Shopping in Taipei is an adventure, from the established name-brand stores to the night markets to the combination shops/entertainment centres.
Bargaining is common with unmarked items, and at small stores and markets. Bargaining should be done with cash, otherwise a fee of up to 8% may be added. Fees are often added to any payment made by card and serve to pay the credit company's commission and local sales tax/VAT. It is common for the seller to not offer an official receipt as that forces the seller to report and pay their taxes in full. If you ask for a receipt or "fa piao", there may be an additional 3-5% charge.
Stores are generally open from 9:00-17:00. Some stores, especially grocery stores, are open 24 hours.
Note: In order to protect the environment, a government policy rules that plastic bags are not given away for free, but may be purchased at a flat rate of NT$1. Re-usable canvas and nylon bags are encouraged and sold at most supermarkets. (Bakeries are the exception as they need to be hygienically wrapped.)
Jade- Beautiful objects are sold, but check to make sure it is real jade. Most cities have a specific jade market dealing in jade and other precious stones.
Computers- Taiwan designs and produces many desktop and laptop PCs. Desktop computers and components however tend to be the same price in Taiwan as in other areas of the world, though peripherals such as cables and adapters tend to be noticeably cheaper. If you're buying domestic it's best to go to tourist hangouts to buy your stuff as you might be saddled with Chinese documentation otherwise. Also, notebooks are typically only available with a Chinese and English keyboard.
Lingzhi- A bracket fungus that is often used as a Chinese herb. It has a high reputation in East Asian countries and can be expensive. Taiwanese lingzhi is particularly famous for being of the highest quality.
Tea- Taiwan is famous for its oolong tea available in at many tea shops. Tea tasting in Chinese culture is akin to wine tasting in Western culture.
Most Asian countries have a unique avenue of shopping known as the night market. Open-air eating and shopping start at about 16:00 and stay open till past midnight. Wherever prices are not displayed, haggling is expected.
Taipei's most famous is the Shilin Night Market.
To avoid the bustle and haggling of markets, there are many excellent shopping centers. Prices are fixed and goods are genuine.
Taipei's high population density and lack of space has led to a plethora of underground markets and malls. These serve as connections between metro stations as well as shops.
Ximending is a trendy area with plenty of goods geared to the young, hip crowd. The pedestrian area is especially popular with teens and has been called the "Harajuku" of Taipei.
Xinyi District has been recently developed and is popular with tourists and locals alike. It is also home of Taipei 101, a prime tourist attraction famous for being one of the world's tallest buildings.
The Miramar Entertainment Park is known for its large ferris wheel and IMAX theater as well as its shops.
At Taipei 101, there is Page One Bookstore on the fourth floor. This is one of the largest selections of English books in Taiwan.
Also at Taipei 101, there is a supermarket specializing in imported food items is located in the basement.
Guanghua Market is the computer capital of Taiwan.
Guang Hua Digital Plaza is a technological and electronics market located between the Daan and Zhongzheng Districts (north of Zhongxiao Xinsheng Station).
The NOVA Electronics Mall (across from Taipei Main Station) focuses on electronics and gadgets.
Photography shops are concentrated in the blocks west of Taipei Main Station.
Flower Markets are open on the weekends, and is beneath the elevated Jianguo Road.
Jianguo Artist Market is just south of the Flower Market. Vendors sell traditional Chinese handicrafts.
Taipei Jianguo Jade offers one of the largest jade markets in all of Asia. It is south of Zhongxiao East Road.
Wufenpu is one of the best an area in the Songshan District known as a wholesale hub for clothes retailers and is Taipei's largest wholesale clothing market. Yuanling Street in Zhongzheng District is a market for shoes, including shops selling handmade shoes.