I will have a 15-hr layover in Taiwan. What can I do there while I wait for my flight?
Is it safe to explore the streets at night? I've heard some scary reports about conditions in Taiwan. Are any of these true? Please, for those of you who have been there, please give me your opinions and share your experience.
If you have limited time you can take a taxi from the airport +1,000NT or a bus for just about 120NT, the bus can drop you off within walking distance to Taipei 101 (I forgot which bus, but buses usually have stops matching the major hotels, and your pick will be the Hyatt hotel then).
Another thing to visit is of course a nightmarket if you get the chance, Shilin is famous, but like the name indicates they are best at the evening/night time. (Shilin nightmarket is "Jiantan" MRT on the Red line)
Assuming you are flying into Taoyuan, Taipei is your closest big city - if you are here in the daytime, check out Taipei 101 and the National Palace Museum - one or the other, you probably won't have time to do both... obviously, they both close at night - the 101 stays open late, though.
As other respondents have already said, you should definitely check out a night market in the evenings - if you are staying at a hotel on your stopover, the concierge will help. There is also an information desk at the airport, although I have no idea how helpful they are. TPE has plenty of bars etc, simply ask at the airport.
As regards safety, it is very safe here - obviously, the usual "common sense" caveat applies - don't go courting trouble.
One warning - although most signs are bilingual, do not expect the locals to understand English. Make sure you have signs written in Chinese (which you can probably ask to have written for you from the airport info desk) for where you want to go, and back to the airport...
hope you have a nice trip in Taiwan.
also visit National Palace Museum, which houses the world's largest and most valuable collection of Chinese art treasures. There are permanent displays of ceramics, bronzes, oracle bones, porcelain, paintings, calligraphy, enamelware, jade, Ching dynasty costume, carvings, and cabinets, as well as temporary exhibitions of other items.
You can go to the bus area in the airport. I've got few options for you:
1) take the one to Hayatt hotel (君悅飯店, you can print this out if you need to ask for info). In that district (xinyi district, closet MRT station is City Hall station, blue line), you find the highest building Taipei 101 with shopping mall, food court, book store... inside), several top department stores, movie theaters and Eslite book store (a famous 24 hour complex book sore).
2) take the one to ZhongXiao Fushin (MRT station, blue line), here you are in the so-call East District with department stores and a lot of independent shops and restaurants at street level or hiding in the alleys.
3) for young fashion, you can take the bus to Taipei train station and then take MRT blue line to Ximen station, get out from exit 6. Here you are in the young fashion area with a lot of shops selling inexpensive stuff and movie theaters.
4) Night market: take either bus of 1) or 2) to Taipei first, then take taxi to RaoHe night market (饒河夜市）. Though it is not as famous as Shihlin night market, but it is in the heart of Taipei (so you don't have to move too far) and everything (food stands and shops) is compact on the 1 street. It's so easy that you just go along that street and you'll see everything. At the end (or the beginning, depends on which direction you start from) of the street, you can see a famous temple with great architecture.
It's about 1 hour from the airport to Taipei if no traffic jam. Plan your time well and have fun in Taiwan!