Shilin Night Market is one of the most famous night markets in Taipei. But is it truly worth visiting? Is it a foodie heaven or does it get too crowded and is it simply overrated?
Before I went here, I was wondering the same. That’s why I decided to write an article, to write down my after thoughts, so you know exactly what to expect before visiting.
In this article, you’ll read how to get to Shilin Night Market, whether it’s really worth visiting and why you should or should not visit.
Disclosure: Please note that some of the links below may contain affiliate links. At no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you make a purchase.
- Shilin Night Market is a very large, historical Taiwanese market with origins dating back to the Qing Dynasty.
- You can easily access the market via Taipei’s MRT by getting off at Jiantan Station, or by taking various bus lines, taxis or hiring a YouBike.
- The market operates from 4 pm until midnight.
- The market has lots of shopping options including clothing, accessories, electronics and unique local souvenirs.
- Food lovers have plenty to explore with lots of street food options like stinky tofu, fried dumplings and Chinese hamburgers.
Things to know before visiting Shilin Night Market
Before you dive into the sizzling, sensory overload that is Shilin Night Market, let’s have a look at some helpful information for visiting this iconic market.
History of Shilin Night Market
Shilin Night Market didn’t just pop up overnight. It has a story that stretches all the way back to the Qing Dynasty and is steeped in history. This isn’t your average market; it’s a time capsule that lets you wander through ages of Taiwanese traditions.
Fast forward to today and Shilin has grown into Taipei’s superstar night market, famous not just across Taiwan but around the whole wide world. You’ll not only see tourists, but also lots of locals exploring the market at night.
How to get there?
- Grab the Taipei Metro, known as MRT, and ride to Jiantan Station. Exit number 1 is closest to the night market.
- Exiting Jiantan Station at exit 1, you’ll immediately notice signs pointing towards the night market. It’s 70 meters from here. Follow the signs and you’ll hit food stall heaven within minutes.
- Prefer a bus ride? Numerous buses head in that direction including numbers 203, 218, and 224. Look for those marked “Shilin Night Market” or ask a local – they’re usually happy to help.
- If convenience is your middle name, hail a taxi. Most drivers know Shilin Night Market well due to its fame – just say “Shilin Ye Shi” and enjoy the ride.
- You can also rent a YouBike – Taipei’s public bike system. There are several docking stations near Jiantan Station where you can pick up / drop off your bicycle.
The market opens at 16:00 PM. It will be less busy here at this time. Usually, around 18:00 it gets more crowded. Even though it gets more crowded when it gets dark outside, it also has a more lively feel to it. The night is when Shilin truly comes alive.
It’s good to know that there’s no entrance fee to get in to the market. In November 2023 the food court, which is located at B1, remained closed.
However, there are still lots and lots of food stalls around, so don’t worry about not being able to try street foods. There is still a crazy and delicious amount of street food here.
Where to stay?
Personally, I wouldn’t recommend staying near Shilin Night Market. It’s further away from the city centre of Taipei, hence it’s not the best area to base yourself during your travels.
Instead, I can really recommend staying at Waikoloa Hotel if you’re looking for an affordable, yet luxurious place to stay in Taipei. It’s located near to a metro station and you can easily access all of Taipei’s magnificent sights.
If you prefer to stay in the most popular area in Taipei, then base yourself in Ximending. Amba Ximending is a great hotel in this area.
For an area home to many cafes, students and the lovely Daan Forest Park, stay in the Daan district. Wowhappy Daan is a really good, yet still affordable, hotel in this district. Click here to view its latest prices and availability.
Reasons to visit Shilin Night Market
So, is Shilin Night Market really worth visiting? And if so, why is it worth visiting? Read on to find out why you should still visit this famous night market in Taipei.
Unique and affordable shopping
There are lots of clothing stores located at the night market, so it’s a great place to go shopping for some trendy clothes. There are even a couple of vintage stores.
If you’re looking for some unique souvenirs to take home with you, this market is a great place to visit.
One of the most famous souvenirs to bring home with you is pineapple cake. Personally, I didn’t think it wasn’t very delicious, but tastes differ. Besides souvenirs, you’ll also find many toys here.
What differentiates this market from other night markets in Taipei, such as the lively Raohe Night market, is its enormous size.
There are so many clothing stores and food options, that it’s definitely one of the best places to go if you want to go shopping, buy some souvenirs or try some local dishes.
Lots of delicious Taiwanese street food
This market is famous because of its large variety of street foods. It’s one of the reasons why you should visit this market at least once while you’re in Taipei.
You can try Taiwanese classics like stinky tofu here. It really does smell and believe me when I say you won’t have to look for it.
Another Taiwanese classic you can try here is the oyster omelette, a true testament to Taipei’s culinary diversity. You can also dive into a bowl of beef noodles that bring together tender meat and rich broth.
Of course, you’ll find lots of bubble tea here as well, as Taiwan is the place where bubble tea was invented.
Some more street foods you’ll find here are:
- Corn dog
- Taiwanese pancakes
- Fried dumplings
- Chinese hamburgers (very tasty!)
- Korean cheese hot dog
- Sweet potato balls
- Sweet taro balls
If you’re still craving some food after walking around the night market, then head over to Richa Cuisine. This is a really good Japanese restaurant in the area and really felt like a hidden gem.
They serve delicious sushi and it’s not too expensive. Besides, it’s a little harder to find, which makes it extra worth visiting.
A visit to the Shilin Night Market is truly a cultural experience. It’s not made for foreign tourists: you’ll find lots of locals here. So immerse yourself in the heart and soul of Taipei as you navigate this famous night market.
Although it can get pretty crowded, it’s still an authentic cultural experience filled with Taiwan’s rich culinary heritage.
If you want to see less crowds, make sure to visit when the market opens at 16:00 PM. However, if you want to experience the full atmosphere, then head here at least after 18:00 PM.
Play games and win prizes
Perhaps something you wouldn’t necessarily expect, but there are actually quite a lot of games here. One of the most popular games is called shrimp fishing.
You get 7 small fishing lines for 100 NTD. Every shrimp you catch, gets grilled and you can eat it. I must admit, it doesn’t look very ethical, but as it’s a very popular game here, it’s worth mentioning.
More games include shooting balloons, bowling and claw machines. Prizes mostly include plushy animals. So, if you’re into playing games, then Shilin Night Market is a cool place to visit.
So, is Shilin Night Market still worth visiting? Although it gets crowded, it’s still very much worth visiting.
It’s such a huge night market and is filled with food stalls, restaurants and clothing stores. The market is an ideal place to go if you’re looking for some unique souvenirs to bring back home with you.
It really is Taiwan Street Food Heaven. Even thought some may label Shilin as overhyped; it’s a great place to visit for food and shopping in Taipei. Just don’t expect it to be empty for only you to explore.
And don’t forget to wander through the small alleyways to find the real hidden gems.
Away with Danae