In late July I had summer break from my school in Korea. So I decided to visit Taipei for 6 days. I really had no idea what to expect. I researched some before going, but found out that Taiwan in general is one of the least talked about places in Asia. But in general, everyone’s experiences were positive from what I read.
I liked the fact that it was farther south which means the weather was going to be more tropical. There are plenty of beaches to go to. And it was a very reasonable 2 1/2 hour flight from South Korea. Was it worth it overall though? Would I go back again? What did I like and dislike about Taipei?
General aspects that I liked about Taipei
It might not be as cheap as places like Thailand. But it was definitely cheaper than South Korea or Japan. Some of the food on the street I got for less than a dollar. And it was really good too. For example, I got a chicken patty sandwich and added egg to it for around 1$. If you stuck to the mom and pop shops then you would spend very little money in Taipei. If you decided to go to some of the foreign restaurants then you will spend as much as you would in the states.
I loved the weather the first couple of days. It wasn’t too humid and the sun was always out. We got stuck in a typhoon the last couple of days though, which wasn’t the best. But I was able to go to the beach one of the days. The weather must play a part in how friendly the locals are.
Taiwan is an old Japanese colony. If you haven’t already been to Japan, being tied to Japan in anyway is a good thing. It means that the people are very respectful and put the whole of the country above their personal desires. I think this suppresses the people to some extent, but makes for a very amazing experience for tourists seeing the country for the first time. Taipei was almost exactly the same as Japan.
The people were even more open and friendly than Japan though. It was a new dimension added on to what I experienced in Japan. And I could feel a very positive vibe just walking around that made the experience even more enjoyable.
Out of all the places I have ever been, Taipei has the best public transportation I have seen. This is really saying something too. Seoul is supposed to have some of the best public transport in the world. But the Taipei metro was just set up in a more efficient way.
When you are on one subway line and get off at a stop to transfer, 9 times out of the 10 the line you are transferring to is across the platform. You don’t have to walk up some stairs and across the station to find your transfer. It is a smaller area than Seoul. So this definitely has something to do with being able to construct the subway lines like this. But it was just so much less stressful and more convenient.
The taxis that we took were very efficient as well and extremely cheap. We took a 10 minute taxi ride a few different times for 90 Taiwan Dollars. This is like 3$. Being able to easily figure out the subway system and getting around in general makes the Taipei experience way more enjoyable.
This was the hostel we stayed at when we were in downtown Taipei. Easily one of the best hostels I have every stayed in. It was clean, spacious, and organized. We got a large amount of storage space in lockers for our luggage and other belongings. And the bathrooms were extremely clean and never crowded. It really felt like we were the only ones in this enormous hostel at the time. I highly recommend that you stay at this hostel if you are going to Taipei. You will be close to the Taipei 101 and all of the other downtown main areas.
General aspects that I didn’t like about Taipei
It’s hard to single out an entire district of a city. But I really didn’t like the Wanhua District at all. I researched some before we left. And most of the reviews said that it is comparable to Meyong-Dong in Seoul. And I guess it kind of was. But there just wasn’t anything that really interested me around that area. It was more of a younger kids type of place with hardly any bars, and really low quality choices for food. The best area was definitely down by the Taipei 101.
It wasn’t very good. I thought this was supposed to be one of the main food drink attractions of Taipei? It was just a sugary fruit drink with tapioca balls at the bottom. I don’t even know if it was real fruit.
Most of the foods that I liked while I was there weren’t actual Taiwanese foods. They were other types of foods that the restaurant or shop made really good. But the traditional Taiwanese foods I didn’t really like. And yea I did avoid the stinky tofu. I don’t know, something about that name says that it won’t be too good.
Don’t worry. I am not going to say they have terrible alcoholic drinks. Actually the opposite. They had some really interesting places to grab drinks. But they were always super expensive! The drink prices were on par with a club in Las Vegas. Beers were no less than 6$ everywhere and a lot of cocktails were 10$ plus. I was very surprised by this. So most of the time if we wanted a beer, we would grab one at the convenience store and walk around with it.
One place I highly recommend checking out despite the high prices is the R&D Cocktail Lab. They have a really cool setup. They have no menu. You basically go in and tell the bartender what kind of drinks you like and they surprise you. You can order a straight drink too. But it was fun to give them some ideas and see what I got.
Was Visiting Taipei Worth It?
I think visiting every place in the world is worth it. Because they are all so unique. Visiting Taipei was DEFINITELY worth it. Despite any negative aspects that I listed above, I had an incredible time. The friendly vibe and tropical weather make it enjoyable with whatever you are doing. There might not have been as many attractions as some other places. But I found it to have less tourists and a lot of charm. I will definitely go back and hopefully explore more than Taipei. In fact, I am planning a trip for November to make a return. Stay tuned for more reviews on places in Taiwan. Not just Taipei.
If you want a guide for getting around Taipei, check out this extensive Taipei travel guide.
And check out the Live2Grow Homepage for a ton more travel articles from around the world.