Taiwan is very special to us. The love for my home country and the constant struggle to convey to people that Taiwan is not China is an ongoing, but worthwhile, battle. I spent most of my childhood in 中正區 (Zhongzheng District) in Taipei and have visited every corner of Taiwan due to my wonderful and adventurous parents. To sum up the reasons why Taiwan is different from China (aside from the complex history and politics of Communist China and Democratic Taiwan): People visit Taiwan for the traditional and authentically-preserved Tao Chinese Culture mixed with great European and Japanese influences. People visit China for the government-made facade of Chinese culture; one that was twisted by means of a 10-year oppression in education and human ethics, as well as a cultural cleansing called The Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution. China is like a giant Las Vegas theme park in that it was newly-created to look authentic, while Taiwan is where authenticity thrives.
We will use Ximending as a base area for this itinerary. Our first day is always wasted because the flight from LAX – TPE usually gets in late at night around 10pm. After immigration, we purchase our bus tickets at the arrival terminal and hop on 國光客運 (kuo-kuang bus) that takes us to Taipei Main Train Station.
After checking into our hotel, we walk around Ximending and pick up some street food before forcing ourselves to bed. (the area is lively until about 1am)
After breakfast we would visit the following:
- 西門紅樓 (The Red House)
- 板橋林家花園 (Lin Family Mansion and Garden)
- 龍山寺 (Lungshan Temple) and surrounding
- 台北火車站 (Taipei Main Train Station)
- Walk to 台北當代藝術館 (MoCA Taipei)
- Walk north along red/green metro line for surrounding shops to 雙連站 (Shuanglian station)
- 迪化街 (Dihua Street)
- 2/28 Peace Park
- 國立台灣博物館 (National Taiwan Museum)
While at the Taipei Main train Station, we purchased train tickets to 瑞芳 (Ruifang) for 九份 (Jiufen) on the desired date. As the day comes to an end, you can watch Taipei comes alive roughly after 6pm and spend the remaining night back at the hotel exploring the Ximending area.
- 總統府 (Office of the President)
- 台北植物園 (Taipei Botanical Garden)
- 國立歷史博物館 (National Museum of History)
- 國家戲劇院 (National Theater)
- 國家音樂廳 (National Concert Hall)
- 中正紀念堂 (National Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall) and surrounding
- Get lost on the streets around 鼎泰豐 (Ding Tai Fung – Xinyi branch)
- 大安森林公園 (Da’an Forest Park)
- 臺灣大學 (National Taiwan University)
- 師大路夜市 (Shida Night Market)
You might be asking: why visit the university? Because it is beautiful inside that’s why! Look for dinner near campus around 羅斯福路 (Luosifu Rd.) or just have anything that looks delicious in the streets of Shida Night Market
- Ruifang Station and eat some 龍鳳腿 (chicken roll)
- 新北市立黃金博物館 (Gold Ecological Park)
- Take a bus to Jiufen and walk around the old street
After exploring the Jiufen area, hop back on the bus towards Keelung and get off at 忠一路 (Zhongyi Rd). Spend late afternoon and have dinner around the area.
- 廟口夜市 (Miaokou Night Market)
From the night market, we took the train from Keelung Railway Station (you can also take Kuo Kuang Bus) back to Taipei.
- 國父紀念館 (National Dr. Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall)
- 台北101 (Taipei 101) and surrounding
- 象山親山步道 (Elephant Mountain Trail) Blue Trail Map Here
- Back on MRT to 貓空纜車 (Maokong Gondola)
- Explore the area around Maokong Station
- back on MRT to 忠孝敦化站 (Zhongxiao Dunhua Station) and explore the area
- 國立故宮博物院 (National Palace Museum), bus #R30 @ 士林站 (Shilin Station)
- 至善園 (The Zhishan Garden)
- 北投 (Beitou)
- 北投溫泉親水公園 (Beitou Hot Springs Park)
- 地熱谷 (Geothermal Valley)
- 北投溫泉博物館 (Beitou Hot Springs Museum)
- Relax in a private hot spring for 90 minutes such as Villa 32
- 士林夜市 (Shilin Night Market)
Spend the rest of the evening and have dinner in Shilin Night Market.
A: 淡水/八里 (Tamsui/Bali):
Take the MRT to Tamsui and explore the following via foot, bus, and ferry.
- 淡水老街 (Tamsui Old Street and waterfront)
- 紅毛城 (Fort San Domingo)
- 淡水漁人碼頭 (Tamsui Fisherman’s Wharf)
- Take a ferry to 八里渡船頭 (Bali Ferry Pier)
- Rent a bicycle for Bali
- 八里左岸公園 (Bali Left Bank Park)
- 挖仔尾自然保護區 (Watziwei Nature Conservation Area)
- 淡水夜市 (Tamsui Night Market)
Have dinner back at the Tamsui Night Market by the MRT station.
B: 陽明山國家公園 (The Yangmingshan National Park):
Click here for a bus that’s best suited to your needs. Once you’ve arrived, spend some time and wander around the main visitor center and the surrounding area. Pick a hiking trail that best suits your needs. We recommend the 七星主峰 → 東峰步道 (Xiaoguanyin trailhead → Miaopu trailhead) with combinations of other trail paths here and to visit the following:
- 小觀音登山口 (Xiaoguanyin trailhead)
- 小油坑遊客服務站 (Xiaoyoukeng visitor center)
- 七星主峰 (Mt. Qixing main peak)
- 七星東峰 (Mt. Qixing east peak)
- 七星公園 (Qixing Park)
- 七星山苗圃登山口 (Miaopu trailhead)
We took a bus back to Jiantan Station at night for dinner which is where Shilin Night Market is located.