How to Spend 4 Awesome Days in Taipei

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If you’ve got a trip booked to Taipei, Taiwan, and now you’re wondering how to plan your visit to the capital, you’ve come to the right place. Below I’ll provide multiple options for planning a Taipei 4 day itinerary that is perfect for you, based on my experience living in Taipei for over 10 years and checked hundreds of people’s Taipei itinerary in my Taiwan Travel Planning group.

Even if you are only visiting Taipei on your trip, you can experience some of the best of Taiwan in the greater Taipei area, so this can also serve as your Taiwan 4 day itinerary. If you haven’t already booked your trip, here are my recommendations for the best month to visit Taipei.

Taipei Itinerary Essentials

– Check Klook to find great discounts on tickets, transportation, and more in Taipei. Sign up with this link to get NT$100 off your first activity booking!

– Also see my articles on Taipei in 2 days, Taipei in 3 days, 5 days in Taiwan, visiting Taipei with kids, my recommended Taipei day trip ideas, and my general Taiwan travel guide.

– The Taipei Unlimited Fun Pass can save you money. Read my guide to Taipei Fun Passes to find out how. If you don’t get the pass, simply pick up an EasyCard to board public transportation in major cities.

– Pick up the latest copy of Lonely Planet Taiwan or Lonely Planet Taipei.

– Order a SIM card or portable WiFi device for pickup at the airport.

– Arrange a private vehicle from the airport to your hotel (usually cheaper than a taxi) or rent a car at the airport.

Where to Stay in Taipei

If you’re only spending 4 days in Taiwan, it is easiest to choose a hotel in Taipei for your whole stay and just do  day trips from the city. Like any metropolis, there are an overwhelming number of hotel choices in Taipei.

It’s tough to narrow it down, so I’ve done the homework for you and provided a list of choices that are centrally located, very close to MRT stations or transportation hubs, and have the highest ratings & best reviews from travelers. Find my complete list of recommendations in my detailed Taipei accommodation guide.

Below is a quick summary of some of the best choices:

Eastern district, Taipei
Eastern District, the most fashionable area to stay in Taipei

Luxury

The W Taipei (see on Agoda / Booking / TripAdvisor ) is undoubtedly Taipei’s hippest choice, and my wife and I  love going there for a drink at their poolside bar or for the awesome weekend lunch buffet.

Palais de Chine (see on Agoda / Booking / TripAdvisor ) houses Taipei’s only Michelin 3-star restaurant, while Humble House (see on Agoda / Booking / TripAdvisor ) and Okura Prestige (see on Agoda / Booking / TripAdvisor ) are other great family-friendly choices with rooftop pools.

Mid-Range

APause (see on Agoda / Booking / TripAdvisor ) and CityInn (see on Agoda / Booking / TripAdvisor ) are two highly reviewed mid-range choices near Taipei Main Station.

Amba (see on Agoda / Booking / TripAdvisor ) in Ximending is a boutique hotel with 24-hour front desk, perfect for late arrivals or early departures.

Hostels

The most stylish and conveniently located hostels where you get the most bang for your buck are Old Door Hostel near Taipei Main Station (see on Agoda / Booking / TripAdvisor ), Dan Hostel丹居青旅 in Ximending (see on Agoda / Booking / HostelWorld / TripAdvisor ), or Star Hostel Taipei East in Eastern District (see on Agoda / Booking / HostelWorld / Tripadvisor ).

Taipei Itinerary for Four Days

If you are doing Taipei in 4 days, then I would suggest spending two or three of your days in the city, and making one or two day-trips from the city.

If you’re more of a city person and really want to spend all four days exploring Taipei city only, without day trips, then you can find more than enough ideas to fill your four days in Taipei in my list of 50 things to do in Taipei, including some off-the-beaten-track ideas.

Taipei 4 Day Itinerary: Day 1

Start by checking some major Taipei attractions off your list. Longshan Temple, Taipei’s most famous and important temple, is a good place to start. Try to make it between 6 a.m. or 8 a.m., when the temple comes alive with a daily Buddhist chanting ceremony.

If you are especially interested in temples, then consult my detailed guide to the top 30 temples in Taipei, where you can see a video I shot of the chanting ceremony.

Longshan Temple morning chanting ceremony
Morning chanting ceremony at Longshan Temple. (See what mirrorless camera and lens I shot this with!)

Take a peek at Herb Alley next to the temple, and enjoy a typical Taiwanese breakfast at Yonghe Four Seas Soy Milk King (永和四海豆漿大王—萬華店) nearby.

Next, take the MRT or even walk to Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall, one of Taiwan’s most iconic landmarks, dedicated to the former dictator. You’ll only need about 30-60 minutes here to admire the imposing blue and white structure in a huge square, flanked by the classical Chinese-style National Theater and National Concert Hall.

After that, retrace your MRT path or walk to Ximending, Taipei’s coolest neighborhood, where things begin opening up around 11 a.m. Visit historic Red Theater, with its weekend craft market and collection of LGBT bar patios, admire street art on graffiti lane, or check out some of the neighborhood’s quirky cafes, such as this cat cafe.

See more details in my article on things to do in Ximending and my food guide to Ximending. I recommend this area as the third stop because most shops and food stalls there don’t open until around 10 or 11 AM.

Street Art in Ximending, Taipei
Street art in Ximending

After lunch, choose between exploring Dihua Street (Taipei’s oldest street) on foot, Addiction Aquatic for seafood, or Huashan 1914 Creative Arts Park. Ambitious travelers could visit 2 or even 3 of these in the afternoon.

Next, Catch the MRT to Taipei 101, Taipei’s most famous landmark. You can take in epic, 360-degree views from the Taipei 101 Observation Deck on the 89th-91st floors and see the enormous 720-ton stabilizer ball which keeps 101 from falling in a major earthquake.

You can save money by booking your tickets online first. Choose “express pass” for the skip-the-line ticket option – the regular line for the observatory often takes up to 1 hour. I recommend coming around 4 to 5 PM, so that you can watch sunset from the top and observe the city lights coming on at night.

The Taipei 101 Observation Deck is the most valuable item included on the Taipei Unlimited Fun Pass, so if you get this pass, make sure to use it here!

Visiting Taipei during Chinese New Year? Find out what will be open or closed in my guide to Taipei during Lunar New Year.

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

If you prefer to hike for a view (and for free!), head to Elephant Mountain beside Taipei 101 instead. Just be prepared to contend with crowds for the best selfie spots. The trail continue to thee other crowd-free mountains with equally great views. The trail starts about 10 minutes from Xiangshan (Elephant Mountain) MRT station, one station past Taipei 101. From the trailhead, you’ll need to walk up stairs for about 15 minutes to reach the main viewpoint.

To complete your day, visit one of the famed Taipei night markets, where crowds flock after dusk to sample Michelin-rated street foods.

Tonghua Night Market is walking distance from Taipei 101 (or 1 stop on the MRT, to Xinyu Anhe station). Therefore, it makes most sense to choose this night market for tonight.

For more information on this and other ones, see my articles on Taipei’s top night markets and the best Taiwanese foods to try.

After dinner, if craft beer is your thing, try Driftwood, Craft Beer Taproom, RedPoint Brewing, or Mikkeller Taipei.

For fancy cocktails (clothing change may be needed first!), try finding one of the “secret” speakeasy-style bars such as Ounce, Alchemy, or movie theater-themed Hankou 60 in Ximending.

Want to get off the beaten track in Taipei? See my article on the Museum of World Religions and my food guide to Little Myanmar in New Taipei City.

Taipei 4 Day Itinerary: Day 2

On day two, it’s time to uncover more of Taipei’s local culture! For today’s schedule, I suggest avoiding Monday, when some things I’ll recommend are closd.

Start by checking out the city’s most famous seafood market, Addiction Aquatic, if you didn’t already visit it yesterday. It opens from 7 a.m. and has fresh meals to take away or enjoy on site. Otherwise, try a traditional Taiwanese breakfast – I recommend the most famous restaurants in Taipei here, including a whole section of breakfast shops.

Then head to the National Palace Museum (opens 9 AM, closed Mondays). It is widely regarded as the most important museum in the Chinese-speaking world. Around 3000 of the museum’s staggering 700,000 artifacts are on display at any given time. Take the R30 bus from Shilin MRT on the red line to get there.

If museums aren’t your thing, consider a morning hike instead. For today’s schedule, Battleship Rock trail would make most sense, as it is also accessed from the red MRT line. It is the 6th hike in my guide to the best hikes in Taipei.

A blue running track in the foreground, with Taipei 101 poking out in the background
Taipei 101 visible on Battleship Rock trail

Next, continue on the MRT red line to Beitou Hot Spring (transfer at Beitou MRT station to Xinbeitou on the two-stop pink line). This is Taipei city’s only hot spring village, developed during the Japanese colonial times.

Here you can see (or soak in) historic Japanese bathhouses, see the steam rising from Beitou Thermal Valley, and have a lunch of hot spring noodles. Even if you’re not visiting Taipei in winter, it’s still good fun to visit, and is the most famous of all the hot springs in Taiwan. Avoid Monday, though, when many things in Beitou are closed.

If you want to go for a soak, Beitou Public Hot Spring is the cheapest, but watch for the opening times. They close it every couple hours for cleaning. A nicer option, and better for kids, is Spring City Resort (great online deal here), but it’s a little further from the MRT station.

Plum Garden, Beitou hot spring
Historic Japanese architecture in Beitou

In the late afternoon, return to Beitou station and continue along the red line to the terminal stop, Tamsui. Exit the station and walk along the riverside promenade, lined with food stalls and shops.

Hop on a river ferry (you can swipe your EasyCard or Taipei Unlimited Fun Pass) to Fisherman’s Wharf, famous for beautiful sunsets from Lover’s Bridge. For more details, see my guide to Tamsui Old Street.

To return to Taipei, you can take the ferry or a bus back to Tamsui MRT, or ride the new LRT from Lover’s Bridge to Hongshulin station (one stop before Tamsui) on the red MRT line.

On the way back to the city center, stop at Shilin Night Market, Taipei’s biggest and most famous one. You can access it from Shilin or Jiantan stations. For a less touristy night market, try Ningxia, Raohe, or Nanjichang.

For a sit-down meal, consider Din Tai Fung, Taipei’s most famous restaurant. But be prepared for a line, as they don’t take reservations. Din Tai Feng is also included on this Taipei night tour.

Hey, food lovers! There are some really amazing food courses in Taipei, covering many types of food and diets. You may want to squeeze one of these excellent food courses in Taipei into your itinerary!

Taipei Itinerary Day 3

If you decided to spend a third day in the city instead of taking a day trip, then here are some ideas to fill your day.

In the morning, catch the MRT to the Taipei Zoo station and hop on the Maokong Gondola. Make sure to get in the line for “Crystal Cabins” if you want a glass-bottom car! Get off at the third stop, Zhinan Temple, to check out an impressive temple with great city views, then continue on to the final stop, Maokong.

If you plan to do the gondola and zoo, then you can get a small discount with this Maokong + Zoo combined ticket. A return ride on the gondola is also included on the Taipei Unlimited Fun Pass and is an optional add-on on the one-day Taipei Transport Pass.

Maokong gongola, Taipei
Riding the Maokong Gondola with Taipei 101 in the distance

The Maokong area is known for its oolong tea production (see more information in my introduction to tea in Taiwan), and teahouses where you can kick back over a pot of tea with a view. There are tea shops and some food stalls close to the gondola station. You can also hike (1.5 hours return) to Silver Stream Cave & Waterfall.

If you’d like to visit the zoo as well, then when you take the gondola back down, get off at Taipei Zoo South Station (the second last stop). This takes you to the top of the zoo (the zoo is built on a hill). Then you can walk downhill through the zoo, back to the main entrance near the MRT station.

Heading back to the city center, have a picnic lunch at Da An Park or Huashan 1914 Creative Arts Park. Other ideas for the afternoon include exploring historic Dihua Street, the Jianguo Weekend Jade and Flower Market (Saturday and Sunday only), Songshan Cultural and Creative Park, or Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall.

For dinner, visit one of the night markets you haven’t been to yet, or consult my recommended Taipei restaurants.

Taipei Itinerary Day 4: Day Trip

With four days in Taipei, you should use one or two of them to make day trips around Northern Taiwan. There are so many possibilities for day trips in the greater Taipei area that I have compiled 40 of them here!

The possibilities are practically endless, but some of the most popular day trips from Taipei include Yehliu Geopark, Keelung (famous for Keelung Night Market), Jiufen Old Street, Shifen Waterfall, Jiaoxi Hot Spring, Wulai hot spring, and these great beaches if you’re visiting during summer in Taiwan.

If you you want to see as much as possible on your day trip from taipei, there are some very popular and convenient guided day tours. This popular day tour includes the top spots: Jiufen Old Street, Golden Waterfall, Shifen Waterfall, and Yehliu Geopark. Other choices with slightly different stops are this one and this one.

Visiting all the same spots on your own by public transportation is possible but requires more time and planning. I explain exactly how to do it in my day trips guide.

Yehliu Taiwan
Rock formations at Yehliu Geopark
Miaokou Night Market in Keelung (aka Keelung night market)
Keelung’s Miaokou Night Market, my favorite night market in all of Taiwan
Jiufen, a great day trip from Taipei
Jiufen Old Street, probably the most popular day trip from Taipei
Shifen Waterfall Taiwan
Impressive Shifen Waterfall, one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Taiwan

It’s even feasible to make a day trip to Taichung in central Taiwan, where you can see Rainbow Village, Gaomei Wetlands, Feng Chia Night Market, and more. You can get there in only 1 or two hours by HSR or regular train/bus.

For planning the rest of your Taiwan itinerary, see my detailed guides to Taroko Gorge, Sun Moon Lake, and Alishan.

8 thoughts on “How to Spend 4 Awesome Days in Taipei”

  1. Hi. I have purchased a taipei unlimited fun pass. Is it possible if i use a free shuttleto go to jiufen, shifen and yehliu? So that i dont have to purchase another tour for that trip from klook.

    Reply
    • Hi there, you can visit all of those places for free using your Taipei Unlimited Fun Pass and riding the shuttle buses. However, it is a different shuttle bus line to reach each of those spots. You can take the North Coast shuttle from Danshui MRT to reach Yehliu. You can take the Gold Fulong shuttle bus from Ruifang to reach Jiufen. And you can take the Muzha-Pingxi shuttle from Muzha MRT to reach Shifen. So basically, these shuttles all depart from totally different places far apart from each other, and it would be impossible to do all three in one day. If you want to do all three of these attractions in one day, you may want to consider buying a Klook tour that goes to all three. If you really prefer to use you Unlimited Fun Pass, I would suggest this
      1. Start from Muzha MRT. Take the shuttle to Shifen.
      2. After Shifen, take the Pingxi small train from Shifen to Ruifang (you’ll need to pay for this part, but not much)
      3. From Ruifang, take the Gold Shuttle Bus to Jiufen, and the same one to come back to Ruifang.
      4. From Ruifang, take a local bus to Keelung, then transfer to another local bus to Yehliu (you may need to pay for these, because I think Keelung buses are not covered by the Unlimited Fun Pass, but should can still try)
      5. After you see Yehliu, you can use your unlimited Fun Pass and take the North Coast shuttle from Yehliu to Danshui MRT, or you can take the local bus from Yehliu back to Keelung then Keelung to Taipei.
      It’s kind of a long day, but you could do it, and this would be the best way to see all three attractions mostly using your unlimited fun pass.
      Please also see my articles on “Taipei Unlimited Fun Pass” and “Getting to Jiufen and Shifen” for more details!
      Nick

      Reply
  2. Hi,
    Thank you for the amazing posts on Taipei travel planning! We are planning a one week visit there to do some recon as we’re interested in moving there for a few years with our two toddlers. I’m primarily using your site to plan where to stay and what to do. Question about the hot springs, do you know if you can extend your stay for the private Gaia experience for longer than the allotted 90 min?

    Thanks again!
    Cindy

    Reply
    • Hi Cindy,
      Sounds like a great idea! I’m sorry that I don’t know what their rules are for extending a hot spring experience, but I can only guess that they would want you to pay the same fee for another 90 minutes. If your lucky, the might to like an extra 30 for 1/3 of the price, but don’t be surprised if they can’t; sometimes places in Taiwan set these things then the clerks aren’t able to change them. Generally, though, we always find that this is enough time…Some only do 60 but that’s a bit rushed. Would you be taking the kids this time? If so, you might want to give them a call first, because some places might charge for them, and I’ve been to at least one hot spring place in Beitou that didn’t allow kids. Feel free to ask if you have any kid-related questions as your possible move approaches!
      -Nick

      Reply
  3. 5pm at Taipei 101 – am pretty sure it’s to admire sunset but not sunrise 🙂

    Very informative post BTW and thanks very much for the time and effort

    Reply

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