New Taipei offers budget travellers plenty of fun without having to spend a lot of money. Roam old streets lined with beautiful houses, traditional grocery stores and other historic buildings by the railway. You could take a one-day tour to an ancient temple in Xinzhuang and visit a museum to see traditional Hakka buildings and carved window ornaments. For animal lovers, a visit to a village in Houtong lets you play with cats.

    You can spend time in the countryside by a mangrove nature reserve, walk along the beach and see what the tide has washed up. Nearby, you will find a scenic area that has hiking trails passing through beautiful lush forests. In the Tung blossom season, discover a mountain in Sanxia covered in the beautiful white flowers. At other times of the year, picnic at a rabbit theme park or visit a village with historic houses with a nostalgic atmosphere. Find great things to do in New Taipei on a small budget, below.

    1

    Xinzhuang historical temples

    Admire the vivid and varied architectural features

    • History
    • Budget
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    Xinzhuang Old Street has more historical temples than any other districts in Taipei, including 4 designated as national historic sites. Located on Xinzhuang Road in Xinzhuang District, it’s also commonly called Xinzhuang Temple Street. Notable historic sites here include Wusheng Temple, also known as Guandi Temple, and Ciyou Temple that’s dedicated to the goddess Mazu and is the oldest temple in Xinzhuang. The temple bustles with people whenever prayer events are held.

    Wenchang Temple is dedicated to Wenchang Dijun, the god of culture and literature. Many students come here to pray for success during their exams. Guangfu Palace is mainly dedicated to the Kings of the Three Mountains in Taoism and was built to bless the immigrants from Chaozhou. Each temple boasts different architecture, carvings, and cultural relics and all are well worth a closer look. Although the buildings on both sides of the old street have been renovated, there are still many long-established shops selling hardware, pastries and traditional snacks. As time passes and life changes, these historic temples remain the same. They bear witness to the history of Xinzhuang and provide local people with spiritual support.

    Location: Xinzhuang Road, Xinzhuang District, New Taipei City, Taiwan 242

    photo by Taiwankengo (CC BY-SA 4.0) modified

    2

    Pingxi Old Street

    Immerse yourself in the charming atmosphere

    • History
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    • Unusual

    If you want to visit Pingxi Old Street, it is a good idea to get a one-day pass for the Pingxi line. The affordable tickets give you unlimited travel from all the stations along the line. As Pingxi Old Street was built later than other well-known old streets, the traditional houses have been carefully preserved. When you walk into a traditional grocery store, you can sometimes smell the fragrance of the wood that the building is made of. Elderly people can be seen sitting in small groups on the benches in front of the houses, making tea and chatting.

    Time seems to have stood still here. The sudden rumble of a train passing over the nearby iron bridge is also part of the unique charms of the old street. Launching sky lanterns by the railway is one of the most enjoyable events in the world. Many Taiwanese and foreign tourists flock here during the Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival every year. It is also romantic to see sky lanterns rising into the sky carrying your wishes. The slow pace of commercialisation has ensured that Pingxi Old Street retains its simplicity.

    Location: Pingxi Street, Pingxi District, New Taipei City, Taiwan 22641

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    photo by Solomon203 (CC BY-SA 4.0) modified

    3

    Cat Village in Houtong

    Find your local feline friends

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    Houtong in Ruifang District, New Taipei City, was once a mountain mining town, now a popular destination for visitors because of the ‘cat village’ where local felines gather. Take a regional train to Houtong Station where you’ll be greeted by appealing cat installation artworks. You can also meet the cats on the modern cat bridge. The houses on the other side of the station are built around the sides of the mountain. There you can walk up winding flights of steps to discover cats and cat paintings hidden in the mountain town. Take a break at a cat cafe and spend some time with the cats there. 

    The local historical sites in Houtong are also well-preserved. Houtong Coal Mine Ecological Park, which was built on the former site of a coal mine, offers free admission. The hall contains a model of the whole coal mine and shows what the lives of miners were like in the past. Do you want to stay away from the hustle and bustle of the city? Come to Houtong to watch the cats in peace and quiet and spend a lazy, relaxing afternoon.

    Location: No. 70, Chailiao Road, Ruifang District, New Taipei City, Taiwan 22446

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    photo by MiNe (CC BY 2.0) modified

    4

    Hiking in Guanyinshan Scenic Area

    Conquer trails of varying levels

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    Guanyinshan is a mountain range popular among hikers on the boundary of Wugu District and Bali District at 616 metres high. The mountain range rises and falls, looking like the sleeping Buddhist goddess Guanyin, hence its name. It offers beautiful views and tall trees, with 6 trails of different lengths and levels of difficulty and varying inclines. The wooden trails are clearly signed, so you don't have to worry about getting lost in the mountain or the forest. 

    The Yinghan Peak Hiking Trail is the most popular of the trails. It was formerly known as the ‘Guanyin Ancient Trail’ and has a total length of almost 1.5 km divided into 2 paths. The main path starts from the entrance next to Lingyun Buddhist Temple and leads up step by step to the top of the mountain with camellia, rhododendron, and cherry blossoms on both sides. The secondary path is the Fengguidouhu Trail, which is short but steeper slopes. Yinghan Peak is the highest spot in Guanyinshan, offering panoramic views of Taipei, Guandu Bridge, the Tamsui River estuary, Taipei 101, as well as brilliant night views.

    Location: No. 130, Section 3, Lingyun Road, Wugu District, New Taipei City, Taiwan 24844

    Open: Visitor centre open daily from 9 am to 5 pm

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    photo by lienyuan lee (CC BY 3.0) modified

    5

    Sunset by the Tamsui River

    One of New Taipei City's most popular views

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    Tamsui is the first one that many people think of when it comes to New Taipei City's most popular spots. You can try local dishes such as tofu with noodles and fish paste (agei) and fish balls (yu wan) in the old street, drink coffee at the riverside cafe or take a boat trip from the Fisherman's Wharf. Among all the things to do in Tamsui, watching the magnificent sunset is an absolute must. 

    Hit the grassy area next to the old street or the square next to the MRT station an hour or 2 before sunset to be in a good spot. Or you can take the bus or ferry to Fisherman's Wharf to find a great viewing point on the riverside pedestrian walkway or the Lover's Bridge. Because there are no high-rise buildings on the banks of the Tamsui River, you can see the entire progress of the sun setting. The scene is so impressive that it is the most famous view in New Taipei City.

    Location: Zhongzheng Road, Tamsui District, New Taipei City, Taiwan 25100

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    photo by 玄史生 (CC0 1.0) modified

    6

    Hakka Cultural Park

    A place for admiring local heritage and culture

    • History
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    Hakka Cultural Park in the Sanxia District of New Taipei City is where you can learn more about the local heritage and culture. The park covers 4.5 hectares with the main building featuring 3 upper floors and a basement filled with exhibits. The park combines the exterior style of the most representative Hakka Tulou (traditional earthen buildings), elements such as Hecheng (courtyard), Wanglou (watchtower), as well as Tonglang (gallery) and modern architectural features, all with the aim of preserving and promoting Hakka culture. 

    The park offers free admission and has many permanent exhibitions on the theme of traditional Hakka culture and skills. For example, the exhibition about blue dyeing introduces the main features and history of blue dyeing technology in Taiwan. Other exhibition areas cover blue dyeing, cotton prints, and other features of traditional Hakka clothing. Traditional Hakka utensils designed using creative methods are also on display. You can also buy souvenirs at the shop which sells Hakka cultural and creative items. In addition to the indoor exhibition hall, various outdoor activities often take place in Hecheng Square, designed appeal to both adults and children. The wooden walkway allows visitors to take a leisurely stroll while admiring the architectural wonders.

    Location: No. 2, Section 3, Tingzhou Road, Zhongzheng District, Taipei City, Taiwan 100

    Open: Monday–Friday from 9 am to 5 pm, Saturday and Sunday from 9 am to 6 pm (closed on the first Monday of every month)

    Phone: +886 (0)223691198

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    photo by lienyuan lee (CC BY 3.0) modified

    7

    Cycling in Tamsui River Mangrove Nature Reserve

    Pedal along the Golden Shore Bicycle Path

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    The Golden Shore Bicycle Path is popular with many cyclists who visit Taipei, because of its unique natural setting and the opportunity it offers. A thick mangrove forest lines the river from MRT Zhuwei Station to Tamsui Station. If you look carefully, you might see mudskippers, monk crabs, and fiddler crabs hidden in the fine mud, as well as little egrets in the branches of the mangroves. The stunning views make the ride along the Tamsui River very enjoyable. 

    The Mangrove Forest Exhibition Hall on the second floor of the MRT Hongshulin Station has an exhibition explaining the rich ecosystem of this precious wetland. The wooden walkway outside the MRT station leads you to the Mangrove Ecological Park, where you can experience the mangrove forest first hand. If you arrive at the MRT Tamsui Station at sunset, you must not miss a walk down the old street and the opportunity to try famous delicacies such as tofu with noodles and fish paste (agei), fish balls (yu wan), shrimp rolls (xia juan), and marinated eggs (tie dan). You can look back on an enjoyable day in Tamsui as the sun goes down.

    Location: Tamsui District, New Taipei City, Taiwan 251

    Open: 24/7

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    photo by lienyuan lee (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified

    8

    Stanching Air Force Village

    The only gun emplacement village in northern Taiwan

    • History
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    Stanching Air Force Village is located in Sanchong District, New Taipei City, and covers an area of about 1.38 hectares. It is the only gun emplacement village that has been preserved in northern Taiwan. The military fortifications that remain, such as gun emplacements and underground tunnels, were designated as historic sites in 2016. After the residents moved out, the public called for the empty Stanching Air Force Village to be preserved. It was later transformed into a cultural village and was officially opened to the public with free admission in 2018. 

    When you arrive in the village, you can stroll among the old buildings which convey a sense of nostalgia. In the old houses, you can see the floor tiles and stonewashed walls which were common in Taiwanese homes in the past, as well as traditional kitchens. You also have the opportunity to take photos of these historic buildings and their old-fashioned features.

    Location: Lane 86, Zhengyi South Road, Sanchong District, New Taipei City, Taiwan 24142

    Open: Daily from 10 am to 6 pm (closed on Mondays)

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    photo by 準建築人手札網站 Forgemind ArchiMedia (CC BY 2.0) modified

    9

    Bali Miffy Park

    Enjoy a picnic surrounded by cute rabbit characters

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    Miffy Park was formerly a large grassy area inside Shihsanhang Cultural Park. Located in Bali Cultural Park, Bali District, New Taipei City, the park is where visitors can enjoy the lovely Miffy rabbits, the small female rabbit from the series of picture books drawn and written by Dutch artist Dick Bruna. The Miffy rabbits in Miffy Park are public art installations from the Netherlands, which were once exhibited in Huashan 1914 Creative Park in Taipei. After the exhibition, the organiser presented them to New Taipei City. 

    The park is a popular spot in Bali that attracts countless adults and children who come to see the adorable Miffy family. Whether you are travelling alone or with friends or family, you are sure to have a relaxing and enjoyable time on the spacious grounds of Miffy Park. Bring a picnic rug and some delicious food so that you can enjoy a picnic with the Miffy rabbits.

    Location: No. 1, Waziwei Street, Bali District, New Taipei City, Taiwan 24947

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    photo by Taiwankengo (CC BY-SA 4.0) modified

    10

    Tung Flowers on Yuan Mountain

    Among the top scenic spots in Sanxia

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    Yuan Mountain inside the Yuan Mountain Park in the Sanxia District of New Taipei City is around 300 metres above sea level. It takes its name from the fact that it looks like a flying kite and is said to be one of top 5 scenic spots in Sanxia. If you stand in front of the bronze 'Revival Bell', a famous landmark, you will have unobstructed views of the whole of Taipei. On sunny days you can even see Hsuehshan Mountain. The park, which is scattered with pavilions, observation decks and stone benches, is an excellent place for relaxing. 

    Yuan Mountain is covered with tung trees. During the blossom season in April and May, the entire forest is smothered in snow-white flowers. From a distance, it looks as if it is snowing, which is where the name "Snow in May" comes from. You can climb all the way up to Yuanfeng Pavilion and Lansheng Pavilion along the Yuan Mountain trail, which is 5.7 km long. From here you can see the magnificent scenes of a green hill covered in white snow. The tung flowers along the trail and in the surrounding trees give the landscape a dreamlike quality.

    Location: Yuanfeng Road, Sanxia District, New Taipei City, Taiwan 23741

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