With the visa-free entry to Taiwan, pretty sure a lot of Philippine passport holders would take this opportunity to discover one of Asia’s fastest-growing economy before the 9-month trial period ends. Yes! Sadly, we’re still not given the full rights for a visa-free entry to Taiwan but everyone’s looking forward to a good news right? So while the visa-free entry to Taiwan is still up, why not try these 10 free things to do in Taipei?
1. Hike to the Elephant Mountain
First day in Taipei? Why not start it by hiking to the Elephant Mountain to get a good bird’s eye-view of the entire city? The view from the Elephant Mountain looks incredible day and night with at most 3 stops to give you the best views of Taipei city. Hiking from the starting point of the trail won’t take you longer than 30 minutes to reach the top. In fact, you even don’t have to reserve a day for this hike because this activity is possible to do for 2 hours- more or less. The official term for this trail is Xiangshan Hiking Trail.
How to get to the Elephant Mountain?
If you’re taking the MRT, jump off at Xiangshan. It’s pretty much the same stop for Taipei 101. Then, take exit 2 and walk for 12 minutes to the starting point of the Xiangshan Hiking Trail.
2. Get a relaxing morning in Xinbeitou
Beitou is popular for being a hot spring hotspot in Taipei most especially now that Xinbeitou or “New Beitou” is developed. A trip here will surely transport you into a magical countryside without leaving the city. Although the hot springs are not for free, the public hot springs are surely budget friendly. The Taipei Public Library, Beitou Hot Springs Museum, and the Plum Garden, on the other hand, are some of the free things to do in Xinbeitou, though.
How to get to Xinbeitou?
When taking the MRT, take the Beitou – Xiangshan line to Beitou station. Get off from there and switch trains to Xiangshan station.
3. Get to know Dr. Sun Yat-sen in Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall
As a tribute to the father of modern China, Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall was built in Zhongshan Park. The 10,000 square feet exhibition area houses Dr. Sun Yat-sen’s accomplishments including relics of Dr. Sun’s life and of the Xinhai Revolution. Of course, located inside is also a large statue of Dr. Sun Yat-sen with military guards changing every hour. The hall also hosts cultural performances including film, music, and arts. Admission to the exhibit hall is free of charge.
How to get to Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall?
Getting to this memorial hall is very easy. You can get off straight to National Dr. Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall Station either by bus or train. If taking a bus, take route number 204, 212, 232, 235, 240, 254, 259, 261, 263, 266, 270, 281, 282, 288, 299, 504, or 672. If taking a train, take the MRT Bannan line and get off at the memorial hall station.
4. Visit the Dalongdong Bao’an Temple
This religious structure in Datong District is another attraction to enjoy for free in Taipei. Dedicated to Baosheng Dadi, a Taoist saint, this temple is decorated with stone carvings, dragon columns, wood, stone, and clay carvings, stone lions, stone bamboo windows, and large statues of gods by the temple gate. Feng-shui practices and Confucian principles can be observed here. It is most popular during the Baosheng Cultural Festival so be sure to drop by whenever you’re visiting Taipei at this time.
How to get to Dalongdong Bao’an Temple?
To get to Dalongdong Bao’an Temple, take the Red line to Yuanshan Station then exit at Exit 2. Walk towards Kulun Street then turn right at the intersection to Dalong Street. Continue walking until you reach the temple’s entrance which is located on the right side of the street.
5. Watch the changing of guards at Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall
Just like the Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall, the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall was also built to commemorate one of Taiwan’s very important person, President Chiang Kai-Shek. This free attraction in Taiwan is every tourist’s “go-to” if they want to get to know how Taiwan became a prosperous country as it is today. The changing of guards is one of the top attractions in Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall where the military guards perform series of rifle movements and synchronized marching. Aside from that, this memorial hall also hosts culture promotion activities to look forward to.
How to get to Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall?
To get to Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall through an MRT, take the Green Line 3 or Ren Line 2 and exit at Exit 5 towards Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall Station directly. If taking the bus, you can jump on to bus route 15, 18, 20, 22, 37, 204, 208, 214, 236, 248, 249, 251, 252, 261, 263, 270, 297, 621, 623, 630, or 65 and jump off at Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall Station or Nanmen market Station.
6. Light up Shifen Old Streets
If you happen to be in Taipei during the annual Sky Lantern Festival, head over to Shifen Old Street and watch thousands of sky lanterns light up the sky like little fireflies. Don’t just watch, include a little prayer, and let your hopes soar high like these lanterns.
How to get to Shifen Old Street?
Take a train going north and stop at Ruifang station. Then, transfer to the Pingxi Line. You can also take the shuttle bus service which stops at Jiufen first before taking you to Shifen Old Street.
7. Visit the Jiufen Old Street
You might recognize Jiufen Old Street from Spirited Away. If not, it’s okay! A day trip to this mining town is still worth the experience because of the rich history and culture it posses. Built by the Japanese, there’s no wonder why traces of Japanese-inspired architecture and culture still remain up until this day.
How to get to Jiufen Old Street?
Taking the same route when going to Shifen Old Street, you’ll be able to get to Jiufen Old Street. You can also take the shuttle bus service from Ximen which leaves in the morning and returns before dinner. If you’ve fallen in love and want to stay longer though, you can sleep overnight in Jiufen as well!
8. Window shopping at Ximending Youth Shopping District
The Ximending Youth Shopping District will welcome you with a lively atmosphere even at the wee hours of the night. And no, it’s not Shibuya… It’s Taipei’s very own youth-centric district where the young and young at heart can hang out all night long. The fun starts early in the afternoon until midnight. You can visit Modern Toilet, a bizarre-themed restaurant where you dine with toilet-inspired food presentation. You can also find different boutiques, street markets, and lots of food around Ximending as well.
How to get to Ximending Youth Shopping District?
If taking an MRT on your way to Ximending Youth Shopping District, take the Songshan- Xindian Line (Green Line) or the Bannan Line (Blue Line) to Ximen Station then exit at Exit 6. It will lead you straight to the walkable area of the shopping district.
9. Stroll around Shilin market, one of Taiwan’s largest night markets
If you can’t get enough of the Ximending Youth Shopping District, strolling around Shilin night market is one of the free things to do in Taipei that will not bore you out. You’ll easily find a long row of Taiwanese food specialties, souvenirs, and rare items. You can also find a gallery of mobile phone accessories, clothes, and best travel backpacks and accessories while strolling around. This is the most popular, the largest and one of the best night markets in Taipei so be sure not to miss this in your itinerary.
How to get to Shilin night market?
Take the MRT Red Line and get off at Jiantan Station. Leave the station from Exit 1 and then walk diagonally across the street to the left. The entrance to the night market can easily be spotted.
10. Spend a day in Houtong Cat Village
Sparing a few hours with our feline friends will never be enough that’s why we highly suggest reserving a day for this activity. This free thing to do in Taipei will surely be a great deal to all our cat-lover wanderlusts because everything that you see in this village is cat-themed. Not to mention, there are actually more cats than people here. Yay!
How to get to Houtong Cat Village?
Though Houtong is not in the heart of Taipei, it’s still a worthwhile experience to come over. To get to the cat village, take a northbound train from Taipei Main station and get off at Ruifang Station. Then, take bus 808 or F808 to get to Houtong town area.
Looking for more interesting places in Taiwan? Here’s a quick guide for Tainan – Taiwan’s oldest city.
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Jiufen was a dreamy little down for me, totally “spirited me away” 🙂 I especially loved it at night with the lanterns all lit up and the old caves with the miner histories. SO much to see and do in Jiufen old street but the typical tea in the evenings is still the top attraction there.