: Taipei Backpackers Guide
Taipei Backpackers Guide
Discover Taiwan's beautiful capital city
without blowing all your cash away!
The National Concert Hall of Taipei
Crucial advice for Taipei backpackers from
someone who's traveled on the cheap in Taiwan's capital for more than 12 years.
Let me show you the cheapest places to sleep, eat, and have a drink.
I still travel to Taipei City by bus or train, as a backpacker, even
though I've lived in Taiwan for 12 years. Why? There are many reasons,
but the main ones are that it's much easier to meet travellers while
using public transportation and staying in backpackers hostels. To me,
backpacking offers a kind of freedom that you don't get when you travel
in a car or when you pull a suitcase.
Taipei is a great city for backpackers!
It's surely different than
other popular Asian backpacking mecca like Bangkok, Kuala
Lumpur, or Singapore, but I guarantee that it has some truly exciting
sights and things to do that are unique to this part of the world.
Taiwan offers some of the most authentic attractions to witness ancient
Chinese traditions, art, and architecture and Taipei is the ultimate
gold mine if you're looking for that kind of historical / cultural
What's the best area in Taipei to find cheap hostels for backpackers?
The area around Taipei Train Station is the centre of it all for
backpackers for many reasons. That's where most budget accommodations
for backpackers can be found. Also, it's possible to get to some of the
city's most interesting attractions like temples and memorials by only
walking a couple of minutes.
This area is often referred to as Old Taipei. The buildings are
obviously older, the restaurants in little back alleys offer
traditional Chinese food, and the people who live in the area seem to
come out of a different era. Taiwanese traditions are still observed
more seriously in Old Taipei, and that's one of the reasons why it's a
good choice if you want to experience a more authentic side of life in
Here's a list of my favorite Taipei backpacker's hostels.
How can you get around Taipei without busting your budget?
The two best ways to travel around Taiwan's capital city on the cheap
are walking and taking the subway (MRT). Buses are also available, but
the system is harder to understand if you're not fluent in Chinese. The
MRT covers the entire city, it's safe, clean, and cheap. Walking is
made easy by clean, wide sidewalks that line most streets and avenues
in Taipei. If you're backpacking on a mid-range budget, you'll probably be
happy to know that taxis are also very cheap to use.
Where can you eat for cheap?
There area cheap places to eat all over Taipei City, even in the most
modern districts like Neihu and Xinyi. Night markets are obviously
still the best places to sample different snacks for really, really
cheap, but be warned that most of the stuff that's sold at night
markets is rarely healthy.
For cheap healthy food, try to eat at small
street vendors. They can be found everywhere and usually have only a
couple of dishes on their menu. If you can't read Chinese or if they
don't have an English menu, try to ask them in English what they serve
and they'll most likely be able to answer you. Otherwise, just point at something and cross your fingers...
Visit free Taipei attractions
Backpacking in Taipei is great because there are sights at literally
every street corner around the city. If you're always carrying your bag
with you, you'll be able to give your shoulder a rest quite frequently.
Some of the top attractions for backpackers in Taipei are:
Shilin Night Market in Northern Taipei
Discover places around Taipei City
Taipei backpackers usually spend a couple of days in Taiwan's capital,
then head to the mountains to hike, enjoy a hot spring, or drink tea at
one of the many beautiful resorts located in Taipei County.
Some favourite destinations around Taipei for backpackers include:
Maokong: high in the mountains, great place to hike and drink traditional Taiwanese tea
Beitou Hot Springs: backpackers in Taipei love the cheap public pool right next to Xinbeitou MRT Station
Danshui: right next to the Taiwan Strait, it's a perfect place to watch the sunset and grab a cheap bite of fresh seafood
Fulong Beach: closest beach to Taipei City, can be reached by train in about an hour
Jiufen: awesome little town that's located on a mountainside, overlooks
the pacific, surrounded by spectacular peaks, hiking destination, small
traditional snacks, an old street, few temples
The change of the guard at CKS Memorial Hall
Travel to other parts of Taiwan
Backpackers who wish to travel to other parts of the island without
spending too much can use both the normal train or long distance public
buses. Two good places start your trip to other destinations around
Formosa are Taipei Main Train Station and Taipei City Hall Bus Station.
Best place to shop in Taipei for backpackers
For more information about shopping in Taipei, visit this page.
Where to buy backpacking and camping gear in Taipei?
There are a couple of shops that sell camping gear and backpacking
equipment around Taipei Main Station. Some of the biggest stores are
located on Zhongxiao East Road. There's even a Patagonia shop next to
Take a look at Taipei Travel Secrets, a book I have written about
travel and culture in Taipei. The ebook can be downloaded instantly
from this page. It's definitely a great resource to have with you all
the time as you discover Taiwan's fascinating capital city!
I wish you a wonderful backpacking experience in Taipei!