The Insider’s Guide to Taipei

From hidden speakeasies and 24-hour bookstores to a vibrant LGBTQ scene and relaxing hot springs, here’s the city like you’ve never seen it before.

Matt Gross
Airbnb Magazine
Published in
23 min readJun 27, 2019

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Illustrations by Julia Yellow
Photographs by Ériver Hijano

To bring you the very best of Taipei, we found seven Airbnb hosts—all longtime locals whose interests and expertise range from architecture and design to farming and wildlife. Here, they share their city’s secrets. Read on to discover them all or jump straight to our tips for LGBTQ nightlife, the perfect spa day, food, and talking like a local.

Welcome to Town

From a distance, Taipei can be ­imposing. Concrete buildings stretch across an ancient lake bed, the towering ­Taipei 101 sticks out like a pin, everything’s surrounded by dramatically verdant mountains. Go closer: cars and mopeds, highways and trains, rivers, an airport — the frantic signs of life in a city of over 2.5 million. But at ground level, Taipei reveals itself. Pocket parks drip with old trees; soy-milk vendors serve morning flaneurs; elderly cyclists pause to admire waterfowl on the Tamsui River. Suddenly, the scale becomes human.

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Matt Gross
Airbnb Magazine

Restless & hungry. Writing about travel, food, parenting, and culture all over the place.