Six Easy Places to Get Lost in Taipei

Six Easy Places to Get Lost in Taipei

I’m a walker. I don’t ride anything with wheels in this town unless I’m paying someone to operate the vehicle (and technically speaking, public transportation counts as a pay-for-play experience).

Exceptions made for trusted friends with cars (like my boss; but then again, if he’s driving instead of his wife, I’m not getting in the fuckin’ ride). Anyway, it’s just another Sunday evening for me to walk from one side of town to the other, beer in paw, for no other reason than a navigational system update of every 7-11 and convenience store along the way.

These spots are all fairly central, MRT-accessible-ish. I’ve ranked them according to my own sense of disorientation after getting hopelessly lost, partially due to regarding a gov’t-posted map as something legitimate and trustworthy. Until these people figure out how to use North properly, I don’t count on maps, period. [Please note: I almost never use GPS on my phone in Taipei. This is based purely on stubborn principle; I’m an Eagle Scout.]

(1) Taipei Medical University
[Keelong Rd. (west); Songren Road (east); Xinyi Road (north); and Fuck-All (south)]

One might think you could use Taipei 101 as a beacon down there, but half the time you can’t see it. And then when you can, you’re at a weird angle, which makes it nearly impossible to draw a vector. All you can hope to do is walk toward 101 - but then turn a corner and it disappears! Take a stroll down Wuxing Street, make a right somewhere and you’re fuckin’ L-O-S-T. Google Maps can’t help you down there. All the streets are caddy-whompus and there are plenty of dead ends to keep you properly fucked.

Or this one: Try to follow Wuxing Street. Just try to stay on it. Anyway, once you get near the university it’s a labyrinth of lanes, alleys, and dead ends, like fuckin’ Alley 21, Lane 260, Wuxing Street, isn’t anywhere near fuckin’ the “real” Wuxing Street and dumps you out on Lane 284, which could take you absolutely nowhere. Last time I went down there I had to hail a taxi to get me out of there, and that fucker got lost, too.

(2) All of Wanhua District

My favorite get-lost walkabout is to disembark at Longshan Temple and start walking in any direction. Stumble over to the clusterfuck of Huaxi, Guangzhou, and Longshan Night Markets. I can’t tell where one ends and the other begins. It’s all piles of crap on top of crap with creepy dudes pushing shopping carts full of junk past street hookers under the arcades. Unfortunately, I’ve done this trek so many times I’m not really getting lost anymore. However, there’s always some new back alley I haven’t seen before, so it’s still a popular route.

(3) South of Shilin Night Market

Now the Shilin Night Market itself is an easy mark. I’ve been so fuckin’ disoriented in that mess I’ve wanted to cry. This walking route will fuck. You. Up. Flyovers and rivers to wrangle with, lack of a grid and zero bearings except an innate sense of north and south. You ain’t got that, you might not return on your own recognizance. Here’s the drill: Get off at Jiantian MRT, walk south about 100m to Jiantian Road, make a right. Keep walking. Now, if you’re a wise guy, you’re gonna roll up on Chengde Road, which is your ticket back to the civilization. If you’re not so sure what’s going on, for instance, you’re thinking, “How the fuck am I gonna get over that bridge?” You might keep walking west. And that gonna take you to a maze and then dump you at the river. Go north, eventually you’re gonna say hello to Zhou Mei Road or some shit. Not good. Go south. Oh, where’s fuckin’ Chengde Road again? Goddammit. Cruise down the riverside, you come to the bridge and notice the flight of stairs. There’s a pedestrian walkway, how ‘bout that? Or, you could cut down under the bridge and see where that takes you. Good luck. Leave a trail of bread crumbs or something.

(4) From Xinsheng Park to Dajia Riverside Park

Try to walk from Xinsheng Park to Dajia. It can be done, but it isn’t pleasant, pretty, obvious, or even recommended. Start from the “Pavilion of Future” and head north.

(5) Ningxia Night Market Area
[Nanjing Road (north); Civic Blvd. (south); Chengde Road (west); Zhongshan N. Rd. (east)]

This one isn’t so much a Get-Lost excursion as a Gee-I-Didn’t-Know experience. There are a bunch of alleys and lanes and hidden pedestrian areas down there. Some seriously interesting shit. Most of the time it’s hard to get truly lost since you can see Taipei Main or that other stupid building; and of course, the elevated highway. If you head northwest, you can wind up in Daodacheng (Datong) or whatever it’s called – the “old” part of town. I fuckin’ hate it over there. Especially that interminable riverside park. What a waste of public space. At the same time, I don’t mind walking through the time machine of Dihua Street mainly because I know it’s a temporary trip.

(6) Northeast-ish of Jingmei Night Market

Xinglong Road will fuckin’ ruin you if you let it. Get out at the Jingmei MRT station, sniff around the night market, and head northeast. Pretty uncharted territory back there. Not a lot to see, either. Another variation is to get off at Wangfang Hospital and start walking. That whole region is a wasteland. God help you if you make it to Muzha. Now you’re really lost. One time I found myself out at Muxin Road and National Chengchi University.

Of course, there are dozens of other places in the city to get “lost”. These are merely my favorites within the city proper. The Shilin route counts because it’s just one stop over the river and your goal is inevitably to get back across. Although Xindian has a million and one ways to get lost, I feel like it’s a bit too far out of reach; like Danshui, it’s the end of the line. If you really want to fuck yourself, get off at any MRT terminus. The Blue and Brown Line terminal (Nangang) leaves you in the Anal Fissure District. No idea what’s going on over there. While I rather like Xindian, Beitou, etc., one could argue they’re out of bounds. I dunno. You wanna get lost? Zhonghe and Yonghe will fuck you up. I try to avoid inclines and there are very few hills in the developed basin of Taipei City, which is optimal for walking. I’ve done the Yangmingshan Steps and bugged out up there, but it’s not so much an urban feel. Elephant Mountain is cool, but again, you need bug spray up there.

As always, y’all are welcome to chime in with your spots. Rock on. Or, should I say, “Walk on”?


After you have done Taipei City, get adventurous and walk the lanes and alleys of Yonghe District. Because the streets are not on a square grit like Taipei it’s easy to get disoriented. Especially at night the lanes look all the same.

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Definitely, Yonghe. The roads wrap around and circle back on each other. Same-same in Zhonghe. Some gritty shit in the alleys around Dingxi MRT. I’ve done several trips, one from Dingxi; the other from Lehua. You’re doomed down there. I tried to get across the river on what’s technically Chongqing Road at the north tip. I was told there is a pedestrian crossing, but I didn’t find it. I may have been on the wrong side of the park. To be fair, by that time I was hammered and the only goal was to get across and get my ass in a taxi. Will try again soon. I like Zhongzheng Park. Great views.

I can easily say this is one of the greatest guides to get you nowhere. :smiley:

For me, the Wuxing St. area was a maze indeed, as I’ve had taken a wrong way there both on foot, bicycle and scooter. Other areas within Taipei City are quite okay. If you decide to walk around WanFang Hospital and feel adventurous, you can try to cut through the territory of Wanfang High School which is behind the hospital (the gates are usually open, I’ve seen the back gate closed only once), and find your way through Wanmei Street and Heping Rd. to Muzha MRT (or start from MRT Xinhai and go all the way up and down via Wanmei St.), quite a pleasant walk during good weather.

New Taipei (such as Yonghe, Zhonghe, Sanchong etc.) is worse indeed. Not only the streets are winding and there are no sidewalks, but it’s just simply boring if you walk for recreational purposes. I remember living for a year in northern Sanchong where the only place where you can actually walk and enjoy walking was the riverside park. There have been some places which were called “parks”, but of a miniature size.

If you guys go to Wuxing, find the Japanese restaurant that is all you can eat. Awesome stuff.

Pity in Wanfang that they haven’t opened that park that used to belong to the Army/cops/whatever. Wild nature.

Next time up in Bitan, Xindian, follow the fireflies trail up to the abandoned amusement park and then to the abandoned Japanese era cementery. Next to the psychiatric hospital. Only if you dare!

There’s very little left of the amusement park, except snakes. And if you’re talking about the “hospital” on the mountainside, it’s been torn down. And I think the firefly season is about over.

How about the cementery? Last time I saw it was because a Forumosan had found a hotel next to it…how? don’t ask me.

I don’t know, all I know around Hemei is the air force cemetery and the surrounding cemetery sites.

i’ve actually been to some of these and also enjoyed exploring them.

jiantan area is great. surprisingly rough compared to nearby shilin, beitou and tianmu. there are some really big apartment buildings here that have that kowloon walled city vibe.

longshan temple area is indeed probably the grottiest place (maybe tied with jilong) but its fun, quite lively, its the place for old people to hang out. my gf lives south of there so i’ve been around wanhua a ton of times. the area seems to be getting better actually due to the new station buildings (i think?) i’ve noticed a lot of new restaurants in the area. theres a lot of cool 1 floor old buildings around here too which are fun to walk around.

i’ve done that yuanshan area walk too. i was actually trying to get to the hotel but ended up walking around a collection of like 10 parks or something like that. a pretty cool walk with constant planes coming down super low.

i like datong qu, need to go back for a stroll, very cool old area.

as others have said yong he and zhong he are really cool to trek around. endless urban sprawl. nanshijiao night market has got to be the roughest night market i have ever seen. not sure if i will visit a second time.
xinzhuang is pretty cool too, feels like its not even in taipei. i found a shop selling sweet potato smoothies there. weird. i still have yet to check out sanchong/luzhou pretty looking forward to it.

The Holy Grail of my convenience store beer relay [便利店啤酒接力賽 biànlì diàn píjiǔ jiēlì sài] is a round trip from the Far Eastern Shangrila > Grand Hotel. I’m confident the above Mandarin is wrong, but that’s what I call it. Nobody seems to mind. Anyway, I’ve gotten as far as the stairs at Jiantan (which I’m not even sure lead to the hotel) before I said, “Fuck, there’s gotta be a better way up there.” At that point, it felt like I’d already passed the joint. Getting across the river under those flyovers took several attempts and finally, I just walked across the roadway at the Story House, where the bridge is fairly short. I don’t recommend it. Then I took a taxi up there and realized the easy route. Still haven’t done it. Kinda feel like that’s a “buddy trip”.

I did Sanchong once, on a dare. Some of my local friends were incredulous of my claim that I could basically walk out of Sanchong - dropped off down in what they called the “worst part of town”. So they buzzed me out there around 11:00 p.m. and left me for dead. Aside from walking across the bridge of Highway 1 over the Mudshark River, it was a piece of cake. Never felt in danger. On the other hand, I had to stop in every other 7-11 to ask which way back to Taipei City? Was it a miracle I found the bridge? Probably.

Another one I forget about is Rainbow Bridge to Neihu. I was up there one night all fucked up and saw some other foreigners headed over the bridge, so I followed - being careful not to seem stalker-ish. I dunno sometimes, I’ll be posted up somewhere and see somebody go in a joint or in a direction I’ve never been, and I follow them. Kinda felt like this group was “on” to me, so as soon as we landed in Neihu, I cut west immediately. Fuckin’ stupid. I gotta stop doing that.

Who, what, where? I think I know the place you’re talking about, but I also think I don’t know the place you’re talking about.

If I remembered where it was I would have written it. Somewhere in Wuxing Street! Closer to the Lienchang station area.

I would like to explore Fujan road in Minsheng area, as I am told it is full of home deco stores and cafes and other cuties. Last time I was in the vicinity, I saw a store atht had life size cardboard cutout of Takeshi, Sony Bravia era, never found it again. :sob:

Haha yes, if you don’t go back south towards Song Shan over Rainbow Bridge and cross over the riverside wall, you just end up in the middle of Nanjing East Section 6 and an hour walk away from the nearest MRT station.

yea its a right mess of roads in that area. i think the way to the da fan dian is the way you were going because i can remember passing the story house too shortly before going towards the hotel. the stairs and parks outside are super cool. i think the normal way to get to the hotel is just walk around the corner from jiantan station, thats how i walked back anyway.

i walked around the minsheng community once. its quiet and clean, made me feel depressed. not enough re nao.

You have a very refreshing way of sharing your adventurous wanderings. I wonder how much of the “adventurous” part has to do with WUI… :beer: