Known as the beautiful island or Ilha Formosa, Taiwan is a region of many natural wonders. So it’s no surprise that the local tourism board is doing its best to promote it as the perfect ecotourism destination. Here are 10 stunning locations where tourists can appreciate the true beauty of Taiwan.
As the most easily accessed of Taiwan’s parks, Yangmingshan is one of the most popular destinations for tourists staying in Taipei. It’s just a short bus ride out of the city and is home to hot springs, lush countryside, and a geothermal scenic area where you can witness steam rise from the ground. The park is also home to endless hiking trails and some incredible natural scenery. It’s well worth a visit even if you’re only in the city for a weekend.
Taroko National Park Taroko National Park is perhaps Taiwan’s most famous national park and is a source of immense local pride. Located in Hualien County, the park is a regular stop for the thousands of organized tours that make their way around the island each year. Covering 1,200 square miles, the park rises from sea level to 3,700 metres (12139 ft) and is 90% mountains. The park features marble-walled canyons and over half of Taiwan’s animal and plant species. Grottos, scenic bridges, mountainside temples, cliffs, and waterfalls, Taroko National Park is a photographer’s dream and easily Taiwan’s number one tourist attraction.
One of the most unusual and some might say eeriest places on the island is set in Alishan Township. This place has a real haunted forest feel to it and is an increasingly popular destination for local campers and hikers. It wasn’t always like this though. The current landscape was created after the devastating earthquake that hit Taiwan back in 1999.
To many people in Taiwan, Kenting is the ultimate local beach destination and with good reason. Its many beautiful and sometimes deserted beaches are some of the best in Taiwan, but the park is much more than a few stretches of golden sand. The forest area is teeming with life and boasts 17 scenic spots that you can get to via a network of hiking trails. Fairy caves, 400-year-old trees, and a valley of Banyans; this place has it all.
A coral reef island located off Taiwan’s south coast, Xiaoliuqiu, also known as Lambai Island, is a real back-to-nature type of experience. This tiny island has no traffic lights, and life is most certainly relaxed. You can visit the island’s caves or marvel at the incredible rock formations. A must for any seasoned ecotourist.
Of the many islands surrounding Taiwan, Penghu is, without a doubt, the most popular in terms of tourism. It’s the perfect island getaway and rivals Kenting for its beautiful beaches. There are in fact 90 islands and islets, and it’s the largest island also named Penghu that is the gateway to this marvel of Taiwanese scenery. With so many islands, finding a nice quiet spot shouldn’t be a problem, but you will certainly need some local know-how on where the best places are to visit.
A man-made lake doesn’t sound like an ideal destination for an ecotourist, but Sun Moon Lake is actually a wonderfully lush area that has grown into one of the most popular tourist attractions in Taiwan. There are several villages and townships surrounding the lake with businesses primarily run by local indigenous tribes. Here you can enjoy cable car rides through mountains, boat rides on the lake, and cycling trips through the local countryside.
Another destination that is just outside of the capital, Yehliu is easily accessed by public bus or even a private tour. The Geopark boasts some truly amazing rock formations that make for some excellent photo opportunities. Make sure though to visit during the week as at the weekend, and on public holidays, the place can get very busy.
This area covers about 100 kilometers of coastline, so it’s really best explored by car or on a private tour. You can visit the many beaches or stop off at the numerous scenic spots along the coast all of which boast panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean. There are also some great hot spring areas such as Jiaoxi where you can relax in the area’s natural thermal waters.
This seemingly barren area looks like something from a sci-fi movie and given that Taiwan is home to some amazingly lush countryside, this place is something of an oddity. The Badlands, as some call it, resembles a moonscape, albeit with a few trees scattered throughout the area, and it really is a place that you have to see for yourself to truly appreciate.