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.
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. I’ll also include ideas for the best day trips out of the city.
Taipei in 4 Days: Where to Stay
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.
Unlike some cities, location isn’t super important in Taipei. Since Central Taipei is actually fairly compact, and the MRT connects everything in a flash, all that really matters is that you are close to any MRT station. But if you really want to be in a cool neighborhood, Ximending is the funkiest, Dadaocheng and Wanhua are historic, Da An is where university students hang, and Dong Qu (Eastern District, around Zhongxiao Fuxing and Zhongxiao Dunhua stations) is the most modern and fashionable.
How to Plan Your Taipei 4 Day Itinerary
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, 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 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 and 7 a.m. or 8 and 9 a.m., when the whole temple comes alive with a daily Buddhist chanting ceremony.
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 hop on the Taipei double decker sightseeing bus to Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall, Taipei’s most iconic historical structure, 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.
Next, retrace your path 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 eat in Modern Toilet, a poop-themed restaurant.
See more details in my article on 25 awesome and weird things to do in Ximending.
Consider taking a rest in a café or at your hotel after lunch, and then 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.
If you prefer to hike for a view, head to Elephant Mountain beside Taipei 101, but be prepared to contend with crowds for the best selfies spots. The trails continue to thee other crowd-free mountains with equally great views.
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, but there are many other great ones to choose from as well. For more information, see my article on Taipei’s top 15 night markets, where you’ll find the famous specialties at each one.
Taipei Itinerary Day 2
On day two, it’s time to uncover more of Taipei’s local culture. Start your day bright and early at the National Palace Museum (it opens at 8:30 a.m.), 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 to get there.
Next, head up the MRT red line to Beitou Hot Spring (transfer at Beitou MRT station to Xinbeitou on the two-stop pink line). This is Taipei’s own hot spring village, developed during the Japanese colonial times. Here you can see (or soak in) historic Japanese bathhouses, see the steam rising from Hell Valley, and have a lunch of hot spring noodles.
See all the hot spring options and things to do in Beiotu in my complete article on Beitou Hot Spring.
In the late afternoon, continue along the red line to the terminal stop, Danshui. Exit the station and walk along the riverside promenade, lined with food stalls and shops. Hop on a river ferry (you can swipe your MRT card) to Fisherman’s Wharf, famous for beautiful sunsets from Lover’s Bridge.
On the way back to the city center, stop at Shilin Night Market, Taipei’s biggest, or dine at Din Tai Fung, Taipei’s most famous restaurant. Skip the lines at Din Tai Fung by pre-ordering, or visit Din Tai Feng as a part of this Taipei night tour.
Taipei Itinerary Day 3
If you decided to spend a third day in the city instead of making 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.
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. If you just want a quick sample, grab a cup to go or a tea-flavored ice cream from one of the shops near the gondola 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 Dadaocheng neighborhood on foot, the Jianguo Weekend Jade and Flower Market, Songshan Cultural and Creative Park, or Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall.
For a very local dinner, try one of the city’s quick fry restaurants, featuring cheap local fare (heavy on the seafood) stir fried and washed down with Taiwan Beer. Some great choies are Pin Xian (品鱻), Ba Xian Grill (八仙炭烤), and 打咔生猛活海鮮.
After dinner, if craft beer is your thing, try Driftwood, Craft Beer Taproom (啜飲室 大安), or Mikkeller Taipei. For fancy cocktails, try finding the “hidden” speakeasy bars Ounce, Alchemy, or movie theater-themed Hankou 60.
Taipei Itinerary Day 4: Taipei Day Trip Ideas
With four days in Taipei, you should use one or two of them to make day trips around Northern Taiwan. It only takes 1-2 hours to reach any of these spots from the city center!
I’ll give you three different Taipei day trip ideas to choose from. If you want to squeeze all three of these days trips into one day, it’s possible by riding this Yehliu Geopark, Jiufen and Shifen Shuttle Bus!
Besides the day trip ideas below, you may also want to consider a day at the beach. See my complete article on Taipei’s best beaches within 1-2 hours of the city!
Option 1: Yehliu Geopark & Keelung
On the northeast coast, the cape at Yehliu is famous for its windswept coastline and bizarre rock formations, the most famous of which looks like a queen’s head and is one of the symbols of Taiwan.
The bus to Yehliu takes 90 minutes from Taipei West Bus Station Terminal A (beside Taipei Main Station). After visiting Yehliu, there are several bus to Keelung, nortern Taiwan’s largest port. Here you can have dinner at Miaokou Night Market, which is my personal favorite night market in all of Taiwan (Anthony Bourdain went there too!)
From Keelung, it only takes about 40 minutes back to Taipei on the local train.
Option 2: Jiufen and Jinshuashi
This is probably the most popular day trip from Taipei. Jiufen is a small village on the side of a mountain overlooking the sea. It once prospered when gold was mined in the area, went into decline, and has now become a tourist hot spot.
Many people believe that Jiufen was the inspiration behind Murakami’s Spirited Away (though Murakami himself has stated this is not true). You can get a real feel for this though if you head to Amei Teahouse, Jiufen’s most iconic building. You can even rent a traditional Chinese qipao for taking photos in Jiufen!
Get to Jiufen by taking bus 1062 from Zhongxiao Fuxing MRT station, or the regular train from Taipei to Ruifang then transferring to a local bus. Another option is this Jiufen shuttle bus from Ximending.
The same buses from Taipei or Ruifang continue another five minutes to Jinguashi Gold Ecological Park, where you can explore the area’s mining history, see Golden Waterfall, enjoy awesome views down on the coast, or hike to Teapot Mountain.
You can also visit the area as a part of this tour.
Option 3: Pingxi and Shifen Waterfall
From Ruifang train station, you can transfer to the small-gauge Pingxi train line, which veers inland to a series of rural villages that make for a great day trip from the city.
Houtong, before the train line veers off the main coastal route, is famous as the Cat Village. The tiny hamlet has over 100 cats to pet, as well as cat related treats and souvenirs.
Sandiaoling, at the exact point where the train veers inland, has my favorite easy hike in the greater Taipei area, the Sandiaoling Waterfall hike. At the second waterfall on the hike you can even climb into a cave behind the waterfall!
Get off at Shifen station for Shifen Waterfall, the widest waterfall in Taiwan, while Pingxi station is famous for the annual Mass Sky Lantern Release on the 14th day of the lunar year. You can actually release sky lanterns with your wishes written on them year-round, because I local environmental and trekking organizations advise against doing this.
Well, that sums up my Taipei 4 day itinerary suggestions. I hope you found some useful information in here, and if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask in the comments below!
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