1. Explore the city
Taipei city is colourful and massive. One of my favourite things to do there was just walk around the streets because every street was different with a range of food, shopping and market stands. It is extremely easy to catch the bus or train to different spots around the city and just aimlessly wonder around. One great thing about the city is that there is free wifi almost everywhere (bus stops, train stations, shops), so don’t worry about getting lost because google maps will help you find your way back.
2. Go on a walk/hike
I was shocked at how easy it was to get on the bus to a local park or how close the mountains were around us to go on a walk from being in the city. Although Taipei is typical busy city, there are many public parks where the locals play basketball, young kids laugh in the playground and people walk their dogs. One of these parks was called Xiangshan Park and after walking about 10 minutes through the park and up a hill you are at the start of the Elephant Mountain Trail, which literally goes up a massive mountain. This hike is one of the more famous ones in Taipei, due to the stunning views of the city. Most people walk for about 30min-1hour, admire the views and then walk back down but there are actually a whole heap of different trails on the mountain and you could walk for hours up there. There are many other hikes super close to the city like in Yangmingshan National Park which has a number of different trails you can go on.
3. Free City Walks and Tours
Different tour groups offer free tour walks in different spots in the city. I personally didn’t do one but was told that it’s pretty good considering its for free. My hostel had a whole page of different ones you could go on all through the day and night, all week.
4. Night Markets
Massive in Taiwan and massive in Taipei city, if your staying here you have to go to the night markets. There are markets all over the city but I stayed around the corner to the Shilin Night Markets so went there a few nights. They usually open around 6pm and don’t close until after midnight (getting busier the later it was). This is where you will get the cheapest food and souvenirs but be prepared to smell stinky tofu because they love it and sell heaps of it. I tried the sweet potato balls and deep fried oyster mushroom which was $50 (TWD ) and they were both pretty good. There were a lot of food stalls selling fried meats, milk teas and other taiwanese foods but I found it difficult to find much vegetarian food. Walking through the markets is free and a great experience at night time whilst staying in Taipei.
Taiwan is mostly Buddhist, therefore there are some beautiful temples around the place. The Mengjia Longshan Temple is one of the most popular ones for tourists to visit. It was built in 1738 by Chinese settlers and is one of Taiwan’s oldest temples.