I used to reside in Taiwan for a couple months as an English teacher. I loved enough time there and also have always felt the united states really was under appreciated. So, in that is a guest post by Carrie Kellenberger from My Several Worlds and an expat surviving in Taiwan for a decade, she lists out all of the amazing things you should see and do there.
Every country in Asia is beautiful, but Taiwan is special for most reasons. The folks are warm and hospitable. In March 2019, Taiwan was listed as the happiest place in East Asia.
Although it might be a little island, you’d be amazed at the never-ending selection of sights and fun things you can do here. With over 100 mountain peaks above 3,000 meters, over 100 hot springs scattered around the island, both golden and black-sand beaches, nine national parks, world-class museums, glittering skyscrapers, stunning temples, and a wide array of night markets that are first rate, Taiwan has a thing that everyone can enjoy.
Even today, nearly 14 years when i moved here, I still think Taiwan is among Asia’s best-kept travel destination.
Here are a few the simplest way to spend your time and effort in Taiwan:
1. Eat, Eat Eat!
The national pastime in Taiwan is eating. Taiwanese, both adults and children, have become work and study oriented, so their lifestyles demand healthy food that’s available on the run. Moreover, there’s always an abundance of vegetables and fruit, so visiting an area market could be a delight when you learn how cheap it is to consume fresh food.
Because of this, Taiwan is becoming an epicurean’s playground. The meals scene can be an international smorgasbord of culinary delights, for each and every budget and nearly every diet.
Night Markets While there are five-star international restaurants of each variety through the entire country, the night time markets are where in fact the real gastronomes go. They promise to keep your belly full while your wallet remains relatively unscathed.
There are over 30 night markets in Taipei, New Taipei, and Keelung (and over 70 night markets across Taiwan). If you’re uncertain which one to select, visit this set of night markets in Taiwan and take your pick. My own favorites are Shilin, Keelung, and Roahe Street in Taipei.
Here are some things you should attempt:
- Xiao long bao, also referred to as soup dumplings, a favorite staple food here. They are created out of a thin pastry folded right into a type of bag that’s then stuffed full with a meat-and-vegetable mixture and a little amount of soup, then garnished with raw ginger and soy sauce. Biting into among these is a flavor explosion in the mouth area. A lot of street vendors during the night markets offer fresh xiao long bao for about $2 USD for a basket of 10-12. There is actually no reason never to try them. I’ve yet to meet up a visitor to Taiwan who hasn’t loved their xiao long bao experience. I promise you won’t be disappointed.
- Oyster vermicelli
- Oyster omelets
- Beef noodle soup
- Deep-fried chicken
- Tian bu la (a kind of fish cake fried with coriander with a dash of pepper and spice)
- Sweet Taiwanese sausage or BBQ on a stick
- Stinky tofu
- “Coffin bread” (a very tasty bread bowl shaped such as a coffin)
- Pig’s blood cake (It’s created from pig’s blood, sticky rice and soy broth and tastes superior to it sounds, I promise!)
- Shaved ice
- Zhen zhu nai cha (Taiwanese bubble tea)
- Taiwan Beer (it’s the most used local beer)
Whatever you select, you’re sure to truly have a great meal at an inexpensive while experiencing Taiwanese culture at its absolute best. You’ll be amazed at everything you can buy for supper for $5 USD! You’ll definitely find some things that you hate, but you’ll also find things that you’ll love. It’s all area of the experience, right?
2. Search for a Taiwanese Teahouse
Tea culture in Taiwan is wonderful, and there are many choices for tea lovers.
- Maokong Gondola – This gondola will whisk you four kilometers to a mountain peak in a glass-bottomed cable car, that you will see the tea plantations included in the medial side of the mountain as you zoom up. You can catch it at the Taipei Zoo MRT station; a ride costs 120 NT ($4 USD) each way. Once you’re at the very top, there are numerous winding paths for a nice mountaintop stroll and an excellent selection of teahouses to pick from when you’re prepared to like a cup of fresh mountain tea.
- Jiufen – If you’re moving out of Taipei, Jiufen is among Taiwan’s most popular holiday destinations, due to its appearance in the Studio Ghibli film Spirited Away. This seaside mountain village offers some terrific shopping opportunities, along with all of the different kinds of foods you see in the movie. It’s among my favorite places, since it is also home for some beautiful teahouses in the most glorious setting. Imagine sitting near the top of a mountain, searching over the ocean in the comfort of a normal tea house. It really is a classic magical experience, particularly if you may get there for sunset. Embark on a weekday in order to avoid the large weekend crowds.
- Jwu Jiu Teahouse – In the event that you make it as far south as Chiayi, make sure to find Jwu Jiu Teahouse, a concealed gem that’s like going for a step back into days gone by. Jwu Jiu is a normal wooden teahouse set above enormous stone ponds filled up with hundreds of giant, colorful koi. Feed the fish while sipping on your own tea, and enjoy some common dim sum in the loveliest setting you’ve ever seen. The lands belong to an area family, and the teahouse runs on the well that’s over a hundred years old, where the water still runs deep and pure. The dog owner has kept a lot of the original structures and bricks, and also a hundred-year-old Osmanthus tree, which is connected with many traditions in China and Taiwan. If you’re a brief history buff, you’ll benefit from the teahouse’s long history, displayed with pride and obvious care.
3. Browse the Northern Coastline
Check out the coast for a few incredible lunar-like landscapes at Yehliu Geopark. There are several unique, otherworldly rock formations, including one which appears like Queen Elizabeth (though it took over 4,000 years to create) that certainly are a popular tourist attraction. Make an effort to make it happen early to beat the crowds.
4. Hit the Beaches
The beaches of Kenting on the southern tip of the island offer fun in sunlight. White Sand Bay may be the most popular and an excellent place to absorb sunlight, swim, snorkel, as well as go diving (just look out for jellyfish!). Other great beaches are South Bay and Little Bali Bay.
5. Soak in the Hot Springs
Taipei has its individual active volcano in its backyard, and due to the volcanic activity in the region, Beitou Hot Springs enjoys a reliable blast of visitors and locals who want to bathe in its healthy waters. Prices start around 40 NT ($1.30 USD) per person for a soak in the hot springs, rendering it an extremely affordable choice for anybody looking for a few R&R.
6. Go Island Hopping
The stunning islands of Penghu just off Taiwan’s western coastline will delight your sense of wanderlust and so are especially well known for his or her golden beaches. This island archipelago has islands that are distinct.
Boats will drop you off at one island for some hours and take you to another one, so that you can literally go from snorkeling to observing sea turtles to wandering through traditional aboriginal villages crafted from coral in one day.
7. See Old Taiwan
Two sets of islands that define the Kinmen Archipelago off the west coast of Taiwan, just a couple of miles from mainland China – plus they are old Taiwan at its best. Here you’ll have the ability to see some common architecture, and there’s also insightful museums that highlight the ongoing tensions between your People’s Republic and Taiwan.
8. LOG OFF the Beaten Track on Orchid Island and Green Island
Located just off the southeastern coast, these lush islands certainly are a treat to go to. Here you’ll find hiking, swimming, diving, and amazing hot springs. You can even get further off the beaten path and also have an adventure by renting a scooter to traveling around the hawaiian islands yourself!
9. Explore the Green Mountains
Grab a scooter and head up in to the green mountains, which extend over five ranges the distance of the island. If you need to stretch your legs, climb to the summit of beautiful Jade Mountain watching the sunrise; this beautiful peak is nearly 4,000 meters above sea level, making Taiwan the world’s fourth-highest island.
10. Visit Wuling Peak on Hehuan Mountain
If you’re still craving some climbing and hiking, check out Wuling Peak on Hehuan Mountain, around 3,275 meters above sea level, rendering it another good hike for anybody looking to spend additional time outdoors. But what really makes this place special is that the peak is indeed high, you can look into a sea of clouds below!
11. Go Hiking in Taroko National Park
Ready for another city break? This national park offers visitors an opportunity to hike through mountainous terrain and gorges, and you will even stop to dip your feet in swiftly flowing mountain rivers. Covering slightly below 100,000 hectares, it’s among only nine national parks in Taiwan. Admission is free.
12. Head East
To essentially enjoy Taiwan’s majestic beauty, don’t forget Taiwan’s eastern coastline. The east coast highway has a few of the most dramatic coastal scenery on earth, from plunging sea cliffs and splashing surf to beaches, nature reserves, and rural towns a global from the big city.
13. Witness Some Chaos
Browse the feeding frenzy of the markets in Taipei, or like a stroll around cool Ximending, the gay district and Taipei’s response to Tokyo’s Shibuya. Ximending has a massive outdoor plaza behind the Red House (a well-known cultural landmark) and a pedestrian shopping zone filled up with the most recent fashion trends, coffee shops, restaurants, and local artisans.
Give yourself bonus points for looking into all of the super cool graffiti; you won’t think it is on the primary thoroughfares, but in the event that you venture onto a few of the smaller side streets, you’ll soon end up in world of brightly decorated alleys and lanes.
14. See Tianhou Temple
While you’re in Ximending, it’s worth visiting among the oldest temples in the town, Tianhou (also called the Ximending Mazu Temple, following the in-house deity Mazu, goddess of the ocean). Around since 1746, it’s among three major temples in Taiwan from the Qing period. It’s situated on a primary thoroughfare – but it’s super easy to skip the entrance.
Stepping through the entrance to the beautiful Taoist temple filled up with mythological creatures, smoky incense, lucky goldfish, and folks paying respect to the gods is actually a surreal experience. You’d never know this quiet oasis is in among the busiest regions of Taipei!
15. Explore Fo Guang Shan Monastery
Should you have your own ride in Kaohsiung, I strongly encourage you to avoid by Fo Guang Shan Monastery and pay homage to the monks that live there. An ultra-Zen monastery available to the general public, the complex is massive and stunning, resulting in the fantastic Path of Buddhahood, a wide pathway flanked by eight identical pagodas.
You can explore each as you walk the right path up to the Big Buddha, the best seated bronze Buddha on the globe. I’ve gone to many temples and monasteries in my own lifetime, but that one takes the cake.
16. Search for a Taiwanese Aboriginal Village
There are plenty of knowledgeable local guides that may introduce you to the aboriginal life-style in Taiwan. The Formosa Aboriginal Culture Village near Sun Moon Lake may be the most popular destination to find out more, but it’s definitely not the only person – there are several villages to select from.
17. Be a part of the Pingxi Lantern Festival
Among the coolest events in Taiwan, the Pingxi Lantern Festival involves releasing a huge selection of paper lanterns in to the sky. (Many newlyweds likewise incorporate this meaningful tradition as part of their wedding celebration.) In the event that you don’t want to brave the crowds, it is simple to buy a lantern and light one on some of Taiwan’s beaches.
Taiwan is quite environmentally friendly, so be sure to go with the eco-friendly paper lantern options that disintegrate, leaving no residue, and don’t cause fires. The business My Taiwan Tour also currently offers biodegradable paper lantern tours in Shifen.
There are plenty of things about Taiwan which make it an incredible spot to live; it’s easy to take some of these things for granted once you’ve been here for some time. I frequently hear that folks think Taiwan is quite Westernized, even though I agree that it really is to some extent, you may still find a lot of authentic Taiwanese experiences to be enjoyed!
Taiwan is and is still an urgent travel destination that continues to delight people to this day. There is absolutely no place enjoy it!
Canadian expat Carrie Kellenberger has been surviving in Asia since 2003. She moved to Taiwan in 2006 and became a permanent resident in 2012. She loves entertaining guests and travelers to Taiwan. You can find out about her adventures and life there at her blog, My Several Worlds.
Book Your Visit to Taiwan: Logistical Guidelines
Book Your Flight Look for a cheap flight through the use of Skyscanner or Momondo. They are my two favorite se’s because they search websites and airlines around the world which means you always know no stone is left unturned.
Book Your Accommodation You can book your hostel with Hostelworld. If you wish to remain elsewhere, use Booking.com because they consistently return the least expensive rates for guesthouses and cheap hotels. I take advantage of them all enough time. My favorite places in which to stay Taipei are:
- Formosa 101 – This hostel is situated right close to the Taipei Tower and the Tonghua Night Market. They provide free breakfast and also have a relaxed lounge for relaxing.
- Meander Taipei – The staff here’s really helpful and the beds are comfy. They have free breakfast along with other day to day activities available.
Looking to discover the best companies to save lots of money with? Have a look at my resource page to find the best companies to use when you travel! I list all of the ones I use to save lots of money when I travel – and I believe can help you too!
Photo credits: 9 – David Hsu, 15 –