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The Best 2 Night Stopover in Taipei Itinerary

Taipei Streetscape at Sunset

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In late 2023, I booked a last minute Avios flight redemption with Cathay Pacific to Taipei. I stayed 8 nights in this magical city, exploring and eating as much as I could.

Going into this trip, I had no real expectations of what to expect from Taipei. I knew of Taipei 101, and that was about it. But now, I cannot wait to return.

Taipei Taoyuan Airport is a key layover and stopover airport hub for EVA Air, China Airlines, Starlux Airlines, and a key airport hub for Cathay Pacific and several other airlines too. Hong Kong to Taipei is the third busiest international air route in the world by passenger numbers, and Cathay operates 10 daily return flights on this route alone.

Continuing on from my 2-Night Stopover Series, this is my ultimate 2-Night Stopover in Taipei. Squeezing the absolute most of your short time in this fantastic, vibrant city.

Taipei Main Station

How to get from Taipei Taoyuan Airport to Taipei Main Station

Taoyuan Airport MRT

The quickest way from Taipei Taoyuan Airport to Taipei Main Station is to get the Taoyuan Airport MRT. There are stations in the basement of both Terminals 1 and 2, and services are super frequent. Both Express and Commuter services operate, with Express trains taking only 35 minutes to reach Taipei Main Station, right in the center of the city. The commuter train, with more stops, takes just 50 minutes to reach Taipei Main Station.

The first train from Taipei Taoyuan Airport leaves at 6:04am, with the final train at 23:35pm (from Terminal 2).

The cost is just TWD$160 (US$5.20) one-way for a single journey. With public transport in Taipei, you can just tap on and tap off with a Visa or Mastercard credit card or debit card. JCB and UnionPay also work too. No public transport cards or tickets necessary. It’s very easy.

There are plenty of buses from Taipei Main Station to your hotel accommodation as well as the MTR, or else you can easily get an Uber or Taxi too.

Alternative Options

Unfortunately, if like me, you arrived and also departed outside of these hours (my inbound flight arrived at 12:30am and I departed Taipei at 7am in the morning), you have two options, that can help make your airport experience smoother and easier, and maximize your time exploring Taipei on your stopover.

CHO Stay Capsule Hotel

Located in Terminal 2 at Taipei Taoyuan Airport, I highly recommend the CHO Stay Capsule Hotel if you are arriving in after the last train, or have an early morning flight when you depart.

The capsules were spacious, modern and comfortable, with great bathroom and shower facilities, toiletries, and you can purchase late checkout for an additional 3 hours if you need it after arriving in late. Perfect for a one-night sleep before heading into Taipei the next day at a more leisurely hour on the Taoyuan Airport MRT, or before your early morning flight.

Check out for the latest rates for your dates. There is also a Genius Discount available if you hold Genius status.

1819 Bus, Taipei Taoyuan Airport to Taipei Main Station
The 1819 “Bus” between Taipei Main Station and Taipei Taoyuan Airport.


The 1819 Bus departs from Taoyuan Airport Terminal 2 Platform 1. Whilst the 1819 bus runs 24 hours a day, it does run less frequently during the day. The 1819 bus runs every 20 minutes from the Airport after the Airport MRT closes, from 12:10am until 5:50am, daily. The bus is actually a coach, so seats are spacious, with plenty of room for luggage in the hold underneath. Do note, the bus to Taipei Main Station and the bus back to the airport have different routes and frequency. Both ways, the buses generally take just 50 minutes to an hour, depending on traffic. Use Google Maps to find out the location of the bus stop, and when the next bus is.

On the bus route from Taipei Main Station to Taoyuan Airport, the 1819 operates non-stop after the Kuo-kuang Motor Transport Chongyang Station stop.

I took this bus when I was departing from Taipei, and the bus ride went by very quickly. Instead of taking a taxi to Taipei Main Station, my hotel was closer to the Sunchong Stadium bus stop, so I just took an Uber there and waited for the bus. A very easy and quick way to get to the airport, if the Express Taoyuan Airport MRT isn’t available.

You can buy a ticket on the bus by simply tapping on with your contactless credit card or debit card. International credit cards and debit cards work fine too. The ticket is TWD$140 per person one-way, approximately US$4.50.


Whilst you can get a taxi, this is the most expensive option. A taxi from Taoyuan Airport to Taipei Main Station should usually cost TWD$1,500 (US$48).

Uber works well in Taipei as well. An Uber from Taoyuan Airport to Taipei Main Station should set you back TWD$1,400 (US$45).

Ximen, Taipei, Taiwan
Ximen / Ximending is my favourite area to stay in Taipei.

Where to Stay in Taipei on your Stopover

My favourite, and the area I most recommend staying in Taipei on your 2-Night Stopover is Ximending / Ximen. This entertainment hub of Taipei is lively, with plenty of food outlets, activities, night markets and so much more, all within walking distance. It also has plenty of buses and an MTR station, so it’s very easy to get everywhere you need to go in Taipei.

Here are my top accommodation recommendations in Ximending / Ximen, for every budget:

Taipei Sunset
View from the Rooftop of Meander Taipei

Budget – Meander Ximending Taipei

This is a lovely hostel, with large capsule beds with blackout blinds, so your space is very private. This hostel is very social, with great activities and amazing tours, showcasing off-the-beaten-track areas of Taipei not many tourists venture to. Ximending is within walking distance, so it’s easy to grab food, bubble tea or go for a walk. There is also a great rooftop with views over Taipei. Highly recommend staying here if you are on a budget and don’t mind a shared dorm. You’ll also be out most of the time in Taipei on your 2-night stopover rather than in bed, so best to save on your accommodation and spend on activities.

Check out for the latest rates for your dates, with a Genius Discount available.

Mid-Range – inhouse Hotel

Located in the heart of Ximending, the inhouse Hotel is the perfect hotel for your 2-Night stopover in Taipei. With air-conditioned guest rooms, breakfast included and a 24-hour front desk with luggage storage, the inhouse Hotel has all the amenities you need to make the most of your stay. There are also plenty of late-night and early-morning food spots located nearby, as well as eight 7-Eleven’s located within 2 blocks of the hotel.

Check out for the latest rates for your dates, with a Genius Discount available.

Luxury – Solaria Nishitetsu Hotel Taipei Ximen

In a great location near Ximen MTR station, Solaria Nishitetsu Hotel Taipei Ximen is a modern, luxurious 4-star hotel, perfect for your Taipei stopover. With plenty of amenities including a fitness center, free wi-fi and a shared lounge, and modern, spacious rooms featuring rain showers, the Solaria Nishitetsu Hotel Taipei Ximen might just be the perfect spot for your Taipei stopover. Check out the latest rates for your dates with

These are just three of my accommodation recommendations in Ximending, Taipei, but there are plenty more options available for all types of travellers for your 2-Night stopover. Check available options for your dates here with

Taipei Sunset

Day 0: The Day You Arrive in Taipei

With Hong Kong to Taipei being the third busiest international flight route in the world, there are flights all throughout the day. So what you do on Day 0 really depends on what time your flight arrives into Taipei Taoyuan Airport.

Firstly, get from the Airport to your accommodation via the Airport MRT, then bus or Uber from Taipei Main Station. Most places have luggage storage available, if you arrive before your check in time.

Ximen Station / Rainbow Road

Afternoon in Taipei

If you are arriving in early morning to mid-morning, you probably will get to your accommodation around lunch time.

Head for a walk around Ximending. Head to the square outside Ximen station, which is arguably the center. Walk south from here, and walk north from this square as well. There is so much to see and explore. Find a small hole-in-the-wall local spot for lunch, and pick up a bubble tea, a Taiwanese delicacy.

Taipei Huaxi St Tourist Night Market
Taiwanese Noodles

Evening in Taipei

If you arrive into Taipei from lunch time to mid-afternoon, start your itinerary here. 

Evenings in Taipei mean Taipei’s legendary night markets, which generally soft-open from 4pm to 5pm. In Ximending, there is the famous Ximending Night Market in the square by the Ximen MTR station. Further north, there is the Ximen Night Market, which is completely different to the daytime, all lit-up. South of the square is the MonGa Night Market, which is more authentic with pop-up stalls. There is also Huaxi Street Night Market nearby too. 

A quick tip, menus are generally displayed outside the restaurant or on the wall in Taipei, and displayed vertical in Mandarin (rather than left to right). Use the Google Translate “Camera” feature to translate.

Explore and eat lots of little morsels for dinner. Taiwan, in my opinion, has some of the best food found anywhere in the world. Must-try’s include dim sum, dumplings (especially Xiao Long Bao), Hot Pot, scallion pancakes, custard buns and freshly hand-made noodles. Don’t worry, you’ll walk off all the calories tomorrow.

Late Arrival into Taipei

If you are arriving late into Taipei, head straight to your accommodation if you can, whether via Airport MTR (if it is still running at the time of your arrival), the 1819 bus or taxi. Otherwise, book into the CHO Stay Capsule Hotel at the airport and take the Airport MTR first thing in the morning.

Pan-fried buns (Shui Jian Bao)
A bag of pan-fried buns (Shui Jian Bao) is one of my favourite Taiwanese takeaway breakfasts.

Day 1: Exploring the Vibrant Streets of Taipei


First things first, breakfast. Fan Tuan is a traditional Taiwanese handheld breakfast, with sticky rice and a range of fillings, including egg and bacon. You could also find a spot for a big steaming hot bowl of beef noodles, egg pancakes, dumplings or pan-fried buns (Shui Jian Bao). For vegetarian and vegan options, check Happy Cow for restaurants open around you. As I’m vegan, I found a great little spot with vegan Shui Jian Bao with a variety of fillings including leek and cabbage, red-bean paste and mustard greens, and picked up a bag to takeaway.

Taipei 101
Taipei 101

Taipei 101

Get Taipei 101 done first, before the crowds. Once the tallest building in the world, this mammoth skyscraper stretches 510m into the sky. I’m not usually one for classic tourist attractions or observation decks, but this is one you simply must visit.

My first tip is to book your ticket in advance via Klook. Access to the top floor, located just under the roof at 508m high, usually sells out everyday, if there are any tickets left. So best just to book through Klook to ensure you can visit both the main observation deck, outdoor terrace and very top floor. 

If you are not fussed about heading to the top floor, you can buy walk-in tickets there on the day, but there is still usually quite a queue. You can pre-book tickets for just the main Observation Deck too via Klook, and use the pre-booked ticket line instead to save time.

There is a fair walk through the maze of a shopping mall at the base to the entrance, so make sure you allow yourself 15-20 minutes before your ticketed time to make it to the Taipei 101 ticket hall.

Dim Sum in Taiwan

Dim Sum

After seeing Taipei from half a kilometer above the ground, it’s time for some food. Taipei has a vibrant dim sum culture, so it’s worth having a late lunch at a dim sum restaurant near Taipei 101.

The infamous Din Tai Fung has a restaurant in the mall at the base of Taipei 101. It’s a little pricey, but there is a reason it is beloved all over the world. Din Tai Fung brings authentic Taiwanese cuisine to the world. You must try their Xiao Long Bao (Soup Dumplings), amongst everything else on their menu. They also have plenty of vegan and vegetarian options as well.

Maokong Gondola at Sunset
Taipei Skyline at Sunset

Maokong Gondola

From Taipei 101, catch the GR1 or BR18 Bus to the Maokong Gondola Taipei Zoo Station. Use Google Maps to find which bus is the next to depart, as well as walking directions to the bus stop. The GR1 and BR18 bus only takes 12 minutes, so get one of those rather than the 66 bus, which Google Maps may suggest.

Buy two single tickets at the base station for the Maokong Station. Tickets are TWD$120 (US$4) each way.

The Maokong Gondola ride to the top station takes 25 minutes, with breathtaking views over Taipei, tea plantations and temples. You also have the option to ride in the “Crystal” gondolas, with glass floors. It doesn’t matter which you choose though, you will have incredible views either way.

On my visit, I timed it just right and witnessed a perfect orange sunset on the way up. Just magical. However, it meant that when I got to the top, it was pitch black. Hopefully you will arrive slightly earlier after your late lunch, and witness sunset on the way down instead. At the top, there are restaurants, tea houses and tea shops all centered along a long road. The more touristy ones are closer to the station, so turn left and head up the hill. A short 10-15 minute walk yields more authentic tea houses with less people and better, more authentic food and service. Find one with a great view, and sit down (at least) for some local Taiwanese tea, such as a High Mountain Oolong. 

Taipei Skyline at Night

MTR back to your Accommodation

Once you’re ready to head down (or time it just before sunset), head back to the Maokong Station and take the gondola back to the base. Once at the base, walk along to the Taipei Zoo MTR station, and take the Wenhu Line to Nanjing Fuxing. Then connect onto the Songshan-Xindian Line to Ximen. It’s very straight forward and the MTR is frequent.

Potstickers and Dumplings


If you didn’t eat at the Tea House, pick up some food from the night market or one of the small hole-in-the-wall restaurants around Ximen or Ximending, where your accommodation is located.

Mural in a public park in Taipei

Day 2: The End of your Taipei Stopover

Today is the day to sadly leave this incredible city. Depending on what time your flight is, you have a few options for today after you check out.

Early Morning flight from Taipei Taoyuan Airport?

Follow the directions above for how to get from Taipei Main Station / Ximen (via an Uber) to Taoyuan Airport. Your best option may be the 1819 bus or Uber, if your flight is too early for the Airport MTR to be running. The first Airport MTR to Taoyuan Airport leaves Taipei Main Station at 6am on the dot.

Lunchtime Flight?

Grab some breakfast from a spot around Ximen, then head to Taipei Main Station and grab the Airport MTR to Taoyuan Airport. Allow plenty of time, as the station is massive and it’s very easy to get lost.

Afternoon to Evening Flight?

Have a sleep in, grab some breakfast and relax. Go for a walk around Ximending and Ximen, and explore all the street art and murals.

If you have time, head down to the Taipei Botanical Garden for a walk. Entry is free, and on a perfect day, you feel a million miles away from the concrete jungle of Taipei, and a lovely spot to end your 2-night stopover.

Afterwards, head back to your accommodation to collect your luggage and head to the airport.



Taipei is a fantastically vibrant city, with an incredible culinary scene, friendly people and mesmerizing night markets. Taipei Taoyuan Airport is a key gateway from the Far East to the West, so there’s a good chance you will have the option to connect through Taipei for a stopover on your next trip to Asia with certain airlines.

If you have time for a 2-Night Stopover in Taipei on your trip, book it. It’s an amazing city, unlike anywhere you’ve been before.

Check out Forward of the Wing’s other Itineraries in our 2-Night Stopover series: