From the north to the south, there are many large shopping centers and chain department stores in Taiwan. Combining diverse leisure and entertainment facilities, these venues offer designer clothing, lifestyle products, food outlets, bookstores, movie houses, wholesale warehouses, amusement centers, and other attractions, providing the ultimate shopping environment. Moreover, several theme streets have sprung up, exhibiting an exciting blend of history and style, including Taipei's Ximending and Kaohsiung's New Juejiang commercial area, attracting different consumer groups. Other venues, including the weekend jade markets and the computer lane in Taipei's Guanghua Digital Plaze, are very good places to find unexpected bargains.
Aside from keeping up with the latest international trends, Taiwan offers local delicacies, each unique to its own area, that constitute another big reason to visit Taiwan; for example, old food companies and century-old pastry shops have retained the unique tastes produced by the local culture. And if you want to pick up some historic and finely crafted objects of art, then Taiwan is definitely the place to be. Shopping here will surely enrich your travel experience.
Metropolitan Business Circles
The section introduces major shopping areas in Taiwan. Among these areas, the capital, Taipei, contains some of the best shopping places anywhere, satisfying the shopping habits of all consumer groups.
In early years, the main business activity in Ximending was the cinema theater. At that time, most cinemas were on Emei Street, Chengdu Road and Xining S. Road. After the central government of the R.O.C. was relocated in Taiwan in 1949, large amounts of money poured into Ximending. In addition to cinema, there were department stores and other entertainment attractions. After the completion of the block-long Zhonghua Business Buildings along Zhonghua Road, Ximending became the largest business and entertainment center in the country.
In the 1990s, Taipei's business and entertainment activities gradually shifted to the East District, and later on the Zhonghua Business Buildings were torn down for road construction. Ximending became less popular for a while. Then the MRT Bannan Line was completed, and Zhonghua Road has once again prospered under the planning of the Taipei City Government. People gather here for art, culture events, sports, and music performances on weekends and holidays. Along with the crowds, business opportunities are returning to Ximending.
Ximending is not only a witness to the history of Taiwan, but also a leader of fashion for the new generation. Many middle aged people and senior citizens come here to reminisce about the old days, while young people come for the latest fashions. Two totally different lifestyles meet here, as Ximending fulfills the needs of different groups of people.
Taipei-Zhongxiao -Dunhua Shopping Area
The area around the intersection of Zhongxiao East and Dunhua South roads has become a major shopping area in Taipei's east district, thanks to its convenient location.
High-end boutiques are packed along Dunhua South Road between Xinyi and Zhongxiao East roads, presenting a tempting array of brand-name clothes, jewelry, shoes, and leather items. The section between the SOGO Department store and the Taipei Metro Mall is an especially good place for the fashionably acquisitive, with Cartier, Louis Vuitton, DKNY and other top brand boutiques to choose from.
The Xinyi District is the newest trend-setting commercial district in Taipei, embracing dozens of fashionable malls, restaurants, and hotels on Sections 4 and 5 of Xinyi Road. Shin Kong Mitsukoshi Department Store's New Life Square and A4 branches, Novel Hall for Performing Arts, Vie Show Cinemas, Grand Hyatt Taipei Hotel, and Taipei 101 are just a few of the many places where you can satisfy your consumer cravings in this area.
By day, the Xinyi District bustles with the fast-paced energy of business as Taipei's commercial and financial center. At night, the skyscrapers come alight with eye-catching displays of LED lights, setting the mood for evening fun.
On weekends, the Xinyi District transforms again as outdoor stages and squares come alive with concerts, dance performances, record release events, and celebrity appearances, making this the place where you can experience the youthful energy of Taipei.
Taichung-Jingming 1st Street
Jingming 1st Street is Taichung's official pedestrian-only street. The 100-meter-long street combines the functions of shopping, dining, recreation, and art, with boutique shops, coffee shops, restaurants, and galleries--and, on holidays, outdoor concerts and exhibitions. No vehicles are allowed to enter, and coffee shops provide outdoor seating. The street was named model street in 1995, and since has become a major tourist attraction in Taichung.
To offer an escape from hectic daily life, Jingming 1st Street provides an artistic and recreational space for city dwellers. Here you can sit in an outdoor eat and enjoy a nice cup of coffee in an atmosphere closely resembling that of the Champs Elysee in Paris.
Taichung-Donghai Art Street
This art street is close to Tunghai University and has created a utopian community for art lovers. The area showcases postmodern stores and coffee shops which smack of individual color and taste. Truly a place to experience a bohemian lifestyle!
Kaohsiung-New Kujiang/Shinkuchan Commercial Area
Innovative management and independent shops find a home at Kaohsiung's Shinkuchan shopping area. Young people, new fashions, recreation, shopping, and dining all get together at New Shinkuchan, which is rapidly attracting new businesses to become Kaohsiung's biggest shopping destination. Cinemas, trendy clothes, jewelry, watches, cosmetics, and beauty salons mingle with cafes, American and Japanese fast-food restaurants, and all types of stalls to provide something for everyone. Shinkuchan is the place to go in southern Taiwan for imported goods and chic attire, much of it arriving in step with its debuts in the fashion capitals of the world.
Kaohsiung-Sanduo Commercial Area
The Sanduo area has gained popularity as a top shopping destination in Kaohsiung in recent years. Anchor stores here include the Shin Kong Mitsukoshi Department Store, SOGO, and Mega'21 Far Eastern Shopping Complex. There are also a number of clothing boutiques and small shops, including Japanese merchandise retailers Poya and A+1, and other shops selling discount cosmetics, handbags, and daily goods. Items at these shops are generally 20% to 50% cheaper than similar items in department store boutiques, making them a magnet for young shoppers. Sanduo has also benefited from its proximity to the traditional market on Linsen Road.
Sanduo Shopping District is adjacent to the Sanduo and Zhongshan Road traffic circles near the high-rise core in Kaohsiung. To the south it links with the Asia-Pacific Financial Plaza, the 85-floor Tuntex Sky Tower, and a multifunctional economic and trade area being promoted by the Kaohsiung City Government. An MRT station will soon open in this area, making it even easier to reach.
Taipei-Jianguo Holiday Flower Market
On every weekends and holidays, the Jianguo Holiday Flower Market, located under the overpass of Sec. 3, Xinyi Rd. and Jianguo S. Rd., is always packed with people in a holiday mood, all looking to purchase some flowers to brighten their homes. Besides flowers and plants, the Jianguo Holiday Flower Market also sells floral apparatus and seeds. This is obviously a heaven for gardening lovers. The Da'an Forest Park is located right beside the Jianguo Holiday Flower Market, adding to its allure as the best place for seeing and buying flowers.
Taipei-Guanghua Market (Guanghua Digital Plaza)
Guanghua Market opened in 1973 under Guanghua Bridge between Bade Road and Civic Boulevard in Taipei. It was originally occupied by used book shops relocated from Guling Street and unlicensed shops that were moved from Bade Road. Business at the market took a while to pick up due to the limited choice of items on sale. This began to change with the arrival of antique, jade, and electronic supply shops in 1979 and in the 1990s the market consolidated its reputation as the go-to place in Taipei for computer equipment and other electronic gadgets, with over a hundred shops selling these high-tech items. On January 18, 2006, Guanghua Market was relocated to a new facility at 77 Jinshan North Road. In addition to computers and other electronic peripherals, the new market sells branded sportswear and athletic gear, DVDs and CDs, posters, PC and console games, books, stereo equipment, mobile phones, and more. The market is known for its wide variety, low prices, and convenient comparison shopping, making it a magnet for budget-minded student shoppers.
A walk through the Dihua Street area gives visitors a feel of Taipei city's past. The old-town market has scores of shops selling a variety of traditional goods such as Chinese medicines and herbs, temple icons and incense, spices and dried food, colorful bolts of cloth, and bamboo and wooden crafts. It is a fascinating patch of the past.