Taipei 101 is one of the biggest tourist attractions in Taipei – both in terms of height and how many people want to go up it each day.
As such, you might find when you arrive, all excited to head up into the sky, you have to wait a while to get a slot – now, while you could sit there and stare at the rather pretty yellow ceiling in the booking hall, or shop yourself senseless in the mall below, why not go exploring instead?
There’s a whole load of interesting things to see and fun attractions near Taipei 101. Here’s 12 to consider…
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Eat Michelin Star Food at Hawker Prices
The food court on the basement floor of Taipei 101 is a great way to kill time – and, the hottest stall there right now is a Taiwanese outpost of Singapore’s Hawker Chan aka Liao Fan Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice & Noodle, famous as the first hawker stall in Singapore to get a Michelin Star.
Their go-to dishes are roast pork and a soya chicken and both served here in Taipei for the princely sum of about 500 NTD.
It might seem odd to eat Singaporean food in Taipei, but hey ho, I was doing it anyway.
The queue when we arrived was probably about 20 people deep but it moved pretty fast – not least as
Get on The Moon Bus
You’re probably not going to travel to Taipei to see the Moon Bus, you might not even travel to the other side of Taipei to see the Moon Bus, but if you’re wondering what to do near Taipei 101, it’s a super cute suggestion.
Based on the work of Taiwanese author Jimmy Liao, the Moon Bus is parked on the pavement almost directly opposite Taipei 101.
From the outside, it looks like a normal bus, but head inside you’ll find a cute teddy bear driver and characters and scenes from Liao’s children’s books – some of which have been translated into English so you might recognise them.
Particularly the ones on the roof recreating an iconic scene from his best selling book When The Moon Forgot.
Find it about 5 minutes walk from Taipei 101 at the junction of Xinyi Road and Songzhi Road.
Wander Guangfu Market
While the Xinyi district that is home to Taipei 101 is a swirly maze of modernity and malls, you don’t have to go far to find something a bit more traditional.
Just head walk about 10-minutes north-west of the tour to Guangfu Market and the small streets that surround it.
Go here early in the morning (it’s open from
If you’re very lucky, you might spot the local cockatoo who ‘works’ in one of the local shops on his morning commute – the shoulder of his smiling owner – or this cute pup enjoying a ride.
It’s a refreshing step back in time and one of my favourite places near Taipei 101 to visit.
Find The Flipboard Art
This fantastic piece of art is in one the main corridors leading out of Taipei 101/ World Trade Centre station to Taipei 101 and will keep you engrossed for a good ten minutes as you watch it flip between the younger and old faces.
Called The Moment We Meet it’s by a Taiwanese artist called Hsin Chien Huang.
The corridor you find it
Or Go in Search of Love & Rhinos.
There’s other art dotted around Taipei 101 – there’s the giant baby like sculpture Infinite Life and a LOVE sculpture for obligatory Instagramming both directly outside.
My personal favourite though is a short walk away – this fellow – King Kong Rhino by Shih Li Jen.
Considering one of Li Jen’s other rhinos was recently one of the stars of the 2018 Venice Biennale, just being able to wander past one sitting outside an office is pretty cool if you ask me.
You’ll find it outside
Check Out Sun Yat Sen Memorial Hall
This impressive gold-roofed building honours the life of Dr Sun Yat Sen, the founder of modern China.
Inside a giant statue of Dr Sun Yat Sen, guarded by smartly dressed soldiers, dominates the already pretty grandiose room within.
If you can time your visit for on the hour you can also watch the changing of the guards at the statue.
The flowers and fountains in the huge park that surround the hall are also worth visiting and early in the morning or at weekends the park
Get the Perfect Picture of Taipei 101
One of the big problems about the main sight in a city being a big tower like Taipei 101 is, once you go up the big tower it’s no longer in your photos, so while you’re looking for things to do around Taipei 101, you could make getting the perfect snapshot of the building itself your focus.
One great spot – and also a top tip for watching the New Years Eve fireworks in Taipei, is the front steps of Sun Yat Sen Memorial Hall – so add this to your list of places near Taipei 101 to see and you’ll check off two birds, one stone!
Enjoy Afternoon Tea at the Grand Hyatt
The Cha Lounge at the Grand Hyatt hotel is famous for its afternoon tea.
I haven’t tried it specifically but I was lucky enough to stay here on my first trip to Taipei (at which point I discovered it was reportedly haunted) and if the breakfast buffet – or the spread of cakes in the pic below – is anything to go by, you won’t be disappointed!
The hotel is just a five minute walk away from Taipei 101 and afternoon tea is available from 2.30 to 5pm. It costs 1680 NTD for two.
If you’re travelling solo, they offer afternoon tea for one in their cafe for 880NTD (weekdays), 1080NTD at weekends. That runs 3-5pm.
Another hotel to check out for afternoon tea is the W. It’s a little bit further walk than the Grand Hyatt – 12 minutes – but their Yen bar has the most amazing views of Taipei 101 and, at one point was offering an afternoon tea served in a mini version of the tower.
It’s vanished off their website now so I’m not sure if they are still offering it, but it looked amazing if they are.
You can also simply visit Yen for a drink. The bar is open from 2pm to 10pm
Climb Elephant Mountain
If you have more time – and walking shoes – then hop on the MRT one stop from Taipei 101 to Xiangshan MRT and scale the 600 steps that lead to the top of Elephant Mountain.
Not only is it one of the prettiest places to visit near Taipei 101, and will it give you a pretty good workout (I had to sit down at one point!) it also gives another incredible vantage point for that Taipei 101 view.
It’ll take about 10 minutes to get to the base of Elephant Mountain from Taipei 101 and another 20 minutes to get to the top.
Bring insect repellent and a drink – even in December it was super hot climbing up here.
Go Look for a Tiny Frog
As I was heading off for my wander up Elephant Mountain I noticed something interesting on a sign in the park nearby – Taipei Tree Frogs. Cue immediate googling.
It seems that despite being in the middle of a city, with a metro station plunked in the middle and a pretty busy road on the other side of it, a small patch of land in this park was found to be home to the seriously rare Taipei tree frog.
Only 5-6 of these are thought to be left living in Taipei and so to try and encourage them to breed, the city went all and created a little leafy garden for them to live in.
Off I went to spot one – forgetting I’d taken my boyfriend – also known as Rawson the Animal Repeller with me. Plus, the frogs are nocturnal so unless one was napping on a leaf, chances were
As such the closest thing I got to a frog was these ones on the sign – but we did spot a terrifying spider, that was gleefully identified as ‘one of those ones that
If you want to go look for the frogs, get the train to Xiangshan, come out at the entrance in the park and then head for the fenced-off patch of trees to the left. You might have more luck early in the morning or nearer to sunset.
There’s a branch of Taipei favourite Din Tai Fung at the bottom of Taipei 101. Don’t expect to just nip in for a quick dinner though. It’s probably the most popular branch in the city and so queues can be long.
Din Tai Fung in Taipei 101 opens at 11am and closes between 9.30-10pm depending on the day.
Do All the Things at the SCCC
The Songshan Cultural and Creative Centre is a 20-minute walk from Taipei 101 so only really suitable if you’ve got a long gap until it’s time to go up the tower, but it’s a great place to kill time if you do.
An old tobacco factory it’s now been turned into a space full of sculptures, exhibitions, craft markets, food trucks and container bars.
I went through it about three times and something new caught my eye every time.
One day I wandered into an exhibition to find robots painting, another day there was a food and craft market setting up (including the cute ice cream truck above), at night fairylight-strewn bars pop up in one of the walkways.
If it’s raining, head into the centre helmed by the Eslite bookstore. There’s shops, restaurants and more inside. Just don’t get too carried away and forget that you have tickets for Taipei 101!
Jump The Queues at Taipei 101
Talking of tickets for Taipei 101, if you want to avoid having to wait to go up the tower, or queue up for long, either get there at
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My name is Helen Foster and I’m a journalist and author living in Sydney.
My travel articles have been published in titles include The Australian, Body & Soul at the Sunday Telegraph, RAC Horizons, Jetstar magazine and more.
I like the weird, the wonderful and anything that makes me jump and down with glee like I’m about three. That’s what you’ll find here.
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