Shihlin (士林區) is a northern district of Taipei, home to many museums and one of Taipei's largest night markets.
Shilin is a mostly residential area with several famous neighborhoods like the expat enclave of Tianmu. Popular sights of Shilin are the world famous National Palace Museum, Yangmingshan National Park, and the Taipei Astronomical Museum.
Both stations here are on the red line:
- 1 Shilin Station. Get off here for the night market.
- 2 Jiantan Station. Get off here for the major museums and historic sites.
Museums and galleries
- 1 National Palace Museum (國立故宮博物院 - Short name is 故宮), 221 Zhishan Rd, Sec. 2 (the nearest MRT station is Shilin; from the main road (Zhongzheng Road) in front of exit 1, it is a short hop by taxi or city bus; Bus number 304 terminates at the museum, while bus numbers 255 and 小18 both make stops at the museum), ☏ . Su-Th 08:30-18:30, F Sa 08:30-21:00. Probably Taiwan's top sight, displaying treasures formerly owned by the Emperor of China. During to the Sino-Japanese War, the Nationalist Government took artifacts from Beijing so they wouldn't be harmed by the invading Japanese. After the war ended, the Chinese Civil War continued and thus the Kuomintang shipped them to Taiwan. The Communists weren't very happy about this, but, as it turned out, transporting the imperial treasures to Taipei allowed them to escape the destruction that many historical artifacts suffered under the communists during the Cultural Revolution. The museum today houses what is quite possibly the best collection of Chinese art in the world. Its collection is so large that not all of it can be displayed at once, which means that exhibits change regularly. Famous pieces from its collections include the jade cabbage, pork belly jade, and passenger boat carved from an olive pit. NT$350 for adults, free for under 18s. NT$150 for students (with ISIC or Youth Travel card), and NT$320 per person for large groups (10 or more people).
- 2 Taipei Astronomical Museum (天文館), 363 Jihe Road (a ten-minute walk from either Shilin or Jiantan MRT stations), ☏ . Tu-Su 08:50-17:00. This modern museum offers a hands-on introduction to our universe. In addition to the permanent exhibits, there is also a Imax dome theater, an observatory and a 3D movie theater. Entrance to the observatory is free, while NT$100 (adult) NT$50 (child) is charged for a show at each of the two theaters.
- 3 Shung Ye Museum of Formosan Aborigines (順益台灣原住民博物館), 282 Zhishan Rd, Sec. 2 (opposite the National Palace Museum). This museum houses exhibitions of Aboriginal culture and lifestyle. An English audio guide is available.
- 4 Shilin Residence (士林官邸) (at the triangle of Fulin Road and Zhongshan North Road Sec. 5). Daily 08:30-17:00. It was one of Chiang Kai-shek's abodes during his Taipei years, and the sprawling grounds were opened as a park in 1996. This residence is famous for the European style of its architecture and gardens.
- 5 Zhishanyan Cultural and Ecological Garden (芝山岩文化綠園). A small hill is in the south of Tianmu's Yangming Hospital, and north of the Shuangxi river. The Zhishan Hill (Zhishanyan 芝山岩), one of the oldest archaeological excavation sites in Taiwan. Along the trail, you can see many historic heritages in this hill, the Huiji Temple (惠濟宮), Fortified Gate, small temple and an old camphor tree over 300 years old. Getting there: MRT Zhishan Station (Danshui Line) and walk for about 15 minutes.
- 6 Aborigine Culture Park (Yuanzhuminwenhuazhuti Park (原住民文化主題公園)) (beside the National Palace Museum, opposited the Sung Ye Museum of Formosan Aborigines.). The theme of the park is the aboriginal culture. There are thirteen stone-slab sculptures stand in the entrance of the park, depicting the people of Taiwan's nine tribes in their traditional costumes.
- 1 Tianmu Miramar Cinema (天母美麗華影城), 202 Zhongcheng Rd, 4F, sec 2, Tianmu (忠誠路二段202號4樓). A very modern facility with eight screens.
- 1 Shilin Night Market (士林夜市) (around Wenlin Road (文林路) and Dadong Road (大東路)). To really taste the flavor of Taiwanese life a trip to a night market is a must, and Shilin is one of the largest. The market began in the 19th century as a collection of vendors trading their goods near a small harbor along the Keelung River. Today the harbor is long gone but the night market has become what is quite possibly the largest collection of vendors and eateries in Taiwan. The night market sprawls across several city blocks, and is considered to be one of the "must-see" attractions in Taipei. Have dinner in one of the eateries in the new food court, then wander north to bargain hunt in a labyrinth of streets and alleys filled with shops and people. Businesses in the night market typically open around 16:00 and stay open well past midnight. To get there, take the MRT Dansuei (Red) Line to Jiantan Station. The food court is located directly across the street from the station with the rest of the night market spreading out to the north. If in doubt, follow the crowds. Quick warning to shopping addicts: the last MRT train leaves Jiantan station around midnight, though the crowds last well past then. Plan ahead. Specialty foods and drinks include: fried buns (生煎包), lemon aiyu jelly (檸檬愛玉), peanut candy (花生糖), bubble tea (珍珠奶茶), snow flakes crushed ice (雪花冰), Taiwanese sausages (香腸), braised stinky tofu (紅燒臭豆腐) and oyster omelet (蚵仔煎).
- 2 Dayeh Takashimaya (大葉高島屋百貨), 55 Zhongcheng Rd, Sec 2, Tianmu (忠誠路二段55號), ☏ . A 12-story department store with food court in the basement and bookstore on the 4th floor. A free shuttle connects the store to Shilin and Shipai MRT Stations.
- Caves Books (=敦煌書局), 5, Lane 38, Tianyu Street, Tianmu (the road running behind the Wellcome Supermarket on Tianmu West Road), ☏ . One of the original book stores specializing in English titles, especially strong on novels and English language text books.
- 1 Juice Meal Vegetarian Restaurant (活悅素食餐廳), No. 34, Lane 505, Section 5, Zhongshan North Road (Exit 2 Shilin MRT Station; turn right; the restaurant is a couple of minutes walk on the left), ☏ . 11:00-20:00. A very simple and unassuming restaurant. Excellent meals and sale of natural foods. NT$200-300.
- 2 Vegetarian Kitchen (靜心健康素食坊), No.26, Meide Street (Exit 1, Shilin Station; the restaurant is a few minutes' walk on the left - directly adjacent to the MRT line), ☏ . 11:00-20:00. Simple, tasty Chinese vegetarian meals. Choose a set meal from the menu and it is served on a tray. Owner speaks English, and there's a picture menu in English and Chinese. NT$100–150.
- Cafe Onion Restaurant (洋蔥餐廳), 1, Lane 9, Tianmu North Road, Tianmu, ☏ . 11:30-22:10; doors close at 23:30. Cafe Onion is a friendly restaurant in Tianmu since 1992, located in a small alley, just north of the main road - Tianmu West Road. Cafe Onion serves pastas and steaks. Tea or coffee are also available. Cafe Onion's Germany pork knuckles are good, and it's worth queuing for.
- 3 Fangs Restaurant, TianMu East Rd (near Hello Kitty Store and Dunkin' Donuts). Popular amongst Taiwanese and expats, this 2-story restaurants offers excellent quality local dishes. There is an open kitchen where people can watch dumplings being made.
- JB's, 148, Shida Road, ☏ . A European pub and restaurant in Shida area serving traditional European fare on the first floor. The second floor features the main bar and activity center. Steak pie and fish and chips offered here are some of Taipei's best.
- San-hsi-t'ang (三希堂), National Palace Museum, 4th floor. 09:00-17:00. Well-hidden slick teahouse/restaurant atop the Palace Museum, which looks more expensive than it is. Most people stop by for a pot of oolong and tiny pastries, but the menu (available in English) also covers dim sum and enough savouries to make a meal. NT$200.
- Juice/Tea/Coffee Cafe (果喵喵), No1, Xiaoxi Street, Shilin (near corner with Danan Road), ☏ . 11:00-23:00. A pet cafe - cats and coffee. Pleasant environment. Good food.
- 1 [dead link] Orange Cafe (看電車咖啡), 302 Wenlin Rd (Exit 2, Shilin MRT Station: turn right; on the main road, turn left; the cafe is a couple of minutes walk on the left), ☏ . 11:30-00:00. Pining for a cafe with a backstreet atmosphere and pumping out Indian, Middle Eastern, folk or Floyd type music? Check out Orange Cafe. In addition to coffee/tea etc, they also offer a simple menu that includes vegetarian dishes, and from 22:30 on Friday evening the place comes to life with a fire dance performance on the roof.
- 2 Oromo Cafe (奧蘿茉), No 1 (back door), Lane 16, Meide Street. (Exit 1 Shilin MRT; walk straight ahead for a few minutes; the cafe is on the left). A cool cafe with books. Good coffee. Innovative snacks and desserts.
- Vagabond Cafe (流浪觀點), 13 Fushou St (from Shilin MRT Station exit 1, walk to the main road (Zhongzhen Road); cross the road and follow the overhead MRT track; the cafe is a few meters down this street on the right), ☏ . 12:00-02:00. A spacious art-style cafe with large windows overlooking green space - documentary movies screened on Wednesdays and Saturdays at 19:30 - excellent coffee and home-made (including vegetarian) dishes.
- Play Taipei Backpackers, Jihe Rd. & Xiaoxi St. intersection. Shilin (a five-minute walk from Jiantan MRT Station: Exit One, turn left, urn right into main street in front (Jihe Street); at the next junction (where the road becomes Wenlin Road), take a left (still Jihe Street)), ☏ . Check-in: 16:00, check-out: 11:00. This hostel offers full ensuite room with private bathroom. There is no common area, and no dorms. Clean, Friendly staff. Good location.
- Fun Taipei @ Shilin Night Market, 31 Wenlin Road (Exit 1 Jiantan MRT Station, turn left, turn right on Jihe Road directly outside the station, urn left onto Wenlin Road), ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-in: 14:00, check-out: 12:00. A pleasant hostel - close to Shilin Night Market and MRT station. Free wifi.
- 1 Tango Inn (天雲旅棧), No.18, Jihe Road (a short walk from Jiantan MRT Station), ☏ , fax: , ✉ email@example.com. A contemporary and stylish hotel. Excellent facilities. Efficient and friendly staff. NT$6,000-6,500.
- Yangmingshan National Park adds the backdrop for the district. Bus 260 passes along Zhongshan North Road (stopping across from Jiantan MRT Station) and turns right at Zhongzhen Road. It takes approximately 30 min to reach the terminal station in the mountains.
- Downtown. Bus 285 runs the full length of Mingshen East Road and Dunhua North and South Roads, making stops at the major shopping junctions of Dunhua-Nanjing, Dunhua-Zhongxiao and Dunhua-Renai. This bus also stops near the (Domestic) Songshan Airport (on the corner on Minsheng East and Dunhua North Road). Bus 285 can be picked up anywhere on Tianmu West and East Roads and Zhongshan North Road sec 5. A major stop is outside Jiantan MRT Station.
- Shida and Taida Universities. Bus 606 stops near Shida and outside Taida in Gongguan. Bus 606 follows the same route as bus 285 as far as the Grand Hotel.