Mention Taiwan and most tourists will immediately think of Taipei 101 and the sprawling metropolis that is New Taipei City. What many don’t realize is that this idyllic island is also home to a myriad of villages and towns that are dream destinations for budding photographers. Here are 10 of the most beautiful.
Just a short train ride from the many sights of Taipei City, Pingxi is a small town that holds one of the most popular events in the Taiwanese calendar. Each Lunar New Year locals encourage tourists to visit this scenic town to release sky lanterns into the night air. It’s an incredible spectacle made all the more special by the beautiful natural scenery.
Formerly known as Dayuan (the old name for Taiwan) Anping is a small town in Tainan that holds a very important place in the region’s history. This is where tourists will find the most famous buildings of the Dutch occupation such as the Zeelandia Fort. With so many historic sites in such a small area, this town is a history buff’s dream.
This old coastal town is a unique blend of some of the area’s most beautiful natural assets. The Dajia River, Da’an River, and the Tiezhen Mountains combine to create a stunning natural landscape that envelops the town. The town is also home to some wonderful historic sites such as the Chastity Arch and offers innumerable local crafts and products.
When Taipei city folk are in need of a few hours of relaxation, the first port of call for many is the district of Beitou. Just a short MRT ride from Taipei Main Station, this popular town is famous for its hot springs. This is also where you will find Taiwan’s first green building; the Beitou branch of Taipei Public Library. In Beitou tourists can go from bustling streets to country lanes in just a few minutes making it the ideal place for a quick escape from the city’s noise and traffic.
This Hakka township nestled in the midst of lush farmland and surrounded by spectacular mountains is a firm favorite for locals and tourists alike. It offers a striking contrast to the hive of activity found in nearby Kaohsiung with everyone here living and working at a much more relaxed pace. The town was formerly the island’s major tobacco growing hub but nowadays offers visitors endless bike paths, pottery studios and the very best of traditional Hakka culture.
This small town in Changhua County is a must-see for tourists with a liking for temples. Locals describe the town as a living museum and with the old curved streets, many historical sites, and traditional stores, it’s easy to see why. Lukang is an ideal day trip option if staying in nearby Changhua.
Something of a cyclist’s paradise, Jiji is a small town located in Nantou County. The famed Green Tunnel route that cyclists take through the area runs alongside the old railway line which in itself, is a major tourist attraction. The small town architecture, such as the historic train station, and the natural beauty of the countryside makes for an idyllic combination drawing tourists in their droves year after year.
The scenic town of Ruifang was once nothing more than a stop on the line to the more popular destinations of Jiufen and Pingxi. However, in recent years a lively, quaint little town developed around the station. It’s a well-known stop for hikers that take the many trails that wind their way through spectacular natural landscapes.
Another hot spring destination but this time in Yilan County, Jiaoxi is a popular weekend destination for those that live in Taipei City. This quaint town is so popular that the hour-long drive from Taipei can sometimes take far longer with heavy traffic cramming the highway. Small streets with old shops, a range of hotels in the surrounding farmland, and a three-tier waterfall make this a place tourists should definitely mark on their map.
One of the only places in Taiwan with a beachfront hotel, this town is set in beautiful Kenting National Park. The town itself is a lively tourist trap full of market stalls, restaurants, and bars but it’s the white sands of the main beach that make this one of the most visited destinations in Taiwan.
From Ruifang in the north to Kenting in the south, Taiwan is so awash with picturesque towns that it’s impossible to name them all. But in visiting any of the 10 listed above, tourists will soon come to realize that Taiwan is so much more than the busy city of Taipei.
These recommendations were updated on January 10, 2019 to keep your travel plans fresh.