18 Insider Tips for Taipei
It takes a seasoned touch to mine this capital's vast quarry of cool. T+L asked three longtimers to tap into the city's secrets. By Joe Henley.
Published on Apr 3, 2015
Resident DJ of Havana Pool Party
Moved from the U.S. in 1998
FAVORITE NEIGHBORHOOD The Xinyi area at night is a people-watching paradise, especially because (1) Taipei 101 (taipei-101.com.tw) lights up the background so superbly. IN-TOWN ESCAPE An hour floating in a saltwater tank at (2) Dream Water (dreamwater.asia/en) can give you great insight into your own mind. WEEKEND GETAWAY Taichung is the spot to find fancy romantic hotels at reasonable prices for your own private party with a loved one. BEST NEW FIND The (3) Shrimp Daddy (11 Lane 180, Guangfu South Rd., Da'an District; +886 2 2771 0910), a gumbo restaurant that serves dinner in a bag. QUINTESSENTIAL TAIPEI BITE (4) Toasteria (toasteriacafe.com/en) has taken the grilled cheese sandwich experience to the next level. The food is exquisite and the ambience is always pitch-perfect. ON FRIDAY I'M USUALLY Getting a quick DJ practice session in before heading out to (5) Room 18 (B1, 22 Songshou Rd.; room18.com.tw) for the electronic dance music.
Freelance writer and author of Au Tour de la France
Moved from Kaohsiung in 2005
UNDERRATED OUTING Don't miss (6) Yangmingshan National Park (english.ymsnp.gov.tw). There are many beautiful paths for hikers and Xiaoyoukeng trail is my favorite. HOTEL RECOMMENDATION (7) Wego Boutique Hotel (we-go.com.tw/dazhi) in Dazhi. There are more than 20 themed rooms; ask for the Lovely Bali room. LAST GREAT MEAL Fried noodles at (8) Shuiyuan Market, in front of National Taiwan University. When I have no idea what to eat, I just go there. BEST REASON TO LIVE IN TAIPEI You can do so much in a single day. Wake up early to go hiking at (9) Yangming Mountain, then visit the (10) National Palace Museum (221 Zhishan Rd., Section 2, Shilin District), and at night sing karaoke at (11) KTV (Holiday KTV; holiday.com.tw). ONLY IN TAIPEI can you go (12) shrimp fishing (Fishes the Shrimp Field, 13 Zhishan Rd., Section 3, Shilin District) in the city. TAIPEI TIP Get an (13) Easycard (easycard.com.tw). It makes it easy to get around on public transportation and you can use it instead of cash to pay for anything.
Yangmingshan National Park
Lead singer of Chthonic; writer; activist
Born and raised in Taipei
IF TAIPEI WERE A STYLE OF MUSIC IT WOULD BE Indie pop, not too commercial but business-minded at the same time. ON FRIDAYS I'M USUALLY At (14) Under the Big Tree (2 Lane 382, Jiaxing St.). You eat seafood, drink beer, chat with friends. It's the best combination. WHAT NOBODY TELLS YOU Many well-known tourist attractions such as (15) Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall are named for the world's fourth most murderous dictator. BEST LIVE MUSIC VENUE (16) Legacy (legacy.com.tw; Huashan 1914, 1 Bade Rd., Section 1). The lighting and sound are very professional, and even size of the venue can be controlled so that different bands can stage performances in their own way. QUINTESSENTIAL TAIPEI BITE Stinky tofu. For that I go to (17) A-Chiang's Stinky Tofu (45 Jingmei St., Wenshan District) at Jingmei Night Market. FAVORITE NEIGHBORHOOD (18) Beitou retains many historical monuments and rare places, and proves this is more than just a crazy growing city.
Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall