Top 5 Breathtaking National Parks to Visit in Taiwan

Top 5 Breathtaking National Parks to Visit in Taiwan

Taiwan's nature is worthy of in-depth discovery. From Kenting National Park to Taijiang National Park, here are the most spectacular national parks to visit on your Taiwan trip!

When I visited Taiwan, I felt compelled to explore some of the island’s beautiful national parks. Taipei and Kaohsiung can be hectic at the best of times, so I was soon itching for a chance to get lost in the natural beauty which continues to captivate millions of locals and international tourists alike. I’d like to show you around the five national parks that I consider as the most breathtaking and memorable in Taiwan.

1. Kenting National Park

Image credit: Suhopese

Image credit: Chen Xu

Kenting, situated on the southernmost tip of Taiwan, is the oldest and most visited national park on the island, and for good reason! The weather was characteristically tropical when I began my trek, and I was soon struck by the rich plant life and diverse landscape. The north of the park is mountainous and rugged, while the south is peppered with smaller foothills. A large portion of the park’s area consists of crystal clear sea, accompanied by coral sea cliffs and sunken limestone caverns. Kenting was also used as a filming location for the acclaimed 2012 film Life of Pi, directed by Taiwan’s very own Ang Lee.

2. Yangmingshan National Park

Image credit: Florian Rohart

I visited Yangmingshan, located to the northeast of Taipei, as a day trip from the city. I took Bus 260 outside Taipei Main Station and before I knew it, I had taken leave of my urban surroundings and was bound for nature. The tranquillity of the park contrasts sharply with the frenetic pace of life in Taipei, so it’s no surprise that thousands of the city’s denizens head out here to relax and chill out. The park is ideal for hiking, and there are many well-signposted trails for doing just that. The most popular of these trails is the Tianmu Trail, which features a 1,000 step stairway and offers spectacular views of the surrounding area at the summit. It’s a bit exhausting but rewarding!

3. Taroko National Park

Image credit: Edwin.11

Taroko Gorge, an enormous marble-walled canyon stretching for 19 kilometres, dominates the heart of this 1,200-kilometre park in the east of Taiwan. The gorge was cut by the narrow Liwu River, forming a watery path framed by steep and sharp cliffs on either side. The whole park encompasses three administrative counties of Taiwan: Taichung, Nantou and Hualien. Taroko boasts 34 species of indigenous mammals, including black bears and Formosan rock macaques. The flora is also incredibly biodiverse, with everything from bamboo to pine trees growing in different sections of the park. Taroko draws its name from the Truku aboriginal tribe, who were the original human inhabitants of the area.

4. Yushan National Park

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Image credit: Jirka Matousek

Yushan, also known as Jade Mountain, is the tallest mountain in Taiwan and the centrepiece of Yushan National Park which lies in the interior of the island. During winter months, the summit of the mountain is capped with a thick layer of snow which shines like jade, hence the name. While I was too timid to climb to the 3952-meter peak, I greatly enjoyed taking in the magnificent views of the lush forested landscape from a less exhausting height. Additionally, two permits are required to climb any mountain in the park; one from the National Park Office and another from the local police station. If you’re considering making the ascent, be advised to book in advance to avoid disappointment!

5. Taijiang National Park

Image credit: Thomas Huang

Taijiang distinguishes itself from the other parks on the list by virtue of it being a primarily urban park, situated largely within the southwestern coastal city of Tainan. Tainan is the oldest city in Taiwan and I was very eager to learn about its past by visiting historical sites like Fort Zeelandia, which was a fortification built by Dutch colonists which has now been turned into a museum. Taijiang had once been a large inland sea, but it silted up in the 18th century as a result of the development of salt mining and fish farming in the region, and the park’s area is now made up of 50 sq km of and 340 sq km of sea. The sea holds an incredible array of life, ranging from exotic fish and birds to ancient crustaceans that can be found nowhere else, and it’s possible to take a boat ride to see them up close. If you’re a lover of all things aquatic, then I’d strongly urge you to check it out!

About Author

Ciaran Lawler
Ciaran Lawler

Ciaran’s spent a bunch of time travelling around East and Southeast Asia in a haze of wonderment. Foreign cultures have fascinated him from an early age and this interest spawned a love of travel. He’s spent many years studying economics and international relations and hopes to one day settle down at a comfy desk job.


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