The iconic skyscraper that towers above the city skyline is definitely worth visiting. Okay, so viewing towers are a thing of the norm in many cities, but still don't miss out on this. It's 508 meters tall and offers great panoramic views over the city.
There's both an indoor and outdoor observation deck, as well as the geeky highlight of the 660 metric ton giant pendulum suspended from the 91st-87th floor.
Shifen is a small town to the east of Taipei, and will take under 2 hours to reach via train. In Shifen you'll find a great variety of shops and restaurants along an old street that has an active train track running through it. In addition, you'll find Shifen Waterfall, Jingan Suspension Bridge, and you can also release a sky lantern on Shifen old street for good luck.
How to get there... catch a train from Taipei Main Station to Ruifang, and then buy a ticket for the Pingxi line, which will take you all the way to Shifen. Allow 2 hours each way for the journey, or get a taxi if you're short on time.
Put your history hat on and check out the memorial hall erected in memory of the former President of the Republic of China. In addition to the memorial, you'll also find the National Concert Hall, National Theater, and Liberty Square Main Gate, which are all within walking distance in the same square.
How to get there... take the MRT to Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall Station, which is located on both the green (G10) and red (R08) line.
Okay, so I've used the word 'hike', but this really isn't one to be concerned about. The Elephant Mountain Trail is located in the city, within very close proximity to Taipei 101, and will take 30 minutes to get to the top. There's nice picnic areas along the trail, as well as stunning views of Taipei 101 and the skyline.
How to get there... take the red line on the MRT all the way to Xiangshan, which is the last stop on the line. Take exit 2 from the station and you'll see signs on the left for the hiking trail.
This place is literally the Times Square of Taipei. Bustling streets, flashing neon signs, dozens of shops, restaurants, and street performers. You could easily wander round this neighbourhood for a couple of hours. Be warned, it's an extremely busy neighbourhood, but worth a look both daytime and night-time.
How to get there... take the MRT to Ximen station, which can be reached on both the green line (G12) and blue line (BL11).
I can honestly say that I think Taipei offers the best street food on the planet. It was literally amazing, and it's cheap. Taipei is famed for offering "life changing street food" so there are many different locations to explore.
I chose to check out the street food on offer in the Zimending District, and was surprised and the endless number of food vendors that seemed to go on forever. I thought I'd came to the end, turned a street corner, and there were more vendors. I'd recommend the sausage on a stick, that's filled with chopped garlic.
This trail is also referred to as Battleship Rock, and is the perfect hike to escape the hustle and bustle of the city, while still being within the city. It's not a strenuous hike, and by no means a long one, but offers a completely different view of the city in comparison to other trails. In addition, the trail isn't full of huge crowds.
How to get there... I'm not gonna lie, it was difficult to find. The start point was located near a university, which then has hike trail signs, but other than that, I'd consult "Uncle Google" for directions.
There's a huge volume of hotel options in the city to choose from, and all at a reasonable cost. I chose to stay at Green World Hotel (Zhongxiao) for a number of reasons... good value at $70 a night, central, clean, spacious, offering a great street view, and right next to Zhongxiao Dunhua MRT.
The food on offer in Taipei literally was "Food Porn". The street food was immense, but I also came across an amazing South Korean BBQ restaurant called "Anae" which blew me away. The meat was cooked to perfection by resident chef (Instagram hardy_hou) The fact the cooking takes place at your table was a very nice touch. Great food at a very reasonable price! See the chef in action by clicking on my YouTube vlog below.