So, you’ve only got one day in Taipei and you’re wondering how to pack it all in.
Taipei’s top attractions are spread out all over the city. Which ones should you hit or miss, and what’s the fastest way to travel between them?
In this article, I’ll tell you exactly what to see in Taipei in one day. You’ll take in the best sights and foods that the awesome Taiwanese capital has to offer, all in one attraction-packed day.
For this one-day Taipei itinerary, I’m going to assume you have one full day in Taipei and you’re spending the night. If you’re visiting on a stop at the airport and have even less than 1 day in Taipei, I suggest you head over to my Taipei layover guide instead.
Now, the clock is ticking, so let’s jump right into it!
Getting to Taipei
If you’re landing at Taoyuan International Airport in Taoyuan city, your first step will be to get to Taipei city ASAP. Budget about one hour from landing to get through the airport.
The Airport MRT is your fastest option. It will take you 36 to 53 minutes to reach Taipei Main Station, depending on which airport terminal you arrive at and whether you happen to catch an express train (every second one) or slightly slower commuter train.
You will arrive at the Taipei Main Station Airport MRT station located here. It is 150 meters west of Taipei Main Station (the large train station building here) and Taipei Main Station MRT station here.
When you arrive, if you want to connect to the Taipei MRT, it will actually be easier to follow the underground signs to Beimen MRT station on the green line, rather than the further (and much more disorienting) Taipei Main Station MRT station.
For other a few other options to get into the city, including how to get there if you arrive in the middle of the night, see my guide to getting from Taoyuan Airport to Taipei.
If you’re coming from elsewhere in Taiwan, you will most likely arrive at Taipei Main Station as well.
What to Do with Your Luggage
If you’re arriving early in the morning, you’ll have the pesky problem of what to do with your luggage. I’ve got this whole guide to storing luggage at Taoyuan Airport or in Taipei. To sum it up here:
If you’ll be going back to the airport, you can stash your luggage in a locker or at Pelican Express baggage center, which has a location at each airport terminal.
If you won’t be going back to the airport, you can put your luggage in a locker inside Taipei Main Station (TWD 50 per 3 hours) or at the Taipei Main baggage center (better for multiple days or very large items) just outside the station, then pick it up when you’re ready to check in to your hotel.
Taipei One-Day Itinerary
Starting early in the morning, here’s how to make the best use of your 24 hours in Taipei.
Stop 1: Taiwanese Breakfast
Start off by fueling up for the busy day of sightseeing before you. Taiwanese breakfast shops are a glorious thing, and you really shouldn’t miss the chance to experience one.
There are several options around Taipei Main Station, depending on how serious you are about this meal.
If you’re willing to invest a whole hour waiting in line, Fu Hang Soy Milk (阜杭豆漿) is the Taipei’s most famous breakfast shop. It opens at 5:30 AM (closed Monday), and there will already be a long line before that. It’s a 10-minute walk east of Taipei Main Station or you can ride the MRT 1 stop to Shandao Temple.
If efficiency is more important to you, I sugest getting a take-away sticky rice roll (飯糰 or fantuan) at Rice Roll Tyrant (飯糰霸). It is just across the street from Taipei Main Station 9the large train station building) and practically right above Taipei Main Station MRT Station, where you’ll need to go to next.
These super tasty rolls are made with sticky rice stuffed with your choice of ingredients like egg, sundried white radish, pickled vegetables, and pork floss. User GoogleTranslate to scan and translate the posted menu. Note that you can’t eat on the MRT.
If beef noodles is on your Taiwan street food bucket list, visit Liu Shandong Beef Noodles (劉山東小吃店, opens 8 AM), which is one of the city’s most famous. If you’re earlier than that, head to Fuhong Beef Noodles (富宏牛肉麵), which is also very famous and is open 24 hours.
Stop 2: Longshan Temple
With your tummy now satisfied, it’s time to switch into serious sightseeing mode. I highly recommend starting your Taipei one day itinerary at Longshan Temple (龍山寺), Taipei’s most famous and important temple (find out how to pray for love in my Longshan Temple guide!)
To get here, ride the MRT Blue Line two stops from Taipei Main Station to Longshan Temple stop or one stop on the MRT Green Line from Beimen to Ximen, then transfer to the blue line and ride one more stop to Longshan Temple.
Longshan Temple is buzzing with activity early in the morning, especially local elderly worshippers. From around 6:00 to 6:45 AM, 8:00 to 8:45 AM, and 3:45 to 5:00 PM a daily worship ceremony takes place in the temple.
If you visit during this time, the temple will be filled with the sound of sacred chanting, performed by a group of (usually) women in front of the main altar. You are still welcome and free explore the temple at this time.
Before leaving, take note of the groups of elderly men playing Chinese chess in Bangka Park across from the temple. Also take a moment to stroll down Herb Lane (青草巷), running beside the temple, where shops sell various Chinese herbs and traditional ingredients.
Stop 3: Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall
With those sacred mantras still reverberating in your soul, it’s time to move on to one of Taipei’s most notable landmarks: Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall (國立中正紀念堂).
There are a few options for getting there. The fastest would be to just hop in a taxi. Second fastest would be to ride the MRT. You’ll need to ride one stop to Ximen on the blue line, then transfer to the green line and ride it two stops to Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall station.
The third but slowest (and most scenic) option would be to walk. This would take 30 minutes, or slightly longer if you visit Bopiliao Historical Block (剝皮寮歷史街區) and Little South Gate (臺北府城小南門), one of the Taipei Old City Gates, on the way.
Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall is an impressive blue-and-white monument to the former president and dictator of Taiwan. It occupies a huge square, which also has two commanding classical Chinese buildings (National Theater and National Concert Hall), stunning gate (Liberty Square Arch), and beautiful ponds.
Watch for the Changing of the Guards ceremony in the Hall (every hour on the hour). If you happen to be visiting in February, you can even see a few cherry blossoms beside the Hall.
Stop 3: Lunchtime
Are you hungry yet? It’s time to make some tough choices, as you will have tons of great options for lunch.
If you want to try Taiwan’s famous soup dumplings (小籠包 or xiaolongbao), but you don’t want to wait in the long line for Din Tai Fung (see below), there are two great xiaolongbao shops right next to CKS Memorial Hall.
Another option is to walk (10 minutes) or ride the MRT one stop to Dongmen MRT, where you can access Yongkang Street (see my Yongkang Street foodie guide), a street with several famous restaurants.
Some of the best choices include the original Din Tai Fung original location, Yongkang Beef Noodles, or Space Bao for vegan dumplings. For dessert, you really can’t miss mango shaved ice at Smoothie House (one bowl is big enough for 2-3 people!)
If you feel like you have an hour to spare, experience traditional Taiwanese tea ceremony at this gorgeous teahouse before leaving.
Alternatively, if you need a breath of fresh air before moving on, take a stroll in nearby Da’an Forest Park, the largest in the city. Check out the wide array of local birds at the park’s large ecological pond.
Stop 4: Taipei 101 Observatory
Welcome to Taipei’s (and Taiwan’s) most recognizable landmark! You’ll need to set aside at least a couple hours for visiting this iconic skyscraper’s observatory, or even more if you’d like to further explore the building and perhaps do some shopping in the area. Find out how to plan your visit in my Taipei 101 post.
From Dongmen or Da’an Park MRT, 3 or 4 stops to Taipei 101/World Trade Center station. From there, follow the signs to Taipei 101 and find your way up to the 5th floor, where you’ll need to check in for the observatory.
Buy your Taipei 101 tickets online. 89F ticket is the normal observatory, which actually includes floors 89 and a small outdoor lookout on floor 91. Choose 89F + 101F ticket if you also want to gain access to the 101F lookout (similar free through windows but higher), which is on the actual roof of Taipei 101.
Choose Fast Track Entry ticket if you want to skip the line (which is usually 30 min to 1 hr) and access the 89-91F only. For the most exhilarating experience, buy a Skyline 460 ticket, which includes an outdoor terrace on the actual top oif Taipei 110, plus access to all the other floors AND skip-the-line entry.
The 89F observatory includes a ride in one of the world’s fastest elevators, 360-degree city views, a café, excellent souvenir shop, and the impressive earthquake damping ball.
If you’d like to further explore Taipei 101, there’s a great food court in B1 and tons of shopping in B1 to 5F. Simple Kaffa Sola is a café on the 88F with amazing views. Book a window-side table here (minimum spend TWD 3000, 7 days in advance) or join the queue in the café’s check in (1F) for one of the tables further back.
Around Taipei 101, there are several upscale department stores. You can also take a wild ride on i-Ride Taipei in an adjacent building. More off-the-beaten-track is 44 South Military Village (四四南村 or sisinan cun), a cute art village housed in former KMT army barracks.
Stop 5: Elephant Mountain
Depending on your time, energy level, and the weather, you may also want to climb Elephant Mountain before leaving the Taipei 101 area. And if you prefer nature to indoors experiences, you may even just do this instead of Taipei 101 Observatory.
Elephant Mountain is one of the “Four Beasts”, four connected mountains rising right next to Taipei 101. The trailhead is a 15-minute walk from Taipei 101 or 10-minute walk from Xiangshan (Elephant Mountain) MRT Staiton.
It only takes about 20 minutes of climbing (uphill, stairs) to reach the most famous lookout point in the city. From here you can take your picture postcard shots in Taipei, with Taipei 101 dominating the view right in front of you.
Sunset is by far the most popular time to be at this lookout point. Expect big crowds if you’re there at this time. If you don’t love crowds, see my guide to many other great Taipei 101 viewpoints in the city.
If hiking is your thing, you can continue past this point to a vast network of trails on the Four Beasts, with the city views changing as you go. You could even finish at the northern end of the trails and walk to Yongchun or Houshanpi MRT Blue Line stations.
Otherwise, just make your way back to Xiangshan Station on the Red Line before continuing to the next stop.
Stop 6: Night Market Dinner
After taking in the sunset from either Taipei 101 or Elephant Mountain, you’re bound to be starving. Taipei’s legendary night markets are just now coming to life. The only hard part is choosing which one!
If you are absolutely starving and need to food in your belly NOW, go for Tonghua Night Market (also sometimes called Linjiang Street Night Market). You could walk here in 20/30 minutes from Taipei 101/Elephant Mountain trailhead, or just ride a few stops on the MRT to Xinyi Anhe Station.
Tonghua is known for having a decent assortment of very traditional Taiwanese street foods, despite its proximity to ultra-modern Taipei 101 area.
Serious foodies, however, may want to travel further to reach Raohe Night Market (40-minute walk or 10-minute taxi ride), considered by many to be the city’s best.
Another option would be Ningxia Night Market (a close second behind Raohe), Shilin Night Market (the largest but most touristy), or Nanjichang Night Market (the most local one).
Stop 7: Ximending
For this “Taipei in one day” itinerary, I’ve decided to leave this famous Taipei neighborhood for nighttime, even though we were very close to it earlier in the day. Chances are that you might even be staying in Ximending, as it is one of the city’s most popular neighborhoods, especially for budget travelers.
Ximending is Taipei’s answer to Tokyo’s Shinjuku – super cool, neon lights, street art, people watching, and loads of quirky things to see, do, and eat. This is also a great spot to pick up some last-minute souvenirs in Taiwan.
Although GoogleMaps calls it “Ximending Night Market”, this is not a night market but a pedestrian-only shopping district, with only a few food stalls. To fully explore the neighborhood, see my guides to eating in Ximending and other cool things to do in Ximending.
Cap the night off with a drink on one the many bar patios beside Red Theater, the center of Taipei’s LGBTQ+ scene. For craft beer lovers, Ximen Beer Bar, The 58 Bar, or Driftwood (a taphouse of Taihu brewery).
Yet another fun option is Hankou 60, a secret/hidden cocktail bar that is set up to look like a movie theater – it’s located on Ximending’s Cinema Street. There’s even a creamy cocktail that comes hidden inside a box of popcorn!
If you need a late-night snack before bed, see my list of 24-hour restaurants in Taipei!
And there you have it – one epic day in Taipei that you’ll be sure to remember for a lifetime!