Taipei 00 Header

Taipei, a city full of character

Hidden Treasures

Taipei, a city full of character

Taipei 01 Intro Bg
Taipei 01 Intro Map
Taipei 01 Intro Profile

Mike Raanhuis

Taipei, located in northern Taiwan, is not the most popular tourist destination in Asia. I think this is a shame – its lovely people, spiritual atmosphere and contrasts between old and new mean that Taipei should have a place on any wish list. 

Taipei 02 Img01

Solo Singer Inn

Ideal base

You will, of course, have your pick of luxury hotel chains in Taipei, as anywhere else – but the old maxim that ‘less is more’ is proved by my hotel Solo Singer In. This gem in the district of Beitou has a handful of rooms and you get an amazing level of personal attention. 

Taipei 02 Img02
Taipei 02 Img03

I could hardly imagine a better base to explore the city. Backpackers and businessman are equally at home here thanks to the very helpful staff, friendly prices and clean rooms decorated by local artists. The retro décor makes the hotel seem like a cosy living room. I’ve never been so reluctant to check out. 

Taipei 03 Bg

Artists’ village and night markets

Go where the locals are

Curious about the art scene in Taipei? Check out Treasure Hill Artist Village, a well-hidden artists’ haven comprising a maze of alleyways, with surprises at every turn. From graffiti to multimedia art, there’s something here for everyone. Another fascinating phenomenon is the night markets. 

Taipei 03 Bg Mob

Artists’ village and night markets

Go where the locals are

Curious about the art scene in Taipei? Check out Treasure Hill Artist Village, a well-hidden artists’ haven comprising a maze of alleyways, with surprises at every turn. From graffiti to multimedia art, there’s something here for everyone. 

Taipei 04 Img01
Taipei 04 Img02
Taipei 04 Img03

Another fascinating phenomenon is the night markets. In the evenings, all of Taipei goes out into the streets to eat, drink, shop and socialise. While the market in Shilin is the best known, I opted for the less touristy but hipper one in Shida. Since the food in the Taipei markets is so cheap, almost all Taiwanese have a meal outside every day. 

Taipei 04 Img04
Taipei 05 Bg

Chiang Kai-Shek & Longshan

Zen and reflection

Taipei 05 Img01

As a Buddhist city, Taipei is a good place for contemplation. A great spot is the Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial, a fascinating complex commemorating the former president. The changing of the guard is a spectacle you won’t soon forget. 

Taipei 06 Img01
Taipei 06 Img02
  • Taipei 07 Slide1
  • Taipei 07 Slide2
  • Taipei 07 Slide3
  • Taipei 07 Slide4
  • Taipei 07 Slide5

Longshan Temple from 1738 is equally impressive. While it may not be a hidden treasure as such, it would be a real shame to skip it. Memories of my visit still give me goose bumps – that’s how impressed I was by the people, the prayers and the incense, not to mention the architecture: it was a clear favourite for me. 

Taipei 08 Img01
Taipei 08 Img02
Taipei 08 Img03
Taipei 09 Img01

Dumplings & Elephant Mountain

Lunch with a view

The best dumplings in Asia (Michelin star and all) can be had at Din Tai Fung, under the famous Taipei 101 tower, the world’s second tallest building. I have seldom seen such order, discipline and service in a restaurant. I recommend taking your food up to the 89th floor and enjoying it while you marvel at the metropolis below. 

Taipei 09 Img01

Dumplings & Elephant Mountain

Lunch with a view

The best dumplings in Asia (Michelin star and all) can be had at Din Tai Fung, under the famous Taipei 101 tower, the world’s second tallest building. I have seldom seen such order, discipline and service in a restaurant. I recommend taking your food up to the 89th floor and enjoying it while you marvel at the metropolis below. 

Taipei 09 Img02

There are other magnificent views available for free, too: hike up Elephant Mountain to the north of the city – after just a half-hour you’ll reach a vantage point with a majestic view. And if you get here in good time, you will have front-row seats for the sunset. 

Taipei 09 Img03
Taipei 09 Img04
Taipei 10 Img01
Taipei 10 Img01

WULAI DISTRICT & VILLA 32

Oases within easy reach

Taipei 11 Img01
Taipei 11 Img02
Taipei 11 Img03

Another oasis you mustn’t miss is Villa 32 in Beitou, near the hotel. You will be born again in its eight public hot spring baths, rich in sodium, iron and calcium. 

Most tourists looking for nature go to the famous Yangmingshan National Park. After an insider tip from my driver Peter, I instead chose Wulai District, just 45 minutes from downtown Taipei. An entrance ticket, including insurance against snake bites, costs one euro, and just a short walk brings you to the foot of a thundering waterfall. 

Taipei 11 Img04
Taipei 12 Bg

Add a nice lunch here and you’ll be full of energy for the next hidden treasure. 

Taipei 12 Icon

KLM

iFly Magazine

September

Turn up the volume for the
best experience