This post most likely contains affiliate links to things such as tours, transport, accommodation, products & amazon associate links. I may receive a small commission if you use the links which costs you no extra, but helps keep this blog going.
Taiwan may be a small island but it is full of incredible places to visit! From cultural historic cities, port cities and modern cities, to National Parks and Islands, Taiwan really has it all!
Best of all, it’s easy to travel around Taiwan by train and bus and thanks to the size of Taiwan island, it’s possible to see a lot of Taiwan in 1 week or 2 weeks. Although if you have 1 month in Taiwan to spare, I’d say to go for it as you won’t regret visiting Taiwan!
In this Taiwan travel blog and Taiwan travel guide, I’m going to help you plan your trip to Taiwan by telling you the best places to visit in Taiwan!
TRAVEL INSURANCE FOR TAIWAN
First up, have you got travel insurance for Taiwan yet? I am covered with World Nomad’s who I really recommend! They are designed by travellers, for travellers with excellent customer service and a range of cover options.
Get a free quote here while you’re thinking about it:
SIM CARD FOR TAIWAN
I found the wifi pretty good in Taiwan but I do think it’s best to have a local sim card so you have constant internet access.
The best way to get a sim card for Taiwan if your phone is unlocked is to buy this EasyCard & Sim Card package deal in advance. You’ll need an EasyCard to get around on transport in Taiwan anyway and at the same time you can get a Taiwan Sim Card with 4G and pick them up at Taoyuan Airport when you land.
If your phone is locked or you don’t want to go to the hassle of getting a sim card, I suggest getting a portable wifi device for Taiwan which you can get delivered to your home free of charge 2-3 days before you leave for Taiwan!
Taiwan has some great Airbnb options like this which will make you feel like a local! To get $30.00 off your Airbnb stay(which is one nights free accommodation in Taipei!),open a new account using this promo code!
Where to go in Taiwan!
Taipei is the capital city of Taiwan and in all honesty, although Taiwan has so much to offer as you’ll see below, spending just 2-3 days in Taipei will give you a really good insight into what Taiwan is like and if you happen to decide to spend longer in Taipei, like 5 days in Taipei, you’ll have plenty of things to do in Taipei! I think Taipei is one of the most underrated cities in Asia!
Related Post: 12 Taipei Travel Tips and Things To Know about Taipei!
I love Taipei because it’s a really easy city to get around. There are plenty of Taipei attractions and things to do in Taipei to keep you busy but because it’s not a super popular city and apart from the Taipei 101, which you must visit, there are no other super iconic places which make sightseeing in Taipei pretty relaxed.
If you’re interested in what to do in Taipei you can sightsee at places like the Taipei 101 and Chiang Kai-Shek Monument Hall which is probably the second most iconic place in Taipei. But you can also visit the themed cafes of Taipei like a toilet restaurant and the Friends cafe. Hit up a night market in Taipei like Shilin Night Market and Raohe Night Market which Taiwan is very famous for, and go hiking up Elephant Mountain.
Aside from the must-see places in Taipei, other reasons I love Taipei is because the Taipei Metro (MRT) is incredibly efficient and easy to use, it’s a safe city, the people in Taipei are lovely and there’s so much accommodation making it the best welcome to Taiwan that you can have!
Recommended days to spend in Taipei: 2-5 days.
Day Trips from Taipei.
What’s really great about Taipei is how many places to visit near Taipei there are! Here are some of the most popular day trips from Taipei and places near Taipei that can be visited in just a few hours:
Jiufen – To learn about the Japanese colonisation to modern-day Taiwan and eat some amazing street food, visiting Juifen from Taipei is a good idea!
Shifen – If you’ve seen photos of an old street with street lanterns near Taipei, this is Shifen!
Yehliu Geopark – You’ll be mistaken for even being in Taiwan here! Here is my friends guide on how to get to Yehliu Geopark from Taipei!
It’s very possible to see Juifen, Shifen and Yehliu in one day on a day tour, in fact, this is the best way to do it so keep this day tour from Taipei in mind when planning your Taipei itinerary.
Beitou Hot Springs – Closer to Taipei than you’d think, this slice of nature with actual hot springs is a good half-day trip from Taipei.
Yangmingshan National Park – To go hiking in Taipei, head to this National Park near Taipei!
Kaohsiung is a port city in Southern Taiwan and if you don’t fly into Taipei you’ll probably fly into Kaohsiung or out of Kaohsiung as it has the second biggest airport in Taiwan.
Kaohsiung’s tourism is increasing a lot, it used to be a city that tourists didn’t go to, but not anymore. This is now one of the best places to visit in Taiwan
For things to do in Kaohsiung, if you like temples, there are plenty of temples in Kaohsiung to visit, especially around Lotus Pond which used to have the perfect Feng Shui, plus there’s an incredibly huge and impressive Buddhist Monastery near Kaohsiung. There are 3 brilliant night markets to visit, a unique and cool creativity park called Pier 2, and you can catch a ferry over to Cijin Island which will make you feel like you’re on holiday!
Kaohsiung is easy to get around thanks to its MRT system and although many of the Kaohsiung attractions may seem far apart, by MRT they are all really easy to get to.
Recommended days to spend in Kaohsiung: 2-3 days.
To help you plan your trip around Taiwan, have a look at all of my Taiwan Blog Posts here!
To be honest, Taichung is pretty hard work as far as Taiwan places to visit go! I think the best reason to go to Taichung is for its day trips! The two most popular day trips from Taichung are to Sun Moon Lake which you can do as a day trip or you can stay overnight if you wish. And the Dakeng hiking trails for hiking in Taichung.
As a city, there are not many tourist attractions in Taichung and it’s hard to get around as everything is very spread out and there’s no metro system, not like in Taipei or Kaohsiung.
Things to do in Taichung include visiting the Rainbow Village which is really nice to visit although very small so it takes an hour max, and it takes about 30 minutes by taxi from Taichung city to the Rainbow Village or a lot longer by bus.
Taichung has a few night markets and Fengjia Night Market is the largest one in Taiwan, and that’s saying a lot so this is worth visiting.
Another thing Taichung is popular for is its fame for being the creator of Bubble Tea. Chun Shiu Tang on Siwei Street is the original Bubble Tea store in Taichung and a popular place to visit in Taichung. In all honesty, though, Chun Shiu Tang is a chain of Bubble Tea stores in Taiwan and the tea you’ll get in here will be the same and there’s nothing particularly special about the Chun Shiu Original Store in Taichung, and it gets busy!
Recommended days to spend in Taichung: 1 or 2-3 if you want to take day trips.
Hualien is a city along the East Coast of Taiwan, the city itself doesn’t offer much in terms of Taiwan tourism but it is a great base to see more of Taiwan’s impressive East Coast from which one of the big attractions in Taiwan!
If you are confident in riding a scooter/moped, this is the best way to get out from Hualien and explore the coast. Places to visit near Hualien on Taiwan’s East Coast include Beibin Park, Nanbin Park and Four-Eight Highland.
In addition to this, for things to do in Hualien, I found the Hualien Night Market to be good so make sure you make time to eat there one evening.
If you don’t want to hire a scooter or a car, I found the bus system is a pretty good way of how to get around Hualien and I used the public bus to go to Taroko National Park.
Recommended days to spend in Taichung: 2-3 including Taroko National Park.
Taroko National Park
I visited Taroko National Park as a day trip from Hualien and it’s a great place to visit if you want to go hiking in Taiwan!
To hike some of trails in Taroko National Park you need to get a permit which can be tricky to get, however it is possible to hike many of the trails in Taroko Park without a permit, including the famous Taroko Gorge, and there’s even a regular bus service throughout the park if walking isn’t for you or you want to walk and get the bus (which is what I did, you can read about this here).
The centre of Taiwan is full of nature and hiking in Taiwan is one of the popular things to do in Taiwan for tourists and for locals. Taroko National Park is one of the most visited National Parks’s in Taiwan due to its ease so I think this should be on your Taiwan itinerary to show you another side of the Island to the big cities.
Note that Taroko, like all of Taiwan’s hiking trails and National Parks, gets very busy on weekends as lots of Taiwanese like to venture out hiking too so if you have the flexibility I’d recommend that the best time to visit Taroko National Park is during the week.
Recommended days to spend at Taroko National Park: 1 day.
Tainan used to be the capital of Taiwan back in 1683–1887 but it’s still the cultural capital of Taiwan now and therefore a good place to visit in Taiwan. Although initially, the city seems pretty similar to Taichung in architecture once you reach the centre you’ll start to see the history.
Tainan has a big Dutch influence thanks to the Dutch occupying the South of Taiwan for a number of years and this can be best seen at Fort Provincia and Chihkan Tower which used to be a Dutch outpost and are popular things to do in Tainan. Shennong Street tucked between the many normal streets of Tainan is a pleasant surprise filled with little shops and restaurants and many Chinese lanterns. This may be the Taiwan you have been thinking of.
Another place to visit in Tainan is Anping where you can visit Fort Zeelandia and Anping Tree House for fairly unique places to see in Taiwan as no other city I’ve seen has these kinds of attractions. Finally, Tainan isn’t short of night markets and the most popular night market in Tainan is the Flower Night Market.
The only downside to Tainan, in my opinion, is its lack of metro like Taichung and the fact that Uber doesn’t currently work in Tainan so you have to use the buses (which can be tricky to work out in Taiwan I’ve found) or get a taxi by the meter.
Recommended days to spend in Tainan: 1-2 days.
Taitung is much less visited than other cities in Taiwan but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go and if you are not a ‘city person’, Taitung will be a good place to visit because you can hire a scooter and be in Taitung county seeing nature and more of the East Coast of Taiwan in a short amount of time.
One of the popular Taitung attractions is the aboriginal tribes and people, in Taitung you’ll be able to learn about them and taste some of the local aboriginal food.
Recommended days to spend in Taitung: 1-2 days.
Kenting National Park
Kenting is in the very Southern tip of Taiwan and closest to Kaohsiung. Some blog posts recommend that you can visit Kenting National Park on a day trip from Kaohsiung but the bus takes a few hours so it will be a long day.
The best way to see Kenting is to hire a car or get the bus to Kenting from Kaohsiung and hire scooters but do be sure to look into the situation around driving licences.
Kenting does look beautiful online with incredible white beaches and Kenting Town is full of restaurants and bars, but I heard from 2 different travellers that they didn’t enjoy it that much which is what made me decide not to go.
I don’t think Kenting is a good place for solo travellers to visit in Taiwan due to how to get around, but it does seem good for families or a group.
Recommended days to spend in Kenting National Park: 2-3 days.
Taiwan is not just about the mainland, there are islands in Taiwan to visit too! Green Island Taiwan is a volcanic island located on the south-east coast of Taiwan and is accessible by boat from Taitung or by plane from Taipei or Taitung airports.
The best way to get around Green Island is by electric scooter, you can explore the island in just a few hours due to its size and explore the beaches on Green island, its local villages and its history at places like the Human Rights Memorial.
Recommended days to spend on Green Island: 2-3 days.
Located on the western side of Taiwan are the Penghu Islands which are one of Taiwan’s best-kept secrets! The Penghu Islands are made up of 90 islands, although a number of these are uninhabited. Things to do in Penghu Island include surfing and windsurfing in its awesome waves. Penghu also has the world’s first submarine postbox you can dive or underwater helmet-walk to send a waterproof postcard.
Recommended days to spend in Penghu Islands: 2-3 days.
Keelung is in the very North of Taiwan and is another Taiwanese port city. I docked here for a day on a cruise trip around Japan. There are a few things to do in Keelung like visiting Temples, Chung Cheng Park, an abandoned building and it’s night market but in all honesty, there are not many tourist attractions in Keelung so if you are on a tight itinerary for Taiwan, I’d recommend leaving Keelung or going on a day trip from Taipei to Keelung as there are much better cities in Taiwan to visit.
Recommended days to spend in Keelung: 0.5-1 day.
How to Get Around Taiwan.
Now you know where to visit in Taiwan, how easy is it to get around Taiwan?
It’s actually very easy! Taiwan is connected by train the whole way around the island. There are train lines that loop of the outer edge of the island. Trains in Taiwan are fairly inexpensive (not like Japan!), and for most train journeys in Taiwan, you can choose from the TRA which is a local train but is still very quick and comfy, or HSR which is the high-speed rail train. The high-speed trains in Taiwan are extremely fast and they do cost more than the TRA. However, due to the small size of Taiwan, all trains will take between 1-4 hours.
For tourists in Taiwan you can buy train packages like this which give you unlimited train travel in Taiwan for a certain amount of days:
You can also buy train tickets online via Klook for Taiwan’s trains for example:
Buses are another way to get around Taiwan and buses connect all of the major cities. For example, Taipei to Taichung is a popular bus route in Taiwan.
Hiring a car in Taiwan is very popular, the roads and driving in Taiwan is extremely good, not like many other Asian countries which foreigners can find hard to drive in. I met a few people who had hired a car in Taiwan so I recommend looking into this to give yourself total freedom.
When it comes to getting around Taiwan cities, as mentioned above, Taipei and Kaohsiung have the MRT metro which is easy and reliant to use. Other cities without a metro have a bus system, Uber also works in most places in Taiwan.
To get around on public transport in Taiwan you’ll need an EasyCard which can be used throughout the country.
If you are flying into Taoyuan Taipei Airport you can buy an EasyCard and Sim Card package deal at the airport to save you time and hassle!
Best Time of Year to Visit Taiwan.
I have visited Taiwan in March and early November which are both great times to visit Taiwan as the weather was good, not wet and not too hot.
In the summer months, Taiwan gets extremely hot and sweaty as well as bringing rainy season with it so summer in Taiwan is not a good time of year to travel to Taiwan. In winter in Taiwan, the country cools down, especially in Taipei in the North however it doesn’t get too cold.
The best months to visit Taiwan are during Spring and Autumn I say.
Now you know where to go in Taiwan, be sure to check out my other Taiwan blog posts to help you plan your trip: