While we loved Taipei and enjoyed the food there, we really enjoyed our part of our trip where we ventured outside of Taipei, and went to Alishan National Forest and to Qing Jing (sometimes spelt Cing Jing) Farm. We are an outdoorsy couple and escaping the hustle and bustle of the city is something we do not get to do much in Seoul. But, there were a few things I'd highly recommend in Taipei.
1. Go to the night markets. While the food didn't live up to the hype as much as it did for some of my friends, the night markets are definitely a must-do experience. I have never experience that many different aromas, sounds, bright lights, crowds of people, and interesting looking foods in one place so I feel like just going to them is something I'll never forget.
-What to eat: The black pepper pork bun at Raohe market. Raohe market is located near Songshan station exit 5. The famous pork bun stall is right at the front. It's the one with the long line que, you can't miss it. The line goes very fast so don't let the line scare you! This pork bun was steaming hot, a mixture of pork, spring onions, and pepper, and surrounded by a crispy yet soft bread. It was delicious and one of the best things we had in Taiwan. Just don't eat it too fast after receiving it, it's very hot!
-also don't miss: Bubble tea (if you can stand the tapioca balls), fried sweet potato balls (these things were delicious!), and fried chicken, Taiwanese style.
2. Hiking up Elephant mountain in Taipei to get a great view of the city. We did this at night and we had a clear view of all the skyscrapers, and of Taipei 101. Skip paying to go to the top of Taipei 101 and do this instead! It's just about a 20 minute hike to get to the top of the hill.
3. The Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall. This area was filled with the Memorial Hall of Chiang Kai Shek (the man that started Taiwan), the Liberty Square gate, and plenty of gardens filled with ponds, fish, and birds. The actual Chiang Kai Shek hall is massive and one of the coolest buildings I've ever seen.
4. Red on Tree. This was a cool way to spend an afternoon getting a break from greasy Chinese food and indulging in some western comforts. They have excellent tea and coffee, but they are known for their jam and scones. All of the jams are made from locally sourced ingredients with no added sugar. They were seriously some of the best scones I've ever had in my life. It was easy to get to and near Guting station (it shows up on Google maps).