It’s an incredible feeling! You are slightly nervous, unsure but delighted. It could be the dress you admired on the ramp, suddenly being within budget now. Or it could be the pleasure and pain of trying out the forbidden footwear – the one you had only stared at from afar.
Shopping is so much like falling in love! The people, the stories, the souvenirs; no wonder you end up making so many precious memories to last a lifetime. Your best vacations have been those that have combined your love for varied travel and shopping experiences, so why not take a shopcation – a vacation that’s about shopping and all the delightful adventures that come with it. Sounds perfect? We agree.
Here’s one place that should make it to your list of shopcation destinations – Taipei! This city is a jewel, arguably an underrated one, whose geographical sights, riveting history, and contemporary design, can be matched by very few.
Why should you shop in Taipei?
1. Night markets
A hallmark of shopping in Taipei is its night markets like the Shilin, Ningxia and Keelung, which are like windows to the city’s bustling streets and its fast-moving retail scene. Whether it is the quirky curio that interests you, a traditional outfit, or lip smacking street food, you will find it all here.
2. Specialised stores
There is nothing quite like the vision of a street teeming with vendors who sell the exact same thing you are looking for! From electronics, clothes, books, flowers, herbs, Chinese medicine, handicrafts to even exotic pets, Taipei is famous for having swathes of sellers catering to a single category of merchandise. Look for such markets located in places like the ones on Di Hua street and Xichang street. Compare prices, brands and offers, maybe even drive a hard bargain, and you are sure to walk out with a great deal.
3. Wholesale shopping
Have a large pool of people back home you’d like to buy presents for? Taipei is the perfect destination for you. Housed in various parts of the city are markets that specialize in selling wholesale. One such market is the Wufenpu. With its overwhelming collections of clothes and accessories, it’s an unbeatable shopping paradise.
4. Underground markets
This is sheer ingenuity. If you are new to the city and don’t know where to start, you don’t have to look very far. Alight from your metro train to find a fun filled shopping market in front of you! As you take a transit, enjoy the welcoming ambience and variety of mini malls and compact shopping centres. The Taipei City mall with its variety of goods is probably its crowning jewel.
Best time to visit Taipei for shopping
Taipei is a shopping paradise with markets, malls and street shops open throughout the year; but considering its subtropical climate, a little planning does help. The Chinese New Year celebrations and shopping festivities make January and February a great time to visit. Time it with the Taipei New Year Shopping Festival and get some amazing deals on clothes, Chinese medicinal herbs, and other seasonal items.
Love summer fashion? June to August might get you some attractive additions to your wardrobe. Or hop over during spring for a viewing of the stunning cherry blossoms and pick up your favourite kind of tea straight from the plantations.
What to buy
There are people who come to Taipei from Singapore, Malaysia and other neighboring countries just to stock up on food! No kidding! From the delicious A-Po iron eggs, dried pork strips called Bak kwa, jelly pudding, dried fruits and vegetables to a whole gamut of instant noodles flavors! These items are great for relishing and gifting back home. Available at all groceries and provision stores, the feature of these much-loved food products is airtight packing which retains its freshness for longer.
Got a soft corner for gadgets? The Guanghua mall with its six stories of digital goodness is the stuff of dreams! Mobile phones, tablets, PCs, gaming consoles to accessories – if it exists, you will find it here. Head over to Camera street for an exhilarating shopping experience if you have an interest in photography. Fancy some vintage gaming consoles or old gadgets to be used as memorabilia? Visit the Taipei City mall for hidden treasures.
3. Semi-precious stones and artifacts
Polished jade necklaces, trinkets, bracelets, wooden ornaments and glass jewelry sets, these attractive accessories never go out of fashion. Visit the Taipei Weekend Jade market for a feast of gems. You can pick up some antique Buddha statues and porcelain dinner sets too. For rare artefacts and collectibles, the Shao He Ting antique market, with its unique wares is a must-see.
Key shopping areas
With its plethora of shops, street food, themed cafes, street performers and vibrant lights, you can see why Ximending’s visitors often dub it the ’Times Square’ of Taipei. Get yourself some Manga merchandise, branded sneakers, and quirky t-shirts as you enjoy some tofu. This pedestrian shopping heaven with its alleys of shops is a living museum of Taipei’s culture and trade practices.
Here are some of the best HomeAways in the area, to sort out your stay:
1. Luxury apartment close to Ximen MRT
This two bedroom, well-designed home with pastel interiors is your ideal hideout for a shopathon. Located at the heart of the shopping district, the apartment is surrounded by convenience stores and houses up to eight guests. Jewelry, books and shoe stores, you will find them all nearby. We dig the comfortable indoor swing that seems like a perfect place to perch from and gloat at the loot of the day!
Average price per night: SGD 112
2. Ximen Royal House
Enjoy this brand new apartment with perks like a fully functional kitchen and services of villa staff for up to five guests. An interesting décor makes this home perfect for a shopping holiday with friends and family. You can also request for an additional bed. The Ximending pedestrian zone, the hottest shopping destination in the city, is a mere three minutes away by foot. Even the wholesale market is situated at a walking distance, making it an ideal base for a shopcation.
Average price per night: SGD 70
3. Ximen Home
This warm and welcoming two bedroom independent apartment furnished tastefully with a modern touch makes coming back home after a hectic shopping spree a complete pleasure. With an open kitchen and a small bar area, unwind at leisure. Enjoy being in close proximity to Red House, an iconic cultural centre. It is also home to shops where upcoming designers showcase their latest designs. A great place to shop and learn about the city’s history.
Average price per night: SGD 141
4. Ximending French House
Come home to this comfortable, uniquely designed HomeAway that gives you a great view of a city that loves its shopping. The host offers 24 hours check-in, so you are free to pick any convenient flight into Taipei. Here you can enjoy the convenience of a whole range of home appliances and free WiFi. Brace yourself for a whole lot of shopping! The shops are in close proximity to the apartment.
Average price per night: SGD 74
5. Heaven House
Looking for a place that is done up tastefully, has all modern amenities, and is located in the thick of the shopping action? This two-bedroom HomeAway fits the bill perfectly. Whether it is the famed snacks of Ximending or the treasures of the Huaxi street night market, this apartment gives you a vantage point. ‘Keep Calm and Carry on’ reads the décor in the home. You bet!
Average price per night: SGD 148
Chiang Kai-Shek memorial hall
A must-see for history buffs, the Chiang Kai-Shek memorial area is steeped in fascinating tales of the past. Times may have changed but delicious recipes of that era and the bustling streets filled with enterprising traders continue to thrive. From the Nanmen market, a Mecca for food lovers to the quaint Dongmen market known for its gift and specialty shops in addition to food, this is a place to go if you are looking for something unique.
Book yourself into these HomeAways and enjoy your stay:
1. Spacious and beautiful Musician’s Home
Shop your heart out at this vibrant district and come home to a musical treat! This spacious and luxurious HomeAway accommodating upto 10 guests has to be seen to be believed. Decorated elegantly, this home has a grand piano that makes for a stunning visual centre-piece and is a glorious addition to the home, if you know how to play! Traveling with young ones? You don’t have to scramble around for a baby crib, high chair, and bathtub as this home offers you these items on request. The home is littered with cute little, quirky frames that we totally love! The snazzy welcoming décor ensures staying home sounds like a great idea too. The nearest MRT is within a few minutes of walking distance as is the 24-hour convenience store. Gadget lovers will love the proximity to the Guanghua digital plaza.
Average price per night: SGD 241
2. Three-bedroom apartment near Yongkang Street
It may seem like an impossible task to find a HomeAway that’s near the markets yet far away from the shrill noise of traffic. But here is a beautifully designed serene getaway for upto five guests that promises to do just that. Take advantage of the well-equipped home to make yourself comfortable. The Dongmen market is at your doorstep and the MRT station located just a few minutes away by walk makes it easy to travel around the city. Some of the well-known restaurants of the city are situated nearby as are small but no less popular local eateries.
Average price per night: SGD 183
3. Three-bedroom apartment at Dongmen MRT
Spacious, airy and fully loaded, this roomy, newly built HomeAway for upto eight guests packs quite a punch. The clean, no-fuss apartment is in close proximity to world-class sports facilities, so an early-morning swim before you hit the shopping streets is a great idea. At this location, you don’t just get to visit the city’s famous markets – you get to live there! Soak in the sights and sounds of the Dongmen market during the day and visit the Tong Hua Night Market after that. Don’t bother about space after racking up shopping bags; this roomy HomeAway has it covered.
Average price per night: SGD 262
4. City Centre Apartment
This brightly done-up HomeAway has ‘life’ written all over it. From the vibrant colours and contrasts of its furniture and fixtures to the access it offers you to experience the city centre, this place, open for upto 4 guests, is the perfect companion for your shopping heist. It is just minutes away from the Chang Kai-Shek memorial and all the renowned eateries and alley markets. Addicted to your daily workout session? A sports center with a gym and other sports is just a five-minute ride away from here by bus.
Average price per night: SGD 112
5. Downtown Boutique Apartment
If hitting multiple markets without much travel is on your agenda, don’t look any further. This two-bedroom HomeAway is ideally designed to put your legs up and chill after a long day out deal hunting. The Guting MRT station, the Shida night market and the YongKang street commercial district, are all just a stroll away. Buy collector’s editions or a uniquely designed hoodie to help you stand out. Sip the area’s famous bubble tea as you shop; this is one happy camp for a shopper!
Average price per night: SGD 130
Majestic, awe inspiring and sprawling, you cannot help being impressed by the Taipei 101 tower. This landmark is a powerful symbol of the rapid strides Taiwan has made over the years. For shoppers, this skyscraper offers five floors of an unparalleled buying experience. From the Guccis, Pradas, Chanels and Diors, to high end boutiques, this is luxury shopping at its best. Situated close by and considered the best mall in Taiwan is the European inspired Bellavita. Apparel, watches, bags, shoes and accessories as well as restaurants owned by Michelin star chefs, you will find it all here. Looking for the budget brands and emerging labels? The ATT 4 Fun, located in walking distance, is a great place to spend a day. Check out the Simple market, a fun little flea market for quirky items.
With so much to do, renting a home nearby would make for a great decision. Here are some HomeAways we recommend:
1. Luxurious Home
Kick back with a book or a movie in this luxurious, tastefully-decorated HomeAway for two guests in the heart of Taipei’s shopping streets. With wooden floors and rich leather furniture, it is a home you will look forward to after a long day of shopping. The host recommends heading to the U bike station and renting out a bike to explore Taipei better. “Visitors can take in a street level view of Taipei,” he says. We agree! With the stunning Taipei 101 tower just a short distance away, this does sound like some great local advice.
You also enjoy perks like 24/7 security and a rooftop gym and swimming pool.
Average price per night: SGD 153
2. Taipei 101 Superior House
Traveling with kids or a group of friends? You don’t have to stay in cramped bunker beds. This charming, warm HomeAway for upto seven guests is a win-win on location and space. Enjoy a direct view of the magnificent Taipei 101 tower from the large windows and terrace and spend some quality time with your loved ones in the Japanese style log cabin room. Malls like ATT 4 FUN and night markets like the Tonghua are just a short distance away. The host promises to be available for your queries, so enjoy your stay without any worry.
Average price per night: SGD 169
3. Luxury two-bedroom apartment
This exquisite oriental styled HomeAway with artistic interiors and lighting is a showpiece in itself. The Xinyi Anhe MRT station is just a one-minute walk. Head out to the vibrant Linjiang Street for funky accessory shopping and enjoy a delicious dinner of Gua Boa, a Taiwanese sandwich with pork belly and pickled greens. Catch up on Taiwanese literature with a little walk to Eslite book store.
Average price per night: SGD 138
4. AnHe two-bedroom Apartment
Drink in the view of Taipei’s bustling streets from the top floor of this elegantly furnished HomeAway for four guests. This cozy apartment comes with all modern facilities and offers flexible check-in timings. A short walk away from this HomeAway is the centerpiece of Taipei shopping, the Taipei 101 mall as well as other prominent shopping centre. If your shopping palate is dynamic, with a mix of both high street brands as well as local wares, this is an ideal location, giving you access to the whole spectrum of shops.
Average price per night: SGD 137
5. Comfortable apartment near Xinyi Anhe MRT
This four-bedroom recently remodelled HomeAway is sophistication with a capital S. From its subtle color tones to its matching décor, well equipped kitchen and utilities to its vast storage space, generous for even upto nine guests, this is the kind of home you’ll want to come back to.
The host welcomes you with Taipei guides and his knowledge of local places. And the location is perhaps the best part of this apartment. Walk over to the malls downtown and find some great deals on your favourite brand of sneakers. Watch a movie at the nearby theatre and indulge yourself with a delicious snack from the plethora of food vendors.
Average price per night: SGD 289
- The best bargains, especially in the night markets and wholesale markets, are to be had at the end of the day as the traders shut shop.
- If it is too good to be true, it probably is. Despite stringent checks there could be shops where counterfeit products are sold as discounted originals. This is especially true for apparel, shoes, and bags.
- Get an EasyCard, a smart card that can be used to buy tickets to the metro train, bus, pay for car parks and even partnering retail outlets. This saves you the hassle of carrying change or multiple cards wherever you go.
Special HomeAway shopcation deal! Use promo code SHOP17 to get 5% discount on HomeAway properties on your shopcation.
HomeAway is the world leader in vacation rentals. The HomeAway network of sites represent more than 1.2 million listings of vacation rental homes in 190 countries and is part of the Expedia group family of brands. Visit www.homeaway.com.sg or download the HomeAway app to choose the ideal holiday homes and homestays for your next holiday.