Edited by Holly Stark
One of Taipei’s strengths are its lesser-known, unusual attractions and spots. The vibrant and intriguing city offers visitors a chance to get away from it all and immerse themselves in a completely different world of some of the most unique travel experiences out there! Forget the temples, palaces and other usual tourist hot spots and instead check out some of the weird, wacky, wonderful and quirky things to do in Taipei; attractions you won’t find anywhere else in the world! Taipei is an endless source of little hidden gems lost in its alleyways, waiting to be discovered. Visiting Taiwan and seeking unusual things to do in Taipei? Be prepared to go off the beaten path Taipei style and discover the undiscovered of a very interesting place. From knife massages to abandoned UFO villages on a beach to having your fortune told by a bird, these are just some examples of what you may find wandering through the city streets and beyond. Looking for a Taipei alternative guide to kickstart your trip? Discover the lesser-known, secret local spots you could be missing out on, the best unique things to do in Taipei and an offbeat Taipei scene like no other.
Hiking, Hot Springs, Calla Lilies And Milk Ponds
While probably not that weird or wacky, a day at Yangmingshan hiking on an active volcano is a pretty cool thing to do. Each of the hot springs in the area is heated by the neighboring active volcanic mountain, and there are plenty of fun activities to do in the National Park; one of just seven main National Parks in Taiwan. From milk ponds to leafy green hikes to admiring calla lilies, visiting a volcano when adventuring Taipei and beyond is a must since Taiwan is an island with the highest number of volcanoes in the world. There are many mountains around the city with trails of different difficulty. For panoramic views of Taipei, I recommend checking out the Jiantan Mountain Trail. The often frequented and well-loved Elephant Mountain has great views of Taipei too, but the lesser-known, hidden gem trail of Jiantan has beautiful views that rival it. Stick with the hike and you will reach the first scenic point pretty quickly, in around 15 minutes, and the view is so worth the climb.
Fortune Telling By A Bird
Taipei could be one of the only places in the world where one of the top things to do is get your fortune told by a bird. While seeking out some of the more unusual things to do in Taipei, make sure you stop and have your fortune told by a local. If you’re open-minded and like something different, the Fortune Teller Alley below Longshan Temple is a great charming hidden spot to explore where you can do just that. Weirdly located in an underground shopping mall by Longshan subway station, you’ll find Miss Chen and her talented fortune-telling bird Big Luck Master. The trained bird chooses three cards from a pack or box, all of which reference a famous Taiwanese folk tale, and then you find out what your future holds! A fun and quirky experience you probably won’t find anywhere else, having your fortune told in Taipei is a must. There are three main methods to have our fortune told: the batsu method, the bird method, and the palm reading method. Batsu makes use of your date and time of birth. The palm reading method relies not only on your hand but also on the lines and marks of your face to tell your fortune.
The UFO Village
By far the wackiest and most bizarre of all the things to be seen and easily one of the most unusual things to do in Taipei, the mid-century UFO village is a must for anyone seeking an absurd, abandoned side of Taiwan. This abnormal structure complex is based in Wanli, New Taipei City, set just a little outside Taipei. Spooky, strange and uncomfortable; those are the feelings running through you when walking around. The 50-year-old, creepy, derelict UFO village is home to strange apartment pods known as Futuros (the UFO looking ones) and Venturos (the rectangularly shaped pods.) These weirdly shaped pod houses line a beach and were designed by a Finnish architect to look like flying saucers, but since the decline of tourism in the area, the whole resort was abandoned. From the very first point of entering the empty area, your mind will be filled with questions. To make things even more bizarre, there is no detailed (or confirmed) information stating why the complex has been built, other than what’s believed to be just a holiday resort. There also isn’t any information explaining what happened and why it became deserted in the way that it did.
Karaoke or KTV
KTV in Taipei is a night out that you won’t want to miss. KTV is very popular here and often places have private rooms according to the size of your party. Everyone should try it at least once. I highly recommend it; it’s one of my favorite alternative things to do in Taipei and a great way to spend a night. KTV is known as karaoke in the Western world, but it’s nowhere near as popular in Western countries as it is in Asia. A really popular weekend activity, Taiwanese locals love singing karaoke so much, they’ve built veritable karaoke palaces that you can disappear in for the entire evening, all offering the comforts of your own home, from large screen TVs and comfortable sofas to all-you-can-eat buffets. Plus, you get 24-hour customer service and cheap drinks.
Taiwan is known for the foot massage, but there are places where the skilled massage therapists are blind. Massages by blind people in Taipei are excellent. Not only are the workers sweet and helpful, but the therapists are incredibly well-trained and skilled in their craft. Twenty minutes will pass by too quickly. For a relaxing experience, and a massage ending with a cup of hot tea and a complimentary must-try Taiwanese pineapple cake, try a massage from a blind person. Also, kickstart your trip with a knife massage, or dao liao; a tradition over 2000 years old. The tradition died out in China, but not before spreading to Japan and Taiwan — the latter of which being the only place where it is kept alive today. Knife massages supposedly enhance metabolism, improve blood and sleeping quality, aid in fat loss, and provide relief from sore muscles. Although it may sound weird, the knife blades are totally blunt and the metal blades are aimed in a quick, chopping motion, apparently removing negative energy while they pound your pressure points and relax your muscles.
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