Taipei City, capital of Taiwan, can be a challenging city to navigate for a first time traveler. The city is over run with cars, mopeds, and people. Streets are lined with restaurants and food stalls. To refrain from having your senses assaulted it’s best to arrive prepared. These handy tips will make your trip to Taipei an enjoyable one.
Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport
You will most likely arrive and leave Taipei via the Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport (TPE). Be sure to set aside time to stroll through the airport. Inside the airport are museums, a reflection on Taiwan’s deep love of museums. In addition, the airport has recreations of monuments, such as the tall skyscraper Taipei 101. Seeing this upon your arrival will give you a sense of what is in store for your trip.
When arriving in TPE you’ll find ATMs located upon exiting baggage claims and customs. The ATMs are right by the exits to ground transportation. Be sure to stop by an ATM if you need cash before reaching your hotel. When you return to TPE for your flight home, if you want to buy something to eat for the flight visit the 7-11 located in the airport. Before going through security head downstairs one story to the 7-11 and pick up your snacks.
The weather in Taipei can get hot, especially in the summer months. You’ll want to make sure to dress appropriately or you will suffer through the heat. Due to the excessive heat the city does have mosquitoes. Bring your insect repellant and be sure to spray liberally and often.
As you walk around the city you’ll notice narrow side streets packed with restaurants, cafes, and food stalls. These side streets typically don’t have sidewalks or if they do they are used to park mopeds. To get to that tasty meal you’ll be forced to walk in the street. You must stay to the sides of the street as much as possible as cars and mopeds will zoom past you without warning.
In Taiwan motorists have the right of way, not pedestrians. Whenever walking be aware of your surroundings. Even when walking on wider boulevards that appear pedestrian friendly you will find mopeds roaring past you. Be extra careful crossing the street. Even if the turn signal says you have the right of way, mopeds and cars that are making right turns will cut off pedestrians.
Escape the hustle and bustle
If you’ve had more than you can handle of crowds, vehicles, and food stalls there exists a few options available to get away from it all. The Shilin Presidential Residence is the former residence of President Chiang Kai-Shek. This tourist attraction is offers a quiet respite from busy Taipei. Crowds are minimal and the gardens are worth visiting.
Another choice is taking the train to the northern region of Taipei, specifically the Beitou District. Beitou is a hot spring mecca. It can get crowded, but overall it is a quieter part of Taipei. The streets are pedestrian friendly and a nice stroll is by the library and museum. If you visit Beitou District you must visit a hot spring for a truly relaxing experience.