Taipei’s Night Markets

Yes. You can use Facebook. No. They do not spit as you walk past. Yes. Cars stop for pedestrians. No. The cars do not swerve in and out of the designated lanes. Most certainly the people of Taiwan are the nicest and well-mannered people I have encountered in quite some time. Nothing beats hearing an “excuse me” as someone crosses in front of you.

A less than two hour flight covering 432 miles gets you to Taiwan’s Taoyuan International Airport. After a forty minute ride you can be in Taipei City—Taiwan’s capital. This past weekend the group visited Taipei, Taiwan, or as known to those in Taiwan, Taibei (台北). We arrived at night in what I thought to be a Las Vegas imitation. Flashing lights and signs adorned almost every building near our hotel.

If you are eager to jump right into Taipei’s shopping world, then a trip to a night market is just for you. After arriving at our hotel, the group went to Shilin Night Market, only a few metro stops away from us. Shilin is one of the most famous night markets in Taipei. While I acted like a six year old at Disney World and wanted everything I saw, I left empty handed. Don’t worry; I made up for it the other nights.

The shopping experience in Taipei is very different from the shopping experience in Shanghai. If I want to shop in Shanghai, I have to get to Qipu Road Clothing Market before it closes at 6pm. Since I feel guilty going shopping before I finish my homework, it is difficult to make a trip to Qipu during the week. Night markets in Taipei are open from late afternoon until midnight and some are open later on weekends. The concept of a night market allows you to work, explore Taipei, or be lazy during the day, and then enjoy a nighttime shopping spree.

While Taipei has several night markets, I only visited the Shilin Night Market and the Wufenpu Night Market. Shilin is a mix of clothing vendors (those with whom you can bargain), food vendors, and actual stores. Wufenpu lacks food vendors and most of the stores are willing to bargain with you. Be careful, though! Most stores at Wufenpu are not equipped with dressing rooms.

Do I prefer shopping in Shanghai or shopping in Taipei? I must say that I prefer shopping in Taipei. The clothes are are better quality, and I seemed to be better at bargaining with Taiwanese people, or maybe I paid more than I actually realize. If you find yourself visiting Taipei anytime soon, visit Shilin. Grab a bite to eat and start shopping. There’s nothing better!