Planning to visit Taiwan?
Looking for that one special jade piece your girlfriend was going on and on about? Or maybe you need a new SLR for all those pictures you plan to take while traveling the country…How about a book for the plane ride home? Don’t forget the authentic porcelain tea set for Grandma!
Or maybe you plan to stay in Taiwan for a while?
You’ll need some new clothes, for one thing. Some furniture then, too. Maybe some nice flowers to brighten up your 陽台?
Here, I have attempted to consolidate all of the major shopping centers in Taiwan–from the super-cheap to the not-so-cheap–and include a link to a government website, wiki article, or other blog post that will provide further information about the area. This is a work in progress, folks, so bear with me, and please add to it as you see fit. (Note: I am excluding food for the time being. Really, food shopping in Taipei warrants an entirely separate blog post).
Wufenpu: The first time I went to Wufenpu I got lost. The second time I went to Wufenpu I again got lost. The third time I went to Wufenpu, I didn’t quite get lost, but I was there for a good three hours simply looking at clothes (that’s a long time for me as far as clothes shopping goes). Wufenpu is a wholesale center in Taipei where not only can you find the cheapest clothes in the city, you can also find more clothes than you ever dreamed of in one place. Get off at MRT Houshanpi Station on the blue line and follow the crowds. Also not too far from RaoHe Night Market. Note: There are no fitting rooms (same goes for all Taiwanese night markets).
Gongguan: Shopping/night market area across the street from National Taiwan University. Very cheap clothing, but like many of the places listed here, make sure you really check the quality of the item before purchasing.
Shida Night Market: Next to ShiDa University, this area is packed with college students any night of the week. Again, besides food, plenty of cheap clothes are to be found…as well as some not-so-cheap boutique apparel.
Shilin Night Market: Famed for its boundless servings of traditional Taiwanese snacks, Shilin Night Market is also a mecca for cheap clothing and apparel. When you get off Exit 1 at Jiantan MRT station, just walk toward all of the bright lights and then you can begin to push your way through the swarms of bodies meandering through the shops.
Ximending: The “Harajuku” center of Taiwan, Ximending has loads of cheap clothing shops as well as….well, anything else you can possibly think of. There is also a really grungy looking tattoo-alley in the heart of the shopping area (if you are contemplating a tattoo in Taiwan, I may suggest to look elsewhere) and a large IMAX theater.
East Metro Mall: An ENORMOUS underground mall that stretches from Zhongxiao Fuxing station to Zhongxiao Dunhua station.
Shin Kong Mitsukoshi: High-end Japanese retail. There are a handful of these malls throughout Taipei, located near Taipei Main Station and the XinYi Warner Village area. You can also find some good Japanese food in the food court.
Sogo Department Stores: High-end retail from Hong Kong featuring international couture brands (you know, Prada, Louis Vitton, Gucci, etc. etc.). Two are located at Zhongxiao Fuxing MRT Station area. The first one has a Dunkin’ Donuts right outside, as well as the famous Taiwanese dumpling shop Din Tai Fung.
Camera Street: Located on BoAi Street near Taipei Main Station. Nearly every shop sells all sorts of cameras and photography equipment. You can often bargain here.
NOVA Building: I think this place is noted mainly because of it’s giant brightly lit sign across from Taipei Main Railway Station. Also a good place for finding electronics at bargain prices.
Guanghua Market (also next to Computer Street): A mind-boggling array of electronics. Again, you can often bargain. Make sure you shop around for a while and compare prices.
Furniture Street: Located on WenChang Street. Store after store after store of different furniture.
IKEA: I go there for the meatballs.
Eslite: The flagship store is located in the XinYi area near Taipei 101 and is eight stories tall. There is a food court in the basement, as well as upscale restaurants on the top floor. There is a decent selection of English books here as well. Pricey.
Page One: Has a couple of locations in Taipei, one of which is located in the Taipei 101 mall. You can also find a good selection of English books here. Pricey.
Book Street near Taipei Main Station: Located on Chongqing South Road, Section 1. This is simply an entire street of book shops offering any genre you can imagine–but all in Chinese.
Taipei Handicraft Promotion Center: This is one-stop shopping for everyone you forgot to get gifts for back home. The center collects handicrafts from all parts of Taiwan, and though it may look rather dumpy inside, you can find a lot of different souvenirs—including those Taiwanese postcards you have been searching in vain for!
Weekend Jade and Flower Market: The largest flower market I think I have ever laid eyes on. You can find anything from different plant seeds, to potted orchids, to intricate bonsai trees, to large fully-grown trees.
Located under a highway overpass next to Daan Park, it is a must-see at least once in Taipei no matter the weather. The jade market is located next to the flower market. There, you can find all different qualities of jade, other jewelry, pottery, paintings, woodcrafts, etc.
Taipei DIY District: Area behind Taipei Main Station where you can create your own jewelry.
Longshan Temple Underground Shopping Bazaar: You can find some more traditional style knick-knacks here. Accessible through the MRT station. Also noted for its fortune telling shops.
One last nifty resource: http://www.taiwanfun.com/north/taipei/articles/0605/0605shopping.htm