Among the 10 Best Attractions in Taipei are words like “biggest”, “best” and “first” – the city is a world-leader in many ways. There is also a lot of variety, ensuring that most types of tourist will find something to see and do in the capital city of Taiwan, whether you like to take in a stunning view, enjoy a restful day at the spa, learn something new about a different country or culture or see rare and unusual animals or artefacts.
Make sure you don’t miss out on the top attractions listed below, which represent the biggest and best that Taipei has to offer and should be foremost on any visitor’s bucket list. You can’t say you’ve really visited the city until you’ve ticked them all off! Fortunately, with a first-class public transport network, it is possible to complete the list with consummate ease. The hardest part will be dragging yourself away from each in order to see the next.
Formerly holding the title of world’s tallest building, Taipei 101 is a cultural marvel as well as an architectural one. It incorporates traditional design aspects from Chinese culture, resembling a hugely up-scaled version of a pagoda. It is also earthquake and typhoon resistant, in part due to a 660-tonne steel pendulum at around the 90th floor. You can watch the huge mass damper swinging to offset the building’s movement when visiting the observatory on the 89th floor, which also gives an outstanding view across the city. Getting up there takes only 37 seconds in the record-breaking pressurized elevators. Located at the heart of the financial district of the city, Taipei 101 is also home to a world-class shopping mall, featuring luxury goods, fashion and fine dining. Read More...
- Opening Hours: 09:00 – 22:00
- Location: No. 7, Section 5, Xinyi Road, Xinyi
- Tel: +886 (0)2 8101 8800
A beautiful memorial right at the heart of Taipei, the 250,000-sqm park commemorates Chiang Kai-shek, the former President of the Republic of China. Chiang brought the Republic to the island following its defeat by Chinese Communists in the 1949 civil war, effectively founding Taiwan as we now see it. He is remembered through this striking white marble edifice with a roof of deep-blue glass. After ascending 89 steps to reach the entrance (one for each year of Chiang’s life), you find a ground floor library and museum detailing the leader’s life and Taiwan’s subsequent rapid development. The upper floor is the main hall and houses a large statue of Chiang, which oversees a regular intricate guard-mounting ceremony. Read More...
- Opening Hours: 09:00 - 18:00
- Location: No. 21, Zhongshan S. Road, Zhongshan
- Tel: +886 (0)2 2302 5162
Longshan Temple was founded in 1738 by Chinese settlers, making it the oldest of its kind in Taipei and one of the most important temples in Taiwan. It is dedicated to the Buddhist Goddess of Mercy (Kuan-in, in Chinese), though history has not been merciful to it! It has been the victim of earthquakes, fires and even aerial bombing during World War II, which destroyed irreplaceable artworks and artefacts. However, the devoted Taipei residents have rebuilt it each time (with the last total rebuild being in 1924), maintaining its intricate design, making it a fine example of Taiwanese classical architecture. The temple grounds still house many beautiful artefacts, each with powerful symbolism and fascinating stories to tell. Read More...
- Opening Hours: 06:00 – 22:00
- Location: No. 221, Guangzhou Street, Wanhua
- Tel: +886 (0)2 2302 5162
Opening for operation on 4 July 2007, the Maokong Gondola is a 4.3 km cable car system running between Taipei Zoo and the small town of Maokong, on the southern outskirts of the city. Along the way, it passes through beautiful, verdant mountains and stops off at Zhinan Temple, with Sanxuan Temple close to the terminus in Maokong. Taking between 17 and 37 minutes (depending on what speed the system is running that day), the gondola is both a great way to get to the traditional tea houses and plantations south of the city and offers fantastic views along the way.
- Opening Hours: 09:00 – 21:00
- Location: Section 2, Xinguang Road, Wenshan
- Tel: +886 (0)2 2181 2345
Beitou District contains one of the highest concentrations of hot springs and associated spas in the world. Nearly every building around Beitou Park is a spa hotel of some sort, taking advantage of the mineral-loaded, geothermally-heated water running through the valley. Generally believed to have healing properties, the sulphurous spring water is usually between 37°C and 40°C and is slightly acidic. Just a little way upstream, the so-called Hell Valley (aka Geothermal Valley) has water temperatures as high as 100°C! Beitou Park also contains the Hot Springs Museum and is a very attractive patch of almost wild greenery.
- Opening Hours: Tues – Sun 09:00 – 17:00
- Location: Beitou Park, No. 2, Zhongshan Road, Beitou
- Tel: +886 (0)2 2893 9981
The National Palace Museum is the home of over 696,000 ancient Imperial Chinese artefacts and artworks, making it the largest collection of its type in the world and among the top 10 most popular museums on the planet. Compared to the artefacts - some of which are from over 1,000 years ago – the large, appropriately palatial buildings date from just 1965, with several major expansions in the following decades to make room for the permanent exhibition. You will not find a more complete picture of China’s long and fascinating history.
- Opening Hours: Sun – Thu 08:30 – 18:30, Fri – Sat 08:30 – 21:00
- Location: No. 221, Section 2, Zhishan Road, Shilin
- Tel: +886 (0)2 2881 2021
The most famous of what are known as the “Four Beasts Mountains”, Elephant Mountain (Xiangshan, in Chinese) is popular for the fantastic view it offers of the city’s financial heart, including the iconic Taipei 101. The 183m-high summit is easily reached along the Nangang District Hiking Trail, which is the most accessible in the city, making it also the most popular. The path is very clear and well maintained and, while the seemingly endless flights of stone steps may be intimidating, you don’t need to be a mountaineer to reach the top – it fact, it generally takes between 20 and 40 minutes.
- Location: Trailhead on Alley 342, Lane 150, Section 5, Xinyi Road, Xinyi
Dr Sun Yat-sen is generally known as the ‘Father of the Nation’, and this hall is a memorial to his work. Sun was the first president of the Republic of China in 1912, after the overthrow of the Qing dynasty. The 29,464 sqm building is situated in the decorative Chung-shan Park and houses displays on Sun’s life and the birth of the Republic of China. It is also an important cultural centre in the city. The changing of the guard ceremony is a major attraction for this memorial.
- Opening Hours: 09:00 – 18:00
- Location: No. 505, Section 4, Ren-ai Road, Xinyi
- Tel: +886 (0)2 2758 8008
Built on a green hillside overlooking the Keelung River, the Martyrs’ Shrine is dedicated to the war dead of the Republic of China. There are nearly 390,000 spirit tablets for those who fell during the Xinhai Revolution, the Second World War, the Chinese Civil War and other engagements. The statue-like military police guards at the extravagant main gates and the guard-changing ceremony are major attractions of this serene, solemn place, which is set in the middle of over 33,000 sqm of grassland.
- Opening Hours: 09:00 – 17:00
- Location: No. 139, Bei’an Road, Zhongshan
- Tel: +886 (0)2 2885 4162
The most famous residents of Tapei Zoo are Tuan Tuan and Yuan Yuan – the giant pandas who arrived in 2008 – along with Yuan Zai – the first panda cub born in Taiwan. They join over 12,000 birds, a popular children’s zoo (housing domestic animals), an insectarium, amphibian and reptile house, penguins, koalas and nocturnal animals in the 165-hectare grounds. There is also an area for the native wildlife of Taiwan, including wild boar, crab-eating mongooses, clouded leopards, Reeves’s muntjacs and more. The zoo is highly regarded for its entertaining displays and healthy animals.
- Opening Hours: 09:00 – 17:00
- Location: No. 30, Section 2, Xinguang Road, Wenshan
- Tel: +886 (0)2 2938 2300