[Taiwan Travels] Discover 5 Hidden Gem Districts in Taipei, Taiwan – FREE & EASY Itinerary

Taipei, Taiwan has always been one of the top favourite travel destinations for Singaporeans and Malaysians. Like Japan, I do visit Taiwan from time to time for the beautiful nature, good food, Chinese culture and meeting my Taiwanese friends. All these it’s possible to do Free & from Taipei using their metro system or hire a private car service.There is always new places and things to explore in Taipei despite visiting for numerous times. If you want to explore a different experience in Taipei for your upcoming trip, here is what you can do in 5-days apart from the usual attraction places. A combination of sight-seeing, off-the-beaten path attractions, different dining experience in the city and many more.

TIPS: Pre-purchase Taipei Unlimited Fun Pass if you are planning to visit museums and taking public transportation. Most of the museums are included or enjoy 25% off Pass for Taipei Pass. 

1. Explore Maokong
Maokong Temple
Maokong located in Wenshan District of Taipei, Taiwan is used to be the biggest tea growing area of Taipei. It is now a popular place for tea culture and viewing the night scenery of Taipei City. A day trip to Maokong is ideal if you want to escape from the hustle and bustle city life.

Visit the red-brick Taipei Tea Promotion Center to learn about the whole tea process from tea growing, drying, spinning, and roasting. Visitors can enjoy free cups of Tieguanyin in the gift shop. There is also tea picking, processing, and brewing workshops from June through November.
Feeling hungry, stop by Ayishi Big Teapot, an al fresco restaurant that sits on the edge of the Taipei Basin. They offer tea-based cuisine such as tea-smoked chicken, noodles cooked in tea seed oil, and tea-infused stir-fried rice.

If you want to experience Taiwanese Teahouse culture, visit one of the teahouses for an afternoon tea break.
Lastly, alight at Zhinan Station to visit Zhinan Temple. Zhinan Temple built in 1890 is dedicated to the Daoist immortal Lu Tung-pin, better known as “Xiangong” or “Luzu”. It is one of the oldest temples in Taipei. It is secluded enough that not many tourists been here. It is perfect way to escape the city and surround yourself with the serene environment of the temple.

If you are into hiking adventures, plan a hike to the scenic trails and be rewarded with the luscious greenery and vast expanses of tea plants. You can explore Camphor, Zhanghu or Zhinan Temple Trails.

HOW TO GET HERE
By Taipei MRT & Cable Car
Take the Taipei MRT brown line to Taipei Zoo Station (BR01) and alight there. Transfer to Maokong Gondola cable car ride up to the mountain. It will be approximately 30 minutes ride over tea plantations and forest canopy. The gondola stops at four stations- Taipei Zoo, Taipei Zoo South, Zhinan Temple and Maokong (Sanxuan Temple).
TIPS: Pre-purchase your combo tickets- Maokong cable car ticket & Zoo Tour here.

Note: Although the gandola is generally open daily but the service is contingent upon the weather situation.

By Bus
Bus S10 operates between Taipei Zoo Metro Station and the peak at Maokong.
Maokong

2. Explore Dadaocheng District
Dadaocheng is in Datong District in Taipei, Taiwan. It is one of the oldest neighborhood areas in Taipei, developed into a sprawling place of trade in tea, medicine, herbs, fabrics, dried goods, and arts. Dadaocheng is known for its extravagant Baroque architecture, traditional Hokkien bungalows and red-brick western houses. Fast forward today, the area is also the main venue for the annual Taipei Lunar New Festival, a Chinese New Year Shopping extravaganza in which famed Dihua Street.

You can literally spend a day here exploring the vintage neighborhoods of Dadaocheng. Take a stroll along the street to explore the original architecture of the old shophouses and how it is brought new life into the restored spaces.
Dadaocheng Taipei Taiwan
You can plan your souvenir shopping and eating here. There are plenty of places like fabrics, local cultural goods to buy as souvenirs, restaurants, and cafes worth checking out.

If you are keen to explore the cultural creativity, there are art and cultural centers such as Taiwan New Cultural Movement Memorial Museum, AMA Museum, clay craft workshops and Yehjinfa Rice Mill. Each places have their uniqueness and stories behind it. Like Yehjinfa RiceMill, it is still owned by the Yeh family, but they have restructured their business model as a boutique rice, grocery store.

Note: Recommend visiting Dihua Street in Dadaocheng on weekend as many eateries closed on Mondays and some closed-on weekdays throughout the week.
Daocheng Taipei Dried Goods
HOW TO GET HERE
By Taipei MRT
Take a Taipei MRT to Taipei Main Station(R10/BL12) and walk northwest until you reach Dihua Street. It will be approximately 16-minutes’ walk.
Or take to Beimen(G13) Station and walk approximately 9 minutes to north towards Tacheng Street.

3. Explore Xinyi District
Xinyi is a distinctive landmark in Taipei where you can find the business center and leisure shopping malls here. Most of the events are hold in Taipei International Trade Center and around this commercial district. This is the place where you can find luxurious products and fine dining restaurants here. The shopping area includes Bellavita, Taipei 101, Hankyu Department Stores and many more.




If you plan to stay in this district, check out The Hyatt and W Hotel Taipei. W Taipei is the only hotel in Xinyi District that you can get the full view of 101 building from your room.
Kick starts the day by hiking to Xiangshan or Elephant Mountain. Head over to Xiangshan MRT station and follow the signs leading to the mountain. You will be rewarded with unparalleled views of Taipei 101.
Elephant Mountain Taipei
Then head back down and get refreshed to visit Taipei 101 observation deck. You will enjoy a full on 360-degree view of the entire city. Or head down to the malls for shopping spree or visit the attraction places like National Dr. Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall and Discovery Center of Taipei.
Taipei Restaurant Bus- W Hotel
Photo credit: https://www.instagram.com/saltyaaron/
End your day with a good meal experience. There are plenty of good and fine dining restaurants like Woobar, 2 Michelin stars – L’Atelier De Joël Robuchon, Bib gourmand- Sung Kitchen, Sushi Nanami by Masa Ishibashi and many more. I would recommend making reservations before heading down to the popular ones. Or go experience luxury meals on Taipei Restaurant Bus in collaboration with W Taipei.
First double-decker bus restaurant in Taiwan where riders can experience five-star gourmet feast while admiring the stunning panoramic view through the see-through roof. The bus transportation station is located near Taipei City Hall MRT Station by the Hankyu Department Stores and W Hotel.
P/S: Tickets are available to purchase via online here.
Restaurant in bus Taipei Night
4. Explore Da’an District
Da’an District is home to educational institutions including National Taiwan University and home to many culinary gems like first ever Din Tai Fung restaurant and famous beef noodle place. Discover new and hip dining establishments like cafes and Taiwanese speciality cuisine, culturally diverse area like Taipei Grand Mosque and largest green space called Da’an Forest Park. And of course, night markets like Gongguan and Linjiang night markets.

The Taipei Grand Mosque is worth checking out as it is most known Islamic building in Taiwan, built in the 1960s. You can also rent a bike or take a stroll to the Da’an Forest Park features maple trees, ponds and walking paths. Or visit Wistaria Tea House, Japanese-style wooden teahouse built in the 1920s.
Discover the stylish boutique, Kimpton Da An located a short walk from Zhongxiao Fuxing Station (Exit 3) if you are planning to stay in this area. It is the first Kimpton property in Asia and designed by iconic duo Neri & Hu.
Kao Chi Yong Kang Street
For local delicacies, visit original Din Tai Fung outlet or walk down Yongkang Street for the famous Yongkang Beef Noodles. Or go for Nomura Japanese restaurant that was awarded one Michelin star in 2018 but make sure you make a reservation beforehand. If you tick off the list, visit the night markets before ending the day.
Taipei beef noodles

5. Participate/ Join their Festival
Christmas Taipei Taiwan
Taipei also has several major events/ festivals throughout the year. Each of the four seasons is chock-full of big events of different character. Plan a New Year countdown celebration to Taipei to participate in Taipei New Year’s Eve Party and the magnificent Taipei 101 fireworks show. This is an annual celebration of Taipei’s myriad charms and achievements, welcoming the new year with the world.

Also, not to miss is the long-awaited Lantern Festival (also known as the “little New Year”) in Taipei which will run from 5 February to 19 February 2023. This will be the first time this festival returned to Taipei in 23 years with the theme “Light Up the Future”. A festival will be a grand synthesis of artistic culture and lighting, creating a unique “urban-style Lantern Festival”. It will stretch from the East District to Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall and Songshan Cultural and Creative Park all the way to the Taipei 101 area. More than 300 lantern artworks will be up on its streets and alleys.
Festival Taipei
Not forgetting the Yangminshan Flower Festival that attracts over one million flower lovers each year. Main venues include Yangming Park and Foriculture Experiment Center. Expect to see different varieties of cherry trees, including Yae Sakura, Showa Sakura and Yoshino Sakura and rhododendrons in full bloom.

There you go…. more reasons for you to explore the city of Taiwan.

Read my Taiwan travelogue here.

Brought to you by
Department of Information and Tourism, Taipei City Government

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