15 Hour Layover in Taipei, Taiwan: The Best Things to See

As we headed home with huge smiles from two weeks exploring the magic of Ubud, Bali and our Komodo Island Boat Tour, we found ourselves facing a 15-hour layover in Taipei, Taiwan — and we wanted to hit the ground running. We put together this layover itinerary that includes the best things to see in Taipei, especially if you’re only there for a day (or less).

Despite our travel fatigue after two weeks away, we decided to leave the Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport (TPE) and experience as many of Taipei’s cultural sights as possible.

Here are five of the best things we squeezed into our 15-Hour Layover in Taipei

15 Hour Layover in Taipei, Taiwan and you can visit Shillin Night Market

1. Soak in the Delights of Shillin Night Market

We landed in the evening and hurried off the plane. We cleared customs as quickly as possible (it was fast!) and hopped in a taxi straight to the Shillin Night Market. The night markets run from 6pm – 2am, and when we arrived it was still in full swing. We were eager to sample Taiwan’s renowned street food.

The food choices at the Shillin night market are incredible

We soaked in the many street food stalls offering Taiwanese delicacies such as stinky tofu, oyster omelets, and local noodles. The market is also a shopper’s paradise, with vendors selling everything from trendy fashion items to quirky souvenirs.

Playing games at the Shillin night market

Among the bustling stalls were locals playing traditional games and giving street performances, that all added to the fun atmosphere.

Visit the Taipei 101 Skyscraper with a 15-hour layover in Taipei

Our next stop was the iconic Taipei 101, one of the tallest skyscrapers in the world. Once you step into the world’s fastest elevator, the ascent to the observatory is slightly un-nerving and is NOT for those challenged with a fear of heights.

Taipei 101. Tower shopping mall. Taipei.

Once at the top, the panoramic views of Taipei stretched as far as the eye can see. The iconic sway of the tower added an extra element of adventure, reminding us that we were standing at the top of one of the world’s architectural marvels.

Travelogue: Taipei 101 - by Jonathan Lee

3. Visit the Bao’an Temple

Bao’an Temple in Taipei is a blend of history, culture, and spiritual tranquility. It’s nestled in a small pocket of the bustling city, and the temple’s ancient architecture and intricate details share Taiwan’s rich heritage.

Bo'an Temple - Religious Worship Culture in Dadaocheng 2024 - Taipei
Bo’an Temple

Bao'an Temple in Taipei is a blend of history, culture, and spiritual tranquility.

Once we stepped through the ornate gates, we found a serene sanctuary filled with vibrant local decor, lingering incense and devoted worshippers. Bao’an Temple is a living testament to Taipei’s cultural tapestry, offering a moment of reflection and peace in the heart of this city.

Explore the National Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall

4. Explore the National Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall

The National Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall is an architecturally magnificent complex of buildings that offer a glimpse into Taiwan’s political history.

Explore the National Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall with a 15 hour layover in Taipei

The massive plaza is filled with visitors and majestic architecture and pays respects to the legacy of President Chiang Kai-Shek. We were amazed at how huges all of these buildings were. You can’t really comprehend the magnitude of this memorial unless you experience it firsthand. The complex offers an immersive experience, allowing visitors to explore historical exhibits that detail the country’s progression.

visit Taipei

A towering bronze statue of Chiang Kai-Shek reminded us of the Lincoln Memorial
Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial

As we climbed the steps to the main hall and saw the towering bronze statue of Chiang Kai-Shek, we felt an appreciation for Taiwan’s complex history. Whether you visit for its historical significance or architectural beauty, the National Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall is a moving exploration of Taiwan’s cultural and political heritage.

nightlife in Taipei with a 15 hour layover in Taipei

5. Ximending: Experience the urban vibes and street culture

Our layover wouldn’t be complete without a visit to Ximending, Taipei’s trendy and cool district for hanging out and shopping. We soaked in the urban vibes, shopped in quirky boutiques, and soaked in the lively street culture that defines this cool neighborhood.

the streets of Taipei

Of course a visit to Taipei wouldn’t be complete without indulging in Din Tai Fung’s world-famous dumplings. Din Tai Fung, is a renowned restaurant chain, and a perfect spot to savor traditional treats.

Din Tai Fung, is a renowned restaurant chain, and a perfect spot to savor traditional treats.

If you have more time, other places to visit are The Elephant Mountain hiking trail, the National Palace Museum, Longshan Temple and Maokong Gondola.

whirlwind 15 hour layover in Taipei

Our 15-hour layover in Taipei allowed us a quick glimpse into the heart of Taiwan. Remember, with a tight schedule efficiency is key, and I’d consider hiring a taxi or using ride-sharing services to maximize your time. Taipei was a brief stop on our journey, but we were left with fond memories of its rich culture and vibrant energy.

15 Hours in Taipei: Hidden Gems and Insider Secrets

Our adventure in Taipei during our 15-hour layover felt like discovering a secret world within the bustling city. The anticipation of uncovering hidden gems in Taipei added an exhilarating sense of adventure to our journey.

1. The Art of Alleyway Exploration

Inside Taipei’s sprawling urban landscape lies a labyrinth of alleyways, each telling its own story. Venturing off the main streets into these narrow lanes, we stumbled upon quaint cafes, boutique shops, and street art that captured the city’s soul. These hidden passages are the heartbeat of Taipei, offering an intimate glimpse into the daily lives of its residents. Our favorite find? A tiny, unassuming tea shop where the owner shared stories over cups of aromatic Oolong tea, making us feel like locals rather than tourists.

2. The Serenity of Daan Forest Park

In the shadow of Taipei’s skyscrapers, Daan Forest Park is an oasis of tranquility. This expansive green space offers a peaceful retreat from the city’s hustle and bustle. The park’s winding paths, shaded by towering trees, lead to serene ponds and vibrant flower gardens where you might find a moment of Zen.

3. The Cultural Richness of Dihua Street

Dihua Street is brimming with historic architecture and traditional medicine shops. This area embodies the charm of old Taipei. We wandered through stores selling herbs, teas, and fabrics, each shopkeeper more than willing to share the stories behind their wares. The street’s festive atmosphere, particularly during local holidays, offers a vivid tapestry of Taipei’s rich heritage and community spirit.

4. The Culinary Delight of Local Night Markets

While Shilin Night Market is a must-visit, Taipei’s lesser-known night markets, such as Ningxia and Raohe, offer a more authentic culinary experience. If you have time, visit a few! They’re open from sundown to midnight.

5. The Treasure Hill Artist Village

In the middle of  Taipei’s urban sprawl, the Treasure Hill Artist Village represents the city’s artistic soul and it’s historical resilience. Originally a settlement for military families, this hillside community has transformed into a vibrant hub for creativity and culture. It’s off the beaten path, but Treasure Hill offers a unique blend of art installations, studios, and galleries, all nestled within its labyrinthine alleys and preserved historical structures.

So, to those who find themselves in Taipei, whether for a 15-hour layover or a longer stay, venture beyond the guidebook recommendations. Seek out the city’s hidden gems and insider secrets, for it’s there that you’ll discover the essence of Taipei.

And read about the Best Places to Travel with Kids in 2024.

Have you experienced a long layover in Taipei?

Leave a comment or message me on Instagram and Twitter!

About The Author

Samantha

I’m a travel and health writer, digital brand consultant, breast cancer survivor, and supermom to two boys! I keep it real and share stories of raising an active family, life after a cancer diagnosis, and family travels around the world! Each story is shared with my dry, and sometimes naughty sense of humor.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Rachel | 28th Feb 24

    What time did your flight land at TPE and what time did you arrive at Shilin? I land at 9:15pm (also from Bali), and debating on one or two nights in TPE.If I spend 2 nights, I lose a night in Bali. I don’t leave the next night until 11:50pm, but I absolutely want to see one or two night markets. Thanks!

    • Samantha | 28th Feb 24

      hi – we also landed around 9.15pm… we hightailed it through immigration, it’s super easy and then jumped in a cab form the airport and we arrived around 11.30pm. We also didn’t have to pick up luggage since our bags were checked through to LA. It’s doable but you have to have everything align and you only catch the tail end of the night markets…. for us it was worth the rush to have one extra night in Bali 😉

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