Taiwan's Splendor: Taipei 101 to Taroko National Park

Taiwan, an island nation brimming with rich culture, natural beauty, and vibrant cities, is a traveler’s paradise. Whether you’re exploring the bustling streets of Taipei or the serene landscapes of Taroko National Park, Taiwan offers a multitude of unforgettable experiences. This Taiwan Travel Guide will help you uncover the best things to do in Taiwan, ensuring your trip is filled with adventure and discovery. Let’s delve into the top ten must-do experiences that make Taiwan a captivating destination.

1. Taipei 101: Taiwan's Iconic Skyscraper

Taipei 101 Taiwans Iconic Skyscraper

Taipei, the capital city of Taiwan, is home to one of the world’s most impressive skyscrapers, Taipei 101. Standing at 1,667 feet (508 meters), this architectural marvel dominates the city’s skyline. Taipei 101 held the title of the world’s tallest building until 2010 and remains a symbol of Taiwan’s modernity and progress. When you visit Taipei, a trip to the top of Taipei 101 is a must. The observatory on the 89th floor offers breathtaking views of the city and beyond, providing a unique perspective of Taipei’s urban landscape. On clear days, you can see as far as the Taiwan Strait.

The experience begins with a ride in one of the world’s fastest elevators, whisking you to the top in just 37 seconds. Once at the observatory, interactive displays provide information about the building’s construction and the surrounding areas. Don’t forget to explore the shopping mall at the base, which features luxury brands and gourmet dining options. The mall spans five floors and includes an array of international and local retailers, making it a great place to shop for souvenirs or indulge in fine dining.

2. Taroko National Park: Nature’s Masterpiece in Taiwan

Taroko National Park Natures Masterpiece in Taiwan

Taroko National Park, located on Taiwan’s east coast, is a testament to the island’s natural beauty. Known for its stunning marble gorge, Taroko is one of the top places to visit in Taiwan. The park’s name, “Taroko,” means “magnificent and beautiful” in the language of the indigenous Truku tribe, and it lives up to its name with breathtaking landscapes.

The park covers nearly 355 square miles (920 square kilometers) and features towering cliffs, winding tunnels, and lush forests. The most famous attraction is the Taroko Gorge, a 12-mile (19-kilometer) long canyon carved by the Liwu River. The gorge is known for its steep marble walls and deep valleys, creating a dramatic and picturesque setting.

Hiking enthusiasts will find a variety of trails to explore, ranging from easy walks to challenging treks. The Shakadang Trail, also known as the “Mysterious Valley Trail,” is a relatively easy hike that follows the crystal-clear Shakadang River. The trail is famous for its blue-green waters and interesting rock formations. Another popular trail is the Swallow Grotto, which features a series of tunnels and cliffs where thousands of swallows nest. This trail offers stunning views of the gorge and its unique geological formations.

For a more adventurous experience, consider hiking the Zhuilu Old Trail. This challenging trail runs along a narrow ledge high above the gorge, offering panoramic views of the canyon below. The trail requires a permit and is not for the faint of heart, but it is one of the most rewarding hikes in Taiwan.

3. Sun Moon Lake: Taiwan’s Serene Escape

Sun Moon Lake Taiwans Serene Escape

Sun Moon Lake, nestled in the heart of Taiwan, is a tranquil retreat that attracts visitors year-round. The largest body of water in Taiwan, Sun Moon Lake is surrounded by lush mountains and picturesque temples. The lake gets its name from its unique shape, with the eastern side resembling a sun and the western side resembling a crescent moon.

A popular activity here is cycling around the lake, offering scenic views and a peaceful environment. The Sun Moon Lake Bikeway is considered one of the most beautiful cycling routes in the world. It spans approximately 19 miles (30 kilometers) and includes sections that run right along the water’s edge, providing cyclists with stunning lake views.

Boating on the lake is another favorite activity. Several ferry services offer boat tours that take you to key spots around the lake, such as the Lalu Island and the Xuanguang Temple. The temple, dedicated to the Buddhist monk Xuanzang, offers beautiful views of the lake and surrounding mountains. For a truly unique experience, visit the Wenwu Temple, located on the northern shore of the lake. This grand temple, dedicated to Confucius and the God of War, features intricate architecture and offers panoramic views of Sun Moon Lake.

Sun Moon Lake is also known for its indigenous culture. The Thao people, one of Taiwan’s indigenous tribes, inhabit the area around the lake. Visitors can learn about their traditional way of life and enjoy cultural performances and handicrafts.

4. Jiufen: Taiwan’s Enchanting Old Street

Jiufen Taiwans Enchanting Old Street

Jiufen, a charming town located in the hills of northern Taiwan, is famous for its narrow streets and traditional teahouses. Often referred to as Taiwan’s Spirited Away town, Jiufen’s old street is a maze of red lanterns, local snacks, and souvenir shops. This picturesque town was once a prosperous gold mining town during the Japanese occupation, and its nostalgic atmosphere has been well-preserved.

When you visit Taiwan, Jiufen is a must-see, especially for its stunning views of the Pacific Ocean. The town’s steep and winding streets are lined with shops selling a variety of local snacks, such as taro balls, sweet potato balls, and herbal tea eggs. One of the highlights is A-Mei Teahouse, an iconic teahouse that offers traditional tea ceremonies and panoramic views of the coastline. The teahouse’s design and ambiance are said to have inspired the famous anime film Spirited Away, making it a popular spot for fans of the film.

Jiufen is also home to several historic sites, including the Gold Museum and the Shengping Theater. The Gold Museum offers insight into the town’s mining history and features exhibits on the mining process and the daily lives of miners. The Shengping Theater, built in 1914, is one of the oldest movie theaters in Taiwan and has been beautifully restored to its former glory.

At night, Jiufen transforms into a magical wonderland as the lanterns light up the streets, creating a warm and inviting atmosphere. The town’s unique architecture, with its blend of Japanese and Chinese influences, adds to the charm and makes Jiufen a memorable stop on any Taiwan travel itinerary.

5. Shilin Night Market: Taipei’s Culinary Haven

Shilin Night Market Taipeis Culinary Haven

Shilin Night Market, the largest and most famous night market in Taipei, is a culinary adventure waiting to happen. Located in the Shilin District, the market is a bustling hub of activity every evening, drawing both locals and tourists alike. The market’s history dates back to the early 20th century, and it has since grown into a major tourist attraction known for its diverse array of street food.

Here, you can sample a wide variety of Taiwanese street food, from stinky tofu to oyster omelets. Stinky tofu, a fermented tofu with a strong odor, is a local delicacy that adventurous eaters must try. Oyster omelets, made with fresh oysters, eggs, and a starchy batter, are another popular dish. Other must-try foods include grilled squid, bubble tea, and the famous Shilin sausage, which is typically served with a sticky rice sausage.

In addition to food, the market is also a great place to shop for souvenirs and experience the local nightlife. You’ll find stalls selling clothing, accessories, and electronics, as well as carnival games and arcades. The vibrant atmosphere and endless variety of food and shopping make visiting Shilin Night Market one of the best things to do in Taiwan.

The market is divided into two main sections: the food court and the general market area. The food court, located in the basement of the Shilin Market building, is where you’ll find most of the food vendors. The general market area, which spills out onto the surrounding streets, features a mix of food stalls, shops, and entertainment options.

6. Alishan: Taiwan’s Majestic Mountain Range

Alishan Taiwans Majestic Mountain Range

Alishan, a mountain range in central Taiwan, is renowned for its breathtaking sunrises and misty landscapes. The Alishan National Scenic Area covers an area of over 160 square miles (415 square kilometers) and is home to dense forests, tea plantations, and quaint villages. The area is particularly famous for its “sea of clouds,” a natural phenomenon where the mountains appear to float above a sea of clouds during sunrise.

The Alishan Forest Railway, a historic train that winds through the mountains, is a highlight of any visit. The railway was originally built by the Japanese for logging purposes and now serves as a popular tourist attraction. The train ride takes you through lush forests, over bridges, and through tunnels, offering spectacular views along the way. The journey culminates at Alishan Station, where you can explore the surrounding area on foot.

When you visit Taiwan, a trip to Alishan should be on your list of top things to do. The area is also known for its ancient cypress trees, some of which are over a thousand years old. The Alishan Giant Tree Trail is a popular hiking route that takes you past several of these ancient giants, offering a peaceful and awe-inspiring experience.

In spring, Alishan transforms into a sea of pink as cherry blossoms bloom across the mountains. The cherry blossom season, typically from March to April, attracts thousands of visitors who come to witness the stunning floral display. In addition to cherry blossoms, Alishan is also known for its high-quality tea, particularly oolong tea. Tea enthusiasts can visit local tea plantations and participate in tea-tasting sessions to learn more about the region’s tea culture.

7. Kaohsiung: Taiwan’s Vibrant Port City

Kaohsiung Taiwans Vibrant Port City

Kaohsiung, Taiwan’s second-largest city, is a dynamic metropolis with a rich cultural heritage. Located in the southwestern part of the island, Kaohsiung is a major port city and industrial hub. The city’s transformation from a gritty industrial town to a vibrant cultural center is a testament to Taiwan’s economic progress and urban development.

The city is home to several notable attractions, including the Dragon and Tiger Pagodas and the Fo Guang Shan Buddha Museum. The Dragon and Tiger Pagodas, located on Lotus Pond, are a pair of seven-story pagodas that symbolize good fortune. Visitors enter through the dragon’s mouth and exit through the tiger’s mouth, a journey believed to bring good luck. The pagodas offer panoramic views of the pond and the surrounding temples.

The Fo Guang Shan Buddha Museum, one of the largest Buddhist complexes in Taiwan, is another must-visit attraction. The museum features an enormous bronze statue of the Buddha, which stands at 108 feet (33 meters) tall, as well as several exhibition halls showcasing Buddhist art and artifacts. The complex also offers meditation sessions and cultural performances, providing a serene and enlightening experience.

Kaohsiung’s Love River is a popular spot for leisurely boat rides and evening strolls. The river is lined with cafes, parks, and public art installations, creating a pleasant environment for visitors. At night, the river is illuminated by colorful lights, adding to the romantic ambiance.

Exploring Kaohsiung offers a different perspective on Taiwan, showcasing the island’s urban diversity and cultural depth. The city’s night markets, such as the Liuhe Night Market, are also worth a visit. Here, you can sample a variety of local delicacies, including seafood, dumplings, and shaved ice desserts.

8. Kenting National Park: Taiwan’s Tropical Paradise

Kenting National Park Taiwans Tropical Paradise

Kenting National Park, located on the southern tip of Taiwan, is famous for its sandy beaches and lush tropical forests. Covering an area of approximately 132 square miles (340 square kilometers), the park is Taiwan’s oldest and most popular national park. Kenting’s diverse landscapes include coastal cliffs, coral reefs, and rolling hills, making it a paradise for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts.

The park is a popular destination for water sports, including snorkeling and diving. Kenting’s vibrant coral reefs and diverse marine life make it a top spot for underwater exploration. The waters around Kenting are home to colorful coral formations, tropical fish, and other marine creatures. Popular snorkeling spots include Nanwan (South Bay) and Baisha Beach, both of which offer crystal-clear waters and abundant marine life.

In addition to its underwater attractions, Kenting is also known for its scenic hiking trails. The Longpan Park area offers stunning views of the coastline and is a great spot for watching the sunrise. The Kenting Forest Recreation Area features a variety of walking paths that take you through dense forests and past unique rock formations. The area is also home to a variety of wildlife, including macaques, butterflies, and birds.

When you visit Taiwan, Kenting should be on your list of must-see attractions. The park’s vibrant coral reefs and diverse marine life make it a paradise for nature lovers and adventure seekers alike. The park also hosts several annual events, such as the Spring Scream music festival, which attracts thousands of visitors from around the world.

9. Tainan: Taiwan’s Historical Heart

Tainan Taiwans Historical Heart

Tainan, the oldest city in Taiwan, is steeped in history and tradition. Founded in the early 17th century, Tainan was the capital of Taiwan during the Qing Dynasty and remains a cultural and historical center. The city is home to numerous temples, historic sites, and traditional markets, offering a glimpse into Taiwan’s rich cultural heritage.

The Confucius Temple, built in 1665, is one of the most important historical sites in Tainan. The temple is dedicated to Confucius, the great Chinese philosopher, and serves as a center for Confucian learning and rituals. The temple complex includes several halls and courtyards, as well as a peaceful garden where visitors can relax and reflect.

Another must-visit site is Chihkan Tower, also known as Fort Provintia. Built by the Dutch in the 17th century, the fort played a significant role in Taiwan’s colonial history. Today, Chihkan Tower is a popular tourist attraction, featuring exhibits on the fort’s history and offering panoramic views of the city from its rooftop.

Exploring Tainan is like stepping back in time, offering a glimpse into Taiwan’s rich cultural heritage. The city’s night markets and traditional cuisine are also major draws for visitors. The Garden Night Market and the Flower Night Market are two of the most famous night markets in Tainan, offering a variety of local delicacies, such as coffin bread (a hollowed-out bread filled with savory fillings) and milkfish soup.

Tainan is also known for its festivals and cultural events. The Yanshui Beehive Fireworks Festival, held during the Lunar New Year, is one of the most exciting and unique festivals in Taiwan. The festival involves the launching of thousands of firecrackers, creating a spectacular and chaotic display.

10. Penghu Islands: Taiwan’s Coastal Gem

Penghu Islands Taiwans Coastal Gem

The Penghu Islands, an archipelago off Taiwan’s west coast, are known for their stunning beaches and crystal-clear waters. The archipelago consists of 90 islands and islets, each with its own unique charm and attractions. The main islands, Penghu, Baisha, and Xiyu, are connected by bridges and are easily accessible by ferry.

The islands are a great destination for water activities such as kayaking, windsurfing, and snorkeling. The Penghu Great Bridge, which connects several of the islands, offers scenic views and is a marvel of engineering. The bridge spans 8.4 miles (13.7 kilometers) and is the longest sea-crossing bridge in Taiwan.

Penghu’s beaches are some of the most beautiful in Taiwan. Shanshui Beach and Aimen Beach are popular spots for swimming and sunbathing, while the rocky coastline of Qimei Island offers dramatic scenery and unique rock formations. The islands’ clear waters and abundant marine life make them a popular destination for snorkeling and diving. You can explore colorful coral reefs and encounter a variety of fish, sea turtles, and other marine creatures.

The Penghu Islands are also known for their historic sites and cultural heritage. The Penghu Reclamation Hall and the Penghu Living Museum offer insights into the islands’ history and traditional way of life. The islands are also home to several well-preserved temples and traditional fishing villages, where you can experience local customs and cuisine.

Visiting the Penghu Islands is one of the top things to do in Taiwan, providing a perfect blend of relaxation and adventure. The islands’ unique landscapes, rich history, and vibrant marine life make them a must-visit destination for any traveler.


Taiwan is a destination that offers something for every traveler. From the bustling streets of Taipei to the serene landscapes of Taroko National Park, the island is a treasure trove of experiences waiting to be discovered. When you visit Taiwan, you’ll be captivated by its rich culture, stunning natural beauty, and warm hospitality. This Taiwan Travel Guide highlights just a few of the many reasons why Taiwan should be at the top of your travel list.

Whether you’re exploring the vibrant city life, indulging in delicious street food, or immersing yourself in the island’s natural wonders, Taiwan promises a journey filled with unforgettable memories. So pack your bags and get ready to experience the magic of Taiwan!

Q&A: Common Questions About Taiwan

Q: What is the best time to go to Taiwan?
A: The best time to visit Taiwan is during the spring (March to May) and fall (September to November) when the weather is mild and pleasant.

Q: Do I need a visa to visit Taiwan?
A: It depends on your nationality. Many countries have visa-free entry to Taiwan for short stays. Check the Taiwan government’s official website for the latest visa requirements.

Q: What currency is used in Taiwan?
A: The currency used in Taiwan is the New Taiwan Dollar (NTD).

Q: Is English widely spoken in Taiwan?
A: English is not widely spoken in Taiwan, but you can often find English speakers in tourist areas and hotels.

Q: What are the top things to do in Taiwan?
A: Some of the top things to do in Taiwan include visiting Taipei 101, exploring Taroko National Park, and enjoying the night markets.

Q: Is Taiwan safe for tourists?
A: Yes, Taiwan is generally very safe for tourists. Petty crime is rare, and violent crime is almost nonexistent.

Q: What is the transportation system like in Taiwan?
A: Taiwan has an excellent transportation system, including high-speed trains, buses, and metro systems in major cities.

Q: What food should I try in Taiwan?
A: Some must-try foods in Taiwan include beef noodle soup, stinky tofu, and xiao long bao (soup dumplings).

Q: Can I use my credit card in Taiwan?
A: Credit cards are widely accepted in major cities and tourist areas, but it’s always good to carry some cash for smaller establishments.

Q: What are some popular festivals in Taiwan?
A: Popular festivals in Taiwan include the Lantern Festival, Dragon Boat Festival, and Mid-Autumn Festival.

Taiwan’s charm lies in its ability to offer a diverse range of experiences, from the modern and dynamic cityscape of Taipei to the tranquil beauty of its natural parks and historic towns. Whether you’re a foodie, an adventurer, or a history buff, Taiwan has something to offer. As you plan your visit, let this guide be your companion in discovering the many wonders of this beautiful island nation.

Discover the wonders of Taiwan with Let's Journey, your ultimate guide to exploring iconic landmarks like Taipei 101, Taroko National Park, Sun Moon Lake, and the National Palace Museum. From insider tips on navigating bustling city streets to recommendations for serene natural retreats, Let's Journey provides invaluable insights for planning an unforgettable trip to Taiwan. Dive into the cultural richness and natural beauty of this fascinating island nation with Let's Journey as your trusted travel companion.