TAIPEI is a city that has plenty of vibrant night markets. One particular place that has grown in me is Ximending. This shopping district is home to known brands, restaurants, and various shops. It is also walking distance to several tourist attractions. But what I like it most is the ambiance whenever I walk through its narrow streets where modern lights mix with nature’s greens.
There’s a row of eateries offering traditional Taiwanese egg fried rice and other fried rice meals. Early morning when shops are still closed, there are street stalls selling dim sum and other Taiwanese food. At night, when the alleys are filled with shoppers and pedestrians, there are even more choices lined up at the sides of the streets.
There are international brands and fast food chains around the area. But the hot pot restaurants and the milk tea shops are the popular ones. Often, there are lines of people found outside their location. We felt we had to try the Mala Hot Pot, which offers eat-all-you-can food that can be cooked in the hot pot. It includes unlimited drinks and ice cream.
Surprisingly, there are plenty of claw machines around the Ximending area. There are cinemas, KTV bars, massage parlors, and other interesting shops. There are also several street performances at night. Even when you just walk around the streets of Ximending, you will always find something that will catch your attention.
From clothes to shoes to cosmetics to electronics to souvenir items, you will have great finds in Ximending. For shops that do not carry international brands, you can even work your haggling skills. Scour the tiny alleys and small shops and you will be surprised by the good buys you can have in this shopping district.
If you’re on a tight budget and you are trying to avoid the shopping areas, Ximending has many alternative attractions to offer. Ximending in itself has a rich history as it traces its origins during the Japanese Colonial times. Its most popular landmark is the Red House Theater. A block behind the Red House Theater is Tin Hau Temple.
Also near the area is the Taipei Zhongshan Hall, the Presidential Palace, the National Taiwan Museum, Nishi Honganji Temple, the Armed Forces Museum, Yanping Riverside Park, The North Gate, and the Taipei Main Station.
Moreover, there are a lot of backpackers’ hotels and hostels within Ximending. If you plan a trip to Taiwan, you can consider staying in Ximending. If you plan to stay somewhere else, it’s still a good place to explore when you are in Taipei.
All photos are by this author unless otherwise stated. Claire Marie Algarme blogs at http://firsttimetravels.com. Follow her as @firsttimetravel on Twitter and @firsttimetravelsblog on Instagram and like her Facebook page First-time Travels blog.