Taipei Travel Tips

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Taipei Travel Tips

Postby bazza » 12 Apr 2011, 18:37

Hi all

I will be travelling to Taipei very shortly, but would like some quick help with the following questions so that I can refine my itinerary.

1) I am planning to go to Yangming Shan National Park for around 2 hours (coming from the National Palace Museum, then will be going to Beitou after). Is it worth it to take a 2 hour side trip to Yangming Shan?

2) I heard there is a bus (number 108) that does a loop of Yangming Shan. How long would it take to do a whole loop? Do you pretty much get to see a good representation of Yangming Shan without having to get out of the bus itself and going for a walk deep into the park?

3) Is it better to go visit the department stores/shopping district in Xinyi during the day or at night? What time do the shops in Xinyi generally open and close? My current plan only gives me 3 hours or so in the morning to shop in Xinyi...

4) Is it better to go to Ximending during the day or at night? What time do the shops in Ximending start closing?


Thank you very much for your help :)
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Re: Taipei Travel Tips

Postby Huang Guang Chen » 12 Apr 2011, 22:33

Apologies no one's popped along to help you out, bazza. I must confess, I've not lived in Taiwan for some years, and can't even recall having done Yangming Shan ever by bus, but I should imagine two hours would be fine. That obviously doesn't include time in the museums.

I think a trip to the National Palace Museum is a must, and when you're quite literally jaded out, don't forget to go just up the road to the Aboriginal Museum (? - is that place still around?).

Ximending you should do late afternoon into the evening and night on a weekend. Not sure of your bent, no pun intended, but just behind the Red Theatre is an amazing hodge podge of open air predominantly gay bars. It's quite a sight to take in, and certainly straight friendly. Grab a pizza at the Alleycats there and catch it from the second floor with a beer. Say g'day to Gary.

Most shops are open into the late evening.

HG
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Re: Taipei Travel Tips

Postby cranky laowai » 12 Apr 2011, 23:03

Do you mean two hours total to go by public transportation from the National Palace Museum to Yangming Shan, ride around Yangming Shan National Park, and then reach Beitou? Two hours wouldn't be enough time for all that.

Do you have only 12 hours here or something like that?
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Re: Taipei Travel Tips

Postby Chris » 12 Apr 2011, 23:24

Yangming Shan takes about an hour to get to at and an hour to return. Depending on where you want to go there and what you want to do, you may want one hour (taking a quick look around) to several (hiking and in-depth exploring). That leaves little time for the National Palace Museum, which is a place that is best seen at your leisure (at least three hours). Assuming you'll get to Beitou at night, you can do it, but it'll be a bit of a rush.

Why not extend it over two days?
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Re: Taipei Travel Tips

Postby bazza » 13 Apr 2011, 08:36

Thank you kindly, all, for your responses!

I have 2.5 days in Taipei and trying to see as much as possible... hence the limited time in Yangming Shan

The current plan is to go to the National Palace Museum in the morning for 2.5 hours, then go straight to Yangming Shan by taxi (or bus, if convenient). I have 2-3hours to spend travelling to/from Yangming Shan and to have a simple look see and lunch inside the park. The plan is to just see as much of the park from the 108 bus as possible, hence why I am concerned whether 2.5 hours is enough to take the bus loop around the park. After the park its off to Beitou then Danshui, then back to Shilin and pop over Miramar by shuttle bus.

I only have one other night to spend in Taipei, and I can't decide between shopping at Xinyi or Ximending. My current plan is to go to Ximending on the other night we have free, and then visit Xinyi the early morning after for around 3hours (before our flight out of Taipei). I heard shops generally close in Taipei around 9.30pm so its not do-able to fit both Xinyi and Ximending into one night, right? Also, would shops/department stores be open in the early morning (like 9 - 10am) in the Xinyi district?


Also, my flight out of Taipei Taoyuan is at 3.30pm. Should I start leaving Taipei City around 1pm? I will be taxi-ing it.

Many thanks for your help!
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Re: Taipei Travel Tips

Postby Huang Guang Chen » 13 Apr 2011, 09:17

Unfortunately they are in completely opposite directions, but a trip to Wulai is as good in my mind, if not better than Yangming Shan. The trip out there gets you through some nice country, after a lot of urban yuck, and the road through Wulai and the stroll through the touristy village are a very neat pocket of Taiwan life, it's spectacular mountains and rivers. Okay, taking in Beitou is almost on a par, but I still think Wulai is more unique. Worth considering.

Far better than Xinyi shopping. Good grief! There's nothing worth seeing there except the lovely ladies. It could be any shopping mall area in the world, except for the aforementioned lovelies, it's an urban wasteland. Okay, you got the big bamboo, the Taipei 101, but you can see that from anywhere.

Also, my flight out of Taipei Taoyuan is at 3.30pm. Should I start leaving Taipei City around 1pm? I will be taxi-ing it.

Very comfortably. A good plan.

I would absolutely skip Xinyi and offer this as an alternative. Hit Din Tai Feng, enjoy a great brunch, and stroll around the backstreets behind there (Yongkang Street). You can safely leave your luggage at Din Tai Feng. Head back, and grab a cab to the airport from there. If you can't get into Din Tai Feng, then there's plenty more places to eat in that block.

Address in English:
Din Tai Feng - Xinyi branch (that refers to the road, not the area!)
Xinyi Road, Section 2, number 194 (corner of Yongkang Street) Da'an District.

Address in Chinese:
鼎泰豐 - 信義店
10651台北市大安區信義路二段194號(永康街口)

It opens from 10:00am weekdays, and from 9am on weekends. Go there first, as you need to get a number and queue. You could then take a quick stroll around the block. Lots of very interesting little curio stores around that block.

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Re: Taipei Travel Tips

Postby bazza » 13 Apr 2011, 09:28

Thanks for the quick reply HG :)

We considered Wulai but its too far out for us and there's not a lot surrounding it, we might leave it to next time as we have had many good recommendations to go there.

We were actually planning to do DTF first thing in the morning (10am when it opens on the weekday we're there), then heading to the DTF in the Sogo mall (as that one looks quite modern and is near the 101). Do you still have to wait for a table at 10am when they first open?

I actually struct Yongkang St off our list as just another night market but will reconsider. Is this area open late at night, or is it more a day time thing? As it is close to our hotel we could probably stroll around as a good end to a day's outing.

Unfortunately I can't strike Xinyi off the list as the Ms. is a shopaholic (so am I, I guess...) and we need to go there anyways to go to the top of the bamboo, for the sake of being touristy.

Thanks for the great tips though, I wish we had more than 2.5 days in Taipei
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Re: Taipei Travel Tips

Postby Huang Guang Chen » 13 Apr 2011, 09:43

Okay, then your plan is all good. Only exception is I would go to the original DTF, and yes, you may have to wait, but hopefully not too long on a weekday, and if you get there early. I wouldn't do x2 DTFs! (Sorry if I misread that.)

Walking around Yongkang is lovely in the evening, and perfect if your hotel is nearby.

HG
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Re: Taipei Travel Tips

Postby Feiren » 13 Apr 2011, 10:07

Yongkang St. is not a night market although there are a few stands etc at the north end including the world famous (at least in Japan) Ice Monster mango ice. The heart of Yongkang St. is south of Jinhua St. There are bars, galleries, and arty restaurants. There is quite a bit of high end art stuff but of special note is a small but humming antique market specializing in the Japanese and KMT colonial periods.

You are running around way too much. Skip Danshui. It is an awful tourist trap, relatively far away, and really is just another huge night market these days. You'll get enough night market in Shilin (although its a pale shadow of its former self or a real night market like Fengjia in Taichung). On a weekday with no traffic it will take almost exactly two hours to go up and down Yangming Shan. Instead of doing this take a taxi up to Fengguizui 風櫃嘴 above the National Palace Museum. You can walk around and have coffee and homemade mulberry juice at the cafe up there. It's in the National Park. On the way down, you can grab lunch. Also consider visiting Chiang Kai-shek's Shilin residence, which is right in the area.

For alternative shopping, try the Shi-Da 'night market' which these days is really a maze of small boutiques, not a night market. The Shi-Da park is a scene, and you can wander up to Yongkang St from there which is just across Heping. Ximending has plenty of shopping too. The Xinyi District is boring and fake.
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Re: Taipei Travel Tips

Postby Huang Guang Chen » 13 Apr 2011, 10:46

Feiren is your main man! Do what he says - I didn't notice that trip to Danshui! Drop that one.

And further on Yongkang, if you cross Xinyi from DTF, there's a delightful little twisting lane like street parallel to Xinyi and behind called Linyi Jie, which has mostly fruit, veg, fish and meat market stuff, but also some delightful little curio shops. One of my favourite streets, and where I stayed with a friend in my first week in Taiwan. You're right on it anyway.

For historical interest, Pu Yi's (the last emperor of China) cousin lived in an old Japanese house on this street, which if I recall is now a bloody car park or empty lot (Grrr!)

HG

Edit. There's also this funky restaurant on 17 Lin i Street. Fu Yuan
Image

Fu Yuan
17 Lin Yi Street
Cuisine: Nouvelle Chinese
This Chiu-Chow-style pagoda stands in Taipei’s concrete jungle like a modernistic shrine. The interior design a la chinoise was tastefully arranged by owner Shu Chen Yang, with art and artifacts, carved wooden ceilings and lacquered floors over four stories of private salons.
Chinese delicacies - like swallow's nest, shark's fin and abalone, all typical fare of Emperors - are served daily at Fu Yuan. It's said that men risked their lives to ensure such luxuries for imperial tables. The abalone itself is remarkable - with hardly a hint of cholesterol, it was a fitting choice for those seeking immortality. Why, the opportunity alone to taste these tempting tidbits was unthinkable for just anyone! That is, until Fu Yuan opened up.
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