A Simple 1 Day Taipei Itinerary – How to Spend 24 Hours in the City

Xiaonanmen Gate in Taipei city at night

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

Two Taoyuan Airport MRTs passing each other on tracks before a tunnel, one is blue and one is purple
Taoyuan Airport MRT (Image by Adlersson is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0)

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. See my guide to navigating Taoyuan Airport like a boss.

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 can buy an MRT token with cash or an EasyCard (with option to add the best Taiwan SIM card) and swipe in. Read my EasyCard user’s guide for all the deets on how this handy smartcard works.

A row of spots for swiping in to an MRT station in Taipei, with little green arrows denoting where to go in.
Swipe your EasyCard to enter any MRT station.

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:

Very few hotels in Taipei allow early check in. Amba Hotel in Ximending (see on Booking / Agoda), which I highly recommend, allows 9 AM check-in for an additional half-day price.

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

A Taiwanese breakfast shop scene, with various foods on display and staff working in the kitchen
Typical Taiwanese breakfast shop

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. Here I introduce some of the most famous breakfast spots in Taipei and how to order Taiwanese breakfast foods.

There are several breakfast shops around Taipei Main Station and in popular Ximending neighborhood, which are both conveniently located close to where we will be heading next.

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. See my guide to visiting Fu Hang Soy Milk.

Three Taiwanese breakfast items on a tray: brown rice milk, bread with egg and fried dough stick, and danbing with spicy sauce
Taiwanese breakfast at Fu Hang Soy Milk

Stop 2: Longshan Temple

The front of Longshan Temple with some large hanging red lanterns
Taipei’s most famous 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.

A row of elderly women wearing black robes, kneeling down in front of a Buddhist-Taoist temple shrine, shot from behind
Morning chanting ceremony

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

A large white and blue structure called Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall in Taipei
CKS 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.

Looking through a white gate at a large square and white and blue monument to Chiang Kai Shek in Taipei
Liberty Square Arch

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 cherry blossoms beside the Hall.

Stop 3: Lunchtime

A bamboo basked with 4 steamed xiaolongbao inside it
Xiaolongbao at Din Tai Fung

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.

They are Hangzhou Xiaolongbao (opens 11 AM) and Shengyuan Xiaolongbao (both open at 11 AM). Xiaolongbao are not vegetarian, but both shops do have some veggie dishes as well.

Looking straight down at a large bowl of mango shaved ice, with mango chunks and a scoop of mango ice cream
Mango shaved ice on Yong Kang Street

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!)

A hand holding up a white paper box with 6 vegetarian dumplings inside it
Vegan dumpings at Space Bao

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

View of the mall at the base of the Taipei 101 skyscraper
The base of Taipei 101

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.

Looking down at Taipei city from 89th floor of Taipei 101, with a curving design on the side of the building visible on the left
The view from Taipei 101 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 of Taipei 110, plus access to all the other floors AND skip-the-line entry (read about my Skyline 460 experience).

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.

A massive spherical earthquake damper hanging by thick cables inside Taipei 101
Taipei 101’s huge earthquake damper

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

Taipei city view from Elephant mountain at sunset
Taipei view from 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 Station. Find all the details and a trail map I made in my Elephant Mountain hiking guide.

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.

People holding up their cameras to take pictures of the sunset and Taipei 101 from Elephant Mountain
Sunset crowds on Elephant Mountain

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

Close up of a bowl of stinky tofu with pickled cabbage
Stinky tofu at Tonghua Night Market – a must-try on your day in Taipei!

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.

A crowd of people in a narrow lane with lots of lit up signs at Shilin Night Market
Shilin Night Market

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 one), or Nanjichang Night Market (the most local one).  

Stop 7: Ximending

Crowds of people on a street with many lit up signs and billboards at night in Ximending Taipei
Ximending at night

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.

Some street art on a wall, with hanging lanterns above and some people shopping at night
Strolling Ximending shopping district at night

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).

Two bartenders working behind bar making cocktails with some Chinese words in neon
Hankou 60 movie-themed speakeasy cocktail bar in Ximending

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!

6 thoughts on “A Simple 1 Day Taipei Itinerary – How to Spend 24 Hours in the City”

  1. Hi Nick 🤗,
    I’ve just stumbled on your lovely website.

    Just like you, we’re also a fan of Lonely Planet and my bf bought one for our Taiwan trip in March next year.

    Here’s our “rough” itineray:

    Day 1: Late afteroon arrival + Taipei (Beef noodle soup for dinner & night pics of Taipei)

    Day 2: Alishan Forest Railway + hiking (overnight stay at Fenqihu)

    Day 3: Alishan (sunrise) + Taipei (lunch at Din Tai Fung, Free Walking Tour afternoon session, dinner at Raohe/Shilin night market)

    Day 4: Day Trip (Xinbeitou, Tamsui with sunset, private room hot spring at Xinbeitou and dinner at Raohe/Shilin night market)

    Day 5: Day Trip ( Yehliu Geopark, Shifen, Jiufen with sunset and dinner at Keelung night market)

    Day 6: Taroko Gorge National Park (overnight stay at Hualien)

    Day 7: Hualien + Taipei

    Day 8: Day trip – Yangmingshan National Park + hiking (with private driver)

    Day 9: 1pm return flight

    We might do some adjustments to our itinerary after reading some of your articles.

    Kind regards,


  2. Hi, sorry about this late reply. First, if you want to ride the Alishan Forest Railway from Chiayi to Fenqihu, you will need to get there very early in the morning. The train to Fenqihu leaves at 9 AM. If you go by HSR to Chiayi, you’ll need at least 30 mins to get from HSR station to train station in the city center. If you want to stay overnight in Fenqihu, you can do some hiking there, but you won’t be able to see the sunrise at Alishan the next morning. The only way to see sunrise at Alishan is to sleep at Alishan. Make sure to include enough time for getting back to Taipei in your itinerary. That’s 2.5 hours from Alishan to Chiayi HSR and 1.5 hours back to taipei, plus time to check in at hotel. It’s likely you won’t make it back in time for lunch. The rest sounds good though!

  3. Hi Nick,
    Thanks for a lot of useful information. Flying out next week for 7 days, mainly in Taipei. I plan to go to Shifen for the lantern festival… Do you recommend taking the train or the bus there? Am a little confused about the options. I’m looking for the easiest way there (time and cost is secondary). Thoughts about bus 795?
    Best regards

  4. No matter which way you go (train or special shuttle buses they will offer), it’s going to be very busy and taker longer than usual. Personally, I would choose the shuttle bus, as the trains have no limit, so people will just squeeze in like sardines. Please see my lantern festival guide on this website for the different shuttle bus options and where they depart from.

  5. Hi again. Back home. I ended up taking the shuttle bus from Taipei Zoo. 50TWD for a return. Left around 10.30AM and it took little over 1 hr. The bus was not crowded going there. Had plenty of time to see the town, the waterfall and eat lunch. Got a great stand very close to the lantern launch area and some great pics and videos of 5 waves in total. It wasnt too crowded – less than I expected. Took the same bus back and only waited for a couple of minutes for standing space on the bus (left around 8.30PM). Again not crowded. Very well organized overall! I noticed that the waiting Line for the bus to Muzha was very long, maybe 1000 people, so I guess I made the right choice.
    Again, Thanks for a lot of useful info, I had a great time in Taipei – Even took a cooking Class of soup dumplings and beef noodles.
    Best regards,

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