Sport and fitness in Taipei
Expats looking to maintain a level of fitness in Taiwan needn't worry - there is no shortage of gyms and sports centres in Taipei where they can exercise or join classes.
Indoor gyms and fitness centres in Taipei are either private gyms which are run as independent facilities or as part of large fitness franchises, or public government sport centres. There are also gyms and fitness centres associated with many large hotels and with universities. The American Club Taipei has a fitness centre, courts for racquet sports and swimming facilities, and offers various classes taught by English-speaking instructors.
Public community sports centres are generally much cheaper than private gyms and do not require patrons to sign contracts, while private gyms will expect patrons to sign annual or monthly agreements and sometimes commit to paying exorbitant fees. For expats looking for a gym in Taipei with an English-speaking instructor, it may be best to head for the larger national chains.
Yoga and Tai Chi groups are common, whether run through fitness centres, by independent instructors or through dedicated franchises such as True Yoga.
Schools and universities usually open their sports fields to the public on weekends, although some may charge a nominal fee for the use of some facilities, like the swimming pool or indoor gym.
Parks in Taipei
Taipei's parks are popular with locals and expats alike for jogging, cycling or walking. The city’s riverside parks have extensive cycling tracks, while community parks often have fitness classes or sport-specific facilities for tennis, basketball or skating.
Da'an Forest Park
This popular park in central Taipei (Xinsheng South Road, Da’an District) is a favourite with joggers and has an open-air stage which often also features music concerts.
The large Youth Park in Shuiyuan Road, Wanhua District, has lots of facilities for different sports, such as basketball courts, tennis courts, a driving range, a swimming pool and a skating rink.
228 Peace Memorial Park
A famous landmark and tourist attraction on Ketagalan Boulevard, in the Zhongzheng District, this park has a number of historical buildings.
Gyms in Taipei
There are a number of gyms throughout Taipei, some of which belong to established multinational franchises, while other smaller local gyms also exist.
Gyms in Taipei often host fitness, yoga and martial arts classes.
Public sports centres in Taipei
For those looking to join a sports class in Taipei, there are public sports centres throughout the city which offer both indoor training facilities and classes in everything from martial arts to shooting.
Basketball and baseball are the most popular sports in Taiwan, but some other popular sports in Taipei include tennis, badminton, volleyball, rock climbing, swimming, soccer, surfing, yoga, tai chi and kung fu. Which classes are offered will depend on the sports centre.
Cycling in Taipei
Cycling is a good way to get around the city itself, although as with Taipei's ubiquitous scooters, it can be dangerous in rush-hour traffic and at busy intersections. The best places to cycle are along special bicycle paths and outside of the city. Taiwan has gone to great lengths to connect the whole island by bike trails with the result that people can cycle almost anywhere along rivers, near beaches, and on country trails. There are a number of guided cycling tours as well.
The Dan Shui Riverside Cycling Path is a popular, well-maintained cycling path in Taipei (for joggers as well) that starts at the Tam Sui MRT station and progresses through mangrove swamplands.