Taiwan is a gorgeous island with incredible scenery from hot springs to lovely beaches. I found many things to love about Taiwan during my short time there. The people are incredibly friendly, the food is fantastic, night markets are fun to visit and there’s bubble tea! While I was only there for a short period (read more about my experience here), Taiwan did leave quite an impression on me. Follow me to Taipei, Taiwan with my recommendations on what to see and eat.
If the hustle and bustle of Taipei is becoming a bit much, take a break and head to the Maokang Tea Plantations for a nice break from city life. Located on the outskirts of Taipei, you get to the Maokang Tea Plantations by taking a nice gondola ride to the top of a mountain which offers plenty of great views, hiking trails, and yes, tons of tea houses! You can also walk through the local tea plantations and farms located on the mountain. There’s plenty of green space to get lost in, and the area offers incredible views of Taipei.
While night markets can be found in many Asian countries, Taiwan has some of the most famous night markets in East Asia. Night markets are bustling hubs of vendors selling everything from delicious and inexpensive street food to clothes and other wares. The food is one of the best reasons to visit Shilin Night Market. You can find everything from oyster omelets, pineapple shrimp topped with mayonnaise and sprinkles, and stinky tofu! To find stinky tofu just follow the stench. I highly recommend you give stinky tofu a try. While it tasted like stinky feet to me personally, I know quite a few people who absolutely love it.
The National Palace Museum has one of the most impressive collections of ancient Chinese imperial artifacts and art. During the Chinese civil war, the Nationalists began sending some of China’s most prized ancient artifacts to Taiwan for both safe-keeping as well as political purposes. The National Palace Museum has such a large collection of items that the exhibits are rotated out pretty regularly so there’s always a chance to see something new. The National Palace Museum can get pretty crowded, especially with large tour groups, so plan your visit accordingly.
The National Chiang Kai-Shiek Memorial Hall is one of the first places I visited in Taipei. There is a reverent atmosphere at the memorial hall dedicated to Chiang Kai-Shiek, the former general and leader who ruled Taiwan as the President of the Republic of China. The ground level of the memorial houses a library and museum about Chiang Kai-Shek and the history of Taiwan. The upper level of the memorial houses a statue of Chiang Kai-Shek and a guard ceremony takes place regularly. I highly recommend you visit to get a glimpse into the turbulent and eventful history of Taiwan and one of its most notable political figures.
Bubble tea is one of Taiwan’s greatest gifts to the world. Delicious and chewy tapioca balls are added to different varieties of milk tea for a drink that is like an elixir from the gods. Maybe my enthusiasm for bubble tea is a bit over the top, but you have to try it. I actually got addicted to bubble tea while living in China. Several chains of Taiwanese bubble tea shops have made their way to the mainland and one of the best is the chain called “A Little Tea.”My Taiwanese coworkers all approved of this chain and I was never disappointed (try the oolong macchiato bubble tea!) So take a stroll around Taipei and find yourself a little slice of tea heaven.