From airport : Take the MRT train from any terminal to the Main Train Station in downtown Taipei. 36min, $6 one way, cash only from machine or vendor. After hours (12am-6am), the Kuo-Kuang Express Airport Bus is the best option. It operates 24hours, goes to/from all terminals and Main Train Station (Exit Door 3), $4 one way, and you can buy ticket directly at the ticket counter with cash.
General Transit : The MRT (metro) is an extensive network but very crowded and chaotic. The stations can be very confusing and a bit overwhelming so allow for extra time to adjust or find your way. Taxis are plentiful and walking to the major spots wasn’t a problem.
I chose the Poshpacker Hotel for my quick stay as it was very similar to a hostel but with affordable private rooms and on mixed or gender specific floors. The room sizes are very tiny (as most in major Asian cities are) but they have AC, towels, water, TV, a safe, etc. Ensuites are available or a shared bathroom for a lower price. What I loved was that it’s situated very near the Main Train station, a perfect location for a late arrival/departure and a short layover. Plus, it has an attached café for a coffee fix and a late night work sesh.
Knowing I had a 14 hour flight plus another 7 hour flight ahead of me, I made sure to walk almost everywhere even though I was pressed for time. I took the metro to the Lungshan Temple to catch it before it closed. I loved its intricate details, the smell of incense, and the visitors participating in traditional prayer techniques. I also loved that it was such a beautiful site that stood out amongst the metropolitan buildings. As the sun set, I made my way over to the Hwahsi Night Market just as it was opening. Visiting a night market was number 1 on my to-do list because I can never get enough of the street food and people watching! It’s such a great place to grab a seat, order some very affordable noodles ($2 for a plate), and ogle at the bustling swarms of people. From here, I walked to (more or less stumbled upon) the Ximenting Shopping Area. It reminded me of Times Square with its bright billboards and its sprawling illuminated streets heading in every direction. Being a Friday night, it was packed with tourists and locals alike, street performers of all kinds, and vendors. I made sure to grab a bubble tea and some snail mucus face masks before heading back to the hotel!