As the Mozilla Taiwan (Cooperation) growing these years, more and more Mozillians visit Taipei on business and on vocation. Every time I would like to introduce some local venues for them to visit, and it seems a better way to just document everything here, than send out with individual email.
So here is my personal suggestion places, for my friends to visit during your stay.
But if you have at least a whole day, and would like to see some best piece of Chinese art, you should definitely visit Palace Museum.
Scene & Tourist places
(Suitable from several hours to half day)
Located at MRT Tamsui Station (淡水站), the northern end of MRT Tamsui line (淡水線, red line). It's a history township in northern part of Taipei, but in nowadays more like a leisure place for the people in Taipei City. It's always crowded at weekend evening, people going there to see river, sunset, feel the wind blowing and have some 'small food'(gourmet snacking) at lots of food stalls there.
The small food is good, but the restaurant food is not so well at Tamsui. If you turn into some lanes, you may find some of the traditional houses or a taste of country life where other part of Taiwan would be.
If you have more time, ride a ferry to Bali (八里), the another side of Tamsui river. There is a trail along the river in Bali, with some good restaurants and even more food stalls. I recommend "Badasan", a restaurant featuring aborigines cuisine, with live aborigines song perform every night. (English menu available, suitable for 2-10 people to eat together.)
Aborigine signer is really hit in Taiwan and in Chinese POP music, many of the world-famous Chinese signer are indigenous peoples from different tribes.
- Google Map of MRT Tamsui Station, Map around Tamsui Station
- Google Map of "Badasan" aborigines restaurant in Bali
- Wikipedia - Taiwanese aborigines
Maokong is locating at the terminal station of Maokong Gondola, which you can take from the MRT Taipei Zoo Station, southern end of MRT Wenhu line (文湖線, brown line). You can take the gondola with metro cards (like MRT), and don't need to get into line of ticket counter.
Maokong is traditional tea production area, and famous for it's tea houses (most of them also serve Chinese cuisine). Although the employee barely speaking English, most of them have English menu. If the way of boiled cup of traditional Chinese tea would be a problem for you, maybe reading some introduction in advance is good idea.
Go there in noon, stay until night and have a dinner. The night view of Taipei city from Maokong is really great.
It's closest and best Hot Spring site in Taipei. You can go to there with MRT Tamsui (red) line to Beitou Station (北投站), and take one stop transfer to Xin Beitou Station (新北投站). The hot spring area is just near the station, and you can take a half hour walking along the Guang Ming Rd. (光明路) around hot spring park, into the mid of hot spring area. Most of the hot spring hotel and bath poll is located along the road.
The average price of public hot spring poll (some is suit-up, and some are naked pool) is around NTD 100~300, some of the 5-star hotel can up to 1k, and the average price for personal bath room is about NTD 1.5k~2k for 2 hours. I specially suggest to try "青磺名湯", a hot spring bath room. It's owned by government for decades and re-open in 2012. The public bath (without dress) is only NTD120 entrance fee, and personal bath room cost 350~450 for 1~2 hours (time depends on weekday and season). The quality of spring water is recommend by many people.
The meaning of the name is "Elephant Mountain", it's the closest mountain of Taipei city, and have the best city view with 101 just in front. It only 180 meter high and took only about an hour hiking though trail to the top. You can get to the trail at MRT Xiangshan Station (象山站), which is the eastern end of Xinyi (Red) line. It's good place for a leisure walking in morning and noon.
Every city in Taiwan has "Night Market", where contains ten to hundreds of food stalls with various of local foods, snacks, drinks and outfits, cheapest and delicious selections. There are many in Taipei City.
Here is a CNN article about common Taiwanese food which you can find everywhere and in most night market. It considered as recent good article on this topic*. You may use it as a reference, and help for ordering foods.
Raohe Street Night Market (饒河街夜市)
There is a good and large night market, "Raohe Street Night Market" (饒河街夜市), which is only 5 mins taxi away from Mozilla Taiwan office (and Hyatt Hotel), and 10 mins walk from MRT Houshanpi Station (後山埤站) on blue line. Unlike famous "Shilin Night Market" (士林夜市), which is mainly open for tourist (I barely go there), this one is which local people also enjoyed.
The other popular night markets in Taipei are,
- Shida Night Market (師大夜市) near MRT Guting Station (古亭站)
There is many outfit store and cheap restaurants in here, also many special café nearby.
- Ningxia Night Market (寧夏夜市) at MRT Shuanglian Station (雙連站)
Many food stalls but less outfit.
There is a farmer's market "Hope Square" (希望廣場), where just next to Guang Hua Digital Plaza (光華商場), famous computer mall at MRT Zhongxiao Xinsheng Station (忠孝新生站).
You can buy freshest seasonal fruit, food materials, tea leaves and local grows roasted coffee beans and snacks. It's opening every weekend from 12-6pm, directly shipped from the farm across whole Taiwan and sell by the farmer themselves. The best is that you can try a bite before buying almost anything on all hundreds stalls. This is my current favorite leisure to do at every weekend.
There are many many good café in Taipei, most of the independent coffee shop are home roasted, and you can find different various kinds of café inside lanes everywhere.
Mr. Brown, Dante, Ikari and Starbucks is the most popular chain coffee restaurant in Taipei. The coffee of Mr. Brown is fine, Dante and Ikari for me is so-so, and about Starbucks... I'd made my mind that don't to get in any of Starbucks in Taiwan (because of moral issues of Starbucks and uni-president cooperation behind it). and I personally also don't go to chain coffee store much.
湛盧 Zhanlu Coffee
I personally consider the best café in Taipei (many also highly recommend) is Zhanlu Coffee (湛盧), for it's stability quality of coffee and service. There are several branch store, and one is locate at MRT Taipei City Hall Station (市政府站). And I often go to another branch store at MRT Zhongxiao Xinsheng Station (忠孝新生站).
- Google+ of Zhanlu Coffee City Hall Moka house (湛盧咖啡市府摩卡館, specialized in Moka Pot)
- Google + of Zhanlu Coffee Daan Hand Drip House (湛盧咖啡大安手沖館, specialized in Hand Drip)
When you checkout, don't forget to say that you're my (Irvin's) friend, and I believe you'll get the membership price discount. (If not, told me.)
Friendly coffee stores with OSS community
There're also two cafés which familiar by OSS community in Taiwan. First is ökogreen (生態綠), the first fair-trade coffee shop and trader across Chinese area (China/Hong Kong/Taiwan). The second is GozCafé (果子咖啡). They're always been good friends with local OSS contributors, and of course the coffee is well no doubt.
Bubble Tea and Tea Shop
Bubble Tea (珍珠奶茶) is the most famous drinks from Taiwan. You can find a lots of tea shops across the whole city, with various choices of juice and tea. The typical menu will including from 20 to hundreds of items, but basically it's the combination of tea, milk, juice and jelly.
You can choose the tea first, which typically including Black Tea, Oolong Tea and Green Tea, whether with flesh milk (鮮奶), coffee cream (奶精) or not. Then you can choose to add bubble (aka. bōbà, perl, tapioca balls) or jelly (grass or coffee jelly), if available.
Whether drinks you choose, you have to decide the sweet and ice, from full (全) / half (半) / 20% (微) / no (去) sugar and ice. And of course you can ordering in hot. I usually order in "20% sugar and less ice" (微糖少冰), that would be already sweet enough for me.
Some of my favorite drinks are, Perl Milk Tea (波霸奶茶), Fresh Grapefruit Green Tea (鮮柚綠), Yakult Green Tea (養樂多綠), Pudding Milk Tea (布丁奶茶), Bubble Milk Green Tea (波霸奶綠), and recently popular choice, Matcha Milk Tea (抹茶牛奶).
If available, I'll order "Fresh Milk Tea" (鮮奶茶) instead of typical coffee whiteners in milk tea. Hot/Iced cocoa (熱巧克力) and Ovaltine (阿華田) also available in most drink shop.
My recommanded chain brand of Tea Shop are 50嵐 (50 'Lan', blue and yellow sign), 天仁 (喫茶趣, Cha For Tea, green sign). 鮮茶道 (Presotea, light and dark green sign), Mr.Wish, and Come Buy are also my frequent choices.
Other places in Taiwan
Taipei is consider the most convenience city in Taiwan (and the wealth one), but judged by "comfortable" and "livable", Southern Taiwan is more leisure and vocation choice. Taipei is like Tokyo in Japan, which many people moved in for job, but endure the difficultly of it's higher expense, ridiculous housing prices and crowded environment. If you'd like to take a longer vocation (several days to than a week?), I suggest you visit Eastern Taiwan and Southern Taiwan.
Eastern Taiwan (東台灣)
Eastern part of Taiwan is a valley next to Pacific Ocean, surrounded by Ocean Mountain. Most of the plain land are farms with little residents. Imagine wake up to see the sunrise and ocean. Also it's the main residential area of Taiwanese aborigines.
Southern Taiwan has much better weather (always sunny, still warming to wear short t-shirt in winter).
Tainan is the Kyoto of Taiwan. It's oldest city in Taiwan (almost 400 years) and people are proud of their own history, culture and food. You'll see many café/restaurant opening in old traditional residence buildings, and the history of many common food restaurants everywhere were more than a hundred year. If you love the old city and culture flavor, you'll feel and learn a lot in Tainan.
Kaohsiung is a harbor city in the south of Tainan. It's a metro city combined with many tourism venues. You can biking through the whole city and along the harbor coast, enjoy the sunset at Qijin island then taking the boat down along the beautiful night scene of Love River.
Kenting is the most southern town of Taiwan. It's a national park which is famous for it's tropical weather and ocean (which is good for surfing and diving). Its the most favorite vocation venue in Taiwan. There is also a large rock music festival every spring.
The most popular market of electronic devices / computers / hardware parts in Taipei is "Guang Hua Digital Plaza" (光華商場) and the nearby Bade Road (八德路). It's just right in the center of Taipei City, near MRT Zhongxiao Xinsheng Station (忠孝新生站, intersection of blue and Yellow line).
MozCafé - 'MozTW Lab' every Friday
I'll definitely have to welcome every Mozillians to participant our weekly "MozTW Lab", MozCafé event in Taipei.
About 10~20 community members will gathering in "The6 Café" near Guanghua Market, from 7:30pm to 10pm every Friday night.
We will doing event planning, l10n, Firefox OS testing, writing webpages... and the most of all, endless chatting on Mozilla-related topics. Anyone is welcome to bring his own works/tasks/fun to attend and sharing.
Please do paid a visit to the meet-up. MozTW is an old community with various background volunteers focus on different projects. We'll definitely like to share our stories, and learning from your Mozillian experience.
- MozTW Lab event page
- Address: No. 6 Sec. 1, Xinsheng South. Rd. (新生南路一段6號2樓)
- Beware of wrong Google Map directions. If you search for "The6 Café", it'll guiding you to the wrong places, which is No. 60 on the same road.
- Correct Google Map of The6 Café (at 2nd floor)
If you have any problem, need any help, or just like to chat (need additional suggestion?), you are welcomed to drop me a mail at irvin at moztw dot org or on SNS/IM/IRC (@irvinfly). Find more contact info on my Mozillians page.