Taiwan - fun days in the heart of Asia

Can't believe our time on the Philippines past by so quickly. We decided to end the triple-trouble-trip in a country and city which is all new for us. Taipei made it and after a great time in Siargao and Cebu we were heading to Taiwan. Flight was super easy and quick and soon we were replacing the Philippine SimCard with a Taiwanese one.

In a combination between MRT and Uber we made our way to our accommodation, the Nihao Café Hotel. 

After beeing spoilt which huge space during our stay in the Philippines, we got a room which is, hmm let's say comparable with a shoebox :). It reminded me somehow of Japan. No spare space left, but a clever roomconcept which worked out.

We didn't leave Taipei for 4 days- these are my recommendation for a fantastic time in Taiwan:


What do do

  • Foodtour! (it would be surprising if this would not be on the list right?). We booked it directly on arrival on withlocals.com and got Jones and his friend Chris assigned. It was very fun and we tried a lot of different food such as crazy icecream (I like), Taiwanese Dumplings (I love), Stinky Tofu (I don't like at all), Taiwanese Omelette (I love), Sweet Potato (I like), Sweet Mochi's (I like) and more Dumplings (I love). The tour was well made and we even had the chance to see the changing- of- the- guard-ceremony in the Chiang-Kai-Shek Memorial hall. Another cool thing in Taipei is to find foot-massage-walkways, very cool but also not too easy to walk on these stones. Overall it was a very cool and fun tour and we didn't leave hungry! However I would recommend to compare different offerings. As we got mainly streetfood, I found it personally rather pricey. But we had a lot of fun and this is what counts! :)
  • Have a look at the Creative Park. A lot of small shops and stores with some hidden gems (thanks Sandra for the tip). Just don't be there too early, most shops are open around 11 am. When we were there, a Manga Convention took place as well, was fun to watch the crazy crowd :).
  • Shopping! There are so many fun and cute things, OMG! You have to see once the Central Station City Mall. It's underground at the Central Station. Unbelievable, it is very easy to get lost! My favorite spot for shopping was around Ximending as you have both, cute and fun things (we called it ShiShi) but international brands as well.
  • Nightmarkets. There are so many. From famous to rather local, food, clothing everything. I think if you have seen 2-3, the others won't much vary. We've been to the Ningxia Night Market and Raohe Night Market.
  • Free Walking Tour. It's always a good way to get around the city and gathering insights from locals. We have decided to sign up for the Old Town Tour by Tour Me Away and it was really really cool. The guys were easy understandable and it was a great combination between history, life & culture and fun facts. We stopped in an icecream shop too where you get all varieties of icecream (such as porkknuckle - we were not that brave and tried out Hibiscus), in the oldest market where people still use to shop. We also learned about the LGTB Community in Taipei and that Taiwan will become the first Asian Country who will legalize same sex-marriage this month.
  • KTV (Karaoke Television) - I never imagined that it would be that much fun. We booked two hours (YES you need at least 2 hours) a private room at Partyworld, had some drinks and were singing like crazy :) When you enter the complex and book it you will be guided into your private room which looks like a hotel lounge, incl. restrooms, light animation, everything :). Note: You need to bring your passport  with you!
  • 101 and Elephant Mountain. When you look at pictures and photos from Taipei, it is the tower 101 which can be seen from (almost) every corner. I therefore recommend to do at least the Elephant Mountain hike (or walk). Some compare it with the Uetliberg walk but I guess it depends where you start. If the view is good (which it was when we were there) you have a fantastic view over the city and the famous 101 tower too. 
    After the hike we also went into the 101 tower. Some people state that the elevator ride to the top will change your life. I don't feel that much of a change, but the ride up was fun. The view didn't amaze me that much because you were already in the most impressive building, but when you have four days in Taipei, I would do it :)
  • Themed Cafés - there seem to be some fun cafés in Taiwan. We have tried out two of them. Because we like it and it's fun :).
    First one was Modern Toilet - Food and drinks look like things which hmm yeah, normally end up in the toilet. :) it was fun to see, but personally I think it's overrated.
    Second one was way cuter. We decided to go to Rilakkuma Café - also the perfect location to send beloved Happy Mothersday Greetings to Mum :).
  • Maokong Gondola - it's about a 4 km Gondola ride to the very top. There are some stops inbetween for example to go to the Zoo which seem to be one of the biggest in Asia. We went to the very top where you can find different teahouses as the region is surrounded by tea plantation. There are also options for smaller hikes which looked interesting too. Unfortunately we were there on our last day and had limited time to explore further as we had to catch our flight for later.
  • Massage - there are many places for it, mostly specialized in foot massage combined with neck / shoulder. And it is soo good! Don't miss it out. What I didn't try is the knife massage, will keep that for my next visit.
  • EasyCard - There are options to get metro cards for several days. However, I think when you get the Easy Card where you are more flexible how much money you would like to charge on the card, you'll be more flexible (and at the end it is cheaper). I still have the card, let me know when you plan a trip to Taipei and you can re-charge mine :).
  • get fun things out of these fun / toy machines where plastic balls are coming out and surprising you. Perfect souvenirs for bringing back home and fun to get them out too.
  • Last but not least, enjoy the bustling life of Taipei. It is so fun to see the different people and things you'll discover. Have you ever seen somebody taking out his cat for a selfie at a popular square? I love Taiwan because you can feel and see the influence the country has gone through. Not completely Chinese, but not completely Japanese neither - I guess this is what it makes so special.


What to avoid

  • Don't forget your time while you're shopping and strolling through the nightmarket when hungry. When we came to the point to eat dinner at a restaurant, everything was closed already (around 9.30 pm). We ended up in SevenEleven, buying Bananas and Instasoup. In Taipei! I don't think I need to say anything more :).
  • Panicking when your mobile phone is going crazy in vibration and sound and you get strange chinese messsages. Taiwan is a country where earthquakes happen regularly and thanks to their warning system, you get notified when they localize your device in Taiwan. Although we got the warning, we didn't feel anything.

Food & Drinks




Definitively go to the nightmarkets where you get all kind and variety of food! In addition, I can strongly recommend the following places:


If you love HotPot or ShabuShabu this is the way to go! A bit pricey (compared with streetfood) but definitively worth! 
Din Tai Fung
Considered to be the best dumplings! Average waiting time can be 70-90 minutes. We were lucky and did not even had to wait 10 minutes (were there around 7 pm).  They accept cash only. Thanks Sandra for the tip :)

Liu Shandong 

Amazing Beef Noodles! They got even awarded by a Michelin Star. A proof how great the streetfood kitchen in Taipei is! Only to get another Bowl of these beef noodles would be a reason to come back to Taipei! Thanks again Sandra :)


A fun place, specialized in shaved ice. Try the unicorn icecream as well as the Mango! There is one place which is very popular and touristy, we've been to the other store and met the founder of the IceMonster.

Snow King

We discovered this place during our walking tour. You can get almost every taste. There is a huge variety for brave and not so brave people :).

R&D Cocktail Lab Taipei

We've been there on our last evening (also thank you Sandra for that tip :)) and it reminded me  a lot to the Attaboy Speak Easy Bar I've been in New York. The entrance is hidden too, and you will be amazed once you find the entrance and enter the door. The bar is very cool, not too big and looks like a Cocktail Lab. They don't have a menu with the drinks, you just tell what kind of flavour do you like and they will mixe a surprise for you. Still by today I don't know exactly what I had but it was very tasty! They even shared new creations with us to get our feedback on it. It is more pricey too, but definitively worth the money, especially if it's your last night in Taipei!

Tea Ceremony

If you're into tea, I can recommend to go for a Tea Ceremony to Wistaria Tea House. The tea is expensive, but I guess a must-do experience for tea lovers :).

Bubble Tea

You can get them everywhere in different varieties - I prefer the bubble tea which is not mixed with milk.

Where to stay

I can recommend the Nihao Café Hotel. People were super friendly, it was a bit tight yes, but location was good too, very close to MRT. Also close to 101. And breakfast was delicious. I choose always the yum Pancakes, one time even with a coffee!

If I go back to Taipei, I might consider a Hotel around Ximending too.

1 day in Taipei

If you have one day in Taipei only, i would do the following (we did that actually on one day and it was one of my favorite):

  • Breakfast in Nihao Hotel
  • Morning Shopping at Taipei Main Station
  • Beef Noodle Soup  Lunch / Snack in Liu Shandong (close to main station too)
  • Massage
  • KTV Session at Partyworld Ximending
  • Dinner in Din Tai Fung
  • Drink at R&D Lab.

If you wake up early and the view is good, then go to the Elephant Mountain Hill, Shopping in Ximending is great too and can be combined either before or after KTV!

on the list for next time:

yes, we have done a lot and 4 days in the city were sufficient. If I make it another time to Taipei (which I hope) I will definitively check: 

  • The Geo Park up North
  • The coastline of Taiwan
  • Ride a YouBike in Taipei - Taipei is a very bicycle friendly city and you can get a bike everywhere. We haven't done it as we wanted to use it for a short ride. Since you have to register the credit card we didn't do it as the registration would have taken probably longer than the way we would have biked :). Anyways, very cool idea and worth a try next time.
  • Knife Massage - only seen it on Youtube, but since I've seen it, i would love to try it and get the bad vibes out of my body :)

 Thank you Taipei for fun days with tons of laughter which was a perfect and of perfect holidays! Of course it wouldn't have been that much fun without the girls - #tripletrouble is unbeatable! :)