The Ultimate One Week in Taiwan Itinerary Focused on Taipei

We spent one week in Taiwan in conjunction with a friend's wedding. We couldn't resist the chance to both wish our friends well and travel to a country in Asia that we've never been to before. Our Taiwan itinerary included some awesome things to do in Taipei like visiting Taipei 101, plenty of amazing food, and a road trip down Taiwan's East Coast. Taiwan is definitely worth visiting even if you don't have a built in excuse like we did.  Read on to discover how to spend 7 days in Taiwan. 
One week in Taiwan: Taipei 101

Arriving in Taipei

EVA Airways is a Taiwanese airline that offers direct service from major cities in Europe and the U.S. to Taipei. Famous for their Hello Kitty! themed airplanes, EVA was top of mind as we planned our trip. We actually flew a short-haul to Taipei on EVA Airways from Komatsu Japan, just a 3 hour flight, as an extension to our springtime trip to Japan. Expect queues at immigration in Taipei but after that it's smooth sailing:
  • Bags, check!  
  • Cash, check! 
Don't forget to hook yourself up with some data. We bought a SIM Card at the airport. Far EasTone offers a tourist pre-paid card that cost less than 15 USD for 10 days of unlimited 4G data!

Take the Evergreen bus from Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport to Taipei City (125 NTD or about 4 USD at the time of writing). It can take more than an hour to get to Taipei City from Taipei Airport with transit time highly dependent on traffic.
One week in Taiwan: Eva airplane ramp, traffic in Taipei, Sunworld Dynasty Hotel elevators
left: EVA Airways plane
middle: traffic in Taipei
right: lobby and elevators of Sunworld Dynasty Hotel in Taipei

Getting Around Taipei

The Taipei MRT (subway / commuter train) is easy to navigate. Buy an EasyCard, load it up and off you go. Uber is also available in Taipei and you can get to points across Taipei City for very reasonable prices. If you are visiting more out of the way places in Taipei, consider taking an Uber if you are tight on time. As you'll see below, a combination of MRT and Uber make it incredibly easy to get around Taipei.

Where to Stay in Taipei

We stayed in two different places in Taipei during our one week in Taiwan. Sunworld Dynasty Hotel in Taipei is located next to Taipei Arena (the venue of the wedding we were attending). The hotel has a more local feel and has a great buzz. Rooms ring a multi-storey atrium with glass-walled lifts that allow you to take in the view. The Sunworld Dynasty Hotel was priced at a reasonable $115 USD or so per night. For the second part of the trip (after our return from Hualien), we stayed more centrally at the Sheraton Grand Taipei Hotel, a standard international business hotel that cost over $200 USD per night. We chose the Sheraton for the second half of the trip largely based on location. The Sheraton Grand Taipei is located very close to the Shandao Temple Station making it easy to get around on the MRT to Taipei's major attractions.

Grazing and Dinner in Taipei on Arrival

When we arrived in Taipei, we found ourselves grazing almost immediately. Pick up a soybean milk and dragon fruit cake snack at the airport to tide you over before dinner on the bus ride from the airport to Taipei city. We managed to do alright for dinner in Taipei. Not a lot of restaurants near the Sunworld Dynasty hotel had English or picture menus. We ended up at Flower Restaurant and ordered by pointing. Spicy minced pork with chives and shredded pork with garlic went down well with a large bottle of Taiwan Beer.
What to eat in Taipei: soybean milk, dragon fruit cake, minced pork with chives
left: soybean milk in Taipei Taiwan
middle: dragon fruit cake
right: minced pork with chives from Flower Restaurant in Taipei

One Week in Taiwan Itinerary: Day 1 Sightseeing

The first full day of our one week Taiwan itinerary included some temples and points of historical interest.

Liquid "Milk" Breakfast

Taiwan is famous for all sorts of plant-based milks. Start the day in Taipei with some peanut rice milk. What's the verdict? The peanut rice milk tasted like liquid peanut butter to me. It was also a bargain breakfast at about $0.80 USD per carton.

Taipei Confucius Temple

We intended to go to Bao'an Temple in Taipei but made a wrong turn and ended up at the Taipei Confucius Temple across the street instead. We discovered some very cool interactive exhibits including a chariot driving game and souvenir ink stamps (chops) to collect in each room. There is a small gift shop on site that sells souvenirs and light snacks. We tried a delicious passionfruit popsicle at Taipei Confucius Temple which was incredibly refreshing on a hot April day.

What to see in Taipei: Taipei Confucius Temple and Bao'an Temple
left: cartoon Confucius statues at the Confucius Temple in Taipei
middle: chariot race game at the Confucius Temple
right: Bao'an Temple in Taipei 

Bao'an Temple

After our detour to Taipei Confucius Temple, we walked across the street to Bao'an Temple. Bao'an Temple in Taipei was pretty darn spectacular. I loved the architectural details and the amazing flowers left by worshippers.

Lunch at Taipei Expo Park

There is a really cool and well-priced hawker market at Taipei Expo Park which is about a 10 minute walk from Taipei Confucius Temple. The food market at Taipei Expo Park is a great place to stop for lunch. We enjoyed chicken and rice and noodle soup with fish cakes. The soup cost less than the equivalent of $2.00 USD.
Things to do in Taipei: eat at Taipei Expo Park and visit 2/28 Peace Park
left: noodle soup with fish cakes
middle: 228 Peace Park memorial in Taipei
right: Malayan night heron in 228 Peace Park

2/28 Peace Park

We took the metro from Taipei Expo Park to 2/28 Peace Park. 2/28 Peace Park acknowledges a difficult period in Taiwan's history. In 1947, there was an anti-government uprising in Taiwan that was actively suppressed leading to thousands of deaths. It was only in the 1990s that the massacre was officially acknowledged and open discussion invited. In 1998, the park was re-dedicated as 228 Peace Memorial Park. Today, 228 Peace Memorial Park features a a twisted metallic memorial resembling a radio antenna (the original uprising occurred at the site of a radio station in the park). 2/28 Peace Park in Taipei also features some fab birdwatching. We spotted a Malayan Night Heron on our walk through this lush urban park. You'll also find a pagoda with a musical fountain that is delightful to watch.

Taiwanese Bubble Tea

Stop for traditional Taiwanese bubble tea at the upscale cafe in the National Concert Hall facing Chiang Kai Shek garden. Warning: portions are huge. Order with both a customized level of pearls or boba and level of sweetness. In both cases 100% is the "normal" amount and your specification should be relative to this. "Normal" is both very sweet and a *lot* of pearls.

Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall and Garden

Stately Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall and surrounding garden is worth a walk. If it rains, there are covered paths around the perimeter of the garden. The Hall opened in 1980 and quickly became a preferred location for gatherings that eventually paved the way to democracy in Taiwan. It was only in 1996 that a popular election of national leaders was held in Taiwan for the first time. Chiang Kai-Shek, appears innocuously enough in Western history books but this former President of the Republic of China remains a controversial figure even today.
Taipei itinerary: Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall and Garden plus Taiwanese bubble tea
left: Taiwanese bubble tea
middle: Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall and Garden
right: CKS garden

Dumplings at Kao Chi

For dinner, head to Dongmen Station and walk to Kao Chi. Try the Shanghai soup dumplings and other delicious Chinese dishes served family style.
Taipei itinerary: dumplings, craft beer, and shopping at the Red House
left: Shanghai soup dumplings at Kao Chi in Taipei
middle: craft beer from Zhang Men Brewery
right: shop at the Red House in Taipei's Ximen district

Craft Beer Nightcap at Zhang Men Brewery

We finished the first day of our one week in Taiwan itinerary with some creative craft beer choices from Zhang Men Brewery. Smokey dunkleweisen, kumquat fruit beer, and coconut stout were memorable.

One Week in Taiwan Itinerary: Day 2

Prepare to do a lot of walking on the second day of this Taiwan itinerary with a focus on Taipei. In the morning, perhaps after another soybean milk breakfast at the hotel, head to Ximen District.

Shopping at the Red House

We started our morning shopping at the Red House, an old market that has been turned into a series of craft stalls. Keep an eye out for fun souvenirs ranging from trendy t-shirts to upcycled wallets. We found some really unique and awesome postcards to send to our friends and family here including postcards with an embedded film negative.

SIDEWALK SAFARI SPOTLIGHT: Looking for other amazing cities to visit in Asia? I recommend things to do in Singapore for a first or second time.

Lunch in Ximen Pedestrian District

Wander around Ximen's pedestrianized core. We spotted a long line at Ay-Chung Rice-Flour Noodle and learned that they sell a famous soup. They really dish the soup out fast at Ay-Chung which means that even though the queue was long, it was moving fast. Little did I know what I was in for with this impromptu lunch. I asked a helpful local who spoke some English what the chewy bits were in the soup. Clams? He paused as if wondering whether to tell me while I was still eating. Then told me... intestines. The soup was were actually pretty tasty so it's all good.

We continued to eat our way through Ximen, stopping for a waffle filled with pearl cream followed by coffee grown in Taiwan served with a slice of layer cake at Fong Da.

Bopiliao Historic Block

Check out the well-preserved 18th century architecture in Bopiliao Historic Block in Taipei's Wanhua District. Discover traditional shop houses and other exhibits about the history of this area. Ironically, the most memorable thing for me about historic Bopiliao street was the hip-hop dance party that we stumbled upon that was taking place behind one of the historic facades.

Lungshan Temple

Walk to nearby Lungshan Temple (sometimes spelled Longshan Temple) and steep in the atmosphere of the ornate and colorful buildings while hundreds of worshippers light incense and pray. Lungshan is a Chinese folk religious temple with some Buddhist elements.

Things to do in Taipei: Ximen Pedestrian district, Lungshan Temple, Taipei Botanical Gardens
left: Ay-Chung rice flour noodle soup with intestines
middle: candles at Lungshan Temple in Taipei
right: lotus flower at Taipei Botanical Garden

Taipei Botanical Garden

It takes about 15 minutes to walk from Lungshan Temple to Taipei Botanical Garden. En route, we passed through what I can only describe as a bird-sellers district. Stall after stall had birds caged or siting chained to perches on display for passersby. Taipei Botanical Garden is a wee bit rustic but still has its charms including the Lotus Pond and cool free birds if you're lucky.

Dinner at Hot Pot Lab

We ate a hot pot dinner at Delectable Hot Pot Lab in the Breeze Mall near Taipei Arena where we were staying. I love that they served drinks and sauces in Erlenmeyer flasks. The Breeze Mall has an extensive food court so there are plenty of choices if you don't want to cook your own dish hot pot style!

Taiwanese Craft Beer at Way Home Beer House

We toasted the end of Day 2 of our one week in Taiwan itinerary with a sneaky craft beer from Taiwan Head Brewers at Way Home Beer House. Way Home Beer House was very different from Zhang Men Brewery. A wall of refrigerators lined the bar with cans and bottles of beer from both Taiwan and the world. Comfy couches made for a relaxed atmosphere.

One Week in Taiwan Itinerary: Day 3 - Taiwan's East Coast

While the bulk of this one week Taiwan itinerary focuses on Taipei (and there are plenty of things to do in Taipei alone to fill a week), we wanted to see another part of the country. Our friends whose wedding we attended, organized a private east coast Taiwan tour for about 12 guests to Hualien and world famous Taroko Gorge.

From Taipei to Hualien

It takes over 3 hours to travel the 170 km from Taipei to Hualien. The roads along Taiwan's east coast can be quite curvy so bring along motion-sickness medicine if you worry you'll have issues. The route between Taipei and Hualien includes the longest tunnel in #Taiwan. The tunnel is also the 2nd longest in Asia and 5th longest in the world. Xueshan Tunnel clocks in at 13 km long. You'll also discover twin towers of a crayon factory and places to stop and buy Taiwanese snacks en route.
One week in Taiwan itinerary: road trip from Taipei to Hualien
left: small bus hired for the road trip to Taroko Gorge
middle: Chungte Recreational Area along Taiwan's east coast
right: Chisingtan Scenic Area on Taiwan's east coast

Chungte Recreational Area

The northeast and Yilan Coast is designated a National Scenic Area of Taiwan. In particular, Chungte Recreational Area is a good spot to stop and stretch your legs on a road trip between Taipei and Hualien. Enjoy the jaw-dropping views of the mountains tumbling into the clear blue sea. I would rate Chungte Recreational Area as one of the most Instagrammable places in Taiwan.

Chisingtan Scenic Area

Moody mountains, ocean-smoothed pebbles, crashing waves, and (maybe) a lazy dog will greet you at Chisingtan Scenic Area. This is another great spot to stretch your legs on the journey between Taipei and Hualien.

Cidal Hunting School with the Amis Aboriginal People of Taiwan

Our private group tour included a stop for lunch at Cidal Hunting School. Cidal is run by the Amis Aboriginal people of Taiwan. The feast was served on picnic tables with each dish placed on palm leaves. In some ways it felt a little like a luau in Hawaii which is not surprising because the Amis people are more closely related to the various Polynesian peoples of the region rather than to the Han Chinese (95+% of the population of Taiwan).

After lunch, we learned how to make rope at Cidal Hunting School. I also made myself a bad-ass water holder out of a taro leaf as instructed by the Amis. Many in our group attempted to make fire with just friction but none of us were strong enough or had the stamina to get anything other than a wisp of smoke.
One week Taiwan itinerary: Cidal Hunting School
left: lunch feast at Cidal Hunting School
middle: learning how to make rope
right: learning how to make fire with the Amis Aboriginal people of Taiwan

Where to Stay in Hualien

Getting to Hualien from Taipei was essentially an all day affair and we arrived in the late afternoon to check into our hotel. The Meci Hotel in Hualien City cost around $50 USD a night and offered functional, no frills rooms that were clean and comfortable. As an added bonus, there are free lobby snacks to enjoy; a nice touch.

Dinner in Hualien

We ate a Chinese feast that evening in Hualien with multiple dishes served family style (link to restaurant on Google Maps). We were fortunate to be traveling with our Taiwanese friend and her family and left ourselves in their hands to select dishes for us to try. We sampled a few "must-try" Taiwanese dishes that take many western visitors out of their comfort zone. I give a thumbs-up to the vinegar-soaked pig intestines with ginger but thumbs-down to stinky tofu served boiled in a soup. It was hard to get past the smell of the stinky tofu and appreciate the flavor.

7 day Taiwan itinerary: things to eat near Hualien
left: angry fish for dinner in Hualien
middle: Mouse bagel filled with red bean
right: Lunch at Leader Aboriginal Village in Taroko National Park

One Week in Taiwan Itinerary: Day 4 - Day Trip to Taroko Gorge

On Day 4 of this 7 day Taiwan itinerary, we take a day tour to one of Taiwan's most famous attractions: Taroko Gorge.

Taiwanese Breakfast Bagels

Hualien City actually has a bagel shop. Head to Mouse Bagels for a Taiwanese take on an American classic. We enjoyed a red bean-filled matcha bagel to start our day.

Hiking Shakadang Trail

We started our visit to Taroko Gorge (after the obligatory photo-op near the stone tablet at the entrance to the park) by hiking Shakadang Trail. I'll admit, I felt we were living a bit dangerously when I saw a sign this read:
"Beware of venomous wasps, snakes, and wild animals".
"Beware of poisonous bees and snakes".
"Please do not linger, beware of rockfall"
It turns out that we were fine and enjoyed a leisurely walk along the gorge cut into the marble. In some cases, the trail was carved into the rock itself with low-clearance stone above our heads. It takes about 30 minutes (or longer if you stop for photos a lot like I do) to walk from the main road through Taroko Gorge (Route 8) to a small market set up on the trail selling both souvenirs and refreshments. 

Lunch at Leader Aboriginal Village

Next up, we enjoyed lunch at Leader Aboriginal Village in Taroko National Park. Our small bus climbed a tortuous winding road up what felt like a mountain to get there. We enjoyed local dishes and also the artwork displayed on the property. The views and atmosphere were even more important than the food in this case.
7 days in Taiwan itinerary: Taroko Gorge and Taroko National Park
left: entrance stone at Taroko National Park
middle: Swallow Grotto at Taroko Gorge
right: Eternal Spring Shrine in Taroko Gorge National Park

Swallow Grotto

After lunch, our guide stopped by a small tent at the side of the road and distributed free hard hats. Taroko Gorge sees a lot of rockfall and landslides especially in certain areas so these hard hats are provided to all visitors as a precaution. Taiwan is also in an active earthquake zone. In fact, a major earthquake hit the area around Hualien on the day we landed in Taipei. For a time, we were wondering if our road trip to Taiwan's east coast would even be possible. For a few days after the quake, Taroko National Park was closed to visitors while park employees made sure the trails were safe. In fact, some roads and trails further west and deeper into the park were still closed 4 days after the earthquake.

Walk along the gorge at Swallow Grotto (hard hat on, of course!) and admire the colorful marbled stones while listening as fast moving water moves over the rocks and through the Taroko Gorge.

SIDEWALK SAFARI SPOTLIGHT: Looking for another fantastic place in Asia to see awe-inspiring nature and history? Consider spending 2 days exploring Angkor Wat in Cambodia. Cambodia also features some amazing food and night markets just like you find in Taiwan.

Eternal Spring Shrine

We stopped at Eternal Spring Shrine near the entrance to Taroko National Park on our way back to Hualien City. We saw more people here than anywhere else in Taroko National Park. Large tour buses dropped off loads of tourists for the short hike to the shrine. I'm glad we got to visit some of the less touristed places within Taroko National Park because Eternal Spring Shrine was simply packed.

Dinner at Dongdamen Night Market in Hualien

We finished our day of exploration in Taroko Gorge back in Hualien City with a trip to the Dongdamen night market. Taiwanese night markets feature row after row of food stalls selling all manner of delicious street food. It was hard to choose but we did our best. I sampled a freshly fried scallion pancake with a fried egg on top. I also loved deep-fried king oyster mushrooms. A Taiwanese burger, a "coffin" (hollowed out French toast filled with beef and scallions), and fried chicken rounded our our dinner. Did you know that in Taiwan, the chicken leg (dark meat) is more expensive than the breast because it's juicier. For dessert, we ate a refreshing dragon fruit and pinapple snow ice. 
7 days in Taiwan: Dongdamen night market in Hualien
Dongdamen night market in Hualien: (left) snow ice dessert (middle) scallion pancake frying (right) entrance to the night market

One Week in Taiwan Itinerary: Day 5 - Hualien to Taipei

It's time to return from Hualien to Taipei!

Morning Traffic

Allow yourself plenty of time to travel between Hualien and Taipei. We ended up stuck in a traffic jam along the east coast of Taiwan. I must say that the views were spectacular though with the mountains plunging into the sea and the road itself clinging to the edge of the cliff. Not a bad place to be stuck in traffic.

National Center of Traditional Art

On our return from Hualien to Taipei,we stopped for a brief educational visit to the National Center of Traditional Arts (aka Yilan Park). The goal of the Center for Traditional Arts is to keep historic and local artistic practices alive. In Yilan, we learned that black jade shows up green when you shine a light through it. Cool!

There is a park surrounding the artist studios at the National Center for Traditional Arts. We visited historic Scholar Huang's Residence as we circled around the perimeter of the park.

One week Taiwan itinerary: National Center of Traditional Art, Tangwei Brook Park, lunch at Luodongjun Nostalgic Restaurant
left: Scholar Huang's Residence at the National Center of Traditional Art in Taiwan
middle: claw-footed tub planter in Tangwei Brook Park
right: lunch at Luodongjun Nostalgic Restaurant

10 Course Lunch in Luodong

After our visit to the National Center of Traditional Arts, we ate lunch in Luodong at Yilan Luodongjun Nostalgic Restaurant. The cheapest option involved about ten courses. Our group was super full afterwards. We especially enjoyed the dishes of marinated kumquats, a thousand year old egg, and sweet pineapple pork. The restaurant in Luodong was decorated with lots of nostalgic items like old-fashioned telephones. 

Visiting a Local Holiday Home

Unless you have friends in Taiwan, you likely won't be able to do this one yourselves but I thought it was still worth mentioning. We had the opportunity to visit a proper Taiwanese weekend home in Yilan. Their "farm house" was situated among rice fields and large gardens. We even got to enjoy corn on the cob picked 5 minutes before it was put on to boil.

Tangwei Brook Park

We finished up the day at a public hot spring smack in the middle of an urban square. Tangwei Brook Park was a pleasant quick diversion and best of all, free. The claw-footed bathtubs planted with flowers around the hot spring added to the atmosphere. When we heard we'd be going to a hot spring, a more traditional spa came to mind. Tangwei Brook Park is a small urban park and locals pop by to put their feet in the hot water after work.

SIDEWALK SAFARI SPOTLIGHT: For a full rundown of dishes to look for on your trip, check out my post on things to eat in Taiwan.

Scallion Buns To Go for Dinner

After a huge lunch, we opted for a no fuss dinner. We enjoyed a scallion bun from Yih Shun Shiuan in Jiaoxi that we ate once we got back to Taipei and checked into the Sheraton Grand.

Happy Hour at the Sheraton Grand in Taipei

We toasted a successful Taiwan east coast road trip with the happiest of Happy Hours: B1G1F cocktails at the Sheraton Grand in Taipei. We opted for a Taipei Sunrise and a Singapore Sling.

One Week in Taiwan Itinerary: Day 6 - Central Taipei

Back in Taipei and staying much closer to the more popular attractions, we made a point to see all the centrally located things to do in Taipei on Day 6 of our one week in Taiwan itinerary. We walked some and took the Taipei MRT to reach other attractions. Taipei is a pretty widespread city.

Breakfast at Fuhang Soymilk

The Sheraton Grand Taipei is just a few blocks from an extremely popular food hall. We queued up for breakfast at Fuhang Soymilk. The queue system winds down the stairs, out the door, and around the corner. We got to watch all the action at Fuhang Soymilk in Taipei and our morning culminated with an egg sandwich on fresh baked bread and a bowl of soymilk. So delicious! Fuhang Soymilk is a "must try" if you find yourself in Taipei. 
Things to do in Taipei: breakfast at Fuhang Soymilk
Fuhang Soymilk for breakfast (left) bowl of soymilk (middle) egg sandwich (right) making the bread

Zhongshan Hall

Zhongshan Hall is a historic point of interest in Taipei that used to function as the Taipei City Public Auditorium. We cautiously approached the open door of Zhongshan Hall. It wasn't immediately clear to us if it was open to the public but the architecture inside was beckoning so we took a chance and walked in. We spoke to someone at a reception desk off to the left and they invited us in to see the exhibits. The building is open to the public. Zhongshan Hall is full of history. For example, these halls witnessed the ascension of Japanese Emperor Hirohito and the architecture is pretty cool. Make sure to pick up a brochure and a commemorative stamp (chop) to remember the visit.

Dihua Street

We continued our day with a stroll on Dihua Street in Taipei. Dihua Street dates back to the 1850s and features densely packed historic shopfronts. We walked along Dihua Street for several blocks, approaching the historic neighborhood on the MRT from Daqiaotou Station and leaving again at Beimen Station, a stop further south.

Highlights from our walk on Dihua Street included:

  1. Museum 207, a shop converted into a museum featuring an exhibit on repairing broken things.
  2. Steamed rice cakes filled with sesame or peanut
  3. Fish that seemed to have their brains on the outside swimming in a tank 
  4. Noodles at JMM Canteen
  5. kumquat popsicles
Things to do in Taipei:  left: Zhongshan Hall in Taipei middle: Dihua Street right: a section of Taipei 101 at night
left: Zhongshan Hall in Taipei
middle: Dihua Street
right: a section of Taipei 101 at night

Taipei 101

Next up, we took the metro to the most iconic point of interest in Taipei. We got to see the views from the 70+ floor of Taipei 101. My "day job" employer, has an office in Taipei 101 and I took the opportunity to visit. This is definitely one of the perks of being a part-time travel blogger. Taipei 101 also features an observation deck that the public can pay to access. I found that Taipei 101 actually looks cooler from a distance. We found the perfect spot to watch the sunset in the shopping district a few blocks away.

Dumpling Dinner and Craft Beer Reprise

We ended up revisiting Kao Chi near Dongmen Station for soup dumplings. We tried to go to Din Tai Fung, Taipei's most famous dumpling restaurant but encountered an 80 minute wait for a table. We decided that no dumpling could be that good and were happy with our meal at Kao Chi. As an added bonus, we were able to grab a craft beer nightcap at nearby Zhang Men Taproom.

One Week in Taiwan Itinerary: Day 7 - Taipei Further Afield

There is an ambitious schedule ahead for the last full day of this one week in Taiwan itinerary. The plan? Visit sights further afield in Taipei City. 

Tamsui Promenade

Start the day by taking the Taipei metro to the end of the red line in Tamsui. We took a quiet walk along the Tamsui Promenade. I even spotted a night heron looking for fish. We arrived pretty early in Tamsui (between 9 and 10 am) and many shops weren't even open yet. We had fun just wandering around though. 

Former British Consular Residence in Tamsui

One of the top things to see in Taipei's Tamsui district is the former British Consular Residence. Of course, I made sure to get my stamp to prove I was there. I think this is the third time I've mentioned "chops"? As you can see, chops are surprisingly popular at tourist attractions around Taiwan. The British Consular Residence is a lovely Victorian-style mansion decorated in period furnishings. The British Consular Residence is open to the public for a small fee. 

Fort San Domingo

The British Consular Residence is situated inside Fort San Domingo, an historic fortress that dates back to the 17th century. Fort San Domingo has changed hands 9 times in the course of history including Spanish, Dutch, and Chinese eras.

Japanese Tonkatsu Lunch in Tamsui

There is a Japanese restaurant along the water not far from Fort San Domingo. For a change of pace, stop in for a Japanese tonkatsu lunch to fuel the rest of the day's exploration in places further afield in Taipei.

One Week Taiwan Itinerary: left: Former British Consular Residence in Tamsui middle: Fort San Domingo right: Guandu Nature Park
left: Former British Consular Residence in Tamsui
middle: Fort San Domingo
right: Guandu Nature Park

Guandu Nature Park

Time for a spot of birdwatching at Guandu Nature Park. We had an ambitious schedule planned and not a ton of time so we decided to take an Uber from Tamsui to Guandu Nature Park, about a 20 minute ride. When we entered the park, we could even see Taipei 101 in the distance; an oasis in the middle of Taipei! We enjoyed a quiet hike away from the frenetic pace of central Taipei. The highlight of the day was spotting a river kingfisher from one of the viewing hides.

National Palace Museum

Next up, we took an Uber to the National Palace Museum. The National Palace Museum is one of Taiwan's top attractions but, I have to say, I was not that impressed. We saw some cool antiquities but the famous meat stone and jade cabbage were on loan elsewhere when we visited. Plus, we had to battle hoards of tour groups to get near the exhibits.

Shilin Night Market

Our lack of enthusiasm for the National Palace Museum was quickly forgotten after our final stop of the day, Shilin Night Market, Taipei's largest and most famous night market. Beware: there is a Shilin Station on the MRT but it's actually rather far away from the Shilin Night Market. Head to Jiantan Station instead and the night market is just around the corner. We plunged into the warren of alleys lined with food vendors and shops selling souvenirs. Shilin Night Market is even home to some craft beer bars. We tried a Yuzu (pomelo) wheat ale, fruity IPA, and a lychee sour. Food-wise, we sampled  a charcoal baked pork bun and sweet potato rolls in chocolate. Of course, I had to try some stinky tofu. This time, I opted for the deep-fried stinky tofu which was much tastier than the boiled in broth version that we had in Hualien. 

One Week in Taiwan Itinerary: Heading Home

Our flight wasn't scheduled to leave until late in the day so we had some bonus time to explore bits of Taipei that we'd missed during our one week in Taiwan before heading for home.

SIDEWALK SAFARI SPOTLIGHT: Seoul in South Korea is another awesome Asian city with a quirky art scene that will exceed your expectations. Find out why Seoul is worth visiting here.

Huashan 1914 Creative Park

Huashan 1914 Creative Park is situated on the site of a historic winery in Taipei and features cool architecture and art exhibits. When we visited, there were art exhibits dedicated to different regions and cultures of Taiwan. One of the interactive exhibits at Huashan 1914 Creative Park featured numbered eclectic items from all across Taiwan. You could cross reference each number with a photo explanation on the wall.
7 days in Taiwan: Huashan 1914 Creative Park in Taipei (left) house on stilts (middle) exhibit of ceramic faces (right) eclectic art installation
Huashan 1914 Creative Park in Taipei (left) house on stilts (middle) exhibit of ceramic faces (right) eclectic art installation 

Taipei MRT to Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport

Sadly, our one week in Taiwan itinerary was coming to a close. The Taipei MRT runs a service to the airport. You can even check-in for your flight and drop off your bags at the Taipei Main Station before boarding the train if you arrive early enough. I definitely recommend checking bags at the train station since it can get quite crowded and there is a chance you won't get a seat for the one hour journey.

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The ultimate one week in Taiwan Itinerary: Taroko GorgeThe ultimate one week in Taiwan Itinerary: Taipei 101
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Sidewalk Safari | Part-time Travel Blog: The Ultimate One Week in Taiwan Itinerary Focused on Taipei
The Ultimate One Week in Taiwan Itinerary Focused on Taipei
Learn about a one week in Taiwan itinerary focused on Taipei. Find out about things to do in Taipei. Explore what to see in Taipei and take a road trip from Taipei to Hualien and Taroko Gorge on Taiwan's East Coast.
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Sidewalk Safari | Part-time Travel Blog
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