Wondering what to buy in Taiwan? In this article, I’m going to introduce more than 20 of the best Taiwan souvenirs. I’ll cover both traditional and modern & cute items, ranging from cheap souvenirs to expensive ones.
I’ve personally purchased most of these items, so I’ll even tell you exactly where to buy them. I’ll focus mainly on souvenirs in Taipei, since that’s where majority of tourists pass through.
I wrote a separate guide to the best food souvenirs (coming soon) from Taiwan because there are just too many! So in this article, I will just focus on non-edible souvenirs.
Where to Buy Souvenirs in Taiwan
For all my recommended Taiwan souvenirs below, I’ll tell you exactly where you can buy them. However, if you just want to do some general souvenir shopping, here are some of the best places in Taipei to buy souvenirs:
- Taiwan’s 4 international Airports (Taoyuan, Songshan, Taichung, Kaohsiung) for all kinds of souvenirs. Get them right before you leave.
- Ximending Shopping District in Taipei for general souvenirs and otaku prodcuts
- Lai Hao (來好) shop on Yongkang Street for general souvenirs
- Taipei 101 Observatory Gift Shop (85th floor) for cute modern souvenirs
- National Palace Museum Gift Shop (Taipei and Chiayi branches) for traditional souvenirs
- Dihua Street in Taipei for Chinese herbs, tea, and teaware
- Hayashi Department Store in Tainan for all kinds of souvenirs
Best Traditional Souvenirs
The following are traditional Taiwanese souvenirs – the perfect way to remember your trip to Taiwan.
Ceramic Tea Set
Taiwan produces some gorgeous hand-made ceramics, pottery, and tea sets. You can find anything from single all-in-one brewing mugs to elaborate full tea sets with all the gear for making gongfu-style tea.
A tea set can be a beautiful decoration for your whole that also serves a practical purpose. I’ve purchased several tea sets as souvenirs from Taiwan. I use them every day before return them back to my living room shelf. Nicer ones can even make a good wedding gift – that’s what I bought for my sister when she got married!
For far greater selection, take a trip to Yingge Ceramics Street in New Taipei City (30 minutes by local train from Taipei Main Station). There are over 100 shops there selling all kinds of pottery, ceramics, and teaware, spanning all price ranges. There’s also an excellent Ceramics Museum there.
Chinese Name Stamp
What is cooler than having a traditional name seal to stamp your name? Everyone in Taiwan has one of these, and they frequently use them as a form of signature.
It’s quite easy and cheap to have a local stamp maker to custom create a name stamp for you. There are a variety of designs and materials to choose from. They can usually be made within a few hours.
If you don’t have a Chinese name already, you can ask the vendor to transliterate your name based on how it sounds. You might want to just stick to your first name, otherwise it will become too long (most Chinese names only have three characters). For example, Marc could become 馬克 (ma ke), but Christina would become 克里斯蒂娜 (ke li si di na).
Another option would be to ask a Taiwanese person to choose a real Chinese name for you based on some things that you like. For example, my wife chose my Chinese name 章森平 (zhang = article, because I’m a writer, sen = forest because I love the forest, and ping = peace, because I’m a peaceful person). You can’t just choose random characters yourself, though, because those characters might never be used for names, so it would sound weird.
Find out how to get a red string bracelet for free after praying for love at Longshan Temple!
Traditional Chinese/Taiwanese fans are beautiful, delicate souvenirs. They can make the perfect shelf decoration when folded out and mounted for display, or they can be practical items which you actually use to fan yourself in hot weathe.
These fans can range from very cheap and likely to break to expensive works of art. Many of them fold up, with a bamboo stick to protect them, so these are very small and easy to transport. Others may be round/oval shape and don’t fold up.
Another beautiful Taiwanese souvenir that can have decorative or practice purposes is a traditional calligraphy set. These may include calligraphy brushes, brush stands, ink holders, name stamps, and other related items.
Again, these can range from cheap functional sets to works of art created by masters with generations of brush making behind them.
A particularly famous shop that I once interviewed for a calligraphy article in Discover Taipei magazine is Guo Jia Tai in Taipei.
His shop also specializes in making traditional baby brush sets. These typically include three things: a brush made with the newborn baby’s hair, footprints, and a container for the baby’s umbilical cord.
Search “書法” in GoogleMaps anywhere in Taiwan to find local shops selling calligraphy gear.
Hakka Paper Umbrella
The Hakka people in Meining, a community in Kaohsiung, have a traditional of making beautiful paper umbrellas. The stem is made of bamboo, while the paper is painted with traditional images then coated in a protective oil.
In most of Taiwan, giving an umbrella to someone is a cultural faux-pas, because the word for umbrella sands like “attend a funeral”. But for the Hakka people in Meinong, “oil” sounds like “have” and umbrella” sounds like “son”, so giving one can be a way to wish someone will have a son soon.
I love the Hakka umbrella that I purchased there and I now have it opened and on display in my living room.
The best place to see and purchase one of these beautiful umbrellas is Meinong Folk Village in Meinong. This would be a half day trip from Kaohsiung city center, which you could combine with a visit to Fo Guang Shan Monastery.
Buddhist & Taoist Statues
For many of us non-Asian tourists in Taiwan, a statue of a Buddha or Taoist god seems pretty exotic and looks cool on display in our house. Or perhaps you are a practictioner of either of these religions and it has a religious meaning for you.
Either way, the best place to shop for items like this is a whole street of shops selling religious paraphernalia near Longshan Temple in Taipei.
Traditional Chinese incense is an interesting souvenir item. Most locals would find it odd to buy incense as a souvenir. This is because they don’t burn it in their house just for fun or to make a nice smell like some Western people do. For them, they burn it in temples, when doing ancestor worship, or at funerals.
Still, one of the times my parents came to visit me in Taiwan, something my father really wanted to buy was incense for burning at home. The smell really reminds him of Taiwan.
I found a great collection of incense shops near Dihua Street, around this one and this one. Besides a wide variety of incense, include stick and cone varieties, they also sell receptacles for burning the incense.
Tiger balm and numerous similar products are widely used and available in Taiwan. These balms contain ingredients such as camphor, menthol, cajuput, and clove. They can soothe sore/tight muscles, headaches, colds, or mosquito bites.
There are other similar products that are designed specifically for mosquito bites, and still others that are meant to be inhaled through the nose to soothe cold symptoms.
You can find regular Tiger Balm at most 7-Elevens or FamilyMarts in Taiwan, while chain pharmacies such as Watsons and Cosmed will carry the full range of other products I mentioned.
Medicines & Herbs
Traditional Chinese medicines and herbs are widely available in Taiwan. They can used to treat all kinds of diseases and ailments. Ask any taiwanese person, and they’ll tell you that Chinese medicine (often taken as tea) tastes really bad, but works if used regularly over time.
You can also find some more unusual traditional items in these shops like bird’s nest soup.
If you’re into cuter or more modern souvenirs, these recommendations are for you.
Totoro & Spirited Away Merch
Even though Hayao Miyazaki films like Totoro and Spirited Away are from Japan, they are immensely popular in Taiwan.
There are several Totoro statues and bus stops across Taiwan. And many people perpetuate the myth that Spirited Away was based on Jiufen in New Taipei City, even though Miyazaki himself has said that this is not true.
Anyways, you can load up on Totoro supplies at Donguri Republic on the 4th floor of Shin Kong Mitsukoshi Taipei Xinyi Place (A8 building) near Taipei 101. There also lots of items featuring Jiji the black cat from Kiki’s Delivery Service.
For Spirited Away fans, watch for various items on Jiufen Old Street.
Swiping an EasyCard for riding Taipei and Taiwan’s amazing public transportation and paying for other things is an awesome aspect of the Taiwan travel experience.
Why not remember it by getting a super cute (and fully functions) specialty EasyCard? EasyCard designs are constantly changing, but often feature cute animals, famous cartoon characters, or symbols of Taiwan.
You can buy these cute EasyCards at any 7-Eleven or FamilyMart in Taiwan. As the clerk to see their 台灣造型悠遊卡 (Taiwan style EasyCards). The price ranges from TWD 150 to 500 (compared to TWD 100 for a normal EasyCard), plus any money you want to load onto it.
Cat Wallets & Postcards
My kids and I are cat freaks, so we’ve bought all kinds of fun cat souvenirs in Taiwan. We have a growing collection of cat postcards showing cats in various traditional scenes in Taiwan.
We also often buy little cat wallets or change purses as cheap Taiwan souvenirs for friends.
Pet Clothing and Backpacks
You will soon notice that people in Taiwan like to take their tiny animals everywhere. They’ll even use pet strollers, pet backpacks, and dress their pets up in clothing.
These items can also make fun souvenirs or gifts for you pet-loving friends back at home.
It is common to see a stall selling pet clothing at night markets in Taiwan. Find pet strollers here, fancier pet clothing here, dog goggles here, and pet backpacks here. You can also search 寵物商店 (pet store) on GoogleMaps to find pet supplies anywhere in Taiwan.
Mini Sky Lantern
Setting off sky lanterns with wishes painted on the sides is one of the most popular tourist activities in Taiwan. Although sky lanterns are mainly associated with Lantern Festival, you can release sky lanterns any day of the year at Shifen Old Street, Pingxi Old Street, or Jingtong Old Street on the Pingxi Train Line.
To remember your sky lantern experience, you can also buy super cute miniature sky lanterns. They even make light with the little battery inside.
The best place to find these is at tourist souvenir shops on Shifen Old Street, the same place where you can also buy full sized sky lanterns, such as this one.
Japanese Import Item
Taiwanese love buying imported Japanese products, especially when they are cheap. This is one reason why the Japanese discount store Don Don Donki has become so popular in Taiwan. There you can find imported Japanese snacks, cosmetics, street foods, decorations, Pokemon products, and even sex toys.
Another one worth trying is Hands Tailung, which is the Taiwanese version of the popular chain Tokyu Hands in Japan. The store also sells a wide variety of (often cute) Japanese kitchenware, bathroom products, toys, household supplies, and more.
There are 15 branches of Hands Tailung – just search the English name or 台隆手創館 on GoogleMaps.
Did you know that many tourists head to local stationery stores to buy souvenirs in Taiwan? I didn’t even know that this was a thing until multiple people asked about them in my Facebook group (usually they are from Singapore).
I often call Taiwan’s stationery stores “everything stores” because they sell a bit of everything. You can find lots of cheap souvenirs like cute socks, stickers, notepads, pencil cases, lunchboxes, kitchen items, clothing, and more.
One large stationary store with many branches all over Taiwan is Poya. You can also search 文具產品 on GoogleMaps for other local ones.
Sanrio, Lego, Disney Products
You may be thrilled to know that the departures area (controlled area, after you go through immigration) of T2 in Taoyuan International Airport has a brand new Sanrio (Hello Kitty) and Lego store – yes, that means they’re both duty free!
There are also Disney stores in both terminals. Note that these shops are not open 24/7, so you won’t be able to shop in them if you have a flight departing super early in the morning or late at night.
Since we’re on the topic of Japanese characters, let’s get more into it. You can buy all kids of otaku (Japanese pop culture) products in Taiwan.
Your first go-to stop for otaku souvenirs should be the Underground Mall below Taipei Main Station, specifically the underground shopping street near exit Y17. There are multiple shops there selling Japanese and Chinese toy models, figurines, posters, video games, and so on.
Next, head to Ximending, where there are several otaku souvenir shops of interest. Animate Store will satisfy all your manga/anime souvenir needs, while Animate Café has a branch here and here nearby.
Din Tai Fung Stuffy
One good way to remember your experience at taiwan’s most famous restaurant, Din Tai Fung, is with one of their soup dumping (xiaolongbao) souvenirs.
Most Din Tai Fung branches in Taiwan sell a variety of souvenirs, including xiaolongbao stuffies, keychains, pins, towels, figurines, mugs, and more.
These are not usually available at Din Tai Fung locations around the world, so you can surprise your friends at home, even if they have a Din Tai Fung branch in their city.
Magnets & Drink Coasters
I’m currently building up my collection of Taiwan-themed magnets and magnetic drink coasters. Above is just a small sample of them. These are a cheap but fun Taiwan souvenir or gift idea.
You can find location specific magnets at tourist attractions across Taiwan. The airport is also an obvious place to find typical Taiwan tourist magnets, while I found the magnetic drink coasters at the excellent gift shop at Taipei 101 Observatory.
Starbucks is very popular in Taiwan. There are multiple Taiwan-focused ceramic mugs and insulated beverage holders – browse just a few of them here.
Some Starbucks mugs are city or attraction-specific (for example, I have a Taroko Gorge one) and some are pan-Taiwan. Often, you can only get the location specific ones at a single Starbucks branch, such as the cool Penghu ones at saw at the only Starbucks in the Penghu archipelago.
Tatung Multi-Functional Cooker
Tatung cookers (大同電鍋) are an iconic Taiwan item. You can even see stickers and postcards of them. Every household kitchen in Taiwan has one. They come in a variety of retro (like 70s green or orange) or more modern colors, like pastels.
These amazing kitchen appliances are super durable. They can be used for cooking rice, steaming baozi, making hard boiled eggs, and heating up food just like a microwave. We have one in our kitchen in Canada (see image above). Not only does it look cool, but we use it pretty much every day!
While this appliance is a little big and heavy, you should have no problem checking it in for your flight. You can buy these at any Tatung 3C appliance stores in Taipei or other cities in Taiwan, for example here and here.