky darkens, emphasizing the brilliance of 101’s glittering lights. As the lines form behind red velvet ropes and black-suited men walk to take their posts at the shimmering doors of luxurious lounges, the message is clear: night has come to Taipei, the city is now our playground.”
Read More: “Good Night, Taipei”: The Taipei543 Nightlife Guide
*543 Recommends Club Myst.
9am Din Tai Fung (Xin Yi Branch) & Taipei101
“It’s a restaurant that sometimes has queues stretching across the block. You have to take a number before sitting, and the wait can occasionally be forty minutes. It’s the spot that all the ABCs go when they return to Taiwan for the winter and summer breaks, and it’s the place that your local Taiwanese friends call pricey and a little overrated.”
Read More: Made In Taiwan: Why Din Tai Fung Is Important
11am Coffee & Simple Market at Good Cho’s
“A dilapidated military housing unit, worn by the years past, sitting under Taipei 101′s watchful eye. It’s hard to imagine that this structure, built in the 1950′s, houses one of Taipei’s most impressive hangout spots. Good Cho’s (好丘) is part cafe, part lifestyle general store. Once inside, visitors are exposed to a wide array of products for sale.”
Read More: Simple Living at Good Cho’s (好丘)
What would you do if you only had 36 hours in Taipei?
Feature Photo via Gamy Wong