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Taipei has a quirky side. Oh yes it does. Culture shock in Taipei can range from cute to odd.
Some of the best things to do in Taipei are exploring its off-beat and fun side. Quirky things to do in Taipei range from museums, factory tours and theme cafes.
Table of Contents: 5 Quirky Things to Do Taipei
5 Quirky Things to Do Taipei
From a fishball museum, condom museum, Hello Kitty cafe to toilet restaurant, here’s a few that I experienced. If you ever wanted to walk on the wild side, check these out.
Taipei gained some of its popularity as a modern Asian city with interesting theme cafes and restaurants. There’s a lot of trend-setting here and some quirky ideas.
Taipei Quirky Theme Cafes
A Barbie cafe, Ninja and Hospital cafe, an airplane restaurant,… there’s a lot of Taipei quirky theme cafes. I tried to seek many of them out. Unfortunately, it seems like Taiwanese theme cafes open with large hype, but close just as quickly. A few good ones remain…
1. Modern Toilet
Modern Toilet is a restaurant with a theme around toilets. You’ll find the decor ranges from plumbing pipes, to toilet bowl seats, urinals, squat toilets and poo. Taiwanese food can be accommodating to all types of travelers with dietary restrictions and this restaurant is no exception- it even has a vegetarian option. It’s a fun restaurant and the food is good. I ordered a vegetarian hot pot set meal, which included a main dish, dessert and drink. My vegetarian hot pot came bubbling hot in a mini toilet bowl. Some of the meat-like foods in my dish looked like street foods (or 7 Eleven foods ) you’d find popular. They were likely made with soy product and each had their own taste (Watch the video). My dessert came as a chocolate-shaped poo in a squat toilet! The restaurant isn’t easy to find being in the popular district of Ximending, but it’s definitely worth the effort. Address: 2F., No.7, Lane 50, Sining S. Rd., Wanhua District, Taipei City Phone: 02-2311-8822. Hours: 11a -10p Ximending distric
Getting there: From Ximen MRT station, take exit # 6 and walk straight along Chengdu Road. At the intersection of Kunming Street and Chengdu Road, turn right on Kunming Street. Pass the big parking lot on your right side. Immediately after the lot, take another right onto the side alley. You’ll notice that even the alley is kind of trendy and populated. Take the first left down a side street alley, until you get to the intersection with a main walking street. The restaurant is on your right hand side, on the corner of the intersection. The restaurant is 2-3 floors, so it takes up the corner of that block.
Traveling with children? See this Taiwan Itinerary with Kids
2. Cat Cafes
The Taiwanese love their dogs, but there’s a handful of cat cafes around town (there is also a Cat Village where they roam freely for . Many Taipei city dwellers live in apartments and not all landlords allow pets. Thus, the concept of pet cafes has gotten popular. These are places where Taiwanese can play and adore their furry feline friends.
As the original cat cafe of Taipei, Cats & Cafe 1988 claims to have the most cats of cat cafes. The cafe also has two resident dogs and a bird! There is no admission fee, but ordering something from their menu is mandatory. Quite honestly, the cafe is not known for its food and is standard at most. You can also buy cat food to bribe the cats to come over!
Things to remember about cat cafes:
• The animals in these cafes get pet and pawed so often. Expect some de-sensitization with the animals to happen.
• Often, they’re well fed and can be aloof. You may find they only go to the tables which offer food or sometimes, just prefer to be alone with themselves.
• The food at these cafes aren’t always that great. I’m pretty sure my cheesecake came straight out of the freezer with little warming. It was like an icee pop.
Getting There: MRT Zhishan, immediately turn right. The cafe and its sign isn’t easily recognizable, but check out my photo below for added help . The vertical sign is a sliver on the side of the building. Address: (129 Fuhua Rd, Shilin, MRT Zhishan, 02 2835 3335
Other recommended cat cafes: Yaboo cafe, Minimal Cafe, Mask Cat and of course, Taipei also has aHello Kitty Cafe (address: 90, Da-an Rd Sec 1, Taipei City, Ph: (02) 2711-1132)
Taipei Quirky Lifestyle
3. Fortune Telling Street
Fortune Telling Street is a line of fortune telling shops set in an underground alley or underpass near the popular Tao and Buddhist temple, Longshan Temple. Fortune telling is a part of Taiwanese lifestyles as fortune telling gained its rise around the 1990s, during political changes and business growth. Each fortune telling shop has their own gimmick, style and many post photos of famous Asian celebrities, they’ve had in their shop. The main languages spoken are Chinese and Japanese, so if you’re hoping to give it a try, be sure to bring a translator! It’s said that over 50% of their customers are Japanese.
Popular forms of fortune telling are with birthdate and time of birth, palm reading and having a white Java sparrows called bunjo. The white sparrow way of fortune telling is interesting to watch. The teller has them pull three cards, each referring to popular folk tales. The fortune teller then divines the meaning. Cost ranges: $1000NT – $2000 NT, depending on how many questions you ask.
Getting There: Longshan Temple MRT (Underpass) (龍山寺捷運站地下街)
Taipei Quirky Factory Tours
Did you know Taipei has factory tours? Some factories open their businesses to give you a look inside. From foodstuff, leisure, craft , lifestyle or wine, there’s a list of businesses open to showing you around. Call for hours as it is a working factory and may be closed on holidays and weekends. Note: As English is still not a widely spoken language, tours might be conducted in Chinese and any written plaques may be in Chinese as well.
Day trip tours from Taipei: Juifen & Northern Taiwan
4. Tengfeng Fish Ball Museum
Fish balls are popular in Asia and Southeast Asia. I thought I’d visit the Teng Feng Fish Ball Museum to get the inside peek at what it’s all about. Due to last minute scheduling, it wasn’t possible to visit, so I’ll leave the information here. As a foodie capital, visiting a fishball museum in Taipei seems like a perfect idea.
Address: No. 117, Zhongzheng Rd, Tamsui District, New Taipei City, Ph:02 2629 3312 Hours: · 11:00 AM – 9:00 PM
Cat Village (Day tour from Taipei)
Okay, so this one isn’t quite in Taipei but will entail a day’s excursion. But it’s absolutely worthwhile if you’re a cat lover!
5. Houtong Cat Village
About 45 minutes out from Taipei is Houtong Cat Village in Ruifang. It is a lovely and small riverside town nestled in a picturesque valley (I went on a dreary and rainy day). Originally a coal mining village, a local started caring for stray cats and taking them in and the towns people started to continue the tradition. Today, cats roam the area and are fed by locals and tourists. You can still explore the coal mining area and its museum to understand its history. More here.
Getting There: Take a northbound train (except Keelung trains) to Ruifang Station.