Taipei, the capital and largest city in Taiwan, has everything you’d want from a big city: monuments and museums, a buzzing nightlife, a rich food culture, easy transportation and some of Asia’s best shopping. Most travelers who come to Taiwan use Taipei as a base for exploring the rest of the island, and in three days, you should have plenty of time to see all the highlights.
Day 1: City Overview
Start your first day in Taipei with a trip to the top of its highest building, the Taipei 101. The world’s fastest elevator whisks you to the 89th floor, where an audio tour will point out some of the city’s major landmarks from the 360-degree windows. Check out the views from the outdoor observation deck, or mail a postcard from one of the highest mailboxes in the world.
After some shopping in the Taipei 101 mall, grab a lunch from the basement grocery store and head to the nearby Chiang Kai Shek Memorial for a picnic in the park. Now that you’ve had an survey of the city, get a sampling of Taiwanese cuisine with a visit to the Shilin Night Market for a dinner of inexpensive and delicious street food.
Day 2: History and Culture
Taiwan has a very rich history, one you’ll explore today with a morning visit to the National Palace Museum. Considered one of the best museums in the world, the National Museum displays a collection of art, artifacts and relics spanning 8,000 years of Chinese and Taiwanese history.
After lunch, spend the afternoon exploring one of Taipei’s many temples. Longshan, the most popular, is a Taoist temple dating back to the early 18th century during the Qing Dynasty. As evening approaches, catch a cab to the Elephant Mountain trailhead for a short hike to watch the sun set behind the iconic Taipei 101.
Day 3: Taipei Outdoors
Taipei is lucky enough to have a national park within its city limits. Get an early start for a day of hiking in Yangmingshan National Park, where you’ll find high peaks, rolling hills, waterfalls and mountaintop meadows waiting to be explored.
In the evening, relax those tired muscles with a soak in the famous Beitou Hot Springs. If you’re interested in the long history of thermal spas in Taipei, make sure to visit the Beitou Hot Springs Museum before you leave.