Taiwan is a small Asian nation full of many wonders, but the one that makes it stand out compared to its counter parts are its night markets. They serve as both a hub of nightlife and tourism, but also a hub for the expression of this nation’s deep culture.
Long before westerner, Japanese, or Korean tourists stepped onto the shores of Taiwan, night markets were a deep-rooted aspect of Taiwan. Economically, they are a bastion for affordable goods. Local fruit vendors, craftsmen, tea shops, and even Chinese medicine stalls use the night market as an avenue to sell their wares. Food vendors may be the highlight of any tourist’s night market venture, but a local can find whatever they may need for daily life.
Some of the more famous markets are found in Taipei. Shilin Night Market as well has Raohe Night Market in Songshan are some of the largest with many option to discover as you walk through. Keelung, a city just to the northeast of Taipei, also has its on large and sprawling night market. If you want to leave the city a little more, Loudong(囉東) in Yilan(宜蘭) County has a very famous night market that circles around a beautiful turtle pond.
At the heart of each Taiwanese night market, you can find a temple from which the market sprawls. Regardless of the season, weather, or day of the week, these outdoor markets open to their local community. They may have become a harbor for tourism throughout parts of Taiwan, but their historical, local, and cultural significance is not something that has been lost. One of my favorite travelers once referred to Taiwan as a place that runs deep. So if you are in Taiwan, whether that’s staying or Taipei or traveling down one of the coasts, try to find a night market to see this for yourself.
Tyler W. Golec