Country: Taiwan
Currency: NT Dollar (TWD)
Peak Season: June-August
Shoulder Season: January-May, September-November
Median Temperature: 21.60 C / 70.88 F
Main Languages: Mandarin, English, Hokkien
Primary Modes of Transportation: Taipei Metro, Taiwan HSR, bus, taxi
Recommended Duration of Stay: 3 days
Recommended Pocket Money: $150.00/day
Tourist Passes: TR Pass, EasyCard, Taipei Tourist Pass
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Taipei, the capital of Taiwan, is located in the northernmost tip of the country. For its relatively small size and age, Taiwan has been a forerunner in the technology industry since the late 20th century and has continued to progress ever since, thanks to western confluence and its healthy diplomatic ties with neighboring Asian countries, most importantly the People’s Republic of China. Taiwan is one of the few countries that felt little no to no economic whiplash from the Asian financial crisis that spanned during the turn of 21st century, maybe even bolstering its economy even more.

Tourists usually visit Taipei for a variety of reasons, but mainly for its many historical landmarks, art museums, scenic spots, and not to mention budget-friendly hotel accommodations and dining establishments. Unlike China—where you have to take a train from Beijing to the Pearl River Delta just to get something you want—in Taipei, every single industry in the country is culminated in the city, meaning you can buy anything from the rarest medicinal herbs to the latest high-end laptops in just a matter of minutes.

Packing List

  • Light, cottony clothes to counter terribly humid summers and windbreakers for the not-too-chilly winters; there are no strict dress codes here—suit up as casually as you like
  • Luggage bags for shopping sprees—tourists typically go to Taipei just to buy stuff; many consumers consider Taiwan-made electronics to be much more durable than Chinese variants
  • Essential medication and toiletries; deodorants/antiperspirants and a tampons both rarities in Taipei, since various cultures have their established preferences on hygiene
  • A map of the public transport system, particularly the metro; an umbrella is handy for day-long walks, given that most of tourist attractions are located in the distant rural areas
  • Swimwear for the hot springs; on-site purchase of swimwear costs a pretty penny; beachwear can be brought, but remember that Taipei isn’t known for having pristine shores

Things to Do

  • Visiting Taipei 101, Taipei’s 1,670.6 ft., 101-floor architectural gem, once the world’s tallest building); 360° indoor and outdoor panoramic views of the city are offered on the 91st and 89th floors, respectively
  • Foraying into the National Palace Museum, which contains eight millennia worth of Chinese artifacts, scrolls/books and jade art
  • Meeting the pandas, bears and elephants in Taipei Zoo; however lacking interactive presentations, it is home to a wide selection of species
  • A retreat in Taipei’s triumvirate of historic buildings, namely: Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall, National Revolutionary Martyrs' Shrine, and National Taiwan Democracy Memorial Hall
  • A relaxing dip in public/private hot springs in New Bei Tou Hot Spring; public hot springs do require an entry fee though (although cheaper)

DON'T

  • Ignore observing Taiwanese etiquette, especially pleasantries and paying respect to elders; forget shouting and getting angry in public, as these are generally considered signs poor breeding
  • Forget to secure your wallet/belongings from pickpockets, even though city crime rates are relatively low; it tends to get a bit crowded in public transport, especially during rush hour
  • Pass off on the shopping experience, especially at Shilin Night Market; some tourists fail to understand that the beauty of Taipei also lies in its consumerism
  • Attract too much attention by dressing too glamorously or too culturally; accessories and other body decorations won’t turn heads here, as the locals have long been accustomed to eccentricities
  • Forget to socialize and acquire business connections; like in the mainland, Taiwanese are fond of business relations and “kuanhsi,” which means a strong relationship between two people