The night-time culture of Taiwan is dominated by the institution of the night market where people go to eat night-snacks and to shop.
If New York is the city that never sleeps, Taiwan may very well be the country that never sleeps. Few places on earth are as atmospheric and as exciting as Taiwan at night.
When Taiwanese people visit mainland China, they are shocked at the fact that everything closes so early, and wander the empty streets at 10 p.m. in a hopeless search for an open food stand or restaurant.
And you'll probably be shocked too when you realize just how late life on the streets persists in Taiwan. Taiwan's nightlife isn't just about bars, discos and lounges, it's also about night markets, KTVs, and even 7-11s and parks!
Bars and Nightclubs in Taiwan
Big cities in Taiwan offer a fairly wide range of bars, lounges, and nightclubs. Taipei's Luxy club is the most famous in the country, and usually the only one that is capable of bringing in internationally-famous DJs. Clubbing in Taipei is an incredible bang for your buck, as drinks and entrance fees are dramatically cheaper than other major cities in both the West and in Asia - such as Beijing, Shanghai, Tokyo, or Seoul - but remain of comparably posh quality.
The 3 Best Nightclubs in Taiwan
I won't list all the places to go out in Taiwan on this page, but I'll show you the most popular discos in the top 3 cities: Taipei, Kaohsiung, and Taichung.
LUXY is the biggest dance club in Taipei (and Taiwan) and it's the place you wanna head for to hear famous DJs. Luxy draws a good crowd of both Taiwanese and expats who want to have a good time! With its good drink specials and nice space, the Luxy discotheque in Taipei will know how to keep you up all night! Cover Charge: 400NT$ before 10pm, 700NT$ after 10pm Address: 5F, No. 201, ZhongXiao East Rd, Section 4, Taipei MRT Station: Zhongxiao Dunhua Station (take exit 2)
Top Kaohsiung Nightclub
DREAMS: Many people complain about Kaohsiung's nightlife. Of course, if you compare it to the nightlife of Taipei, you'll be disappointed. Still, there are some decent places to go out and Dreams disco club is such a place. Address: No.125 Nan Tian Street, Cian Zhen District, Kaohsiung
Best Taichung Nightclub
XAGA: Ask anyone in Taichung what's the #1 place to drink and dance and nine out of ten times, Xaga disco club will be the answer. Xaga has high ceilings, hundreds of square meters of floor to dance, a luxurious vibe and a huge selection of cocktails. I even read on a blog that Xaga is where most of the beautiful girls in Taiwan hang out, so it might be the perfect place for you if you're single. Location: 120 Henan Rd, Section 3, Taichung (In Tiger City department store).
Taiwan Nightlife - Night Markets
The night-time culture of Taiwan, all across the island, is actually dominated by the institution of the yeshi - night market. From Taipei to Kaohsiung, there are dozens of cities famous for them, and for every one of those there are dozens more lesser-known but equally fascinating versions.
Wikipedia has a pretty comprehensive directory of the night markets in Taiwan, and it lists a whopping 50 separate locations in all different regions of the tiny country. At the night market, locals, expatriates and tourists come together to get some snacks, buy clothing from small and independent retailers, play arcade games and mostly just go for a nice stroll outside and liaotian yixia (chat for a bit).
The night markets don't have any official closing time, and it's usually simply a reaction to the weather and to how many people appear to be around. If it's stormy and rainy, the market might close as early as midnight or 1 a.m. On a nice night though, don't be surprised if it's still kicking until 5:00.
Top Night Markets in Taiwan
Taipei: Shilin Night Market, JianTan MRT Station Kaohsiung: Liu He (Liouho) Night Market Taichung: Feng Jia Night Market next to Fengjia University. Keelung: Miaokou Night Market, next to Dianji Temple
Nightlife in Taiwan - KTVs
The runner-up to the universal popularity of the night market is KTV, or karaoke, most likely Japan's most effective soft power export. Popular KTV chains are Party World and Holiday KTV, but if you do some digging (or walking around) you can easily find independent alternatives.
While the clientele are almost exclusively concerned with singing classic and contemporary Chinese songs and quirky Taiwanese pop tunes, most KTV locations will have more than enough English options to keep you busy for considerably longer than your voice will be able to manage.
If you're not familiar with Asian karaoke, it's much different than the Western version. Karaoke houses give you a private room with an unexpectedly awesome stereo system, where you can order drinks, sing, and add time (usually by the hour) to your heart's delight. Many of the bigger chains can get quite a bit more expensive than you might think, so if you can find a location that will let you bring in outside alcohol you'll spare yourself a lot of cash. The usual rate is around 300NT$ for the first 3 hours. The longest I've spent in a KTV was 6 hours, but I've heard of people staying for as long as 12 hours in there!
At Miaokou Night Market, with my mom, in Keelung City.
7-11 / Park Nightlife in Taiwan
Because of the safety of evenings in Taiwan, and the 24-hour eating culture, it's a great place for night owls. If nothing else, don't forget the personal favorite Taiwanese nightlife experience of strapped-for-cash Mandarin Chinese students - buying some Taiwan Beer at 7-11 and chatting in a park until sunrise.
Nightlife in Taipei rivals that of just about any international city, except that it's far cheaper than any of those other places. Nightclubs are bumpin, bars are lively, and there's always KTV to change it up a bit. Here's a quick rundown of where you should go after sundown. More on Taipei Nightlife.