20 Fun Things To Do in Taipei 2023 – Quirky Art, Stinky Food and Original Drinks
Welcome to our guide to 20 FUN things to do in Taipei. In this guide we’ll take you through everything unique and fun that this city has to offer that isn’t in most touristy guides, from waterfalls and volcano hikes to drinking the original bubble tea of Taiwan and even penis shaped waffles in Taipei’s many night markets.
There is a way more to Taipei than just Taipei 101.
Let’s start this trip with an early morning lunch and the best place to try Taiwan’s national dish.
1. Niu Dian Beef Noodles
Beef noodles are a must try dish in Taiwan, and there is nowhere better to get your first fix of the stuff than Niu Dian Beef Noodles.
The restaurant uses a mix of local and international ingredients with the beef being imported from Australia and the bone marrow which takes 16 hours to cook sourced locally, all making for a mouth watering new spin on the nations favorite comfort food.
The noodles are so delicious Niu Dian has even earned a coveted spot as a Michelin’s guide restaurant.
As the beef melts in your mouth, you’ll be calculating how many more times you can eat here before the end of your trip.
The answer should definitely be more than once.
Tip: Get there for opening time at 11am for an early lunch, this place is very popular with the locals and often gets crowded later in the day.
2. Drink a Beer at the Northern Tip of Taiwan
As with the other natural settings on this list, you’ll be asking yourself “Am I really still in Taipei?”
Well, you are and you aren’t…
New Taipei City, is its own city that surrounds Taipei, but the transport links between the two blur the lines and allow for easy access to all of New Taipei’s attractions, like this one, the Shimen Cave, historically this was the northern gate of Taiwan and it is the perfect spot for a selfie with the pacific ocean.
Explore the unique rock formations before taking the trail to the top of the free standing cave arch, then grab yourself a Taiwan beer and chill out on the beach for a few hours.
How to get there: The Shimen Cave can be easily reached from Taipei Main Station by taking the MRT to Tamsui Station and then a bus toward Keelung stopping at the Shimen Cave Bus Stop.
3. Ride the Maokong Gondola to Taiwan Tea Heaven
The Taiwanese love tea, you can’t walk a few steps down the street in Taipei without spotting a dozen people holding there favorite brand of Bubble Tea.
Before the Bubbles were added the old stuff was just as addictive.
The traditional style of making tea still lives on in the mountains of southern Taipei and you can take a gondola there all the way to tea heaven.
Maokong is famous for it’s tea culture, historically this mountain top community provided the island with a big percentage of its tea.
Nowadays, the tea plantations are gone but not the tea houses which still serve locals and tourists the old fashioned black and green tea in an idyllic setting with a beautiful view of Taipei as an added bonus.
How to get there: The gondola can be easily reached by taking the Wenshan Line to Taipei Zoo station and a round trip ticket on the gondola is reasonably priced at NT$240 or around $8 US.
4. Watch a Film Inside the Old US Embassy Turned Cinema
What to do when a country decides to vacate their embassy?
Hmm… Why not transform it into an indie cinema house.
That’s what the Taipei city government did anyway.
This building was once the home to the US Embassy in Taipei but was left abandoned after the United States switched it’s recognition from the ROC to the Peoples Republic of China on the mainland.
Thankfully the Taipei city government found a good use for it, transforming the grandeur of the one time embassy into a cinema for the locals.
The Taipei Film House, is a movie theater in Zhongshan District, stays true to the unique setting, you wont find any Hollywood blockbusters playing here, only cool Asian indie films.
You can get a ticket for less than NT$300. That is less than $10 US.
Warning: Films are not subtitled in English so if you don’t speak Mandarin then… Go anyway, it’s worth it just for the experience itself.
If you are lucky, you could watch Spirited away before heading to Jiufen. Here you have the trailer of Spirited away:
5. Jiufen Old Street and Taro Balls
Making your way up the steep concrete staircases of Jiufen is a challenge in itself, but all worth it when you find this mountain lookout carved into the mountainside and sit down for some juicy taro balls.
Jiuifen is very touristy village near Taipei, but if you know where to go it’s worth fighting through the maze of small streets and selfie sticks.
Most tourists from Asia are drawn to Jiufen for the resemblance to the setting in Spirited Away, a famed Japanese Anime film.
But we’re here for the taro balls.
A Gan Yi Taro Balls restaurant sits balancing on the mountainside, as you tuck into the bowl of glutinous treats sat at the counter and scanning your eyes over the fantasy like mountain town below is hard to believe that the building can stay standing, seemingly balancing on the edge of infinity.
Don’t order more than one bowl of taro balls, these things are filling and too much at once isn’t a wise idea.
To enjoy this particular meal, I recommend you take a Day tour To Jiufen. Once there, look for Gan Yi Taro Balls restaurant.
If your visiting Taipei during cherry blossom season in February and March, this is the place to go to get your Sakura high.
But don’t worry if your planning a summer in Taipei or a chilly winter (It does actually get cold sometimes in Taiwan) Wuji Tianyuan Temple is stunning year round.
It is also listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site.
You don’t want to miss this amazing place!
Despite looking a thousand years old, this is one of the more modern temples in the city, only being completed in the 1990’s, the main pagoda the “Temple of Heaven” is five stories tall and is open to the public, climb up to the top floor and get a panorama of the temples beautiful surroundings.
There is not much English information on display here as the temple has yet to become one of the more touristic sites in the city, go and see it before it becomes too crowded.
7. Eat Pig Blood Cake and Penis Shaped Waffles at Taipei’s Night Markets
Pigs blood cake, penis shaped waffles, chicken feet, stinky tofu and fish skin. Sounds delicious, right?
…right? It is!
Taipei’s street food is the best in the world and the city hosts numerous night markets all serving up these only in Taiwan snacks in abundance.
If your stomach can’t take Taipei’s more unusual cuisine no worries, these night markets have cheese stuffed fried chicken, oyster and egg omelettes, sausages on a stick and a lot more that won’t make you run for the nearest McDonald’s.
Taipei has many night markets around the city. Some of the best are:
Go back home after eating all of Taiwan’s most unusual, sometimes down right crazy but always delicious street food.
Also, you can take a special Night Ningxia Market Food Tour, where you will enjoy Taiwanese cuisine such as fried yam balls or rice or pork leg rice, taro balls or oyster pancakes.
Taipei is very cycle friendly, the city has one of the largest public bike share programs introduced in 2009 called YouBike, throughout the city you’ll catch plenty of tourists and locals hopping on these orange bikes and making there way around the city.
You can sign up in minutes online here – or at one of the many bike kiosks around the city. This may be one of the most fun things to do in Taipei, Taiwan.
You can decide to do it yourself and go on your own adventure, perhaps take a tour and hit all of Taipei’s biggest attractions in one go, all while giving your legs a decent workout.
If you decide to bike around Taipei, bring some water, Taiwan is a tropical island after all and you’ll be working up quite a sweat.
If you prefer to join a tour, you can choose 4-Hour Morning City Cycling Tour to visit the most popular places in Taipei and listen to fun information about the culture and history of the city.
It is located next to the Yangmingshan National Park in the Beitou District, Taipei, Taiwan.
It is an epic place not only for its landscape, but for its particular smell.
When you smell rotten eggs, you’ll know your at the right place.
The locals call this place Hell Valley for a reason. The thermal steam that covers you on your walk around the area can be a bit overwhelming, especially the smell, so make sure you come prepared.
Bring a face mask with you if you really hate the stink of rotten eggs.
After you’ve cleansed your skin with the steam of hell, got those Instagram pics and your sense of smell has hopefully returned, walk the short distance to the nearby Beitou Hot Springs and alternate between the hot and cold natural baths.
Remember to bring your bathing suit! This isn’t a Japanese style hot spring.
How to get there: Take the MRT to Xinbeitou Station, Hell Valley and the hot springs are a short walk from the station.
You’ll feel like a spy as you walk through the normal looking restaurant to the backdoor and ring the bell. Once the door opens and you step inside, you’ll be in Taipei’s worst kept secret, Ounce.
Ounce has no official menu, just tell the bartender your favorite drink and they’ll give you a fresh take on it.
Taipei is awash with nightlife from the nightclubs OMNI and Box Nightclub to the dive bars Carnegie’s and Roxy Vibe but Ounce is an experience not to be missed.
Drinks are priced at between NT$350 to NT$500 or about $11 to $16 US.
13. Pub Crawl Taipei
If you are not in the mood for cocktails and espionage, then how about a night of drunken escapades around Taipei?
A pub crawl hits up pubs and clubs, if your traveling to Taipei alone, this is a good option to meet new people and have a blast.
14. Shifen Waterfall
As you watch the falls cascade down into the emerald lagoon, you’ll ask yourself again “Am I really still in Taipei?”
Well again, you are and you aren’t, Shifen Waterfall is another stunning natural site located in New Taipei City, in the Pingxi district.
The waterfall is 20 meters high and 40 meters wide making it one of the most impressive waterfalls in the country, while there are many natural wonders outside the capital within Taipei this one can’t be rivaled.
This place has grown in popularity recently and can be a tourist trap, but seeing these falls up close is still worth it.
It makes for some great pictures too.
Take a Tour to Pingxi, including visits to Shifen Waterfall, and discover the best of Taiwanese culture and fantastic nature
15. Come Face to Face with the Surreal at Ju Ming Museum
Another one of those rare museum recommendations on this list.
Even if art museums aren’t your thing, this one is worth at least an hour of your time.
It is is one of the fun things that most visitors to Taipei don’t know about it. But we do!
Ju Ming was a sculptor originally from Taiwan, after achieving fame in his home country he made it big in America, his works are exhibited in museums all over the world.
In this museum to his work, you’ll find life size surreal and eccentric characters inside and scattered around the grounds from his sculpture of Albert Einstein to Taiwanese soldiers, giant dancing stone monsters and even a life size navy ship complete with crew.
Ticket price is only NT$100, around $3 US.
16. Taste Taiwan’s Original Bubble Tea at Chun Shui Tang
There is a fierce debate in Taiwan, who was the first to invent bubble tea?
Whether it started at Chun Shui Tang or not doesn’t really matter, especially when the tea is this good, and the tea is really good.
This bubble tea shop isn’t just any other chain store set up on the side of the street. Chun Shui Tang is one of the few shops to stake the claim as the inventor of bubble tea, bubble tea fans across the world might just have this place to thank for the global craze.
Try the classic original pearl milk tea with some dim sum and leave bloated and satisfied.
This place is located in Ruifang District, New Taipei, and its biggest attraction are cats.
Yes! A gang of cats took over this small mining village and have now made their own.
In a previous life Houtong Village made hundreds of thousands of tons of coal a year now it’s only purpose is to be the home of over a hundred free roaming felines.
Set aside some some money and buy some pretty awesome cat related goods from the local vendors.
20. Hike to the Summit of the Largest Volcano in Taiwan
To finish off your trip to Taipei why not hike above it?
Okay, so this fun thing to do in Taipei features snakes… venomous snakes, bites are rare though and if you make sure to stay on the trails you’ll be alright.
Have I convinced you yet?
If you are okay with the thought of snakes slivering around somewhere near you, then read on and you can complete the most difficult and most rewarding fun thing to do on this list.
Qixing Mountain also known as Seven Star Mountain, it’s seven individual summits is the largest dormant volcano on the island and the most impressive hike in Taipei.
If your fit you’ll be able to reach the summit of Qixing in about three hours but if you’ve been eating too many bowls of those Niu Dian Beef Noodles or one too many pig blood cakes, you’ll need a bit longer but should still be able to reach the summit in around five hours.
Tip: Make sure you start your hike early in the day as the sun begins to set in Taipei at around 6pm.
List of the must do things to do in Taipei
See, there are many things to do in Taipei, here you have the must do things while in Taipei: