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This month’s A Weekend Away 3 day itinerary post is on Taipei (臺北/台北), one of my favorite foodie cities! This perfect weekend guide to 3 days in Taipei takes you to the best places to visit, sights to see, and night markets to eat at. Of course, we’re also providing you with some amazing hole-in-the-wall restaurant recommendations, too! 😉
Growing up in the Bay Area with our plethora of Asian foods including Taiwanese food, I’d always wanted to go to Taiwan to eat and explore. And while, Taipei was once an underrated and lesser known tourist destination with the advent of the internet and Instagram, it has become much more popular.
Fun Fact: The island of Taiwan (臺灣/台灣) was previously known as Formosa (福爾摩沙). Portuguese sailors named the island Ilha Formosa or “beautiful island” on their maps after finding the previously uncharted island in 1542.
Much of the culture in Taiwan, especially Taipei area is a mix of Han Chinese from all areas of China along with indigenous peoples (原住民族) and Japanese, as well as those of European countries, such as the Spanish and Dutch via colonization. All on this one island, you’ll find Chinese Buddhist temples, Japanese style buildings, and European forts.
The ownership of Taiwan is equally as confusing and complex. I’ll attempt to put it as simply as possible. Taiwan is officially called the Republic of China (中華民國) when the Nationalists aka Kuomintang/KMT (國民黨) retreated from mainland China to Taiwan during the Civil War with the Communist Party.
Fun Fact: Taiwan, as the Republic of China, was a founding member of the United Nations post WW2 and during the Cold War.
In 1971, Taiwan was replaced by the People’s Republic of China in 1971 within the UN and many other nations of the world no longer recognize it as an independent country, rather as a territory of China. For similar reasons, Taiwan also competes in the Olympics as Chinese Taipei (中華臺北).
Our long weekend itinerary will take you through an exploration of cultural sights in Taipei as well as to delicious night markets, full of yummy eats.
Without further ado, here is our 3 day Taipei itinerary with tons of things to do and places to eat!
Yong He Soy Milk 永和豆漿大王
To start off your day Yong He Soy Milk has a delicious Taiwanese breakfast, you can get freshly made soy milk and breakfast rolls.
These breakfast rolls are kind of like a Taiwanese breakfast sandwich wrap made from a flour wrap with eggs, your choice of meat, and vegetables.
You can also try the savory soy milks here, they’re typically eaten more like congee/rice porridge and you can get it with toppings like dried meat or dried shrimp and green onions and seaweed.
Next, heard over to the National Palace Museum for some of the most beautiful works of Chinese art. The museum consists of almost 700,000 pieces of ancient Chinese artifacts and artworks, many of which were collected by Chinese emperors and once located within the Forbidden City.
Fun Fact: The National Palace Museum was originally established in Beijing; however during the war with Japan, the Nationalist government ordered the museum to evacuate its most precious pieces out of the city to prevent them from falling into the hands of the Imperial Japanese Army. They were moved from to Shanghai, then Nanjing, and further west to Anshun and Leshan. After the Japanese surrendered, the works were moved back to a warehouse in Nanjing. The civil war between the Communists and Nationalists worsened and finally between 1948 and 1949, the remaining artifacts were transported to Keelung harbor in northern Taiwan.
Some of the most famous pieces in the museum include the Jadeite Cabbage (翠玉白菜), Meat-shaped Stone (肉形石), and the Qing Dynasty palace version of the Along the River During the Qingming Festival painting (清明上河圖).
General admission is NT$350/$11.67US for adults and admission is free for children under 18 years.
Lao Dong Beef Noodle Restaurant 老董牛肉麵
For lunch, have one of the most famous Taiwanese dishes, braised beef noodle soup. The noodles here are delicious and the beef is tender.
If you’re super hungry, get a scallion pancake as an appetizer, it is super flaky here!
This museum doesn’t really have a permanent collection and that’s what I love most about it! There’s always a new exhibit to see and a lot of them tend to be more interactive and culturally relevant to Taiwan specifically so I find that I learn a lot every time I go here.
This definitely isn’t the museum you wanna go to if you’re looking for single colored canvases or anything like that. 😉
Tickets are very budget-friendly costing NT$50/$1.67US for adults.
For dinner, hit up one of the most popular night markets in Taipei. Don’t forget to eat oyster pancake and fried stinky tofu here!
It’s got some of the best eats in the city, also try to get some of that grilled glutinous corn. It has a different texture than the typical American sweet corn and is extra delicious with the BBQ (satay) sauce they brush on.
Aside from being the most popular, this is also one of the largest night markets. In addition to having a main street with tons of food stalls, shops, and arcade games, there is also an indoor building with a food court, shopping, and more.
DAY 2 – Tamsui (淡水)
Start off your day with a some delicious dumplings before traveling to Tamsui (淡水), an old fishing town north of Taipei.
This place has some of the best dumplings in the city! They’ve got your typical pork and chive dumplings but also some more unique ones like sweet corn dumplings and curry dumplings.
They are ALL delicious and I love them. They’re so good you don’t even necessarily need to add vinegar or soy sauce to eat them, they’re just as good plain.
Tamsui (淡水) is a cute fishing town with interesting street foods and a cool culture. It covers a decent area so you can even rent bikes to explore more.
The town has gone through a series of names in English romanizations, from Danshui to Tamshuei to Tamsui, all of these refer to the same town of 淡水.
Fun Fact: Originally home to indigenous Taiwanese peoples, this town was settled by the Spanish in 1629 as the town and mission of San Domingo. In 1641, the Dutch beat out the Spanish and they built today’s Fort San Domingo as Fort San Anthonio.
Farther from the main street with food stalls, you’ll find Fort San Domingo (淡水紅毛城/聖多明哥城). This is one of my favorite spots in Tamsui, it’s picturesque and it’s got an interesting story. In Mandarin, it goes by two different names, the more official romanization of San Domingo to the Chinese language, but also the more colloquially used 紅毛城, literally meaning “red hair city” or “foreigners’ city.”
Fun Fact: The fort is commonly called “red hair city” because in Hokkien/Taiwanese, 紅毛 or “ang moh” is another term for white, European foreigner.
Tamsui Old Street (淡水老街) is where all the foods are at! There are some amazing stalls here selling homemade fish ball soup and the most famous dish of the town, Tamsui a-gei (淡水阿給). Tamsui a-gei is specific to the town and is basically a giant fish ball with clear vermicelli inside. It’s typically served in a thick seafood broth and is one of my favorites to get here!
Grab your fish balls and a-gei from Old Shop Tamsui Fish Ball (老店淡水魚丸). Another famous eat is the iron egg, from Grandma’s Tiedan (阿婆鐵蛋), they are eggs that have been stewed in herbs and air dried until they’re brown and chewy.
Fuyou Temple (福佑宫) is a temple located close to Tamshui Old Street. It was built in 1796 by local fisherman and is dedicated to the goddess of the sea, Matsu (媽祖). She is thought to looking after sailors facing the dangers of the sea as well as providing safety and protection to anyone who calls upon her.
Bali (八里) is a super quaint area with its own old street full of snack and food stalls, but also a riverside path where you can take a stroll and relax.
You can take the boat to Fisherman’s Wharf from either Tamsui Old Street or Bali.
Ferry Schedule & Pricing
Tamsui Old Street to Bali
- One way: NT$23 for adults, NT$12 for children (aged 3-12), FREE for children under 2
- Round trip: NT$45 for adults, NT$24 for children (aged 3-12), FREE for children under 2
- Duration: 7-10min ride each way
- Operates every 10-15mins on weekdays and on weekends and holidays every 3-5mins
Tamsui Old Street to Fisherman’s Wharf
- Round trip: NT$60 for adults, NT$30 for children (aged 3-12), FREE for children under 2
- Duration: 12-15mins each way
- Operates every 20-30mins on weekdays and on weekends and holidays every 10-15mins
Bali to Fisherman’s Wharf
- Operates every 20-30mins on weekdays and every 10-15mins on weekends and holidays
- Duration: 12-15 minute ride
- This specific ferry route is dependent upon tides as such the route may be cancelled throughout the day, you can get to Fisherman’s Wharf by transferring at the Tamsui Old Street ferry pier.
The ferry schedule is listed on this site in Chinese.
Fisherman’s Wharf where many of the boats in the area dock after a long day. It’s also home to Lover’s Bridge (情人橋) as well as a beautiful pier. Like Bali, it offers a scenic area with a promenade and a pier for a walk.
Be sure to walk across the Lover’s Bridge, you’ll get a great view of Fisherman’s Wharf as well as the Taiwan Strait (臺灣海峽). You can skip Lover’s Tower, it costs money and you can get a great view of the area from the bridge at a lower cost.
After eating and hanging out in Tamsui, head back into the city.
Ice Monster is one of the most famous spots in Taipei. They’re particularly known for their mango shaved ice. The fresh fruit in their shaved ice makes it super amazing, the ice is super soft and is topped with fruit and condensed milk.
They originally started over 10 years ago in a small stall on a back street, but have now moved into a large shop on a busy street with lines out the door. We waited 1 hour here for ice before so make sure you save some time in your schedule to prepare for a wait! At least they give you tiny popsicle samples to try while you wait.
For dinner, savor some xiaolongbaos from Din Tai Fung!
Now with locations all over the world, Din Tai Fung originally began in Taiwan. They’re particularly known for their thinly skinned soup dumplings.
Fun Fact: Xiaolongbao soup dumplings (鼎泰豐) were originally from the Jiangnan (江南) area of China and are typically part of Shanghainese cuisine.
For amazing views of the city, you can check out Taipei 101 Observatory or the Miramar Ferris Wheel.
One of the coolest things about going up Taipei 101 is that it’s literally THE tallest building in the area so you’ll get to see a lot! You can even see the Miramar Ferris Wheel from here.
Fun Fact: From 2004 to 2010, Taipei 101 was the world’s tallest building until it was displaced by the Burj Khalifa in Dubai.
Tickets are NT$600 (~$20.01US) for adults, but you can usually purchase discount tickets from Klook, for about $16.90US.
I love seeing cities from above and I’d recommend going to Taipei 101 during the day as opposed to at night. The city of Taipei is rather flat and there aren’t too many distinctive buildings or architectural sites and most of them are definitely more difficult to see at night.
During the day, you have a better chance at seeing them! This is totally one of those instances where I’d suggest doing what I say instead of as I do.
Fun Fact: Taipei 101 was built to withstand strong winds from typhoons as well as earthquakes. The damper within the building helps to offset the building’s movements.
You’ll get to check out the damper during your visit to the observatory on the 87th floor. They also have a mascot named “Baby Damper” after the feature.
The 91st floor consists of an outdoor observation deck and you can walk outside and take in the view depending upon the weather.
If you’re loving this post, you might also like our long weekend guide to Hong Kong.
This is the green ferris wheel you can see at night from the Taipei 101 area. Since it’s on a hill it provides a cool ride and amazing views of the city.
If you’re not afraid of heights, they even have a glass bottomed car you can take!
For breakfast, grab a pon de lion donut from the Mister Donut. They’re a Japanese chain but their locations can be found all over the city. They have an amazing mochi-like texture and are super delicious. They come in various unique glazes, such as green tea, green tea with honey, and strawberry.
This memorial is dedicated to Dr. Sun Yat Sen 孫中山 / 孫逸仙, the national father of the Republic of China. Dr. Sun Yat Sen was also the first provisional president of Taiwan following the Kuomintang retreat to the island.
Fun Fact: The second president of Taiwan, Chiang Kai-Shek officiated the groundbreaking ceremony for the building. The memorial hall was completed in 1972 and the most prestigious movie award ceremony in Taiwan, the Golden Horse Film Awards 台北金馬影展 is held here.
The entrance to the hall has a statue of Dr. Sun Yat Sen and every hour there is a changing of the guards ceremony.
Another memorial hall, for Chiang Kai Shek, is your next stop.
This memorial was erected in memory of the former president of Taiwan, Chiang Kai Shek 蔣中正. Like the National Sun Yat Sen Memorial Hall, this one also has a statue of the previous president in its main room.
Fun Fact: The steps leading to the memorial hall number 89, after the Chiang Kai Shek’s age at the time of his death.
The gate to this memorial hall is especially distinct, it is a historical gate with 5 archways stating its name Liberty Square (or Freedom Square) 自由廣場. Originally, it was called the Gate of Great Centrality and Perfect Uprightness with “大中至正” script at the top. There have been changes to the name between the two throughout the past few years depending upon the political situation of the time.
For a yummy lunch, head over to Dazzling Cafe for scrumptious honey toasts and fruit teas. Their honey toasts are amazing, both in beauty and in taste! They consist of a block of buttered toast topped with ice cream and various fruits and sweets. My favorite is the original honey toast topped with vanilla ice cream and honey. It’s got a lot of flavor and not overly sweet.
I also love the fruit tea here as they steep chunks of real fruit into the tea.
Ximending (西門町) is one of the trendiest areas in Taipei, it’s a hip spot full of cool shops, restaurants, and things to do.
Fun Fact: Ximending was named after Seimon-chō (西門町), an area outside the west gate of the city that existed during Japanese rule.
If you’re feeling a bit peckish or thirsty, check out 50 Lan (50嵐), their boba or bubble tea is amazing! All of their teas are delicious and their boba pearls are the perfect texture. It’s one of my favorite spots to get boba in the area.
The Red House Theater (紅樓劇場) is one of the most recognizable buildings in Ximending. It’s a historic building built in 1908 during Japanese rule. The building was originally built as a market, but has been used as a theater since 1945.
If you’re looking for great souvenirs, clothes, even haircuts, this is the place to get it! There’s something for everyone here.
For dinner, head over to Raohe Night Market (饒河夜市) for some amazing street eats. Like most other night markets in Taipei, the food offerings are similar, but this is definitely a more local spot than say, Shilin.
List of the Sights
Note: Unless otherwise stated, all addresses are located within Taipei City.
- Yong He Soy Milk 永和豆漿大王
No. 50-2, Section 2, Chang’an East Road, Zhongshan District
- National Palace Museum 國立故宮博物院
No. 221, Sec 2, Zhi Shan Rd, Shilin District
- Lao Dong Beef Noodle Restaurant 老董牛肉麵
No. 47, Section 1, Zhongxiao West Road, Zhongzheng District
- Museum of Contemporary Art Taipei (aka MOCA) 台北當代藝術館
No. 39, Chang’an West Road, Datong District
- Shilin Night Market 士林夜市
No. 101, Jihe Road, Shilin District
- Ba Fang Yun Ji Dumpling 八方雲集水餃
No. 271, Linsen North Road, Zhongshan District
- Tamsui 淡水
Tamsui District 淡水區
- Fort San Domingo 淡水紅毛城/聖多明哥城
No. 1, Lane 28, Zhongzheng Road, Tamsui District
- Fuyou Temple 福佑宫
No. 200, Zhongzheng Road, Tamsui District, New Taipei City
- Tamsui Old Street 淡水老街
Zhongzheng Road, Tamsui District, New Taipei City
- Old Shop Tamsui Fish Ball 老店淡水魚丸
No. 135-2, Zhongzheng Road, Tamsui District, New Taipei City
- Grandma’s Tiedan 阿婆鐵蛋
No. 135-1, Zhongzheng Road, Tamsui District, New Taipei City
- Bali 八里
Bali District 八里區
- Fisherman’s Wharf 漁人碼頭
Tamsui District 淡水區
- Lover’s Bridge 情人橋
Tamsui District 淡水區
- Ice Monster 冰館
No. 297-1, Section 4, Zhongxiao East Road, Da’an District
- Din Tai Fung 鼎泰豐
(Inside Taipei 101 Mall)
No. 45, Taipei 101 Mall, City Hall Road, Xinyi District
- Taipei 101 Observatory 台北101觀景台
(Entrance inside Taipei 101 Mall)
No. 7, Section 5, Xinyi Road, Xinyi District
- Miramar Ferris Wheel 美麗華摩天輪
No. 20, Section 3, Jingye Road, Zhongshan District
- Mister Donut
No. 6, Taipei City Hall MRT Station, Section 5, Zhongxiao East Road, Xinyi District
- National Sun Yat Sen Memorial Hall 國立國父紀念館
No. 505, Section 4, Ren’ai Road, Xinyi District
- National Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall 中正紀念堂
No. 21, Zhongshan South Road, Zhongzheng District
- Dazzling Cafe
No. 11, Alley 7, Lane 205, Section 4, Zhongxiao East Road, Da’an District
- Ximending 西門町
Wanhua District 萬華區
- 50 Lan 50嵐
No. 48-4, Xining South Road, Wanhua District
- Red House Theater 紅樓劇場
No. 10, Chengdu Road, Wanhua District
- Raohe Night Market 饒河夜市
Raohe Street, Songshan District
Map of the Sights
This map includes a list of all of the Sights to See, Restaurants as well as the routes by day (i.e. Day 1, Day 2, and Day 3) within specified layers.
By default, only the Sights to See and Restaurants are shown but you can select to view the daily routes. Use the slide out panel to select layers to toggle them on and off using the checkboxes.