There is something that is quite enthralling about discovering a new city at night. It can feel a bit like an adventure as you unveil its mysteries and peel back the veneer of the unknown. Some cities more than others have this type of attraction, and Taipei; the capital of Taiwan, is a prime example. It’s a vibrant metropolis of contrasting sights, smells and sounds with Japanese colonial lanes, contemporary metro lines and infrastructure, bustling shopping centers and futuristic buildings all coexisting harmoniously. The skyline is crowned by the iconic bamboo-shaped Taipei 101 skyscraper, with upscale shops at the base and a high-speed elevator that takes you to the observatory near the top for some breathtaking city views. As nice as this is to witness during the daytime, the view truly comes alive in the evening when the city shimmers and shines as a testament to its ingenuity and unabashed conversion to modernity.
Popular for its street food and night markets, there are many to choose from in Taipei. It’s a heady mix of cuisine and commerce, and some of the more popular night markets in Taipei include the expansive Shilin market and the Huaxi Street Night Market, which is also known as Snake Alley. A trip to the commercial zone straddling the Zhongzheng and Da’an Districts is another popular shopping and leisure area with a night market.
For something truly unique, you may want to make the trek to Jiufen, which is a small mountain village in northeastern Taiwan, just east of Taipei. It’s spectacular to explore at night and is charming and quaint with its narrow alleyways packed with teahouses, street-food shacks and souvenir shops. It is also said to be the town that inspired the bathhouse in the Japanese anime Spirited Away by Miyazaki. This is particularly apparent in the case of the Amei Tea House which distinguishes itself with its signature rows of red lanterns and evocative soft lights that glow from its large glass windows at night.
People often visit temples in the daytime, but most temples in Taiwan stay open until 9-10PM, and they tend to be less crowded in the evenings. The Longshan Temple is one of the largest and oldest temples in Taiwan. It was built in 1738 by immigrants from Fujian as a gathering place for Chinese settlers. Located in the old village part of Taipei, in the Wanhua District, this temple is easy to get to and has the bonus of free entrance. This is just one of three well-known temples in the historic Wanhua district, and the other two, Bangka Qingshui Temple and Taipei Tianhou Temple, are also worth stopping by and visiting.
It is important to remember that Taiwan is a dynamic and exciting urban city with a thriving nightclub scene as well as many pubs, bars, and hotels that you can retire to as night falls. You will find comfortable, state of the art facilities, reasonable prices, and international entertainers, DJs, and singers in the upscale clubs and high-end hotel bars. Whether you want to dance the night away at a techno-pop rave or chill out with a martini and some live jazz, you will be spoiled for choice when it comes to the nightlife in Taipei, Taiwan.