Shilin (士林區) is a northern district of Taipei. The district is home to many museums, including the world famous National Palace Museum. In addition, one of Taipei's largest night markets is located in Shilin, as well as the ex-pat enclave of Tienmu.
MRT: Danshui - Shindian, Beitou - Nanshijiao lines
- The Grand Hotel (圓山大飯店) has graced the photograph albums of numerous generations of Taipei tourists. And, although the increase in other attractions may have led to it losing its status as the must-see-destination, this imposing structure, built in the style of a Beijing palace, still manages to attract bus loads of tourists wishing to have their photograph taken outside the main building and in the foyer. The tea rooms on the first floor are a good place to relax and absorb the grandeur of dynastic China. The hills behind the hotel are crisscrossed by a vast network of trails, footpaths, pavilions, and an abandoned military anti-aircraft base and are a popular exercise spot for locals and urban explorers. Getting there: nearest MRT station - Jiantan (Danshui line). From there, (as the net work of roads in front of the hotel make it difficult to get there on foot) take a cab for the short ride up to the hotel.
- The Martyr's Shine is a temple memorializing those who gave their lives for the R.O.C. during it's tenure on mainland China and it's later existence on Taiwan. A changing of the guard ceremony is performed at the top of the hour where a military honor guard performs an impressive series of gun twirling and tossing in front of astounded tourists. To get to the shrine take the MRT to the Jiantan Station, then take the Red 3 bus from the same side of the street the rest of the way, get off at the third stop.
- The National Palace Museum (國立故宮博物院 - 簡稱故宮) is considered one of the top three museums in the world, and there are permanent exhibits of the treasures from dynastic China. Famous pieces from its collections include the jade cabbage, pork belly jade, and passenger boat carved from an olive pit. Tickets are NT$100 for adults, NT$50 for students with ID, and NT$80 per person for groups of 20 or more. The nearest MRT station is Shilin. From the main road in front of exit 1, it is a short hop by taxi or city bus. Bus number 304 terminates at the museum, while bus numbers 255 and 小18 both make stops at the museum.
- The Taipei Astronomical Museum (天文館) offers a hands-on introduction to our universe. In addition to the permanent exhibits, there is also a Imax dome theater, an observatory and a 3D movie theater. Entrance to the observatory is free, while NT$100 (adult) NT$50 (child) is charged for a show at each of the two theaters. Address: 363 Jihe Road, Shilin - a ten minute walk from either Shilin or Jiantan MRT stations. Opening hours: Tues - Sun, 8:50AM - 5PM. Tel:2831 4551.
- Fins, Taipei Sea World (海洋館) - This aquarium is a great rainy day venue. In addition to the multitude of tropical fish, there is also a small 3D movie theater, kids play facilities, gift shop and cafe. The glass tunnel that passes through the shark tank is especially impressive. Address: 188 Jihe Road, Shilin (behind the Shilin night market) - the nearest MRT station is 'Jiantan' (exit from gate 1).
- To really taste the flavour of Taiwanese life, however, a trip to a night market is a must, and Shilin is one of the largest. The market began in the 19th century as a collection of vendors trading their goods near a small harbor along the Keelung River. Today the harbor is long gone but the night market has become what is quite possibly the largest collection of vendors and eateries in Taiwan. The night market sprawls across several city blocks, and is considered to be one of the "must-see" attractions in Taipei. Have dinner in one of the eateries in the new food court, then wander north to bargan hunt in a labyrinth of streets and alleys filled with shops and people. Businesses in the night market typically open around 4PM and stay open well past midnight. To get there, take the MRT Dansuei (Red) Line to Jiantan Station. The food court is located directly across the street from the station with the rest of the night market spreading out to the north. If in doubt, follow the crowds. Quick warning to shopping addicts: the last MRT train leaves Jiantan station around midnight, though the crowds last well past then. Plan ahead.
- The up-scale Miramar shopping mall in the suburb of Da-zhi operates a large ferris wheel that offers great views over the city. It is especially spectacular at night, when not only the city is lit up, but the ferris wheel itself is illuminated. It is open from 11AM to 12 midnight, and the fifteen minute ride costs NT$150 on a weekday and NT$200 at the weekend. The same complex also houses a 3D Imax movie theater and a multi-screen Warner Village cinema. Free shuttle buses run to the mall from Jiantan MRT Station on the half hour during week days and more frequently at the weekend and on national holidays.
- Caves Books - 5 Lane 38, Tianyu Street (the road running behind the Wellcome Supermarket on Tienmu West Road), Tienmu (2874-2199).One of the original book stores specializing in English titles, especially strong on novels and English language text books.
- Pining for a cafe with a more backstreet atmosphere and pumping out Indian, Middle Eastern, folk or Floyd type music? Check out Orange Cafe in Shilin. 302 Wenlin Road, Shilin (near exit 2, Shilin MRT Station). Tel:+886 2 2888-1220 In addition to coffee/tea etc, they also offer a simple menu that includes vegetarian dishes, and from 10:30PM on Friday evening the place comes to life with a fire dance performance on the roof.
- Vagabond Cafe 13 Fushou Street. Tel:+886 2 2838-2619 - a spacious art-style cafe with large windows overlooking green space - documentary movies screened on Wednesdays and Saturdays at 7:30PM - excellent coffee and home-made (including vegetarian) dishes. From Shilin MRT Station exit 1, walk to the main road (Zhongzhen Road). Cross the road and follow the overhead MRT track. The cafe is a few meters down this street on the right.
- Having tea at the majesic Grand Hotel (see 'Landmarks' listing) is quite an institution among tourists visiting Taipei.