Taiwan’s Top 5 Destinations And Experiences Not To Miss

Taiwan’s Top 5 Destinations And Experiences Not To Miss

From scenic Hualien to the bustling metropolis of Taipei, here are some of the top places to visit and the accompanying things to do in Taiwan.

Vibrant modern cities meet picturesque natural landscapes on this unique island. Here are five destinations in Taiwan you shouldn’t miss and what to do when you get there…

1. Hualien

taiwan top destinations

Image credit: Hsuanya Tsai

Located on Taiwan’s East coast, Hualien is a county known for its natural beauty. The region is sheltered by the Central Mountain Range to the West and looks out to the Pacific Ocean in the East. Hualien City is the largest city in the county and a popular base for travellers who are visiting the Taroko Gorge, about an hour’s drive from the city centre. In downtown Hualien there are also parks, shopping and of course, delicious food outlets to explore.

Image credit: Ken Marshall

Go if … You enjoy visiting beautiful natural sights.

Don’t go if … You want a slick modern city, the less nature and hiking the better!

Experiences not to miss:

  1. Take in scenic views of steep rocky cliffs and cascading water at the beautiful Taroko Gorge, one of Taiwan’s top natural attractions.
  2. Get your fill of tempting snacks and even aboriginal Taiwanese food at Tungtamen Night Market.
  3. Enjoy a tranquil moment at Qixingtan Beach, a pretty pebble shore with wonderful ocean views.

2. Taichung

taiwan top destinations

Image credit: 威翰 陳

Taichung is situated in the west of Taiwan and is often regarded as the country’s cultural capital. It can be reached easily from Taipei; just hop on a high speed train and it is less than an hour away. The city has a busy centre and plenty of museums, temples, shops, restaurants and street food.

Image credit: Mark Kao

Go if … You love walking around different attractions in a city and sampling local food.

Don’t go if … You are not very interested in cultural sights.

Experiences not to miss:

  1. Stroll along the winding boardwalk of Kaomei Wetland at dusk and catch some pretty sunset views.
  2. Visit the National Museum of Natural Science, popular with families and filled with interesting and interactive exhibits.
  3. Stop by one of Taiwan’s architectural landmarks, the National Taichung Theater, an opera house and a hub for the performing arts, designed by Japanese architect Toyo Ito.

3. Tainan

taiwan top destinations

Image credit: ruich_whx

Taiwan’s former capital and its oldest city is located on the southwest coast of the island. The city is well-known for its historical fortresses and temples but is often overshadowed by its bigger neighbour, Kaohsiung. Still, it is on the radar of many travellers looking for a dose of traditional Taiwanese culture and history.

taiwan top destinations

Image credit: PINA10460

Go if … You would like to discover Taiwan’s rich history.

Don’t go if … You are bored by temples and cultural sites.

Experiences not to miss:

  1. Walk through one of Tainan’s landmarks, Anping Fort, and find out about the history of Dutch influence in Taiwan.
  2. Discover the beautiful Confucius Temple where you can write your wishes and hang them in the temple grounds.
  3. Spend some time viewing the extraordinary collection of sculptures, paintings and other historical artworks at Chimei Museum.

4. Kaohsiung

Image credit: Bernard Gagnon

Kaohsiung is the second largest city in Taiwan. This modern metropolis is dotted with parks and skyscrapers but its focal point is the pleasant Love River where walking paths and small cafes rest on the banks. As is always the case in Taiwan, you are never far away from tasty street food in Kaohsiung as there are many night markets scattered across the city.

Image credit: Audrey Lau

Go if … You love night shopping!

Don’t go if … You don’t like urban places or shopping in crowds.

Experiences not to miss:

  1. Visit the impressive Fo Guang Shan Buddha Museum with its eight towering pagodas and Buddha statue.
  2. Snap some pictures at the Dragon Tiger Pagodas and climb to the top for great views of the surrounding Lotus Lake.
  3. Go shopping after dark at one of Kaohsiung’s busy night markets, Jin-Zuan, Ruifeng or Liuhe Night Market.

5. Taipei

Image credit: Timo

Taiwan’s capital is at the top of the list for most travellers visiting the country. It’s a busy city that also preserves much of its heritage through its temples, tea houses and museums. You can’t leave Taipei without trying the mouthwatering variety of food on offer at local restaurants, cafes and streetside vendors.

Image credit: Timo

Go if … You love city life and food galore!

Don’t go if … You are looking for a peaceful retreat.

Experiences not to miss:

  1. Taste local delicacies at the buzzing Shilin Night Market. There are numerous markets you can explore in Taipei but Shilin is the largest and most famous in the city.
  2. View historical treasures at the National Palace Museum where a huge collection of Chinese art and rare artefacts are on display.
  3. Visit Longshan Temple, a well-known religious site in Taiwan dating back to the 1700s when it was built as a gathering place for Chinese settlers.

Also read: 5 Ways to Experience Taiwanese Culture in Tainan & Kaohsiung

Taiwan’s appeal definitely goes beyond Taipei. Its natural beauty, bustling cities and delicious food are all worth exploring for an eye-opening and enchanting travel experience.

About Author

Rebecca Mei Dook
Rebecca Mei Dook

Becca is a fan of impromptu travel, world cultures, ocean views and chocolate anything. When she's not travelling, you can find her either roaming the muddy paths of the English countryside or wandering around her favourite neighbourhoods in Singapore. After taking an AncestryDNA test, she now dreams about visiting all the places that make up her ethnicity.


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