From north to south, Taiwan is littered with large shopping centres and department chain stores. Combining diverse leisure and entertainment facilities, these venues offer designer clothing, lifestyle products, food outlets, bookstores, movie house, wholesale warehouses, amusement centres, and others, providing the ultimate shopping environment. Moreover, several theme streets have sprung up, exhibiting an exciting blend of history and style, including Taipei's Ximenting and Kaohsiung's New Juejiang commercial area, attracting different consumer groups. Other venues, including the weekend jade markets and computer lane in Taipei's Guanghua Digital Plaza, are very good places to find unexpected bargains.
One of the best ways to shop is to visit the night markets. Purchases include Formosan sea-grass mats, hats, handbags and slippers, bamboo items, Chinese musical instruments, various dolls in costume, hand-painted palace lanterns made from silk, lacquerware, ceramics, teak furniture, coral, veinstone and jade items, ramie fibre rugs, brassware, handmade shoes, fabrics and chopsticks (decorated, personalised sticks of wood or marble).
Shopping hours are generally Monday to Saturday, 10 am-10 pm. Some convenience stores are open
24 hours per day.
Places to Shop
Xinyi District is the seat of the Taipei mayor's office and the Taipei city council. The Taipei Convention Hall, the Taipei World Trade Center, Taipei 101, Taipei City Hall, and various shopping malls and entertainment venues make Xinyi the most modern cosmopolitan district of Taipei. The district is arguably the première shopping area in Taipei, if not all of Taiwan. Xinyi District is anchored by a number of department stores and malls. In addition, numerous restaurants are located in the area, especially American chain restaurants.
Shilin Night Market has stores selling hand bags, clothing, and more. Most of the merchandise consists of imitations. To get there, take the MRT Danshui 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.
Eslite Mall (245 Dunhua South Road, near intersection with Renai Road), is an upscale market-style shopping centre with a 24-hour book shop, on the second floor and ethnic music store in basement.
The Core Pacific Living Mall, reportedly Asia's largest shopping centre under one roof, has many stores open 24 hours a day. It also has a large food court, cinema complex, and the nightclub Plush (located on Bade Road near intersection with Guangfu South Road).
A shopping area is also located around the Sogo Department Store on Zhongxiao East Road, Section 4, and the lanes and alleys around Da'an Road (behind Sogo) have an interesting array of small shops and boutiques. Buddha statues, prayer flags and other artefacts associated with Tibetan Buddhism can be purchased at Potala, 2F, 2-4, Lane 51, Da'an Road. The staff speaks English and the prices are reasonable. For those interested in all things Nepalese you should check out Jay Shiva Shamyoo Himalayan Handicrafts, located in the Basement of 1 Lane 146, Zhongxiao East Road, Section 4.
Those interested in picking up inexpensive electronic goods and cameras should head to the lanes and alleys around Kaifeng Sreet and Zhonghua Road (near Taipei Main Station).
Specialising in computer and electronic goods, Guanghua Digital Plaza (originally called Guanghua Market) has the largest number of stalls selling hardware and software under one roof in Taiwan, and all at very competitive prices. While there, check out the enormous DVD and VCD selection and used book stores. The old location on Bade Road. under the Xinsheng overpass was demolished in January 2006, and all of the shops have moved to a new building at the southwest corner of Civic Boulevard and Xinsheng North Road in July, 2008, a short walk from the old location. The new building comprises of six floors: the 1st floor contains an exhibition area for new products and a food court; the original vendors of the old market are located on the 2nd and 3rd floor; 4th and 5th floor include vendors and shops from the Xining Electronic Market; and the 6th floor houses product repair centres.
The Station Front Area is a section of downtown Taipei just south of the Taipei Railway Station. It is a bustling area filled with shops and stores of all kinds, but it is particularly well known for it's high concentration of bookstores, and in recent years, stores specialising in electronics and computer hardware. Some smaller vendors will allow you to bargain down prices on large purchases (i.e. a custom built PC). Nova, a four storey collection of small computer and electronics vendors in what can be described only as a high tech bazaar (located across the street from the railway station on the west side of the Shinkong Mitsukoshi department store). K-Mall, located in the former Asiaworld department store on the east side of Shinkong Mitsukoshi, this trendy mall specialises in electronics of all kinds and is a location for large companies such as Asus, Samsung, Benq, and Acer to showcase their newest products. The Taipei Zhongshan Metro Shopping Mall (Easy Mall) is a long underground shopping area that houses several stores selling all manner of items, not necessarily limited to electronics. A few stores in the Easy Mall carry current and vintage video games, hardware and software. They also perform hardware modifications on consoles. The Easy Mall is accessible through the basement of Taipei Railway Station.
Ximending is the trendy shopping area just west of downtown. It's popular with local students. If it's pink, plastic, and imported from Japan, you can probably find it on sale in a store here. Visit BM should you looking for nightlife activities.
Zhongshan North Road is a tree-lined boulevard featuring numerous international and local brands. Gucci and Louis Vuitton are among the brands who operate stores along this street. This road, particularly along the second section, is also famous for its numerous wedding picture studios and gown boutiques. It is possible to find a great deal for wedding portraits here as competition is stiff.
Weekend Jade Market is located under an elevated expressway, reaching from Renai Road & Jianguo South Road intersection down Jianguo Road till Xinyi Road. In addition to jade, flowers and many other kinds of handicrafts and jewellery can be purchased. There are actually three different markets, the Weekend Jade Market, Weekend Flower Market and Weekend Handicrafts Market in this same location. The markets only open on weekends, until 6 pm.