Solo travel can be a heady rush of adventure and new experiences against which couple and group travel cannot compare. There is a thrill in venturing out into a new city on your own, with just a pack on your back and a guidebook (or not) in your hands.
The Taiwanese capital, Taipei, provides an excellent buffet of possibilities for the intrepid single traveler. Taipei is a bustling city known for its variety and quality of street food. Perhaps most importantly for a solo traveler, it also has a reputation for being safe, even at night.
One thing to keep in mind is that remarkably few people speak English here. If you are heading out to a particular destination, it would be best to get the destination written in Chinese on a piece of paper that you can show taxi drivers and on buses. If you crave a connection with youth counterculture, make a trip to Ximending. Often compared to Harajuku and Shibuya of Japan, a visit here is a treat for the eyes and a glimpse into how youth interpret fashion. It is also the location of lots of bars, clubs and cafes frequented by young Taiwan.
Perhaps the most recognizable landmark of the city is Taipei 101, a 101-floor skyscraper more than half a kilometer in height. It is shaped like a bamboo with ridges at regular intervals, and looks somewhat similar to Chinese pagodas. A trip to the observation tower gives you a great view of the layout of the city and surrounding region.
Hot springs and public bathing houses are a favorite of many Asian nations and Taiwan is no exception. Taipei offers a variety of examples, ranging from basic ‘rub and scrub’ facilities run free of cost by the city to luxury spas in hotels. Outdoor natural hot springs like the one at Wulai offer amazing views of the surrounding countryside to complement the experience.
Taiwan is one of the world’s leading manufacturer of electronics an mobile phones. A visit to Taipei’s Guanghua Market puts you under the roof of the country’s largest hardware and software market. It is a must-visit for computer buffs and anyone looking for a great deal.
An increasing number of foreigners are settling in Taiwan to study and work and there is a burgeoning singles scene. Meet-up and group social circles arrange their meetings online and may be an excellent way to plan some great potential friendships even before you arrive in the city.
Taipei sees generally warm to hot weather all year round. It also rains here pretty much throughout the year. The best time to visit, weather-wise, is April, when the dry late spring is cool and there is little chance of a washout.