How to Spend 2 Awesome Days in Taipei

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So you’ve booked your trip to Taiwan, figured out the best time to go, and you’ve planned for two days in Taipei. Good! 48 hours in Taipei is really the bare minimum you need to squeeze in the best of this mesmerizing, food-obsessed, traditional-meets-modern capital city. If you want to add day trips, though, I suggest you try my 3-day or 4-day Taipei itineraries!

I’ve been living in Taipei for over a decade and I’ve helped hundreds of travelers fine-tune their Taipei travel itinerary in my free Taiwan Travel Planning Group.

The following is my suggested Taipei 2 day itinerary that takes in Taipei’s top sights in the most efficient way possible. For more general info to plan your visit, see my Taipei city guide.

Useful resources

– See these unmissable Taiwan experiences and how to visit Taipei with kids.

– Also see my guides to the best hotels, hostels, temples, beaches, hikes, and night markets in Taipei.

– Consider getting a Taipei Unlimited Fun Pass. Here’s my full review of the pass. Alternatively, just get an EasyCard like most locals do. Learn how EasyCard works here.

– If you happen to be in Taipei for the Lunar New Year holiday, find out what’s open & closed and my suggestions for things to do in Taipei during Chinese New Year.

Taiwan travel planning group

Arriving in Taipei

The first day’s schedule is going to depend largely on what time you arrive at Taoyuan International Airport. You’ll also want to consider ordering a SIM card or WiFi device for pick up when you arrive (note the opening hours). The airport also has free WiFi.

Most people ride the Taoyuan Airport MRT from the either airport terminal to Taipei Main Station. The ride only costs TWD 150 and takes 35 or 50 minutes (every second one is express). At Taipei Main Station, you can connect to the Taipei MRT for getting to your hotel. There’s also a bus from the airport, which is slightly cheaper.

The Airport MRT and buses only run from around 6 AM to midnight. If you’re arriving late at night, you’re only option for getting to the city will be by taxi or private transfer. A taxi to the city is usually around TWD 1000 to 1200, while the private transfer may be slightly cheaper. You don’t need to tip drivers in Taiwan. You can also rent a car at the airport, but exploring Taipei by car is not convenient.

How to pay for the Airport MRT? Most people just buy an EasyCard at the station when they arrive. This card can be used for all MRTs and local city buses in Taiwan, taxis, some ferries, and convenience stores. It has a TWD 100 non-refundable deposit, plus however much money you load onto it. You can also order your card on Klook, but it’s the same price as buying it at the station. If you get an Unlimited Fun Pass, it can’t be used for the Airport MRT.

Read more about the above options in my guide to getting from Taoyuan Airport to Taipei.

If you need luggage storage, there are large locals in Taipei Main Station for daytime use only, or this luggage center near the station for overnight storage.

WARNING: This itinerary packs in a lot! If you are coming in on a long flight, or you prefer to travel slowly, then you may want to considering cutting out a thing or two. But I’d rather give you too much info than not enough!

Taipei 2 Day Itinerary: Day One

I’ve devised the below itinerary assuming you’ve got two full days in Taipei, so you’ll be starting bright and early on day one!

8 AM: Longshan Temple

Longshan Temple, Taipei
Lanterns outside Longshan Temple at Lunar New Year

Start your first morning in Taipei by paying a visit to Taipei’s most famous and important temple, Longshan Temple. The temple is in Wanhua district, which is the original, once walled Old City of Taipei.

If you are jet lagged at find yourself up at the crack of dawn, make it to the temple for the mesmerizing chanting ceremony (6-6:45 AM and 8-8:45 AM). Find more information about this in my guide to visiting Longshan Temple.

Longshan Temple is popular among visitors because it is always bustling with activity and devotion. There are a koi pond and waterfall, fortune tellers out front, Herb Alley next door, and the shops in the neighborhood sell interesting Buddhist paraphernalia.

Access: Longshan Temple MRT, open 6 am to 9:30 pm, free.

Main altar of Longshan Temple, the first place to begin on your Taiwan travel itinerary 5 days
Morning chanting at Longshan Temple
Herb alley, Longshan Temple
Chinese herbs in Herb Alley, next to Longshan Temple

9 AM: Taiwanese breakfast

Taiwanese breakfast shop near Longshan Temple
Traditional Taiwanese breakfast at Yonghe Four Seas near Longshan Temple

Now that you are up and in full tourist mode, it’s time to fill your belly before the long day ahead. Head to Yonghe Four Seas Soy Milk King (永和四海豆漿大王—萬華店) at #320 Kangding Road, Wanhua District (108台北市萬華區康定路320號), a short walk southeast of Longshan Temple, for some classic Taiwanese breakfast.

Breakfast menus in Taiwan are all similar, with items liked steamed buns, fantuan (sticky rice rolls), dan bing (thin green onion crepes), white radish cakes, breakfast burgers, toasted sandwiches, and soy milk or milk tea. Learn how to order Taiwanese breakfast and see my list of other great breakfast shops in Taipei.

Foodie Alert! There are some really awesome cooking courses available in Taipei, covering many types of food and diets. See here to find the best food and cooking courses in Taipei.

10 AM: CKS Memorial Hall

Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall, Taipei
CKS Memorial Hall: Great spot for family photos

Next, before it starts getting to hot out (unless you’re visiting Taiwan in winter), hop on the MRT one stop east to Ximen on the blue line and then two stops south on the green line to reach Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall.

If you like walking, you could also just walk there in 20 minutes, making stops at Bopiliao Historical Block and Xiaonanmen Old City Gate along the way.

CKS is a huge square that features three monumental buildings. The namesake building is the Chiang-kai Shek Memorial Hall, a large white and blue building that is one of Taipei’s most famous landmarks. It is built for the president of the Republic of China who fled China to Taiwan in 1949. The square also has the National Theater and Concert Hall, which are built in classical Chinese style.

These striking buildings make for great photos, especially when shot from the gate (Arch of Liberty Square) on Zhongshan South Road. There’s a small museum dedicated to CKS’s life on the ground floor or the monument.

You can see the changing of the guard every hour on the hour from 9 to 5.

11-1: Explore Ximending and lunch

Taipei Cinema Park Ximending, a great place to go skateboarding in Taipei
Street art in Ximending

Now we are going to backtrack to Ximen, the “Harajuku of Taipei,” a trendy pedestrian-only shopping district. I put Ximending later in the itinerary because most things don’t open until around 11 AM.

If you’re feeling energetic, you can walk here from CKS Memorial Hall (20 minutes), passing the grand Presidential Office Building en route, built by the Japanese during their colonial occupation of Taiwan. This is where major protests are usually held in Taipei. You can also just ride the MRT and take exit 6 for reaching the pedestrian area. 

Ximen is Taipei at its quirkiest and coolest. Among the souvenir and brand name shops (see my guide to the best souvenirs from Taiwan), you can also try penis-shaped cake or get a street-side tattoo or piercing. There’s also cosplay cafés, a movie theater street, a skateboarding park, cat cafe, street graffiti…you get the idea.

Check out my list of strange things to do in Ximending for all the ideas.  

Mee sua (mian xian) at Ay-Chung (A zong) Flour Rice Noodles Ximending
Ay-chung, one of the most famous places to eat in Ximending

Also don’t miss Red House, a Japanese era market building. On the far side of it is the Taipei’s best LGBT bar patio area. On weekends, there’s also a hip craft and design market on the side of Red House closer to the MRT. There’s an interesting little Matsu Temple, dedicated to the goddess of the sea, at #51 Chengdu Rd. Finally, you can think about getting a traditional Chinese knife massage!  

For lunch, I’ve got a whole guide covering what to eat in Ximending!

2 PM: Hua Shan 1914 Creative Park

Huashan Creative Arts Park, Taipei
Artwork at Huashan

Taiwan is known for its creative arts villages, which are often housed in old factories or buildings. Huashan 1914 Creative Park is one of the most famous ones. It is housed in an old Japanese sake factory dating to (you guessed it) 1914.

Hua Shan is a fun place to explore and take photos, free of charge. You can see lots of artwork, some small shops and cafes, a picnic space at the back, and especially on weekends, there are often little markets or exhibitions. Visitors with kids should try the indoor playcenter inside Wooderful life 華山店.

Get to Huashan from Zhongxiao Xinsheng MRT station. It’s on the blue line, so it’s a straight shot from Ximending. Exit 1 is closest to Huashan.

Alternative ideas: explore teashops on Dihua Street (Taipei’s oldest street), see the weekend-only Jianguo Jade and Flower Market, or sample fresh seafood at Addiction Aquatic Seafood Market.

4 PM: Elephant Mountain or Taipei 101

Taipei City viewed from Elephant Mountain
The postcard view of Taipei from Elephant Mountain

Depending on the weather and your energy level, you can choose between hiking up Elephant Mountain or going up Taipei 101 to see the best view of Taipei. Both are on the red line, but you can easily figure out how to get there by looking at the MRT maps in every station.

Elephant Mountain is just one stop past Taipei 101 on the MRT, and the views are arguably better because, well, you can get Taipei 101 in your shot!

The hike up from the MRT is a little steep, but it doesn’t take long (around 20 min) before you get breathtaking, picture-postcard views of the city. If that’s not enough for you, the hiking trails connect to the four other “beast” mountains: Tiger, Lion, and Leopard Mountains.

See my guide to hiking Elephant Mountain for a map and all the details.

Base of Taipei 101 viewed from our room at Grand Hyatt Taipei
Taipei 101, Taipei’s most iconic building

Taipei 101 was once the tallest building in the world. Learn all about it and other things to see and do in the building in my Taipei 101 guide.

The line at the 5F entrance for the Taipei 101 Observatory on the 89st floor can easily take an hour, so factor that in to your timing. Book your tickets here and choose the fast entry option if you want to skip the line.

The elevators going up are the 3rd fastest in the world. The 360-degree views are awesome! Also check out the 730-ton stabilizing ball in the middle, which keeps Taipei 101 from falling. There are also some good souvenir shops up there, as well as a cafe.

If you time it right, you can observe the sunset from the mountain or observatory and watch city coming to life with lights in the early evening.

The Taipei 101 Observatory is the most expensive item included on the Taipei Unlimited Fun Pass. So if you get the pass, make sure to do this, otherwise the pass wouldn’t be worth the money.

You can learn some cool facts about Taipei 101 in my list of interesting Taiwan facts!

7 PM: Linjiang Street (Tontghua) Night Market

Taiwan oyster omelet
Oyster omelets, a classic Taipei night market dish

Whether you hiked Elephant Mountain or braved the crowds at Taipei 101, your tummy is probably rumbling now. Take the MRT one stop or walk down Xinyi Rd. to Linjiang Street Night Market.

Despite it’s location in ritzy Eastern Taipei near upscale department stores, City Hall, Taipei 101, and the World Trade Center, Tonghua Night Market features super local and traditional foods. Here’s your chance to try famous Taiwanese foods like stinky tofu and guabao. Read my specific recommended food stalls there in my guide to Taipei’s night markets.

The market goes north to south from Xinyi Rd. to Tonghua rd., with more restaurants south of the entrance gate and also west on Tonghua road.

9 PM: Time for a Drink

A skilled bartender making a betel nut cocktail at Fourplay cocktail bar, Taipei, Taiwan
Betel Nut Cocktail at Fourplay cocktail bar

If you somehow still have energy, try one of Taipei’s “secret” speakeasy style bars. Alchemy and Ounce are nearby, while movie theater-themed Hankou 60 is on Movie Theater Street in Ximending. You might want to dress up for these.

Alternatively, sip a 9-shot cocktail at the more casual Maybe Bar or try a betel nut cocktail at Fourplay (betel nut is a mild stimulant that taxi drivers in Taiwan chew to stay awake)

Beer lovers can try one of the city’s many craft beer bars, with top choices including Red Point Brewing and the several taprooms run by Taihu Brewing. If you’re on a budget, then do what most local expats do: get beers at 7-11 and wander the streets. Anywhere you go in Taipei is totally safe, even on your own at night!

Taipei Two Day Itinerary: Day 2

Assuming you didn’t go too hard on the betel nut cocktails the night before, we’re up bright and early again for another full day of exploring Taipei. I’ll be giving you a few different options here, for different styles of traveler.

9 AM: National Palace Museum

National Palace Museum in Taipei
National Palace Museum Taipei

Start your sightseeing at the National Palace Museum, which has the largest collection of Chinese art and artifacts in the world. With 700,000 ancient artifacts in its permanent collection, the National Palace Museum is huge, and there’s always some kind of interestin temporary exhibit; check the museum website for what’s on now.

The last time I visited, there was a really cool exhibit that brought a collection of ancient Chinese scrolls to life by animating them on screens, with the little characters and animals in the scene moving around. Even the museum building itself is grandiose and worth a few shots.

Book your tickets online for a small discount. This deal includes the Shung Ye Aboriginal Museum next door, while this 4-hour city tour includes the National Palace Museum and a few other impressive buildings in the area.

To get there, there are several buses from this bus stop at Shilin MRT station, or you hop in a cab from there.

National Palace Museum opens at 9 AM. It is closed on Mondays. For lunch, see the 1 PM stop below. If you can’t make it that far, there are several restaurants around Shilin MRT station.

9 AM Option 2: Dihua Street and Addiction Aquatic

Breakfast on Dihua Street at ASW Tea Hosue
Tea in a historic building on Taipei’s oldest street

Dihua Street in Dadaocheng neighborhood is considered the oldest street in Taipei. The street is known for its many traditional Chinese herb and medicine shops, temples, large fabric market, and other traditional items. Dadaocheng is also the best place for buying tea in Taipei.

See my free walking tour guide of Dihua Street for all my recommendations!

Dihua Street can be accessed from either Beimen MRT on the green line or Zhongshan MRT on the red line. It’s about a 10-minute walk from either one. Some shops don’t open until around 10 am.

A wooden tray with about a dozen pieces of sushi on it at Addiction Aquatic Development, with some glasses of sake beside it
Seafood lunch at Addiction Aquatic

Addiction Aquatic is a luxury seafood market. It is a must for seafood lovers or foodies visiting Taipei! There are multiple dining options there, from stand-up sushi bar and sushi hot pot to seafood barbecue and take-away sushi sets. Even if you’re not eating, it’s an interesting place to visit. Here’s my full guide to Addiction Aquatic.

To get there from Dihua Street, it would be easiest to just hop in a taxi and show the driver the address in Mandarin. By MRT, you’ll need to walk back to one of the stations (10 min), ride it to Xingtian Temple MRT, then walk another 10 minutes. If you do this, make sure to visit Xingtian Temple on the way.

1 PM: Beitou Hot Spring

Hell Valley, Beitou, Taiwan
Steaming Hell Valley, Beitou

Beitou Thermal Area, at the foot of Yangming Mountain (a dormant volcano), is one of my favorite places in Taipei.

First developed by the Japanese, it’s the only hot spring area directly accessible by MRT and the most famous of Taiwan’s many thermal hot springs. See my full guide to Beitou for my recommended spots for lunch, things to do, and best private and public hot springs. Like National Palace Museum, several things in Beitou are closed on Mondays.

To get there, simply ride the red line north to Beitou station, then transfer to the two-stop pink MRT line. The pink line goes slowly uphill from Beitou to Xinbeitou station, where the hot spring village is located. You can smell the sulphur from the hot springs before you get there!

Cold pool at Beitou hot spring, one of the things to do in taipei in summer
Spring City Resort, the best family-friendly hot spring resort in Beitou

Beitou Public Hot Spring in Beitou Hot Spring Park is the cheapest and most popular public hot spring. The best family-friendly and mixed-sex (non-nude) hot spring is at Spring City Resort – this deal comes with a big discount. It’s a ways from the MRT, though. Don’t miss Thermal Valley and Beitou Hot Spring Museum when you’re there!

You can also get some good deals for private hot spring rooms on Klook, like this one or this one.

3 PM: (Optional) Guandu Temple

Guandu Temple tunnel, Taipei
Tunnel through the mountain at Guandu Temple, Taipei

If you find you’ve got the time, Guandu Temple is a cool stop on the way to the next spot.

While Longshan Temple is the most popular for tourists in Taipei, Guandu Temple north of Beitou is my personal favorite temple in Taipei City. Founded in 1661, it is almost 100 years older than Longshan Temple, making it one of the oldest temples in Taipei and the oldest Matsu Temple in northern Taiwan.

The reason I love Guandu Temple is because in addition to the usual amazingly intricate details, colors, and carvings characteristic of Taiwanese temples, this one has an 80-meter tunnel filled with 28 gods that leads to a river lookout with a 1000-arm Guanyin Statue. You can also climb up the stairs to a hill behind the temple and admire the impressive exterior facade, making this temple unique among Taipei temples and really fun to visit.

The temple is about a 10-minute walk from Guandu MRT station.

Guandu Temple, Taipei
Intricate roof details at Guandu Temple

4:00 PM: Tamsui

Riverside promenade, Danshui, Taiwan
Riverside promenade at Danshui

Technically in New Taipei City, not Taipei, the terminal end of the red MRT line is practically at the northern tip of Taiwan. Tamsui features a lovely riverside promenade lined with shops and food stalls, some historic forts, and some other cool things to see and do. See here for my detailed guide to Tamsui.

When you arrive at Tamsui MRT, the riverside promenade starts just outside. You can follow it all the way to the entrance to Fort Santo Domingo, a Spanish built fort that is a great spot for photos. Next, you can hop on a river ferry from here or take a bus or taxi to the next spot. You can swipe your EasyCard or Taipei Unlimited Fun Pass for any of these.

5 PM: Fisherman’s Wharf & Lovers Bridge

Lover's bridge, Fisherman's Wharf, Danshui, Taipei
Lover’s bridge, Fisherman’s Wharf

Fisherman’s Wharf is a scenic harbor near the point where the Tamsui River meets the sea. It is especially known for its pretty sunsets.

The harbor’s dock is a picturesque place for a stroll, and the pedestrian only Lover’s Bridge makes for great shots, especially for sunset. There are a few restaurants but nothing too special – I suggest trying to make it back to Tamsui or Taipei for better dining options.

To get back, you can ride the river ferry or a bus back to Tamsui for accessing the MRT. Another option is to ride the new Danhai LRT from Tamsui Fisherman’s Wharf Station to Honsgshulin station then transfer to the red MRT line back to Taipei.

7:30 PM: Shilin Night Market or Din Tai Fung

Shilin Night Market underground food court
Underground food court at Shilin Night Market

If you can make it, try to head back to Taipei for the best dinner options. If you need a snack to survive, try Tamsui Night Market, near Tamsui MRT, before you get back on the MRT.

Option 1 is Shilin Night Market, Taipei’s most famous night market (see the best Taipei night markets here). Get off at Shilin or Jiantan MRT station on the red line to access it. Shilin is Taipei’s most touristy night market, thus it was also the hardest hit by the pandemic. Some stalls didn’t survive, so it’s not quite as large as it used to be.

Alternative choices that are more local, but you’ll need to travel a little further, are Ningxia Night Market and Raohe Night Market.

Some chefs in white clothes making xiaolongbao and putting them in baskets in a kitchen and Din Tai Fung
Masters at work in Din Tai Fung

Another dinner option is Din Tai Fung, Taipei’s most famous restaurant chain. The specialty is Shanghai-style xiaolongbao (soup dumplings). The most convenient one for this trip is the Mitsukoshi Nanxi location near Zhongshan MRT. Expect a line to get in, and there are no reservations.

This popular Taipei night tour also includes dinner at Din Tai Fung.

If you want a guaranteed seat and some delicious pan-fried local fare washed down with cheap Taiwan beer, head to one of the many “quick fry” restaurants on Chang An West Road between Zhongshan North Road and Xinsheng North Road (also near Zhongshan MRT). These are classic local spots for eating and drinking the night away.

For more eating ideas, see my guide to the best restaurants in Taipei.

Taipei Liuzhangli quick fry
A typical Taiwanese Quick Fry restaurant

Planning a Day Trip out of Taipei?

After your two days in Taipei are up, definitely consider making a day trip out of the city! There are more choices than you can imagine – here I recommend 40 of the best Taipei day trips.

Jiufen and Shifen are two of the most popular choices. See my detailed guide to Jiufen and this article on how to get to Shifen and Jiufen from Taipei. I also highly recommend these beaches around Taipei if you’re visiting Taiwan in summer, or hot springs like Wulai or Jiaoxi if you’re visiting Taiwan in winter.

There are also some great amusement parks and waterparks within easy reach of Taipei!

Here is another travel writer’s article on best things to do in Taipei.

Where to Stay in Taipei

Choosing where to stay in Taipei is not easy because there are just so many choices and great neighborhoods. That’s why I’ve created this detailed guide to the best neighborhoods and hotels in Taipei, with recommendations for all budget levels. I’ll also summarize some of the best ones below.


Star Hostel Taipei East: Stylish, chill, and eco-friendly hostel conveniently located by Zhongxiao Dunhua MRT (see on Agoda / Booking / HostelWorld / TripAdvisor).

Old Door Hostel: Another stylish hostel with awesome and very private, capsule-like dorms just north of Taipei Main Station, with a little bar on site. (see on Agoda / Booking / HostelWorld / TripAdvisor).

Dan Hostel丹居青旅 (see on Agoda / Booking / HostelWorld / TripAdvisor) is a cool hostel in Ximending, a super fun and convenient neighborhood to stay, only 1 MRT stop from Taipei Main Station.


АrТrее Ноtеl (ѕее оn Аgоdа / Вооkіng / Кlооk / ТrірАdvіѕоr) іѕ а bоutіquе hоtеl near Taipei Arena; іt lооkѕ рrеttу nоrmаl оn thе оutѕіdе, but соnсеаlѕ јunglе-lіkе ѕрасеѕ оn thе іnѕіdе. They’ve also got family rooms.

СіtуІnn Ноtеl Таіреі Ѕtаtіоn Вrаnсh ІІІ (ѕее оn Аgоdа / Вооkіng / Кlооk / ТrірАdvіѕоr) іѕ vеrу сlоѕе tо Таіреі Маіn Ѕtаtіоn. Іt іѕ vеrу nеw, сlеаn, соzу, аnd соlоrful. Іf іt’ѕ full, thеrе’ѕ аlѕо а Вrаnсh І аnd Вrаnсh ІІ.


W Hotel: Where did Lady Gaga stay in Taipei? At the W, of course. This is Taipei’s newest, funkiest, and most fashionable luxury hotel. Even if you don’t stay, come for a fancy drink at their 10F pool or try to get seats for one of the awesome restaurants. (see on Agoda / TripAdvisor / Booking)

Humble House: Expect nothing but the classiest treatment at this luxury hotel in the Taipei 101 area, including rooftop pool and access to Taipei City Hall MRT. (see on Agoda / TripAdvisor / Booking)

The Okura Prestige: This central 5-star choice features great city views and a heated rooftop pool. Located just north of Taipei Main Station and several shopping malls. (see on Agoda / TripAdvisor / Booking)

Grand Hyatt Taipei (see on Agoda / Booking / TripAdvisor) This classic Taipei institution features views of Taipei 101, which is just a block away, an excellent buffet restaurant, and we loved our kids’ glamping experience there!

W Hotel Kitchen Table lunch buffet
My beautiful wife Emily at the W Taipei Kitchen Table restaurant

For more trip planning, see my recommended Taiwan itinerary, including popular attractions such as Sun Moon Lake, Alishan and Taroko Gorge, and how to visit Taipei in only 24 hours.

Thanks for reading, and feel free to ask any questions in the comments below!

7 thoughts on “How to Spend 2 Awesome Days in Taipei”

  1. I am heading to Taipai as a stop over on my way home from China in a few weeks. I have just been down a rabbit waren of all things Taipai on your site – I started by reading your post of Taipai night markets and am now checking out your accommodation recommendations as well. Great blog and love how easy it is for me to jump around! Thanks

  2. This is great! I live in Shanghai and we are coming here for a long weekend for Qingming. Thanks for the itinerary 🙂

  3. I love your blog. We are coming in the spring with two kids for 2 weeks and this is like our planning bible. It must have taken you ages. There is so much information and advice. Thank you so much for putting this out there!!

    • Thank you so much Lindsey! I’m glad you found it useful! Yes, it took me a lot of time and I’m very passionate about it, but I’m also making a living from it so that helps!

  4. Nick, I followed your two day itinerary and LOVED it. I made some adjustments but overall we followed all of your suggestions, made for easy itinerary planning .


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