36 Best Things To Do In Taiwan

The incredible majesty of Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall is just one of Taiwans many bounties
The incredible majesty of Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall is just one of Taiwan's many bounties | Rovin Ferrer / Unsplash
Ciaran McEneaney

Visitors to Taiwan are spoiled for choice when it comes to things to do and places of incredible natural beauty to visit on the island – with so many attractions, it’s hard to figure out what to see. Let us do the hard work for you, with our list of the most beautiful tourist spots in Taiwan.

1. Taipei 101

Building

Taipei city at night
Timo Volz / Unsplash
The one-time tallest building in the world may no longer be a record holder, but it is still one of Taiwan’s most impressive buildings and well worth a visit. The 728-ton mass damper that allows the building to survive the island’s many earthquakes is an amazing piece of engineering and can be seen from various points within the building.

2. National Palace Museum

Museum

Home to one of the largest collections of Chinese imperial artifacts, the National Palace Museum offers a look into imperial China’s past. The many thousands of items on display were rescued by Chiang Kai-Shek’s government as they fled mainland China during the cultural revolution.

3. Taroko Gorge

Park, Shrine

trips_taiwan_taroko_gorge_anledry-cobos-o3K_I0ogesM-unsplash
Anledry Cobos / Unsplash
A couple of hours’ train ride from Taipei lies Taroko National Park, home to one of the most visited natural wonders in Taiwan. Take the trail to the Eternal Spring Shrine which features a stunning waterfall.

4. Alishan Scenic Mountain Area

Natural Feature

Alishan’s mountain railway is an ever popular tourist destination with both local and foreign tourists. The train winds its way to the top of the mountain where there are plenty of easy hiking trails that offer fantastic photo opportunities.

5. Sun Moon Lake

Natural Feature

Sun Moon Lake, Yuchi Township, Nantou County, Taiwan
Katie Hong / Unsplash
Sun Moon Lake is the largest body of water in Taiwan and a great destination for a short trip. There are scores of hotels located around the lake which is busy with yachts taking tourists from one side to the other. There is also a cable car here that takes you to the Formosa Aboriginal Culture Village.

6. Maokong

Zoo

Maokong Gondola in Taipei, Taiwan
Pourya Gohari / Unsplash
This well-known spot is one of the best places in Taipei to enjoy a cup of tea. The incredible scenery is worth the trip alone, but it is perhaps the gondola ride from the zoo to Maokong which has made it one of the most popular day trips to make during a stay in Taipei.

7. Dragon and Tiger Pagodas

Buddhist Temple

Dragon and Tiger Pagodas in Kaohsiung City, Taiwan
Ricky lk / Unsplash
Located on the edge of Lotus Lake, a scenic area in the heart of Kaohsiung, these two pagodas are possibly the most popular attractions in the port city. Visitors enter the temples through the dragon’s and tiger’s mouths and can enjoy a view of the lake from the top of each tower.

8. Shilin Night Market

Market

There are plenty of night markets located throughout the country, but one of the most famous and easily accessed is Shilin Night Market. There’s an incredible selection of the best street food on offer, while the shops and stands are packed with bargains.

9. Yangmingshan geysers

Park

Yangmingshan National Park is the most conveniently located of Taiwan’s national parks just a short bus ride outside Taipei city. The park is home to a dormant volcano which is why there are so many hot springs in the area. Xiaoyoukeng is the best place to see the geysers – there is also a visitor center, and several pathways and hiking trails.

10. Longshan Temple

Buddhist Temple

Longshan Temple, Guangzhou Street, Wanhua District, Taipei City, Taiwan
Ricky lk / Unsplash
Built in the 1700s, this Buddhist temple is now home to many gods from neighboring temples that were demolished. The temple survived an air raid during World War II and is one of the most popular temples on the island.

11. Rainbow Village

Park

This colorful neighborhood was the brainchild of local man Huang Yung-Fu. He decided that the ex-military village he lived in was too drab and so took a few paintbrushes to the walls – he hasn’t yet stopped.

12. Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall

Memorial, Building, Park

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Rovin Ferrer / Unsplash
One of the most popular tourist destinations in Taipei, the main feature of this hall is the large statue of Chiang Kai-shek, flanked by an honor guard. Visitors can watch the changing of the guard at set times during the day.

13. Kenting Street

Park

Popular among locals as a beach holiday destination, Kenting National Park is home to waterfalls, hiking trails, and forests. But it is the beach areas near Kenting Street that are a must-see for lovers of sun, sea, and sand.

14. Fo Guang Shan Buddha Museum

Museum

Even for those with no interest in Buddhism, this museum is impressive. The Buddha statue on the museum and the pagodas lining the avenue are alone worth the trip to Kaohsiung.

15. Fort Zeelandia

Ruins

Built in the 1600s by the Dutch East India Company, this former Dutch stronghold was a place of import during their rule over the western part of the island in the 17th century. The fort is now restored to its former glory and is one of Tainan’s most popular attractions.

16. The rocks of Yehliu Geopark

Natural Feature

Gigantic rock formation, Yehliu Geopark, Taiwan
Maryjoy Caballero / Unsplash
The same bus to Wanli District will take tourists to Yehliu Geopark, where the natural rock formations are an incredible sight to behold. They are one of a kind on the island and well worth a visit, just remember to take a camera.

17. The Taiwan Black Bear

Zoo

While most visitors to Taipei Zoo form an orderly queue to see the Pandas and their cubs, the Taiwan Black Bear is often forgotten. One of the island’s most identifiable indigenous animals, the Formosan Black Bear is an endangered species, and so its place in the zoo is essential as preservationists hope to one day replenish its numbers in the wild.

18. Jiufen gold mines

Historical Landmark, Museum

Jiufen, Taiwan
Y K / Unsplash
The old gold mining town of Jiufen is a great place to take a step back in time. Not only do tourists get to see the beautiful countryside and learn all about the mines at the museum, but the town itself is like a time capsule. The famous old street is well worth a visit, but it’s probably best to avoid weekends as it gets very busy.

19. Enjoy a wild hot spring

Swimming Pool

Most tourists hit the hot springs hotels, but the savvy locals at Wulai just jump in the river. Take a bus to Wulai and, from the village centre, you will see what looks like a small swimming pool at the side of the river. This is the public hot spring bath with the thermal waters heating the pool naturally.

20. Yushan National Park

Another of the most beautiful national parks in Taiwan, Yushan National Park is the setting for the country’s tallest mountain along with several other picturesque peaks such as Sanqingshan.

21. Maolin National Scenic Area

South of Kaohsiung lies the region known as Maolin National Scenic Area. This is where you’ll find Purple Butterfly Valley, the wintering home for a million Euploeini butterflies. An incredible sight to behold if you’re lucky enough to arrive at the right time of the year.

22. Miramar ferris wheel

Located in the Miramar Entertainment Park, the Miramar ferris wheel dominates the local skyline. And with very few tall buildings to obstruct the scenery, visitors can enjoy panoramic views of the city.

23. Penghu

One of Taiwan’s most popular weekend trips is a trip to the archipelago of Penghu. This sandy tropical paradise has plenty of beaches scattered throughout its islands and is a must for seafood lovers.

24. Chimei Museum

This private museum was established by the Chimei corporation in 1992 but moved to its current location in 2014 and contains a large collection of Western art, musical instruments, and weapons. Its design is heavily influenced by European architecture, making it one of a kind in Taiwan.

25. Fulong beach

While Taiwan is not quite a go-to surfing destination like Bali or Hawaii, there are still some great spots around the island that boast waves all year round. One such spot is Fulong beach which is also a popular destination for day-trippers from Taipei keen to spend some time on the sand. As it is on the Northeast coast, Fulong gets some great swells throughout the year but in particular from May to October, just pay attention to the weather as this also coincides with typhoon season.

26. Xinmending shopping district

One of the coolest neighborhoods in Taipei, Ximending is known as the place to be for the younger generation. But that doesn’t mean tourists can’t also enjoy the scores of shops selling everything from hats to anime figures. A great place to grab an alternative kind of souvenir.

27. KTV Clubs

Everyone loves a good sing song but it Taiwan they take it to a whole new level. There’s no need to worry about bothering others with your renditions of the latest pop tunes as in the local Karaoke Television (KTV) clubs you get a private soundproofed room that even has its own bathroom. Fancy something to eat or drink? Pick up the phone, and the wait staff will bring it right in.

28. Attend a cultural festival

The people of Taiwan love a good celebration, and as a result have a pretty impressive calendar of festivities throughout the year. In spring you have Penghu Ocean Fireworks Festival, Baosheng Cultural Festival and the Bunun Tribe’s Ear Shooting Festival. Come summer it’s all about Taiwan International Balloon Festival, Fulong Sand Sculpting Festival, Dragon Boat Festival and Keelung mid-summer Ghost Festival. In autumn you have Sun Moon Lake Swimming Carnival, Yunlin International Puppets Arts Festival and National Yimin Festival, while winter welcomes iconic lantern festivals, Christmasland and the Lunar New Year. Read our guide to the best festivals in Taiwan and plan your trip accordingly.

29. Enjoy the Cherry Blossoms

While Japan is often the go-to tourist spot for cherry blossoms, not many people realize that Taiwan is actually a great place to witness the yearly blossoming. The island is full of cherry blossom trees and you need only go to a local park to find yourself surrounded by these beautiful trees. But perhaps one of the best locations to take in the blossoms is Sun Moon Lake. Here there are hundreds of the trees throughout the area making for some incredible photo ops. March and April are usually the best time of year to see the trees in full bloom.

The Most Unusual Things to do in Taiwan

30. Go zorbing in Kenting

There are many ways to descend a hill, but one of the most unusual has to be in what can only be described as an inflatable hamster ball. Zorbing down hills in Kenting is a thing – and it’s huge fun if you don’t suffer from motion sickness.

31. Play with some sheep

OK, while visiting a farm may not initially seem unusual, Qing Jing Farm in Nantou is a little different. Here you can wander around the farm (which is located in stunning surroundings, by the way) and play with the sheep. They are free to roam the mountainside, and you are free to accompany them, stroke them and maybe take a selfie with them!

32. Eat some penis-shaped goodies

Phallic images and symbols are quite prevalent throughout the island, but it’s the penis waffle that has really captured the imagination of a nation. Head to any night market, and the chances are that someone somewhere is selling a penis waffle and more often than not there will be a queue of locals waiting to take some very NSFW photos with them. Taiwanese people certainly know how to have fun.

33. Buy betel nuts from a scantily-clad lady

It’s the only place in the world where you will see ladies dressed in skimpy clothing selling betel nuts on the side of the road. The betel nut girls of Taiwan are a bit of a contentious issue, as some politicians feel that they are shameful, while most of the general population consider them a harmless custom. You’ll have to head out of Taipei City to see them though, as they are not allowed to sell within the capital city’s limits.

34. Go paragliding in Wanli

Not something that many would expect to find just outside of Taipei but it’s just a short bus ride to Wanli where local paragliding clubs take tourists up for tandem rides around the bay. Kitted out with a GoPro, thrill seekers can record their trip to prove to the folks back home that they really did it.

35. Visit a haunted prison

Green Island’s Bagua Building was once home to political prisoners, and it’s said that during the White Terror period between 1949 and 1987 many of these prisoners died in most unpleasant ways. Locals say their spirits haunt the buildings and tourists jump at the opportunity to visit the abandoned buildings at night.

36. Have a sleepover in an aquarium

The National Museum of Marine Biology and Aquarium have come up with a novel way to allow visitors to enjoy the fish after the building has shut down. They allow a limited number of guests to sleep in various sections of the aquarium each night. Imagine waking up to the sight of a shark swimming overhead. Pretty magical.

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