25 Best Places to Visit in Taiwan
Filled with incredible scenery, delicious food, friendly people, and stunning temples, Taiwan should be on everyone’s travel list. The modern architectural landmarks such as Taipei 101 are just as beautiful as the decade old temples that are found throughout the country. Whether visitors are looking for a more relaxing getaway filled with lush nature parks and relaxing hot springs or if they’d like to spend their holiday shopping in the bustling night markets, singing karaoke, and drinking locally brewed craft beers, Taiwan has it all. Attractions that shouldn’t be missed include Sun Moon Lake, Kenting National Park, the National Palace Museum, and the Fengjia Night Market. Photo: charaspong/Fotolia
Taipei is the cultural, political, and economic hub of Taiwan in addition to being the largest city on the island. Visitors will come across a world that combines modern with the traditional, as old temples blend in with world-class gourmet restaurants and shopping centers. Attractions such as the Taipei Zoo, Flora Expo Park, and the Botanical Garden are popular places to visit while there. The Maokong Gondola offers a bird’s eye view of the beautiful city, which celebrates many festivals throughout the year. There are many centers and museums that allow visitors to better understand and appreciate the land’s history; some that shouldn’t be missed include the Taiwan Handicraft Museum, the Puppetry Art Center, the Discovery Center of Taipei, and the National Palace Museum.
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»Yushan National Park
Covering over 100,000 hectares, Yushan National Park is named after the highest peak in the park, the Yushan summit. There are over thirty more peaks in addition to many cliffs, canyons, and valleys at Yushan National Park. There are three visitor centers to enter from: Tataka, Nanan, and Meishan. Visitors are guided through the park so that they get up close and personal with the flourishing flora and fauna. Some of the most popular animals seen are the sambar deer, Taiwan macaque, and black bears, in addition to other mammals, reptiles, and birds. The Yushan trail elevates visitors to what seems like eye level with the clouds and offers stunning views of the surroundings.
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»Kenting National Park
Established in 1984, Kenting National Park is considered Taiwan’s oldest national park. It can be found on the southernmost tip of the island on the Hengchun Peninsula. Known for is sunshine, beach, scenic mountain, and tropical climate, the national park is an extremely popular destination with both locals and visitors. The rich flora and fauna within the park ensure that visitors will come across various reptiles, mammals, fish species, and birds; some of them include the endangered hawksbill turtles, bull sharks, and over 26 species of land crabs. One attraction in the national park that shouldn’t be missed is the Eluanbi Lighthouse, which is over 70 feet high and has been around since 1883.
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Changhua County is one of the first areas in Taiwan to be developed; the fertile land is surrounded by the Taiwan Straits on the west and mountains on the other three sides. The Bagua Mountain Range is one of the most popular tourist sites in Changhua County, and visitors who head there can spend their time hiking or cycling through the flourishing mountains. You’re also invited to walk through the local orchards and try some of the fresh local produce which include litchis, carambola, guava, grapes, and watermelon. Some of the landmark attractions that shouldn’t be missed when in Changhua County include the Baguashan Great Buddha, Longshan Temple, and Baozang Temple.
Photo: Richie Chan/Fotolia
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Chiayi City is the settlement location of some of the earliest pioneers from Zhangzhou. Visitors can see many preserved artifacts from its rich history in the Yimin Temple. Those who love the outdoors will enjoy spending time in the Chiayi Botanical Garden, Lantan Holland Lake, or at Chiayi Park; there’s even the Alishan Railway, which will take visitors on a scenic rail journey through the forest. There are many museums and galleries in Chiayi City such as the Culture Center, the Municipal Museum, or the Historic Archives, filled with interesting exhibits for visitors to enjoy. While there, you shouldn’t miss the Wenhua Road Night Market where you can get to know the residents and sample various local snacks. Photo: Richie Chan/Fotolia
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Bordered by the sea on one side and the mountains on the other, Chiayi County is filled with historical and cultural attractions. It is renowned for being the only county in Taiwan with three major national scenic areas: the Southwest Coast National Scenic Area, the Alishan National Scenic Area, and the Siraya National Scenic Area. Visitors will be able to witness some breathtaking cloud formations and sunrise views among colorful cherry blossoms, ancient trees, secluded forest trails, waterfalls, and valleys. A few of the attractions of note are the Yu Mountain range, the Budai Salt Fields, the Aogu Wetlands, the Taiping Suspension Bridge, and the Budai Tourist Fish Market.
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First developed in 1723, Hsinchu City became a popular tourist attraction that is famed for the Science-based Industrial Park. Hsinchu Science Park, or HSP, is filled with prestigious academic and research institutions and is home to over 370 high-tech companies; the high-tech town is an interesting place for visitors to explore. Other attractions you will come across in Hsinchu City include Green Grass Lake, the Shibajain Mountain Range, the Glass Museum of Hsinchu, and the Hsinchu Zoo. The Hsinchu City God Temple, also known as Chenghuang Temple, is one of the highest-ranking temples in Taiwan. After visitors explore the beautiful temple, they can walk through the many stalls near it and try delicious Taiwanese snacks like rice noodles, which the region is famed for.
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Hsinchu Country is home to the largest Hakka community in Taiwan, and because of the insular communities that thrive there, what visitors see is an extremely well-preserved location with customs and traditions that are unique from the rest of Taiwan. There are many recommended spots for tourists to visit, with one of the main points of interest being the scenic Shei-Pa National Park. Other sites and attractions include Guanwu National Forest, the Leofoo Village theme park, Emei Lake, and the Xiakaluo Historic Trail filled with artillery posts and police stations that were erected during the period when the Japanese occupied it.
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Hualien is Taiwan’s biggest county and is often called its most scenic as well. With azure skies, towering mountain peaks, scenic valleys, and views of the vast Pacific Ocean to the east, it’s no wonder that visitors are taken away by the land’s natural beauty. Both, local and international visitors, flock to Hualien County to see the stunning natural landscapes in the East Coast National Scenic Area or the impressive gorges at Taroko National Park. The half-hour walk through the Tunnel of Nine Turns allows visitors to see enchanting views of some of Taiwan’s most beautiful rivers, gorges, and marble cliffs.
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The industrial and maritime capital of Taiwan, Kaohsiung City is a thriving metropolis that is a tourist’s dream. The year-round pleasant weather as well as the surrounding scenic attractions have made it a popular vacation destination. Visitors there will be able to go to renowned sites such as Love River, Xiziwan Bay, Mount Shoushan, Lotus Pond, and the Old City of Zuoying. The views of the river, ocean, and mountains can be experienced via hiking, bicycling, camping, and many other activities. The ethnic melting pot also ensures that visitors will be able to experience different cultures and traditions and try a variety of new foods.
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Taiwan’s Keelung City is a major port city found near the bustling Taipei. The city is often called the “Rainy Port” because of its role as Taiwan’s second largest seaport as well as its frequent rain. Other than the Bisha Fishing Port, visitors in Keelung City can also explore the Keelung Cultural Center, Chung Cheng Park, Heping Island Park, and the National Museum of Marine Science and Technology. There are various historical structures scattered throughout the city such as Dawulun Fort, Pengjia Lighthouse, and the Uhrshawan Battery. The city becomes crowded during the annual Mid-Summer Ghost Festival, which dates back to 1851.
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Quemoy, or Kinmen County as it is popularly known, is a small island off the coast of Taiwan with a big reputation; the land was once the site of the fierce fight between Nationalist forces and the Communists in 1949. Nowadays it’s a popular tourist destination and is often called the “park in the sea” due to the colorful flowers and lush greenery found on the island. Visitors in Kinmen County can buy some of the many specialty items that the island is known for such as porcelain and ceramic products and knives fashioned from old mortar shells. The culinary delicacies range from oyster omelets and other seafood specialties to stuffed clay-oven rolls and Cantonese congee – all delicious things visitors should try while there.
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Lienchange County, or Matzu as it is often called after the goddess Mazu, is a collection of small islands that can be found on the Taiwan Strait. The weather can be scorching in the summer, but that doesn’t deter visitors from flocking there to see the fabled Chinese crested tern, a bird renowned by ornithology lovers. During the winter, visitors will be able to see the county come alive during the annual Lantern Festival and other religious ceremonies. When in Lienchiang County, visitors will be able to pick up some great culinary souvenirs to take back home such as healthy red yeast cuisine and delicious pickled vegetables.
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Visitors from all over the world head to Miaoli County in Taiwan to visit the Lion’s Mountain Head, or Shitoushan. The temple is one of the nicest in the country, and visitors are urged to spend a few days there to find peace and relaxation. The pleasant climate as well as a combination of unique ceramic products, wood sculptures, tung blossoms, and seasonal fruit make it a great stop for those traveling through Taiwan. The Taian Hot Spring Scenic Area is a major attraction alongside the Dahu Strawberry Culture Park and the Mingde Reservoir Scenic Area.
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Found right in the heart of Taiwan, Nantou is the only landlocked county on the entire island. It is home to over 40 mountains, including Taiwan’s highest peak, Mount Jade, or Yushan. The island’s longest river, the Zhuoshui, also winds through the county and offers stunning views. Visitors can spend the day at the beautiful Sun Moon Lake or visit one of the many recreational farms in the area for a nice, peaceful day in the countryside. Other attractions in the area include the Aowanda National Forest, the Ita Thao Lakeside Trail, Xitou Nature Education Area, and the monument that marks the very geographical center of Taiwan.
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»New Taipei City
Rich in cultural resources, New Taipei City is often the host of various cultural activities and festivals that can be experienced at the Eighteen Wang Gong temple, Qingshui Zushi temple, or in scenic locations such as Sanxia Old Street or Jiufen. There are many attractions and sites in the area for visitors who would like to see natural sites, visit amusement parks, or hike through national forests, and there is plenty to see and do for those who prefer the waterfront. Some that shouldn’t be missed are the Longmen Camping Site, Bitou Cape Park, Nanya, the Caoling Historic Trail, Manyueyuan National Forest, and the Tamsui River Mangrove. Those traveling with younger visitors should not miss spending a day at Yeliu Ocean World where they can get up close and personal with sea lions, dolphins, and many other marine animals.
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Often called “the pearl of the Taiwan Strait,” Penghu County is an archipelago found in the southwest region of the island. It consists of over 90 islands of varying sizes and has become an international hotspot for competitive sailing. Visitors can view the brilliant firework festivals held in the spring and summer or enjoy waterside activities on the soft beaches and clear waters. The area is renowned for fresh seafood, and they even have an annual Penghu Seafood Carnival that foodies should not miss. Fongguei Cave, the Penghu Great Bridge, Ekran Historical House, Xiyu Western Fort, and the Guanyin Pavilion are some of the most popular attractions in Penghu County.
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Backed by mountains and facing the open water, Pingtung County is one of the most picturesque locations in all of Taiwan. The area enjoys spring-like weather all year long and is the epitome of southern charm in the country. Many visitors head to Pingtung for a relaxing and calm weekend away from the bustle of city. While there, they can enjoy attractions such as Kenting National Park, the Eden of Xiaoliuqiu, Dapeng Bay National Scenic Area, Saija Air Park, and the Maolin National Scenic Area. Pingtung is known as one of the best places to paraglide in Taiwan; visitors can also enjoy snorkeling in the coral-filled waters or observe migratory birds in the forests.
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Taiwan’s second largest city, Taichung is a highly developed commercial and industrial hub in the country. Visitors can head there and enjoy the year-round climate, which is always mild and enjoyable. There are many historic sites, including the 200-year-old Lecheng Temple, the unique three-hall style Wanhe Temple, and the ornate Chenghuang Temple. The city’s yesteryear charms are only enhanced by the addition of the 200-year-old Zhenlan Temple in Dajia and the shrine dedicated to the famed Chang Liao family. The thriving art scene in Taichung has made it the home of the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts and the National Taichung Theater. There are many markets that come alive at night; visitors can enjoy the lights and street foods at Fengjia Night Market, Zhongua Night Market, or at Jingming 1st Street.
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The ancient capital of Taiwan, Tainan City is an enjoyable place for visitors to spend their vacation. The warm weather lasts all year in the oldest city on the island, allowing visitors to explore national parks and scenic areas such as Taijiang National Park, Qigu Lagoon, the Qigu Salt Mountain, and Siraya National Scenic Area. The Wanpi World Safari Zoo is in the area, and visitors of all ages can go see pandas, racoons, and many other endangered animals. While in Tainan City, you can also visit the Nanhua Reservoir or the Hutoupi Reservoir, both of which offer amazing panoramic views of the surroundings.
Photo: Richie Chan/Fotolia
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The ecological richness and beauty of Taitung County makes it a unique place for visitors to explore while in Taiwan. The county ranges from coastal areas to towering mountain peaks, making it one of the most scenic locations on the island. Taitung is known for its distinctive local products, which range from specialty seafood items to hibiscus and premium rice. Taitung is also famed for having Taiwan’s oldest bikeway, the Guanshan Bicycle Trail, which invites cyclists to enjoy the enchanting charm of the land on two wheels. The Zhaori Saltwater Hot Springs is one of the attractions that shouldn’t be missed; visitors can relax in the healing waters while looking out to a postcard-like view.
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Found on a plateau on Taiwan’s main island, Taoyuan City is often called “the land of a thousand ponds” or “flower kingdom.” The abundance of scenic sites and natural attractions in the area has made a popular tourist destination over the years. The historic Chiang Ching-Kuo and Chiang Kai-Shek cultural park are filled with local flora and fauna that can’t be experienced anywhere else in the country. There are many trails and bikeways visitors can use to explore the land on their own. Otherwise, there are many tour companies that offer packages tailor-made to a visitor’s interest such as exploring the local Hakka culture or the nearby rustic areas.
Photo: Richie Chan/Fotolia
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»Taroko National Park
Established in 1986, Taroko National Park was named after the landmark gorge in the park, which was naturally carved by the Liwu River. Visitors can spend the day rafting through the refreshing waters, taking stunning pictures of the Tunnel of Nine Turns, or walking the remains of the Tupido Tribe Trail, which was built over 120 years ago. A few aspects of the park that shouldn’t be missed are the Eternal Spring Shrine, the Bridge of the Kind Mother, Lioufang Chiao Bridge, the Baiyang Waterfalls Trail, and the Shakadang Trail. Every year, the national parks hosts the Taroko Music Festival where visitors can experience the traditional sounds of the land and its people.
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Less than an hour away from Taipei, Yilan County offers visitors in Taiwan a range of natural environments for them to enjoy. Everything from swimming and enjoying water sports in the ocean to having a picnic in the refreshing countryside can be experienced here. Yilan County is also filled with cold and hot springs for visitors to take a refreshing dip while there. One of the most unique attractions there is the Qilan Sacred Trees Garden, which is home to over a hundred old trees such as Taiwan hinoki false cypresses. Other attractions include dolphin and whale watching, camping in the Qilan Forest Recreation Area, or walking the Caoling Historic Trail. Visitors can end the day snacking on popular local delicacies at the Yilan Night Market.
Photo: Richie Chan/Fotolia
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A county built on agriculture, Yunlin County prides itself on its high-quality agricultural productions and its rustic charm. Visitors are invited to come experience the vibrant culture unique to Yunlin – the capital of Taiwanese puppet theater. There are many people who happily invite visitors to their home workshops to see the detail that goes into the creation of the puppets. After purchasing a souvenir puppet for themselves, visitors can try some of the local specialties, which include coffee, Taiwan tilapia, and a uniquely flavored soy sauce that puts everything else to shame. Attractions that shouldn’t be missed include the Beigang Chaotian Temple, Caoling Forest, and Jianhusan Fancy World.
Photo: Top Photo Group/Fotolia
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25 Best Places to Visit in Taiwan
- Taipei City, Photo: Courtesy of leodaphne - Fotolia.com
- Yushan National Park, Photo: Courtesy of spaceport9 - Fotolia.com
- Kenting National Park, Photo: Courtesy of leungchopan - Fotolia.com
- Changhua County, Photo: Courtesy of Richie Chan - Fotolia.com
- Chiayi City, Photo: Courtesy of Richie Chan - Fotolia.com
- Chiayi County, Photo: Courtesy of nicholashan - Fotolia.com
- Hsinchu City, Photo: Courtesy of SeanPavonePhoto - Fotolia.com
- Hsinchu County, Photo: Courtesy of Top Photo Group - Fotolia.com
- Hualien County, Photo: Courtesy of Mirek - Fotolia.com
- Kaohsiung City, Photo: Courtesy of willcao911 - Fotolia.com
- Keelung City, Photo: Courtesy of Yevgen Belich - Fotolia.com
- Kinmen County, Photo: Courtesy of Richie Chan - Fotolia.com
- Lienchiang County, Photo: Courtesy of Jaimie Tuchman - Fotolia.com
- Miaoli County, Photo: Courtesy of Top Photo Group - Fotolia.com
- Nantou County, Photo: Courtesy of asiastock - Fotolia.com
- New Taipei City, Photo: Courtesy of clin0000 - Fotolia.com
- Penghu County, Photo: Courtesy of Fotolia.com
- Pingtung County, Photo: Courtesy of Top Photo Group - Fotolia.com
- Taichung City, Photo: Courtesy of wayne_0216 - Fotolia.com
- Tainan City, Photo: Courtesy of Richie Chan - Fotolia.com
- Taitung County, Photo: Courtesy of wayne_0216 - Fotolia.com
- Taoyuan City, Photo: Courtesy of Richie Chan - Fotolia.com
- Taroko National Park, Photo: Courtesy of Peera - Fotolia.com
- Yilan County, Photo: Courtesy of Richie Chan - Fotolia.com
- Yunlin County, Photo: Courtesy of Top Photo Group - Fotolia.com
- Cover Photo: Courtesy of charaspong - Fotolia.com
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