Raohe Night Market in Taipei Taiwan

6 Reasons Why You Absolutely Must Visit a Night Market in Taiwan

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Night market entrance in Taipei with text overlay Mango shaved ice in Taiwan with text overlay Night market entrance in Taipei with text overlay Shaved ice dessert in Taiwan with text overlay

Taiwan night markets are in a league of their own, read on for why you need to add this to your Taiwan itinerary!

Though I’ve spent the majority of my life in Hong Kong, I was born in Taipei and go back a few times a year to visit family and stuff my face with incredible Taiwanese food. Some of my earliest and fondest memories are of playing pinball at Raohe Night Market in Taipei and being ecstatic after winning a few pieces of candy or a key chain (if I’m on a roll)!

Games at night markets in Taiwan

I’ve been to a number of night markets around the world, and in my humble opinion they just don’t compare to night markets in Taiwan. Night markets are an inherent part of the culture and you can find them in every single city in Taiwan – read on for 6 reasons why you have to add visiting a night market to your Taiwan itinerary!

General tips for visiting Taiwan night markets

Shilin Night Market in Taipei Taiwan
  • Taiwanese night markets generally open 365 days a year, but not all stalls will open if there is heavy rain or a typhoon.
  • Shops and stalls will start opening at around 5, 6 PM, but you should plan to arrive at around 7 PM when everything is set up and the atmosphere is at its peak (translation: crowded). Not a fan of crowds? Head there early or after 9 PM.
  • Night markets in Taiwan are pretty much cash only, so make sure you hit up the ATM first!
  • Unfortunately, there’s a lot of plastic that’s used at night markets – bring your own shopping bag and bring a metal straw if you plan on buying a drink.
  • Don’t bother haggling with food hawkers as prices are fixed, but if you’re buying a lot of things from one stall you can try to ask for a small discount.
  • Watch your belongings and make sure that you keep a close eye on your wallet and phone.
  • Though it may be true that there are some counterfeit items at night markets in Taiwan, the crackdown on fake goods is real. Most big brands have their own shops at night markets (adidas, Nike and so on), so you know that what you’re buying is the real deal.
  • Pay attention to the direction that the crowd is moving in, and don’t go against the flow!
  • The toilet situation can be fairly grim, and many older toilets in Taiwan are of the squat variety. Go to the bathroom before you head to a night market, and you’ll also want to bring some tissue as most toilets won’t have any.

1. They’re not tourist traps

Eating at Raohe Night Market in Taipei Taiwan

Night markets are popular for locals and tourists alike! You’ll see lots of families, couples and large groups of friends. Some people even bring their pets – just look at this obligatory dog photo:

Shilin Night Market in Taipei Taiwan

Though you can expect to see the occasional crappy souvenir shop, prices are pretty standard across the board and you shouldn’t expect to be charged a premium “tourist price”.

2. There are tons of night markets to choose from

Fried chicken at night market in Taiwan

There’s something for everyone, and you’ll never run out of options – there are more than 10 night markets in Taipei alone! There are night markets that are known for out-of-this-world food stalls, and some are better known for shopping. It all depends what you’re after, or just hit up a different night market each day.

Shilin night market in Taipei Taiwan

Most Taiwanese night markets are also open 365 days a year, so you don’t have to worry about missing the night market experience, though some stalls may choose not to open during rainstorms or typhoons.

3. The atmosphere is electric

Shilin night market in Taipei Taiwan

I can’t quite describe the atmosphere at a Taiwan night market. It’s a feast for all of your senses! From the delicious scents of Taiwanese street food that waft through the air, to the plethora of sounds from people eating, chatting and playing games.

Games at night markets in Taiwan

Visiting a night market is one of the best ways to get a taste of Taiwanese culture, and you’ll need to experience it for yourself to see what I mean! If you are traveling to Taipei, the best night market in Taipei is Raohe Night Market (I’m not biased, I swear).

Visiting Taipei and only have 2 days to spend in the city? Click here for my guide to 10 things you must do in Taipei or click here to see current rates at highly rated hotels in the city!

4. The Taiwanese street food

Shaved ice at night markets in Taiwan

Taiwanese street food is some of the best in the world and makes me cry real tears of joy. My friends who are visiting Taiwan always ask me for restaurant recommendations, and I just tell them to go to the night market for dinner.

Pan fried pork buns

Every time I go back to Taiwan I put on a few pounds (happily), and I always count down to my next trip back. Pro tip: Have an early lunch or skip lunch altogether so you get to try a bit of everything! Taiwanese street food is always cheap and incredibly tasty.

Grilled mushroom street food

I’ve never once gotten sick from street food in Taiwan, and don’t worry, there are tons of food options for vegetarians, vegans and pescatarians! Not only is Taiwanese street food aplenty at night markets, there are also food stalls from other cuisines ranging from Indian to Japanese, even Italian dishes.

Are you a foodie? Click here to see some of my favorite Taiwanese food dishes!

5. The shopping

Shopping at Taiwanese night market

You can buy everything you need at a night market, from electronics and gadgets to clothing and fun accessories. Prices are dirt cheap and some stalls are open to a (small) discount if you buy a bunch of stuff.

Shoe shop at Taiwanese night market

I’ve bought some amazing, high-quality clothes and random things like dog treats at night markets in Taiwan, I’ve even gotten my cracked iPhone screen fixed for a fraction of what Apple charges!

Shopping at a night market in Taiwan

6. But that’s not all…there’s tons of other entertainment at night markets in Taiwan

Games at night markets in Taiwan

The reason why night markets in Taiwan are so popular is because it offers EVERYTHING under the sun – not just food and shopping. There are game stalls like these basketball stands, darts, pinball, claw machines, mah jong, and more. I’m partial to throwing darts to pop balloons, unfortunately I’m not very good at it.

Fortunetellers in Taiwan night market

You can also get your fortune told by one of the many Chinese fortune tellers, or perhaps get a manicure, massage or even a facial!

Facials at night market in Taipei

Want even more Taiwan travel tips and advice? Click here!

Mango shaved ice at Taiwanese night market

Have you been to a night market in Taiwan? What was your favorite thing about it?

Looking for more Taiwan destination guides and travel tips?

Have you been to a night market in Taiwan? What was your favorite thing about it?

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