Just because it’s summer doesn’t mean you can’t get a head start on holiday shopping during your time in Taipei. Asia is famous for it’s spectacular markets, and Taipei has some of the best night markets in this part of the world. Whether you’re shopping for knock off bags, street snacks, or local handicrafts, you’re sure to find it in one of Taipei’s night markets.
Shilin Night Market
Image courtesy of Thierry/Flickr
Shilin market is by far the most famous in the city, and for good reason. This place is packed every night of the week selling nearly anything you can imagine to tourists and locals alike. The sprawling market includes many small boutique-style clothing stores, accessories, electronics, and even puppies if you’re out pet shopping. The area contains several restaurants and bars for the weary shopper to have a drink and a bite, but the street food is as much of a draw as the shopping itself. Look for the long lines to find the best vendors while you snack as you shop. Vendors usually get started at 4 or 5pm and stay open past midnight. To get there, take the Danshui line to Jiantan station.
Gongguan Night Market
Image courtesy of jc_nyc/Flickr
The Gongguan market, located near the National Taiwan University, is popular with the students and youth of the city. In addition to the clothing and accessory stores, Gongguan market is a great place to sample Taiwan’s famous bubble tea. The sweet milk tea with the large black tapioca pearls floating in the bottom has gained popularity in the West, but the drink got its start right here in Taipei. This market also specializes in Southeast Asian and Cantonese street foods and restaurants. To get there, take the Xindian line to Gongguan station.
Photo courtesy of Jennifer/Flickr
Once a seedy red light district, Snake Alley is one of the oldest areas of Taipei and home to some of the most adventurous eating opportunities. The modest two-block market houses several restaurants serving up snake and turtle in various forms, as well as several bizarre libations, including deer penis wine and snake blood vodka. Several fortune tellers and traditional pharmacies also make their homes in Snake Alley. Even if you don’t plan to partake, it’s worth going for the experience and a few pictures.
Jingmei Night Market
Photo courtesy of Dago Pacheco/Flickr
The quieter Jingmei market is much more local than the other tourist markets in the city. The stores and stalls cater primarily to Taipei residents looking to buy cheap clothes, undergarments, and household goods. While the shopping may not be as interesting for travelers passing through, the local restaurants and food stalls lining the two-block market are well worth the trip. Take the Xindian line to Jingmei station.
Raohe Street Market
Photo courtesy of Edmund Yeo/Flickr
The Raohe street night market is the oldest of its kind in the city. The brightly lit and rather ostentatious sign draws in crowds of tourists looking to sample the local delicacies and foreign street foods sold within. Popular choices include herb-steamed spare ribs, shaved ice, and spiral cut potatoes deep fried and seasoned to your taste. While not as crowded as the Shilin market, Raohe still gets busy, especially on weekends. Take the Xindian line to Songshan station.