Taiwan Guide for Night Owls

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Introduction

Ready to explore Taiwan? If you’re a night owl, this article is very suitable for you since I was a night owl as well, principally because of my beloved one. I’m a local Taiwanese who’ve lived in Taiwan for more than 26 years. Usually, I was active at night all the way until even 5 am in the morning. I went out with my friends for fun, drinks, walking around etc mostly in Taipei. That’s why I want to share this article for you. This article focuses on Taipei, which is the capital of Taiwan, and for night owls, is structured as follows: night market, bars, nightclubs, temples, parks, landscapes, restaurants, motels, and hot springs.

With this article, you can travel to Taiwan and Taipei like locals. Feel hungry? Go to the Shilin night market to explore tons of snacks including fried chicken and cheese potato. If you are a sushi lover, this article is right for you because we collect many sushi restaurants in the “Restaurants for Night Owls” section. You will discover why Sunway sushi attracts lots of foreigners, especially Koreans. Wanna take a walk for fresh air? Go to Bitan to enjoy the riverside and suspension bridge. And there is much more to explore in Taiwan.

Chapter 2: Night Markets for Night Owls

Taiwan is famous for delicious and distinctive food and you can find them at night markets where food stands and people gather at night. There are over three hundreds of night markets in Taiwan. It’s a way of life and this culture is rooted deeply in the hearts of Taiwanese. It dates back to Chinese history when food vendors set up stalls near places where temple activities gather lots of people, for instance, Taoist festivals. Nowadays it becomes a place where people social and hang out to not only have dinner, but buy clothes, electronics, groceries, and play carnival games. Be dared and open your heart to try different varieties of light snacks such as oyster omelets, pearl milk tea, stinky tofu, and watermelon juice which is my favorite. At night markets of Tainan you can experience one of the best snacks which is famous for its sugar inside, but be aware that some open in specific days in a week rather than every day, like two or three days in a week.

Shilin Night Market

Located in the northern part of Taipei city (Shilin district), Shilin night market is considered one of the biggest night market in Taiwan which attracts tons of tourists. It is crowded all the time even on the weeknights. You can hardly walk on the weekend nights. There are many food stalls, merchandise, carnival games, and a cinema. Besides from feeding your stomach, your eyes will also be fed with nice & sparkling souvenirs in cozy and compact shops. A word of advice: Be careful with your wallets. Not from thieves but from overspending. Try its famous big fried chicken, stinky tofu, big sausage, cheese potato, grilled prawns and much more to explore. There is a Cih Cheng temple in the center of the night market which is the most crowded place, with food stalls on either side of the street which slows you down. I usually buy a bowl of oyster flour-rice noodle and sit at the stairs beside the temple. And don’t miss the underground food court of the market where miscellaneous seafood and Chinese food can draw your attention.

Jingmei Night Market

Located in Wenshan district, the southern part of Taipei, Jingmei night market turns from day time’s traditional market into night time’s night market. The whole night market field is not that big. The food stalls in the night markets close around 11 pm, but there are a few restaurants and vendors open until 2 in the morning. A word of caution: Avoid heading to the center of the night market after midnight unless you want to get down with parties of mouse. Still, they offer delicious food including sesame oil noodles, chicken soup, Shanghai pan-fried bun, etc. Because it’s near MRT and school, it attracts many local students in the evening. It’s less crowded compared to Shilin night market.

Nearby attractions: Because it’s located near the Jingmei river, you can just take a few minutes’ walks to arrive at the riverside and enjoy the landscape, just take a walk or jogging etc.

Ningxia Night Market

Located in the downtown Datong district of Taipei, Ningxia night market is one of the best night markets for midnight snacking in Taipei. In order to give visitors wonderful experience, the Taipei City Government put in lots of effort into rebuilding the night market, costing US$300,000 in the 20th century. The location is rearranged for market use with grease plumbing and water source system. Especially, it is one of the first markets who implement Alipay in over a hundred stalls out of 120 stalls in total. Usually, it opens from 6 pm until midnight or 2 am depending on the number of customers. It is recommended to try its oyster and egg omelets, and you can also find barbecued squid on a stick, fish rolls, pig kidney and grilled scallops within its walls. My favorite is to take a seat to enjoy a delicious braised pork rice, finish, pay, walk away, and grab a cup of watermelon juice on the go. Nearby attractions include Dadaucheng, Ximending, and Dihua street.

Shi Da Night Market

Located in the center of Taipei, Da’an district, Shi Da night market is a great place to experience Taiwanese culture in a more fashion way where other than food, there are some modern stylish boutiques established by teenagers, cafes, nail polish, and bars. The location is near National Taiwan Normal University, short for Shi Da, having a famous Mandarin training center which attracts most of the foreign Mandarin learners in Taiwan.

It is worth mentioning that there is no distinct separation between the residential area and commercial area, which makes life pretty convenient in Taiwan. We live where we buy everything.

Sometimes you can come across small musical concert in the park near Shi Da night market. It is recommended to try my favorite Banana Crepe stall which offers soft muffins with different varieties of sweet and fruits. Moreover, other must-try include Shi Yun deep-fried chicken, Hsu Ji Sheng Jian Bao, and Deng Long Lu Wei braised noodles and vegetables. Nearby attractions include Yongkang Street, Daan Forest Park, and Gongguan shopping district.

Ximending

Located at the north-east of Wanhua district, Ximending is named after the administrative division during periods of Japan ruling and is at the north of Monga in the past. Nowadays it developed into the most internationalized shopping district at the west of Taipei city with more than 6000 stores of all sizes. It was the first pedestrian zone in Taiwan, featured with teenager subculture and largest pedestrian shopping zone nowadays. Since the 1930s, Ximending has been famous for its movie street with more than twenty cinemas in the whole area.

Featured as the paradise of teenagers and the most expensive rental area, Ximending has been called the “Harajuku of Taipei” and the “Shibuya of Taipei”. It’s the source of Taiwan’s fashion, subculture, and Japanese culture with a host of clubs and pubs in the surrounding area.

When you head to this popular area, remember to check out the weekend creative market near Red House selling various kinds of creative and cultural goods, and nearby pubs including gay bars.

Yongkang Street

Located at Da’an district, Yongkang street is another fascinating urban area which attracts lots of foreigners. It consists of all the formal shops rather than flowing stalls. Standing at the crossroad of Yongkang street and Xinyi street, you can see a wonderful landscape of skyscraper 101 and commercial buildings around each side. Almost all the banks are located near here to compete with each other. Also, you’ll notice that people gather and line up at the famous Chinese restaurant Din Tai Fung all the time. Walking into the street, it is recommended to try the famous mango shaved ice of Smoothie House and Tian Jin Flaky Scallion Pancake (It may take a while to wait in line). There are also beef noodles, Japanese restaurants, cafes, and hot pots to explore. After having your dinner, you can also take a walk at Yongkang park.

Nearby attractions include Da’an forest park and Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall.

Raohe Night Market

Located at the east of Taipei, Songshan district, Raohe night market is one of the longest night markets offering hundreds of food options for you to explore, and you will notice the distinct Songshan Ciyou temple at the entrance of night market. This long night market is parallel to and beside the Keelung river, so take a walk at the riverside after exploring the night market to see the Rainbow Bridge.

What’s special to eat: Chinese medicine rib soup, lamb shank soup, pork pepper bun, grilled squid, stinky tofu, torched beef cubes, Xiaolongbao, custard wheel cake. Situated right under the entrance of Raohe Night Market, pork pepper bun attracts long lines at all times of the evening. Costing NT$50 each one, the Michelin-recommended pork pepper bun is worth waiting.

Dare to adventure? Try one of this night market’s most unique gourmet: peanut-powdered pig’s blood rice cakes. The reason for using pig’s blood as material is originated from Chinese’s frugal mentality such that we don’t want to waste the blood while killing pigs.

Tonghua Night Market

Located at Da’an district and near 101, Tonghua night is a moderate size night market full of delicious food. It is called Linjiang street night market as well, which is less visited by tourists, making it feels more local. You won’t get the shoulder-to-shoulder crowd compared to Shilin. There are many options for food you can eat: stinky tofu, steam-fried buns, braised pork rice, egg tarts, bubble pearl milk tea, and one of my favorite food is the dumplings. And what’s special is that there are plenty of pet shops gathered together on the Jilong road beside the night market. So, go check out the pet street to see the cute dogs and cats after exploring Tonghua night market.

Love movie and wanna get a discount price? It is worth mentioning that there is a second/discount run movie theater called Nan Shan cinema in the night market. The price per person is around NT$160 and only NT$100 after 21:40 PM.

Keelung Miaokou Night Market

Located at Keelung city at the very north of Taiwan, Keelung Miaokou night market is one of the most prestigious and prosperous night markets in Taiwan with all kinds of snacks. Miaokou means in front of the temple in Chinese. Surrounding Dianji Temple area, there are more than 200 food stalls in just 400 meters featured with fabulous delicacy to full your appetite. It is usually crowded with people and sometimes even opens until 2 or 3 AM (opens at daytime as well). There are some must-eats highly recommended. First, Mochi, or glutinous rice with various toppings such as caramel, peanut shavings. They even make it with tastes like honey milk, mango milk or chocolate milk. Second, fried fish pastry at the 16th stall, which is fried fish paste wrapped with flour. Third, glutinous oil rice at the 5th stall. Golden-looking glutinous oil rice is super delicious, containing the flavor of strong mushroom with sweet and spicy sauce. Nearby attractions include Jiufen and Shifen near Ruifang.

Luodong Night Market

Back to my hometown, Yilan, Luodong night market is the biggest one in this county. Along Zhong Shan park, this night market offers a great deal of snacks for foodies with some local specialty gourmet. There are some stores of clothes, toys, groceries as well, but the majority are food stalls. There are several famous specific local foods here. First, the mutton soup at stall 1094 Ak Du Po, which opens from 5 pm until 3 am, is extremely tasty with tender thinly sliced mutton. It also offers irresistible fried stinky tofu with Taiwanese pickled vegetables. Second, at the post office near the entrance of the night market, there resides one of my favorite snacks, Yi Feng spring onion pancake, as Yilan is famous for its spring onion. It tastes crispy and fluffy. Moreover, it is recommended to add an egg on it for an adventurous experience. Third, braised skewers and Go Za, made from fried chicken stock and fat, are the other local specialties in Yilan.

Yilan Dongmen night market

Located at Yilan city and near Yilan train station, Dongmen night market accompanies me to grow up. It’s the place where I hang out with my family and friends while I was young. Every time I go here, I would love to buy a three-color pudding with taro, red beans, green beans, and other kinds of beans. It’s a great way to cool down your hot summer. It is also recommended to try the special hot herbal jelly to the left of the entrance of the night market. They also offer taro soup and tofu pudding. On the other side, there is spring onion pancake. Others include barbeque and watermelon juice.

If you walk from the night market to Yilan train station, you will arrive at Jimmy square. It’s an open-air exposition of the famous illustrator Jimmy turning colorful books into real life and arts. There are the famous flying trains station Starry Starry Night, statues, and decorations.

Hualien Dongdamen Night Market

Located at Hualien City, Dongdamen night market is one of the biggest night markets in Taiwan spreading over an area of 9 hectares. What’s special is that it combines 4 night markets altogether, namely, Futing Night Market for Taiwanese cuisine, street of Taiwanese aborigines cuisine, Zhiqiang Night Market, and street of Mainland China cuisine, making it colorful and crowded all the nights. It is so large that you can find almost all kinds of Taiwanese snacks here. There is also one street full of carnival games, such as darts, archery, balloon shooting, claw machines, and other creative games. Hualien county has a well-preserved aboriginal culture such as Amis, Atayal, and you can experience the traditional aboriginal bamboo rice in the night market. Other traditional aboriginal cuisines include millet wine and pan-fried wild pig. Chisingtan scenic area is a nearby attraction with beautiful beach.

Chung Yuan Night Market

Located at Taoyuan city, this night market surrounds the entrance of Chung Yuan Christian university. It is one of the biggest and most diversified night markets in Taoyuan, including foods, drinks, clothes, and cinemas. When I go to Chung Yuan night market, I love to take tofu pudding since it is very healthy, and spring onion pancake, and beef noodle. There is a very special enlarged version of wheel cake whose stall name is Wan Bing, where they put fried chicken inside wheel cake with cream and cheese. Another specialty in this night market is Kaohsiung Oden King. They have oden, radish, tempura, tofu, and free soup to drink. If you want to fulfill your foodie stomach more, try the steamed dumplings with fresh meat, give a bite, and enjoy the juicy soup coming out from the dumplings in your mouth enlightened by Taiwanese culture. And don’t forget to take a walk in Chung Yuan Christian university after you fulfill your stomach.

Fengjia Night Market

Located at Taichung city, the middle of Taiwan, Fengjia night market is claimed to be the biggest and most popular night market in Taiwan. Originated from the Fengjia university area, it has now become extremely popular. You can walk around the long stretch of streets, and in my opinion, this night market harbors the most of creative dishes. A word of caution: Don’t try to drive a car here, you will get stuck for a long time. It hosts abundant cuisine, fried chicken chop, roasted oyster mushrooms, garlic clams, and prawns, just to name a few. The first recommendation is Seaside Cottage clam. It’s extremely delicious and the clam soup is juicy. They claim to grow their clam by themselves. It opens around 6 pm and usually sold out at 9 pm. The second recommendation is papaya milk. They make it very intense with respect to papaya with another choice of taro. The third recommendation is Dody Duke cheese potato. It looks like ice cream, but actually it’s a cup of potato, added with corn, chicken, broccoli, and pepper.

Garden Night Market

Located in the North District of Tainan, south of Taiwan, Garden night market is considered the biggest and most popular night market in Tainan. There is a saying that with regards to the most famous night market, North is Shilin, Middle is Fengjia, and South is Garden. This night market is also called Flower Garden night market. When you come to Tainan, you will notice that everything becomes sweet. Beef noodles is sweet, braised pork rice is sweet, drinks are sweeter, almost all dishes are more sweet. People in Tainan likes to put sugar in the food. One possible reason is that in the past people think that they are richer and of more value if they eat sweeter food. In my opinion, this kind of sweetness is weird, and if you ask a person from Tainan why they eat so sweet, they’ll say it’s people from the north of Taiwan eat too salty!

Shanhua Night Market

Located at Shanhua district of Tainan city, Shanhua night market is relatively small but complete. It opens only on Tuesday, Friday and Sunday, and it’s crowded with more people on Friday night, thus more stalls. There are barbeques, fried chickens, duck thick soup, duck pan-fried noodles, stinky tofu, flaky scallion pancake, squid, and much more. People in Tainan are experts at delicious food, so you will have little chance of being turned down. They have their own philosophy and discipline in keeping the quality of food. Try the licorice guava, it tastes delicate. It’s very special that rather than using licorice powder, they use licorice sauce to cover around the guava.

Dadong Night Market

Located at the East District of Tainan, Dadong night market is the second largest night market in this county crowded with so many street foods and carnival games. Open only on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Fridays, this night market is difficult to park if you go by car. You better go by scooter or public transportation to make life easier. It is established in 2000 and not so crowded as Garden night market. It’s a place to let off steam for students from the nearby National Cheng Kung University after a long study. There are fried sweet potato balls, fish balls, steak, stinky tofu, barbecue corn, chicken, clams, just to name a few. It is worth mentioning that there is an auction stall where the boss introduces their products and lower the price constantly. It is a good place to bargain and crowded with people. It’s like watching a performance of selling miscellaneous toys and useful stuff.

Yongda Night Market

Located at Yongkang district of Tainan, you can find almost all the street snacks and carnival games in Yongda night market. It opens on Monday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday, usually from 6 pm until midnight. I introduce four night markets of Tainan, but actually, there are more than fifty night markets in this county. You will know how people in Tainan love snacks. It is no doubt the paradise of night owl if you love street snacks. In this night market, there are oden, fresh fruits, barbecue, flaky scallion pancake, fried mushrooms, shaved ice, and much more. Shaved ice is kind of special in Taiwan. It offers lots of ingredients where you can choose to mix in the shaved ice by yourself: sweet potato, taro, red bean, green bean, Job’s tears, black sugar cake, bubble, jelly, etc. It’s interesting to play one of the carnival games called ring toss. You have to toss the ring onto the target bottle to win the large stuffed animal. It costs around NT$50 to NT$100 and may not be as easy as you think.

Ruifeng Night Market

Finishing touring around night markets of north and middle of Taiwan, we go to the south of Taiwan, Kaohsiung, which has the largest harbor in Taiwan. Here resides Ruifeng night market located at Zuoying district of Kaohsiung, and it’s currently considered the largest and greatest night market in this city. It is near MRT which is very easy to reach, and opens on Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. This night market hosts more than a thousand stalls with diversity, where most of them are food vendors accompanied by some non-food items such as fashion apparel, carnival games, and accessories. There is an interesting game that you pay NT$100 to do a challenge to write the number from 1 to 600 without any error. If you win, you get back your NT$100 and a free stuffed animal. For foodies who like strong taste and are brave enough, you can try spicy stinky tofu with duck blood jelly and golden needle mushroom. There are other tons of delicacy like taro milk, papaya milk, bubble tea toast (bubble tea in warm and hot toast), and Angel thick fried chicken for you to experience.

Liouhe Night Market

Chapter 3: Bars for Night Owls

Zhongshan District

Trio Bistro Bar

B Line By A Train

Enowine

45 bar

Bistro O

SoShow Bar

Beitou Pizza Bar

Darts Bar

Hello Taipei Sport Space

Ray Darts

Phoenix Dart

Gay Bars

Anthony Bar

Matt Bar

Goldfish Bar

Chapter 4: Night Clubs for Night Owls

Omni

Lava

Electro

Baby18

Wave

Halo

Klash

Chapter 5: Temples for Night Owls

Chih Nan Temple

Ling Xiao Temple

Chungyang Temple

Daxiong Temple

Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva Temple and 500 Lohan Temple

Lungshan Temple

Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall

Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall

Shen An temple

Wenwu Temple – Son Moon Lake

Provintia

Dragon and Tiger Pagodas

Chapter 6: Parks for Night Owls

Youth Park

Dahu Park

Dagouxi Waterfront Park

Daan Forest Park

New Taipei Metropolitan Park

Bihu Park

Beitou Park

Bitan

Jiangcuilijian Riverside Park

Hutoushan Environmental Park

Shin Sei Green Waterway

Chapter 7: Landscapes for Night Owls

101

Yangmingshan

Dadaucheng

Xiangshan (Elephant Mountain)

Hemei Mountain Trail

Jiufen

Pingxi

Shenkeng Old Street

Sanxia Old Street

Shuihuo Tong Yuan

Chapter 8: Restaurants for Night Owls

The Top

Sleepless in Chousan

Din Tai Fung

N.Y.Bagels

For Sushi Lovers: Collections of Sushi Restaurants in Taiwan

Sunway Sushi

Sushi Express

MANJEDAD

Aoi Sushi

Hama Sushi

NCIS

Magic Touch

Kura Sushi

Addiction Aquatic Development

Chapter 9: Motels for Night Owls

Wego Motel

Norwegian Forest Motel

Sato Castle

Mulan

Alper

AT Motel

Yidou Motel

Yes Motel

Merryday

Q Motel

Chapter 10: Hot Springs for Night Owls

Yangmingshan

Jinshan

Beitou

Wulai

jiaoxi

Jhiben

Guanziling

Sichongxi

 

 

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