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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.

Boat on a Tamsui beach.
Beautiful scenery in Tamsui.

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!

DAY 1

Yong He Soy Milk storefront in Taipei

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.

Yong He Soy Milk Dried Meat and Egg Roll

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.

Yong He Soy Milk sweet soy milk
Sweetened soy milk from Yong He.

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.

National Palace Museum 國立故宮博物院

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.

Front of the National Palace Museum, Taipei
Main building of the National Palace Museum.

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 Soup

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.

Lao Dong Beef Noodle Soup Restaurant Scallion Pancake
Flaky scallion pancake.

If you’re super hungry, get a scallion pancake as an appetizer, it is super flaky here!

Front of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Taipei

Museum of Contemporary Art Taipei (aka MOCA) 台北當代藝術館

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.

Mosaics outside of MOCA Taipei
Mosaics outside of MOCA Taipei.

This definitely isn’t the museum you wanna go to if you’re looking for single colored canvases or anything like that. 😉

Inside the MRT station by MOCA Taipei
Inside the MRT station by MOCA Taipei.

Tickets are very budget-friendly costing NT$50/$1.67US for adults.

Girl playing arcade games at Shilin Night Market
One of the many arcade games at the night market.

Shilin Night Market 士林夜市

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!

Plate of fried stinky tofu and pickles.
Fried stinky tofu with pickled vegetables.

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.

Plate of oyster pancake.
Oyster pancake from one of the stalls.

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.

Plate of dumplings.

Ba Fang Yun Ji Dumpling 八方雲集水餃

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.

Boats docked at Fisherman's Wharf
Boats at Fisherman’s Wharf, Tamsui

Tamsui 淡水

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.

Fort San Domingo including the garden area

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.”

Tamsui River view from Fort San Domingo
You can see the Tamsui River from Fort San Domingo.

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.

Bowl of Tamsui a-gei
Tamsui a-gei

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!

Bowl of fish balls in soup.
Homemade fish balls in clear broth.

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.

PRO TIP: Try to plan your trip around going to Tamsui on the weekend. I’ve been both during a weekday as well as on a weekend and it was way more happening on a weekend. More of the food stalls and small shops will be open on the weekend.

Front of the Fuyou Template

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.

Tamsui ferry in front of mountain scenery.
This is one of the Tamsui ferry boats you might be taking.

From the Old Street, you can also take a small boat ferry over to Bali (八里) and Fisherman’s Wharf (漁人碼頭).

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.

PRO TIP: Ferries to Bali sometimes cannot run at low tide. I’d recommend asking about the ferry or heading over to the ferry first thing when you get to Tamsui if you’re interested in going there.

You can take the boat to Fisherman’s Wharf from either Tamsui Old Street or Bali.

Crowds at the Tamsui Ferry Pier
Tamsui Old Street Ferry Pier

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.

PRO TIP: My favorite route is to take the ferry from Tamsui Old Street Ferry Pier to Bali, then to Fisherman’s Wharf and back to Tamsui Old Street. This loop route was most convenient and the best use of our time.

Boats docked at Fisherman's Wharf
Fisherman’s Wharf, Tamsui

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.

Lover's Bridge
Lover’s Bridge

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. 

View of Fisherman's Wharf from Lover's Bridge.
View of Fisherman’s Wharf from Lover’s Bridge.

After eating and hanging out in Tamsui, head back into the city.

Ice Monster sign with sample popsicle

Ice Monster 冰館

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.

Fruity bowl of shaved ice
Mixed fruit shaved ice topped with 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!

Din Tai Fung mascot.
Din Tai Fung mascot outside the restaurant.

Din Tai Fung 鼎泰豐

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.

Taipei 101 building

Taipei 101 Observatory 台北101觀景台

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.

View of Taipei from Taipei 101
View from the 87th floor observation deck.

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.

Ferris wheel at Miramar

Miramar Ferris Wheel 美麗華摩天輪

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.

Inside the ferris wheel car.
Inside the ferris wheel car.

If you’re not afraid of heights, they even have a glass bottomed car you can take!

DAY 3

Glazed donut from Mister Donut.

Mister Donut

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.

Sun Yat Sen National Memorial from the side.

National Sun Yat Sen Memorial Hall 國立國父紀念館

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.

Statue of Sun Yat Sen from inside the memorial.

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.

Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall from outside of Freedom Gate

National Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall 中正紀念堂

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.

Statue of Chiang Kai Shek from inside the memorial hall

Fun Fact: The steps leading to the memorial hall number 89, after the Chiang Kai Shek’s age at the time of his death.

Freedom Plaza from Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall
Freedom Plaza from Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall.

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.

Original honey toast on a plate. Strawberry honey toast on a pla

Dazzling Cafe

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.

Fruit tea in a teacup with tea pot.

I also love the fruit tea here as they steep chunks of real fruit into the tea.

People walking along Ximending Pedestrian Street at night.
Ximending Pedestrian Street at night.

Ximending 西門町

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.

Ximending Red Theater

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.

Raohe night market sign

Raohe Night Market 饒河夜市

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.

DAY 1

DAY 2

  • Ba Fang Yun Ji Dumpling 八方雲集水餃
    No. 271, Linsen North Road, Zhongshan District
    中山區林森北路271號
  • 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
    新北市淡水區中正路28巷1號
  • Fuyou Temple 福佑宫
    No. 200, Zhongzheng Road, Tamsui District, New Taipei City
    新北市淡水區中正路200號
  • Tamsui Old Street 淡水老街
    Zhongzheng Road, Tamsui District, New Taipei City
    新北市淡水區中正路
  • Old Shop Tamsui Fish Ball 老店淡水魚丸
    No. 135-2, Zhongzheng Road, Tamsui District, New Taipei City
    新北市淡水區中正路135-2號
  • Grandma’s Tiedan 阿婆鐵蛋
    No. 135-1, Zhongzheng Road, Tamsui District, New Taipei City
    新北市淡水區中正路135-1號
  • 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
    大安區忠孝東路四段297號1樓號
  • Din Tai Fung 鼎泰豐
    (Inside Taipei 101 Mall)
    No. 45, Taipei 101 Mall, City Hall Road, Xinyi District
    信義區市府路45號台北101購物中心
  • Taipei 101 Observatory 台北101觀景台
    (Entrance inside Taipei 101 Mall)
    No. 7, Section 5, Xinyi Road, Xinyi District
    信義區信義路五段7號
  • Miramar Ferris Wheel 美麗華摩天輪
    No. 20, Section 3, Jingye Road, Zhongshan District
    中山區敬業三路20號

DAY 3

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.

Taipei is a great foodie destination and has amazing things to do and sights to see, both historical and of the artsy variety. This long weekend guide to Taipei is perfect for a short escape or a jumping off point to explore more of Taiwan.

Loved this guide to 3 perfect days in Taipei, Taiwan? Pin it for later!

A Weekend Away: Taipei, Taiwan | 3 Day Long Weekend Itinerary for Taipei. This weekend guide includes some of the best eats and amazing sights to see in Taipei. We'll take you to a couple of night markets as well as a sample of the local cuisines. You'll also learn more about the culture with museums and memorial halls and take a day trip to Tamsui and Bali. #taipei #tamsui #taiwan #thingstodo #weekend

A Weekend Away: Taipei, Taiwan | 3 Day Long Weekend Itinerary for Taipei. This weekend guide includes some of the best eats and amazing sights to see in Taipei. We'll take you to a couple of night markets as well as a sample of the local cuisines. You'll also learn more about the culture with museums and memorial halls and take a day trip to Tamsui and Bali. #taipei #tamsui #taiwan #thingstodo #weekend

17 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Wow! Love the elaborate and informative guide. Thank you so much for sharing this and I will pin this for future reference

    • Constance Panda
      Constance Panda Reply

      Glad you enjoyed it, hope you’ll be able to use it on a future trip to Taiwan 🙂

  2. Avatar

    Taipei speaks to the imagination and I would love to visit one day. The food reminds me a lot of our time in China and after seeing your pictures, I’m definitely moving Taiwan and Taipei up on our wishlist! Bookmarking this elaborate guide to my favourites!

    • Constance Panda
      Constance Panda Reply

      The food in Taiwan and China are very similar because they are also very similar in culture. Hope you get to visit soon!

  3. Avatar

    What a very detailed article! I’ve recently been to Taipei but I think I’ve done less places in a week, compared to your 3 day stay! Woops! I guess I need to go back! 😉

    • Constance Panda
      Constance Panda Reply

      Haha no worries, we enjoy fast-paced travel. Hopefully you’ll get to go back again soon and visit all the spots you missed last time.

  4. Avatar
    Holly Goodyear Reply

    Taiwan looks amazing, I’m hoping to go at the end of this year or next year so this was a great read. The food looks incredible, especially the tofu and dumplings! x

    • Constance Panda
      Constance Panda Reply

      Glad this was helpful for you, the food there is amazing!

  5. Avatar
    Frankie Thompson Reply

    What a really thorough and comprehensive post! Makes me realise how little i know about Taiwan.

    • Constance Panda
      Constance Panda Reply

      Yay! One of our goals is to help our readers learn something new as they read our posts and I’m so glad we were able to do that for you 🙂

  6. Avatar

    This is SUCH a helpful post! Thank you! Those breakfast rolls look so delicious. Saving this for when I plan my trip to Taiwan 🙂

    • Constance Panda
      Constance Panda Reply

      I am happy that you enjoyed the post! Hope you’ll get to visit and use this itinerary soon 🙂

  7. Avatar

    Fantastic weekend away guide. You’ve tempted me to visit Taipei. This city is foodie heaven! I need to try all the delicious food …. they look amazing! Did you mention dumplings?! I love dumplings! Stinky tofu is not my thing I’m afraid. Not tried savoury soya milk, definitely would give it a go. the view of the city at night is so pretty from the observation deck. And how cute is Tamsui! I would explore the town by bike to work up an appetite and then hit the street stalls! I’ll be using this guide when I visit Taipei.

    • Constance Panda
      Constance Panda Reply

      The dumplings are super delicious, I especially loved the unique curry and corn flavors haha. Savory soy milk is more of a northern Chinese thing, but it’s eaten kind of similarly to jook/congee so you can put scallions, dried shrimp, dried meats in it. Tamsui is super cute, it’s one of my favorite stops whenever I’m in Taipei.

  8. Pingback: 13 Incredible Day Trips from Taipei - Eternal Arrival

  9. Avatar
    Jane Dempster-Smith Reply

    Thank you for summarising the 3 days with the addresses and sights. There are so many restaurants to choose from but I would love to try the mango shaved ice from Ice Monster. I will bookmark this article as we do have plans to visit Taiwan in the near future.

    • Constance Panda
      Constance Panda Reply

      Ice Monster was so good, it’s definitely one of my favorite spots in Taipei! Hope you enjoy it!

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