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Taiwan: A Journey of Culture and Nature

Discover the beauty of Taiwan with this comprehensive travel guide.

From stunning landscapes to vibrant festivals, we’ll help you make the most of your holiday in Taiwan.

Qijin Lighthouse in Kaohsiung, Taiwan min
Qijin Lighthouse in Kaohsiung, Taiwan
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Transport | Best time to go | Free 14-Day Itinerary | Shopping Ideas | Sightseeing | beaches | 1-Day excursion | Eat & Drinks | Travel Tips | Cheapest Flights | Where to stay
Taipei, Taiwan, travel and home min
Taipei

Taiwan has a captivating history influenced by various cultures, from indigenous tribes to Dutch and Japanese colonial periods. In recent years, it has earned recognition for its sustainable tourism initiatives and being a top destination for food and outdoor enthusiasts. Taiwan was also awarded the “Best Island in the World” by Condé Nast Traveler in 2020.

The best way to explore Taiwan is by combining different modes of transportation. Taiwan has an efficient and extensive public transportation system, including trains, buses, and the high-speed rail. Renting a scooter or bicycle is a fantastic way to explore cities and towns, while a rental car is perfect for exploring remote areas.

Taiwan has four international airports, each serving different regions and offering convenient options for holiday makers:

  • Taoyuan International Airport (TPE) - Located in Taoyuan City, serves the Northern Region.

    • Convenience: Taoyuan International Airport is the primary gateway to Taiwan and is the largest and busiest airport in the country. It offers excellent connectivity to major cities worldwide, making it convenient for travelers from all over the world.
  • Kaohsiung International Airport (KHH) - Located in Kaohsiung City, serves the Southern Region.

    • Convenience: Kaohsiung International Airport provides a convenient entry point for travelers exploring the southern part of Taiwan. It offers domestic and international flights, making it a convenient choice for holiday makers planning to visit attractions in the southern region.
  • Taipei Songshan Airport (TSA) - Located in Taipei City, serves the Greater Taipei Area.

    • Convenience: Taipei Songshan Airport is situated in the heart of Taipei, making it ideal for travelers who want to explore Taipei City and its surrounding areas. It mainly operates domestic and regional flights, including short-haul international flights, providing easy access to nearby destinations.
  • Taichung International Airport (RMQ) - Located in Taichung City, serves the Central Region.

    • Convenience: Taichung International Airport is a convenient option for travelers planning to explore the central part of Taiwan. It operates domestic and limited international flights, making it a viable choice for those wanting to access the central region quickly.

The ideal time to visit Taiwan is during the spring (April to June) and autumn (September to November). The weather is mild, and you can enjoy stunning cherry blossoms in spring and colorful foliage in autumn. Avoid the typhoon season, which occurs between June and October, as it may disrupt travel plans.

To explore Taiwan thoroughly, plan for at least 10-14 days. A suggested itinerary includes:

  • Day 1-3: Taipei - Begin your journey in the bustling capital city. Explore iconic landmarks like Taipei 101, Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall, and the National Palace Museum. Don't miss the vibrant Shilin Night Market for a taste of Taiwan's famous street food.
  • Day 4-6: Taichung - Take a high-speed train to Taichung and visit the magnificent Sun Moon Lake. Explore the enchanting Formosan Aboriginal Culture Village and Gaomei Wetlands for a unique ecological experience.
  • Day 7-9: Tainan - Travel to Taiwan's cultural capital, Tainan, and immerse yourself in its rich history. Visit Anping Fort, Chihkan Tower, and the Confucius Temple. Savor Tainan's renowned local dishes at bustling night markets.
  • Day 10-12: Kaohsiung - Head to Kaohsiung, Taiwan's vibrant southern port city. Explore Lotus Pond and its magnificent temples, take a stroll through Pier-2 Art Center, and unwind on Cijin Island's beaches.
  • Day 13-14: Hualien - Travel east to Hualien and venture into the breathtaking Taroko National Park. Hike through the stunning Taroko Gorge, visit the Eternal Spring Shrine, and bask in the beauty of Qixingtan Beach.

Familiarize yourself with the local weather and pack accordingly.

TAIWAN WEATHER

Taiwan is known for...

Enchanting Taiwan is known for its friendly locals, delectable street food, stunning natural landscapes, and the seamless blend of tradition and modernity.

Unique Shopping Ideas in Taiwan

Don’t miss the vibrant night markets, where you can find everything from local handicrafts to trendy fashion items. Taiwan is also famous for its tea and pineapple cakes, perfect souvenirs to take back home.

Travel Tip(s)

Roll your clothes instead of folding them to save space in your luggage. This also helps prevent wrinkles and makes it easier to find specific items.

Use leak-proof sleeves for your toiletries to prevent spills in your luggage. Keep things tidy and hassle-free!

Explore our curated collection now for fantastic finds and exclusive deals!

Top Attractions in Taiwan

  • Penghu Islands: This archipelago is an ideal destination for beach lovers and water sports enthusiasts. Its unique basalt formations and clear blue waters make it a paradise for photography.
Penghu Islands, Taiwan, travel and home min
Penghu Islands
  • Jiufen Old Street: This quaint town is famous for its narrow alleys, traditional teahouses, and lantern-lit streets. It inspired the film “Spirited Away” by Studio Ghibli, making it a haven for anime enthusiasts.
  • Shilin Night Market: One of Taiwan’s largest night markets, Shilin entices visitors with a wide array of mouthwatering street food, trendy fashion, and bargain shopping opportunities.
  • Taipei 101: Once the tallest building globally, Taipei 101’s design is influenced by traditional Chinese pagodas and modern engineering. The observatory on the 89th floor offers panoramic views of the city.
  • National Palace Museum: Housing over 700,000 Chinese artifacts, this museum exhibits treasures from the imperial collections, including rare jade carvings and ancient calligraphy.
  • Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall: A symbolic landmark in Taipei, this grand memorial hall honors Taiwan’s former president, Chiang Kai-Shek. The complex includes a museum with historical exhibits.
Explore the best sightseeing in Taipei, Taiwan min
  • Sun Moon Lake: Taiwan’s largest lake offers breathtaking scenery with the sunlit northern part shaped like a sun and the southern part resembling a crescent moon. Take a boat ride or cycle around the lake for a memorable experience.
  • Tainan’s Historic Sites: Tainan is rich in history and culture, boasting numerous ancient temples and historic buildings, including the iconic Anping Fort, Chihkan Tower, and Confucius Temple.
Top attractions and landmarks in Taiwan, travel and home min
  • Alishan: This picturesque mountain area is renowned for its sunrise views over a sea of clouds. A unique forest railway takes visitors through breathtaking landscapes and ancient cypress trees.
  • Kenting National Park: As Taiwan’s only tropical national park, it boasts sandy beaches, coral reefs, and unique geological formations. It’s a paradise for beach lovers and divers.
  • Yehliu Geopark: Marvel at nature’s sculptures, including the iconic “Queen’s Head” rock formation. These fascinating geological wonders were shaped by sea erosion over centuries.
  • Fo Guang Shan Monastery: One of the largest Buddhist monastic complexes in the world, it offers visitors a serene atmosphere, stunning architecture, and cultural insights into Buddhism. There is no entrance fee to Fo Guang Shan Monastery. Go to: No. 153, Xingtian Rd., Xingtian Vil., Dashu District in Kaohsiung City.
  • Cijin Island: Accessible by ferry from Kaohsiung, this charming island is famous for its fresh seafood, sandy beaches, and picturesque lighthouse.
  • Maokong Gondola: A cable car ride to Maokong provides breathtaking views of Taipei and takes you to a tea-growing region. Enjoy traditional tea ceremonies and delicious local teas.
Maokong Gondola, Taiwan, travel and home min
Maokong Gondola

Travel Tip(s)

  • Smoking in non-designated areas, as Taiwan has strict smoking regulations.
  • Disrespecting religious customs when visiting temples or cultural sites.
  • Engaging in illegal activities, as Taiwan has strict laws and penalties.
  • Try local street food, it’s a must-do culinary adventure.
  • Respect personal space and local customs, like bowing when entering temples.
  • Learn a few basic Mandarin phrases; locals appreciate the effort.
  • Respect the environment and practice eco-friendly travel.

Enjoy hassle-free entry to 25 iconic attractions for up to 3 days. Save up to 72% while benefiting from unlimited access entry to Taipei public transport and access to Taipei’s most signature experiences. Convenient pickup locations at TPE Taoyuan Airport.

Get free entry to 30 iconic attractions in Taipei with a pass and a customized transportation card. Choose from a 2-day, 3-day, or 4-day pass and visit the Taipei Zoo, Beitou Museum, and more.

Top Beaches in Taiwan

Best beaches in Taiwan, fulong beach, qixingran beach, jibei island, baishawan beach min
  • Baishawan Beach (White Sand Bay) – Located in northern Taiwan, Baishawan Beach is famous for its soft white sands and clear turquoise waters. It’s a favorite spot for beachgoers seeking relaxation and water activities, making it one of the most popular beaches in the country.
  • Qixingtan Beach – Located near Hualien on Taiwan’s east coast, Qixingtan Beach captivates visitors with its pebble-strewn shore and dramatic views of the Pacific Ocean. The beach’s unique geological formations and scenic surroundings make it a photographer’s delight.
  • Fulong Beach – Situated on Taiwan’s northeast coast, Fulong Beach is renowned for its beautiful golden sand and family-friendly atmosphere. Its shallow waters are perfect for swimming, and visitors can also explore the nearby Fulong Old Street for local snacks and souvenirs.
  • Jibei Island (Chimei Island) – This lesser-known gem is located off the coast of Penghu and boasts pristine beaches with crystal-clear waters. Jibei Island’s secluded and peaceful ambiance is a haven for nature lovers and those seeking a tranquil escape.
Best beaches in Taiwan, shihtiping beach, shadao beach, little bay min
  • Shihtiping Beach – Another gem on Taiwan’s east coast, Shihtiping Beach is famous for its fascinating wave-cut landscapes and unique rock formations. Exploring the tidal pools and coastal trails here offers a memorable nature experience.
  • Shadao (Shatan) Beach – Also part of the Penghu archipelago, Shadao Beach is famous for its unique seashell sand, giving it a beautiful pink hue. The beach’s stunning sunsets and shallow waters make it an idyllic spot for romantic walks and swimming.
  • Little Bay (Xiaowan) – Tucked away on Green Island, Little Bay offers breathtaking underwater scenery, making it a paradise for snorkelers and divers. Its secluded location and striking coral reefs make it a must-visit beach for marine enthusiasts.

One-Day Excursions from Taiwan

Jiufen tea houses in Taiwan min

Jiufen

Take a day trip to Jiufen from Taipei (about 45 km/28 miles), famous for its charming streets and nostalgic ambiance. Once a gold mining town, Jiufen today is a vibrant center of tourism.

Penghu Islands, famous landmark, Taiwan min

Penghu Islands

Another option is a day trip to the Penghu Islands (via flight), offering stunning beaches and unique geological formations. One of the famous landmarks of Penghu Islands is the Twin Hearts Stone Tidal Weir on Chimei Island.

Tea Plantation in Taiwan at Sunset, travel and home min
Tea Plantation in Taiwan at Sunset
Must eat and drink in Taiwan, traditional Taiwanese food and drinks, travel and home min

Must-Have Food and Drinks

Each of these iconic Taiwanese dishes represents the rich culinary heritage of the island and reflects the fusion of diverse influences. Whether you’re a fan of hearty soups, dumplings, or refreshing beverages, indulging in Beef Noodle Soup, Xiao Long Bao, and Bubble Tea is a must to truly experience Taiwan’s vibrant food culture.

Beef Noodle Soup is considered Taiwan’s national dish, and it holds a special place in the hearts of locals and visitors alike. This hearty and flavorful soup is a harmonious blend of tender braised beef, aromatic herbs, and a rich broth simmered to perfection. The noodles, typically hand-pulled or wheat-based, soak up the flavors of the broth, making each spoonful a delightful experience. Variations of the dish exist throughout Taiwan, with different regions adding their unique touch. Some versions are spicy, while others are milder, but all are equally satisfying. A bowl of Beef Noodle Soup is a comforting and must-try culinary experience in Taiwan.

Xiao Long Bao, also known as soup dumplings, are small parcels of delight that captivate taste buds with their delicate flavors. These steamed dumplings are filled with a delectable mixture of minced pork, ginger, and a savory broth. The magic lies in the creation of the thin, delicate dumpling skin that holds the savory soup inside. When you take a bite, the explosion of hot, flavorful broth mingling with the juicy meat filling is a sensation unlike any other. The art of eating Xiao Long Bao involves a careful balance of sipping the soup, nibbling the dumpling and savoring the burst of flavors in each bite. Whether enjoyed at a street food stall or a fine dining restaurant, Xiao Long Bao is an essential part of any Taiwanese culinary journey.

Bubble Tea, also known as Boba Tea, is a sweet and refreshing beverage that has gained international popularity. Originating in Taiwan, this drink combines brewed tea (commonly black or green tea) with milk or fruit flavors, creating a delightful and customizable concoction. The “bubbles” or “boba” are chewy tapioca pearls that add a fun and unique texture to the drink. Sipped through a large straw, the sweet and chewy boba pearls complement the tea’s refreshing taste. Bubble Tea comes in various flavors, such as classic milk tea, fruity infusions, and even creative combinations like taro or matcha. You’ll find Bubble Tea shops scattered across Taiwan, and locals have made it an integral part of their daily lives.

Almond Tofu is a delightful and refreshing Taiwanese dessert that offers a delightful contrast to the savory dishes on the island. Despite its name, Almond Tofu is not made from soybeans but rather from a combination of sweet almonds, sugar, and milk. The mixture is thickened with a gelling agent, usually agar-agar or gelatin, giving it a smooth and silky texture. Once set, the Almond Tofu is typically served chilled and may be garnished with toppings like fresh fruit, red beans, or a drizzle of sweet syrup.

This light and subtly sweet dessert is perfect for cooling down on a hot day or as a sweet ending to a meal. The delicate almond flavor is both soothing and comforting, making Almond Tofu a popular choice among locals and visitors alike. You can find this delectable treat in dessert shops and traditional eateries throughout Taiwan, and it’s a must-try for those with a sweet tooth seeking a taste of Taiwanese culinary delights.

Pointers to Consider When Planning Your Trip to Taiwan

When planning your trip to Taiwan, consider the following pointers to ensure a smooth and enjoyable experience:

  • Travel Documents: Check the validity of your passport, visa requirements, and also the official list of visa-exempt entries based on your nationality.

  • Duration of Stay: Determine how many days you’ll spend in Taiwan, considering the number of attractions you want to visit and any side trips you may take.
  • Accommodation: Book accommodations well in advance, especially during peak seasons. Consider staying in different neighborhoods based on your interests and budget.

  • Language: Learn a few basic Taiwanese phrases or download a translation app to facilitate communication with locals.
  • Travel Insurance: Consider purchasing travel insurance that covers medical emergencies, trip cancellations, and lost belongings.  Many credit cards offer some form of travel insurance as a perk when used to pay for flights.  Check with the specific credit card issuer for the most up-to-date information on their travel insurance policies and any associated terms and conditions.
  • Budget: Set a budget for your trip, including expenses for accommodations, food, transportation, shopping, and activities.

  • Attractions and Activities: Create an itinerary based on your interests. Prioritize must-visit sites and leave room for spontaneous discoveries.

  • Electrical Adapters: Check the electrical outlets in Taiwan and bring appropriate adapters for your devices.
  • Communication: Ensure you have a reliable way to communicate with friends or family back home. Buying a local SIM card or using international roaming can be options.

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Flights to Taiwan

Best Accommodations in Taiwan

Travel Tip(s)

Please note that these are just suggestions, and there are many other excellent hotels in each area to suit different preferences and budgets. It’s advisable to book accommodation in advance, especially during peak travel seasons.

Celebrate and save on seasonal and holiday deals.

Taipei: Daan District

A lively area with easy access to public transport and popular attractions.

  • amba Taipei Ximending – Trendy hotel near Ximen Station and Ximending shopping district.

Taichung: Fengjia Night Market Area

Vibrant neighborhood with numerous food stalls and shopping options.

  • La Vida Hotel – Chic hotel with spacious rooms, just a short walk from Fengjia Night Market.

Tainan: Anping District

Charming area with historic sites and tasty local eats.

  • Silks Place Tainan – Upscale hotel with an elegant ambiance, close to Anping Old Street.

Kaohsiung: Love River Area

Perfect for waterfront views and close to popular attractions.

  • Grand Hi-Lai Hotel – Premier hotel with panoramic river views and luxurious amenities.

Hualien: City Center

Convenient location for exploring Taroko National Park and Hualien attractions.

  • Parkview Hotel Hualien – Upscale hotel offering stunning views of Taroko Gorge and the Pacific Ocean.

Wrapping up...

Taiwan’s story is one of resilience, progress, and cultural heritage. From its ancient indigenous tribes to colonial influences, Taiwan’s people have maintained their traditions while embracing modernity. Today, it stands as a welcoming and dynamic nation, showcasing breathtaking landscapes, mouthwatering cuisine, and a vibrant blend of traditions and innovation. Whether you’re a nature lover, a foodie, or a history enthusiast, Taiwan offers an unforgettable journey of discovery and wonder.

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