How to Spend 3 Awesome Days in Taipei

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So you’ve booked your trip to Taiwan, decided on the best time to travel to Taipei, and now you’re wondering how to plan your Taipei 3 day itinerary? Well, you’ve come to the right spot!

Spending three days in Taipei is just the right amount of time if you’re visiting Taiwan for 1-2 weeks. It’s also a good amount of time if you’re just here for a stopover, so this article also serves as a Taiwan 3 day itinerary.

For your three days in Taipei, I’m going to give you two options. One is an itinerary for three whole days in Taipei City (without making a day trip). The second idea is that you follow the first two days below only and then choose one of my recommended Taipei day trips for day 3. 

I’ve put together all these itineraries after living in Taiwan for over 10 years. Just as a warning, I’m going to squeeze in a lot, but this is exactly how I would do it. I’d rather give you more ideas than not enough!

If you’ve got more or less time in Taipei, see itineraries for 2 days, 4 days or 5 days, and if you want more ideas for off-the-beaten-track Taipei attractions, check out my favorite 50 things to do in Taipei.

Some Taipei Travel Essentials

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

Save money while traveling in Taipei and Taiwan by finding discounts on transportation, activities, restaurants, and more on Klook. We use it all the time! If you sign up with this link, you’ll get NT$100 off your first booking.

– Read my guide to visiting Taipei, traveling around Taiwan and these fun facts about Taiwan for more general info.

– When you arrive at the Taoyuan Airport, the Airport MRT line runs direct to Taipei Main Station. If you arrive after midnight, you’ll need to take a taxi, book this private car from the airport (usually a little cheaper), or rent a car at the airport. See my guide to getting from Taoyuan Airport to Taipei.

– The MRT is the lifeline of Taipei and goes almost everywhere on this itinerary. Consider getting the Unlimited Fun Pass, a tourist pass which includes entrance to 16 popular attractions plus unlimited MRT and bus rides in Taipei and New Taipei City. See my article on deciding whether Taipei fun passes are worth the money.

– If you decide not to bother with the above pass, just load money onto an EasyCard like all the locals do. Find out how it works in my EasyCard user’s guide.

– Pre-order a SIM card or WiFi Pocket Device for pickup when you arrive at the airport. 

Also have a look at my articles on 50 Unmissable Things to do in Taiwan and how to plan your complete Taiwan itinerary.

Where to Stay in Taipei

Grand Hyatt, one of the best luxury hotels in Taipei
My daughter viewing Taipei 101 from Grand Hyatt Taipei

Choosing where to stay in Taipei can be a daunting task, because the city’s sights are quite spread out, and there are seemingly unending accommodation choices. To simplify this task, I’ve written this guide to the best neighborhoods and hotels in Taipei. I’ve also got guides to the best hostels and luxury hotels.

I’ve summarized the best choices below:


Star Hostel Taipei East: This cool and eco-friendly hostel is conveniently located near Zhongxiao Dunhua MRT (see on Agoda / Booking / HostelWorld / TripAdvisor).

Old Door Hostel: Another excellent hostel choice with very private capsule dorms north of Taipei Main Station, with a little bar for meeting other travelers. (see on Agoda / Booking / HostelWorld / TripAdvisor).

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

Mid-Range and Good for Families

АrТrее Ноtеl (ѕее оn Аgоdа / Вооkіng / Кlооk / ТrірАdvіѕоr) іѕ а bоutіquе hоtеl near Taipei Arena. It lооkѕ рrеttу nоrmаl оn thе оutѕіdе, but inside is filled with plants. They’ve even got family rooms.

СіtуІnn Ноtеl Таіреі Ѕtаtіоn Вrаnсh ІІІ (ѕее оn Аgоdа / Вооkіng / Кlооk / ТrірАdvіѕоr) іѕ near Таіреі Маіn Ѕtаtіоn. Іt іѕ vеrу nеw, сlеаn, соzу, аnd соlоrful. They’ve аlѕо got а Вrаnсh І аnd Вrаnсh ІІ.


W Hotel: The W is Taipei’s 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 amazing 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 older but classic Taipei hotel features views of Taipei 101, which is just a block away, an excellent buffet restaurant, and we loved our kids’ glamping experience there!

3 Day Itinerary: Day 1

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


Get a spiritual start to your day by visiting Taipei’s most important temple, Longshan Temple. In the morning, there’s a mesmerizing chanting ceremony from 6 to 6:45 AM and again from 8 to 8:45 AM. You can see a video of the ceremony in my article on the 30 best temples in Taipei and read how to pray to the matchmaking god for love in my Longshan Temple guide.

If you happen to visiting Taipei during Chinese New Year, Longshan Temple is a great place to see crowds of devotees praying for a prosperous year on New Year’s Day. Learn more in my guide to Taipei’s festivals.

Don’t forget to stroll through Herb Alley right next to the temple, where various traditional Chinese herbs and medicines are sold, and wander through the surrounding neighborhood to gaze at all the Buddhist religious paraphernalia for sale in the shops.

If you’re looking for a local breakfast in the area, try 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. Learn about the foods on offer in the breakfast section of my guide to Taiwanese breakfast.

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

Next, hop on the MRT or take the Hop-on Hop-off Double Decker bus to Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall, an awe-inspiring Taipei City landmark featuring a white and blue domed hall honoring the former dictator, as well as the classical Chinese architecture of the National Theater and National Concert Halls.

For lunch, walk or backtrack on the MRT to funky Ximen district, Taipei’s coolest neighborhood. I put this stop later in the morning because most things there don’t open until around 10 or 11 AM.

There are tons of interesting and unique teashops and restaurants in Ximen. While you’re there, watch out for tattoo street, cosplay cafés, or get an ancient Chinese knife massage!     

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


Depending on how much energy and how hot it is out, you may want to go back to your hotel for a rest after lunch. Alternatively, history lovers may want to consider exploring Di Hua Street in Dadaocheng, Taipei’s most interesting historic neighborhood, on foot for a few hours.

Next, head to eastern Taipei to get a bird’s eye view of Taipei from either Taipei 101 or Elephant Mountain.

Bamboo stalk-shaped Taipei 101, once the tallest building in the world, offers the best view of the city. Take the world’s 3rd fastest elevator up to the 89th floor observatory, and don’t forget to go up to the outdoor 91st floor, and also check out the huge stabilizing ball suspended in the middle! There’s also a shop selling cute Taiwan souvenirs there.

Lines for the observatory can easily take up to an hour or more, so factor that into your planning. Aim to be up there just before sunset! Get your Taipei 101 Observatory ticket online in advance and choose the “priority pass” if you want to skip the line. The Taipei Observatory is the most valuable item on the Taipei Unlimited Fun Pass, so if you get this pass, make sure to go there!

If you want a free option with no lines, then take the MRT one stop further to Elephant Mountain. It’s a little steep but only takes about 1.5 hours (return from Xiangshan MRT) to reach lookout points with the classic, picture postcard view of Taipei 101 and the city.

If you prefer to escape the crowds, consider one of these other hikes in Taipei with views of Taipei 101.

For those visiting as a family, see my article on Taipei with kids.


Stinky tofu, Taiwan
Stinky tofu, a Taiwanese night market classic

You’re probably starving by now, so walk or take the MRT 1-2 stops (or walk!) to Xinyi Anhe Station, where you can find Tonghua (Linjiang Street) Night Market.

Surprisingly laid-back and local considering the proximity to the ritzy Taipei 101 area, this is a great place for your first Taipei night market venture, the essential Taiwanese eating experience. Taiwanese won’t forgive you if you don’t try the stinky tofu! (note: there’s even a whole neighborhood in New Taipei City dedicated to stinky tofu, called Shenkeng Old Street!)

To learn more about why kind of foods you can try there, here are 101 popular street foods in Taipei! If you’d rather have a sit-down meal after all that walking, consult by guide to the best Taipei restaurants.

If you’ve still got energy after that, treat yourself to a fancy cocktail in a “secret” speakeasy-style bar nearby, such as Alchemy or Ounce.

For serious foodies, there are some really great cooking courses in Taipei, covering a huge variety of styles and tastes. Check out the best cooking courses in Taipei here!

3 Day Itinerary: Day 2

National Palace Museum, a must on your Taipei 3 day itinerary
Entrance to the National Palace Museum


Start your day with one of Taipei’s most famous breakfast restaurants or a sushi breakfast at Addiction Aquatic Development, a luxury seafood market that opens at 7 a.m. They have a variety of take-away meals.

Next, make your way to the National Palace Museum, the most important museum in the greater China region, with 700,000 artifacts in its permanent collection. The museum opens at 8:30 am, and you can get there by taking bus R30 from Shilin MRT Station or a quick taxi. There’s also the Shung Ye Aboriginal Museum next door.

Reserve your National Palace ticket or a National Palace and Shung Ye Museum combined ticket to save a little money. Entrance to the National Palace Museum is also covered by the Taipei Unlimited Fun Pass.

You can get to National Palace Museum by riding the MRT red line to Shilin station, then taking one of several buses from this bus stop, or a cab. The National Palace Museum is closed on Mondays.

If museums aren’t your thing, consider exploring Dihua Street if you didn’t already to that yesterday, or do one of these hikes in the morning before proceeding to the next stop. I’d recommend Battleship Rock (#6 in the article), which will be on the way to the next stop and has some distant views of Taipei 101.

For an authentic aboriginal experience in Taiwan, try Ita Thao village on Sun Moon Lake, remote Orchid Island in Taitung County, or this aboriginal cooking course in Hualien.

Hell Valley, Beitou, Taiwan
Steaming Hell Valley, Beitou


From National Palace Museum return to the MRT and continuing north to Beitou station. Transfer to the two-stop pink line to Xinbeitou station for the Beitou Thermal Area, the most famous of Taiwan’s numerous hot springs, where you can start by having lunch at Sushi Express across from the MRT station, or wait in line for the hot spring ramen shop. See here for my detailed guide to Beitou Hot Spring!

Even when it’s not winter in Taiwan, there are loads of interesting sights in Beitou. Stroll along the hot spring park in front of the station, which features a steaming hot creek, eco-frendly Beitou public library, Beitou Hot Spring Museum, and just past the park, enormous, steaming Hell Valley (closed Mondays).

For a private soak, all the hotels along the park offer a room with a tub for NTD1000+ for 90 minutes. The main options for mixed sex (wearing bathing suits) soak are the cheaper Beitou Public Hot Spring or the better Spring City Resort, which offers this heavily discounted online deal. This is the best option for families, but it’s also the furthest from the MRT station.

Note that most things in Beitou are closed on Mondays.

For a classier hot spring soak, try this hot spring experience at Gaia Hotel or do a staycation at Tienlai Hot Spring Resort (one hour from Taipei in Yangmingshan National Park).

Guandu Temple, Taipei
Intricate roof details at Guandu Temple

Next, continue north on the MRT red line to Guandu station, from where it’s a 10-minute walk to Guandu temple, my favorite temple in the greater Taipei area. This is an optional side trip, so skip it if you are short on time!

I like Guandu Temple because, besides the usual ornate features of all Taiwanese temples, it features an 80-meter tunnel through the mountain with 28 gods that leads to a lookout point and impressive Guanyin statue, as well as a lovely exterior that you can admire from the stairs leading up behind the temple.

Sunset at Lover's bridge, Fisherman's Wharf, Danshui
Sunset at Lover’s bridge, Fisherman’s Wharf

Continue to the terminal station of the red line, Tamsui (the Taiwanese language pronunciation of Danshui), where you can stroll the riverside promenade. There’s loads of seafood treats, and watch for the Turkish ice cream stall! Nearby, you can also visit the old San Domingo Fort, which is covered by the Taipei Unlimited Fun Pass.

Take a bus or 10-15 minute river ferry from here to Fisherman’s Wharf, a pretty harbor with a lovely walking bridge that is famous for its amazing sunsets. See my full Tamsui guide here.

To get back, you can either take the same ferry back to Tamsui riverside area, a bus back to Tamsui MRT, or hop on the new Danhai LRT line from Fisherman’s Wharf to Hongshulin station on the MRT (one station below Tamsui).

If you need a snack, stalls should be opening up Tamsui Night Market, right beside Tamsui MRT station, by the time you get there.


On the way back to Taipei, if you want more night market action, get off at Shilin or Jiantan MRT for Shilin Night Market, the largest and most famous night market in Taipei. Be prepared to get lost inside, and keep an eye out for the air-conditioned underground food courts!

Other dinner options include Din Tai Fung, Taipei’s famous Michelin-star soup dumpling restaurant, at the Mitsukoshi Nanxi location near Zhongshan MRT. Be prepared to wait in a line, though! A more unusual choice would be Modern Toilet restaurant in Shilin or Ximending.

3 Day Itinerary: Day 3

If you’d like ideas for a third day in Taipei City, read on! But if you want to use your third day for a day trip, then skip to the next section below.

Riding the Maokong Gondola in Taipei with kids
My wife and kids on Maokong Gondola


Hop on the brown line to the terminal Taipei Zoo station to reach the Maokong Gondola. The earlier the better, to avoid lines on weekends (opens 9 am weekdays, 8:30 weekends). You can swipe your MRT EasyCard to enter, then watch for the line for Crystal Cabins, the glass bottomed car – see the photo above (unless that’s too scary for you!)

If you’re looking for a deal here, there’s a Taipei Zoo and Maokong Gondola pass. Rides on the Maokong Gondola are also included on the Taipei Unlimited Fun Pass and are one option on the Taipei Transport Pass.

It takes about 25 minutes to reach Maokong Station after passing Taipei Zoo South Station and Zhinan Temple. If you’re visiting Taipei Zoo next, a smart thing to do is to get off at Taipei Zoo South Station on the way back down. You can enter the zoo there, then walk downhill through the zoo back to the main entrance near the MRT station. Zhinan Temple is also worth a stop – the temple has an excellent view of the city below.

The main thing to do at Maokong is to sip on local baozhong oolong tea from one of the many traditional tea shops, many of which overlook tea fields. It’s meant to be done slowly and with a group; for a faster visit you can grab a single cup or a tea-flavored ice cream from one of the shops near the station. Learn all about this and other Taiwanese teas here.

If tea is your thing, consider this Maokong and Pingling tea-focused day tour, which including a beautiful but difficult to reach tea farm.

See some of my fellow travel bloggers’ ideas for things to do in Taipei and the best Taipei day trips!

Silver Stream Cave and Waterfall, Maokong, Taiwan
Silver Stream Cave and Waterfall, Maokong

To get off the main tourist trail, I would recommend doing the 1.5 hour return hike to Silver Stream Cave and Waterfall, a small temple surrounded by jungle, but it’s a little tricky to find, with a few different route options, so you’ll want to look up info before going, and perhaps show people the Chinese name for it (銀河洞, GPS: 24.95861, 121.58318) to make sure you’re going the right way.

If you want to get back to the MRT faster than the gondola, there are also buses and taxis waiting to go down the mountain. There are also several food stalls around Maokong Station if you’re ready for lunch before going back down.

If you’re planning to visit Taipei Zoo next, get off the gondola and Taipei Zoo South Station to enter it. It’s quite large, so budget at least a few hours for the zoo. There are restaurants inside.

Huashan Creative Arts Park, Taipei
Lavender and beautiful artwork at Huashan Creative Arts Park


Heading back to central Taipei by MRT, get off at Zhongxiao Xinsheng to visit Huashan 1914 Creative Park, a Japanese-era sake distillery that has been converted to an arts park and event venue.

It’s a great place for a stroll or having a picnic in the large park behind. Try Alleycats for pizza and beer or one of the cafés on site. Next, back to the MRT and three stops east on the blue line to Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall, a monument to the founding father or the Republic of China, lying under the shadow of Taipei 101.

If you liked Huashan, than you can also check out Songshan Cultural and Creative Park, a short walk from SYS Memorial Hall, and it’s worth going up to Eslite bookstore in the Eslite building there, a famous Taipei book chain that has won awards for it’s interior design, and which allows people to sit anywhere inside and read their books without buying them.


Zhongxiao East Road, which follows the blue MRT line through Taipei’s eastern district, is a food paradise. The section between Sun Yat-sen and Zhongxiao Fuxing MRT stations, and all the little lanes branching off in this section, are especially packed with eating options, especially hot pot, BBQ, and Izakaya-style Japanese restaurants.

There are also a few branches of Din Tai Fung if you didn’t go there on Day 2.

Want to get more off-the-beaten-track? Try the Museum of World Religions or go for lunch in Little Burma, both of which are located in New Taipei City (the city that surrounds Taipei) but MRT accessible.

Day 3 (option 2): Take a Day Trip from Taipei

If you only have three days in Taipei before moving on to other parts of Taiwan, then you might want to only do the first two days of the above itinerary, or pick and choose whichever spots sound best. Then use your Day 3 for a day trip from the city.

This extremely popular day tour from Taipei hits several of the most famous day trips in one day. These include Yehliu Geopark, Shifen Waterfall, Golden Waterfall, and Jiufen Old Street. It’s possible, but a little complicated, to visit them all on your own by public transportation. Find out how in my guide to the best day trips from Taipei.

I’ve also got detailed guides for some of the best day trips, like Jiufen Old Street and Shifen Waterfall. In winter, try Wulai Hot Spring or Jiaoxi Hot Spring.

If you’re visiting Taiwan in summer, here are the 6 best beaches around Taipei, or you can try visiting one of these fun theme parks and waterparks around Taipei.

There are also numerous attractions in Yilan that are especially suitable for visitors with kids.

Cat snoozing in a kitty shrine at the Houtong Cat Village, Taiwan
Cat lover’s paradise: Houtong Cat Village

Well, I hope you’ve found everything you needed and more for planning the perfect three days in Taipei. If you still have any questions about your itinerary, please comment below or join my free Taiwan Travel Planning group, where I will personally answer any questions about traveling in Taiwan!

13 thoughts on “How to Spend 3 Awesome Days in Taipei”

  1. Awesome tips! Can you write a 3-week guide to Taiwan? Jk lol! I found your blog through Pinterest and despite living in Taiwan for the past two months, I learned a few tips and places to see from your blog post!

    p.s. I am also a fellow Canadian who used to live in Calgary *waves hello*

  2. Nick
    My family hv given me the task of planning 3 to 4 days in Taipei i.e. starting 24th January 2019…. Chinese New Year.

    Do you know of a travel agent who can help me with this cos i do not want to be stranded in a hotel with nothing to do

    • Hi M C Loo, could you please send me an email at [email protected] and I share some ideas with you. Please tell me what kind of activities you are interested in, age of people, and budget preference (you prefer very cheap or willing to spend $ on a tour?). Thanks!

  3. Thank so much for an amazing itinerary! I just completed it solo and had a blast. Couldn’t have had such a fine trip without you.

  4. I think ,that Taiwan is really a beautiful place to have your self-relaxed . Your photos are gorgeous! I’m impressed! It is definitely on my bucket list.

  5. thank you. the link for your ‘stuff to do with kids’ was broken.
    can you send that to me at [email protected]?
    Also, My 9 yo son is very athletic and playful…would probably like a playground pitstop while we’re playing tourist. Can you recommend some great parks for a 9 yo jumpy boy?

    happy to meet you for a meal if that’s fun for you.

    also, booked a the Caesar Tai Pei. looks like a family friendly hotel with a big pool. Is there any reason to cancel that (free for now) and book elsewhere?

    thank you. Steve and Silas (sonny boy)

  6. Hi Nick,

    We’re spending CNY in Taipei this year following your 3 day itinerary. All your tips were so informative & helpful. Thank you thank you!

  7. Hi Nick
    I am a passionate traveller not young like you travelled to 72 countries…
    Normally travel in a package on my terms , we are a group of about 15 or more pax senior citizens.
    I have read your tips but still not convinced of what I should do in 3/4 days in Taipei..
    I want to do 2 day tours in Taipei n stay 2 days to explore in our own
    Can u advice the tours…my agent Edison has offered only one day city tour…need another one…do u recommommend day visit to to Taroke Gorge or hot springs? No adventure for us like hikes bikes etc
    Like u to suggest a location for hotel…we always find a city centre so we can walk around n rest in the hotel n out again?
    Will await your reply
    Best regards
    Maria wynoma

    • First of all, there are not many tours I’m aware of in Taipei city. Most travelers visit taipei city on their own because it’s just so easy to get around by MRT or taxi and tour the sights by yourself, so you don’t really need a guide, and driving is not easy there due to lack of parking spaces. Taroko Gorge as a day trip from taipei is not recommended. Day tours by car take 3-4 hours of driving each way, plus driving time in the gorge itself. That equates to up to 10 hrs of driving in one day for only a few hours of sightseeing. It’s better to go there as a 1 or 2 night trip so you can have a whole day for touring the gorge. For hotels, please see my guide “where to stay in Taipei” for my recommendations.


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