Ella Fitzgerald famously sang “Summertime and the living’s easy.” But the combined heat and humidity in Taiwan’s capital city can sometimes make leisure of the outdoor variety a chore, and unless you plan to spend your daylight hours underground (totally possible in Taipei; the mall under Taipei Station heads north for about a mile), you’ll have to face the heat.
But fear not – here are three options for urban summertime strolls that will get you out of the urban heat while still keeping you within walking distance of Taipei’s super-convenient MRT.
Bitan Scenic Area
Xindian District (Green Line, Xindian Station)
Way on the city’s southern end, this pleasant riverside park is a five-minute walk from Xindian station. On the river’s west bank you’ll find shaded cafes, stalls and restaurants, and on the western bank you’ll find a small neighborhood that’s rather nice for an afternoon stroll. Connecting the two is a suspension bridge that’s fun to walk across (it rocks a bit, which kids like), and there’s a great tea-shop carved into a cliff overlooking the river on the eastern side of the bridge. The river itself is home to several dozen pedal boats you can rent by the hour.
Xindian in the know: If you’re looking to get out of the city from here, hop on bus 849 and head up the mountain to the indigenous village of Wulai – Temperatures there are usually a few degrees cooler, and the river is excellent for swimming.
Zhishan Cultural & Ecological Gardens
Tienmu District (Red Line, Zhishan Station)
While Taipei has no shortage of parks, one of our favorites requires a short trek (about 1km) from the MRT. The Zhishan Cultural and Ecological Gardens is a jungle-filled mountain park overlooking the Shuangxi river. As you walk along the wood and stone paths, you’ll pass numerous gardens and shrines. Make your way to the top the mountain and be rewarded not just with a sweeping panoramic view of the city below from the courtyard of a Chinese temple dedicated revered Chinese General Chen Yuan Kwang surrounded by carved stone representations of characters from the classic text “Romance of the Three Kingdoms.”
Zhishan in the know: Time your visit for later in the day; the sunset from the mountaintop is lovely, and after heading back to the MRT you’ll be two quick stops from Jiantan station, where the stalls at the Shilin Night market will have just opened up but the serious nighttime crowds will still be a few hours off.
Tamsui District (Red Line, Tamsui Station)
Rich in culture and history, Tamsui is worth a visit any time of the year, but in the summer it’s particularly nice as its position at the mouth of the Tamsui river generally keeps it cool and breezy. Tamsui’s major attraction is its cobblestone old street running parallel to the river offering endless stores, food carts and other diversions. The riverfront itself is lovely as well. Both tend to be crowded on the weekends, but if you head further north to the area’s culturally significant Fort San Domingo and the Red Castle the crowds tend to thin out.
Tamsui in the know: Fancy a trip across the river? To the West of Tamsui and accessible by ferry is the riverside town of Bali, offering excellent restaurants, a low key vibe and more green space suitable for summertime strolling. (Read more: Guandu, Bali, Tamsui – An Arcadia for the City Folk of Taipei)
Looking to explore the Taipei summertime vibe more seriously? MyTaiwanTour offers a special Summertime version of our popular Bike, Metro & Walking tour starting in the late afternoon (when the streets start cooling down). The tour is a great way to explore our dynamic capital by bike, metro & foot.
Check out “BMW” Taipei City Tour Summer Version for more details.
Read more: A Perfect Day in Taipei’s Xinyi District