Although Taipei is known as a shopper’s paradise, there are plenty of other activities to fill your days with. The city is gifted with a great array of natural wonders to behold, historic traditions to enjoy and man-made marvels to see. The city authorities have poured a lot of time and resources into building up first-class facilities for recreation and enjoying the fresh air around the city and many of our list of the 10 Best Activities in Taipei can be enjoyed by using those facilities.
Most of the activities on our list are family-friendly, require no special skills and have a broad appeal. They can mostly be enjoyed regardless of the weather and at any time of the year. In some surprising cases, they can also be enjoyed at any time of the day as Taipei really is a city that never sleeps. Trying out any one of these options is sure to make your stay in the city a memorable and enjoyable one.
The city of Taipei is ringed by hills and mountains, making it a great place for those keen on exploring the great outdoors. Many of the trails are well developed and clearly marked, making them easy to find and very safe to follow. Yangmingshan National Park is a short distance to the north of the city, with trails including the 1,120-metre-tall dormant volcano of Qixingshan Mountain. Closer to the city centre – and extremely popular for that convenience – is the trail to the top of Elephant Mountain, from which you can enjoy great cityscape views including Taipei 101. Read More...
- Location: Trailhead on Alley 342, Lane 150, Sec. 5, Xinyi Road, Xinyi
The famous hot springs in the Beitou District of Taipei are surrounded by spas and spa hotels. The slightly acidic water is usually between 37°C and 40°C and is laden with minerals. A short distance upstream is Hell Valley (aka Geothermal Valley), where the water temperatures get as high as 100°C! Aside from the therapeutic qualities of the water, the area’s many spas are a great place to enjoy a variety of relaxing treatments, both in Japanese-style public baths and in private. Read More...
- Location: Around Beitou Park, No.2, Zhongshan Road, Beitou
- Tel: +886 (0)2 2893 9981
The Maokong region is slightly to the south of Taipei and is found at the end of the Maokong Gondola. It is renowned as a tea-growing area and is home to a large number of traditional tea houses where you can experience the Taiwanese tea ceremony. The complicated and intricate process involves several pots and pours in order to infuse the hot water with the fresh tea leaves. It creates a great brew, which is best enjoyed as a group and while drinking in the fantastic mountain views. While there are many to choose from, the Yao-Yue Tea House comes highly recommended.
- Opening Hours: All day
- Location: No. 6, Lane 40, Section 3, Zhinan Road, Wenshan
- Tel: +886 (0)2 2939 2025
At 509.2m, Taipei 101 held the title of the world’s tallest building for six years and still stands head and shoulders (and chest, abdomen, groin and upper legs) above any other building in the city. Despite the distance, it takes just 37 seconds to get from the 5th floor to the observatory on the 89th. The pressurised double-deck elevators rocket up at 16.83 metres per second, allowing you to enjoy the best view of the rest of Taipei in next to no time. While you’re up there, there are other architectural wonders to admire, including the 660-tonne tuned mass damper which prevents the structure from being damaged by typhoons. Read More...
- Opening Hours: 09:00 – 22:00
- Location: No. 7, Section 5, Xinyi Road, Xinyi
- Tel: +886 (0)2 8101 8800
The 4.3km cable car system which departs from Taipei Zoo takes between 17 and 37 minutes (depending on the speed at which the system is set to run that day) to reach its terminus in Maokong, in the mountains to the south of the city. Not only is this an easy and convenient way to reach the tea farms in that region, a ride on the gondola gives you unbeatable views of the picturesque jungle-covered mountains. You can enjoy the view in every direction on the sedate ride – including down through the glass floor.
- Opening Hours: 09:00 – 21:00
- Location: Section 2, Xinguang Road, Wenshan
- Tel: +886 (0)2 2181 2345
The brightly-lit Ferris wheel sits on the roof of Miramar Entertainment Park. At 70 metres, it is the tallest in Taipei and the second-tallest in Taiwan. With it being positioned on the roof of a shopping mall, you actually reach a height of 100 metres above the ground when your carriage is at the top of the wheel, giving you a great view across the northern part of the city and across the river towards Taipei Songshan Airport. There are 48 carriages, each capable of carrying six passengers, which take about 17 minutes to do a full rotation.
- Opening Hours: Mon – Thu 12:30 – 23:00, Fri 12:30 – 24:00, Sat 11:00 – 24:00, Sun 11:00 – 23:00
- Location: No. 20, Jingye 3rd Road, Zhongshan
- Tel: +886 (0)2 2175 3456
The Taiwanese are passionate about their karaoke – KTV, as they call it – and you should certainly not miss out on experiencing it. There are several major KTV chains in Taipei, the biggest of which is Partyworld, where you can sing along to western and Chinese tunes at any time of the day or night. NT$400 (more on weekends) will buy you three hours in a private room and access to the all-you-can-eat buffet. The facilities are first-rate and well-maintained, ensuring that you will have great time singing your heart out.
- Opening Hours: All day
- Location: No. 55, Section 1, Zhonghua Road, Zhongzheng
- Tel: +886 (0)2 2361 9898
As with hiking trails in and around Taipei, there are several cycle routes to enjoy in the city, particularly alongside the river running around Taipei Songshan Airport. Bicycles can be rented either with the EasyPass public transport system or from official rental shops close to specified cycling areas. The routes take full advantage of the more scenic parts of Taipei and are completely car-free, making them very safe for the whole family. There is more than 100 kilometres of riverside path to choose from around Taipei, so it will take you quite a long time to get bored.
- Opening Hours: Rental Kiosks open 08:00 – 12:00 and 14:00 – 17:30
The relaxing morning exercise-cum-martial art of Tai Chi is practised in many of the parks around Taipei, but most notably at 228 Peace Memorial Park. Here, you will often find groups of residents going through the gentle motions early in the day. You are generally welcome to join in and there are even Tai Chi courses you can sign up for which will guide you through the moves. If you look around this and other parks, you might also find the popular pastime of ballroom dancing being practised! Parks in Taipei can be very busy places, particularly early in the morning!
- Location: 228 Peace Memorial Park, Zhongzheng
Tantric foot massages work on the principles of holistic medicine, which states that each part of the sole of your foot is connected to a part of the rest of your body. For example, your head can be healed by stimulating the big toe and working on your heel with treat haemorrhoids. This ancient Chinese treatment is popular in Taipei and there are many foot massage parlours to choose from, with the 6 Star Foot Massage Center being rated as among the best. Even if you don’t believe in the holistic properties, the treatments are a good way to bring warn-out feet back to life.
NOTE: Some care needs to be taken when choosing a parlour as ‘massage’ is commonly used as a euphemism for more adult-only treatments too.
Six Star Foot Massage Center (3 branches).
- Opening Hours: All day
- Location: No. 76, Section 5, Nanjing E. Road, Songshan
- Tel: +886 (0)2 2762 2166
The 70-metre whirling slide underneath The Grand Hotel was made famous in 2012, when a local news reporter tried it out on live TV and her distinctive scream was heard echoing all the way down. The hotel was opened in 1952, at a dangerous time in Taiwan’s history, and the slide was part of one of two escape tunnels built to enable important guests to evacuate in case of air raids, with the slide ensuring that disabled dignitaries did not have problems with the long spiral staircases. Despite rumours that the tunnel exits into the Presidential Office, the end is actually in Jiantan Park. Members of the public can visit the tunnels, but only with a pre-booked tour. Read More...
- Location: No. 1, Section 3, Zhongshan N. Road, Section 4, Zhongshan
- Tel: +886 (0)2 2886 8888