Lets explore photography locations in Taipei, Taiwan!
A2Y Travellers (Amy and Yasmine), a UK couple have set off exploring the world and vlogging their experiences. Taiwan was not on their bucket list, but they inadvertently discovered a hidden gem where tourism by westerners seems minimal. To see where else they’ve been, check out their blog and social media linked at the bottom of this page.
Many thanks again to A2Y Travellers, Amy and Yasmine, for this great resource on photography locations in Taipei, Taiwan. All photography on this page is by A2Y Travellers. Also, check out their advice on photographing Green Island and Sun Moon Lake in Taiwan!
A Hidden Gem: Taipei, Taiwan
Taiwan is an extremely beautiful island located east of China– truly a hidden gem. Taipei, the capital, is located in the north of the country. Our bucket list did not include Taiwan, but we thought we should see it as we were in the area. In our opinion, Taiwan isn’t a tourist trap and there were very few westerners.
Getting around Taipei is really easy. The metro is cheap and simple to understand, so although we did not hire a guide, everything was very accessible. However, a guide is beneficial for learning more about the history and culture. We visited in August which is peak season, and didn’t find Taiwan too expensive nor ‘touristy’.
Photography Locations in Taipei, the Capital
Taipei was our first destination in the country. We flew into Taoyuan International Airport and took the bus to Taipei Main station, which cost around £2 per person. Whilst in Taipei we stayed at the budget hotels Space Inn and the Angels’ Hostel- both in the same building. They have similar facilities and the differences are that the Angels’ Hostel toilets are outside in the mall and that it is cheaper.
#1 Taipei 101 Building – Cost
Taipei 101 is among the world’s tallest buildings, ranking at number 8 at 509m (1,671 feet) tall. When you stand at the bottom you can barely see the top! This building is incredible and even has a food court where you can grab a bite to eat.
Speed elevators zoom to the 89th floor observation deck in just 37 seconds and cost around £12 per person. Click here for current prices. The building has the world’s only visible wind dampener, a beehive-like structure that stabilises the building during high winds that occur during typhoons and shaking during earthquakes.
Photography on Taipei 101
On the 89th floor, a full 360-degree view of the city makes all aspects of the city available for photography. For more specific photos, a zoom lens would be beneficial.
We visited at 16:30 on a nice, sunny day and had problems with reflections on the glass. We suggest going at sunset or at night when the city is alight. This would allow a beautiful long exposure shot of the traffic, too.
#2 Elephant Mountain in Taipei – No cost
Another amazing place for sunset and watching Taipei transform from a stunning metropolis to a city of lights is atop Elephant Mountain, another free excursion! We hiked right to the end of the path, and were only joined by one other person. Perhaps it was just by chance, but it was unbelievably quiet for the most touristy month.
This would be an amazing place for photographing the New Year’s firework display.
Need a new camera? Check the camera comparison chart.
Packing for Photography on Elephant Mountain
A few items we recommend are number one: INSECT REPELLENT! Of all the places we have been in the world this was the worst we have ever experienced being bitten my mosquitos.
Bring plenty of water and a change of shirt if you sweat a lot. It is a bit of a steep hike for unfit people like us, but we arrived at the top in only 25 minutes.
Decide on a camera and lens. We used our GoPro to take a time-lapse of the sunset and it turned out beautifully as you can see in our vlog. A wide-angle lens captures the cityscape. Furthermore, shooting silhouettes of people with the sun setting next to Taipei 101, makes beautiful shots.
#3 Taipei Night Markets – No cost
Night markets are the heart and soul of Taiwanese food culture. We visited three markets: Shilin, Raohe, and Ningxia.
There are no entrance fees for these night markets. The only money you’ll spend is on the tasty food which is very reasonably priced.
Shilin Night Market is a big market and harbours a lot of clothing and souvenir stalls. We preferred Raohe Night Market for the variety of food stands. Some of our favourites were pork buns, mango shaved ice dessert, fried chicken, and steamed pork dumplings.
Best Time to Photograph Night Markets
Night markets are quiet before 6pm. However, we loved their busier times (around 7pm), since the atmosphere was just incredible. There are so many stalls selling all sorts of interesting foods. This environment makes for great photographs like:
- People eating or trying foods for the first time;
- Locals preparing food;
- Array of colors of different fruits.
#4 Longshan Temple – No cost
Longshan Temple, founded in 1738, is one of Taipei’s most religious locations. This is the most beautiful temple we have seen so far on our trip, because it is so ornate and extremely detailed. The fact that it was rebuilt several times and still looks traditional is a credit to the Taiwanese people.
There is no entry fee for the temple.
Photography at Longshan Temple
Worshippers carry out chanting rituals at Longshan temple at 6am, 8am and 5pm. More tourists are typically attracted at these times, so head there for 6am (tourists often like lie-ins!).
We arrived at 12:30 and the temple was full of people praying or carrying out their own certain ‘rituals’, such as throwing stones and burning incense sticks, which make for a great photo. We thought it would be heaving with tourists, but it wasn’t. This only added to the charm of the temple.
Beautiful decorations, smoke from the incense, burning candles, colorful offerings, and even the small waterfall all set the scene for amazing natural and cultural photographs.
Other Taipei Information
The Toilet Situation in Taipei
Toilets are fairly readily available and if they aren’t all ‘western style’, there is usually the option for one amongst the dreaded squat toilets. You can find toilets in Taipei 101 and at the Longshan Temple, but there aren’t any at the top of elephant mountain. If you are ever caught short and need somewhere ‘to go’, there is generally a McDonalds or a Starbucks on every corner.
Light Camera Gear Packing List for Taipei, Taiwan
Wide angle lens for your phone – Here’s one, but there are many, so just find the one suitable for your phone.
Check the Taipei weather before booking a flight, so you can plan for seasonal differences.
Ask away in the comments section below! I hope you make it to all these photography location in Taipei and then come back here to let us know how it went. And, I welcome you sharing any other locations in Taiwan.
Other Photography Locations in Taiwan and Abroad
Sun Moon Lake + Green Island, Taiwan – A write-up by A2Y Travelers. The location looks amazing!
Pompeii, Italy – A write up by Global Locavore. An ancient city that succumbed to volcano ash, now uncovered.
Machu Picchu, Peru – by Longest Bus Rides. UNESCO World Heritage site.
Ollantaytambo, Peru (near Machu Picchu) – by Longest Bus Rides. Incan culture with flowing water ways.
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About A2Y Travellers
Using our phones and our baby (GoPro Hero 4 Silver), we give insight on beautiful places, show what it is like to travel in a relationship and generally share the world with people! We believe travel is such an important self-discovery experience; we learn so much about ourselves and can better ourselves learning about how other people live. Therefore, we believe that everyone should have access to material for seeing other perspectives of life (not just how people live in their own country).