Taipei is a shopper’s dream. There are literally dozens of shopping districts here, offering everything from cosmetics to condoms. You truly can buy just about anything in the Taiwanese capital.

First, if you’re looking for a bargain and a lot of variety, hit the Shihlin Night Market, a busy mix of food, entertainment and shopping. Locals say you can buy just about anything here, but in a somewhat flea market atmosphere. That is, there might be several vendors selling the same thing, so check around for the best price and maybe offer a better price if the first doesn’t suit you. Your shopkeepers just might haggle!

If you want to explore an Asian department store, visit a Daiso department store. Based in Japan, there are several outlets in Taipei. This store offers well-priced gift, stationery, kitchen and cosmetics items at discounted prices.

If a deal isn’t so much your desire, but a first-class shopping experience, head for the Asiaworld Shopping Center, a chic, high-end shopping destination that’s a favorite with locals and tourists.

Whenever you travel, shopping is best at local stores, but if you want to feel like you’re back home, Taipei boasts several stores that will make you feel like you’re at the local mall. There Esprit, Timberland and Burt’s Bees stores, to name a few.

Tourists holding foreign passports are entitled to a refund on 5% VAT on their retail purchases at major department stores such as Hankyu, Pacific Sogo and Shin Kong Mitsukoshi. If you have accumulated receipts from any store of at least TWD3,000, proceed to the Customer Service Desks of the respective department stores with your passport to have your VAT refund voucher processed. Arrive at TaoYuan International Airport no less than three hours before your flight departure time and head to the VAT refund counter at the Departure Hall to get your cash refund. If payment for your purchase was made by credit card, you can opt to have your VAT refund amount to be credited back to your card. You are required to have the goods purchased ready for customs inspection. However, in practice, the officials processing the VAT refunds do not do the physical inspection.