The capital of Taiwan is located at the northern tip of the island. Taipei has an area of about 270 km² and approximately 2.6 million people (around 7 million including the suburbs). It is a ‘global city’, and the political, economic, and cultural centre of Taiwan.
Taipei has an excellent transport system – with railways, highways, airports, and buses connecting Taipei with all parts of the island.
For gay travellers, Taipei is a great place to visit, and is considered very safe. It has everything – a large gay scene with world-class parties, plenty of shopping and dining options, hot springs and spas and a good mix of old/new, East/West sightseeing.
Taipei City is divided into 12 districts. Most familiar districts amongst gay travellers include:
When it comes to LGBT rights, Taiwan is one of the most progressive countries in Asia. (For further details, please visit our Gay Taiwan Country Guide page)
Taipei has a thriving gay scene consisting of Gay Bars, Gay Dance Clubs, Gay Saunas and Gay Massage Spas. There is a concentration of gay businesses in and around The Red House 西門紅樓 and Ximen area in Wanhua District, although gay venues are spread out in other parts of the city.
On public bank holidays, there are usually large scale dance party events that attract huge numbers of visitors from other Asian countries including Hong Kong and Thailand.
The city is served by two airports. The Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport (TPE) is the main airport, located about 30 km from the city. There is transfer service that picks up and drop off passengers at most major hotels and also stops at the Taipei Main Station.
The Songshan Airport in downtown Taipei serves mostly domestic flights. Bus services connecting the airport to nearby cities are available as well.
From the airport, there are several ways to get to the city: bus (express and non-express), high-speed rail (which runs every 15 minutes), one-way taxi and pre-arranged sedan.
The MRT from Taoyuan Airport to Taipei Main Station is now in operation (since March 2016). The route (53 km) has 24 stations, spanning across Taipei City, New Taipei City and Taoyuan City. The first train from Taipei Main Station to the airport leaves at 6am and the last train at around 11pm.
Taipei City has a very clean and safe Mass Rapid Transit system (MRT). It is a driverless elevated system, with the last trains departing at midnight. Eating, drinking and smoking are banned in both stations and trains which are clearly identified in English.
Taipei bus service is very efficient, and all buses display all the information in English which makes it easy for non-Chinese speaking visitors to get around.
Metered taxis are available 24 hours a day and are extremely plentiful in Taipei. They are the easiest way to get around. Most drivers speak limited English. Tipping is not necessary.
Most gay visitors stay around Ximending or near the Zhongxiao East Road shopping district. There is a large selection of Mid-Range + Budget Hotels in these popular areas.
Some of the best Luxury Hotels can be found in the upmarket Xinyi District, home to the Taipei 101 and leading department stores.
If you plan to visit Taipei on a big party weekend, it is advisable to book your hotel well in advance as the rooms sell out fast, especially during Taiwan Pride in October – click here to see our list of Gay Taipei Hotels.
Taipei has a semi-tropical climate. Summers are hot and humid with occasional rain, while winters can be quite chilly and often foggy.
While the temperature is never too extreme all year, the most pleasant season to visit is the fall. February to April can be damp, and May to October are typhoon season.
Taipei 101 – this 508-meter-high skyscraper is the second tallest building in the world, located in Xinyi District.
Elephant Mountain Hiking Trail – located short walk from Taipei 101; the steep steps lead up into a forested hill with sweeping views of the city.
The National Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall – famous landmark and symbol of the Republic of China.
The National Palace Museum – contains the world’s best collection of Chinese historical artefacts and art treasures.
Longshan Temple – a historic temple in Wanhua District where generations of Taipei citizens have come to pray and worship.
The Red House – one of the Taipei’s most well-preserved buildings and a venue for cultural events; home to the main gay hangout.
The Museum of Contemporary Art – Taiwan’s first art gallery for contemporary work; open Tue-Sat 10am – 6pm
Yangmingshan National Park – scenic park and gardens, great for hiking and picnic; accessible by public bus.
Taipei Zoo – the largest zoo in Asia.
Beitou Hot Springs – public bath among nature; a relaxing experience for anyone.