Taipei Tourist Traps
As the capital city of Taiwan, Taipei is a popular tourist destination. Because of that, there’s many tourist traps, as well as things new travelers should know about the areas in Taipei.
Take a Walk through Snake Alley
Along Snake Alley, some of the more interesting activities can include things like snake spitting and skinning. It’s not always for the faint of heart, but it’s certainly something to see. Of particular note are the vendors of snake blood, which is rumored to increase virility. You can also find restaurants selling snake meat and snake gland wine.
Visit the Night Markets in Taipei
You can find night markets all over Taipei. For cheap items, and a broader look at local cuisine and customs, you can browse and shop the night markets. One of the more notable night markets in Taipei is the Shilin Night Market.
Make Sure You Understand Local Currency
When taking cabs, always make sure you know how much a ride will cost. A driver may overcharge you. Ask locals before you use a service. You can also negotiate with drivers if you know what you’re doing. Usually, it’s best to take a bus or a train, which has a flat fee. Walking is also a viable means of getting around in Taipei.
If approached at bus stations or at the Taipei Railway Station, avoid giving money to anyone who approaches with items for sale. It’s always okay to say no, even if the sellers persist or have a story.
Avoid the National Palace Museum in the Early Morning
It’s better to go to the National Palace Museum later in the morning, when the tours have finished and you can enjoy the art and artifacts on display.
Alternatively, if you want the benefit of a tour without having to pay for it, you can show up early. Tours generally start early. You can listen to the tour guides and admire the displays without having to pay for the tour.
Beware the Service Charges on Money
If you have to change money to local currency, you will have to pay for the privilege. However, you must pay again in the form of service charges that may not appear when you see the money exchange rates.
In most cases, it’s better to exchange a larger amount with one service charge, than multiple amounts over time, with each having a service fee.
Prostitution in Taipei
You will find prostitutes and brothels in Taipei. The legalities of sex work in Taiwan are conflicting, so it’s best to show care and due diligence if taking part in any of these activities. While there is no “red light district,” there is Linsen North Road.
The 101 Observatory May Not Be Worth Your Time
Yes, it’s the tallest building in Taiwan. So many people want to go there to observe the city and see the view from a high vantage point. However, the price is steep. It also costs more to reach the uppermost floors. While the view is a good one, it’s not one you should consider necessary.
You Can Have Some Trouble Finding a SIM Card
You may have a difficult time finding a SIM card in Taipei. Sometimes, it’s better to purchase calling cards. However, times are changing. Make sure you speak with your phone service provider before traveling to see what they suggest.
Editor’s Note: The information contained on this page was compiled using real traveler reviews about tourist traps and tips for travelers in Taipei.