Taiwan has many reputations – as a shopper’s paradise, as a foodie heaven, as a natural wonder – and all of them feed into an exciting holiday destination. From Singapore, it’s less than a five hour flight to the capital, Taipei, littered with amazing sights, but that’s only where it starts! Wonderful natural views and activities in the open air, engaging with the local history and culture, and rounding it off with a trip to see some gentle giants in the Taipei Zoo – here are my top 5 things to do in Taipei! For flights to Taiwan from Singapore – click here!
1. Go City Sightseeing in Taipei
Taipei 101 towers over the city, and is definitely one of the top draws in the Taiwan capital, and for good reason. Built like a bamboo stalk and housing a mall, a number of restaurants, and – most importantly for visitors like me – an observation deck! Flying up the full height of the tower in the fastest elevators in the world, and landing 382 metres above ground at the 89th Floor observatory is an experience like no other! The views of the city are fantastic. Let it be your guide to where to go next. No sightseeing trip is complete without taking in the Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall in Liberty Square, where the dramatic buildings provide a link to Taipei’s storied past. Other highlights of the city include the Longshan Temple, the National Palace Museum, and my personal favourite, the Shilin Night Market! Check them all out on your trip to Taiwan!
2. Hike Elephant Mountain
After seeing all that Taipei offers, it’s nice to get a different view city for a bit, and nowhere better in my book than Elephant Mountain, or Xiangshan! Not too far from Taipei 101 and the central districts of Taipei, the hike is only 20 minutes or so depending on fitness, but does have a lot of stairs. Essential because of the view that you get of the entire city, the walk up Xiangshan is best done as it gets dark, so you can see Taipei lit up at night – an amazing view!
3. Release Lanterns in Shifen Old Street!
Getting into Taiwan’s old culture couldn’t be easier than at Shifen Old Street. Though filled with lantern shops and souvenir stalls, there’s still something of the old flair here, and it makes for an excellent stop for visitors coming off flights to Taiwan! After following the railway down the centre of the street for a bit, and setting free your worries on a Chinese lantern, the Shifen waterfall is only a minute walk, so if you, like me, tire of the tourist zones after a bit, a jaunt to see some natural beauty is essential, and Taiwan’s broadest waterfall does not disappoint.
4. Visit Nature in the National Parks
Taroko National Park is one of Taiwan’s 8 national parks, and one of the best to visit thanks to the beauty of Taroko Gorge. On the east coast of Taiwan and closest to Hualien city, the park is home to some of the most spectacular natural structures in Taiwan and has some great examples of the local flora and fauna too – look for deer, boars, and over 140 species of birds! Kenting National Park is at the southern tip of Taiwan, and couldn’t be more different. More famous for beautiful beaches and marine life than canyons and valleys, Kenting Park is definitely worth the trip. Take in both of them, and click here for flights to Taiwan!
5. See Pandas in Taipei Zoo!
Tuan Tuan Yuan Yuan were given to Taiwan by the PRC in 2008 and have flourished at the Taipei Zoo since. In fact they produced offspring, the baby panda Yuan Zai, born in 2013, and now all three are on display in the Taipei Zoo’s Giant Panda House! Check out the Panda Cams here and here, and get a glimpse of them before you make the trip and see them in the flesh! Just another of the wonders that make up the beautiful island of Taiwan – click here for flight information from Singapore to Taiwan!