Places to See, Eat and Shop along Taipei MRT Xindian Line

Places to See, Eat and Shop along Taipei MRT Xindian Line

October 08, 2016

With its plethora of food offerings and shopping opportunities, boasting multiple activities to do and numerous places of interests to visit, Taipei is one of my favourite cities to explore. Taiwan itself is big, with gorgeous lakes, scenic national parks and places rich in culture and history so it might take a couple of weeks or even months to cover the entire Taiwan. However, if you only have a few days to spare, why not take a day to explore the Xindian district within Taipei? Remember to obtain the MRT map so you can navigate easily around Taipei. You’ll notice that the dark green line, consisting of 10 stops, covers Taipei’s Xindian district. Read on and find out where to sight-see, eat and shop along the Xindian Line.

#1 : Wu Lai (烏來)

wu-lai-bus-stop wu-lai-entrance

This is a small town that’s well-known for its hot springs and aboriginal culture. Many of us are familiar with Chinese culture as Taiwan is predominantly occupied by Han Chinese but do you know that Chinese migration to Taiwan is only a recent historical occurrence, happening as late as the 17th century? It only began when the Dutch searched for farm labourers. Up till that point of time, Taiwan was mainly inhabited by the aboriginals. While sharing similar values, the aboriginal tribes have unique histories, cultures, languages and practices which distinguish them from each other. Wu Lai, being the closest accessible aboriginal village to Taipei City, is a good place to start learning about this interesting culture and people.

wu-lai-food wu-lai-local-food wu-lai-street-food

You can conveniently cover most corners of Wulai on foot. It takes approximately 30 minutes to get from Wu Lai’s bus stop to the Waterfall. You’ll pass through the open air market on Wu Lai Old Street before continuing to the falls via the “Lover’s Path”, which promises nice views of the river gorge below the falls. After discovering Wu Lai on foot, take a break and savour their local favourites – tapioca ‘cakes’ on sticks, Taiwan sausages, hot spring eggs and their interesting century eggs drenched in a special secret recipe sauce.

wu-lai-hot-springs-public wu-lai-hot-spring-private wu-lai-private-hot-spring-view

You can also relax at one of the public hot springs or if you like privacy, check out the hot springs offered at the hotels and resorts. If my memory served me right, we enjoyed an afternoon soaking at Sun Moon Light Hot Spring (日月光溫泉). We were allocated to a private open-air room that gave us perfect views of the mountains and streams.

We visited Wu Lai before it was struck by typhoon in September 2015 so some pictures might not be an actual representation of Wu Lai.

Here’s some advice
Look out for the map posted beside the bus stop, with all tourist destinations clearly marked in English. Don’t get tricked by taxi drivers telling you that the Wu Lai Waterfall is too far away to walk. If you’re going for the public hot springs, remember to bring a towel from the hotel. Avoid going over the weekend as it can get extremely crowded then you wouldn’t be able to peacefully soak in the hot springs in a tranquil surrounding.

Address: Wu Lai District, New Taipei City, Taiwan 233
Opening Hours: The shops open slightly after 10am and it remains crowded even around 9pm in the evenings.

How to get there
In Taipei city, take the MRT to Xindian, the Southern terminal station and turn right upon exiting. There’s a bus stop with no shelter outside the Tourist Information Counter which can be easily missed by anyone if there is no queue there. Take Bus 849 which comes every 15 to 20 minutes, with a bus fare of TWD$15 ($0.66SGD) for a one way trip to Wu Lai. You just have to alight at the last stop and the total journey takes around 45 minutes to an hour, depending on traffic conditions. Grab tight onto the hand grips if you’re standing on the bus as some reckless drivers speed along winding routes, causing passengers to lose their balance.

#2 : Xiao Bi Tan (小碧潭)

xiao-bi-tan-xindian-river xiao-bi-tan-suspension-bridge-taipei xiao-bi-tan-xindian-river-taipei-pedal-boats xiao-bi-tan

Located along the MRT Xindian Line is another picturesque attraction – Xiao Bi Tan, which is kind of like a small-scale version of Sun Moon Lake that lies about three hours South of Taipei. Xiao Bi Tan doesn’t have the quick-paced Taipei city vibe but is still vibrantly bustling with relaxing activities such as renting a bicycle or the pedal boats. You can rent them from either side of the river and return the boat on the other side. There are different sized Swan-shaped boats, for 2 people up to 6 people and the rate varies between a few hundred Taiwan Dollars.

It can also be romantic to take a stroll around this scenic area surrounding Xindian river, enveloped by the lush, towering green mountains. Cross the long suspension bridge, that is made only for pedestrians. To get to this bridge, you’ll come across many food vendors lining the streets. If you’re looking for a café or restaurant to chill, check out the boardwalk of waterfront eateries. You can choose to dine indoors or alfresco, with the tables facing Xindian river. Xiao Bi Tan is an ideal destination not just for the gathering of friends, yet for families as well due to its numerous kids-friendly activities.

Here’s some advice
Apply plenty of sunblock, bring a cap/hat and sungalsses, especially during summer time. Do check the weather forecast before spending your time outdoors at Xiao Bi Tan. Visitors traveling with a tight budget should settle your meals trying different food from the street vendors as most waterfront restaurants are a tourist rip-off place.

How to get there
Take the MRT to Xindian, the Southern terminal station and turn left upon exiting. Follow the stairs up, across the road, and you’ll arrive at Xiao Bi Tan’s riverfront.

#3 : Eating and Shopping at Night Markets along Taipei MRT Xindian Line

Taipei is well-known for their night markets, which open all over the city in the evening, selling a huge range of clothes and household goods, but their main attraction is the food. There are three night markets located along the Xindian Line, namely Jingmei Night Market (Jingmei MRT Station), Gongguan Night Market (Gongguan MRT Station) and Shida Night Market (Taipower Building MRT Station).

gongguan-night-market-da-chang-bao-xiao-chang gongguan-night-market-food gongguan-night-market-food-stalls gongguan-night-market-cuttlefish-vermicelli

We would recommend Gongguan Night Market, the biggest night market in the South District of Taipei city, if you want cheap and good Taipei street food. Street vendors here offer tourists one of the best “大腸包小腸 (Small Sausage in Big Sausage)”, “葱蛋餅 (Scallion Egg Pancake)” and “Cuttlefish Vermicelli with Thick Soup”.

Address: Section 3, Luosifu Road, Zhongzheng District, Taipei City
Opening hours: 6pm to 12 midnight daily

How to get there
Take MRT Xindian Line to Gongguan Station and use Exit 1 or 4.

For trendy yet affordable clothes and accessories, head to Shida Night Market as it is located in a university area. This night market offers a large selection of cheap clothes from stylish boutiques, owned and operated by young entrepreneurs, to the usual vendors you see at other night markets. You can consider shopping here as a good way to support the local fashion community. Sometimes, you’ll even get a good deal on new designs that can’t be found elsewhere. There are also several rock bars, cafés and restaurants around the area.

Address: Lane 39, Shida Road, Da’an District, Taipei City
Opening hours: 6pm to 12 midnight daily

How to get there
Take MRT Xindian Line to Taipower Building Station and use exit 3. Upon exiting, make a right turn, followed another immediate right to reach Shida Road. The night market is located along Shida Road and in the alleys perpendicular to the road.

Here’s some advice
Take extra care of your valuables and belongings and it’s best to carry your bags in front as the night market can get extremely crowded. Remember to bargain for your purchases too, with the exception of food as prices are fixed. Bring loose change and smaller notes as it’s easier to handle these at night markets.

These are a few fun suggestions I have if you’re interested in exploring Taipei’s Xindian District. There are many other areas where you can sightsee, discover more food and accumulate more shopping loot so I’ll be writing about Taipei again in the near future. Hope my guide will help you, especially if you’re heading to Taipei soon!

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June 02, 2019 at 4:28 am. Reply

It’s my first time planning a trip and this is a very organized, fool-proof guide. Thank you so much for this post!


    June 10, 2019 at 3:03 am. Reply

    Heyhey, glad to hear that this post helped! Have an amazing time in Taiwan (:

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Hi! I’m Alexis!

I’m a true-blue Singaporean who loves travel, photography, and food. I left my career in accountancy in 2014 to become a globetrotter. Since then, I’ve travelled to over 20 countries and have checked many adventures off my bucket list. I hope my readers will benefit from my first hand perspective of the trips.

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