What to do in Taiwan?
December 19, 2011 10:06 PM   Subscribe

I'll be spending just over a week in Taiwan, including New Year's Eve. I'd like to know what you'd recommend, both in Taipei and as a day trip somewhere else on the island.

I'm 22 years old and a fairly well-seasoned traveler. I currently live in Japan and am more-or-less acquainted with Asian culture in general.

I'm a city person but I also love history, old temples, and nature, so feel free to suggest anything and everything. I'm also looking for a big party on New Year's Eve—is that a thing in Taiwan?

Thanks, MeFi!
posted by reductiondesign to Travel & Transportation around Taiwan (4 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I visited Taiwan (especially Taipei) for the first time in October, here are some of the places i enjoyed the most:
* National Palace Museum: spend the whole day there. Basically the most precious Chinese antiques / art objects / treasures, it's a must see.
* Night markets: I went to the one in jilong, although there are night markets in several different places. it's an easy train ride from taipei. Lots of good seafood, food stands, and desserts.
* New Taipei City is worth a visit, particularly Jiufen, a cute mountainy village with lots of different restaurants, tea houses, shops. It was used as a model for the movie Spirited Away.

There's also a big party/dance/club scene so it shouldn't be too difficult to find a NYE party.
posted by xtine at 10:24 PM on December 19, 2011

If you like pottery or ceramics, Yingge is a nice day trip from Taipei. The museum is beautiful and it has a great cafe. The city itself is not much.
posted by cairnoflore at 11:26 PM on December 19, 2011

You should visit Maokong! It's a beautiful mountain dotted with teahouses/tea farms and hiking trails. To get there, take the MRT to the zoo (brown line) and then once you get to the zoo stop, take a gondola ferry up the mountain. Riding the gondola gives you a great view of the city and always made me feel like I was being dropped off in Jurassic park.

Once there, I'd recommend just wandering around and hopping from teahouse to teahouse. The teahouses all have lovely terraces overlooking the tea farms, with Taipei in the distance. You can order a pot of tea (they're all delicious, I usually went with whatever was being farmed right in front of me), and depending on where you end up you can order a full meal or just snacks.

The teahouses stay open late, til eleven or midnight if memory serves, so you can stay a long while. If you angle yourself to face Taipei 101, you can see it light up when they turn it on for the evening.

Hiking: lots of awesome trails, but we got hopelessly lost trying to go by the descriptions in Lonely Planet, so be sure to take a map or go with someone who knows what they're doing.
posted by pluot at 12:21 AM on December 20, 2011 [1 favorite]

I've lived in Taipei for years. There's plenty to see and do. For starters check out the MRT system and get one of the English maps. They have LOTS of information on them about things to do and see around Taiwan. Things I'd probably recommend right off would be the Chiang Kai Shek Memorial downtown, the DanShui Harbor and night market, Lung Shan Temple and the night market in that area, Di Hua Street, and maybe Wulai.

As far as New Years Eve, there's plenty of partying going on in the clubs and bars, but generally it's pretty quiet here compared to the States on NYE.

Again, get a copy of the English map in the MRT. The Chien Tan Station in Shih Lin usually has the best supply. Drop me a MeFi message when you're in town, if you'd like.
posted by rmmcclay at 2:11 AM on December 20, 2011

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