Expats looking to maintain a level of fitness in Taiwan needn't worry – there's no shortage of gyms and sports centres in Taipei where they can exercise or join classes.
Fitness centres in Taipei are either private gyms run as independent facilities or as part of large fitness franchises or public government sports centres. There are also gyms and fitness centres associated with many large hotels and 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. Private gyms, on the other hand, will expect patrons to sign annual or monthly agreements and sometimes commit to paying exorbitant fees. For expats looking for a gym with an English-speaking instructor in Taipei, 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 using 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 tennis, basketball or skating facilities.
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 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
228 Peace Memorial Park is both a historical site and recreational park, housing a number of historical buildings. It's a famous landmark and tourist attraction on Ketagalan Boulevard in the Zhongzheng District.
Gyms in Taipei
There are many 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. Some other popular sports in Taipei include tennis, badminton, volleyball, rock climbing, swimming, soccer, surfing, yoga, tai chi and kung fu. The classes offered will depend on the sports centre.
Cycling in Taipei
Cycling is an excellent 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 designated 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 some guided cycling tours as well.
The Dan Shui Riverside Cycling Path (also for joggers) is a popular, well-maintained cycling path in Taipei that starts at the Tam Sui MRT station and progresses through mangrove swamplands.