Getting Off the Grid in Taiwan

Mt Jade is the highest mountain in Taiwan and belongs to Yushan National Park
Mt Jade is the highest mountain in Taiwan and belongs to Yushan National Park | © YAY Media AS / Alamy Stock Photo
Ciaran McEneaney

You may not know this, but Taiwan is a pretty amazing place. Rich in culture and heritage, it’s a holiday destination that any serious traveller should have on their list. But did you know that it’s also an island of breathtaking scenery? And these days getting off the grid and camping in Taiwan among nature has never been easier. So, grab your sleeping bag, pull on your hiking boots and take a trip to one of these off-the-grid locations.

Dong Ao Beach

Natural Feature

While it might not seem as removed from the bustle of city life as other places on this list, Dong Ao Beach in Yilan is a wonderful place for a spot of beach camping in Taiwan. The town itself isn’t too far from the beach, and you’ll find plenty of food and convenience stores there (not so off the grid), but the beach itself is wonderfully quiet. With mountains at your back and not a soul in sight, you’d be forgiven for assuming you’re in the middle of nowhere.

Baima (White Horse) Pavilion


If you have a motorcycle or a 4WD, then getting to this pavilion should be no trouble. It’s a rough and very steep road that leads up to this epic camping spot that overlooks Tsengwen Reservoir, but it’s worth it for the views alone. The pavilion offers great shelter so you don’t get blown off the mountain, and the fact that it’s hard to get to should mean that there won’t be too many people there.

Jiaming Lake

Natural Feature

People walking down to Jiaming Lake with hills and mountains in the background
© Lee Shunfa / Alamy Stock Photo
At one point, locals believed that this alpine lake was formed by a meteor, but it was actually a glacial movement that did so about 7,000 years ago. It’s a beautifully serene place and if you hit it at the right time of year, you might be lucky enough to have the place to yourself. It’s a tough hike, but it’s well worth it to find a place that is so isolated in a region as densely populated as Taiwan.

Shuiyang Forest

Forest, Natural Feature

Spikey-looking trees surrounding a lake at Shuiyang Forest at dusk
© Top Photo Corporation / Alamy Stock Photo
An incredible place to go camping in Taiwan – that many locals don’t even know about – Shuiyang Forest is a relatively new place to visit as the current landscape was created as a result of the terrible 921 Earthquake in 1999. It might seem like an eerie place with what looks like dead trees everywhere, but it’s a wonderfully peaceful forest. At a four-hour hike from the nearest road, it’s just far enough from civilization to feel like you’re completely alone with nature.

Xueshan (Snow Mountain)

Forest, Park, Natural Feature

As Taiwan’s second-highest mountain, Xueshan – or Snow Mountain – is a popular destination for hikers and campers alike, located in Shei-Pa National Park. It’s usually two days and two nights to do the full hike, and the most common path takes you through the area’s “black forest” named so because the foliage is so dense that it blocks out natural light. If you want to hike the mountain during the snow season, then you’ll need to prove that you’ve been trained for hiking in snowy conditions. It’s a great hike and an off the grid experience like few others in Taiwan.

Jiucaihu and Sezikeng Earthquake Lakes


Like Shuiyang Forest, these two lakes were formed after a landslide during the 921 Earthquake. They are now a popular tourist attraction and many local anglers try their luck in the waters. Both lakes are side by side and very easy to get to, but if you spend a bit of time exploring the edges, you’ll find some very quiet spots where no one will bother you. This is another spot, like Dong Ao Beach, that takes very little effort to get to and as such is perfect for a quick, unplanned trip out of the city.

Yushan (Jade Mountain)


The mountains at Mt Yushan covered in sun and clouds
© Zoonar GmbH / Alamy Stock Photo
And last but by no means least we have the tallest peak in Taiwan. At 3,952m, getting to the top of Yushan is no walk in the park but anyone that has made the trip agrees that it’s a once in a lifetime experience. If you’re not inclined to climb that high, then Yushan National Park is full of some of the best hiking trails on the island. That said, camping and cooking within the park are strictly regulated so you’ll have to make sure that you have permission to spend the night.
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