I have a slight confession: while I do love Taiwanese markets, they are not my favorite Asian markets. Thailand's night markets will always hold a special place in my heart, probably because of the Thai iced coffees. That said, Taiwanese markets are fun and colorful (and a little stinky due to the popularity of stinky tofu).
Over winter break, we spent some time in the capital. We revisited the Shilin Night Market and explored a new market on Dihua Street, which was super busy due to Chinese New Year.
SHILIN NIGHT MARKET
In my opinion, the Shilin Night Market is a little tacky. But I kinda think it's supposed to be. It's a huge tourist draw, and I have never been there on a "slow" night. It's always packed with people! A lot of the market is food stalls, and be prepared for the pungent scent of stinky tofu. There are also fun shops that sell souvenirs. I bought my niece some baby clothes, and you can buy your lapdog all kinds of bizarre outfits here. Notable as well is the donut that is shaped like a male's... well, you know. Every time I visit Shilin, there are a bunch of tourists posing for photos while holding, well, you know.
Shilin is definitely a fun experience, but the only reason we went back was because my husband found a great rock climbing gym literally right next door to it. We actually wandered in just to get something to drink, but the market's long, meandering alleys and temples kept drawing us further and further into the maze that is the Shilin Night Market. We emerged an hour later with food and baby clothes and the stench of stinky tofu on our clothes.
If you want to visit the Shilin Night Market, wait until nightfall and then get off at the Jiantan MRT station. You will be able to see the entrance from the metro platform!
There is a popular holiday market here that begins two weeks before Chinese New Year. We went on a rainy day, and by the time we made it to Dihua Street, we were soaked. The walk from the MRT was longer than we expected, and in hindsight we should have just taken a cab.
This market was very crowded even though it was raining. It was selling a lot of holiday food and decorations. Personally, my favorite part about the street was the facades of the buildings. They definitely were unique and did not look like the average Taiwanese building front.
If you want to visit Dihua Street, get off at Shuanglian Station. There are signs that mark the route well, but if it's wet outside, I would just catch a ride in a cab.