Taiwan has arguably the world's highest density of 24-hour convenience stores, providing all the basic necessities. The most common franchise chains include 7-Eleven, Family Mart, Hi-life, NikoMart and Circle K (called OK in Taiwan).
Taipei also has a high density of bakeries, many of which are heavily Japanese-influenced. Pineapple shortcakes are a local specialty. A piece of pastry bread costs around NT$25-NT40.
Major chains include Watsons and Cosmed. Toiletries, over-the-counter medicine, dental care, and basic beauty products can be found here. Consider them to be the US equivalent of Long's Drug Store and Walgreens. Typical business hours: 10am-10pm.
Few selected Cosmed Stores open 24 hours a day, however.
The largest chain store is Wellcome. High end, premium supermarkets filled with foreign goods include Jason's, which can be found at the Taipei 101 shopping mall and City Super, which is located at the Zhongxiao-Fuxing MRT Station Sogo Department Store. Business hours varies. Selected Wellcome stores open 24 hours.
Another well-known chain store is Pxmart, which is famous for its far lower price: about 10%-30% off compared to ordinary groceries and convenience stores. However, they do not accept credit cards.
Department stores and shopping malls can be found throughout Taipei. These stores have high-end supermarkets and moderately priced food courts.
There are three Sogo Department Stores on Zhongxiao East Road. One branch is near the Zhongxiao-Donghua MRT Station. Two branches are accessible though special underground entrances at the Zhongxiao-Fuxing MRT station.
Despite the mega building complex of Shin Kong Mitsukoshi Department Store's "Hsinyi New Life Square" in the Xinyi District, Shin Kong Mitsukoshi also operates a department store on Zhongxiao West Rd. in front of the Taipei Railway Station Building and another one on Nanjing West Rd. above the MRT Zhongshan Station.
The Miramar Entertainment Park in the Dazhi area has a large department store, a ferris wheel, as well as an IMAX theater. There are also two hypermarkets located next to it. Miramar is accessible through a free special shuttle bus located at the Jiantan MRT station.
There are two department stores in the Tianmu neighborhood of the Shilin District: Shin Kong Mitsukoshi and Dayeh Takashimaya. The Shin Kong Tianmu branch has a movie theater; Dayeh Takashimaya has a Jason's Supermarket. They can be reached by bus routes 285, 606, and 685, which pass by the Jiantan bus stop.
Stores with the largest collection of English books include Caves, Eslite, and Page One. With the notable exception of Caves, most bookstores wrap most English magazines and certain English books in plastic, preventing the customer from browsing them.
Caves Bookstore (Main branch)
103 Zhongshan North Road, Sec. 2
Located between the MRT Shuanlien and Zhongshan Stations
Near Tian Mu Elementary School, please see Google Maps.
Eslite Bookstore (Xinyi flagship branch)
11 Songgao Road
Located near the MRT Taipei City Hall Station
Pageone Bookstore (Taipei 101 Branch)
Located at the 5th floor inside the Taipei 101
Taipei's largest English language computer and technical book seller; also sells math, science, and engineering textbooks in English. Prices are up to 70% cheaper than in the United States as a benefit for students in lower income countries.
Address: 107 Chongqing South Road, Section 1
Located a few blocks away from the Presidential building
Nearest MRT stations: Taipei Main Station and National Taiwan University Hospital Station
The region between the MRT Taipower Station and the MRT Gungguan Station contain a high concentration of specialized bookstores, ranging from cheap, but authorized college textbooks in English, Christian books, Buddhist books, feminist books, books written in simplified Chinese, and GLBT books. A high concentration of Chinese-language book stores can also be found on Chongqing South Road between the Presidential building and the MRT Taipei Main Station.
Musical instrument stores
The following stores sell Chinese musical instruments. Expect an excellent Chinese flute (dizi) to cost around NT$2500. Here are two musical instrument stores that are located near the Wikimania Conference site: