Our time in Taipei conjures up some wonderful memories (especially some delicious ones). While the food in Taipei was one of the best parts about visiting, there’s so much more to the “Heart of Asia” capital. Our itinerary for 3 days in Taipei will have you sampling the Taiwanese delights and seeing the main sights, but also take you to a few lesser-known places. We also mention some amazing day trips!
3 Days in Taipei Itinerary Overview and Tips
Get a 72 Hour Travel Pass
Taipei is a huge city and it’s difficult to get from sight to sight on foot, especially when you just have three days to explore. While we always recommend exploring cities on foot because you can see and experience so much more, you’ll want to get a 3 day transportation pass to make your point A to point B faster!
You can get to most places by the MRT (Taipei’s metro system). A 3 day metro pass will cost you NT$380 ($12 USD) or a metro and bus combo pass will cost NT$440 ($14 USD). What a deal!
Do We Mention Taipei’s Night Markets in This Itinerary?
Of course we do!
However, we only mention them in day 3. We totally understand if you’d like to visit a night market in Taipei every night but we tried to implement some other food options throughout this 3 day itinerary to give you more variety. It’s up to you!
Just Three Days in Taipei? Is That Enough?
We spent a total of three months (on and off) in Taiwan’s capital and feel there’s much more to Taipei than travelers typically experience. But three days is enough to try the food, get a feel for the locals and also take a day trip.
What about day trips?
We mention a few day trips (our favorites) at the end of this three day itinerary. If you have more time in Taipei or want to substitute a day trip in place of what we’ve listed then feel free.
If three days in Taipei is the total amount of time that you’re spending in Taiwan then we highly recommend taking a day to explore the island elsewhere. Taiwan is beautiful!
Our Biggest Tip?
If you can manage it, don’t visit during the summer! While Taipei is one of our favorites cities on the planet, you won’t find us there during the hotter months.
It’s a muggy mess and visiting during August wasn’t our brightest idea. Everything about our visit was wonderful except for the weather. It’s worth noting that the weather can have a huge impact on your enjoyment.
Walking outside and drenching your clothes in sweat within minutes is not a fun experience! Typhoons are also a threat during the latter parts of summer.
So when should you go to Taipei?
We think November to April would be ideal but, regardless of your timing, the food will always be delicious and the Taiwanese people will always be friendly!
Day 1: Amazing Breakfast and Some Major Sights
Get Breakfast at a Soy Milk Restaurant
One thing we fell in love with in Taiwan was soy milk restaurants. These small establishments are scattered around Taipei but they serve relatively the same fare.
Salty or sweet soy milk, sesame flatbread (shao bing) filled with egg, pork, or a stick of fried bread (you tiao), and xiao long bao (soup dumplings) can be found on many menus. The low price means you can try many different items at once! We truly think these soy milk restaurants serve up some of the best food in Taipei.
Our favorite? There are two! Yong He Soy Milk King in the Da’an District and Sihai Soy Milk in Datong District.
Originally built in 1738, this Temple has been rebuilt or restored many times over the years after being destroyed by numerous earthquakes, fires, and even a bombing during WWII by American bombers.
It has many Buddhist elements as well as altars and rooms dedicated to Chinese deities. Everything in this temple is beautifully decorated and is open to visitors. Of course, be respectful!
You’ll find a cool fountain across the street, so cool off if it’s hot!
Visit Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall
This large and imposing hall is dedicated to General Chiang Kai-shek, who also was the leader of the Republic of China (not to be confused with the People’s Republic of China).
Wander through the art exhibits on the ground floor of the hall (free!) or make your way to the top to view the statue of Chiang Kai-shek and witness the changing of the guard (also free!), which happens every hour on the hour until 4pm. The changing of the guard can get pretty crowded and will last somewhere between 10 and 15 minutes.
Da’an Forest Park
Da’an Forest Park is a large park in the Da’an district and is perfect for an escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. You can explore many paths and make your way to the large pond where many birds and wildlife can be spotted. Try your hand (feet!) at walking barefoot on the stone walking paths, which are supposed to relieve stress and be like a type of foot massage.
A walk through Da’an Forest Park goes well with bubble milk tea, so be sure to buy some before finding your relaxation in the park.
If discovering a city’s parks are your cup of bubble tea (see what we did there?) then read up on some more parks in Taipei!
Suho Paper Memorial Museum
This is a small and unique museum within the Zhongshan district of Taipei. 3 floors of exhibits teach you about the art (and it truly is art) of making paper by hand. During your visit you can even try your hand at making paper, which you can take home with you as a unique souvenir of your time in Taipei!
NT$100 ($3 USD) for entrance to the museum or NT$180 ($6 USD) for entrance and paper-making activity.
We rarely hear other travelers talk about this museum but it’s a hidden gem!
Din Tai Fung for Dinner
This restaurant serves the best xiao long bao (soup dumplings) we’ve ever had in our lives. You can get soup dumplings, steamed dumplings, or fried dumplings with a variety of fillings like pork, chicken, or crab. They offer other dishes like rice, noodles, soups and steamed buns but you should definitely order the soup dumplings.
Because of its fame, Din Tai Fung is a little pricier than other restaurants in Taipei but it won’t break the bank.
Day 2: The Best View of Taipei
Breakfast at 7Eleven
Seriously? Breakfast at 7Eleven?
You might be thinking that 7Eleven shouldn’t be on your itinerary but we’re here to tell you you’re wrong! 7Eleven is all over Taipei. You can hardly walk 10 minutes without seeing a 7Eleven (or their competitor FamilyMart).
7Elevens have everything you could need. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, toiletries, easy-to-use printers, t-shirts, postal services, and many other things. For breakfast, grab a tea egg or two (eggs stewed in tea), milk tea or juice. They also have various tasty sandwiches to choose from.
It’s a great place to grab a quick and cheap snack between meals.
National Palace Museum
This is a huge museum, spanning several floors. It contains one of the largest collections of imperial Chinese artwork and artifacts so you don’t want to miss out.
That said, we exhausted ourselves before viewing all the exhibits and cut our visit short. Be sure to read up ahead of time on what exhibits they have to offer and create a plan so that you’re not wandering mindlessly through the museum.
There are audio guides available but we found them to be information overload. The English plaques give you enough information.
The easiest way to get there is by taxi but you can also reach it by public transportation. Unfortunately, there’s no MRT station close to the National Palace Museum so you will need to take the bus if you prefer public transport. Their website goes into detail about how you can reach the National Palace Museum.
Pro Tip: Visit the museum as soon as it opens. Hopefully you’ll avoid the large tour groups that arrive around late morning and early afternoon. There will be a lot of those!
Jade and Flower Markets (open on weekends)
These are two markets you don’t want to miss out on!
The jade market is a massive indoor market dedicated to jade (and other precious stones and metals) jewelry and trinkets. You can find beautiful pieces for any budget. Some haggling will be in order!
The flower market is right across from the Jade market and is semi-indoors. You’ll find everything you could need or want for your garden from trees to flowers to fish. It’s so beautiful, colorful and is definitely worth walking through, even if you don’t intend on buying anything.
Eat Gua Bao
Also known as the Taiwanese hamburger, gua bao is a must-eat in Taipei! The best gua bao (the original) can be found at Lan Jia Gua Bao.
What the heck is gua bao?
It’s a steam bun that’s been cut in half and filled with braised pork belly. You can order it fatty, lean, or half and half (the most popular). This sandwich is topped with pickled mustard greens, crushed peanuts and cilantro. Eat it by itself, with sticky pork rice, corn soup, or all of the above.
It’s budget-friendly and the perfect spot for lunch.
Hike Elephant Mountain
We’ve labeled it a “hike” but it’s really just A LOT of stairs that leads to one of the most incredible views of Taipei. You’ll definitely feel the burn but when you see an elderly man running backwards down the steps, just remember it’s not that bad!
There will be quite a crowd, especially at one specific rock on which people pose for the same picture in front of Taipei 101. To avoid this crowd, you can head further back and find a patio that offers an even better view!
Check out our quick guide to elephant mountain to get the best views of Taipei 101. Hint: night time is the best time!
Mala Hot Pot
There’s no shortage of hot pot restaurants in Taipei and many of them are fantastic. However, we have a favorite in town: Mala Hot Pot.
There are multiple locations but the best one (we think) is found in Ximending: 108, Taiwan, Taipei City, Wanhua District, Xining Rd, 157號2f
You have two hours to eat all the hot pot you can! There’s also an all you can eat Häagen-Dazs ice cream station, as well as all you can drink Taiwan Beer and soft drinks.
Choose from different flavored broths, select your meats (or no meats) and then fill your hot pot with anything you desire: vegetables, seafood, etc….
Two hours may not sound like a lot but trust us, it’s plenty! Cash only!
Day 3: Tea, Taipei 101 and Night Markets!
Taipei Zoo, Maokong Gondola and Lunch With a View
Zoos are usually a great idea for families but even if you’re just a couple or solo, Taipei’s zoo is a lot of fun.
Besides being massive in size and housing tons of animals, this zoo has pandas! They’re just past the food area near the entrance. They’ll probably be asleep but they were the first pandas we’ve seen.
The zoo is connected to the famous gondola. You can hop on while inside the zoo at Taipei Zoo South Station but we recommend leaving the zoo and hitching a ride at Taipei Zoo Station (not south!).
The gondola station is parallel with the zoo entrance and just a few minutes up the street. The gondola is a little pricey compared to Taipei’s other transportation, NT$240 (around $8 USD) for a one-way ticket.
Enjoy the 20-30 minute ride up to the tea village and soak in the views! You’ll pass above some gorgeous temples on the way.
Once you’re there, head to a tea house and try as many flavors as your heart desires. We chose Maolan Tea (a little more touristy) because of the view.
Read up on our fun-filled day at the zoo and Maokong for more info!
No 3 days in Taipei would be complete without visiting the most iconic building in town: Taipei 101. Once the tallest building in the world, it has since lost the crown, but that doesn’t take away from this architectural masterpiece.
Ride the insanely quick elevator to the top for a 360 degree view of Taipei. It’s gorgeous around sunset!
Don’t forget to appreciate the steel wind damper. Taipei 101 is built to withstand earthquakes and typhoons, which are quite common here!
Taipei Night Markets
Last but not least, visit a Taipei night market. Night markets are all over Southeast Asia but Taipei’s are special. Why?
There are friendly people everywhere and you’ll find some of the most amazing grub.
But Taipei is a sprawling metropolis with so many night markets, which do you choose?
Banqiao Nanya Night Market
Banqiao is located in New Taipei City; think of New Taipei City as a huge suburb of Taipei proper.
We stayed in an Airbnb in this area and found our favorite night market: Banqiao Nanya. If you feel like venturing out of the touristy areas and hanging out with mostly locals then go here! You’ll find all the night market staples here plus some amazing fried shrimp and cheese on a stick. Whoa!
Ningxia Night Market
This one is pretty small but jam-packed with people, especially locals. For a genuine night market experience in a central spot and the lovely smell of stinky tofu (not really lovely) then Nigxia is for you!
Shilin Night Market
Saying that Shilin is massive is an understatement. It’s easy to get lost here but that’s part of the fun! You never know what food and fun you’ll stumble upon in Shilin. It will get really crowded, especially on weekends.
Rahoe Night Market
Rahoe is another famous night market in Taipei and its entrance is probably one of the most photographed night market spots in the city. It’s a seemingly endless long line of vendors and restaurants.
More Time in Taipei?
Below we list a few of our favorite day trips from Taipei. They are easily accessible and contain links to posts that further explain how to get there and what to do!
Taroko National Park
Ideally, you’ll want to travel down to Hualien and stay a few nights so that you can fully explore Taroko National Park but it’s definitely doable to visit Taroko Gorge as a day trip from Taipei.
We go into the different options for visiting Taroko National Park as a day trip from Taipei, like booking a tour or taking the train and exploring on your own. There are some scenic hiking trails in Taroko but, most importantly, you’ll find some of the most beautiful spots in all of Taiwan!
A day trip to Keelung is so easy to make, as it’s a quick (and cheap) train ride away. See Taiwan’s gorgeous northeast coast as well as some memorable natural features like Shen’ao Elephant Trunk Rock.
You’ll also find an incredible night market in town. Read up on our Keelung day trip guide for more info!
Yangmingshan National Park
If you’re a fan of the outdoors like us then visiting Taipei is going to be a real treat. Practically next door is Yangmingshan National Park. There are some fantastic day hikes less than an hour away by public transport from Taipei central.
Check out the awesome views of Mt. Qixing or stop by the visitor center for a friendly welcome and helpful hiking tips!
Summary of 3 Days in Taipei Itinerary
While three days in Taipei isn’t nearly enough (it’s such a big city!) we think this is a great place to start. You’ll have tried so much of the tasty cuisine by your trip’s end and have witnessed some incredible views.