17 Matters to See and Do in Taiwan

The skyline of Taipei in Taiwan with nature in the foreground
Posted: 9/3/2019 | September third, 2019

I used to stay in Taiwan for a number of months as an English trainer. I liked the time there and have all the time felt the nation was actually underneath appreciated. So, in this can be a visitor submit by Carrie Kellenberger from My A number of Worlds and an expat dwelling in Taiwan for ten years, she lists out all of the wonderful matters you must see and do there.

Each nation in Asia is gorgeous, however Taiwan is particular for a lot of causes. The persons are heat and hospitable. In March 2019, Taiwan was listed because the happiest place in East Asia.

Whereas it is perhaps a small island, you’ll be amazed on the endless number of sights and enjoyable matters to do right here. With over 100 mountain peaks above 3,000 meters, over 100 sizzling springs scattered across the island, each golden and black-sand seashores, 9 nationwide parks, world-class museums, glittering skyscrapers, gorgeous temples, and an enormous variety of evening markets which can be second to none, Taiwan has one thing that everybody can get pleasure from.

To at the present time, almost 14 years after I moved right here, I nonetheless assume Taiwan is considered one of Asia’s best-kept journey vacation spot.

Listed here are a number of the finest methods to spend your time in Taiwan:

1. Eat, Eat Eat!

A busy market at night in Taiwan
The nationwide pastime in Taiwan is consuming. Taiwanese, each adults and kids, are very work and research oriented, so their life demand wholesome meals that’s accessible on the go. Furthermore, there may be all the time an abundance of vegetables and fruit, so visiting a neighborhood market generally is a delight whenever you learn how low cost it’s to eat contemporary meals.

Consequently, Taiwan has turn into an epicurean’s playground. The meals scene is a global smorgasbord of culinary delights, for each price range and nearly each food plan.

Night time Markets
Whereas there are five-star worldwide eating places of each selection all through the nation, the evening markets are the place the true gastronomes go. They promise to maintain your stomach full whereas your pockets stays comparatively unscathed.

There are over 30 evening markets in Taipei, New Taipei, and Keelung (and over 70 evening markets throughout Taiwan). Should you’re undecided which one to decide on, go to this checklist of evening markets in Taiwan and take your decide. My private favorites are Shilin, Keelung, and Roahe Avenue in Taipei.

Listed here are a number of matters you must strive:

  • Xiao lengthy bao, often known as soup dumplings, a favourite staple meals right here. They’re made out of a skinny pastry folded into a sort of bag that’s then stuffed full with a meat-and-vegetable combination and a tiny quantity of soup, then garnished with uncooked ginger and soy sauce. Biting into considered one of these is a taste explosion in your mouth. Loads of avenue distributors at evening markets supply contemporary xiao lengthy bao for round $2 USD for a basket of 10-12. There may be actually no cause to not strive them. I’ve but to fulfill a customer to Taiwan who hasn’t liked their xiao lengthy bao expertise. I promise you’ll not be disenchanted.
  • Oyster vermicelli
  • Oyster omelets
  • Beef noodle soup
  • Deep-fried rooster
  • Tian bu la (a sort of fish cake fried with coriander with a touch of pepper and spice)
  • Candy Taiwanese sausage or BBQ on a stick
  • Smelly tofu
  • “Coffin bread” (a tasty bread bowl formed like a coffin)
  • Pig’s blood cake (It’s constructed from pig’s blood, sticky rice and soy broth and tastes significantly better than it sounds, I promise!)
  • Shaved ice
  • Zhen zhu nai cha (Taiwanese bubble tea)
  • Taiwan Beer (it’s the most well-liked native beer)

It doesn’t matter what you resolve on, you’re certain to have an important meal at a low price whereas experiencing Taiwanese tradition at its easiest. You’ll be amazed at what you should purchase for dinner for simply $5 USD! You’ll positively discover some matters that you just hate, however you’ll additionally discover matters that you just’ll love. It’s all a part of the expertise, proper?

2. Go to a Taiwanese Teahouse

a tea house in Taiwan with a teapot ready to pour into cups

Tea tradition in Taiwan is great, and there are lots of choices for tea lovers.

  • Maokong Gondola – This gondola will whisk you 4 kilometers to a mountain peak in a glass-bottomed cable automobile, from which you’ll be able to view the tea plantations constructed into the aspect of the mountain as you zoom up. You possibly can catch it on the Taipei Zoo MRT station; a experience prices 120 NT ($Four USD) every approach. When you’re on the high, there are a number of winding paths for a pleasing mountaintop stroll and an important collection of teahouses to select from whenever you’re able to get pleasure from a cup of contemporary mountain tea.
  • Jiufen – Should you’re heading out of Taipei, Jiufen is considered one of Taiwan’s hottest vacationer locations, owing to its look within the Studio Ghibli movie Spirited Away. This seaside mountain village affords some terrific purchasing alternatives, in addition to all of the completely different sorts of meals you see within the film. It’s considered one of my favourite locations, as a result of additionally it is residence to some stunning teahouses in essentially the most superb setting. Think about sitting on the high of a mountain, looking over the ocean within the consolation of a conventional tea home. It’s really a magical expertise, particularly if you may get there for sundown. Go on a weekday to keep away from the massive weekend crowds.
  • Jwu Jiu Teahouse – Should you make it as far south as Chiayi, you’ll want to discover Jwu Jiu Teahouse, a hidden gem that’s like taking a step again into the previous. Jwu Jiu is a conventional picket teahouse set above monumental stone ponds full of a whole lot of large, brightly coloured koi. Feed the fish whereas sipping in your tea, and revel in some conventional dim sum within the loveliest setting you’ve ever seen. The grounds belong to a neighborhood household, and the teahouse makes use of a effectively that’s over a century outdated, wherein the water nonetheless runs deep and pure. The proprietor has saved a lot of the unique constructions and bricks, plus a hundred-year-old Osmanthus tree, which is related to many traditions in China and Taiwan. Should you’re a historical past buff, you’ll benefit from the teahouse’s lengthy historical past, displayed with satisfaction and apparent care.

3. Try the Northern Shoreline

the lunar-like landscape of Yehliu Geopark, Taiwan
Head to the coast for some unbelievable lunar-like landscapes at Yehliu Geopark. There are some distinctive, otherworldly rock formations, together with one that appears like Queen Elizabeth (although it took over 4,000 years to type) which can be a preferred vacationer attraction. Attempt to get there early to beat the crowds.

4. Hit the Seashores

beautiful Taiwan coastline in the north
The seashores of Kenting on the southern tip of the island supply enjoyable within the solar. White Sand Bay is the most well-liked and an important place to absorb the solar, swim, snorkel, and even go diving (simply hold a watch out for jellyfish!). Different nice seashores are South Bay and Little Bali Bay.

5. Soak within the Sizzling Springs

the Beitou Hot Springs just outside Taipei, Taiwan
Taipei has its very personal lively volcano in its yard, and due to the volcanic exercise within the space, Beitou Sizzling Springs enjoys a gentle stream of tourists and locals who love to wash in its wholesome waters. Costs begin round 40 NT ($1.30 USD) per particular person for a soak within the sizzling springs, making it a really reasonably priced selection for anybody searching for some R&R.

6. Go Island Hopping

a beautiful sandy beach on Penghu Island, Taiwan
The attractive islands of Penghu simply off Taiwan’s western shoreline will delight your sense of wanderlust and are particularly well-known for his or her golden seashores. This island archipelago has islands which can be all distinct.

Boats will drop you off at one island for a number of hours after which take you to the subsequent one, so you may actually go from snorkeling to observing sea turtles to wandering by conventional aboriginal villages made out of coral in a single day.

7. See Previous Taiwan

a lighthouse on Matsu Island, Taiwan
Two teams of islands that make up the Kinmen Archipelago off the west coast of Taiwan, only a couple miles from mainland China — and they’re outdated Taiwan at its finest. Right here you’ll be capable of see some conventional structure, and there are additionally insightful museums that spotlight the continued tensions between the Folks’s Republic and Taiwan.

8. Get Off the Crushed Observe on Orchid Island and Inexperienced Island

getting off the beaten path on the rugged Orchid Island, Taiwan
Positioned simply off the southeastern coast, these lush islands are a deal with to go to. Right here you’ll discover climbing, swimming, diving, and wonderful sizzling springs. You can even get additional off the crushed path and have an journey by renting a scooter to touring across the islands your self!

9. Discover the Inexperienced Mountains

the view from Jade Mountain, Taiwan
Seize a scooter and head up into the inexperienced mountains, which prolong over 5 ranges the size of the island. If you wish to stretch your legs, climb to the summit of lovely Jade Mountain and watch the dawn; this stunning peak is nearly 4,000 meters above sea degree, making Taiwan the world’s fourth-highest island.

10. Go to Wuling Peak on Hehuan Mountain

hiking on Hehuan Mountain, Taiwan
Should you’re nonetheless craving some climbing and climbing, head to Wuling Peak on Hehuan Mountain, round 3,275 meters above sea degree, making it one other good hike for anybody trying to spend extra time outside. However what actually makes this place particular is that the height is so excessive, you may look down right into a sea of clouds under!

11. Go Climbing in Taroko Nationwide Park

Taroko Gorge, Taiwan
Prepared for an additional metropolis break? This nationwide park affords guests an opportunity to hike by mountainous terrain and gorges, and you may even cease to dip your toes in swiftly flowing mountain rivers. Overlaying slightly below 100,000 hectares, it’s considered one of solely 9 nationwide parks in Taiwan. Admission is free.

12. Head East

some of Taiwan's beautiful eastern coastline with tall cliffs
To actually get pleasure from Taiwan’s majestic magnificence, don’t neglect Taiwan’s japanese shoreline. The east coast freeway has a number of the most dramatic coastal surroundings on the earth, from plunging sea cliffs and splashing surf to seashores, nature reserves, and rural cities a world away from the massive metropolis.

13. Witness Some Chaos

the busy food markets of Taiwan
Try the feeding frenzy of the markets in Taipei, or get pleasure from a stroll round cool Ximending, the homosexual district and Taipei’s reply to Tokyo’s Shibuya. Ximending boasts a large out of doors plaza behind the Crimson Home (a well known cultural landmark) and a pedestrian purchasing zone full of the most recent vogue developments, espresso outlets, eating places, and native artisans.

Give your self bonus factors for testing all of the tremendous cool graffiti; you gained’t discover it on the principle thoroughfares, however in case you enterprise onto a number of the smaller aspect streets, you’ll quickly end up in world of brightly embellished alleys and lanes.

14. See Tianhou Temple

Tianhou Temple, Taiwan; photo by Wayne Hsieh (@whsieh78)
Whilst you’re in Ximending, it’s value stopping by one of many oldest temples within the metropolis, Tianhou (often known as the Ximending Mazu Temple, after the in-house deity Mazu, goddess of the ocean). Round since 1746, it’s considered one of three main temples in Taiwan from the Qing interval. It’s positioned on a primary thoroughfare — but it surely’s very straightforward to overlook the doorway.

Stepping by the doorway to this stunning Taoist temple full of mythological creatures, smoky incense, fortunate goldfish, and folks paying respect to the gods is really a surreal expertise. You’d by no means know this quiet oasis is in one of many busiest areas of Taipei!

15. Discover Fo Guang Shan Monastery

Fo Guang Shan Monastery, Taiwan
You probably have your personal experience in Kaohsiung, I strongly encourage you to cease by Fo Guang Shan Monastery and pay homage to the monks that stay there. An ultra-Zen monastery open to the general public, the advanced is huge and gorgeous, resulting in the Nice Path of Buddhahood, a broad pathway flanked by eight similar pagodas.

You possibly can discover every as you stroll your approach as much as the Large Buddha, the best seated bronze Buddha on the earth. I’ve been to many temples and monasteries in my lifetime, however this one takes the cake.

16. Go to a Taiwanese Aboriginal Village

locals making food at a Taiwanese Aboriginal village
There are numerous educated native guides that may introduce you to the aboriginal lifestyle in Taiwan. The Formosa Aboriginal Tradition Village close to Solar Moon Lake is the most well-liked vacation spot to study extra, but it surely’s definitely not the one one — there are many villages to select from.

17. Take Half within the Pingxi Lantern Pageant

red overhanging lanterns at the Taiwan Pingxi Lantern Festival
One of many coolest occasions in Taiwan, the Pingxi Lantern Pageant entails releasing a whole lot of paper lanterns into the sky. (Many newlyweds additionally embrace this significant custom as part of their wedding ceremony celebration.) Should you don’t wish to courageous the crowds, you may simply buy a lantern and light-weight one on any of Taiwan’s seashores.

Taiwan may be very environmentally pleasant, so be sure to go along with the eco-friendly paper lantern choices that disintegrate, leaving no residue, and don’t trigger fires. The corporate My Taiwan Tour additionally presently affords biodegradable paper lantern excursions in Shifen.


There are numerous matters about Taiwan that make it an unbelievable place to stay; it’s straightforward to take a few of these matters as a right when you’ve been right here for some time. I incessantly hear that individuals assume Taiwan may be very Westernized, and whereas I agree that it’s to some extent, there are nonetheless loads of genuine Taiwanese experiences available!

Taiwan is and continues to be an sudden journey vacation spot that continues to thrill guests to at the present time. There isn’t a place prefer it!

Canadian expat Carrie Kellenberger has been dwelling in Asia since 2003. She moved to Taiwan in 2006 and have become a everlasting resident in 2012. She loves entertaining visitors and vacationers to Taiwan. You possibly can examine her adventures and life there at her weblog, My A number of Worlds.

E book Your Journey to Taiwan: Logistical Ideas and Methods

E book Your Flight
Discover a low cost flight through the use of Skyscanner or Momondo. They’re my two favourite engines like google as a result of they search web sites and airways across the globe so that you all the time know no stone is left unturned.

E book Your Lodging
You possibly can e-book your hostel with Hostelworld. If you wish to keep elsewhere, use Reserving.com as they constantly return the most cost effective charges for guesthouses and low cost motels. I take advantage of them on a regular basis. My favourite locations to remain in Taipei are:

  • Formosa 101 – This hostel is positioned proper close to the Taipei Tower and the Tonghua Night time Market. They provide free breakfast and have a laid again lounge for stress-free.
  • Meander Taipei – The workers right here is basically useful and the beds are cozy. They’ve free breakfast in addition to different day by day actions accessible.

Don’t Overlook Journey Insurance coverage
Journey insurance coverage will defend you in opposition to sickness, damage, theft, and cancellations. It’s complete safety in case something goes fallacious. I by no means go on a visit with out it as I’ve had to make use of it many instances prior to now. I’ve been utilizing World Nomads for ten years. My favourite corporations that provide one of the best service and worth are:

In search of one of the best corporations to economize with?
Try my useful resource web page for one of the best corporations to make use of whenever you journey! I checklist all those I take advantage of to economize after I journey – and I believe will assist you too!

Picture credit: 9 – David Hsu, 15 – Yi Chen, 16 – Huicheng1967

The submit 17 Matters to See and Do in Taiwan appeared first on Nomadic Matt's Journey Website.

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