11 Unusual Things to Do in Taipei

Do you want to stay in a haunted hotel, ride the world’s 3rd fastest elevator or meet a fortune-telling bird – they’re just a few of the unusual things to do in Taipei you shouldn’t miss. It really does have something for everyone – even those who might feel the need to win a fluffy penis at some point in their life!. Check out our guide the most unique things to do in Taipei – I hope you have as much fun trying them as I did.

Things to do in taipei include visiting the famous foodie night markets

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links which mean I earn a small commission if you use them to book. This does not cost you any extra.

Unusual Things to Do in Taipei

Soak yourself in Beitou Hot Springs

About a 30-minute metro ride north of Taipei centre is Beitou Thermal Valley – a small town in a volcanic crater that’s teaming with hot springs and all the hoo-ha that goes with them.

There’s spa hotels, a huge steaming pool of gorgeous green water to look at (but not touch) and, just as you come up the hill, a public spa that you can sit in – for as little as NTD40 (£1 or AUD$1.70).

This is where I spent my time. Called Millennium Hot Springs it consists of three pools – nicely warm, a bit hot and oh my god I’m going to faint.

If you want to add this to your list of fun, unusual things to do in Taipei, note…soaking here comes with a few rules: you must shower first, you have to immerse your whole body, not just dangle in your feet and THE most important rule is that to enter the springs you must wear proper swimwear and for women this means a full swimsuit, for men it’s cycling short style swim shorts – no speedos or boardies.

You will be refused entry – or asked to buy new bathers if yours aren’t right.

Beitou Thermal Valley is one of the top things to do in Taipei

Don’t despair if your togs don’t make the grade, you don’t need any special kit to just soak your feet in the springs in nearby Fuxing Park.

I did that and it was really cool to see everyone here catching up with the local gossip, reading the paper, there were even some people nearby practising their ballroom dancing.

Clear off your drips when you lift your feet out though or you’ll get told off by an old lady with a towel on her head. I may have learned this the hard way.

How to get to Beitou Hot Springs: Take the Red Line to Beitou and then change to the ‘sauna themed’ offshoot line to Xinbeitou. Sessions run 5.30am-7.30, 8-10, 10.30-12.30 and so on until 10pm

Stay in the ‘Haunted’ Hotel

Part of my trip to Taipei was for work and I was lucky enough to be put up for my last night in the Grand Hyatt hotel – this is where celebs, royalty and politicians stay when they are in town and I was excitedly googling all the loveliness when I saw the words ‘Taipei’s haunted hotel’…erm, say what now.

Rumour has it that the Grand Hyatt was built on land once used for a prison camp- and this past incarnation has left a few souls behind. Reviews on Trip Advisor talk about uneasy feelings, some people have even checked out in the middle of the night so spooked were they by the experience.

Sadly (well for the sake of this story if not my sleep patterns) I didn’t see anything spooky – I do admit that I slept with the nightlight on though!

If you want to channel your inner Ghostbuster, here’s where to find more info and booking details for the Grand Hyatt Taipei.

Eat a Sugary Tomato on a Stick

Taipei is famed for street food, particularly in the night markets of Shilin and Raohe which are normally top of any list things to do in Taipei for foodie folk.

I’d researched list after list of what people suggested I should eat within them – but after I tried the Pepper Pork bun that people queue ages for and wasn’t keen at all – I decided to go on my own quest, finding the oddest thing at the market to eat.

There’s plenty to choose from – giant squid on sticks, stinky tofu (definitely a contender), a bitter green jelly drink called Frog’s Eggs (which I quite liked) and deep fried milk – but the winner was the below…cherry tomatoes on a stick covered in hard sugar – think of it as like a toffee tomato.

I admit I could only eat half of it before I worried for my fillings – but it was rather nice.

Eating at the night market is one of the top things to do in Taipei - we tried toffee tomatoes

Where to find Tomatoes on Sticks: I had them at Raohe Night Market which you get to via the Green Line to Shongshan station. The stall was about three-quarters of the way up the market on the left-hand walkway if walking away from the Ciyou temple.

Have your fortune told by a bird

Eating strange food isn’t the only unique thing to do in the Taipei Night Markets you can also have your fortune told by a bird.

For the price of 300NTD, your little feathered guru will hop out of his cage and pick out three tarot cards that tell your future. You’ll find him almost directly opposite the famous Pepper Pork stall with huge queue right at the entrance of Raohe Night Market.

You’ll also find feathery fortune tellers around the Long San Temple MRT station.

One of the unique things to do in Taipei is have your fortune told by a bird. Two birds are in a cage with a sign saying Spirit Bird Divination

Another fun thing I did was spotting all the stall holders dogs that hang out around the markets – the king of them has to be this guy. Why walk when you can ride a cart full of stock that your mum is pulling.

Dog riding a cart at Taipei Night Market


Ride The 3rd Fastest Elevator in the World

One of the other unique things you can do in Taipei is whizz upwards at a rate of knots…. The elevators in Taipei 101 travel at a whopping 60.6 kilometres an hour

This was the fastest in the world until Dec 16 when the title got awarded to China’s Shanghai Tower (and that’s just about to beaten by China’s CTF Tower) – but they are still pretty speedy – as a reference, the lifts in the world’s tallest building, The Burj Al Khalifa only travel at 23 kph.

A handy infographic in the lift tells you exactly how fast you’re going. This does make it much easier for people scared of heights (like me), you’re up there before you really think about where you’re going.

Behold the Super Big Wind Damper

The Taipei 101 skyscraper is one of the biggest attractions in Taipei – in draw and size. It’s one of must do things in Taipei and I admit, the views from its 89th floor around 380m above the city, are spectacular, but one of the most intriguing elements of it for me, is inside the building not outside – the giant gold ball called the Super Big Wind Damper.

Suspended in mid-air by eight giant steel cables this is what keeps this tall building steady during high winds or earthquakes.

If something causes the building to rock, the Super Damper starts to sway in the opposite direction counteracting the movement and keeping everything stable.

Lots of buildings have super dampers – most don’t make a big fuss about them. Taipei 101 is different – they’ve even made it the official mascot of the building! Now that is unique!

Take a moment to appreciate it’s shinyness – and how safe it’s keeping you. Prebook your Taipei 101 tickets here or if you want to jump the queue,  try a Priority Pass.

The Super Big Wind Damper at Taipei 101 keeps it safe and stable

Possibly the Most Popular Unusual Thing to Do in Taipei: Visit the Toilet Themed restaurant

This wasn’t just on my list of fun things to do in Taipei, it was the primary reason I wanted to go.

Called Modern Toilet it’s a theme restaurant based around everything lavatorial – food comes served in toilet-shaped bowls, you drink out of specimen bottles, your ice cream is brown and poop shaped – it’s a weird travel lovers dream.

I wrote a full post about it if you want to see all the details, get a map (and find more pics!)

Ice creamed shaped like poop at Modern Toilet restaurant in Taipei

Where is the Toilet Restaurant?: The one I visited is in Ximending, a lively shopping area nicknamed Taipei’s Harajuku. Nearest metro is Ximen

Looking for some other unusual Taipei ideas – why not try one of these tours?


Try and win a Fluffy Penis

This is another unique thing to do in Taipei – specifically at the night markets. I have no idea why but fluffy penises were everywhere. You could win them by shooting things, by popping balloons with darts and in the little grabby hand machines.

Oh, you can also buy penis shaped waffles, hot dogs and ice pops, but I was travelling alone and while I’ll do many things solo for this blog that put me out of my comfort zone, eating a phallic ice cream with no-one to laugh with just seemed a bit sad!

Fun Things to Do in Taipei - win, erm, interesting prizes

If fluffy male body parts aren’t on your list of things to take home from Taipei, you can find a heap of other strange things in the grabber machines in the arcades that line the night markets. You know you’ve always wanted your own piece of toast to keep forever and ever without pesky things like hunger or mould getting in the way.

You can win all sorts of unique things at the Taipei Night Markets.

Where to Win a Penis: Shilin Night Market had the most games, but they were in the arcade at Raohe too.

See the Gate with the Brilliant Name

With limited time in Taipei, the obvious tourist sights weren’t top of my must- see list, I was looking for more unique things to do, but I was really glad I found time to visit Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall – the monument erected to the former leader.

The hall itself was interesting, but the gate outside it blew me away.

Pictures don’t do justice to its scale (it’s 30 metres high and 80 metres wide and that’s only a tiny bit of it below) – and until I went there I also had no idea of its brilliant name;The Gate of Great Centrality and Perfect Uprightness. That makes me extraordinarily happy.

How to Get There. Take the green or red metro Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall: If you do walk though be very careful when you put this in google maps. I walked from my hotel only to discover after about 45 minutes strolling that there is a very similarly named lecture hall at Taipei University. Do not make this mistake – it’s annoying!

♥ If you want to find all the things on my list here, you’re going to need a good map – so why not pick up a SIM card at the airport to set you up from the get-go. I ordered mine from Klook and it was great. Here’s where to find the details ♥

Eat Noodles with Intestines

I’d always said there were two things in life I would never eat – brains and intestines. But after a trip earlier this year saw me eating brains twice in a week, I decided I might as well conquer the last hurdle too – and the famed Ay-Chung Flour Rice Noodle in Ximending gave me a chance.

These flour noodles in a thick rich sauce come with added intestines to pep things up a bit. You get your bowl and then add chilli oil or other sauces to adapt them to your tastebuds.

The stand is easy to find – look for the huge queue and a massive number of slurping people.

30TD ( £1 or AUD$1.25) bought me a small bowl and liberally dousing it with chilli oil I tucked in.

I can see why everyone raves about these noodles – they were full of flavour, super filling and very cheap. And as for intestine – it wasn’t bad, it doesn’t have a strong flavour, it’s just kind of chewy.

A bargain dinner, it also gives the chance for some brilliant people watching as you sit and watch the world go by.

Eating at Ay Chung Flour rice Noodle is one of the top things to do in Taipei

Where is it? Ay-Chung Flour Rice Noodle is at 8-1 Emei Street. Just look for the queue.

The most unusual thing to do in Taipei: Just wander enjoying how chilled it is

I went to Taipei expecting the normal sensory overload you get in a city in Asia, my overwhelming feeling of Taipei was how calm it was.

There’s not the frantic madness of mopeds and traffic you find in Vietnam or Bangkok, it’s missing the relentless bustle of people you find in Tokyo, there’s none of the hawker hassles you get in Hong Kong,

Walking down the street is positively peaceful – it’s easy to cross the road, you can see who is coming towards you, and often notice that they are working up to say Good Morning in English – I was surprised at how many people did.

I loved the city and really enjoyed my short trip hours there. There’s a lot more unusual things in Taipei – and the rest of Taiwan I’d like to see and another trip is coming soon – so watch this space.

♥ Top Tip: The easiest way from the airport to town is the fast rail link – book your ticket in advance here and save.

Where I stayed in Taipei

Before my night in the Hyatt, I picked the Amba Zhongshan as it was close to a metro station and pretty much in the middle of all the things to do in Taipei that were on my list.

It was a great choice – clean, quiet and relatively inexpensive.

The hotel is surrounded by local restaurants in the backstreets behind – or, if you need an easy option after a long day of sightseeing, I recommend the food court on Nanjing West Road just a few minutes walk away!

I’d definitely chose this hotel again – or one of the other Amba properties around Taipei. They had a really nice feel.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links which mean I earn a small commission if you use them to book. This does not cost you any extra.

Sharing is Caring

So are there any other unusual things in Taipei people should check out that I’ve missed? Let me know in the comments.

Also, if you like this post, you can share it on social media with the buttons and pins below. Go on, you know you want to tell people all about toffee tomatoes and fluffy penis competitions!

Taipei, Taiwan surprised me - it was so much calmer than I expected with a heap of quirky things to eat, see and do. Here's my pick on nine unusual things to do in Taiwan - including a haunted hotel, a supercheap hot spring and what I ate at the Taipei night markets. #taipei #thingstodointaipei #taiwan



  1. Dannielle

    I love posts like this! I still haven’t made it to Taipei but think I need to move it up my list after reading this.

    1. Helen from Differentville (Post author)

      I loved it – but now need to see more of Taiwan too.

  2. Jess

    Wow! There are so many neat things packed into this article. We’re a sucker for hot springs and delicious food. I don’t think I would be able to eat some of those foods though, particularly the one served in a toilet. Great guide!


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