Taiwan Obsessed

20 Places to Visit in Taiwan that I’m Obsessed With

A collage of 6 of the top attractions in Taiwan: Alishan, Taitung, Sun Moon Lake, Penghu, Tainan salt field, and Taipingshan

In this article, I’ve shortlisted my 20 favorite destinations in Taiwan. It wasn’t easy!

After living in Taiwan for over 10 years, writing a book about it, introducing Taiwan’s attractions to the likes of BBC Travel, CNN, and National Geographic, and running a Facebook group about Taiwan Travel Planning , I’d like to think that I know Taiwan fairly well.

In this article, I’m really sticking to the sights that I truly love. Some are super obvious and famous, while others are off-the-beaten-track. All of them are places that I’m legitimately obsessed with and will keep returning to again and again.

Table of Contents

My Top-5 Places in Taiwan

Here I’ve hand-picked my personal top-five places to visit in Taiwan.

Taipei – The City with Everything

Nick Kembel of Taiwan Obsessed hiking in Taipei, with Taipei 101 in background

OK, so I’m biased (I lived in Taipei city , well technically New Taipei City , for a quarter of my life). But I freakin love Taipei.

Taiwan’s capital has it all: the best night markets in the country , the most famous attractions ( Taipei 101 , Longshan Temple , CKS Memorial Hall, Maokong Gondola , Elephant Mountain ), and the coolest neighborhoods ( Ximending , Dadaocheng , Tamsui, and more).

Nick Kembel on a YouBike on a cycling path through a park

And there’s more – the biggest events, the best public transportation, the top restaurants, cherry blossom viewing , and hikes galore .

On its doorstep, it has active volcanoes in Yangmingshan National Park , hot springs at Beitou , beaches, aboriginal villages , tea plantations , and atmospheric old streets like this one .

A steaming hot spring with visitors standing on a walkway on the side

You can never run out of things to do in this city, and that’s why I will never grow tired of exploring it. It’s no wonder it has chosen as the best city in the world for expats several times !

Most visitors start and/or end their Taiwan trip in Taipei. It’s even tempting to use the city as a base for your whole trip (see my recommended hotels ), but I do urge you to get out at some point – we still have 19 more awesome places to cover!

Alishan Region – Tea Farms & Bamboo Forests

Looking down at the front end of a scooter parked on a cement ledge, with Nick Kembel's face reflecting in the left side rearview mirror as he takes the picture, and a gorgeous scene of a tea plantation, temple roof, and mountains in front of the scooter.

It’s no secret that I’m in love with Alishan region in Chiayi county . I have a personal connection to Chiayi – it’s my wife’s ancestral hometown and we usually go there to visit her family for Lunar New Year.

I’ve been raving Alishan for years and the articles I’ve written about the area have helped to popularize some of its small villages among foreign visitors – I know because people tell me all the time in my Facebook group that they went there because of me.

A young boy and girl posing in front of a tea farm, and boy is holding a cat stuffy

Most tourists gravitate to Alishan National Forest Recreation Area (even though getting there is a little complicated). It is known for its misty forests of ancient hinoki cypress trees, iconic Alishan Forest Railway Line, and stunning sunrises.

My personal favorite spot, however, is Shizhuo village , where I love staying in accommodations on tea plantations and hiking through tea farm. The tea produced there is Alishan High Mountain Oolong Tea , the most famous tea in a country that is especially known for its high quality teas.

A staircase going up through a bamboo forest

I also love the cute market town of Fenqihu, with its fireflies, railway bento boxes, and bamboo forests. And we can’t forget about the epic sunrises and sunsets on Eryanping Trail .

I even have a plan to someday retire and open a killer guesthouse in Alishan region, so watch for that (in like 1 or 2 decades…). That’s how much I love this area!

Penghu Islands – Best Beaches

A young girl walking on a white sand beach with a yellow boat tied to the shore and some makeshift beach tents in the background

It’s super tough to choose only one of Taiwan’s offshore islands to put in my top-5. But that honor goes to the Penghu archipelago , which lies in the middle of the Taiwan Strait (the body of water between China and Taiwan).

Riding a scooter around the islands of Penghu – which include four main connected ones and many smaller ones – is one of my single favorite things to do in Taiwan.

A double heart shaped fish weird with vibrant blue-green water in it

Penghu has a unique, windswept landscape, with edible purple cacti (they make sorbet out of them!), the best beaches I’ve seen in the country , traditional courtyard homes made of coral, ancient heart-shaped weirs for catching fish, and towering volcanic basalt columns.

On top of all that, Penghu has the country’s best fireworks festival, which goes for several months from spring to summer, and some excellent snorkelling and scuba diving.

A glass bowl of small purple cacti and a plastic cup beside it filled with purple cactus slushy and a scoop of cactus ice cream

Oh, and did I mention it’s super easy to get to? There are oven a dozen flights every day from Taipei’s city-center Songshan Airport!

I’ve been to Penghu three times and would happily return at the drop of a hat.

The East Coast – The Ultimate Road Trip

Looking up the coast at a beach and the Qingshui Cliffs in Hualien

The entire East Coast of Taiwan is more than just one place, but I’m lumping it together here because you’ll likely tackle it in one go – here’s how to rent a car and drive in Taiwan . For all the details, see my part 1 and part 2 guides to road tripping the east coast . But of course you can do it by train, too!

Taiwan’s east coast is wild, sparsely populated, and breathtakingly gorgeous. The continental shelf is just off the coast, so within a surprisingly short distance, towering mountains drop off to coastal buffs and continue descending rapid off the coast.

Currents are strong and that’s why you can’t swim on most east coast beaches – but you can spot whales there !

A red, orange, and cement bridge across a river in a beautiful valley with misty clouds above

Starting from one of Taiwan’s best seafood harbors, Nanfangao, the highway passes the dramatic Qingshui Cliffs and the entrance to Taroko Gorge (Taroko is currently closed for an estimated one year due to the April 3, 2024 earthquake, but here are things you can still do in Hualien ).

South of Hualien city, the main base for visiting the region, Highway 9 follows the train line through the East Rift Valley. My favorite stops are Chishang for cycling among the rice paddies and Luye for tea farms and the incredible International Taitung Hot Air Balloon Festival.

Two kids on a family electric bicycle in Chishang

Meanwhile, Highway 11 runs down the practically uninhabited coast, with Sanxiantai (Dragon’s Backbone Bridge) and Dulan surf town being the major highlights.

Southern Hualien and Taitung county are Taiwan’s most laid-back region and home to the highest concentration of aboriginal peoples. While it may lack the big-name attractions of other parts of Taiwan, I suggest you slow down here and really take it all in.

Tainan – Temple Hopping in the Old Capital

A long string of yellow lanterns leading down an alley in Tainan past a temple

Taiwan’s original capital, Tainan , remains the country’s heart and soul and arguably the most authentically Taiwanese city. The history nerd and temple junkie in me will always keep me coming back to Tainan.

It will come as no surprise that Tainan has the country’s best collection of ancient temples and historic attractions. The Confucius Temple stands out as the most popular, but there are dozens of others, dedicate to concubines, the sea goddess, gods of water, wind, and medicine, and many more.

An abandoned warehouse filled with tree roots and vines

Over in Anping district , Anping Fort and Anping Tree House are also musts, while Anping Old Street is one of the country’s oldest and most traditional.

Not far out of the city, Sicao Green Tunnel is a good introduction to the marshlands and rare migratory birds of Taijiang National Park, Luermen Tianhou Temple is enormous, Cigu Salt Mountain is bizarre, Jingzijiao Wapan Salt Fields are stunning, and Guanziling Mud Hot Springs are one-of-a-kind.

Several salt panning terraces, each with a conical mound of salt jn the middle of it, at sunset, with the orange sky reflecting on the water in the terraces

Locals will also tell you that Tainan is the culinary capital of Taiwan. I love stepping into Tainan’s hole-in-the-wall shops and night markets to sample unique dishes like eel noodles, oyster rolls, Spanish mackerel stew, and traditional ice cream with fruit.

Other Destinations I Love to Visit

Here’s are 15 more Taiwanese attractions that I’ll never grow tired of visiting.

The Pingxi Line – Best Taipei Day Trips

A calico cat sitting on a cement ledge looking out over a scene with a white train zipping through a station

The Pingxi Line is one of several old railway lines in Taiwan which have been converted from transporting timber and coal to transporting tourists.

The Pingxi Line is the closest one to Taipei and provides access to several extremely popular tourist attractions but also some great off-the-beaten-track ones.

Nick Kembel sitting on a ledge to the left of a waterfall plunging down in front of him

On the touristy side, Jiufen Old Street (access from Ruifang Station, with train connections to Taipei) and Shifen Old Street (famous for its sky lanterns and Shifen Waterfall ) are two of the most popular tourist attractions in Taiwan – expect serious crowds.

However, my personal favorites include Badouzi (for Shen’ao Rail Bike ), Houtong Cat Village (I’ve been there a ridiculous number of times), Sandiaoling (my favorite waterfall hike in Taiwan), Pingxi (for the thrilling Pingxi Crags hike and known for Pingxi Lantern Festival ), and Jingtong (an off-the-beaten-track old street).

Yilan – Hot Springs & Kid-Friendly Activities

Three adults and two kids sit in a bright yellow colored hot spring tub

Yilan is a county on the northeast coast of Taiwan which is fully loaded with fun activities and attractions, especially for kids. This is why it is a favorite weekend getaway for Taipei families, mine included.

Jiaoxi village is home to some of the kid-friendliest hot spring spas in Taiwan – think hot spring slides, bright pink bubble gum or oolong tea scented thermal pools, and foot-skin-nibbling fish ponds. Jiaoxi also has waterfall hikes and hot springs ramen, where you can soak your feet while you eat.

Some sideways barrels with taps that say Kavalan on the front

Then there’s Luodong, which has some of the best minsus (local guesthouses) in Taiwan, like this one , and an excellent night market . We choose here as a base for taking our kids to leisure farms like Zhang Mei Ama’s Farm , eating green onion cakes at Sanxing, and trips to Taipingshan (see below).

On top of all that, Yilan has Northern Taiwan’s best surf beach at Wai’ao, award winning whiskey at Kavalan Distillery , a great brewery at Jim & Dad’s, and several excellent museums.   

Kaohsiung – Arts & Temples

A giant transformer statue and mural of Kaohsiung train station

Kaohsiung people hate me for not raving about their city as much as I do about Taipei. But they have a point – Kaohsiung is undeniably a cooler, more laid-back, and less pretentious city than Taipei, and I do love it, too.

Taiwan’s largest port city is also without a doubt the country’s street art capital. My favorite place is Pier 2 Art Center , where creative art installations line the docks, especially when they are lit up at night.

A vibrantly colored glass art installation in a Kaohsiung MRT station

Everywhere I go in the city, I’m always stumbling upon amazing new murals covering entire sides of buildings – the city activity encourages graffiti. Weiwuying has a whole neighborhood covered in it. Dome of Art in Formosa Boulevard is also mesmerizing, while Cijin Island ’s coast is lined with art installations.

Kaohsiung is also about the grandiose – from the kitschy temples and god statues on Lotus Pond to Fo Guang Shan , the country’s largest monastery and Buddha statue, where I enjoyed an eye-opening temple stay many years ago.

A row of Buddha statues holding up their hands in prayer

One of my favorite souvenirs from Taiwan is the Hakka paper umbrella that I bought from Meinong Folk Village in Kaohsiung.

I admit that I don’t know Kaohsiung as well as many other parts of Taiwan – I have yet to visit the hot springs of Guguan, the huge seafood harbors on the coast, or see the swarms of purple butterflies at Maolin – many reasons for me to keep coming back.

Hehuanshan – Hiking & Sunrises  

Sunrise above a sea of clouds at Hehuanshan

Hehuanshan in Nantou is Taiwan’s most accessible high mountain area. There’s nowhere else in Taiwan, or in all of East Asia for that matter, where you can literally drive a car or take a public bus to 3275 meters above sea level (Wuling Pass).

Hehuanshan consists of five high mountain peaks, all of which are much easier to climb than almost all the other 100 Peaks of Taiwan.

The side of a mountain with lodge, all lit up by morning sun rays

I recently had an incredible stay at historic Songsyue Lodge , built for former president Chiang Kai-Shek at the base of the only ski resort Taiwan has ever had. That’s right – it even snows at Hehuanshan, at least once every year. When it happens, tourists and locals alike flock to see it.

Staying at the lodge, I witnessed one of the most beautiful sunrises I’ve ever seen, from right in front of the accommodation. It’s not easy to get a room there (click my link above to find out how), so many will stay at Cingjing Farm nearby and do a morning sunrise tour.

Lukang – Traditional Taiwanese Culture

Interior of a glass temple in Lukang, with various colorful designs, decorations, and lit up elements

Like a smaller and more off-the-beaten-track version of Tainan, Lukang in Changhua is a small town with loads of history.

Because a train line was never built to it (they didn’t want it), Lukang remains decidedly traditional to this day. It has some of the country’s best preserved ancient temples, a new temple made of glass, and a quirky temple with odd decorations and tunnels below it.

A grill with some colorful, flat, ox-tongue shaped cookies with black sesame seeds on top of them

Lukang Old Street is also one of the country’s most traditional, with food specialties like miancha (flour tea), phoenix eye cakes, ox tongue cookies, and shrimp monkeys.

There are often traditional temple parades and festivals going on in Lukang, while the town’s Dragon Boat Festival celebrations are better than anywhere else in the country.

Yushan – Taiwan’s Tallest Peak

The rocky summit of Yushan, with more mountains and mist-filled valleys behind it

In my first year of living in Taiwan (2008), I joined a guided hike to the peak of Jade Mountain (Yu Shan), the tallest mountain in Northeast Asia. It beats out Mt. Fuji by 176 meters!

Yushan National Park is Taiwan’s largest non-marine national park. Most of it is remote and inaccessible. Biologists have even called it “The Ark” as it is a repository for rare species, including Formosan black bears and flying squirrels.

A cluster of hikers standing on a mountain peak

Needless to say, Yushan was one of the most incredible places I’ve visited in Taiwan. Sunrise from the peak was an experience I’ll never forget.

We were surrounded by seas of clouds in all directions, as the sun rose majestically above the horizon. On clear days, you can see as far as the sea.

The North Coast – Beaches & Harbors

Two Taiwanese girls playing in the water on a beach, holding up a can of beer each as they pose for the camera, with a temple on the shore behind them

Since this is supposed a list of places in Taiwan that I love to repeatedly visit, I can’t leave out the beaches on the North coast of Taiwan .

Because most of these can be reached in only one or two hours from Taipei, I return to them again and again every year. They may not be as picture-perfect as the beaches in the far south or on the offshore islands, but they are super convenient for a capital city dweller like me.

A man jumping through the air from a cliff beside the sea with his arms raised

Qianshuiwan is my go-to place for easy access and restaurant-bars by the sea. Baishawan is a little further but a little better, while Fulong Beach stands out as the prettiest, not to mention its awesome sandcastle festival.

Besides beaches, I love cliff diving at Longdong (also known for rock climbing and scuba diving), feasting on seafood at Guihou Harbor (near the super popular Yehliu Geopark ), photographing Laomei Green Reef, swimming at the seawater pool on Heping Island in Keelung , and finishing off at Keelung Night Market , my favorite night market in Taiwan.

Sun Moon Lake – Aboriginal Culture & Tea Farms

Three Taiwanese aboriginal woman doing a traditional dance with large mortar and pestle on a performance stage with aboriginal designs behind

Sun Moon Lake is probably the most divisive major tourist attraction in Taiwan – visitors either love it or hate it.

If you only do the tourist things at Sun Moon Lake – like riding a boat across the lake and taking the Ropeway to Formosan Aboriginal Culture Village , then you might hate find it too touristy.

The orange roofs of a large temple with Sun Moon Lake in the background

However, there are many gems around the lake, too. The tea plantations north of the lake make insanely good black tea (a rarity in a country that produces mostly oolong). The lake views from the top of Wenwu Temple or Ci’En Pagoda are unbeatable.  

For authentic aboriginal culture, avoid Formosan Aboriginal Culture Village and head to Ita Thao village instead.

The Thao Tribe Performance Center there is trying its best to preserve a culture which is on the verge of extinction (it’s one of Taiwan’s smallest tribes), while the food street in Ita Thao is one of the easiest places in Taiwan to try Taiwanese aboriginal foods and millet wine.

A hand holding up a white bag of Sun Moon Lake black tea

I love hopping on a bike at Sun Moon Lake. CNN has even called the paths around the lake one of the best cycling trips in the world (though I sort of feel that’s an exaggeration).

Last but not least, Shuiyuan Suspension Bridge south of the lake is quite possible the country’s most beautiful one, but it’s not super easy to get to.

Green Island – Scuba & Salty Hot Springs

A white sand beach and dock on the coast of Green Island

Green Island off the coast of Taitung is another of my favorite offshore islands in Taiwan. This former penal colony stands out for me in two big ways today.

First, Green Island has some excellent snorkelling and scuba diving – the best I’ve done in Taiwan, but I haven’t tried it everywhere.

A round hot spring pool on the coast with walking ramp down into it

Secondly, Zhaori Hot Spring on Green Island is one of my favorite hot springs in the whole country . This is one of only three saltwater hot springs in the world. The hot spring pools are right on the coast, with some of the lowest pools right next to the sea.

Lying in one of those pools at night, gazing at stars to the sound of waves splashing into the hot pool, was one of my most sublime experiences in all my years of living in Taiwan.  

Taipingshan – Hiking on Old Logging Railways

An old railway line covered in green moss with a hiking trail and steps visible to its right

As the fourth mountain on my list, you may be starting to gather that I really love the mountains in Taiwan.

Taipingshan is like Alishan’s lesser known cousin, among foreign tourists at least. It too is a former logging region-turned-tourist attraction.

An outdoor hot spring facility with blue shallow pool and some raised individual tubs

The must-do tourist attraction at Taipingshan is taking a ride on the cutely named (and cute looking) Bong Bong Train. My personal favorite hike there is Jianqing Haigu Trail, which follows an old mining railway line that is now twisted and overgrown with vegetation.

Another highlight of visiting Taipingshan is hitting Jiuzhize Hot Spring on the down the mountain back to central Yilan. For a few bucks, you can cook your own hot spring eggs in the boiling thermal waters.

Nick Kembel cooking a basket of hot spring eggs in a steaming thermal hot spring fountain

The public springs at Jiuzhize there are awesome,, too, with multiple private elevated tubs in the main pool. There’s an open air nude bath, too, if that’s your jam.

For the best experience, you’ll need to drive, hire a private driver , or take a tour to Taipingshan. There’s only one bus per day and it limits how much you can see.

Lion’s Head Mountain – Sleeping in a Temple

A guide to Miaoli in Taiwan

Shitoushan or “ Lion’s Head Mountain ” is an off-the-beaten-track destination on the border between Hsinchu and Miaoli in Central Taiwan.

This small mountain is dotted with Buddhist and Taoist temples, some of which are built into caves. The coolest thing about hiking this mountain is that you can sleep in one of the temples, Quanhua Temple on the Miaoli side.

Two kids looking out a hotel room window at the balcony, with some carved walls around it

I’ve slept in this temple a couple times, including once with my kids. Both times, I/we were the only ones there, making it a truly serene experience.

Nearby, Nanzhuang Old Street is one of the coolest old streets in Taiwan. It’s famous for its sweet osmanthus shaved ice and Hakka-style dried tofu.

A narrow old street in Taiwan with vendors on either side

This part of Miaoli is known for slow travel and for its many traditional minsus (guesthouses). We loved staying at this one and this one .

Orchid Island – Unique Aboriginal Culture

A group of white and red hand-carved canoes on a rocky beach on Taiwan's Orchid Island

Lanyu (Orchid Island) is another remarkable offshore island in Taiwan. This one is best known as the home of the Tao people, Taiwan’s most isolated and traditional aboriginal tribe.

Tao culture is the main draw here – including the chance to see traditional hand-carved canoes, Tao underground houses, and activities related to the Flying Fish Festival, which takes place throughout spring.

A traditional house that is almost totally underground

Two of my best friends and I had a blast scootering around Lanyu and spotting the countless roaming goats on the island.

Orchid Island also has some great swimming holes, rock formations, and scuba diving. It’s best to fly here from Taitung, as the ferry ride is extra bumpy. Also, avoid winter, when almost everything shuts down.

Neiwan Old Street – Hakka Culture & Hot Springs

Two hands of an elderly person using chopsticks to dip some mochi balls in peanut powder and a pitcher of Hakka pouned tea with rice puffs on the top

Neiwan Old Street is probably my favorite of Taiwan’s many old streets. Neiwan is the terminal stop on the Neiwan Line, another cute small train lines – this one sets out from Hsinchu.

Neiwan is an old Hakka village and former mining/logging town. Today, the old street is one of the best places in Taiwan to sample leicha or “pounded tea”. It is made by pounding tealeaves with various seeds, nuts, and spices, adding hot water, topped with puffed rice, and usually served with mochi.

A cherry blossom tree with mountainous view behind it

The old street also has extremely delicious Hakka dried tofu and a famous old theater.

Nearby, my family and I loved spending a weekend camping or visiting hot springs in Jianshi district. This is a remote, aboriginal district with gorgeous scenery and some excellent hot spring spas like this one .

Kenting National Park – Beachy Getaway

A pristine, white sand beach in Kenting national park, Taiwan

In my early years in Taiwan, we used to make the annual journey down to Kenting National Park for Spring Scream Music Festival on the April long weekend .

Kenting occupies the southern tip of the country and has the best beaches and beach resorts on all of mainland Taiwan.

Nick Kembel taking a selfie in a pool of waterfall below a waterfall, with his other arm holding onto a rope on the side

While Spring Scream has long ended and is now replaced with a free music festival put on by the local government on the main beach, it is still the unofficial place to party and laze on the beach for spring break.

Kenting’s beaches can feel a little crowded, but for me, it has always been a part of the package. I love Kenting Night Market , the only place in Taiwan you’ll see cocktail vendors wearing beach attire and blasting electronic music.

A topless Taiwanese male cocktail bartender shaking a cocktail and a night market stall with lots of liquor bottles on the counter in front of him

I also love cycling or scootering along the Kenting coast, finding new spots to try seafood, and hiking to natural infinity pools in the jungle . Thrill seekers can also try surfing, scuba diving, jet skiing, and more.

Xiaoliuqiu – Snorkeling with Sea Turtles

Two young kids snorkeling with a giant sea turtle and one kid is pointing at it

I’m finishing off this list with yet another offshore island. It’s one of the smallest but also best, and it goes by many names – Little Okinawa, Lambai Island, or as the locals say, Xiaoliuqiu .

Xiaoliuqiu’s biggest draw is its resident population of nearly a thousand giant sea turtles. You’re pretty much guaranteed to see them if you try – my kids and I even saw them swimming in the harbor from our hotel room balcony .

Secret Beach on Xiaoliuqiu, shot from above, with three people in the water

Even better, we had an intimate encounter snorkeling with the turtles in water – my kids’ first time ever snorkeling. Freediving is also very popular on Xiaoliuqiu.

The island is so small that you can scooter or cycling around it without difficulty, yet there are many little secret beaches and coves to explore.

Read This Before Renting a Car and Driving in Taiwan!

What to eat at ningxia night market in taipei (with map), 4 thoughts on “20 places to visit in taiwan that i’m obsessed with”.

Another excellent article! As someone who is also Taiwan obsessed, I appreciate you sharing your experiences. I will return to Taipei this May and your blog is giving me so much hype!

Thank you so much!

What awesome information, Nick! Thanks for all your research, experience and insights. I am using your website to help plan our trip to Taiwan in the first half of January 2025. Do you have suggestions for great things to do at that time of year, particularly outdoors? Thanks

Make sure to visit my “January in Taiwan” article with lots of ideas. It can be a little chilly in the north of Taiwan at that time, but any hikes are still fine (see my “best hikes in Taipei” article on my nickkembel site). In January there’s a chance of seeing snow if you head to Hehuanshan or hike Snow Mountain (permit needed). In the far south, which is more tropical, Kenting and Xiaoliqiu are lovely in January, with low crowds and it’s still warm enough to swim in the sea.

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The Wandering Quinn Travel Blog

18 Best Places to Visit in Taiwan in 2024! Taiwan Tourist Spots!

Categories Asia , Taiwan

Taiwan may be a small island but it is full of incredible places to visit in Taiwan! Taiwan Tourist Spots include  cultural-historic cities , port cities,   modern cities , National Parks and Islands , Taiwan really has it all!

Best of all, it’s easy to travel around Taiwan by train and bus and thanks to the size of Taiwan island, it’s possible to see a lot of Taiwan in 1 week or 2 weeks . Although if you have 1 month in Taiwan to spare, I’d say to go for it as you won’t regret visiting Taiwan!

Best Places to Visit in Taiwan

Related Posts:  2 Week Taiwan Itinerary!  / 1 Week Taiwan Itinerary! / How Much I Spent in Taiwan!

Best Places to Visit in Taiwan


I’ve been to Taiwan twice. I love the country so much! I have written lots of posts to help you visit Taiwan, start with my 8 Helpful Tips For Planning a Trip to Taiwan from Start to Finish and the Best Places to Visit in Taiwan !

TAIWAN SIM CARD The best way to stay connected in Taiwan is to buy this EasyCard & Sim Card package deal in advance . You’ll need an EasyCard to get around on transport in Taiwan anyway and at the same time you can get a Taiwan Sim Card with 4G and pick them up at Taipei Taoyuan Airport when you land!


The Metro within cities in Taiwan is really great, easy to use and so safe. You’ll need an EasyCard which you top up with credit to use the metro and buses. To get around Taiwan, I loved travelling by train . As a tourist, we can’t use the direct Taiwan train booking system. Instead you can go to a train station a few days before and purchase your ticket, or book online in advance using 12GO Asia !

Taipei is the capital city of Taiwan and in all honesty, although Taiwan has so much to offer as you’ll see below, spending just 2-3 days in Taipei will give you a really good insight into what Taiwan is like and if you happen to decide to spend longer in Taipei, like 5 days in Taipei, you’ll have plenty of things to do in Taipei as it’s the biggest out of the Taiwan Tourist Spots!

I think Taipei is one of the most underrated cities in Asia and one of the best places to visit in Taiwan !

Related Post:  12 Taipei Travel Tips and Things To Know about Taipei!

I love Taipei because it’s a really easy city to get around. There are plenty of Taipei attractions and things to do in Taipei to keep you busy but because it’s not a super popular city and apart from the Taipei 101, which you must visit, there are no other super iconic places which make sightseeing in Taipei pretty relaxed.

If you’re interested in what to do in Taipei you can sightsee at places like the Taipei 101 and Chiang Kai-Shek Monument Hall which is probably the second most iconic place in Taipei . But you can also visit the themed cafes of Taipei like a toilet restaurant and the Friends cafe. Hit up a night market in Taipei like Shilin Night Market and Raohe Night Market which Taiwan is very famous for, and go hiking up Elephant Mountain.

Aside from the must-see places in Taipei , other reasons I love Taipei is because the Taipei Metro (MRT) is incredibly efficient and easy to use, it’s a safe city, the people in Taipei are lovely and there’s so much accommodation making it the best welcome to Taiwan that you can have!

Recommended days to spend in Taipei: 2-5 days.

best places to visit in Taiwan, taipei city and taipei 101 in distance

Day Trips from Taipei

What’s really great about Taipei is how many places to visit near Taipei there are! Here are some of the most popular day trips from Taipei and places near Taipei that can be visited in just a few hours and are also best places to visit in Taiwan :

To learn about the Japanese colonisation to modern-day Taiwan and eat some amazing street food, visiting Juifen from Taipei is a good idea as it’s one of the biggest Taiwan tourist spots.

Explore the Northeast Coast of Taipei and stroll through Jiufen Village. Learn about Taiwan’s mining history and enjoy a scenic tour along the Northeast Coast.

If you’ve seen photos of an old street with street lanterns near Taipei, this is Shifen, definitely one of the most popular and best places to visit in Taiwan!

4. Yehliu Geopark

You’ll be mistaken for even being in Taiwan here! Here is my friends guide on h ow to get to Yehliu Geopark from Taipei !

It’s very possible to see Juifen, Shifen and Yehliu in one day on a day tour , in fact, this is the best way to do it so keep this day tour from Taipei in mind when planning your Taipei itinerary.

Join a group tour from Taipei to North Taiwan, where you’ll discover Yehliu Geopark’s rock formations, Jiufen’s mountain village, and launch sky lanterns in Pingxi.

5. Beitou Hot Springs

Closer to Taipei than you’d think, this slice of nature with actual hot springs is a good half-day trip from Taipei.

Explore the volcanic terrains of Yangmingshan National Park, visiting numerous historically and culturally important sites like the Beitou Hot Spring Museum.

6. Yangmingshan National Park

To go hiking in Taipei and for another one of the best places to visit in Taiwan , head to this National Park near Taipei!

best places to visit in Taiwan, ocean and rocks at Yehliu National Park

7. Kaohsiung

Kaohsiung is a port city in Southern Taiwan and if you don’t fly into Taipei you’ll probably fly into Kaohsiung or out of Kaohsiung as it has the second biggest airport in Taiwan. 

Kaohsiung’s tourism is increasing a lot, it used to be a city that tourists didn’t go to, but not anymore. This is now one of the  best places to visit in Taiwan!

Related Post: Best things to do in Kaohsiung & 2-3 Day Kaohsiung itinerary

For things to do in Kaohsiung, if you like temples, there are plenty of temples in Kaohsiung to visit, especially around Lotus Pond which used to have the perfect Feng Shui, plus there’s an incredibly huge and impressive Buddhist Monastery near Kaohsiung.

There are 3 brilliant night markets to visit, a unique and cool creativity park called Pier 2 , and you can catch a ferry over to Cijin Island which will make you feel like you’re on holiday!

Kaohsiung is easy to get around thanks to its MRT system and although many of the Kaohsiung attractions may seem far apart, by MRT they are all really easy to get to.

Recommended days to spend in Kaohsiung: 2-3 days.

best places to visit in Taiwan, dragon and tiger pagoda kaohsiung

To help you plan your trip around Taiwan, have a look at all of my Taiwan Blog Posts here!

8. Taichung

To be honest, Taichung is pretty hard work to visit but I have to include it in this list of best places to visit in Taiwan because the best reason to go to Taichung is for its day trips!

Related Posts: 1-3 Day Itinerary for Taichung &  How To Do a Day Trip from Taichung to Sun Moon Lake.

As a city, there are not many tourist attractions in Taichung and it’s hard to get around as everything is very spread out and there’s no metro system, not like in Taipei or Kaohsiung.

Things to do in Taichung include visiting the Rainbow Village which is really nice to visit although very small so it takes an hour max, and it takes about 30 minutes by taxi from Taichung city to the Rainbow Village or a lot longer by bus.

Taichung has a few night markets and Fengjia Night Market is the largest one in Taiwan, and that’s saying a lot so this is worth visiting.

Another thing Taichung is popular for is its fame for being the creator of Bubble Tea. Chun Shiu Tang on Siwei Street is the original Bubble Tea store in Taichung and a popular place to visit in Taichung. In all honesty, though, Chun Shiu Tang is a chain of Bubble Tea stores in Taiwan and the tea you’ll get in here will be the same and there’s nothing particularly special about the Chun Shiu Original Store in Taichung, and it gets busy!

Recommended days to spend in Taichung: 1 or 2-3 if you want to take day trips.

9. Sun Moon Lake

It’s really easy to get a bus from Taichung to Sun Moon Lake and do a day trip to Sun Moon Lake from Taichung.

At the bus stop, they sell Sun Moon Lake passes which include bus travel, a boat ticket, a ropeway ticket and they can include bike hire too. It takes 1.5-2 hours to travel from Taichung City to Sun Moon Lake and once you’re there you need about 4-5 hours to see the lake and head over to Ita Thao Village. Even though you don’t need long, based on my trip, its still one of the best places to visit in Taiwan and a big Taiwan tourist spot!

Related Post:  How To Do a Sun Moon Lake Day Trip from Taichung!

10. Dakeng Hiking Trails

From Taichung you can also get a bus to Dakeng Hiking Trails.

There are a number of hiking trails and they are numbered, note that some of them are harder than others and the Dakeng trails in Taichung can get very busy on weekends so it’s the best time to go hiking in Taichung is on a weekday if you can. The easier trails get particularly busier than the harder trails too.

best places to visit in Taiwan, Rainbow village in Taichung

11. Hualien  

Hualien is a city along the East Coast of Taiwan, the city itself doesn’t offer much in terms of Taiwan tourism but it is a great base to see more of Taiwan’s impressive East Coast from which one of the big attractions in Taiwan!

If you are confident in riding a scooter/moped, this is the best way to get out from Hualien and explore the coast. Places to visit near Hualien on Taiwan’s East Coast include Beibin Park,   Nanbin Park  and Four-Eight Highland .

In addition to this, for things to do in Hualien, I found the Hualien Night Market to be good so make sure you make time to eat there one evening.

If you don’t want to hire a scooter or a car, I found the bus system is a pretty good way of how to get around Hualien and I used the public bus to go to Taroko National Park .

Recommended days to spend in Taichung: 2-3 including Taroko National Park

best places to visit in Taiwan, Hualien night market

12. Taroko National Park

I visited Taroko National Park as a day trip from Hualien and it’s one of the best places to visit in Taiwan if you want to go hiking in Taiwan !

Related Post:  How to Do a Day Trip to Taroko National Park via Bus from Hualien!

To hike some of trails in Taroko National Park you need to get a permit which can be tricky to get, however it is possible to hike many of the trails in Taroko Park without a permit, including the famous Taroko Gorge , and there’s even a regular bus service throughout the park if walking isn’t for you or you want to walk and get the bus (which is what I did, you can read about this here).

The centre of Taiwan is full of nature and hiking in Taiwan is one of the popular things to do in Taiwan for tourists and for locals.  Taroko National Park is one of the most visited National Parks’s in Taiwan due to its ease so I think this should be on your Taiwan itinerary to show you another side of the Island to the big cities.

Tour Taroko Gorge, an Asian wonder, in a day from Taipei, guided by your personal driver. Experience striking attractions and scenic trails.

Note that Taroko, like all of Taiwan’s hiking trails and National Parks, gets very busy on weekends as lots of Taiwanese like to venture out hiking too so if you have the flexibility I’d recommend that the best time to visit Taroko National Park is during the week.

Recommended days to spend at Taroko National Park: 1 day.

best places to visit in Taiwan, river and rocks at Taroko Gorge

Tainan used to be the capital of Taiwan back in 1683–1887 but it’s still the cultural capital of Taiwan now and therefore a good place to visit in Taiwan. Although initially, the city seems pretty similar to Taichung in architecture once you reach the centre you’ll start to see the history.

Tainan has a big Dutch influence thanks to the Dutch occupying the South of Taiwan for a number of years and this can be best seen at Fort Provincia and Chihkan Tower which used to be a Dutch outpost and are popular things to do in Tainan. Shennong Street tucked between the many normal streets of Tainan is a pleasant surprise filled with little shops and restaurants and many Chinese lanterns. This may be the Taiwan you have been thinking of.

More things to do in Tainan include visiting  Anping where you can visit Fort Zeelandia and Anping Tree House for fairly unique places to see in Taiwan as no other city I’ve seen has these kinds of attractions. Finally, Tainan isn’t short of night markets and the most popular night market in Tainan is the Flower Night Market .

The only downside to Tainan, in my opinion, is its lack of metro like Taichung and the fact that Uber doesn’t currently work in Tainan so you have to use the buses (which can be tricky to work out in Taiwan I’ve found) or get a taxi by the meter so keep this in mind when planning your best places to visit in Taiwan!

Recommended days to spend in Tainan: 1-2 days.

best places to visit in Taiwan, Tainan Fort

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14. Taitung

Taitung is much less visited than other cities in Taiwan but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go and if you are not a ‘city person’, Taitung will be a good place to visit because you can hire a scooter and be in Taitung county seeing nature and more of the East Coast of Taiwan in a short amount of time.

One of the popular Taitung attractions is the aboriginal tribes and people, in Taitung you’ll be able to learn about them and taste some of the local aboriginal food, one of the big reasons it’s one of the best places to visit in Taiwan!

Recommended days to spend in Taitung: 1-2 days.

15. Kenting National Park

Kenting is in the very Southern tip of Taiwan and closest to Kaohsiung. Some blog posts recommend that you can visit Kenting National Park on a day trip from Kaohsiung but the bus takes a few hours so it will be a long day.

The best way to see Kenting is to hire a car or get the bus to Kenting from Kaohsiung and hire scooters but do be sure to look into the situation around driving licences. 

Kenting does look beautiful online with incredible white beaches and Kenting Town is full of restaurants and bars, but I heard from 2 different travellers that they didn’t enjoy it that much which is what made me decide not to go.

I don’t think Kenting is a good place for solo travellers to visit in Taiwan due to how to get around, but it does seem good for families or a group.

Recommended days to spend in Kenting National Park: 2-3 days.

16. Green Island

Taiwan is not just about the mainland, there are islands in Taiwan to visit too! Green Island Taiwan is a volcanic island located on the south-east coast of Taiwan and is accessible by boat from Taitung or by plane from Taipei or Taitung airports.

The best way to get around Green Island is by electric scooter, you can explore the island in just a few hours due to its size and explore the beaches on Green island, its local villages and its history at places like the Human Rights Memorial.

Recommended days to spend on Green Island: 2-3 days.

17. Penghu Islands

Located on the western side of Taiwan are the  Penghu Islands which are one of Taiwan’s best-kept secrets! The Penghu Islands are made up of 90 islands, although a number of these are uninhabited. Things to do in Penghu Island include surfing and windsurfing in its awesome waves. Penghu also has the world’s first submarine postbox you can dive or underwater helmet-walk to send a waterproof postcard.

Recommended days to spend in Penghu Islands: 2-3 days.

18. Keelung

Keelung is in the very North of Taiwan and is another Taiwanese port city. I docked here for a day on a cruise trip around Japan.

There are a few things to do in Keelung like visiting Temples , Chung Cheng Park , an abandoned building and it’s night market but in all honesty, there are not many tourist attractions in Keelung so if you are on a tight itinerary for Taiwan , I’d recommend leaving Keelung or going on a day trip from Taipei to Keelung as there are much better cities in Taiwan to visit.

Experience Keelung on foot with a local, savoring Taiwanese street food at the Night Market, featuring delicacies like herbal tea and curry noodles.

Recommended days to spend in Keelung: 0.5-1 day.

best places to visit in Taiwan, view of Keelung city

How to Get Around Taiwan?

Trains in taiwan.

Now you know the best places to visit in Taiwan, how easy is it to get around Taiwan?

It’s actually very easy! Taiwan is connected by train the whole way around the island . There are train lines that loop of the outer edge of the island. Trains in Taiwan are fairly inexpensive (not like Japan!), and for most train journeys in Taiwan, you can choose from the TRA which is a local train but is still very quick and comfy, or HSR which is the high-speed rail train. The high-speed trains in Taiwan are extremely fast and they do cost more than the TRA. However, due to the small size of Taiwan, all trains will take between 1-4 hours.

For tourists in Taiwan you can buy train packages like this which give you unlimited train travel in Taiwan for a certain amount of days:

3 Day Tourist Rail Pass for Taiwan’s High-Speed Trains.

5 Day Tourist Rail Pass for Taiwan’s Local and High-Speed Trains.

You can also buy train tickets online via Klook for Taiwan’s trains for example:

High-Speed Train from Taipei to Taichung.

High-Speed Train from Taipei to Tainan.

12GO Asia is another way you can book trains in Taiwan and check the running schedule. 12GO Asia is the biggest transport booking platform in Asia, so book your Taiwan train here !

Buses are another way to get around Taiwan and buses connect all of the major cities . For example, Taipei to Taichung is a popular bus route in Taiwan.

best places to visit in Taiwan, hello kitty pink train in taiwan


Here are my top Taiwan itinerary posts to help your plan your trip:

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Taiwan isn’t the cheapest country but it’s not the most expensive either and can be travelled on a reasonable budget. Here’s my post on the cost of travel in Taiwan and how to travel Taiwan on a budget !

Car Hire in Taiwan

Hiring a car in Taiwan is very popular, the roads and driving in Taiwan is extremely good, not like many other Asian countries which foreigners can find hard to drive in. I met a few people who had hired a car in Taiwan so I recommend looking into this to give yourself total freedom.

When it comes to getting around Taiwan cities, as mentioned above, Taipei and Kaohsiung have the MRT metro which is easy and reliant to use. Other cities without a metro have a bus system, Uber also works in most places in Taiwan.

To get around on public transport in Taiwan you’ll need an EasyCard which can be used throughout the country.

If you are flying into Taoyuan Taipei Airport you can buy an EasyCard and Sim Card package deal at the airport to save you time and hassle!

easy card picture | how to get around taiwan

Best Time of Year to Visit Taiwan

I have visited Taiwan in March and early November which are both great times to visit Taiwan as the weather was good, not wet and not too hot.

In the summer months, Taiwan gets extremely hot and sweaty as well as bringing rainy season with it so summer in Taiwan is not a good time of year to travel to Taiwan. In winter in Taiwan, the country cools down, especially in Taipei in the North however it doesn’t get too cold.

The best months to visit Taiwan are during Spring and Autumn I say

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Friday 27th of December 2019

Dear Ellie, I just found your amazing blogs and vlogs! I will be going to Taiwan in April and I will be definitely sourcing from your precious articles. Also, you gave me lot of courage to travel solo since all my family is scared about it. I love your style of travelling. Thank you so much! I would have one question.. do you recommend any site for searching the train/ bus timetable? I will not rent a car and would like to round the island clockwise :) Have a great travels and thank you for inspiring! Simona (Prague)


Tuesday 7th of January 2020

Hello, this is so nice to hear and thank you for letting me know. Taiwan is so incredibly safe and the people are really nice so you will be fine. To be honest, I have always found it hard to find train times online, I don't think people book them online there. The best thing to do is to go to the station when you arrive and ask then and book a ticket for a few days time. It seems like everyone does it and I have never had a problem with trains or buses being fully booked in advance. :)

The 15 best experiences you can have in Taiwan

Piera Chen

Oct 19, 2023 • 12 min read

Enjoy Taiwanese night market food with friend

From soaking in hot springs to sampling all the flavors at the night markets, here are Taiwan's top experiences © iStockphoto / Getty Images

Taiwan is a country with more facets than the 11-headed Guanyin you’ll see inside its temples.

On a single trip, you could be cycling between skyscrapers, drinking coffee at plantations, sun-bathing, forest-bathing, soaring on luscious homegrown whisky, or reeling from rocket fireworks and the repertoire of a night market. The options are endless. 

So whether you’re a first-time visitor or coming back for more, deciding what to do might just be the hardest part of your trip. Here are some of the best experiences in Taiwan.

An Asian woman prays and bows her head in a temple

1. Take your pick of 15,000 temples

Pick a couple, if not more. Be they incense-filled and packed to the eaves with idols and art or a dusky roadside shrine, whether Taoist, Buddhist, Confucian or folk, temples offer a fascinating glimpse into Taiwan’s spiritual life.

You’ll see devotees, including a surprising number of young people, praying and giving thanks. They burn joss paper for the departed, toss moon blocks to seek divine guidance on whether to buy a car, and make offerings of guava, orchids and sesame crackers to a pantheon of deities.

During festivals, temples offer up a smoky and noisy slice of local life. On quiet days, with their relics, sculptures and caisson ceilings, temples are museums in their own right. 

Both Tainan and Lukang are home to a wealth of old structures, from understated Confucius temples to Mazu temples rich in southern Chinese folk decorative art.

Some favorites from all over the country are Taipei’s Unesco-award winning Bao'an Temple , Lukang’s graceful Longshan Temple , Penghu’s old Tianhou Temple , Tainan’s fierce City God Temple , and Changhua’s Nanyao Temple with its Doric columns.

Local tip: Entering and leaving a temple the proper way – through the "dragon door" on the right-hand side and exiting through the "tiger door" on the left – means you go into protection and leave danger behind. The center door is reserved for the gods, the abbot and the president.

2. Sunbathe on Jibei Sand Tail, Penghu Islands

The windy collection of islands known as Penghu is distinctive yet hard to pin down. Set along its roaring coastlines are sea-facing temples, coral stone-walled villages where vendors sell seashell pendants and prickly pear sorbet, and beaches good for water sports. In winter, Penghu becomes a windsurfing hot spot for top-class athletes the world over. 

Added to this mix are geological wonders, a large aquarium  and remnants of ancient sea trade in all their desolate splendor. Further still, Penghu cuisine is celebrated for its delicious simplicity and plentiful seafood. If you come out of season, the golden spit known as the Jibei Sand Tail could be all yours.

People stand near a stone gate at the entrance to a temple with yellow and red lanterns hanging above them

3. Explore urban Tainan on foot

Urban Tainan has such a tight weave of attractions that walking is the best way to take everything in. Cafes, restaurants and dessert shops are liberally tucked into the fabric, offering abundant options for a refuel. And should you need some tiding over, there’s the T-bike and bus.

Many sights are clustered around the roads radiating from the Tang Te-chang Memorial Park roundabout in central Tainan. You’ll see the Museum of Taiwan Literature in a gorgeous Japanese colonial building, and the Altar of Heaven .

Slightly further out are the Neoclassical Land Bank , the art deco Hayashi Department Store , the old and the new Tainan Art Museums, the Confucius Temple with its red walls, and the City God Temple.

Further out still are the Great South Gate , Koxinga’s Shrine , Chihkan Towers , the Official God of War Temple  and the Grand Mazu Temple . 

From the roundabout, a 15-minute stroll northwest takes you to Shennong Street , an art village with shophouses repurposed into boutiques and cafes. Sharing the ‘hood with the hipsters are the Wind God Temple , the Water Fairy Temple and the King of Medicine Temple . 

Planning tip: Famous Anping Fort and the old streets sagging with traditional snack shops near it are 15 minutes away by T-bike or 45 minutes by bus from Shennong Street.

4. Hike along Swallow Grotto at Taroko Gorge 

Taiwan's top tourist draw is a walk-in Chinese painting. Rising above the froth of the blue-green Liwu River, the marble walls (yes, marble!) of Taroko Gorge swirl with the colors of an artist's palette.

Add grey mist, lush vegetation and waterfalls seemingly tumbling down from heaven and you have a truly classic landscape. Walk along the Swallow Grotto to see the gorge at its most sublime, or brave the Zhuilu Old Trail, a vertiginous path 500m (1,640ft) above the canyon floor.

5. Cycle or drive along the breathless East Coast at Hualien

Cycling is Taiwan’s national sport, and cyclists favor the stunning and unspoiled east coast for multi-day trips. Love the sea? Then ride the gorgeous coastline along the Pacific Ocean between Yilan and Hualien or Hualien and Taitung . It’ll leave you breathless in more ways than one. 

There are dramatic elevation changes in Taroko Gorge, and portions of the highways are subject to landslides after heavy rain. But the beauty is unparalleled, and you'll pass beaches, fishing harbors, indigenous towns and art villages.

Like the mountains? Ride the East Rift Valley and watch cloud drama unfold on glistening rice paddies or seas of orange daylilies. Both routes have indigenous guesthouses and restaurants, campgrounds, prehistoric sites and hot springs. No matter which you choose, a wonderful time awaits.

Local tip: If you charter a car from Taipei, the driver will stop at scenic spots and attractions. 

6. Do a homegrown coffee crawl and buy beans

Blessed with good soil and a climate and altitudes conducive to arabica trees flourishing, Taiwan has become the coffee mecca of Asia, bagging awards worldwide for its beans that range from peanutty to tea-like.

You can sip them at their source in Gukeng and Dongshan if you’re hiking nearby, but it's more fun to try different cafes that serve killer homegrown brews and also roast and sell beans. A bonus is the setting, which can range from retro Taipei and hipster book-and-bean to Nordic minimalism. 

Detour: Cacao farms in Pingtung grow beans and craft some of Asia’s finest chocolates. You can tour the premises, learn about the bean-to-bar process, and make your own sweets at Choose Chius and Fu Wan Chocolate .

Diners sit at small tables in front of vendors cooking and selling food at a night market with yellow paper lanterns flying above them

7. Enjoy a feast at Miaokou Night Market, Keelung 

Grazing is a useful technique to have on the road, and Taiwan’s night markets are great for honing this skill. Fulfilling the need for food and entertainment (to say nothing of socializing), the markets bring happy crowds every night of the week to gorge on a bewildering array of snacks and dishes.

Check out harborside Miaokou Night Market in Keelung, in many ways the biggest and best of them all, for the quintessential experience of grazing (on seafood especially!) and people-watching.

8. Get a taste of gourmet Taiwan in Mountain and Sea House, Taipei

Taiwan may be one of the world’s street-food capitals, but don’t just limit yourself to casual eats – the country’s dining landscape has plenty more to offer.

Taiwan is steadily making a mark on Asia's culinary landscape. In the 2022 Michelin Taiwan, Kaohsiung, Taichung, Taipei and Tainan came under scrutiny and earned the country 38 stars, up from 20 and only Taipei being assessed in 2018. 

The lists don't just honor French-style cooking, expensive Japanese or meticulous Cantonese kitchens, but also solidly executed Taiwanese cuisine such as Taipei’s Mountain and Sea House .

Besides this, a growing number of chefs with or without awards are working magic with local produce from oolong tea to sakura shrimp, like Pingtung’s AKAME , which specializes in Rukai cooking.

Planning tip: Make your reservations at least a month in advance for famous restaurants – Michelin-honored and otherwise. 

9. Be wowed by the National Palace Museum, Taipei

Taiwan houses one of the greatest collections of dynastic Chinese artifacts in the world. With ancient pottery, bronzes and jade, Ming vases, Song landscape paintings and calligraphy that even those who are not art lovers can appreciate, Taipei's National Palace Museum isn't merely a must-visit, it's a must-repeat-visit.

Why? Out of the nearly 700,000 pieces in the museum's collection – spanning every Chinese dynasty, in addition to prehistory and the modern age – only a fraction is ever on display at one time.

10. Delve into military history while enjoying art at Alien Art Center, Kaohsiung

The military outposts of Kinmen and Matsu Islands, with their tunnels, forts and artillery displays, will please hardcore military buffs. But if you want something softer and unique enough that everyone can enjoy, head to Kaohsiung.

The dark and mysterious national relic that is the Imperial Japanese Navy Wireless Communication Station has finally found peace but for tent shows and exhibitions. Alien Art Centre , housed in a former hostel for young men departing for military service, is one of Taiwan’s strongest contemporary art museums. Cihou Fort  on Cijin Island was used by the Qing Empire, the Japanese, the Nationalist Army, and more recently, tripod-wielding sunset photographers. 

The engaging Military Dependents’ Village Museum shows how the families of soldiers of the Chinese Nationalist Army lived after their retreat to Taiwan post-1949. The high-rises of Guomao Community are the 2.0 version of such villages.

Do as the locals do – go there to enjoy authentic regional Chinese cuisines at the restaurants. In a compound next to Taiwan’s largest naval base, the Story House of Naval Base Zuoying details the area’s military heritage. 

Detour: New Taipei’s Human Rights Museum , sitting on the site of a former detention center for political dissidents, is recommended for insight into how far democratic Taiwan has come. The English audio guide is helpful. The museum’s sprawling branch on Green Island, a former penal colony, can be visited by booking a guided tour. 

People crowded together wearing crash helmets and other protective gear as fireworks spark around them

11. Join locals in hazmat suits at the Yanshui Beehive Fireworks Festival

Attending a traditional folk festival is one of the most exhilarating ways to experience local culture. Taiwan has a slew of these – solemn, bizarre, carnivalesque, you name it.

You don’t have to be a believer to go – the locals are inclusive and welcoming, but be respectful, of course. It is not uncommon to see pilgrims and visitors from all over Taiwan and abroad at the most spectacular festivals.

The nine-day annual Mazu pilgrimage sees hundreds of thousands of people escorting a palanquin containing a statue of the goddess Mazu through 50 towns. The triennial Burning of the Wang Yeh Boats features powerful spectacles over eight days that end with the burning of a celestial boat on a beach.

The strange Yanshui Beehive Fireworks Festival is a blowout in which thousands in protective gear (or not) place themselves willingly in a melee of exploding fireworks. 

Planning tip: The Mazu Pilgrimage takes place in the third lunar month; the Boat Burning Festival in October or November, with the next one happening in 2024; and Yenshui’s fireworks go off on the 14th or 15th day of the first lunar month. If you attend the last, bring goggles, a motorcycle helmet and protective clothing if you don’t want to pay for overpriced gear on-site or end up in the hospital.

12. Follow ancient hunting trails through forests in Wulai

Taiwan is 50% forested, and asphalt gives way to the real thing astonishingly quickly – consistently  a delight for nature lovers. In the mountainous Wulai township, old indigenous hunting trails cut through misty tropical forests. 

Take a break from your trek to enjoy crystal streams or deep swimming pools, and repeat this experience all over the island. Taiwan is also two-thirds mountainous, with hundreds of peaks soaring above 3,000m (9,842ft) and well-established hiking routes all over.

Jade Mountain (Yushan) is the highest peak in Northeast Asia, but the second highest, Snow Mountain, is a more picturesque climb.

13. Understand Indigenous Taiwan at the Shung Ye Museum of Formosan Aborigines

There are 16 recognized indigenous tribes in Taiwan. Though long suppressed, tribal culture and pride have made a remarkable turnaround in the 21st century. Begin your understanding at the Shung Ye Museum of Formosan Aborigines in Taipei or the Museum of Prehistory in Taitung.

See their paintings and installations at the Kaohsiung Museum of Fine Arts , a world-renowned authority on Austronesian art, and hear them read their poems at Tainan’s Museum of Taiwan Literature. 

Then check into an underground homestay run by Yami islanders on beautiful Lanyu Island, preferably during the flying fish season, or consider a visit to the communally run Smangus, a high-mountain center of Atayal culture.

In summer, head to the east coast for indigenous surfer towns and exuberant festivals celebrating harvests, coming of age, and a deep love of live music. 

Local tip: Sample Amis delicacies in Hualien . You can do so at the indigenous stalls in Dadongmen Night Market or at Amis-run Mu-Mang. 

People gather in pools surrounded by foliage

14. Relax in Beitou’s hot springs 

Taiwan's ground surface has plenty of fissures, which gives rise to an abundance of spring sources hard to match anywhere on the globe. Locals believe the waters are effective for everything from soothing muscles to conceiving. 

If you like to soak in stone, wood or marble pools with mountain views, head to Beitou , Wulai or Taian. For wild impromptu dips, tread deep into valleys for a pristine wild spring like Lisong Hot Spring  (often considered the most beautiful of them all), or make your way to Green Island for one of the world’s three seawater hot springs. 

15. Tour the Kavalan Distillery to see how Taiwan’s single malts are made 

Whisky lovers, you’re in luck. Taiwan is a country of whisky drinkers, and they’re not only sipping imported Laphroaig or Hibiki – Taiwan’s own award-winning Kavalan is a huge favorite. The world seems to agree – at the Asia round of World Whisky Masters 2022, the homegrown label scooped up 10 golds plus a Master Medal.

You can try Kavalan on the rocks or in a smoky martini at one of the country’s many exquisite cocktail bars, such as Taichung’s Goût and Taipei’s Ounce , but you can also tour the distillery in Yilan for free and sample the single malts. 

Local tip: Taiwan has a lively craft beer scene with microbreweries popping up all over, but it’s best to taste homegrown beer in a bar such as Zhangmen , Le Blé d’Or and Taihu .

This article was first published Nov 3, 2022 and updated Oct 19, 2023.

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The Top 15 Things to Do in Taiwan

must visit places taiwan

A compact 245 miles from its northern to southernmost tips (and 90 miles wide at its thickest section), it's easy to traverse the entirety of Taiwan in a day thanks to its sleek High Speed Rail system . But why rush it? There are plenty of cities and natural wonders alike to take in here including Jiufen—the picaresque cliffside village that inspired Studio Ghibli's "Spirited Away"—and coveted wedding and honeymoon destination Sun Moon Lake.

While there are hundreds of activities, places, and things to see and do in Taiwan, here are our current 15 musts.

Get a Bird's-Eye View From Taipei 101

Frankly speaking, Taipei lacked the sophisticated, modern city planning and grandeur of Hong Kong and many of mainland China's capital cities until the early 2000s. Oh how things have changed! Now you can take in the glorious skyline and juxtaposition against nature from 1,474 feet in the air via the Taipei 101's observation deck.

The world's tallest skyscraper when it opened in 2004 (as of 2020, it ranks as 10th), it also has a unique, suspended golden-hued 730-ton damper globe (which keeps the tower balanced in event of an earthquake). On the lower levels, there are shops and restaurants like Din Tai Fung, the gold standard for Taiwanese-style soup dumplings.

Enjoy Tea and Cinematic Views in Jiufen

It's not often a Japanese animated classic comes to life, but wandering the winding, sloping hillside alleys and stairways of Jiufen is just like entering the world of Studio Ghibli's fantastical, Oscar-winning film "Spirited Away" (albeit without the spirits and dragon). A former gold rush town—and actual setting for 1989 historical drama, "A City of Sadness"—Jiufen is equal parts tranquil, picaresque, and bustling thanks to its ocean and lush mountain views, rustic architecture, historic (and wonderful) teahouses, and endless vendors of street food, crafts, and souvenirs.

Chill Out in a Hot Spring

Like Japan, Taiwan is peppered with mineral-rich natural hot springs, ranging from economical and no-frills to family-friendly to luxurious, exclusive resorts nestled by nature. To experience a hot spring without leaving Taipei, you only need to visit the Beitou district. Consider the appropriately-named Grand View Resort (which boasts indoor and outdoor white sulfur springs or the comparatively low-frills 24-hour Kawayu hot springs.

Elsewhere in Taiwan, Yilan County's Jiaoxi Hot Springs entails a large range of facilities including a giant public pool for soaking one's feet. Zhaori Hot Spring on Green Island —accessible via a 50-minute ferry ride from the southeast coast's Taitung—is one of the world's three saltwater hot springs, heated by volcanic lava and surrounded by glorious ocean views.

As with a Japanese onsen or a Korean spa, Taiwan's same-sex facilities have a mandatory no-clothing policy.

Savor Taiwan's Distinctive Soup Dumplings

Although the steamed soup dumplings (xiaolongbao) hail from mainland China—and are most frequently associated with Shanghai–Taiwan put its own spin on things. Taiwanese chain Din Tai Fung has perfected and defined Taiwanese-style xiaolongbao: a fig-sized pouch with a precise 18 folds in its chewy dough skin, which contains a succulent nugget of pork and savory broth.

Of course, there are many varieties of xiaolongbao at hundreds of venues across Taiwan, from decadent truffle to bitter melon to shrimp, although none are as literally colorful as those at Paradise Dynasty. A Singapore-born chain, the Taipei location must have poached its staff from a Din Tai Fung, since their signature eight varieties, all featuring different colored skins,are utterly precise, consistently excellent. Don't miss the black garlic, red Sichuan pepper, and yellow cheese—its pork bursting with gooey, stringy cheese.

Hike Taroko National Park

This national park, located in Hualien county just south of Taipei, is a gem for outdoorsy types and nature lovers. There are dozens of trails for hiking, mountaineering, bicycling, and simply taking in scenic views. The most famous are the dramatic Taroko Gorge and the stunning, Tunnel of Nine Turns trail (which was reopened in 2019). Longer, more advanced trails include barrier- and rail-free Zhuilu Cliffs' hiking trail. These trails are indeed difficult so be sure to consult the Park's website or consider a guided tour in advance: several are offered by Silks Place Tarako , a five-star hotel located within the park itself.

Get Zen At Kaohsiung's Fo Guang Shan Monastery

Southwest Taiwan's major port city of Kaohsiung (population over 2.773 million) is a draw for Buddhists and temple seekers thanks to its Fo Guang Shan Monastery and Buddha Museum . Highlights of Taiwan's largest Buddhist temple and campus include a towering 120-meter high golden statue of Buddha Amitabha and more than one thousand additional Buddha incarnations, deities, and other statues spread across its shrines, four temples, and other buildings. The museum's pagodas include fantastic selections of relics, exhibitions, and more.

Experience Taiwan's Annual Lantern Festival

Chang Hsiu Huang / Getty Images

Taiwan's annual lantern festival sees thousands of imaginative and colorfully decorated floating paper lanterns take to the skies in cities and towns all over the island. However, the most famed and oldest incarnation—the Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival—which takes place an hour or so east of Taipei in the hillside town of Shifen, is a truly magical experience thanks to its tradition of releasing lit rice paper lanterns into the sky with your wishes written on them. Summertime's Taitung Hot Air Balloon Festival is also quite the Instagram-worthy spectacle.

Eat Your Way Through Taiwan's Incredible Night Markets

Reportedly dating back to the Tang Dynasty in the 9th century, Taiwan's night markets are filled with the scents of street food, from frisbee-sized crispy chicken cutlets to "coffin bread" stuffed with various fillings, and the unmistakable national favorite stinky tofu. You'll also be able to find trinkets, clothing, craft beer, and home goods at these markets. Everyone has their opinions on which night market is the best, but a few essentials for your list include Taipei's Shilin and Raohe, Taichung's Fengjia and Yizhong, and Kaohsiung's Ruifeng. No matter which local night market you visit, however, you're guaranteed at least a few tasty bites!

Take in Taiwan's Creative Art and Culture Parks

Taiwan has seen former factories, abandoned industrial eyesores, and government compounds transformed into vibrant, creative, family-friendly destinations in a growing number of cities. In Taipei you'll find the trailblazing Huashan 1914 Creative Park ; Songshan Creative Park , which boasts a boutique hotel, bookstore, and arthouse cinema from Eslite; and Taiwan Contemporary Culture Lab , opened in 2018 in the former Republic of China Air Force headquarters.

Opened in late 2015, Tainan's Blueprint Cultural & Creative Park is chock full of colorful contemporary murals and installations, and shops within former heritage houses. Mural lovers will also enjoy a stroll and plenty of selfies around Kaohsiung's Pier-2 Art Center . In Taichung's South District, an early 1900s brewery is now The Cultural Heritage Park, largely dedicated to culture-related exhibitions and activities in its dozen-plus buildings.

Explore Quirky Themed "Villages"

Some quaint and heritage villages throughout Taiwan have been turned into quirky attractions worth a detour. Taichung's Rainbow Family Village lives up to its name thanks to village elder and erstwhile military man Huang Yung-Fu, who painted streets, houses, and pretty much every surface with all types of critters, people, and patterns.

Taipei's rustic and cliffside Treasure Hill Artist Village (built during a housing shortage circa the 1940s for immigrants) is now home to dozens of artists, who transform the winding lanes and houses into murals, ever-changing art installations, and shops.

A bit off the beaten track but worth it for retro architecture lovers, Wanli UFO Village is populated by flying saucer-esque, abandoned 1960s Futuro and Venturo houses, while Nantou's lush and comparatively lively Xitou Monster Village draws its inspiration from Japanese ghosts and creepy creatures (and even boasts a boutique hotel or two for overnighters).

Explore the History of Taiwan's Former Capital

Taiwan's capital city from 1683 to 1887, Tainan is home to the National Museum of Taiwan History, which explores its indigenous culture and history of occupation by the mainland Chinese, Japanese, Portuguese, and Dutch. The Dutch influence can be found and explored at Fort Zeelandia, aka Anping Old Fort.

Try Some Stinky Tofu

Exactly what it sounds like, this soy-based delicacy is to Taiwan what durian is to Thailand and what stinky cheeses are to France. Fermentation gives the tofu a funky, pungent stench and it's a staple at Taiwan's many night markets. If you're a fan, or adventurous eater, be sure to visit New Taipei's Shenkeng Old Street, which is basically dedicated to an endless array of variations, including spicy, fried, filled, and even some non-stinky tofu treats like ice cream and cake.

Experience Taiwan's Booming Craft Beer Scene

Still under the radar internationally, Taiwan's craft beer makers have nonetheless received recognition and awards, including a World's Best Dark Altbier honor in 2020. Taipei in particular is booming with dedicated craft beer bars and restaurants with local selections on tap, including the excellent Sunmai (the longan honey lager is a must). Yet surprises await all over Taiwan. Northwest Taiwan's Dahu township is best known for its abundant, delicious, oversized strawberries—January and February are peak tourism times for visiting and picking—and its Dahu Wineland Resort produces a juicy seasonal strawberry beer.

Relax at Sun Moon Lake

Wan Ru Chen / Getty Images

Almost smack dab in the middle of the country in Nantou County, Sun Moon Lake is a major destination for wedding portraits, romantic and family getaways, and outdoor activities. Sun Moon Lake got its name from sections shaped like a round sun and crescent moon and is Taiwan's largest natural alpine lake. It's nestled within lush mountains, features a small island in its middle, while a bikeway weaves around the perimeter. Another unique aspect of Sun Moon Lake is its indigenous tribes, the Thao and Bunan who share their cuisines and various cultural experiences with visitors.

Snap a Picture at High-Heel Wedding Church

Courtesy of Tourism Bureau, Republic of China (Taiwan)

Located between Taichung and Tainan, Chaiyi County features an offbeat treat in this striking, high heel shoe-shaped 17-meter high wedding venue. Constructed from 320 panes of blue glass in Chiayi Budai Seascape Park, this secular "chapel" pays tribute to a comparatively somber bit of history: the blackfoot disease epidemic that struck Taiwan's southwest coast circa 1969, which resulted in many young women's feet being amputated. Opened in 2016, now people of all identities can enjoy a wedding inside glamorous high heel, or just snap a photo of it.

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10 Best Places to Visit in Taiwan

By Alex Schultz · Last updated on October 3, 2023

Located to the southeast of China , the island nation of Taiwan is one of the most densely populated countries in the world and its bustling and vibrant cities are full of beautiful old temples, fantastic museums and lively night markets which offer up a stunning array of delicious cuisines. Away from its busy streets, many visitors enjoy exploring Taiwan’s incredible nature such as the beautiful Sun Moon Lake and spectacular Kinmen Island.

A bastion of democracy and human rights, Taiwan has long been at loggerheads with China which still lays claim to the country and the Taiwanese are friendly and welcoming people who proudly uphold their independence.

With such a vast array of diverse things to do, visitors to Taiwan will have their time cut out trying to fit everything into a memorable trip. Explore this Asian island with our list of the best places to visit in Taiwan.

10. Kaohsiung [SEE MAP]


A bustling city, full of life and energy, Kaohsiung has something for everyone to enjoy and consequently it is a favorite tourist destination with foreigners and locals alike. Acting as both the maritime and industrial hub of the country, it is the third most populous city and commerce and trade have ensured that there is a wide mix of peoples, cultures and communities, which is reflected in the delicious cuisine on offer.

With great weather all year round and beautiful scenery surrounding it, it is a fantastic place to do outdoor activities, and both hiking and cycling will take visitors to many of the best viewpoints. In addition to all of this, Kaohsiung is home to lots of historic sites, and more and more museums are sprouting up each and every year.

9. Wulai [SEE MAP]


Located in the south of New Taipei City, Wulai is home to the Atayal people and is famous throughout Taiwan for its hot springs. As such it is now a tourist town and many people come here to wallow in the warm waters, learn more about the rich indigenous culture and explore the surrounding nature.

With loads of outdoor activities on offer, you can go hiking in the forests, go fishing in the river and also camp amongst the wild while enjoying the delightful scenery. Visitors can also buy some of the indigenous arts and crafts on sale and try some of the local food.

The undoubted highlight of any visit to Wulai is wallowing in the hot springs which are so abundant and the town’s mountainous setting only makes sitting back and taking in the view all the more magical.

8. Kinmen Islands [SEE MAP]

Kinmen Islands

This group of islands is located in between Taiwan and China and is famous for being the site of a battle between the Nationalists and Communists in 1949, although it is now more commonly known as a popular tourist destination.

With loads of lovely scenery to be found on the islands, it is sometimes called ‘the park in the sea’ as there are so many bright flowers, forests and nature reserves for visitors to enjoy, with Kinmen National Park being the most popular on offer.

Historic buildings abound in Kinmen. There is lots of delightful old architecture for tourists to gaze upon, and a number of wonderful beaches can be found scattered about here and there. Famed for its local products and its delicious cuisine, the Kinmen Islands are certainly worth a visit when in Taiwan.

7. Kenting National Park [SEE MAP]

Kenting National Park

Considered by many to be the oldest national park in the country, Kenting is located in the south of Taiwan on the Hengchun Peninsula, and is a very popular tourist destination. With loads of lovely scenery on offer, visitors mostly come to enjoy the wonderful beaches and the tropical climate that makes it so appealing.

Bathed in beautiful sunshine, Kenting is marvelous to explore and there is loads of fauna and flora on show. One of the must-see attractions is the huge Eluanbi Lighthouse, which towers over its surroundings. A fabulous national park to visit, Kenting also hosts the famous Spring Scream festival which attracts thousands of music lovers every year.

6. Alishan National Scenic Area [SEE MAP]

Alishan National Scenic Area

A wild and wonderful place, the Alishan National Scenic Area is very mountainous and actually contains twenty-five mountains that tower to a height of two thousand meters or more. Exploring the hills, valleys, waterfalls and forests is a magical affair, and the scenery is stupendous to behold.

There are numerous trails and paths that will take you to some of the best viewpoints. A great way to see a lot of the reserve in one go is to take the Alishan Forest Railway, which snakes its way through forests and along mountainsides before stopping off at Fenqihu, a picturesque village with the ruins of a Shinto temple.

Home to the Tsou people who are renowned for their tea making, Alishan is an absolutely gorgeous place to visit and your visit will live long in your memory.

5. Lukang [SEE MAP]


The second oldest town on the island is a mesmerising place to visit, and it is particularly renowned for its delicious local cuisine and stunning architecture.

Located in the northwest of the country, it was once an important seaport and trading center, although its standing has long since declined. Thankfully that has meant that its historic buildings remain intact and there are remarkably over two hundred temples for tourists to visit, with Longshan and Matzu being among the most popular.

There is a wide range of architectural styles on show. Among the dishes that visitors to the city just have to try are the ox tongue cakes and oyster pancakes, which are specialties in the region.

4. Tainan [SEE MAP]


Formerly the capital of imperial Taiwan, this ancient city is well worth a visit and there are loads of interesting sights and cultural landmarks for visitors to enjoy. One of the most popular parts of the city to visit is the Anping District, which is the historic heart of Tainan.

This area has lots of beautiful old temples scattered about, as well as Fort Zeelandia which was built by the Dutch East India Company in the 17th century. There are a number of great museums, such as the Chimei and Koxinga Museums, and there is loads of fantastic shopping to be had. Stop off at the night markets for some of the local cuisine.

With lots of lovely nature surrounding Tainan, you can easily take a day trip to the Nanhua or Hutoupi Reservoirs, or even head off to Taijian National Park.

3. Taroko National Park [SEE MAP]

Taroko National Park

Full of beautiful nature and incredible landscapes, this national park takes its name from that of the impressive gorge that runs through it, and as such it is well worth checking out when in Taiwan. Carved out over centuries and millennia by the winding Liwu River, it is Taroko Gorge that is the undoubted highlight of the area, along with the steep valleys, mountains and more features throughout the park.

With a number of great outdoor activities that visitors can enjoy, you can be river rafting one minute, hiking through the canyons the next and be bathing in the Baiyang Waterfalls later that same day.

The scenery on show is absolutely gorgeous wherever you go, and some of the best views are from the delightful Eternal Spring Shrine and the Swallow Grotto. A great time to visit is during the Taroko Music Festival, when you can explore and experience the culture and traditions of the people and communities that live in the area.

2. Sun Moon Lake [SEE MAP]

Sun Moon Lake

The delightfully named Sun Moon Lake is the largest body of water in the country and is a popular tourist destination amongst locals and foreigners alike. As such there are loads of hotels and resorts located along the lake’s shores and there are numerous restaurants, shops and bars that cater to the visitor’s every need.

With lots of outdoor activities on offer, you can go sailing on the lake, go for a delightful hike or bike ride in the hills surrounding it or relax on a boat trip across its tranquil waters and enjoy the breathtaking scenery. In addition to the stunning nature, there are some great temples for visitors to visit and there is also a cable car ride that offers up unforgettable views of the lake below.

1. Taipei [SEE MAP]

#1 of Best Places To Visit In Taiwan

The capital of Taiwan is a marvelous place to visit, with a plethora of things for visitors to see and do. It is not only the political and economic hub of the island, but also the cultural one, as there is a lively arts and culture scene.

With an intoxicating mix of old and new to be found in the delicious food and stunning architecture, it is a captivating city to visit. Old temples are located amidst the skyscrapers, and the towering Taipei 101 actually used to be the tallest building in the world.

Fantastic restaurants, shops and bars abound in this bustling city, and there are loads of attractions on offer such as the Taipei Zoo, the Botanical Garden and the wonderful temple of Hsing Tian Kong.

For an authentic look at the local culture, head to the fun and friendly Raohe Street Night Market for some great food and entertainment, while numerous museums such as the National Palace Museum are on hand to help you delve further into the rich cultural heritage of Taiwan. After your time in Taipei, you’ll come away tired but happy at all of the amazing things that you’ve seen and done.

Map of Taiwan

Map of Taiwan

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10 Must-See Places in Taiwan

Discover Taiwan, from the capital city of Taipei to stunning Taroko Gorge and Sun Moon Lake


Although Taiwan occupies less than one percent of the Earth’s land, it is home to a diverse landscape, ranging from winding gorges and misty mountains to hot springs and tropical beaches. Portuguese sailors en route to Japan in the late 16th century deemed Taiwan “Ilha Formosa,” or beautiful island, and for good reason. Its cultural legacy is equally rich, combining Dutch, Chinese, Japanese, aboriginal and modern influences. Whether hiking through Taroko Gorge’s walls of swirling marble, exploring the world’s largest collection of Chinese artifacts at the National Palace Museum in Taipei, or cycling around turquoise Sun Moon Lake, Taiwan offers something for every traveler. Here are ten destinations not to miss. 

To plan your custom trip to Taiwan,  contact one of our Country Specialists , or explore this 13-day itinerary, custom created by  Smithsonian Tailor-Made Journeys by Audley Travel  to visit these 10 locations.

must visit places taiwan

Taiwan’s capital city is home to some of the country's most impressive cultural treasures, both modern and historical. Chief among them is the  National Palace Museum , which houses the most extraordinary collection of Chinese art anywhere in the world. Ranging from ancient bronzes to Ming vases, the museum's holding of nearly 700,000 artifacts, transported to Taiwan in 1949 during China's civil war by the fleeing Guomindang, is so vast that only a small selection can ever fit on display at any one time. Current exhibitions include terracotta sculptures from the Qin Culture and an unparalleled display of Tibetan Buddhist art .

Another highlight is the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall. Commemorating the former president of the Republic of China, the hall features an exhibit of his cars as well as a mock-up of his former office, and a ceremonial guard change takes place on the hour. Outside, palatial buildings flank a large square in the style of Beijing's Forbidden City. 

To experience the pulse of the city as well as its world-class foodie culture, head to the  Shilin night market , Taiwan's largest.

Taipei Suburbs – Maokong and Beitou

must visit places taiwan

Taipei offers a plethora of fantastic day trips. A must-visit is Maokong to the south, best reached by a scenic cable car that runs from the Taipei Zoo metro station. Known for its magnificent views of Taipei, Maokong is particularly enchanting at night. Visit one of its teahouses, positioned strategically to face the verdant Zhinan River valley.

For a day of relaxation, head north to Beitou. In the 1800s, a Japanese businessman opened a spa here, and the industry has flourished ever since. You don’t have to be a resident at one of Beitou’s hotels to take a dip in their hot spring baths. Nearby, the green sulfur waters of the Beitou Thermal Valley, while too hot for bathing, offer beautiful views.

Taroko Gorge

must visit places taiwan

A scenic, coastal train ride away from Taipei,  Taroko National Park is a jewel among Taiwan’s natural wonders. At times, the gorge's vertical cliffs and winding tunnels come so close together that, from a distance, they appear to meet. From the park entrance, take the Taroko Gorge Trail to the Eternal Spring Shrine. Built in memory of those who died constructing the Central Cross-Island Highway in the late 1950s, the shrine features a tranquil pavilion and waterfall. Swallow Grotto, a 0.3-mile stretch of marble and limestone west of the shrine, is one of the park’s most popular trails for its stunning views of the turquoise Liwu River and the swallows that flit in and out of the rock face. Farther west, the Tunnel of Nine Turns offers incredible views of the gorge’s white marble cliffs, winding through some of its narrowest sections. 

must visit places taiwan

Less developed than Taipei, the atmosphere of Taitung is pleasant and laid back. Situated on Taiwan’s east coast where the Eurasian and Philippine Sea tectonic plates meet, it is home to an impressive geological landscape. Head to Siaoyeliou, a veritable sculpture park of rock formations molded by sea erosion, or cross Taitung's famous eight-arched bridge, built to resemble a dragon, to reach Sansiantai Island, a nature reserve offering exceptional views of sunrise and sunset.

And step back in time with a visit to the Caves of the Eight Immortals , the discovery site of Taiwan’s oldest prehistoric civilization.

must visit places taiwan

Kaohsiung is Taiwan’s largest port. While a busy city with industrial roots, it is also home to tranquil walks and an impressive array of temples and pagodas. Visit the Dragon and Tiger Pagodas on Lotus Pond, in which larger-than-life dragon and tiger sculptures function as entrance and exit.

The nearby Spring and Autumn Pavilions are equally extravagant. Dedicated to the God of War and God of Mercy, they feature a giant, colorful sculpture of the latter riding a dragon. To complete your tour, find Taiwan's largest Confucius Temple at the northern end of the Lotus Pond.

Maolin National Scenic Area

must visit places taiwan

Southeast of Kaohsiung is Maolin National Scenic Area , a stunning region covered in virgin forest and dotted with hot springs, waterfalls and gorges. Here, enjoy some of the island’s best hiking trails, including a former tribal warpath. Be sure to visit Purple Butterfly Valley, the overwintering site of an estimated one million Euploeini butterflies, whose wings shine a deep blue-purple in certain lights. In nearby Meinong Folk Village, marvel at traditional Hakka crafts, such as  handmade paper umbrellas .


Tainan has a long and colorful history. In the 17th century, it was the operational base for the Dutch East India Company and was Taiwan's capital during the Qing Dynasty. Highlights include the Chihkan Towers and Fort Anping, built by the Dutch in 1653. After wandering through the manicured lawns of the Chihkan Towers, be sure to pay a visit to the row of nine Qing-Dynasty stone turtles carrying tablets on their backs. At Fort Anping, stop into the museum to learn about the Dutch occupation, and for a taste of traditional Chinese culture, head to Taiwan's oldest Confucius Temple.

Sun Moon Lake

must visit places taiwan

Taiwan’s largest alpine lake, Sun Moon Lake is renowned for its both natural beauty and cultural heritage. The weather is pleasant year-round, and temples and pagodas dot the surrounding countryside. Head to Chi-En Pagoda, or “Pagoda of Filial Virtue,” for outstanding views. Chiang Kai-shek, for whom Sun Moon Lake was a cherished vacation sport, erected the monument in honor of his mother. In the spring season, the trail leading up to the pagoda ignites with fireflies. A pedestrian-bike path hugs the lake’s perimeter, and cruises depart daily from it shores. Rent a rowboat or canoe for more leisurely exploration.

must visit places taiwan

Lukang, on Taiwan’s west coast, is rich with history and culture. Of particular note is its traditional architecture. Dating back to the Qing Dynasty, the Lungshan Temple is Lukang’s largest and features an elaborate, nail-less wooden ceiling above its outdoor stage. Lukang Tienhou Temple is similarly ornate. Meaning “Queen of Heaven” temple, Lukang Tienhou honors the deity Matsu, goddess of the sea, whose statue has darkened from years of collecting incense residue. Other sights include Nine Turns Lane, one of old Lukang’s best-known winding streets designed to withstand high winds, and the Lukang Folk Arts Museum , a Japanese-era mansion housing more than 6,000 historical items.

must visit places taiwan

During the Japanese colonial era, Taichung was an industrial center and the source of many “Made in Taiwan” products. Today, it is known today for its pleasant, dry weather and regarded today as an attractive university city. Numerous shopping malls and nightclubs appeal to the younger generation and inspire an active nightlife. Taichung is also home to notable firsts: Taiwan's first  national fine arts museum  and  Chun Shui Tang Teahouse , allegedly the original bubble tea shop. 

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17 Things to See and Do in Taiwan

The picturesque seaside mountain town scenery in Jiufen, Taiwan

I lived in Taiwan for a few months as an English teacher. I loved my time there and have always felt the country was really under-appreciated. Carrie Kellenberger is an expat who has been living in Taiwan for ten years. She runs My Several Worlds and in this guest post she lists out all the amazing things you should see and do there!

Every country in Asia is beautiful, but Taiwan is special for many reasons. The people are warm and hospitable, it’s incredibly budget-friendly , and, according to the UN’s yearly World Happiness Report, Taiwan consistently ranks as one of the happiest places in East Asia .

While it might be a small island, you would be amazed at the never-ending variety of sights and fun things to do here. With over a hundred mountain peaks above 3,000 meters (9,800 feet), over a hundred hot springs scattered around the island, both golden and black-sand beaches, nine national parks, world-class museums, glittering skyscrapers, stunning temples, and a huge number of night markets that are second to none, Taiwan has something that everyone can enjoy.

Here’s my list of the best things to do Taiwan to help you plan your trip and make the most of your visit!

Table of Contents

1. Eat, Eat Eat (Especially at the Night Markets)!

2. experience taiwanese tea culture, 3. check out the northern coastline, 4. hit the beaches, 5. soak in the hot springs, 6. go island hopping, 7. visit tainan, taiwan’s oldest city, 8. see old taiwan, 9. get off the beaten track on orchid island and green island, 10. explore the mountains, 11. go hiking in taroko national park, 12. head east, 13. witness some chaos, 14. see tianhou temple, 15. explore fo guang shan monastery, 16. visit a taiwanese aboriginal village, 17. take part in the pingxi lantern festival.

People eating at a street-side stall at Keelung Night Market in Taiwan

There are over 30 night markets in Taipei , New Taipei, and Keelung (and over 70 night markets across Taiwan). My personal favorites are Shilin, Keelung, and Raohe Street in Taipei.

Don’t miss eating xiao long bao, also known as soup dumplings, a favorite staple food here. They are made out of a thin pastry folded into a type of bag that is then stuffed full with a meat-and-vegetable mixture and a tiny amount of soup, then garnished with raw ginger and soy sauce. Biting into one of these is a flavor explosion in your mouth.

If you’d like to really dive deep into the different sides of Taiwanese cuisine, take a guided food tour . On this food tour, you’ll first dine at the Michelin-starred Din Tai Fung (famous for their xiao long bao) and then experience the Raohe Street night market, all with a local guide.  

Tea pickers working in the mountainous tea plantations of Taiwan

The Taiwanese also have their own type of tea ceremony that takes elements from both Chinese and Japanese tea ceremonies while adding their own cultural flair. Here, tea ceremonies are less focused on the rules and more about bringing people together.

Jiufen, Jwu Jiu Teahouse, and Pinglin are some of the best places to visit if you want to sample tea and learn more about how it’s made. You can also ride the Maokong Gondola up a mountain to a secluded teahouse where you can take in the amazing views while enjoying some tea.  

People walking around huge, sandstone colored rock formations in Yehliu Geopark, Taiwan

Guided tours are also available . The benefit to these tours is that you’ll have someone explain what you’re seeing. Signage isn’t great. If you can, I would definitely recommend a guided tour.  

Beaches may not be the first thing that you think of when Taiwan comes to mind. But with almost 1,000 miles of coastline (it is an island after all!), a great beach is never that far away.

Each region of the country offers something different. For example, the north is best known for its golden and black-sand beaches, while Kenting on the southern tip of the island offers a lively beachside nightlife. White Sand Bay is the most popular and a great place to soak up the sun, swim, snorkel, or even go diving (just keep an eye out for jellyfish!). Other great beaches are South Bay and Little Bali Bay.  

the Beitou Hot Springs just outside Taipei, Taiwan

As part of the Taipei metro area, Beitou is easily reachable by metro. Prices start at 60 TWD per person for a soak in Beitou Public Hot Spring, making it a very affordable choice for anyone looking for some R&R. If you’d like to splash out, there are plenty of more upscale hotels and resorts too.  

Panoramic view of the lush and green Penghu Island, Taiwan

The beautiful islands of Penghu just off Taiwan’s western coastline comprise the biggest archipelago and are especially well known for their golden beaches. All of the islands are distinct, and you can take a boat that will drop you off at one island for a few hours and then take you to the next one, so you can literally go from snorkeling to observing sea turtles to wandering through traditional villages made out of coral in a single day.  

This is Taiwan’s oldest urban area, established by the Dutch East India Company in 1624. Located in the south near Kaohsiung, Tainan was the capital of Taiwan from 1683-1887. There are all kinds of temples to visit here (don’t miss the Confucius Temple), several night markets, a historic old town, and a massive department store reminiscent of the Ginza district in Tokyo. There is also a nearby mangrove and wildlife reserve (it’s part of Taijiang National Park) just 30 minutes away by car.  

Traditional architecture in Kinmen, Taiwan

Additionally, you’ll be able to see historical military sites like underground tunnels and bunkers hidden in the countryside, and visit insightful museums to learn more about the unique history of the islands. The region is also known as being the producer of Taiwan’s famous gaoliang (kaoliang) grain alcohol, made from fermented sorghum.  

Located just off the southeastern coast, these lush islands are a treat to visit. Here you’ll find hiking, swimming, and diving. The best way to explore these islands is by renting a scooter so that you can get further off the beaten path and have an adventure exploring at your own pace.

Green Island has amazing saltwater hot springs — one of only three such hot springs in the world! Orchid Island is home to the indigenous Tao people, Taiwan’s most isolated indigenous tribe. They’re best-known for their traditional hand-carved wooden canoes and underground homes.  

Green mountains covered in clouds with a small village in the foreground in Taiwan

If you want to stretch your legs, climb to the summit of beautiful Jade Mountain and watch the sunrise (it takes two days to hike). This beautiful peak is almost 4,000 meters (13,000 feet) above sea level, giving it sweeping views in every direction.

Wuling Peak on Hehuan Mountain, around 3,275 meters (10,745 feet) above sea level, is another good hike for anyone looking to spend more time outdoors. But what really makes this place special is that the peak is so high, you can look down into a sea of clouds below!  

Ready for another city break? This national park covers 92,000 hectares (360 square miles) and offers visitors a chance to hike the numerous trails through mountainous terrain and dramatic gorges. You can stop to dip your feet in swiftly flowing mountain rivers and to marvel at the shrines and temples.

You can visit the park solo (which, if you’re staying in the nearby town, is easy to do) or as part of a full-day tour from Taipei . If you’re tight on time, the guided tour is the best option because it comes with transportation and a guide. Admission to the park is free.  

To really enjoy Taiwan’s majestic beauty, don’t forget Taiwan’s eastern coastline like most international visitors do! The east coast highway has some of the most dramatic coastal scenery in the world, from plunging sea cliffs and splashing surf to beaches, nature reserves, and rural towns a world away from the big city.

For maximum flexibility, Taiwan’s East Coast is best explored on a road trip, though there are buses that go down the coast. There is also a train line that hugs the coast a bit when heading south from Taipei, though it then veers inland.  

Crowds of people walk under a traditional archway in the Ximending neighborhood Taipei, Taiwan

The center of the neighborhood is the Red House, a well-known cultural landmark and marketplace where local artisans sell their wares. The massive outdoor plaza behind it is the epicenter of the city’s LGBTQ scene and is surrounded by many different welcoming bars and shops.

Give yourself bonus points for checking out all the super cool street art; you won’t find it on the main thoroughfares, but if you venture onto some of the smaller side streets, you’ll soon find yourself in a world of brightly decorated alleys and lanes.  

While you’re in Ximending, it’s worth stopping by one of the oldest temples in the city, Tianhou (also known as the Ximending Mazu Temple, after the in-house deity Mazu, goddess of the sea). Around since 1746, it’s one of three major temples in Taiwan from the Qing period. It’s located on a main thoroughfare but it’s very easy to miss the entrance.

Stepping through the entrance to this beautiful Taoist temple filled with mythological creatures, smoky incense, lucky goldfish, and people paying respect to the gods is truly a surreal experience. You’d never know this quiet oasis is in one of the busiest areas of Taipei !  

Expansive path with pagodas, leading up to the giant golden Big Budda, at Fo Guang Shan Monastery in Taiwan

One of the central features of the complex is the Buddha Museum, which houses tooth relics of the Buddha himself along with various shrines, galleries, exhibitions, vegetarian restaurants, and even a Starbucks (really). Behind the museum lies the Great Path of Buddhahood, a broad pathway flanked by eight identical pagodas, leading up to the 108-meter-high golden Big Buddha.

I’ve been to many temples and monasteries in my lifetime, but this one takes the cake.  

If you can’t make it to Orchid Island (see above), there are plenty of other places to learn about indigenous Taiwanese tribes. The Formosan Aboriginal Culture Village near Sun Moon Lake is the most popular destination. It’s the largest outdoor museum in the country and is half cultural village, half amusement park. Each of the nine small villages in the park represent and are run by a different tribe. In each, you can watch cultural performances and see how a variety of traditional crafts are made.  

One of the coolest events in Taiwan, the Pingxi Lantern Festival involves releasing hundreds of paper lanterns into the sky. (Many newlyweds also include this meaningful tradition as a part of their wedding celebration.) If you don’t want to brave the crowds, you can easily purchase a lantern and light one on any of Taiwan’s beaches. This is one of the biggest events in all of Taiwan so be sure to get tickets in advance to avoid the ticket lines.

Taiwan is very environmentally friendly, so make sure you go with the eco-friendly paper lantern options that disintegrate, leaving no residue, and don’t cause fires. The company My Taiwan Tour also currently offers biodegradable paper lantern tours in Shifen.

There are many things about Taiwan that make it an incredible place to live; it’s easy to take some of those things for granted once you’ve been here for a while. I frequently hear that people think Taiwan is very Westernized, and while I agree that it is to some extent, there are still plenty of authentic Taiwanese experiences to be had!

Taiwan is and continues to be an unexpected travel destination that continues to delight visitors to this day. There is no place like it!

Canadian expat Carrie Kellenberger has been living in Asia since 2003. She moved to Taiwan in 2006 and became a permanent resident in 2012. She loves entertaining guests and travelers to Taiwan. You can read about her adventures and life there at her blog, My Several Worlds .

Book Your Trip to Taiwan: Logistical Tips and Tricks

Book Your Flight Use Skyscanner . They are my favorite search engine because they search websites and airlines around the globe so you always know no stone is left unturned.

Book Your Accommodation You can book your hostel with Hostelworld as they have the biggest inventory and best deals. If you want to stay somewhere other than a hostel, use Booking.com as they consistently return the cheapest rates for guesthouses and cheap hotels. Two of my favorite places to stay are:

  • Formosa 101
  • Meander Taipei

Don’t Forget Travel Insurance Travel insurance will protect you against illness, injury, theft, and cancellations. It’s comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong. I never go on a trip without it as I’ve had to use it many times in the past. My favorite companies that offer the best service and value are:

  • Safety Wing (best for everyone)
  • Insure My Trip (for those over 70)
  • Medjet (for additional evacuation coverage)

Looking for the Best Companies to Save Money With? Check out my resource page for the best companies to use when you travel. I list all the ones I use to save money when I’m on the road. They will save you money when you travel too.

Want More Information on Taiwan? Be sure to visit our robust destination guide on Taiwan for even more planning tips!

Got a comment on this article? Join the conversation on Facebook , Instagram , or Twitter and share your thoughts!

Disclosure: Please note that some of the links above may be affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you make a purchase. I recommend only products and companies I use and the income goes to keeping the site community supported and ad free.

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15 Things to Do in Taiwan from the Must-See things to the Hidden Gems

One of the most exciting things about Taiwan attractions is that surprises are offered at every turn. While you can hike, bike or play in the water in many places around the world, such opportunities include unique touches in Taiwan. Once you’ve visited the eastern hemisphere, you’ll want to return again and again.

To get an idea for the incredible diversity when it comes to Taiwanese vacations, check out these suggestions.

Experience the Hustle and Bustle of Ximending

If you want to experience the best nightlife that Taipei has to offer, hightail it to Ximending. This popular neighborhood was the first pedestrian zone in Taiwan. The neighborhood has flourished and now includes some of the country’s best pop culture attractions. Located in the Wanhua District, it is referred to as the ‘Shopping Paradise’ seeing over three million shoppers per month looking for great bargains on electronic goods, toys, magazines, books, CDs and clothing.

Be Daring by Visiting Snake Alley

Over on Taipei’s narrow Huashi Street, you can find out just how brave you are. A section of it is known as “Snake Alley” - and for good reason, too. Live amphibians and reptiles, including snakes, slither and wriggle in several stalls. If you are squeamish about seeing live animals killed, though, you may want to skip past this unique Taiwan attraction.

Paraglide in Luye Gaotai

North of Longtian, you’ll find Taiwan’s paragliding capital. This highland area is known as Luye Gaotai, and it reaches elevations of over 1,000 feet in places. The winds here are perfect for paragliding, so adventurers regularly head out to this region. Whether you’ve been paragliding before or not, you’re sure to have an unforgettable time!

Indulge in a Full-Body Massage and Acupuncture

You’ve never fully experienced a Chinese massage or acupuncture like in Taiwan. This part of the world, of course, is where the practices originated. As a result, finding talented massage therapists and acupuncturists is wonderfully easy. Better still, such services tend to be remarkably affordable!

Enjoy the View from the Maokong Gondola

Taipei is a sprawling metropolis. Instead of traveling below ground, as in many major cities, you can soar above the city in a first-class gondola. The Maokong Gondola spans 12,000 feet and includes four stations. The novelty of being above the action is well worth the price of a ticket.

Learn Tai-Chi from a Master

Many Westerners are relatively clueless about the ancient art of Tai Chi. You can educate yourself and learn the basics - by signing up for a class in Taiwan. Most areas have lessons available, and it’s easy to find a true master to show you the ropes.

Tour Taipei at Night

There are plenty of day tours available in Taipei, but why not explore the city when it really comes alive - at night? Vegas and other American cities can’t hold a candle to the excitement that ensues in Taipei after dark.

Catch a Game at Tianmu Baseball Stadium

Nothing is as American as baseball. Its influence is so profound that it’s popular all the way over in Taiwan. If you’ll be visiting Taipei during baseball season, try to take in a game at Tianmu Baseball Stadium. It will remind you of home and give you a feel for how the locals enjoy sports.

Travel By Train

Taiwan’s train system is remarkably extensive and it is possible to cover the entire island by train. If you have time to spare, doing so is well worth it. Make sure that at least part of your journey takes place on the relatively new Taiwan High Speed Rail for views of the rugged, mountainous terrain.

Take in the Taipei 101 Skyscraper

With an antenna that reaches 1,670 feet into the sky, the Taipei 101 skyscraper dominates the skyline in Taipei. Set aside a few hours to pay it a visit. An outdoor observatory on the 91st floor offers amazing panoramic views of the city.

See the Largest Jade Market in the World

While in Taipei, take the time to visit the Jianguo Holiday Jade Market, the largest in the world. Whether you end up making a purchase or leave empty-handed, you won’t soon forget the experience of exploring this compelling market stocked with gems and flowers galore.

Go Fishing in Cisintan

If you take a trip to Taroko Gorge, make a pit stop at Cisintan to do a little fishing. Area fishermen swear that this is the prime fishing spot in the entire country.

Get a Foot Massage on Dihua Street

Taipei is a great city to explore on foot. However, those feet are bound to get sore after a while! Stop over on Dihua Street to enjoy a foot massage. Several establishments in this part of town offer such services very affordably.

Visit the Red Pavilion Theatre District

Gays are widely accepted in Taiwan, especially in Taipei. Experience the culture at the Red Pavilion Theatre and its surrounding neighborhood. The thriving gay community here is well known throughout the country.

See a Chinese Medicine Doctor

If you’ve only ever visited Western doctors, you’ve been missing out on some intriguing experiences. In Taiwan, Chinese medicine doctors are everywhere. Find one and stop by for a health checkup. The insights you gain are sure to be incredible!

Experience the Aboriginals Life of Taiwan’s Indigenous Tribes

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Home » Asia » Taiwan » Taipei

19 BEST Places to Visit in Taipei (2024 • MUST-SEE SIGHTS)

Taipei is the modern capital of Taiwan. The diverse city has a great infrastructure and it’s easy to explore the key places of interest in Taipei as well as travel to nearby cities and towns. From one of the tallest towers in the world and a globally renowned zoo to places of natural interest and terrific shopping, Taipei offers plenty for everyone.

Taipei doesn’t feature on many travellers’ radars, particularly people from outside of Asia, and is often overlooked in favour of other East Asian cities. It can be difficult to find information on what to see and do if you are planning a trip to Taipei, especially if you want to hit up more offbeat attractions and head off the beaten path.

With this ultimate list of the best places to visit in Taipei, you’ll be able to make sure to cover all the top attractions. No matter your age or travelling style you’ll find plenty of reasons to add Taipei to your travel wish list.

Warning: some of these best places to visit in Taipei are sure to surprise you!

Need a place quick? Here’s the best neighbourhood in Taipei:

These are the best places to visit in taipei, faq on the best places to visit in taipei, final thoughts on the best places to visit in taipei.

Datong, Taipei

Datong is the perfect place to stay if you are travelling on a shoestring budget. It is located just north of Zhongzheng and remains very central to explore Taipei’s many destinations.

  • Take a look at the humble features of the Confucius Temple
  • On the contrary, marvel at Bao’an Temple, one of Taipei’s most ornate temples
  • Try some local delicacies at the Ningxia Night Market

And now onto the fun stuff …my top picks for where to go in Taipei:

Ready for the breakdown of Taipei’s must-see places? Don’t miss these gems. These are the top things to see for crafting the ultimate Taipei itinerary!

must visit places taiwan

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#1 – Taipei 101 – One of the most amazing places in Taipei

Taipei 101 - One of the most amazing places in Taipei

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  • Eco-friendly structure
  • Among the world’s tallest towers
  • Rich symbolism
  • Sweeping views

Why it’s awesome: This is top of the Taipei places to visit list for good reason. Up there, you feel top of the world! Shaped like a traditional pagoda and standing at 508 meters (1,667 feet) tall, the soaring Taipei 101 was once the world’s tallest tower. It’s is still said to be the biggest green building in the world, both because of the coloured glass on its facades and due to its many environmentally friendly features.

Steeped in symbolism, the impressive tower has 101 floors. One hundred is usually viewed as perfection, so this gleaming modern tower goes one step beyond being perfect! There’s a large and luxurious shopping mall next to the tower and inside there are various offices, an observation level, displays, a conference centre, and a VIP Club.

What to do there: Ride in the super-fast elevators to reach the observation levels, with both indoor and outdoor viewing areas to enjoy. Feast your eyes on the sweeping city views and see interesting displays related to the tower’s construction, use, and symbolism. Spot various symbolic features around the tower and see many of the best places in Taipei from a completely different perspective.

#2 – Taipei Zoo – Awesome place to visit in Taipei with kids

Taipei Zoo - Taipei Zoo Awesome place to visit in Taipei with kids

  • Beautiful landscaping
  • Home to diverse creatures
  • Educational exhibits

Why it’s awesome: The largest zoo in Asia and one of the biggest zoos in the world, the modern and well-kept Taipei Zoo is often said to be among the best zoos on the planet. Spread over a large area, the zoo is home to an abundance of interesting species from across the globe.

Admission costs are low and it’s a fantastic place to spend a fun-filled day with the kids. Indeed, it’s one of the best places in Taipei for a family outing. There are various places to eat and drink throughout the zoo and the terrain is stroller friendly. Lush gardens, wide, open spaces, and educational displays add to the appeal.

What to do there: Plan to spend at least half a day (if not a whole day) exploring the large zoo. Seeing the cute pandas is often a highlight for many visitors, though don’t be disappointed if they are resting in the air conditioning! The children’s theatre, insectarium, and nocturnal animal house are also often popular with younger visitors.

#3 – Shilin Night Market – A must-see in Taipei for foodies!

Taipei Night Market - A must-see in Taipei for foodies

  • Array of items
  • Lively vibe
  • Lots of street food
  • Popular with locals and tourists

Why it’s awesome: Large and lively, Shilin Night Market draws many locals and tourists alike every day of the week. Stalls spread through a maze of streets, and you’ll find a great selection of local goods and international brands, usually at discount prices.

Some places have fixed prices and there are somewhere you can haggle so make sure you perfect your haggling skills . It’s especially worth asking for discounts if you’re buying in bulk. It’s not only a great place for shopping, though; Shilin Night Market is also one of the top spots in Taipei for delicious street food. It’s veritable foodie heaven!

What to do there: Stroll along the streets, letting your senses guide you as you sample a huge selection of local cuisine. Inhale the rich aromas, watch as vendors cook up dishes on the spot, and see an exciting array of delicacies set out to tempt the hungry.

Sink your teeth into things like fried buns, dim sum, stinky tofu, tempura, grilled meats, oyster omelet, and much, much more. Once you think it couldn’t get any better, pop into the underground Shilin Night Market Food Court for even more mouth-watering treats! It really is one of the best places to eat in Taipei.

Another famous night market in Taipei if you liked the Shilin Night Market is the Ningxia Night Market which is another great place to try some street food.

Discover Taiwanese culture and cuisine on this exclusive tour . Sample a variety of snacks including pineapple cake, grilled octopus, mango shaved ice and more to experience the flavours of Taiwan.

#4 – Longshan Temple – One of the most religious places to see in Taipei

Longshan Temple - most religious places to see in Taipei

  • Long history
  • Gorgeous architecture
  • Spiritual ambience
  • Ornate statues

Why it’s awesome: Built in the late 1730s by people from Fujian, Taipei’s Longshan Temple became a major spiritual and community centre for settlers from mainland China; it was built in honour of an ancient temple in their home province.

Still an active place of worship today, it is also one of the most significant religious landmarks in Taipei. The Longshan Temple features ornate and colourful details and the vibe is tranquil and serene. It’s a place to go in Taipei to have a breather from the city.

What to do there: Admire the striking building from the outside, feasting your eyes on the decorative pillars and roof, statues, and grand doorways. Step inside, where you’ll likely see people praying and making merit, inhale the sweet smells of incense, and see even more spiritual statues and artwork.

Wander through the grand halls and pause to take in the details of the various altars. There are shrines to various Chinese gods and goddesses as well as to the Lord Buddha. As far as cultural places in Taipei go, this is one of the best.

Explore the origins of Taipei, experience authentic Taiwanese culture, discover the fascinating stories of our folk gods and learn how they influence the lives of believers in Taiwan during this Taiwan Cultural Walking Tour with a local guide.

#5 – Danshui River Mangrove Nature Reserve – One of the most underrated places to see in Taipei

Danshui River Mangrove Nature Reserve

  • Interesting wildlife
  • Pretty views
  • Free attraction

Why it’s awesome: A short train ride from the hustle and bustle of the city centre, Danshui River Mangrove Nature Reserve is an interesting and peaceful outdoor spot.

One of the coolest lesser-visited attractions in Taipei, there is no charge to explore the nature reserve. Also known as Tamsui River Mangrove Nature Reserve, the area protects the large Hongshulin mangrove swamp as well as all the creatures that call the salty swamp home.

What to do there: Step into the small but informative education centre to learn more about the swamp and its eco-diversity before wandering along the boardwalk. Peer into the mangroves to spot an array of flora and fauna. Some of the most unusual creatures to look out for are the curious mudskippers – fish that can walk on land.

You’re also likely to see crabs and many types of birds. The ambiance is calm and there are great views of city life in the distance.

#6 – Jiufen – A very cool place in Taipei to go for a day


  • Great shopping
  • Plenty of photo opportunities
  • Stunning vistas
  • Historical vibe

Why it’s awesome: Jiufen is an old gold mining town in the wider Taipei area. Built by the Japanese, it is perched on the craggy mountainside near the coast. Easy to reach by road and rail from the heart of the city, it’s one of the most picturesque places of interest in Taipei.

There’s an olde-worlde vibe and plenty to see and do. The covered shopping area is especially popular and the views are beautiful. The town has featured in a number of movies and TV shows and if you’re backpacking Taiwan , be sure to include Jiufen on your itinerary.

What to do there: Visit the ornate Chinese temple and soak up the sense of spirituality and stand at the nearby observation point to enjoy beautiful views out over the water. Explore the two main hillside pedestrian streets of Shuchi Street and Jishan Street, pausing to look in the assortment of shops filled with an array of goods.

Stop for refreshments in a charming tea house and refuel in one of the traditional restaurants.

Although no longer open to visitors, you can see the outside of the historic Taiyang Co. Ruifang mining Operation Office and the now-derelict Jiufen Shingpeng Theatre, which was one of the earliest theatres in Taiwan. Feeling active? Go hiking up Mount Jilong and enjoy the terrific vistas!

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#7 – National Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall – Possibly one of the most important places to visit in Taipei

National Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall - one of the most important places to visit in Taipei

  • Magnificent building
  • Interesting and educational displays
  • Traditional guards
  • Beautiful grounds

Why it’s awesome: Among the most famous places in Taiwan, the National Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall is a well-known city landmark and a popular tourist attraction. Located at one end of the large Liberty Square, the iconic blue and white building is an attractive sight.

Open since 1980, it was constructed to honour the memory of the late president. Inside there is a large bronze statue of Chiang Kai Shek, guarded by solemn-looking soldiers in ceremonial uniforms, as well as educational displays and a library.

What to do there: Climb the 89 steps that lead to the upper level of the memorial hall, noting that the number of steps represents the age at which the former leader died. See the large statue of the late leader and snap some pictures of the smartly dressed guards. Descend back to ground level to learn more about the leader and Taiwan’s history in the museum.

There are many interesting objects and artifacts and comprehensive information is provided in English as well as Chinese languages. It’s one of the best places to visit in Taipei to get more of a sense of the culture and history of Taiwan.

#8 – Fort San Domingo – One of Taipei’s coolest historical sites

Fort San Domingo - Taipei’s coolest historical site

  • One of Taiwan’s oldest buildings
  • Controlled by various powers throughout history
  • Informative displays
  • Pleasant gardens

Why it’s awesome: Located in Tamsui, the striking red-colored fortress of San Domingo stands on the site of an earlier wooden fort. The original fortress was built by the Spanish, while the present building was constructed in the 1640s by the Dutch. It was later expanded and fortified further by the Qing regime and served as the British consulate from 1868.

It was occupied by the Japanese during the Pacific War, then later passed back to British control. One of the oldest buildings in Taiwan, today it is a National Historic Site and among the most popular tourist attractions in Taipei’s district of Tamsui.

What to do there: Pay the reasonable admission fee and climb the shaded steps to reach the entrance to the historic fortress. See the flag flying proudly above before following the sightseeing route through the fortress’s diverse areas.

In addition to the red fort, the site also has the original gate that was constructed during the Qing era, leafy gardens, and the English-style former residence of the British Consul. You can learn more about Taiwan’s history and see varied displays, period furnishings, and artifacts.

#9 – Houtong – Quite the quirky place to visit in Taipei!

Houtong - my personal best place to visit in Taipei

  • Former mining town
  • Home to many cats
  • Unusual features

Why it’s awesome: A short train ride from the heart of Taipei brings you to Houtong, an old coal-mining town built by the Japanese that is now known for its many felines. The hillside town was abandoned when the mines dried up, leaving cats to roam free, multiply, and claim the space as their own.

Today, Houtong is a Taipei must-see for any animal lover, particularly those with a penchant for cats. Volunteers care for the animals and have created many cool and quirky cat-themed attractions. I dunno about you, but this is my personal best place to visit in Taipei!

What to do there: Get up close and personal with the friendly cats that call Houtong home. You can buy food to pamper the kitties, but don’t feed them human treats as it can make them sick.

See the feline-themed artworks that adorn many walls, spot the small houses built to afford shelter to the strays, and enjoy snacks and drinks in one of the quaint cafes. There are plenty of great photo opportunities and you can purchase a range of cat-themed memorabilia.

Cat town: top sight in Taipei!

#10 – Beitou – Great place to visit in Taipei for couples

Beitou - Great place to visit in Taipei for couples

  • Unusual sights
  • Diverse museums
  • Places of natural interest in Taipei

Why it’s awesome: Although soaking in hot springs may not be the most obvious choice of things to do when experiencing hot and humid conditions, taking a dip is surprisingly relaxing and soothing. Beitou Hot Springs has a number of well-maintained and clean hot springs, with private changing areas and lockers.

Signs clearly state the temperature of each pool. It’s one of the best public hot springs around the city, though you will also find some private hot springs if you want a more exclusive experience. Beitou also boasts stunning geothermal features and several interesting attractions.

What to do there: Melt your problems away! If you’re looking for things to do in Taipei to take your mind off all those measly problems you left back home, this is the place to go!

Marvel at the milky blue steaming waters of Beitou Thermal Valley, also known as Hell Valley (closed on Mondays), set in beautiful natural surroundings. Discover more about the area at Beitou Hot Spring Museum, Ketagalan Culture Center, and Beitou Library. Stroll through the scenic Beitou Hot Spring Park and Plum Garden, visit the small and secluded Puji Temple, and soothe away any aches and pains in the hot springs.

#11 – Ximending – A great place in Taipei if you love to shop!

Ximending - Great place in Taipei if you love to shop

  • Youthful vibe
  • Energetic at night time
  • Japanese influence

Why it’s awesome: Ximending is one of the best places to visit in Taipei if you’re looking for cool shopping with a trendy and youthful vibe. Lively by day and by night, it has a wealth of recreational and leisure options too. Made popular when there was a heavy Japanese presence in Taiwan , it has gone from strength to strength since the 1980s.

It’s easy to spot the Japanese influences still today, though there is also a strong local feeling too. Brimming with clothes shops and accessory stores, the area also has cool karaoke joints, cinemas, and eateries.

What to do there: Spend hours browsing in a large variety of stores in Ximending, trying not to get swept away in the exuberant crowds. It’s an especially great place to shop in Taipei for alternative styles and items generally associated with various sub-cultures. Try out new fashions and perhaps add some funky pieces to your wardrobe. Stop for a bite to eat in one of the local restaurants and, as night falls, sing your heart out in one of the KTVs.

#12 – Ghost Mask Museum – One of the more unique places to visit in Taipei

  • Quirky attraction
  • Cultural and spiritual insights
  • Hand-made items
  • Lesser-visited museum

Why it’s awesome: The Ghost Mask Museum started life as one man’s private collection of hand-made ghostly masks. Nestled down a quiet alley, visitors can peer at some 1,500 unusual masks, with some that are rather grotesque and others that border on the comedic. Seeing the creepy collection of masks is definitely among the most unusual things to do in Taipei!

What to do there: Gaze in curiosity at the large collection of masks created by sculptor Wu Jyh Chyang and appreciate the effort and passion that must have gone into painstakingly creating each item by hand. Some masks are embellished with various items, including animal hair, cigarette butts, and scraps of cloth.

The museum provides insights into local ghost beliefs and some seek to teach valuable life lessons and warn of punishments that await one in the afterlife if people fail to live a righteous life. This may not be the top must-see in Taipei for those with a deep-seated fear of their own mortality… but I think it’s awesome!

must visit places taiwan

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#13 – Taipei Botanical Garden – One of the nicer places in Taipei to sightsee!

Taipei Botanical Garden - One of the nicer places in Taipei to sightsee

  • Centre for botanical research
  • Pleasant walking trails
  • Various gardens
  • Wide selection of plants

Why it’s awesome:   Switching gears from Taipei’s more morbid attractions, the Taipei Botanical Garden is home to some 1,500 species of plants… and super pretty! Established as a botanical garden by the Japanese in the early 1920s, there has been a garden at the same place for many decades. The pretty and peaceful garden is split between 17 different areas, with historical buildings, sparkling ponds, and well-maintained footpaths too.

What to do there: Take a leisurely stroll through the picturesque botanical garden, admiring a wide range of plants and flowers from different parts of the world. There are species native to the island of Taiwan, as well as those from neighbouring nations and farther afield. Some species are rare and there’s good information provided about the various flora.

#14 – Taipei Fine Arts Museum – A great place to visit in Taipei if you are alone/traveling solo

Taipei Fine Arts Museum - Best place to visit in Taipei for solo traveler art lovers

  • Lovely building
  • Interesting art works
  • Activities for kids
  • Learning opportunities

Why it’s awesome: The Fine Arts Museum is a Taipei must-do for anyone interested in art. A great place for solo travellers to immerse themselves in visual creativity, the museum has been capturing people’s interest since 1983. It was Taiwan’s first art museum to focus on contemporary and modern art. Now located at Taipei Expo Park, it’s a cool place to go in Taipei to escape the heat and enjoy a few hours in air-conditioned comfort.

The building has interesting architectural elements and there are many thought-provoking and stimulating art pieces to enjoy. There are regularly changing temporary displays in addition to the permanent exhibits, and the museum often hosts a range of special events.

What to do there: Wander along the tube-like suspended corridors, soaking up the Chinese influences, peer out through the gigantic windows to see nearby landmarks and open spaces, and, of course, feast your eyes on an abundance of fascinating art. Pieces span from the start of the twentieth century to the present day and there are works by both local and international artists.

Aiming to take visitors through the history of art in Taiwan, the museum also houses a number of antiques alongside modern works. If you’re visiting Taipei with children, don’t miss popping into the Children’s Art Education Centre too because kids love museums of fine art!

If you want to visit some more sites in the area, the Taipei Confucius Temple is just a ten-minute walk away and is a really stunning Chinese temple that doesn’t take too long to see.

#15 – Yehliu Geopark – A beautiful outdoor place to visit in Taipei

Yehliu Geopark - A beautiful outdoor place to visit in Taipei

  • Natural attraction
  • Splendid views
  • Brilliant photo opportunities
  • Coastal setting

Why it’s awesome: Yehliu Geopark is a fascinating natural attraction to add to your bucket list when you travel to Taipei. Although fairly remote, it is easy to reach by bus, making it an ideal day trip from Taipei. There are many interesting geological formations, created by the mighty powers of Mother Nature over thousands of years. The unusual landscapes are photogenic and there are amazing views out over the ocean so make sure you bring your camera !

What to do there: Walk along the coast, soaking up the views and marvelling at the unusual rocky landscapes. The cape runs for around 1,700 metres (5,577 feet), and highlights include features named the Kissing Rock, Sea Candles, Ice Cream Rock, Elephant Rock, Fairy Shoe, and Ginger Rocks. Take plenty of pictures of the stunning Queen’s Head. You can also pay a visit to the nearby Yehliu Ocean World where you can observe an interesting selection of aquatic creatures.

#16 – Dahu Park – A cool place to see in Taipei with friends

Dahu Park Taiwan - A cool place to see in Taipei with friends

  • Enjoy being outdoors
  • Lake and mountain vistas
  • Varied activities
  • Home to local wildlife

Why it’s awesome: Located in the Neihu District of Taipei, Dahu Park was established in 1979. One of the city’s prettiest parks, it is known for its large and scenic lake. The park sits in the shadow of Mt. Bailushi. There are various leisure options and it’s one of the best Taipei vacation ideas for families and groups of friends looking for somewhere to unwind in nature.

Combining natural and man-made features, there’s plenty to keep you occupied for several hours and it’s also one of the best places to stay in Taipei . If you visit Taipei on the weekend you’ll likely find the park teeming with local families, but if you go on a weekday you can enjoy a quieter ambiance.

What to do there: Cross the pretty Jindai Bridge that spans the large Egret Lake and enjoy the views of the lake and the surrounding nature.

Follow nature trails through the park and spot diverse flora and fauna, relax in the traditional Chinese-style pagoda next to the water’s edge, have a go at fishing, unwind in the heated swimming pool, and enjoy a little TLC in the sauna and steam room. If you’re feeling active, climb Mt. Bailushi for terrific views over the area.

#17 – Taipei City Mall – The Underground Mall in Taipei

Taipei City Mall

  • A great place to shop for boutique clothing and souveniers
  • Easily connected to Taipei Main Station
  • The oldest market in Taipei
  • A cool place to pass the time

Why it’s awesome: Taipei City Mall is an underground mall between the Daan and Zhongzheng districts in Taipei City. It was the first underground market to open in Taipei City though it’s had its share of history. In the 90s, the government decided to knock down the original market and build a new one. It opened in the year 2000, eight years later, and provided shops for the 810 market stalls that originally stood there.

Now, the 825-meter long underground mall is composed of modern shops, filled with boutique brands and traditional stalls intertwined. It connects to Taipei Main Station and the metro, which is right underneath the mall. So it’s pretty easy to get to.

What to do there: shop until you drop! It’s a mall, so of course, it’s the place to be to buy clothing and souvenirs. You can find contemporary brands or something a little more traditional, or you can find a cafe or restaurant to relax in and enjoy some good food.

#18 – Yangmingshan National Park – The Most Beautiful National Park in Taipei

Yangmingshan National Park Taipei

  • One of the 9 National Parks in Taiwan
  • A great place to enjoy nature and being outdoors
  • Hiking and wildlife activities available
  • A quiet place to escape the busy city center

Why it’s awesome: The Yangmingshan National Park is one of nine national parks in Taiwan and is conveniently located between Taipei and New Taipei City. 

Historically referred to as Caoshan (which means Green Mountain in English) the national park is a breath of fresh air away from the hustle and bustle of the city. There are some nice scenic spots in the park to enjoy a nice picnic or you can just enjoy being out in nature.

You’ll find hiking trails that take you through stunning gardens, over rolling landscapes and past the hot springs. If you are staying in Taipei City for more than a week I would definitely recommend taking the trip up here.

If you don’t have a lot of time and you want to see some nature, consider checking out the Elephant Mountain hike. The Elephant Mountain is located within the city close to the Xiangshan MRT Station.

What to do there: As it’s a national park, the best thing to do here is to unwind in nature and just stroll around the hills and gardens. 

If you’re visiting on a weekend, you can only get to the national park by bus. From Taipei Main Station, take the 260 bus or the Red 30/208 from Jiantan MRT Station. These buses will drop you off at Yangmingshan bus station where it’s just a 700 meter walk to the park entrance.

#19 – National Palace Museum – The Largest Collection of Chinese Artifacts in The World

National Palace Museum Taipei

  • Largest collection of Chinese artefacts in the world
  • In a gorgeous building that’s worthy of Instagram photos
  • Located in the Shilin district, perfect for those who want street food after
  • A nice, quiet indoor activity to do when it rains

Why it’s awesome: The National Palace Museum is known for its permanent collection of nearly 700,000 pieces of Chinese artwork, relics, and artifacts. This is the largest collection of its type in the world. 

Spanning 8,000 years of Chinese history, mostly from the Ming and Qing dynasty, but also dating as far back as the neolithic age. The collection of high-quality pieces was usually collected by Chinese emperors, and they are now on display for public viewing. 

Many of the artifacts used to be housed in the Forbidden City in Beijing, but during the Civil War in China, many items were moved to Taipei to protect them from getting destroyed in the conflict.

A total of 2,972 crates of artifacts were moved from the Forbidden City, which was only 22% of the original number of crates due to be sent here, but it is said that the pieces that made it to the National Palace Museum represented some of the very best of the collection.

What to do there: Walk around and enjoy the incredible artifacts, from pottery and ceramics, weapons, paintings, clothing, and tools. There’s so much to see here, it could easily take you a whole day. 

The exterior is also one of the most beautiful buildings in Taipei City. You should take your time to admire the outside as well as inside. It’s also located in the Shilin District, so if you go in the afternoon, you can head to the night market for some food after.

must visit places taiwan

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Find out what people want to know about the where to go in Taipei.

What is a free place to visit in Taipei?

The Danshui River Mangrove Nature Reserve is free to visit and a beautiful area in Taipei.

How many days should I spend in Taipei?

Taipei is a city you can see in a long weekend. 2 or 3 days is enough to see all the main highlights, but you might want to hang around longer if you want to do the hikes too.

What is Taipei famous for?

Taipei is famous for being the capital of Taiwan and the birthplace to bubble tea.

Is Taipei an expensive place to visit?

Yes, Taipei is generally quite expensive. However, it is still cheaper than Japan.

So, Taiwan is awesome and so is the capital; Taipei is filled with beautiful places to see indulging in rich culture and vibrant history.

I’d even say that Taiwan is criminally unexplored when compared to its other East Asian neighbours.

There’s no shortage of secrets in the city if you’re aching to break away from Taipei’s tourist attractions. Even if you stick to visiting Taipei’s popular places, you’re still going to have an awesome time!

Taiwan is a fantastic little island and another gem of East Asia with its own unique history.

When you get there, make sure you soak it up. Go to some places, hit up Taipei’s best destinations, and, most of all, eat yourself into that mother of all food comas at one of the incredible night markets, because there are so many. Whether you go to the Shilin Night Markets, Raohe Night Markets or Ningxia Night Market, don’t be afraid to try some BBQ.

And, most of all, have a blast!

Pingxi Lantern Release - top thing to do in Taipei

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must visit places taiwan

I want to buy a large paper map of Taipei that has the street names written in pinyin. Do you know where I can buy this kind of map?

I’m curious but I’ve read that the Ghost Mask Museum now has been closed. Do you know anything about this?

We haven’t heard about this. We don’t have anybody on the ground to go and check so if you find anything, please do let us know!

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Spiritual Travels

66 Unmissable Things to Do in Taiwan in 2024

Dear reader: This article contains links to products and services that I may be compensated for, at no extra cost to you.

Welcome to the ultimate Taiwan bucket list! Taiwan is a small country that packs in a seemingly unlimited number of awe-inspiring attractions, from the towering skyscrapers of Taipei to isolated aboriginal tribes on offshore islands .

Here I’ve compiled my favorite things to do in Taiwan, all things I’ve personally done (most of them several times) in my 10+ years living in this country . These include the most popular Taiwan attractions as well as my favorite off-the-beaten-track things to do in Taiwan.

Deciding what to do in Taiwan can be tough, with so many famous tourist spots as well as lesser-known ones. Whether you’re only here for a quick stopover in Taiwan or staying for weeks, the possibilities just seem endless!

The suggestions below are organized into sections covering Taipei, the North, East Coast, Central Mountains, and the South of Taiwan. To find out how to map out the below attractions for your visit, please see my recommended Taiwan itinerary for 1-3 weeks .

For everything else you need to know about visiting the country, here’s my general guide to traveling in Taiwan and my Taiwan-focused website, TaiwanObsessed .

Have questions about traveling in Taiwan? Read these Taiwan FAQs or ask your questions in my Taiwan Travel Planning group !

Table of Contents

Taiwan Essentials

  • I recommend Insubuy or Safety Wing (see why in my guide to insurance for Taiwan ) and Kiwi.com for flights (see how to find budget flights to Taiwan ). Also check if you need a visa for Taiwan .
  • Use Klook to find great deals and discounts on attractions, transportation, and more around the country. I highly recommend it and use it all the time! Sign up here to get NT$100 off your first booking. Also read my guide to other useful apps for traveling in Taiwan .
  • Consider getting a Taipei Fun Pass , which can save you money if used well.
  • If you decide the above pass isn’t worth it for you, you can simply buy an EasyCard , which covers public transportation in major cities in Taiwan. See my EasyCard user’s guide .
  • I recommend picking up a copy of the best Taiwan travel guidebook and reading these facts about Taiwan .
  • Pre-pay for your portable WiFi device or local SIM card for pickup at the airport. Read my guide to picking up your SIM at the airport and whether you should get an eSIM for Taiwan .
  • If you plan to travel by High Speed Rail , you can buy discounted HSR tickets online – read how to book seats with them here .
  • If you’re short on time, you can squeeze in Taiwan’s top sights on this 5-day Taiwan tour or let Life of Taiwan plan a fully customized luxury tour of Taiwan for you. Tell them Nick sent you over!
  • Check out the best cooking classes in Taiwan here .
  • Find out about Taiwan’s money and when to tip in Taiwan .

When to Travel to Taiwan

There is no distinct high or low travel season in Taiwan; tourist numbers go up and down by the month and depend on a lot of factors. What’s more, the weather and climate varies considerably from north to south and seaside to high mountain areas.

Do you want to bask in Taiwan’s summer heat? See cherry blossoms? Soak in hot springs? Go hiking in mild weather? Avoid typhoons and the rainy season? To help you decide the best time to visit, I’ve written articles covering each month of the year in Taiwan, which are summarized in my post on the best time to visit Taiwan .

If you only have a short stay, read my guide to Taoyuan Airport and doing a stopover in Taiwan . Now, let’s get to the top attractions in Taiwan!

Taiwan’s Top Experiences

The below are what I consider the most unmissable experiences in Taiwan. In the following sections, I’ll cover the more specific places to visit across Taiwan, from north to south.

Legendary Night Markets

Food stalls and a red octopus statue at Ruifeng Night Market

If someone asks me what to do in Taiwan, but I can only choose one answer, it would be to visit a night market. Taiwan is known across Asia for its night markets, and many foodies visit the country JUST to dine in its night markets.

I’ve made it my mission to visit every major night market across Taiwan (this may be a lifelong endeavor, as there are hundreds!) Here are my guides covering the best night markets in Taipei , night markets in Taichung , night markets in Tainan , and night markets in Kaohsiung . For vegetarians and vegans, here’re my vegetarian night market recommendations .

To get a taste of what you’ll be eating, I’ve compiled 101 Taiwanese foods you’re most likely to encounter there. Taiwan is also famous for its teas , and there’s even an underground chocolate culture in Taiwan .

Over 100 Major Hot Springs

Remote Lisong Hot Spring in Taitung County Taiwan

Taiwan is a thermal hot spring paradise. Sitting on the Ring of Fire, the island nation has one of the highest concentrations of natural hot springs in the world.

You can experience Taiwan’s hot spring culture by hiking to wild springs, soaking in Japanese-era bathhouses, or getting a luxurious private hot spring room with your loved one.

Find out everything you need to know in my guide to the best hot springs in Taiwan . I’ll be introducing specific individual ones below.

Welcoming People & Unique Culture

Taiwanese people holding up a rainbow colored Taiwan flag at Pride Parade in Taiwan

Taiwanese pride themselves on being super friendly and welcoming to foreign visitors, and they really are. They want the world to know that their country exists, and to this end they welcome outsiders enthusiastically. Taiwanese society is one of the freest in Asia, and the country was the continent’s first to legalize equal marriage rights.

Taiwan is also known for its convenience store culture, with one of the highest concentrations of convenience stores in the world. Grabbing a cold beer and instant noodles from 7-Eleven to enjoy at a nearby park is a classic Taiwan experience, while the “ding dong” of the automatic 7-11 door is a sound that most Taiwanese associate with home.

To learn more about Taiwanese culture, read my guide to Taiwanese language and (more related articles coming soon!) Also, please don’t confused Taiwan with Thailand, like so many people do. To clear this help, here’s my article explaining the many differences between Taiwan and Thailand .

Unbeatable Hiking and Outdoor Activites

Me standing on top of a rock at the peak of Jinmianshan trail in Taipei, holding my arms out with a blue sarong blowing in the wind

Taiwan is one of the world’s great hiking destinations. In fact, the country has the world’s highest concentrations of high mountains, with 268 peaks above 3000 meters (9843 ft), including Yushan, which is taller than Mount Fuji. Over 2/3rd of the island consists of mountains!

Amazingly, some of the best hikes in Taiwan can be found right in and around the capital. Here’s my guide to the best hikes in Taipei . Several of these are located on Yangmingshan , a semi-dormant volcano right in the city! I’ve also written about the best hikes across the island here and here .

Besides hiking, some other popular outdoor activities in Taiwan are river tracing , riding hot air balloons , whale watching , scuba diving , surfing , and more.

Beaches and Offshore Islands

My friends on Fulong Beach Taiwan in summer

While Taiwan isn’t quite as famous for its beaches as countries like Thailand or the Philippines, it still has its fair share of good ones.

Here I’ve compiled my favorite beaches near Taipei . In the south of Taiwan, there’s so good surfing to be had, while Kenting National Park at the southern tip of Taiwan has some of the best beaches on mainland Taiwan.

But it’s no secret that Taiwan’s outying islands have the best beaches in Taiwan. The Penghu Islands and Green Island are top contenders here. I’ll be covering Taiwan’s offshore islands in individual entries below, as there is much more to them than just beaches.

Colorful Festivals and Events

Yanshui Beehive Festival, one of the craziest things to do in Taiwan during Chinese New Year

The Taiwanese calendar is dotted with exciting festivals and events, from traditional Chinese festivals to pool dance parties, and everything in between.

In this article, I cover the 60+ festivals in Taiwan , in the order they will come from January to December. Lunar New Year is the biggest holiday in Taiwan, but can also be a challenging time to travel.

Mesmerizing Temples

Temples are some of the best places to visit in Taiwan

Taiwanese temples must be seen to truly understand. Most of them are explosions of color and detail, known for their intricate carvings and details. These are living places of worship, with equally complex rituals and prayers taking place daily. They are free to enter for all.

Temples in Taiwan may fall under Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, folk religion, or, more often than not, a combination of two or more of the above.

Learn more in my guide to the best temples in Taipei and temples in Tainan , the spiritual and historical heart of Taiwan. I will cover a few more notable temples in Taiwan further below.

Things to Do in Taipei

Taipei is such as enticing city that you could easily spend weeks there and never run out of things to do. It’s no wonder so many visitors end up getting stuck there for life, myself included!

For even more ideas, check out my articles on unmissable things to do in Taipei City .

I’ve also got articles covering where to stay in Taipei , the best hostels , Taipei day trip ideas , and my recommended itinerary for 2 days / 3 days / 4 days / 5 days .

Survey the capital from Taipei 101

Incredible view from Taipei 101 observatory, one of the top things to do in Taiwan

Ride one of the world’s fastest elevators to the 89th floor observation deck for a 360-degree bird’s eye view of Taipei from Taipei 101 ( read my Taipei 101 guide for more info than you’ll find here!)

This famous Taiwan landmark is a skyscraper shaped like a stalk of bamboo. Be sure to check out the enormous 730-ton stabilizer ball in the center, which keeps the once tallest building in the world from falling in the event of an earthquake. Don’t miss the excellent souvenirs sold there too.

Save money and buy your ticket in advance online , and choose ‘Express Pass’ to skip the long lines. For a more thrilling experience, try the Skyline 460 Observation Deck (read about my Skyline 460 visit here ), which is on the actual roof of Taipei 101, and includes entry to the regular Observation floors. You can also get a massage inside Taipei 101 , with an epic view!

The Taipei 101 Observatory is also included on the Taipei Unlimited Fun Pass , which is a great way to save money while traveling in Taipei. See my guide to the fun pass here . After visiting Taipei 101, dine at Taiwan’s most famous restaurant nearby.

Also don’t miss one of the events of the year in Taiwan in December , when fireworks shoot from the sides of Taipei 101 to celebrate New Year’s Eve! Find the best spots to view the Taipei 101 fireworks here .

Some of the best luxury hotels in Taiwan are around Taipei 101.

Bathe in Beitou’s thermal waters

Wondering what to do in Taiwan? Check out Millennium hot spring in Beitou!

Visiting Taiwan in winter ? Beitou is the only MRT-accessible hot spring in Taiwan. It sits at the base of Yangming Mountain in northern Taipei City. Learn how to spend an amazing day exploring the area in my guide to Beitou Hot Spring .

Beitou’s hot springs were first developed by the Japanese. Several Japanese-built structures remain, including the Xinbeitou train station, Hot Spring Museum, Beitou Museum, and Puji Temple.

Public Millennium Hot Spring in the Hot Spring Park is the cheapest choice, while Spring City Resort has the best family-friendly hot spring facility.

For a classier soak, try Hotel Royal Beitou .

Exlore Ximending, the “Shinjuku of Taipei”

Street Art in Ximending, Taipei

Ximen, Taipei’s funkiest neighborhood, has been cool since Japanese times. The pedestrian shopping district attracts crowds of local youths and travelers.

It is here that you can find cosplay cafés, piercing and tattoo parlors, ice cream shops with weird flavors, and MTV parlous (private rooms to watch a movie). Ximen is also home to Taipei’s largest LGBT district, historic Red Theater, a weekend arts and craft market, and over a dozen movie theaters.

Get more ideas in my article on weird things to do in Ximending , find out what to eat in Ximending , and read about my experience getting a knife massage in Ximending .

Learn more in the city’s excellent museums

Museum of World Religions Taipei

For starters, you can’t miss the National Palace Museum , arguably the most important museum in the Chinese-speaking world. The colossal structure houses some 700,000 artifacts. If you book your ticket online , it includes entrance to the Southern Branch of the National Palace Museum in Chiayi .

Next door, you’ll find the Shung Ye Museum of Formosan Aboriginals. You can save money by getting this combined ticket .

For art lovers, the Museum of Contemporary Art and Taipei Fine Arts Museum are musts. If you are visiting Taipei with kids , consider the Land Bank Exhibition Hall of the National Taiwan Museum, which houses a dinosaur exhibit, or the Miniatures Museum of Taipei .

Admission to numerous museums and art galleries in Taipei are covered with the Taipei Unlimited Fun Pass .

Ride a YouBike along Taipei’s riverside parks

Taipei YouBike

Renting a YouBike is a quintessential Taipei experience! The signature yellow and orange bikes (produced by Taiwan’s own Giant Bicycles) are available from literally hundreds of drop-off points throughout Taipei City and New Taipei City .

As a foreigner, it can be a little tricky to rent one. Although many people don’t realize this, you can actually rent one without an EasyCard and local SIM/phone number. I explain how to do it in my YouBike guide .

Some of the best riding to be had in the city is along the city’s numerous riverside parks. A favorite ride of mine is to rent a bike at Yuanshan MRT station, riding past the Taipei Fine Arts Museum and Lin An Tai Historical Home to reach the Dajia Riverside Park, continuing along to Raohe Night Market and Songshan Ciyou Temple.

YouBikes are also available in major cities across Taiwan.

Ride a glass floor gondola over tea fields

Maokong Gondola glass bottom cable car

The Maokong Gondola ascends from Taipei Zoo MRT station into the foothills surrounding Taipei, where light, fruity Baozhong oolong tea is grown. To ride in a glass floor gondola, make sure to get in the line marked “Crystal Cabins.”

You can get off at Zhinan Temple station for commanding city views from a stunning temple, or continue to the final stop, Maokong station, from where you can walk to numerous tea houses overlooking tea farms and hiking trails.

Don’t forget to try the tea-flavored soft serve ice cream!

Use your EasyCard to ride the Moakong Gondola, and return tickets are included if you get the Taipei Unlimited Fun Pass .

You can also get a deal on Maokong + Taipei Zoo tickets here.

Admire CKS Memorial Hall, one of Taipei’s most iconic structures

Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall, Taipei

The Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall honors Taiwan’s former dictator and is the city’s most prominent historic landmark. The imposing, octagonal, 76-meter blue and white structure is definitely worth a visit.

In the same large square sit the classical Chinese-style National Theater and Concert Hall. Teens can often be seen practicing dance moves on the walkways around the two buildings.

The best view of the square can be had from Liberty Square Arch on the NW side of the square.

CKS Memorial Hall is included on this Taipei Double Decker Bus Tour .

Explore Taipei’s world-famous food streets

Stinky tofu taiwan

Besides its famous night markets, Taipei is also known for several food streets.

Shenkeng Old Street is otherwise known as the “stinky tofu street” or “tofu capital of Taiwan. This is the best place to try stinky tofu, Taiwan’s most infamous snack.

Yongkang Street is known for its mango shaved ice , traditional teahouses, and high concentration of excellent local restaurants, while Burma Street (also called Zhonghe Myanmar Street) in New Taipei City has the country’s best collection of Burmese restaurants.

Last but not least, Addiction Aquatic Development is an unmissable spot for anyone who loves seafood, whether you want it in seafood hot pot, BBQ, stand-up sushi bar, or an economical sashimi plate to take away.

Play with kitties in a cat cafe

A hand feeding a package of wet cat food to a black and white cat sitting on a table in a cat cafe in Tainan

Did you know that the cat cafe trend started in Taiwan? Find out where it all began in my guide to the best cat cafes in Taipei and around Taiwan .

Since there, there are over a dozen good ones in the city, not to mention several more in cities across the country. Some of these are just regular cafes with a few cats hanging out inside, while others are full on affairs where you pay to spend time with dozens of furballs, including rare breeds.

If you still haven’t found your accommodation in Taipei, read my guide to where to stay in Taipei or see this list of the best Taipei hotels .

Things to Do in Northern Taiwan

Northern Taiwan is dominated by Yangmingshan National Park , a huge dormant volcano massif. The North Coast Highway (Provincial Highway 2) is dotted with enticing attractions ranging from beaches and cliff diving to night markets and historic villages.

New Taipei City, a huge city surrounding Taipei, is home to some of the best day trips from Taipei , while Taoyuan city and Hsinchu county offer possibilities for getting off the beaten track.

Take in a romantic sunset in Tamsui

Sunset at Lover's bridge, Fisherman's Wharf, Danshui

Tamsui (Danshui) is a district of New Taipei City with a popular riverside promenade at the end of the Taipei MRT red line. It’s a lovely spot where the Tamsui river, which flows through Taipei, meets the sea.

The promenade is lined with food stalls and children’s games, while in the evening it takes on the air of a seaside night market. There are also a few historical sights in Tamsui, including the Fort San Domingo . Entrance is included in the Taipei Unlimited Fun Pass .

Catch a river boat (also included on the Taipei Unlimited Fun Pass or swipe with EasyCard ) to Fisherman’s Wharf, a large dock that is famous for having some of Taipei’s best sunsets. The prime spot is Lover’s Bridge, which connects the dock to the shore.

Gorge on seafood at Keelung Night Market

Miakou (Keelung) Night Market, one Taiwan's best night markets

The night market in Keelung, northern Taiwan’s largest port, is so special that it gets its own entry here. Not only does it specialize in delicious seafood (there’s something for everyone if you don’t like seafood), but also every stall has its specialty marked in English, and it is easily Taiwan’s most photogenic night market. Find my food recommendations in my food guide to Keelung Night Market .

The market’s Mandarin name is Miaokou (or “Temple Entrance”) Night Market, named after the large temple at its core. You can reach Keelung in 40-60 minutes from Taipei on the regular train, or visit it after a day trip to Jiufen (see below).

Besides the night market, there are many other interesting things to do in Keelung . See my Keelung guide for more info. Find even more ideas in this article by my friend.

Photograph oddly shaped rock formations at Yehliu

Yehliu Taiwan

Yehliu Geopark is the most popular day trips from Taipei. It is a narrow cape jutting out into the sea, with unusual rock formations carved out by sea winds. It’s a stunning, almost lunar landscape.

The most popular formation is shaped like a queen’s head and typically has a long line of visitors waiting to take a selfies in front of it. If you arrive on your own, you can skip the entrance line with this online admission ticket .

Yehliu is also included on this day tour to Jiufen and Shifen waterfall and the Taipei Unlimited Fun Pass .

Find out why everyone thinks Jiufen inspired Miyazaki’s Spirited Away

A-Mei Tea House Jiufen

The former gold mining town turned atmospheric tourist market called Jiufen snakes its way up the mountain, commanding impressive views of the sea. It is easily the most popular of the many day trips from Taipei.

Here’s my guide to Jiufen and all the info you need for getting from Taipei to Jiufen on your own.

You can skip the line at Amei Teahouse , Jiufen’s most iconic building. Jiufen is also part of this Yehliu, Jiufen, and Shifen tour .

The same public buses that go to from Taipei or Ruifang to Jiufen also continue 10 minutes further to the Jinguashi Gold Ecological Park , which offers impressive views, mining history, a golden waterfall, and a hike to the remains of Shinto shrine. You can even eat ice cream topped with real gold flakes there!

Hang out with cats at Houtong Cat Village

Wondering what to do in Taiwan? How about the Houtong Cat Village?

The 9-stop Pingxi small train line provides access to some gorgeous mountain villages that make for a pleasant day trip from Taipei as well as some incredible hiking. After getting on the train at Ruifang, the first notable stop is Houtong, otherwise known as Taiwan’s “cat village”.

Once a coal mining town, Houtong’s modern claim to fame is its 100+ resident cats.

It all began in 2008 when a local cat lover began taking care of resident strays. Visitors today can buy cat-themed souvenirs, snacks and drinks, and of course, pet and photograph tons of cats.

The tiny village occupies either side of Houtong train station, with a cat tail-shaped tunnel connecting the two sides. See my Houtong Cat Village guide to plan your visit.

Shifen Waterfall, Taiwan’s widest

Shifen Waterfall, the most famous waterfall in Taiwan.

Shifen, another stop on the Pingxi train line after it veers inland, is famous for Shifen waterfall, the widest in the country and sometimes called the “Niagara Falls of Taiwan.” The narrow train station is very atmospheric and popular among tourists.

Many visitors like to set off paper lanterns at Shifen train station. This practice is associated with Pingxi, three more stops in on the train line. Pingxi is the site of the annual Pingxi Mass Sky Lantern Release , one of the most famous festivals in Taiwan. You can also access the Pingxi Crags (see next entry) from Pingxi Station.

Find out how to get to Shifen Waterfall here or consider joining this very convenient tour to Shifen, Yehliu, and Jiufen .

Ascend vertical crags on three amazing hikes

Pingxi Crags hike, Taiwan

Taiwan as a whole is a paradise for hikers, and there are three hikes in the Greater Taipei area that stand out if you are looking for adventure. As scary as they may look, all of them are easy enough for anyone who is relatively fit.

The first is the Pingxi Crags, a series of trails leading up a cluster of sheer vertical crags. All the ascents are fitted with ropes and ladders and it is very safe. Still, your heart will be in your throat.

The second is Huangdi Dian hike in Shiding District, which is a little tougher, as it involves a long uphill slog before the trail reaches the peak, which features a gorgeous and incredibly picturesque ridge walk.

Third, and probably the pick of the bunch, is Wuliaojian trail in Sanxia district, a incredibly varied hike that includes rope ladders, cliffs, ridges, views, and pretty much everything that can make a hike awesome and fun. Again, it’s a little challenging (mentally, more than anything, if you dare to look down), but anyone who is in decent shape can do it.

Bathe in colorful water at Jiaoxi Hot Spring in Yilan

Jiaoxi hot spring in Yilan County

Among the many hot spring villages in Taiwan, Jiaoxi Hot Spring in Yilan County is my personal favorite for its many colorful, scented hot spring tubs and herbal steam rooms. Besides soaking in springs, you can also hike to impressive waterfalls, eat hot spring ramen, and drink local craft beer while soaking your feet in a hot spring creek in Jiaoxi.

Find out how to do all of this and more in my guide to Jiaoxi Hot Spring . Also see my Yilan travel guide and find more fun things to do in Yilan .

Yilan is also known for its cool guesthouses & B&Bs .

Sample award-winning whiskey at Kavalan Distillery

Kavalan Whiskey Distillery, Yilan, Taiwan

Did you know that Taiwan produces some of world’s best whiskeys? The World Whiskies Awards named Kavalan’s Vinho Barrique the world’s best single malt whisky in 2015 and the Solist Amontillado Sherry Single Cask Strength the World’s Best Single Cask Single Malt Whisky in 2016.

Entry and a tour of the distillery are free, or you can enjoy a more intimate tour in English with unlimited sampling and make a bottle of your own blend of whiskey to take home on this Kavalan Distillery tour .

The Kavalan Distillery is located in Yilan County and can easily be visited as a day trip from Taipei. Consider to combine your visit with Jiaoxi hot springs (see last entry) then visit Luodong Night Market before heading back to Taipei.

If craft beer is your thing, then the excellent Jim & Dad’s Brewing company is just down the road.

Experience aboriginal culture and hot springs in Wulai

Aboriginal millet wine vendor on Wulai Old Street

Wulai District of New Taipei City is home to Taiwan’s northernmost aboriginal tribe, and the closest one to Taipei City. Wulai is many local expats’ favorite day trip from Taipei, for its riverside thermal hot springs, awesome hiking and river tracing, wild scenery, and delicious aboriginal treats.

Read my guide to Wulai for all the details.

Spend a day at Leofoo Village, Taiwan’s most famous theme park

Leofoo Village Theme Park, Taiwan

While Taiwan has loads of great amusement parks , Leofoo Village in Hsinchu county remains the most famous. It began as a safari park and still has a safari section, but now also includes four huge themed areas of rides as well as a great water park. Don’t miss the screaming condor, a totally insane inverted rollercoaster.

You can save nearly 50% of your entrance fee by buying your ticket online before you go.

Shop for ceramics in Yingge

Tea set from Yingge, Taiwan

Yingge is the undisputed pottery capital of Taiwan. Here’s my guide to Yingge .

There are more than 800 businesses specializing in ceramics around Yingge Old Street. Here you can find tea sets and all manner of pottery ranging from cheap and functional to pieces of art that belong in museums.

In fact, there is a museum in town: the Yingge Ceramics Museum, and it is one of the best museums I’ve ever been to.

If you prefer to visit with a knowledgeable guide, check out this Taiwanese folk arts tour .

Things to do on the East Coast of Taiwan

The rugged east coast of Taiwan is know for its wild scenery. Going south from the plains of Yilan, the coast becomes increasibly dramatic, culminating at the Qingshui Cliffs and Taroko Gorge in Hualien County . Continuing south to Taitung brings visitors to remote Taitung County, the bread (or rice) basket of Taiwan, where you can surf year-round.

Click here for even more ideas on  things to do in Hualien and things to do in Taitung .

Test your nerves at the Qingshui Cliffs

Qingshui Cliffs, Hualian, Taiwan

On the rugged and wild east coast of Taiwan, the infamous Suao to Hualien highway, especially the portion known as the Qinshui Cliffs, is the most dramatic.

You’ can take in the cliffs as a part of a Taroko Gorge day tour from Taipei , a less rushed tour from Hualien , by hiring a driver (my preferred option), or by renting a scooter in Hualien and going there on your own (international license or local Taiwanese scooter license needed).

Here you can stop at the side of the highway and gaze down to the sea hundreds of meters below. The Qingshui Cliffs are included on most tours of Taroko Gorge, as they are just a short drive from the entrance to Taroko Gorge.

Find out how to plan this and other hualien activities in my suggested Hualien itinerary .

Marvel at dramatic Taroko Gorge, the “Grand Canyon of Taiwan”

Taroko Gorge, one of the most famous Taiwan attractions

If you only visit one place in Taiwan outside of Taipei, make it Taroko Gorge in Hualien, the country’s premier scenic wonder. Traveling up between the dramatic, vertical walls of this narrow canyon is an experience you cannot miss. Here’s my detailed guide to Taroko Gorge .

The most impressive sights in the gorge include Eternal Spring Shrine built to honor those who died building the highway, the sapphire blue waters of Shakadang Trail, and cliff-hugging Zhuilu Old Trail.

Island Life Taiwan offers the best day tours of Taroko Gorge , with English speaking guides and aboriginal lunch included.

Spend the night in a cabin in a small aboriginal village Taroko Village Hotel ( see on Booking / Agoda / Klook / TripAdvisor ), or stay in the classiest hotel in Taroko Gorge: Silks Place Resort ( see on Booking / Agoda / Klook / TripAdvisor ).

The easiest and fastest way to get there is this direct flight from Taipei’s Songshan Airport to Hualien .

Take an aboriginal cooking course

Taiwanese aboriginal steamed rice in banana leaves

Hualien is also home to a large number of aboriginal people, including the Amis, the largest of Taiwan’s 16 recognized aboriginal tribes, and the Truku (Taroko) tribe, after which Taroko Gorge is named. One great way to experience Taiwanese aboriginal culture is by taking an aboriginal cooking course in Hualien.

In this highly recommended course, in which you can learn how to cooked local vegetables grown right in their garden, and finish them class by having a stiff local drink with the hosts. A vegetarian class is also available upon request.

Do adventure sports in Hualien

White water rafting in Taiwan

Wild, stunning Hualien County is filled with opportunities for adventure sports. One of the most exhilarating things to do in Taiwan is white water rafting in Hualien . The most popular route is on the Xiuguluan river, the only river in eastern Taiwan that cuts through the coastal mountain range. The 3 to 4 hour route includes over 20 rapids.

Other adventure activities in Hualien include whale/dolphin watching and paintballing .

Take a road trip through the East Rift Valley

East Rift Valley, Taiwan

While cycling or riding a scooter all the way around Taiwan is a local rite of passage, most would agree that the most pleasant and scenic portion in the east coast, especially the East Rift Valley in Hualien and Taitung Counties.

The East Rift Valley is a wide plain separating the Central and Coastal mountain ranges, and is famous for its quaint rural scenery, rice paddies, fruit orchards, hot springs, aboriginal culture, and cycling opportunities.

See my article on the east coast of Taiwan for information on planning your road trip.

You can also visit the East Rift Valley on this tour .

Cycle through rice paddies at Brown Boulevard in Chishang

Two kids on an electric bicycle in Chishang Taitung

One of the best ways to experience Taitung and the East Rift Valley is by cycling through its bucolic scenery of rice paddies and mountains.

The most popular place to do this is in a small town called Chishang. The area was catapulted to fame after an EVA airlines commercial starring a handsome Japanese-Taiwanese actor was filmed there. Now Taiwanese people love to go cycling through the rice paddies there to a tree named after him.

Learn how to do it in my guide to cycling and other things to do in Chishang, Taitung .

Be blown away by the Taiwan Hot Air Balloon Festival

Taiwan hot air balloon festival

One of the best places in the East Rift Valley, and one of my favorite places to visit in Taiwan, is Luye, which is famous for the Taitung Hot Air Balloon Festival held every July in Taiwan and August in Taiwan .

At this time, dozens of hot air balloons, many shaped like cute animals or characters, get blown up on the gorgeous Luye Highland. Currently it isn’t possible for tourists to book a full balloon ride, but you can take a shorter, tethered ride here .

Even if you’re visiting outside of summer, the area around Luye is a gorgeous and laid back region for cycling, walking, or visiting tea farms. You can also visit Luye on a day tour from Taitung , and there are reasonably priced domestic flights from Taipei to Taitung .

See my article on Luye and the Taiwan Hot Air Balloon Festival for more information.

Check out the surf in Taitung

Surfing at Dulan Beach, Taitung County, Taiwan

Taiwan’s may not be famous as a surfing destination, but it should be. The beach in Dulan, an enclave of artists, backpackers, surfers, and aboriginals on a gorgeous stretch of the coast in Taitung, offers some of the best surf in Taiwan year-round.

See my Dulan article for more information on where to surf, eat, and stay in Dulan.

Soak in a saltwater hot spring on tropical Green Island

Zhaori Hot Spring, one of the most unique things to do in Taiwan, Green Island, Taiwan

Green Island, located 33 kilometers off the coast of Taitung, has a distinct tropical/holiday feel, and is one of the best places in Taiwan to go snorkelling and scuba diving (see this Advanced Open Water course on Green Island). They’ll provide everything you need, with variable quality, or you consider bringing your own mask .

Green Island is also home to Zhaori Hot Spring, one of only three saltwater hot springs in the world. Sitting in the rock pools of this hot spring at night, listening to the ocean waves crashing beside us is one of my top experiences in Taiwan.

Get your Green Island ferry tickets here.

Things to Do in the Central Mountains of Taiwan

Taiwan has the largest concentration of high mountains in the world, with 286 peaks above 3000 meters. This includes Yushan in the Central Mountain Range, the tallest mountain in Northeast Asia.

Head to the central mountains to see snow in a subtropical country, find out where the best oolong tea in the world comes from, or see sunrises over seas of clouds.

See snow at Hehuanshan or Snow Mountain

Snow Mountain, Taiwan

Taiwan is a subtropical country (bordering on tropical in the south, as the Tropic of Cancer runs right through the country), but it is possible to see snow on mountaintops in the Central Mountain Range in winter.

Hehuan Mountain is the most popular place to do so, and every time there is a report of snow (usually around January or February ), Taiwanese rush up the mountain to see it and clog Highway 14, Taiwan’s highest automobile pass at 3275 meters.

The best way to go is on this sunrise tour from Cingjing Farm (see next entry) or this private tour from Taichung . Here’s my guide to seeing snow at Hehuanshan . There’s only one hotel at Hehuanshan (a former ski lodge!) and it’s hard to book. Find out how in my guide to booking a room at Songsyue Lodge .

For hikers, Snow Mountain (Xueshan) is a great opportunity to see snow. When I did the hike in February several years ago, we didn’t just spot snow; we had snow dumped on us and trudged through waist deep snow to reach the peak.

Taipingshan in Yilan is another mountain that recently received snow, while a few times snow has even fallen on Yangmingshan in Taipei! See here for more info on where to see snow in Taiwan .

Stay on a high altitude farm

Cingjing Farm, one of the best places to visit in Taiwan

Cingjing Farm is one of the most unique attractions in Taiwan; where else in Asia can you stay in a European-style farm on the top of a high mountain range?

The area around Cingjing was originally cattle land of the Seediq people. Later in 1961, it was converted to farmland for demobilized soldiers of the Republic of China army. An overnight stay at Cingjing comes with epic views and lots of farm animal spotting.

You can visit Cingjing Farm on this private tour from Taichung . Here’s my Cingjing Farm guide , how to get there from Taichung , and reasons I don’t really love Cingjing Farm , even though the region undeniably pretty.

Cycle or Scooter around Sun Moon Lake

Sun Moon Lake Taiwan

Sun Moon Lake is the gem of the Central Mountain Range, and the road around it has been called one of the best cycling routes on earth. The lake is famous for its gorgeous panoramas, aboriginal culture, beautiful temples overlooking the lake, and the annual mass swim. May in Taiwan , June in Taiwan , and September in Taiwan are, in my opinion, the best times to visit.

Many visitors also come to ride the Sun Moon Lake Cable car to the Formosan Aboriginal Culture Park , which includes an amusement park that is a great place to view cherry blossoms in spring . Based on my research, this is the best day tour available of Sun Moon Lake , departing from Taichung.

Also see my in depth articles covering things to do at Sun Moon Lake , whether to buy the Sun Moon Lake Pass , best Sun Moon Lake tours , and Sun Moon Lake tea .

Spend the night on a tea farm

Shizhuo tea farm guesthouse

Taiwan’s most famous tea, Alishan High Mountain Oolong tea , is mainly grown around the villages of Shizhuo (Shizhao) and Fenqihu, near the end point of the Chiayi -to-Alishan small gauge railway. For more information, see my my guide to Taiwanese teas .

It is possible to spend the night at one of several guesthouses located on incredibly scenic Alishan tea farms. The area also features a network of hiking trails among the tea farms and has gorgeous sunsets. Another popular trail through tea fields, called Eryanping , is nearby.

We stayed at Cuiti guesthouse ( see on Booking / TripAdvisor ), while another beautiful option that we hiked to is Longyun Leisure Farm ( see on Booking / Agoda / TripAdvisor ).

Witness the sunrise over a sea of clouds phenomenon at Alishan

'Sea of clouds' sunrise, Alishan, Taiwan

Alishan National Scenic Area is one of Taiwan’s most popular tourist attractions, but for good reason. The area is famed for its high mountain tea, cherry blossoms , misty old growth forests, and sunrises over seas of clouds.

You need a bit of luck to witness the phenomenon. You can learn about the best sunrise points and more in my guide to Alishan . You’ll also find information on escaping the tourist crowds at Alishan, including a mesmerizing hike through a bamboo forest.

Another exciting aspect of visiting Alishan is riding the small gauge railway from Chiayi, but beware that part of the railway is out of operation since it was damaged by a typhoon. Find out more my article on how to get to Alishan . Note than there is a small entrance fee to Alishan, which you can pay online in advance with this deal that includes a famous lunch box en route to Alishan and an electric bus ticket to the sights in Alishan.

You can also get to Alishan by day trip from Taichung . If you take this 2-day Alishan tour, you can stay at Alishan’s best hotel for a reasonable price.

Climb Yushan, Northeast Asia’s highest peak

Peak of Yushan (Jade Mountain), Taiwan

At 3952 meters, Yushan (Jade Mountain) is taller than Mt. Fuji by just under 200 meters, but lacks the crowds. Climbing Yushan is relatively easy for anyone who is reasonably fit, including older children. See here for a detailed guide to hiking Yushan .

Yushan National Park is the remotest in Taiwan, and is home to an abundance of flora and fauna.

The ascent is usually done in two days, with most people hiking the final 1.2km from Paiyun lodge to the peak for sunrise before descending. I saw an incredible sunrise over a sea of clouds when I did the hike in my first year in Taiwan.

You need to apply for a permit well in advance, or contact me for information on an organized tour, as the number of daily trekkers is strictly limited.

Explore quirky Xitou Monster Village

Xitou Monster Village, Nantou

In the remote mountains of Nantou county , there’s an unusual attraction: a Japanese monster-themed village. The story behind it goes back to the Japanese occupation, honoring a friendship between a Japanese and Taiwanese man. Learn about this and more in my Xitou Monster Village post .

In the village there’s a Monster-Themed Hotel ( see on Booking / Agoda / TripAdvisor ), while visitor’s to the village can also try spooky snacks like stinging nettle baked buns.

You can visit Xitou Monster Village on this Monster Village Day Tour from Taichung , which also includes a stop at a Mochi Museum and bamboo forest.

Bathe in a mud hot spring at Guanziling

Guanziling mud hot spring, Taiwan

Another hot spring experience that makes it onto my list of best things to do in Taiwan is the mud hot springs at Guanziling in Tainan city . There you can bathe in muddy hot spring water, do a DIY mud facial, or rub thermal mud on your body. It’s said to be great for the skin!

The best resort in town to try it is King’s Garden Villa ( see on Booking / Agoda / Klook / TripAdvisor ). Nearby, you can also see an unusual natural phenomenon at Fire and Water Spring.

Learn everything you need to know in my guide to Guanziling .

Things to Do on the West Coast of Taiwan

While Taiwan’s east coast is wild, the west coast is mostly developed, with never-ending cities and industrial areas blending together.

Still, there are a few green escapes to be had, and the area is rich in cultural attractions tied to the region’s Hakka and aboriginal cultures, modern arts, and some of the country’s oldest histrical sights.

Off the coast, the remote Penghu archipelago is halfway between Taiwan and China.

Experience Hakka culture in Hsinchu and Miaoli

Hakka pounded tea (lei cha) and mochi

The Hakka are a Han Chinese people who originated in central China. A number of Hakka migrated from southern China to Taiwan, and today they comprise 15% of the population of Taiwan. The Hakka mostly live in hilly or rural areas and are known for working hard but also taking time to relax. Their food tends to be hearty and filling.

In Hsinchu, a good place to get a taste of Hakka culture is the Neiwan Old Street, where you can find local specialties such as mochi, ginger lily-flavored glutinous rice, and lei cha , or Hakka pounded tea. Beipu is another popular Hakka town with an interesting Old Street.

In Miaoli, the Hakka Round House is built in the style of a traditional Hakka walled village, while the Hakka Courtyard is a beautifully preserved Hakka sanheyuan (three-sided southern Chinese courtyard home). Last but not least, the Hakka village of Nanzhuang is famous for its sweet osmanthus-flavored foods such as shaved ice. Find more details in my Miaoli travel guide and other things to do in Miaoli .

Order your HSR tickets to Hsinchu or Miaoli in advance and get an early bird discount.

Hike to cave temples on Lion’s Head Mountain

Lion's Head Montain, Taiwan

A 10-minute drive from Nanzhuang, Lion’s Head Mountain is one of the most underrated attractions in Taiwan. A network of easy hiking trails link a large number of temples, some of which are built into cliff walls or in caves.

The mountain is crowded with local hikers or weekends and practically empty on weekdays. Few foreign tourists ever make the trip. If you want to spend the night as we did, you can stay in the simple temple accommodation at Quanhua Temple, one of the most beautiful on the mountain.

See more information in my complete article on Lion’s Head Mountain and Nanzhuang .

Go strawberry picking in Dahu

Picking strawberries in Dahu, Taiwan

During strawberry season (January and February), the small town of Dahu becomes a tourist magnet for locals who come to pick strawberries in the numerous fields that line both sides on the highway in and around the town. You can read all about our experience picking strawberries in Dahu .

The strawberries grown in Dahu are huge, very sweet, and are an extremely popular item across Taiwan when in season.

There’s more to the Dahu strawberry experience than just picking them. The Dahu Wineland Resort is a giant complex dedicated entirely to strawberries. Here you can try a huge range of strawberry-flavored foods, such as beer, noodles, popcorn, sausages, shaved ice, popsicles, tea eggs, and more. The strawberry wine made on site is especially delicious.

Only 20 minutes away from Dahu, Tai’an hot spring village is one one of our favorites in Taiwan, where we strongly recommend King’s Resort Hot Spring Hotel ( see on Booking / Agoda / TripAdvisor ).

Take part in the world’s largest pilgrimage to a goddess

Matsu Pilgrimage Taiwan

Religious parades and processions seem to be taking place every other week wherever you are in Taiwan, but the biggest of them all is the 10-day Matsu Pilgrimage. The 300-kilometer pilgrimage to the Goddess of the Sea culminates on Matsu’s birthday, the 23rd day of the third lunar month (usually in April), and is one of the world’s great pilgrimages .

Raucous celebrations begin and end at Zhenlan Temple in Dajia, a coastal town in Taichung. Some 20,000 pilgrims then walk across 21 townships in three counties carrying Matsu in a sedan. Pilgrims are fed and housed by locals along the route, and foreign visitors are welcome to join in the festivities.

Become an Instagram star at Rainbow Village

Rainbow Village Taichung with kids

If you’re seeking a colorful, psychedelic background for your Instagram selfies, look no further than Rainbow Village in Taichung city. The walls of this traditional courtyard home were painted by the 100-year-old resident (as of 2023), a former Chinese solider in the KMT army.

Known as “Rainbow Grandpa,” he could for years be seen there maintaining the paintings on the walls of his home, which is entirely open to visitors. See here for my original guide to Rainbow Village (based on a 2018 visit) and my new guide to Rainbow Village (based on a late 2023 visit) after it was vandalized and most of the original murals were lost.

Rainbow Village is also on my list of best things to do in Taichung , and you can find out how to plan your trip in my Taichung itinerary post and Taichung travel guide . Consider stopping at Feng Chia Night Market , the largest and most famous in Taichung, on your way back to the city!

When it reopens, Rainbow Village is usually included on this Taichung attractions day tour .

See an unbelievable sunset at Gaomei Wetlands

Wind turbines and sunset at Gaomei Wetlands

On the coast of Taichung lies the beautiful Gaomei Wetlands, a 300-hectare area of preserved wetlands with huge wind turbines. Walk the wooden paths and see what kind of creatures you can find on the shore. Make sure to stick around for what is without a doubt one of the best sunsets in Taiwan. Here’s my detailed guide to Gaomei Wetlands .

Gaomei Wetlands is one of the most popular day trips from Taichung .

For the easiest way to visit, try this full-day tour , this other one , or this half-day sunset tour .

Experience traditional Taiwanese culture in Lukang

A street with a huge lantern display above it that looks like a long, winding dragon

Lukang, a coastal town in Changhua county , is one of the best places in Taiwan to experience traditional Taiwanese culture. The town is historically significant but didn’t modernize as much as others because it was decidedly not given railway access.

Lukang is famous for its Old Street, which features very traditional foods made by vendors going back multiple generations. The Lukang Matsu Temple is one of the country’s most important, while the Lukang Glass Temple is a one-of-a-kind modern variety.

Learn everything you need to know in my detailed guide to Lukang .

Delve into Taiwan’s colonial history in Tainan

A Japanese stone gate and other ruins on a red rooftop with other buildings in the background

Tainan is the oldest city in Taiwan and was the country’s capital before it was moved to Taipei in 1894. There are loads of historical sights in Tainan , from Dutch Forts and centuries-old temples to Japanese-era Hayashi Department Store and 321 Art Alley Settlement, a military housing coming turned artist’s village.

On top of that, Tainan has some of the oldest temples in Tainan and several first kinds of their type in the country. Learn more in my guide to Tainan’s temples .

As if that weren’t enough, Tainan is also widely considered the culinary capital of Taiwan, with some of the best street eats to find in Taiwan. Explore the city’s best with my guide to Tainan’s night market scene .

You can visit Tainan’s colonial sights on this one-day tour or by hopping on the Tainan double-decker sightseeing bus . You can also save money by getting a Tainan Historical Sites Pass .

Hang out in a real-life treehouse in Anping

Mirrors reflecting the many tree branches inside Anping Treehouse

Anping Tree House is one of the most famous attractions in Anping, a coastal district of Tainan City. The treehouse is an abandoned warehouse on the site of Former Tait & Co. Merchant Warehouse, which once imported and exported sugar, opium, and other goods from Taiwan. After it was abandoned, it was taken over by banyan trees.

Today, visitors can walk along a series of elevated platforms through the treehouse to admire it from different angles. There’s also a cute cafe on site. The site is a short walk from Anping Old Fort , the original Dutch fort from when they colonized Taiwan.

Entrance to Anping Treehouse is only 50 NT, or even cheaper if you book your ticket online .

Shop for traditional snacks on the oldest street in Taiwan

A narrow lane in Anping with a mural with Japanese gods painted on it

Anping Old Street is a market street in Anping, the historic coastal district of Tainan City. It is adjacent to Anping Fort .

Today, Anping Old Street is a popular tourist attraction. Visitors flock there to sample local specialties like traditional candied fruits, shrimp crackers, deep fried wontons, and oyster rolls.

The Old Street is surrounded by cute narrow lanes and historic residences. You can also spot emblems of a lion with swords in its mouth, which once served as house markers and are now a symbol of Anping. Visit the area using my self-guided Anping Old Street walking tour .

Float through a stunningly beautiful green tunnel

A green canopy of trees over a canal

Sicao Green Tunnel is a bit of a tourist magnet, but there’s no denying that it is incredibly beautiful. The tunnel is a semi-natural natural canopy of branches and trees (humans have helped a little to create it) over a calm canal in Taijiang National Park, a wetlands region in Tainan City.

Tourists pile onto rafts to float down through the tunnel on a 30-minute tour. The tunnel is located in Annan district, a short drive north of famous Anping district. In my guide to Sicao Green Tunnel , I cover how to get there, and whether it is worth the trip.

If you do make the journey, you can combine it with a visit to Luerhmen Matsu Temple, the largest Matsu temple in the world.

Take part in the world’s most dangerous festival

Yanshui Rockets Festival Taiwan

On the same day that people in northern Taiwan are flocking to Pingxi to set off sky lanterns (the 15th day of the Lunar New Year), the Yanshui Beehive Fireworks Festival is rocking southern Taiwan.

See here for my write-up on the Yanshui Fireworks Festival and more information for planning your trip to Taiwan at this time of year in my guide to visiting Taiwan during Chinese New Year .

Participants crowd into the streets to get shot by barrages of bottle rockets fired from layered towers, some of which are round, resembling beehives, and shoot in all directions at once.

Even though full safety gear is a must, injuries are common. Personally, I’m glad I did it once, but I don’t think I’m brave enough for a second time.

Climb a salt mountain and photograph salt fields

Jingzijiao Wapan Salt Fields, Tainan, Taiwan

Salt used to be one of Taiwan’s most important exports, with a 7200-hectare region of salt production lying in the north of Tainan City. Thriving since 1665, the industry went into sharp decline and came to an end in 2002, unable to compete with cheap imports.

Some interesting relics of Tainan’s salt industry remain, notably the 20-meter Cigu Salt Mountain and nearby Taiwan Salt Museum. Besides learning more than ever wanted to know about salt, you can taste salted foods such as salty ice cream, popsicles, dou hua (soft dessert tofu), and coffee (don’t worry, they aren’t too salty).

Meanwhile, photographers flock to the Jingzijiao Wapan Salt Fields, where photogenic cones of salt dot the horizon on a traditional salt production field. The fields are especially stunning at sunset.

You can visit all three salt-related attractions on this Taiwan salt history tour or by chartering a private vehicle from Tainan .

Find out everything you need to know about visiting both attractions in my detailed guide to Cigu Salt Mountain and the Tainan Salt Fields .

Hang out in Penghu’s houses made of coral

Erkan Old Residences, Penghu, Taiwan

The windswept archipelago of Penghu (Pescadores Islands) lies about halfway between the Taiwan mainland and China in the Taiwan Strait and boasts a high concentration of temples, as well as some of the most beautiful and remote beaches in Taiwan.

Due to a lack of building materials in Penghu, which is dry and desert-like in places, locals incorporated materials from the sea such as corallite into their constructions, and you can spot seashells in the walls and fences on many homes.

A great place to see this is Erkan Old Residences on Hsiyu Island, where residents of such homes have set up cafés and shops in their homes. Penghu also hosts a huge fireworks festival in spring.

Learn how to plan a trip to the islands in my Penghu travel guide .

Things to Do in Southern Taiwan

The far south of Taiwan is noticeably more tropical than the north. Kaohsiung, Taiwan’s largest port, seems to be becoming a cooler city every year, while Kenting National Park in the far south is the perfect beach getaway.

To truly get off the beaten track, head to one of the offshore islands, some of which are a stone’s throw from China.

Admire the arts & culture Kaohsiung

Lotus Pond, Kaohsiung

Kaohsiung, the largest city and port in Southern Taiwan, was included on Lonely Planet’s list of best cities to visit in the world in 2018, for its awesome arts districts, lovely waterfront, and improving urban transportation networks. For more information than I’ll cover here, see my guide to Kaohsiung and the best things to do there .

Kaohsiung has been called the “street art capital of Taiwan” as the city government not only permits but encourages street art in particular zones. Some of the best spots to check out local works include Jiuru Street Art Factory, which is an old train station, and the art zone at Pier 2 Art Center . The city also regularly hosts street art festivals. Here’s an article with photos and details on how to find some of the best street art in Kaohsiung .

Kaohsiung is also known for its excellent night markets and amusement parks, including E-Da Theme park ( get a significant discount by purchasing your ticket online ) and SKM Park, which includes Go-Kart racing .

Ride a bike across Cijin Island

Statue of the words Cijin with palm trees around it

Cijin Island (also spelled Qijin) is a long skinny island that protect the port of Kaohsiung, the largest port in all of Taiwan. It only takes 10 minutes on the ferry to reach Cijin, after which the best way to explore it to hop on a bicycle.

Cijin’s many attractions include a long, black sand beach, the excellent Cijin Sunset Bar, Cijin Fort, and several art installations along the coast. There is also lots of fresh seafood to be enjoyed.

Spot wild macaques at Monkey Mountain

Monkey Mountain (Chai Shan and Shou Shan), Kaohsiung

Two mountains sandwiched between central Kaohsiung City and the sea, Chai Shan and Shou Shan, are home to a large number of wild macaques. One only has to take a few steps out of the city to spot them.

The macaques are quite accustomed to human gawkers, but beware that they are prone to stealing items from people. The best time to see the macaques is in the early morning or late afternoon. The mountain also features the famous LOVE Lookout of Kaohsiung, or you can hike down to Chaishan Secret Beach. The Kaohsiung City Zoo is also located on Shou Shan.

You can spot macaques as you climb Shoushan on this guided hike .

Spend the night at Fo Guang Shan monastery

Fo Guang Shan, Kaohsiung

Fo Guang Shan is one of the four major Buddhist organizations of Taiwan, and its enormous headquarters is located 30 minute’s drive east of the Kaohsiung city center. It is the largest monastery complex in Taiwan, covering over 130 hectares of land.

The original monastery complex is enormous and features tens of thousands of Buddha statues. Visitors can even spend the night in the Pilgrim’s accommodation. Read all about my experience staying overnight in the temple in my guide to Fo Guang Shan Monastery and Buddha Museum .

In 2011, an even larger addition was made: the Fo Guang Shan Buddha Museum, which houses a Buddha tooth relic and has the largest Buddha statue in Taiwan, at 108 meters.

Snorkel with sea turtles and explore the coast of Xiaoliuqiu

Coast of Xiaoliuqiu, Kaohsiung, Taiwan

Xiaoliuqiu, also known as Little Liuqiu, Little Okinawa, and Lambai Island, is a small island within easy reach of central Kaohsiung, perfect for a day or overnight trip. It is Taiwan’s only inhabited island made entirely of coral, not to mention one of the best places in the world to see giant sea turtles.

Popular activities on the island include snorkelling or scuba diving with sea turtles , freediving, beach hopping, cruising around on a scooter, exploring the coast, and hike through coral caves. For all the info, read about more things to do on Xiaoliuqiu island .

See millions of migrating butterflies at Maolin

Butterfly at Butterfly Valley in Kaohsiung and Pingtung

Every year from December to March , millions of butterflies descend on Maolin National Scenic Area in Kaoshiung and Pingtung counties, lending the park the name “Purple Butterfly Valley.”

The park has worked to conserve the butterfly’s environment, and visitors can take photos by following the necessary precautions to not disturb the butterflies.

Watch locals burn an entire boat for the gods

Boat burning at Donggang, Pingtung, Taiwan

In a ceremony called the Burning of the Wang Yeh boats, people torch an entire large boat throughout the night. The festival dates back over 1000 years to China and is conducted for the Wang Yeh deities, who are thought to prevent diseases.

The festival happens in autumn (usually October and November in Taiwan ) once every three years, in the year of the Bull, Dragon, Goat and Dog, with the next festival taking place in autumn of 2024.

They actually burn boats in several coastal areas, but the largest and most famous by far is the boat burning at Donggang in Pingtung County .

Visit Kenting, Taiwan’s first national park, on the southern tip of Taiwan

must visit places taiwan

Kenting National Park is Taiwan’s premier beach resort and occupies the southern tip of the country. It is rich with beautiful landscapes, wildlife, and, on the long weekend in April , some of the best beach parties and events in Taiwan.

Kenting has the most beautiful beaches in all of Taiwan (with the exception of the offshore islands). You can also visit Taiwan’s best aquarium, the Kenting National Museum of Marine Biology . At night, Kenting Night Market is Taiwan’s most party-esque night market, with electronic music and cocktail vendors alongside the usual Taiwanese snacks.

You can get to Kenting in a couple hours by taking this bus from Zuoying High Speed Rail station in Kaohsiung. See my Kenting guide and where to stay in Kenting for more information!

Visit remote Orchid, Kinmen, or Matsu Islands

Grassland on Orchid Island, Taiwan in May

Orchid Island is a volcanic island located off the southwest coast of Taiwan. It is home to the Yami (or Tao) people, one of the smallest tribes of Taiwan and also the furthest removed from Mainland Taiwanese culture. They are known for the Flying Fish Festival in spring and beautiful handmade canoes. Here’s my complete guide to Orchid Island .

Kinmen consists of two main islands just off the coast of Xiamen, China, so close that you can easily see China from the islands. The main sights are related to military history, as this is a battlefront between Taiwan and China, but you can also spot rare migratory birds in Kinmen National Park.

The Matsu Islands, named after the goddess of the sea, are also extremely close to China. There you can explore fascinating tunnels, forts, and the habitat of birds including the Chinese crested tern, previously though to be extinct.

Well, that sums up my list of the best things to do in Taiwan! I know I couldn’t include everything, but if you feel I’ve made a major omission, please let me know in the comments below!

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15 thoughts on “66 Unmissable Things to Do in Taiwan in 2024”

Nick this list is awesome! Not too far either; we arrived in Bangkok this morning. Good to be back in SE Asia! All booked up for this trip but I will see Taiwan down the road and enjoy some of this awesome-ness.

Hi Nick, This is a really comprehensive guide, thanks for sharing. I’d add Tainan Sicao Green Tunnel my kids loved it, and in Tachung the Liuchuan Riverside Walk stopping by Painted Alley and The Literature Museum.

Thanks a lot Shannon! I do mention Liuchuan Riverside Walk in my Taichung article. I haven’t been to the Green Tunnel yet but I’ve heard about it, so I definitely need to check it out ASAP!

Hello, I live in Taoyuan and I would recommend DaXi old street be on the list since it’s famous for 豆乾(dried tofu) and the old buildings from the 19th century. And it’s not hard to reach-you could easily take a bus from Taipei and do it in one day. If you have one day for it, actually you could also visit Shimen Reservoir (absolutely beautiful during spring season!) and Cihu-where they butied Chiang Kai-shek and his son, Chiang Ching-kuo. Both of them were dictators but had influenced Taiwan so much.

Hi there, and thanks for your input! I have actually recommended Daxi, Shimen, and Cihu in my article on the best day trips from Taipei: http://www.nickkembel.com/day-trips-from-taipei/ In the future, I will consider putting it in this article too. I did really enjoy this unique area of Taiwan! – Nick

Great! BTW I am going to leave some suggestions there and you may take a look!

Thank you for your passion and love for Taiwan! The article is too splendid! You really like a local! Thank you for your sharing!

Thank you so much Angeri!

I’ve been binging on your web for few days already. Great content, pleasant style, useful information. Been living in Taiwan for quite a long time myself, many of things around lost their novelty values long time ago, yet, thanks to your guides, I can find some places fresh again. Diversity of possible experiences here is rather unusual. I learnt that you left the island. Hope that you and your family find home wherever you decide to anchor yourselves. Big appreciation for these tones of articles and pictures you have provided. All the best!

Hey Michal, thanks a lot for your comment and I’m glad you’ve been enjoying my site! We’ve been living in my hometown in Canada since early 2020, but planning to come back to Taiwan frequently once things are normal again. Take care, and enjoy exploring Taiwan further!

Wow! I love this comprehensive list! My itinerary is so long! I hope I can do everything in 5 days. Thank you so much for taking the time to put this together! I’ll write another comment after I leave Taiwan^^

Thanks for reading!

Thanks so much for these amazing tips – never made me want to visit a country so badly! Seems like it has it all – thank you for taking the time and providing this free of charge in a beautiful format!

Looks like Olivia at Light Program Red House is no longer doing knife Massage. Any alternatives that you recommend?

You can find knife massage in Taipei City Mall (also called Y Mall), one of the underground walking streets below Taipei Main Station.

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30 Best Things To Do & Places To Visit In Taipei (Taiwan)

By: Author Jerric Chong

Posted on Published: May 18, 2019  - Last updated: October 17, 2023

Things To Do in Taipei

Taipei, Taiwan is an extraordinary place to visit.

It is a combination of cultural roots and modern beauty.

There are thirty exceptional places to visit in Taipei you will love.

To help you on your way, there is a description of each site below.

Table of Contents

1. The Sensational Views From Elephant Mountain

View of Taipei City From Elephant Mountain

Ariyaphol Jiwalak / Shutterstock

You will have a stunning view of Taipei, Taiwan from the top of Elephant mountain.

If you take your hike during the afternoon, you will witness a stunning sunset and the incredible evening view.

The hike generally requires fifteen to twenty minutes to reach the top.

You can rest at the landing area after about ten minutes. There are restrooms and facilities available. You will encounter a lot of stairs.

Do not miss the wonders of the nearby Tonghua Night Market.

Address:  Alley 342, Lane 150, Section 5, Xinyi Road, Xinyi District, Taipei City, Taiwan 110

2. The Taipei 101 Observatory

taipei 101 view

MACHKAZU / Shutterstock

Taipei 101 was once one of the world’s tallest buildings. The observatory offers a panoramic view of 360 degrees.

People come to Taiwan from across the globe to see the night view from the 83rd floor observatory.

You can place a couple coins in the telescopes by the windows to see a spectacular view of Taipei below.

You will discover artwork featuring Taipei 101, souvenirs and postcards for sale on the indoor observation deck.

Address: 89th Floor, No. 7, Xinyi Road Section 5, Taipei City, Taiwan

3. Day Trip To Jiufen, The Santorini Of Taiwan

Jiufen Taiwan

NH / Shutterstock

One of the best things to do in Taipei is to visit Jiufen. The Japanese originally constructed this gold mining mountain town.

You will adore the maze of alleyways and lanes filled with rich culture. The buildings are a reflection of Japanese culture and architecture.

The town was originally an isolated and quaint village. There was a Japanese prisoner camp in the town during World War II. The prisoners were forced to mine gold.

Once the war ended, the town became a popular destination for tourists to celebrate the culture and history of Taiwan.

Address:  Jishan Street, Ruifang District, New Taipei City, Taiwan 224

4. The Scenic Shifen Waterfall

Shifen Waterfall

YUSHENG HSU / Shutterstock

The most famous waterfall in Taiwan is the Shifen Waterfall . Due to the horseshoe shape, the waterfall earned the nickname of Little Niagara after Niagara Falls.

The waterfall is forty meters wide, twenty meters high, extremely powerful and stunningly beautiful. You can walk almost to the bottom of the falls for incredible photographs.

The area encompasses two suspension bridges, exquisite green mountains, breathtaking landscapes, a gorgeous turquoise river, numerous photo opportunities and all the beauty of nature.

The Observation Point offers truly exquisite views. Unfortunately, a lot of people remain unaware of this breathtaking sight.

Address: No.11, Gankeng, Pingxi District, New Taipei City 226, Taiwan

5. Majestic Mount Keelung

Mount Keelung

Taiwankengo (Night view from Mount Keelung)

You can see Mount Keelung when you first enter Jiufen because the mountain is 588 meters tall.

The 45 to 60 minute climb is an adventure filled with stone steps set right into the mountain.

As you hike, you will pass three pavilions. The view of Taipei is extraordinary.

The hike is strenuous but worth every single step. Once you reach the top, the panoramic views of Taipei will take your breath away.

Standing on top of Mount Keelung will make you feel as though you have conquered the world. Your night view of Jiufen is one of the most beautiful sights imaginable.

Address:  Qiche Road, Ruifang District, New Taipei City, Taiwan 224

6. A Trip Into The Past At Bopiliao Old Street

Bopiliao Old Street

Sanga Park / Shutterstock

Bopiliao Old Street is a representation of the Qing Dynasty beginning in 1644 and concluding in 1911. The Japanese colonial period is represented from 1945 through 1949.

You will love the unique stores including a Chinese medicine store, a public bathhouse, a clock store, a Taoist shrine, a rice company and a tea house.

If you are interested in the history of Taipei, visit the Heritage and Culture Center. The three main buildings are the Story Hall, the Medical Hall and the Education Hall.

The models of old-fashioned Taipei homes, Confucius Temples and ancient boats are enchanting.

You can visit a classroom from the past and view an amazing assortment of Chinese herbs.

Address: No.101, Guangzhou St., Wanhua Dist., Taipei City 108, Taiwan

7. The Glorious Sunset At Fisherman’s Wharf (Danshui)

Tamsui Fisherman's Wharf sunset

Carlos Huang / Shutterstock

You will find Danshui on Taiwan’s northern coast, approximately forty minutes from Taipei. You will be enveloped in the unique cultures of both Japan and Taiwan.

Taipei tourists are drawn to the architectural and cultural attractions. Fisherman’s Wharf is just outside of Taipei, and renown for sunsets, party boats and amazing seafood.

The sunsets are spectacular. You will also find a variety of restaurants, traditional performers, street performers, shops, cafes and hawker stalls.

This is the entrance to the scenic North Coast of Taiwan.

Taking the time to visit the Tamsui Customs House Museum, Hongmao Cheng, the Hobe Fort and the Tamsui Museum is well worth the effort.

Address: Yuren, Tamsui Dist ,  New Taipei 22072,  Taiwan

8. The Crest Of Fort San Domingo

Fort San Domingo

asiastock / Shutterstock

No trip to Taipei is complete without visiting the most recognized monument in Tamsui. The Spanish built the monument in 1629.

The original intention of Fort San Domingo was to enable the Spanish to rule the Chinese in northern Taiwan.

In 1642, the Spanish were forced to flee the island when it was taken by the Dutch and replaced with a stone fort.

The British completely renovated the fort in 1867. The red tiles used for the roof combine with the red brick veranda for an incredible burst of color.

The scenery at the crest of Fort San Domingo is incredibly attractive when the sun sets. The fort is located in New Taipei City, overlooking the Tamsui River.

Address: No.1, Lane 28, Zhongzheng Road,Danshuei District ,  New Taipei 25158,  Taiwan

9. The Natural Wonders Of Yangmingshan National Park

Yangmingshan national park

Han-Lin / Shutterstock

Yangmingshan National Park can be found in northern Taipei City. The area houses several parks, famous hot springs, hiking trails and an exceptional variety of wildlife and plants.

You will discover numerous warm temperate and subtropical climate zones as you explore.

The influence of the Japanese is obvious due to the hot springs, Formosan sweet gum and black pines.

The spring is welcomed with cherry blossoms and rhododendrons covering the mountain. The weather of the summer is amazing with southwest winds and showers.

The red maple leaves and silver grass arrive by October. Winter in Taipei is a fairy tale world of drifting clouds. The Han Chinese once cultivated tea plantations in the area.

Address: Jhuzihhu Rd, Beitou District ,  Taipei 112,  Taiwan

10. The Hualien County

Hualien Taiwan

You can take a train from Taipei to Hualien County. One of the best representations of Taiwan are the phenomenal views found on this sensational island.

This is the largest county in Taiwan with a population exceeding 350,000. This is also one of the first destinations for travelers once they reach Taipei.

The azure skies, majestic peaks, diversity of the culture, scenic views and friendly local are delightful.

You will enjoy spending your days here visiting Taroko National Park for the amazing gorges and the East Coast National for the breathtaking natural landscapes.

The name Hualien comes from the beauty of the swirling currents as they kiss the sea.

11. National Palace Museum In Taipei

National Palace Museum in Taipei

vichie81 / Shutterstock

In 1965, the National Palace Museum opened their doors in Taipei. The quality of the museum has been compared to the Prado and the Louvre.

There is a collection of art from the emperors of China including porcelain, paintings and calligraphy.

One of the most spectacular pieces found in the Taipei museum are pieces of jadeite carved into cabbage.

The oldest pieces include loop earrings and a stunning jade necklace. These pieces have been dated back in excess of 8,000 years.

A simple jade cup from the eastern Zhou dynasty is marbled with exquisite veining. The morning dew was sipped from this cup to secure immortality.

The porcelain pieces include Qing vases, Ju ware from the 11th century and Ming vases.

Address:  No. 221, Sec 2, Zhi Shan Rd, Shilin District, Taipei City, Taiwan 111

12. Celebrate Lunar New Year On Dihua Street

Dihua jie shopping street taipei

Charlesimage / Shutterstock

The Lunar New Year is celebrated on Dihua Street in Taipei, Taiwan. You will be excited when you see hundreds of stands selling everything from trendy to classic.

The food trucks offer local delights while the chefs spend the weekends showing how they prepare their dishes for the New Year in Taipei.

You can take photos wearing adorable dog costumes or Vintage style garments. You can have a lot of fun making New Year’s banners and red envelopes with your family.

You can indulge in a delectable assortment of food or visit the Ningxia Night market or the Rongbin Shopping District.

This is your chance to immerse yourself in the history of Taiwan.

Address: Datong District ,  Taipei 103,  Taiwan

13. The Historic Heritage Of Taipei At Liberty Square

Liberty Square In Taipei

THANAN / Shutterstock

Liberty Square is an enormous plaza located in the Zhongzheng District of Taipei. The square is dedicated to Chiang Kai-Shek.

This is where many of the public gatherings in Taiwan are hosted. Foreign dignitaries are greeted by the President of Taiwan in lavish and exciting red-carpet ceremonies.

The square fills with large crowds for the Taipei concerts and festivals. More than 800 events are hosted every year. You will find an event here nearly every time you visit.

There are ponds and colorful parks surrounding the beautiful paths of the square. Liberty Square serves as a poignant reminder of the Democratic progress made by Taiwan.

Address:  Democracy Blvd, Zhongzheng District, Taipei City, Taiwan 100

14. Releasing Sky Lanterns On Pingxi Old Street

Pingxi Old Street Sky Lanterns

TungCheung / Shutterstock

You need to visit Pingxi Old Street when you visit Taipei, Taiwan. You will be delighted by the collection of street snacks and shops right by the Pingxi railway station.

The street is unique because it was built right into a hill. The overhead train track passes through the center where there are shops offering gifts and local foods.

You will be amazed by the shops constructed during the 1930’s and 1940’s.

You should take a moment to stand right on the tracks so you can release a traditional sky lantern at dusk and make a special wish.

Make sure you take a look at the wooden houses, originally built when the Japanese occupied the area.

Address:  Pingxi Street, Pingxi District, New Taipei City, Taiwan 226

15. Rock Climbing At The Long Dong Dragon Cave

Long Dong Dragon Cave Taiwan


There is a rocky stretch of coastline in Taiwan, about an hour’s drive from Taipei. The curves of the coast will make you think of a dragon.

The area is gorgeous with sandstone cliffs above the sea and thick green vegetation blanketing the valleys and hills. The setting is magnificent.

The area has become extremely popular for scuba diving in the crystal clear waters, hiking and rock climbing.

The rock originated during the Miocene Era over 3.5 million years in the past.

The thick sandstone is a natural for rock climbing. Protections have been placed for traditional and sport climbing.

Address: Longdong Street, Gongliao Dist., New Taipei City, Taiwan

16. Beitou Thermal Valley

Beitou Thermal Valley

T.Dallas / Shutterstock

One of the most unique things to do in Taipei is visit Beitou Thermal Valley. This is one of the suppliers of the local hot springs.

The Beitou rocks contain radium, the only mineral on the globe named after a place in Taiwan.

The valley is covered with sulfuric steam. This is why it is referred to as Ghost Lake.

During the Japanese Occupation, Thermal Valley was deemed one of the twelve greatest sights of Taiwan.

No other Datunshan volcano group has temperatures as high as Thermal Valley.

You do not have to worry, the water is protected so you will not be able to fall in accidentally.

Address: Zhongshan Road, Near Wenquan Road ,  Taipei,  Taiwan

17. Incredible Beitou Hot Springs

Beitou Hot Spring swimming pools

Nowaczyk / Shutterstock

Beitou is located in Taipei. This area provides natural hot springs for the city.

The three types of hot springs in Beitou are the Ding Beitou transparent springs of iron sulfur, the milky white sulfur springs and the green sulfur you can only find in Akita, Japan and Beitou, Taiwan.

There are rules for every bath regarding the separation of genders you must follow. While you are enjoying Beitou, you may want to stay at one of the lovely resorts.

Once the waters have traveled from the main pond, they are cooler and the resorts enable you to enjoy the springs.

18. The Surreal Escape Of Daan Forest Park

Daan Forest Park

Keitma / Shutterstock

The Beitou Dann Forest Park is lined with beautiful trees including maple, cajuput, camphor and ficus.

You can lose yourself in the lushness of the flower beds and bushes all over the park. You will feel as though you have entered a grand forest.

The park is Taipei’s biggest green space offering a skating rink, several exercise areas and a charming playground.

If you travel to Taipei, Taiwan during the holidays, you can watch a show for free at the amphitheater.

Take a stroll through the park for an incredibly peaceful experience.

Address: No.1, Sec. 2, Xinsheng S. Rd., Da’an District., Taipei City, Taiwan

19. The Attractions Of Huashan 1914 Creative Park

Huashan 1914 Creative Park

The Creative Park is located in the Taipei Zhongzheng District. This is considered the primary art center of Taiwan.

You will enjoy the performances, theater productions and large exhibits hosted here. This is where the artists come when they want to work on their creations.

Take the time to discover the indie brand shops, interactive and digital museums and bookshops. This area of Taipei offers amazing desserts and coffees.

The young musicians of Taipei provide mini concerts outdoors for those who truly love music.

Address:  No. 1, Section 1, Bade Road, Zhongzheng District, Taipei City, Taiwan 100

20. Yehliu Geopark Rock Formations

Yehliu Geopark

Suchart Boonyavech / Shutterstock

One of the most gorgeous destinations in new Taipei, Taiwan are the rock formations of the Yehliu Geopark . The formations are part of the Daliao Miaocene.

You will adore the different formations such as Queen’s Head, Sea Candles, Kissing Rock, Ginger Rocks and Princess Head.

You will discover Yehliu Ocean World right next to the Geopark.

The Taipei oceanarium offers you an enjoyable afternoon with performances by sea lions and dolphins as well as numerous ocean exhibits.

You will also learn about the sea life of Taipei during your adventure.

Address: No.167-1, Kangton Rd.  |  Yeh Liu Village ,  New Taipei 207,  Taiwan

21. The Ximending Experience

Ximending street market in Taipei

tristan tan / Shutterstock

One of the coolest areas in Taipei, Taiwan is Ximending. This neighborhood does not sleep and is known for their exciting nightlife.

Begin your day with a fantastic meal in a traditional breakfast shop.

There is a section of Emei Street with boutiques offering a nice selection of clothing to fill your afternoon in Taipei.

Once the sun has set, there is an amazing variety of food stalls and restaurants to tempt your taste buds.

There is a square not far from Red House with over twenty little cafes and bars. You can enjoy the local liquors and beers all night long.

22. The Infamous Wufenpu Shopping District

Wufenpu District in Taipei

FotoGraphic / Shutterstock

You will be breathless when you enter this wholesale clothing market in Taipei, Taiwan.

The enormous bargain outlet is a shoppers paradise with the best deals you will find anywhere in Taipei.

The lanes crisscross to form a maze of delights filled with clothing racks and shops.

You will need hours to look at the latest garments, trends and accessories. You will discover something for every gender and age.

Once you have finished shopping, have a quick bite at any of the delicious food carts or satisfy the largest of appetites at the Raohe Night Market in Taipei, Taiwan.

Address:  Alley 9, Lane 443, Yongji Road, Xinyi District, Taipei City, Taiwan 110

23. The Underground Mall At Taipei Main Station

Underground Mall Taipei Main Station

TK Kurikawa / Shutterstock

There are several underground malls located at the Taipei Main Station. This is the connection point for Shuanglian Station, Zhongshan Station and the Taipei Main Station.

In addition to amazing shopping, you should take a look at the lovely works available at the free art gallery.

The Taipei Book Street portion of the mall is the longest underground book street in Taiwan. Your senses will be captured by the expanded inventory and the modern vibe.

There is even an area with a stage for teenagers to practice different types of dance and cheerleading.

Address: B1,No.100, Section 1, Shimin Avenue ,  Taipei,  Taiwan

24. Amazing Food Tour At The Shilin Night Market

Shilin night market

This is one of the most famous and biggest night markets in Taiwan. There is a superb selection of street foods to experience.

Try some of the local favorites offered at the food stalls or one of the fantastic restaurants.

The fish balls are deep fried and placed onto a skewer prior to being dusted with just a touch of fine pepper. Another favorite is the blow-torched steak.

After being diced into cubes, the steak is grilled then blowtorched for a unique and succulent flavor experience. The meat is enhanced with a nice smokey flavor.

Address: No.101, Jihe Road., Shilin District., Taipei City 111, Taiwan

25. Visit The Famous Longshan Temple

Mengjia Longshan Temple in Taipei

Sean Pavone / Shutterstock

The Mengjia Longshan Temple is one of the most popular in Taipei, Taiwan. The temple was originally constructed by Fujian settlers in 1738 as a gathering place.

The temple was built in the old village section of Taipei. The Longshan Temple has survived several wars and natural disasters.

The temple is not dedicated to just one religion or deity. The Confucian, Buddhist and Taoists faiths all worship here.

You will enjoy the experience, the friendly locals and the ability to take photographs while walking through the temple. It is important to be respectful to the locals.

Address:  No. 211, Guangzhou Street, Wanhua District, Taipei City, Taiwan 10853

26. The Ornate Bao’an Temple

Bao An temple in Taipei Taiwan

Richie Chan / Shutterstock

The Bao’an temple is an exquisite structure in Taiwan filled with outstanding examples of traditional decorative arts.

If possible, visit Taipei from march through June during the yearly Baosheng Cultural Festival.

The celebrations include a birthday celebration for the Gods’, Taiwanese opera, parades, lion dances and Chinese medicine clinics.

Quanzhou immigrants from the Fujian province established the temple in 1760.

Address:  No. 61, Hami Street, Datong District, Taipei City, Taiwan 103

27. Wishing At The Confucius Temple

Taipei Confucius Temple

Robert CHG / Shutterstock

Wang Yi-shun is the famous craftsman responsible for creating this beautiful temple in Taipei, Taiwan.

You can learn about the history of Confucius including the Six Confucian arts such as riding and archery.

The confucius temple offers fun and interactive activities for both children and adults, an incredible plafond ceiling in Dacheng Hall and a 4D theater with a Confucius theme.

Do not miss the blooming flowers overflowing the vases in the Yi Gate courtyard during your trip to Taipei. You can even make a wish in the temple.

Address: 275 Dalong Street, Datong District ,  Taipei,  Taiwan

28. The Guandu Temple Of Taipei

Guandu Temple

The Guandu Temple of Taipei, Taiwan is a gorgeous, multi-story temple built in 1661. The temple was constructed into the side of the mountain.

The numerous tunnels are amazing and run directly through the mountain.

You will see two flights of steps at the back of the temple. Both offer a breathtaking panoramic view of the riverscape of Tamsui.

The temple features a jiannian rooftop and stone columns from the Qing era in the worship hall.

Stop by the food court on the riverside to sample a variety of delicacies from Taipei.

Address:  No. 360, Zhixing Road, Beitou District, Taipei City, Taiwan 112

29. The Xingtian Temple Of Taipei

Xingtian temple

The HippoZoom / Shutterstock

The Xingtian Temple is visited more than any other temple in Taipei, Taiwan. Although the temple is classified as Taoist, Confucianism and Buddhist cultures are also observed.

The temple is dedicated to the red-face General of the Three Kingdoms Period in China, Guan Yu. This is the patron saint of businessmen.

This is the newest temple in Taipei, built in 1967. You should experience one of the most popular activities here, fortune telling.

Fortunetelling Street offers you a choice of numerous fortune telling stands. Many Chinese look for solutions through traditional religion.

Address: No.109, Section. 2, Minquan E. Road., Zhongshan District., Taipei City 104, Taiwan

30. The Taipei Zoo

Taipei Zoo

LMspencer / Shutterstock

The Taipei Zoo is a zoological garden located in the Wenshan District of Taipei.

Not only is this Taiwan’s most famous garden, it is the leader in recreation, education, conservation and research.

The zoo began with two pandas from China and an Asian bull elephant affectionately called Grandpa Lin Wang. The zoo has since greatly expanded.

The Taipei Zoo now features animals from Africa, Australia, Taiwan, the desert and the tropical rainforest of Asia.

You will be charmed by the Children’s Zoo and the 12,000 birds in the aviary.

The additional exhibits include a panda exhibit, a koala habitat, a reptile and amphibian house, a penguin habitat and a display of nocturnal animals.

Address: No. 30, Section.2, Xinguang Road., Wenshan District., Taipei City 11656, Taiwan

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Where to go in taiwan — 19+ must-see & best places to visit in taiwan.

must visit places taiwan

Taiwan is a small island nicknamed Formosa – a beautiful island with a population of 23 million people. Although it is an island nation, most of Taiwan’s territory is covered with green forests and mountains. The perfect natural scenery has created captivating landscapes, attracting a large number of tourists from all over the world. So, where should I go in Taiwan, where to go in Taiwan and where to visit in Taiwan? Let’s check out our suggested top places to visit in Taiwan and best places to go in Taiwan, best places to see in Taiwan, best places to travel in Taiwan, best places to visit in Taiwan which including 10 best places to visit in Taiwan, must go places in Taiwan, must see places in Taiwan, must visit places in Taiwan, top 10 places to visit in Taiwan, beautiful places to visit in Taiwan as follows!

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National Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall,best places to visit in taipei (1)

Join us to discover some of Taiwan’s tourist attractions that impress visitors with their dynamic and futuristic vibes. On top of that are majestic natural landscapes of long picturesque coastlines, overlapping mountains, vast forests, and calm rivers and lakes.

aerial view of sun moon lake

Tourist attractions in Taipei (#best places to visit in taiwan)

taipei 101 seen from elephant mount

Taipei 101 tower is the pride of the Taiwanese people and one of the symbols of Taipei City. After 5 years of construction at a cost of up to 1.76 billion USD, this was once the tallest tower in the world.

must visit places taiwan

With the height of a skyscraper and unique architecture, it is one of the world’s architectural landmarks and a tourist destination in Taiwan that you cannot miss. In addition to admiring the building’s grandeur, visitors can experience the high-class services inside the tower.

must visit places taiwan

Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall (#best places to visit in taiwan)

National Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall,best places to visit in taipei (3)

Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall is a monumental destination that marks the ups and downs of history. Along with it is the distinctive traditional Chinese architecture that invites visitors to learn about its story and great design.

National Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall,best places to visit in taipei (1)

Located in a large square, the memorial site is a white-walled building with blue tiles, and inside is a statue of Chiang Kai-shek. Coming here, you will be able to admire and take pictures of the vast amazing landscape as well as have the opportunity to learn more about Taiwan’s history.

must visit places taiwan

Ximending Night Market (#where to visit in taiwan)

ximending night market taipei (1)

If you want to enjoy the crowded and bustling atmosphere while shopping and trying delicious street foods, Ximending Night Market will be your promised land. Ximending Night Market is a bustling tourist destination in Taiwan, attracting millions of travelers to visit and shop. Especially, this is also home to various specialties that you can purchase as gifts for your family and friends.

must visit places taiwan

Yangmingshan (#top places to visit in taiwan)

Yangmingshan National Park (1)

Conquering Yangmingshan is the dream of many travel nomads who love exploration and adventure. During the journey to conquer the mountain, you will have to walk along a small path on the mountainside. The landscape on the road features reed meadows and poetic lily fields, which will make your trip more memorable.

Yangmingshan National Park, Taipei (4)

Moreover, when reaching the top of Yangmingshan, beautiful nature scenery opens up in front of you with an immense and astonishing observation point. Challenge yourself once with a trekking tour to conquer Yangmingshan.

must visit places taiwan

Jiufen Village

jiufen village chiufen village jiufen travel guide jiufen blog

One of the famous attractions in Taiwan that draw millions of visitors every year is Jiufen Village in the Taipei metropolitan area. It is an ancient tiny village located halfway up the mountain with only one small entrance path. Along the road, unique scenery and many snacks and souvenirs for sale will make you fascinated.

must visit places taiwan

In addition to sightseeing and taking photos at nostalgic corners, don’t forget to enjoy the famous specialties here such as Yuyuan, Cao Zhi Gao, Hei Tang Gao, Yuwan, and so on.

must visit places taiwan

Fulong Beach (#must visit places in taiwan)

must visit places taiwan

Since it is an island, the beautiful beaches are the top-notch places in Taiwan that visitors cannot miss. During your trip to Taipei, you should visit the impressive Fulong Beach with its long stretch of white sand and clear blue sea.

Particularly, Fulong Beach has pale yellow quartz sand, which creates a sense of pleasure at the touch. Moreover, you can visit the occasional festival here to build sand statues in large and small scales with vivid shapes.

must visit places taiwan

At Fulong Beach, there are many interesting activities that you should participate in such as sailing, surfing, and water sports. The ticket price to the amusement park is about NT$100.

must visit places taiwan

Yehliu Geopark

Yehliu spots in Taipei1

Yehliu Geopark receives a lot of positive feedback from tourists as an ideal tourist destination in Taiwan if you are interested in learning about nature and geology. Here, you will have the opportunity to admire the artistic masterpiece of nature such as boulders eroded by the sea wind, creating unique and interesting shapes.

Yehliu Geopark,best places to go in taipei,where to go in taipei,best places to visit in taipei,top places to visit in taipei (1)

To arrive at Yehliu, you should visit Taipei first then take a taxi or bus to travel a distance of about 41 km.

The name Yehliu came from the Spanish abbreviation “Punto Diablos” which means Devil’s Nose. Yehliu Geopark has a length of 1.7 kilometers and the widest part of the mainland reaches more than 300 meters.

must visit places taiwan

Tourist attractions in Taichung (#best places to go in taiwan)

Sun moon lake.


A well-known sightseeing place in Taichung is Sun Moon Lake. This is the largest freshwater lake in Taiwan, located at an altitude of over 760 meters. The scenery here is really lyrical and you can enjoy a truly relaxing vacation.

sun moon lake itinerary sun moon lake blog sun moon lake day trip (1)

In addition, you can try other activities at Sun Moon Lake such as mount climbing, cycling, and kayaking, or check out some Taiwan tours for more interesting experiences.

must visit places taiwan

Taroko National Park (#best places to go in taiwan)

Colorful Hualien

Taroko National Park is located in the gorge of Mount Taroko, extending from Taichung through Nantou to Hualian with an area of almost 1 million square kilometers. Coming here, you will be overwhelmed by the majestic beauty of the mountains when enjoying the sense of harmony with nature.

maple leaves season in taiwan best time to see autumn leaves in taiwan4

This famous Taiwan tourist destination possesses craggy mountains, evergreen forests, majestic waterfalls, and wild pristine sceneries. The place best suits travelers who love to explore the primal natural beauty.

must visit places taiwan

Wen Wu Temple (#where to go in taiwan)

inside sun moon lake wen wu temple1

Wen Wu Temple, which worships Guan Gong and Confucius, is located in Taichung near Sun Moon Lake. This temple was built according to the typical architecture of temples in Northern China.

Wenwu-temple taichung

With a massive scale, the ornaments and sculptures here will take visitors’ breaths away. Coming here, you will feel like you are lost in a fairyland. Everything is so light and pure, helping you get rid of all your sorrow and worries about life.

must visit places taiwan

Cingjing Farm (#where should i go in taiwan)

Cingjing Farm (1)

Cingjing Farm in Taichung is also one of the best attractions in Taiwan which welcomes a lot of tourists annually. Cingjing Farm is located on a large steppe, highlighted by long stretches of green lawns. Just coming up here to breathe in the air will definitely make you feel at peace. Besides, you will have the opportunity to admire the lovely sheep running around in the meadow, which is an image that visitors never forget.

Cingjing Farm

Not only that but Cingjing Farm is also considered “Switzerland in Taiwan” because of its height of over 1,700 meters above sea level. This makes the climate of Cingjing Farm fresh, cool, and pleasant. More specifically, you can see the sheep shearing show performed by the staff at this farm. If you have time to stay longer, you can enjoy the delicious fresh cabbage and bamboo shoot soup.

must visit places taiwan

Tourist attractions in Tainan (#where to go in taiwan)

Qigu salt mountain (#where should i go in taiwan).

Qigu Salt Mountain

The next Taiwan tourist destination is located in Tainan metropolitan area. Qigu Salt Mountain is a popular place that provides more than 60% of total salt production in Taiwan. Although it is a bit far from the town which takes you about two hours for two bus lines, Qigu is a place worth your experience.

Qigu Salt Mountains

With an area of ​​more than two hectares, the entire place is covered with a white color of salt that looks like snow. There are stairs for visitors to easily climb to the top of the salt mountain to have the best view and take photos of this unique mountain.

must visit places taiwan

Confucius Temple – Fuzhong Ancient Street (#beautiful places to visit in taiwan)

tainan confucius temple

Confucius Temple is a place for the altar and worship of Confucius and his sages. On the left side of the temple is the national school of literature while on the east and west sides are the halls called “Daoli” and “Dacheng”. Though situated in the busy downtown street, you will feel the sanctuary and serenity here as you step through the temple gate.


Fort Zeelandia – Anping Old Fort


Fort Zeelandia, also known as Anping Old Fort, is a construction built by the Dutch in the 17th century. The exterior of the fortress was made from ancient red bricks that look really solid. Above it is an observation tower, but currently, visitors are not allowed to enter this area.

Bird's eye view of Fort Zeelandia in early 1600s in what is now Anping District

On the premises, there stands a statue of General Zheng Chenggong, who reclaimed Tainan from the Dutch. Inside the fortress displays many ancient artifacts and provides information on the history of Tainan. This is an ideal place to visit in Taiwan for those who would love to learn about history.

must visit places taiwan

Cijin Island (#beautiful places to visit in taiwan)

Cijin Beach Kaohsiung

In Kaohsiung, Cijin Island is a destination that attracts many foreign and local tourists. This place is known for the impressive landscape of the ocean and the fresh seafood dishes.

Cijin Island (1)

Here, visitors can also participate in activities such as kite flying and visiting the windmill farm, the Cihou lighthouse, or the fortress nearby.

must visit places taiwan

Fo Guang Shan

Fo Guang Shan Buddha Temple

This is one of the top spiritual tourist destinations in Kaohsiung known as the “Buddhist capital”, which welcomes a large number of tourists. Fo Guang Shan is home to hundreds of statues of all sizes and many massive temples in an area of more than a hundred hectares.

Kaohsiung Taiwan's Fo Guang Shan Buddhist Monastery

Right from the gate, you can see the massiveness and magnificence of this construction with many exotic penjing. Eight stupas of 88 meters high stretch on both sides of the gravel road, shaded by green trees and flowers. The most significant artifact here is the bronze Buddha statue “Fo Guang Big Buddha” – the world’s tallest Buddha statue reaching 108 meters high.

must visit places taiwan

The tourist attraction Lotus Pond, also known as Lianchihtan, will take you to a fairyland like the one you see in an incredible watercolor painting. This is a grand artificial lake surrounded by twenty temples with majestic dragon and tiger statues in front of the gates.


Spring and Autumn Pavilions


Spring and Autumn Pavilions, or Chunqiu Ge, are prominent Taiwanese tourist destinations located right in Kaohsiung City. This complex is about 700 meters from the dragon and tiger pagodas of Lotus Pond. The pavilions were constructed in 1953 with the purpose of building a place to worship Guan Gong in Taoism.

must visit places taiwan

Spring and Autumn Pavilions are famous for their unique design and the beauty of this building is still preserved to this day. Besides, their location on the open lake is also an attractive feature for many tourists. After visiting Lotus Pond, you can easily go to Spring and Autumn Pavilions.

must visit places taiwan

The island of Taiwan has many attractive and interesting destinations, from the natural scenery and culture to cuisine and people. With the above list of 18 tourist destinations in Taiwan, this post will help you find the best options for a trip full of fun experiences and memories.

Check out more information for your next journey to explore a new land. If you need to book cheap flights, hotels, and tours to Taiwan, don’t forget to search for great activities and offers in advance.

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Lovely street food stall in Taipei Old Street

Are you looking for more Jiufen travel guide and top things to do in Jiufen: Tours, activities, attractions and other things? Read more: Jiufen day trip from Taipei — How to spend 1 perfect day in Jiufen? and  Jiufen Shifen itinerary: Jiufen Shifen day trip — How to visit Jiufen and Shifen in one day from Taipei ?

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must visit places taiwan

Top 7 Places to Visit in Taiwan on Your Next Visit

Last Updated on February 15, 2024

Are you planning a trip to Taiwan? This beautiful country is a treasure trove of cultural heritage, stunning landscapes, and vibrant city life. From bustling cities to serene natural wonders, Taiwan has something to offer every traveller. In this guide, here is my pick of the 7 top places to visit in Taiwan, ensuring that you make the most of your next adventure. Whether you’re seeking Taiwan tourist attractions, cultural experiences, or breathtaking landscapes, I’ve got you covered.

1. Taipei 101

Taipei 101, previously recognized as the Taipei World Financial Center, stands tall as an iconic tourist attraction in Taiwan that should be on every traveler’s list. Standing at 508 meters (1,667 feet), it held the title of the world’s tallest building until 2010. The panoramic vista from the 89th-floor observation deck presents awe-inspiring views that capture Taipei City and the surrounding mountains. It’s especially enchanting during the evening when the city lights up. Inside, you’ll find a luxurious shopping mall with international brands and a wide array of dining options, making it a fantastic destination for sightseeing and shopping.

2. Taroko Gorge National Park

Taroko Gorge National Park is a natural wonderland in Taiwan that captivates visitors with its stunning marble cliffs, deep canyons, and emerald-green rivers. The park covers an area of over 920 square kilometers (355 square miles), and it’s a paradise for hikers and outdoor enthusiasts. Some must-visit places within the park include the Swallow Grotto, to witness the Liwu River cutting through marble cliffs, and the Eternal Spring Shrine, to pay tribute to the workers who lost their lives during the construction of the Central Cross-Island Highway. The park’s diverse ecosystems make it a hotspot for biodiversity, making it a haven for nature lovers.

Jiufen is a charming old mining town located in the hills of northeastern Taiwan. Steeped in history and culture, this picturesque town is famous for its narrow winding streets, atmospheric teahouses, and traditional red lanterns that illuminate the evenings. Jiufen’s unique blend of Japanese and Chinese influences is evident in its architecture and cuisine. Visitors can indulge in local street food, including the famous taro balls and sweet potato balls, while enjoying panoramic hillside views. Don’t forget to visit the A-Mei Tea House, an iconic tourist attraction perched on a hilltop that served as an inspiration for the Studio Ghibli movie, “Spirited Away.”

4. Sun Moon Lake

Sun Moon Lake, Taiwan’s largest body of water, is nestled in the lush Nantou County. The lake gets its name from its unique shape, resembling both a sun and a moon. Surrounded by mist-covered mountains, this place offers a serene escape from the city’s hustle and bustle. Visitors can take leisurely boat rides to explore the lake or rent bicycles to cycle around its perimeter, taking in the breathtaking scenery. Additionally, a visit to the nearby Wenwu Temple adds a cultural dimension to your experience, as it is dedicated to Confucius, Yue Fei, and Guan Yu.

5. Kenting National Park

Kenting National Park, located at the southern tip of Taiwan, is renowned for its pristine beaches, crystal-clear waters, and vibrant nightlife. It’s a must-visit place for water sports enthusiasts, offering activities such as surfing, snorkelling, and scuba diving. The park also features lush forests and coral reefs, making it a diverse destination for nature lovers. At night, the Kenting Night Market comes to life with food stalls offering a variety of Taiwanese and international delicacies. Whether you’re seeking adventure, relaxation, or cultural experiences, this place has it all.

Tainan, Taiwan’s oldest city, is a treasure trove of historical sites and cultural landmarks. It’s often referred to as the “Capital City of Taiwanese Culture.” Some must-visit places include Chihkan Tower, a Dutch-era fortification that offers insights into Taiwan’s colonial history, and Koxinga Shrine, dedicated to the national hero who resisted foreign rule. Tainan is also famous for its street food, and you can savour local delicacies like oyster omelettes and shrimp rolls at the countless food stalls scattered across the city.

7. Alishan National Scenic Area

Alishan National Scenic Area is a mountainous wonderland that attracts nature enthusiasts and photographers alike. Known for its misty forests, ancient trees, and breathtaking sunrise views, Alishan offers a serene retreat from city life. Watching the sunrise from the Alishan Forest Recreation Area is a surreal experience as the sun’s first rays pierce through the sea of clouds. A network of well-maintained trails allows visitors to explore the diverse flora and fauna of the region, making it a top place to visit in Taiwan for hiking and photography.

Embrace the Diversity of Taiwan: Your Perfect Itinerary Awaits

Taiwan is a remarkable destination filled with diverse experiences for travelers. From the bustling streets of Taipei to the serene natural wonders of Taroko Gorge, Sun Moon Lake, and other incredible destinations, this island nation has something to offer everyone. Whether you’re interested in Taiwan tourist attractions, cultural explorations, outdoor adventures, or simply figuring out where to go in Taiwan , these top places to visit provide a comprehensive itinerary for your next visit. So, pack your bags and embark on a memorable journey to discover the beauty and charm of Taiwan.

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Are you planning a trip to Taiwan? This beautiful country is a treasure trove of cultural heritage, stunning landscapes, and vibrant city life. From bustling cities to serene natural wonders, Taiwan has something to offer every traveller. In this guide, here is my pick of the 7 top places to visit in Taiwan, ensuring that you make the most of your next adventure. Whether you’re seeking Taiwan tourist attractions, cultural experiences, or breathtaking landscapes, I’ve got you covered. 1. Taipei 101 Taipei 101, previously recognized as the Taipei World Financial Center, stands tall as an iconic tourist attraction in Taiwan …

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  • 20 Must Visit Attractions In...

30 Must-Visit Attractions in Taipei

Raohe Night Market, Taipei

Taipei 101 and night markets are attractions that come to mind when you mention Taiwan’s capital city. But there’s so much more to this vibrant city than the former tallest building in the world . From arty hubs to steaming craters, here’s our guide on where to go in Taipei.

1. chiang kai-shek memorial hall.

Memorial, Building, Park


2. Dr Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall

Memorial, Park

3. Elephant Mountain

Hiking Trail

4. Bopiliao Old Street

5. grand hotel, 6. martyrs' shrine, 7. shilin night market.

Market, Bubble Tea Shop, Street Food


8. National Palace Museum

9. danshui old street.

Architectural Landmark, Historical Landmark

A wonderful street in the old fishing village of Danshui (which is now more of a town), Danshui Old Street ticks all the boxes for quaintness, food and souvenirs. One end of the street opens on to a wharf which is one of the nicest Taipei tourist spots to take in the sunset.

10. Fort San Domingo

11. hobe fort, 12. lover's bridge, 13. longshan temple.

Buddhist Temple, Shrine


14. National Taiwan Museum and 228 Memorial Park

Building, Memorial, Museum, Park

15. The Presidential Palace

16. huashan 1914 creative park.

Bookstore, Park, Winery

17. Miramar Ferris Wheel

Park, Building

18. Yangmingshan National Park


19. Taipei 101


20. Chiang Kai-shek Shilin Residence

Memorial, Building

21. The hot springs at Wulai

Swimming Pool

22. Maokong Gondola

Architectural Landmark


Maokong is a tea-growing district on the outskirts of the city not far from Taipei Zoo . Ride the MRT to the zoo and then take a cable car up over the mountain into Maokong. Here, visitors can sit and enjoy locally grown tea while taking in the views of the city in the local tearooms and restaurants . Try to visit in the late afternoon so you can enjoy the sunset in the early evening and get some great night shots of the city.

23. Eat street food anywhere

Market, Taiwanese

Taiwan is well known for its incredible cuisine , and while there are many amazing restaurants to visit in the city, some of the tastiest treats can be found on the side of the street. Street food in Taipei is nothing short of world class, and the choices available beggar belief. Head to any local night market or simply walk down any street, and you’ll soon find vendors selling everything from the infamous stinky tofu to fried chicken on a stick. Enjoying a pancake stuffed with beef from a paper bag doesn’t sound too enticing a prospect, but it really is an experience worth trying. Join a street food tour to find the best places to eat.

Unusual Things to Do in Taipei

Eat from a toilet bowl.

Eating food that looks like the chef has produced it in the most unhygienic way is actually a thing in Taipei. In fact, the restaurant that started it all, Modern Toilet, has three branches. All the menu’s delicacies (not quite the right word) arrive at the table in miniature toilet bowls, cisterns, and even urinals. And to say the chocolate ice cream is a sight to behold is something of an understatement.

Stroke a cat at a cat cafe

Taipei is a city full of rented apartments, many of which have landlords that enforce strict no-pet rules. So the animal-loving city dwellers have no option but to turn to cat cafes for a few stress-relieving hours in the company of felines. At these cafes, cats enjoy a life of privilege with customers eager to shower each with attention and treats from the menus.

Enjoy 5-star karaoke

The karaoke bars in Taipei have lobbies that would put a five-star hotel to shame. These luxury 24–hour establishments offer rooms with large screen TVs, private bathrooms, and an endless songbook of cheesy sing-a-long tunes. They even provide food and alcohol around the clock, and many see them as the perfect place to finish off a night of clubbing.

Let a bird tell your fortune

Taipei’s Longshan Temple is one of the first stops on many a tour of the city, but it is not the only attraction in this neighbourhood. This is where many locals come to have their fortunes told – and quite often it’s a feathered friend that’s doing the telling. Birds hop along tables choosing slivers of bamboo or picture cards that indicate the paying customer’s future luck or lack thereof. A strange custom and one that has to be seen to be believed.

Escape down a slide

There were always rumours that Taipei’s most iconic hotel, The Grand Hotel , had a secret escape route designed for the former president, Chiang Kai-shek. A fire and subsequent safety check at the hotel in 1995 not only revealed its existence, but also the fact that one tunnel had an escape slide. The hotel sometimes offers tours to the public, but these are few and far between, making this a once-in-a- lifetime experience.

Buy a book at 1am

Reading is a popular pastime in Taiwan as is evident by the many small comic libraries and stores dotted around Taipei. But perhaps the most telling sign of their affinity with books is the fact that one of their largest bookstores, the Dunhua branch of Eslite, is open 24-hours a day. 1am book cravings are now a thing of the past.

Go shrimp fishing

Fishing is an activity usually associated with flowing rivers or large bodies of water. Not so in Taipei where there’s a range of 24-hour shrimp fishing establishments. Yes, that’s right, customers sit around a large man-made pool and fish for their dinner which they then throw on the barbecue by their side. Fun? Perhaps. Odd? Definitely.

Culture Trips launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes places and communities so special.

Our immersive trips , led by Local Insiders, are once-in-a-lifetime experiences and an invitation to travel the world with like-minded explorers. Our Travel Experts are on hand to help you make perfect memories. All our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.?>

All our travel guides are curated by the Culture Trip team working in tandem with local experts. From unique experiences to essential tips on how to make the most of your future travels, we’ve got you covered.

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