With stunning landscapes, tropical forests, beautiful gorges, sea cliffs, and mountains, Taiwan is one of the most beautiful counties in North East Asia. Adding to this, Taiwan also boasts of a well-preserved culture and unique festivals, like the annual Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival.
The capital city Taipei is located in northern Taiwan with a 300-plus-year-old history and preserves many historical sites and monuments. Taipei 101, the 508m high skyscraper is the signature landmark of the city and you can enjoy panoramic views from its 89th floor. The city’s major attractions include the National Palace Museum, National Revolutionary Martyrs’ Shrine, Longshan Temple and street markets.
The port city of Keelung, located around 23 km from Taipei, is known for its night markets and various forts. The Miaokou Night Market in Keelung is where you can savour excellent Taiwanese street cuisine. From its hilltop forts – Ershawan Fort, Gongzi Liao Fort and Dawulun Fort, you will gain amazing views of the city, the harbour and the sea. The former mining towns of Jiufen & Jinguashi are also worth checking out for their old industrial heritage and mountainous landscape.
Wulai, around 25 km away from Taipei, is a refreshing getaway from the capital. It is a mountainous town known for its hot springs, pools, and waterfalls. The North Cross-Island Highway, that connects the west and east coasts of the country, is for those who seek scenic road trips through the rural landscapes of Taiwan. With 51 mountain peaks that are over 3000m tall, Shei-Pa National Park offers scenic hiking and trekking along trails that pass through stunning waterfalls, rivers, valleys and lush vegetation.
Hualien is the biggest city in the eastern Taiwan and acts as a jumping-off point for the Taroko Gorge. The 18km long Taroko Gorge is part of the Taroko National Park, a popular trekking and hiking destination. The Sixty Stone Mountain is another beautiful natural landscape in this region, with mountain slopes covered by colourful flowering plants.
Taiwan’s southern region is where Taiwan’s second-largest city Kaohsiung is located. Kaohsiung is a modern city with excellent museums, art venues, beautiful parks and lovely beaches. The lively city is also home to bustling night markets and superb restaurants. The Lotus Pond surrounded by twenty temples and the Cijin Tianhou Temple are other highlights of Kaohsiung. Taiwan’s oldest city, Tainan, famous for its historic temples and fortresses is also located in this region and once served as the capital of Taiwan for over 200 years. Kenting National Park is another popular site in Taiwan’s southern region. The park was a shooting spot for the Hollywood movie “Life of Pi” and is famous for its white-sand beaches, caves, coral reefs, and mountains.
Alishan National Scenic Area is the highlight of western Taiwan. The region is home to towering peaks, sprawling tea plantations, verdant forests and lush valleys. You can explore this lovely natural setting through trekking and hiking trails and admire its beauty from stunning viewpoints. Yushan National Park is another natural wonder in the region and it is home to the highest mountain in Taiwan. The rugged landscape of Yushan national park is a playground for hikers. Sun Moon Lake is a freshwater lake in central Taiwan and boating on the lake or cycling along its shore are popular activities to do. The southern region is also home to Taichung City, famous for its bustling night markets, museums, temples, and colonial heritage. Xitou Nature Education Area is a forest park, whose main highlights include walking and hiking through the thick bamboo forests and mountain valleys.
Taiwan extends beyond the mainland and comprises a few islands like the Penghu Islands group. The Penghu archipelago contains around 90 islands and is a popular surfing destination. In the Penghu islands, you will come across serene and pristine beaches, whistling blowholes, traditional villages and delicious seafood. Matsu (named after the Taoist and Buddhist goddess of the sea) group of islands consists of 36 islands. The traditional Qinbi Village is a popular attraction of the Matsu archipelago. This Fujian styled village features beautiful houses built of granite and marble, and is a good example of Taiwan’s cultural diversity. Lanyu Island (also known as Orchid Island), is home to the indigenous Yami tribal people. Located closer to Chinese mainland than Taiwan, Kinmen Island group has an old Chinese feel to it.
Taiwan is an amazing country with friendly locals, delicious food, plenty of natural attractions and activities. It is often overlooked by travellers as they favour its more popular neighbours like China, Japan or Philippines, but this tiny nation is packed from top to bottom with endless interesting sights and has a lot to offer. A visit to Taiwan is sure to be a memorable experience for those who love Asian culture.
Taipei 101, the 508m high skyscraper is a signature landmark of Taiwan from where you can enjoy panoramic views.