Because weather in Taiwan in the summer is generally very hot, many people go out at night, when it’s cooler and a little less humid. This is also a great time for tourists to go out and explore the city, but being in a strange country at night can often be intimidating, and it’s better to know where you want to go and what you want to do before venturing out after dark. Here’s a sneak peek and a few words to the wise.
Film artist Salvo Severino combines beautiful footage from Taipei’s night markets with some downright food porn. The soundtrack–Yumenji’s Theme–was also used Wong Kar Wai’s classic drama/romance “In the Mood for Love.”
Don’t Get Stranded!
First of all, one important thing to note: The MRT lines run until around midnight, and bus lines often keep similar hours, so if you stay out after that it’s best to have a phone or ask a nearby Family Mart to call a taxi. Fortunately, this is sometimes unnecessary; many taxis drive around areas with an active nightlife and are easy to flag down, but it’s best to have a back-up plan just in case. If you’re out late, call Taiwan Taxi.
Check out a Night-Market
One of the most popular things to do at night is go to a night market. (See above.) Aside from visiting night markets specifically to explore and shop, they are often a good option if you’re just in the neighborhood and feel like grabbing a quick snack on your way to somewhere else.
Another option for nighttime fun is going to do karaoke, or as the Taiwanese call it, KTV (Karaoke TV). For those who have never tried Asian-style karaoke, it’s quite different (and much less embarrassing) from American-style, which often takes place on a stage in a bar. When you go to a KTV (Holiday KTV is one cheap, easy-to-find, and high-quality example), you and your group of friends are assigned a usually soundproof room with couches around the walls facing a TV, along with several microphones. There is also a remote or a touch-screen that you can use to find and choose songs; most larger KTVs in Taiwan have a large selection of the most popular English, Korean, and Japanese songs in addition to Mandarin music, so you’ll definitely have many songs to choose from. A menu is also available from which you’ll be able to order snacks and drinks, which will be added to your tab to be paid when you leave. KTV is hugely popular among younger Taiwanese people, and a great thing for visitors to try!
Clubs, Bars, and Lounges
Taiwan has a large selection of clubs, bars, and lounges to choose from, some of which are geared toward international visitors. Some clubs (for example, Luxy in Taipei) have a so-called “Ladies’ Night,” when women get in free of charge. Other clubs (Lava and Wax, also in Taipei) have a general NT$300 cover charge (around US$10) with an all-you-can drink policy as long as you keep the wristband that comes with the cover charge. Bars and lounges are great places for those over 18 to relax and chat with friends after a long, hot day spent working or exploring the area.