As soon as you plant your feet in downtown Taipei you will instantly find yourself in the midst of bustling streets, towering skyscrapers, night markets, artist villages, historic landmarks, green parks and centuries-old heritage mansions and temples. Whichever direction you take — with the help of the city’s efficient mass transportation system — you’ll easily explore many fascinating sights in the city, and most within a couple of days.
To give you a quick idea on what to see in Taipei in 48 hours, here are a list of places one can easily cover in two full days.
Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall
This historic landmark dedicated to the memory of Taiwan’s founding President, Generalissimo Chiang Kai-Shek, is a good place to start your city exploration. Pose for a photograph under the arch of the Liberty Main Square while the backdrop of the Memorial Hall Square elevates it to Instagram-worthy. Don’t miss the hourly changing of the guards inside the Memorial Hall.
National Museum of History
The first museum in Taiwan houses more than 700,000 pieces of important historical items and artifacts. This is a great place to know more about the country of Taiwan, its people, history and culture.
National Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall
This is another memorial dedicated to Taiwan’s other leading historical figure — the founding father of the nation himself, Dr. Sun Yat-Sen. Encompassing 28 acres of open space comprising of a man-made pond, Chinese gardens, and a main hall housing a performance ballroom, exhibition center and a library that boasts of over 30,000 literary works.
If Taipei is a basketball team then Taipei 101 would be the starting center. A can’t-miss landmark which once held the record for the tallest building in the world. View the pulsating city of Taipei from the view deck located at the 88th and 89th floor or at the outdoor deck at the 91st floor (1,285 feet).
Lunch at Din Tai Fung
After your viewing party at the top of Taipei 101, cap off your morning with a sumptuous lunch at Din Tai Fung, a Michelin-starred dim sum restaurant located inside Taipei 101 mall. Gorge on a variety of mouth-watering steamed dumplings or xiao long bao — which include this writer’s favorite, the chocolate xiao long bao.
Built in 1738, Longshan is one of the oldest temples in Taiwan and is dedicated to Guanyin, the Buddhist Goddess of Mercy. Visitors can immerse in the solemn atmosphere especially when you chance upon the worshipers chanting in unison as they offer their prayers.
Lin Family Mansion and Garden
This old mansion first erected in 1847 by the Lin Ben Yuan Family is the site of a shining example of classical Chinese garden architecture. Roam around the palatial property amidst the well landscaped greens and the charming wooden house where every corner seems to scream of Instagram-material.
Called by some as the Shibuya crossing of Taipei, this exclusive pedestrian zone interweaves a few rows of walkways filled with trendy and colorful shops. A stroll around here will gift you with a festive and modish market vibe.
Elephant Hiking Trail
See the city from another perspective, this time atop a hill of the Elephant mountain range. A 20-minute chill hike will take you to a platform where you can capture the sunset, the towering Taipei 101 and the beautiful cityscape in one frame. Both the sunset and nighttime view dishes a postcard-worthy photograph.
Shilin Night Market
Go chillin’ at Shilin while surrounded by a seemingly never-ending stream of street food is always a great way to end you first day in Taipei. A whole neighborhood filled with clothing stores, novelty shops and food stalls can literally make your first night end with a feast.