Once known for its thriving electronics and manufacturing industries, Taipei is an underrated destination still defined by the “Made in Taiwan” label. The capital city is a fascinating amalgamation of Japanese and Chinese architecture, and boasts enticing street cuisine, ancient forests and hot springs – these natural delights are all easily accessible from the city centre. While the citizens of Taipei may take the ultra-modern metro on their morning commutes looking at their smartphones, they return home to wisteria-fringed walk-ups and spend their weekends at intimate cafés in hushed alleys or at one of the city’s ubiquitous street stalls grabbing a snack – contrasts that make the city hugely charming to visitors, too.
When to go
Taipei has a semi-tropical climate characterised by hot, humid summers from June to August, and mild winters from December to February. The city is rainy for most of the year with September, usually, as the wettest month.Autumn is the best time to visit, when rainfall is at its lowest and temperatures hover around an agreeable range.
How to get around
The Taipei metro is both clean and cheap, and rapid expansion in recent years has made using the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) system more efficient than ever. Those with a more explorative bent will find cycling the most rewarding way to experience Taipei, especially when the weather is ideal. Bicycle rental stations are found on nearly every corner thanks to the city’s YouBike initiative. Taxis are cheap and plentiful, but work best when passengers know some basic Mandarin.