Taiwan is an island state in East Asia that is officially called the Republic of China. Its capital is Taipei, and the island state has a population of around 23.7 inhabitants. It is a wonderful island to visit due to its diversity as there are both modern urban areas and beautiful natural landscapes. Regardless of whether you want to enjoy the outdoors or to absorb yourself in the history and culture of Taiwan, you will find plenty of things to enjoy during your visit. It is best to learn about the state and decide which things you would like to enjoy during your visit before embarking on your trip. To help you plan your vacation, here are the 20 best things to do in Taiwan for first-timers.
20. Taipei Zoo
A fantastic day out for all the family is a trip to Taipei Zoo. If you want to see the pandas during your visit, you should check the panda visiting times before your visit as these are limited. As this is a large zoo, one of the best ways to get around the different habitats is on the train. Some of the sections include the African animal area, Australian animal area, tropical rainforest area, desert area, amphibian and reptile house, koala house, bird world, and a children’s zoo. There is also an education center where you can learn about the various species living in the zoo.
19. See the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall
Located in Taipei, the capital of Taiwan, the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall is one of the most popular urban attractions. The large statue of Chiang Kai-shek is the main feature of the hall, and this is flanked by an honor guard. At set times of the day, visitors can watch the changing of the guard, so you should try to visit when this is taking place.
18. Visit Chimei Museum
Originally established in 1992 by the Chimei corporation, this private museum moved to its current location in 2014. The design of the museum is influenced by European architecture, so it stands out from other buildings in Taiwan. Inside, there are interesting collections of musical instruments, Western art, and weapons. You should set aside a couple of hours for this activity.
17. See the Geysers at the Yangmingshan National Park
Many people who visit Taiwan stay in Taipei. If this applies to you, then the most convenient of the national parks to visit is the Yangmingshan National Park. It is just a short bus ride from the city. The park is famous for its hot springs and geysers, which are the result of the dormant volcano that sits within the park. The best place to see the spectacular geysers is at Xiaoyoukeng. In addition to the geysers, there are also various hiking trails to explore the park and a visitor center where you can learn about the natural environment of this part of the island state.
16. Stroll Around Shilin Night Market
A fantastic evening activity to enjoy in Taiwan is a stroll around Shilin Night Market. Not only can you pick up some trinkets as souvenirs of your stay, but this is also a wonderful way to immerse yourself in the Taiwanese culture. However, one of the best features of the market is the food stalls. These fill the market with an amazing aroma, and you can sample some traditional Taiwanese street foods as you stroll around the stalls. It is the largest night market in Taiwan, and it has a lively vibe.
15. Take a Trip to Penghu
Penghu is a small archipelago off the eastern coast of Taiwan. Taking a boat trip to Penghu is one of the most popular trips in Taiwan. Many people set aside a whole weekend of their vacation to spend it on these islands. There are beautiful sandy beaches in this tropical paradise, so it is a fantastic place for relaxation. There are some excellent restaurants in which you can dine during your visit, and many of these specialize in seafood dishes using seafood sourced from around the island.
14. Ride the Miramar Ferris Wheel at the Miramar Entertainment Park
You will find plenty of rides and attractions to enjoy at the Miramar Entertainment Park, and there is something for people of all ages. One ride that you should not miss is the Miramar Ferris wheel. This dominates the skyline and you can enjoy excellent views as you rise in the wheel. The panoramic city views differ depending on whether you ride the wheel in the day or the night. There is also a shopping complex and an IMAX theater within this entertainment park.
13. Absorb Yourself in Taiwanese Culture at Qinbi Village
If you want to absorb yourself in the culture of Taiwan, then one of the best places to visit is Qinbi Village. This is the most traditional village in Beigan. It is along the coast on a curved section of bay that boasts a small sandy beach. Most of the homes in the village are traditional stone houses. In the village, there are small shops, a miniature bank building, and a temple with a spring pool featuring carved frogs.
12. Dine at the House of Crab
There are some amazing places where you can dine during your trip to this island and sample traditional Taiwanese cuisine. This is an upmarket seafood restaurant that serves the best crab, fish, and seafood on the island, all of which is locally sourced and fresh from the sea. The menu is diverse, the staff is friendly, and there are excellent ocean views. An unusual feature of this restaurant is that the menu does not have any prices, but the servers are happy to give you a quote before you place your order.
11. Visit Longshan Temple
According to Lonely Planet, you should include a visit to Longshan Temple during your visit to Taiwan. Although there are many temples to see in Taiwan, this is considered one of the most beautiful. It was built in the late 18th-century and it is a fine example of a southern temple design. There are extensive grounds within the gated walls, so you will need to set aside a couple of hours to fully appreciate this attraction.
10. Enjoy the Colors of Rainbow Village
Rainbow Village is like no other place you will visit in the world. Local man Huang Yung-fu decided that the former military village in which he lived looked drab. He wanted to create something more colorful to make the place cheerful and unique. He started painting the local buildings himself in an array of bright colors and interesting patterns. He has even painted designs on the street. The work is ongoing ads he is continuing to transform the area into one of the most colorful places you will ever see. According to The Whole World Is a Playground, you will find this tiny, colorful village in the Nantun District of Taichung.
9. See the Butterflies at Maolin National Scenic Area
If you enjoy spending time outdoors and feeling close to nature, then a stunning place to visit is the Maolin National Scenic Area. This park lies just south of Kaohsiung, and it is famous for the Purple Butterfly Valley. During the winter months, the park is home to more than a million Euloeini butterflies. The sight of these butterflies is wonderful if you are lucky enough to visit Taiwan at this time of year.
8. Climb the Dragon and Tiger Pagodas
The Dragon and Tiger Pagodas are at the entrance to a temple that sits by Lotus Lake in Kaohsiung. Each of the pagodas has a bright and elaborate design, which is possibly why they are the most popular attraction in the port city. Visitors to the temple enter through the mouths of the tiger and dragon. They can climb the towers within the pagodas to enjoy views across the pretty lake.
7. Enjoy a Gondola Ride to Maokong
Maokong is a tourist hotspot in Taiwan, and it is known as being the best place to enjoy a cup of tea. A popular way to reach this location is by gondola. You catch the gondola ride in Taipei Zoo and ride up the mountainside to this pretty location. You have the chance to experience stunning views as you rise in the gondola before exploring the quaint village of Maokong and enjoying locally grown tea. The gondola ride is an excellent opportunity to take photographs of the breathtaking scenery.
6. Sail Across Sun Moon Lake
Those who enjoy water-based activities should go to Sun Moon Lake, which is the largest body of water in Taiwan. This is a popular tourist destination, especially for people who want to take a boat trip. There are several companies offering boat trips across the lake, and passengers can enjoy the beautiful sights around the lake during this relaxing activity. Another activity by the lake is the cable car rides, which take people to the Formosa Aboriginal Cultural Village, which is a theme park with a section of recreated indigenous villages. Around the lake, there are several temples and piers. There are also some small eateries where you can grab a bite to eat.
5. Go to Taroko Gorge in Taroko National Park
Taroko National Park is a few hours from Taipei if you take a train. The highlight of a visit to this park is Taroko Gorge, which is one of the most visited natural wonders in the country. Once entering the park, most people take the hiking trail that leads to the Eternal Spring Shrine within the gorge. This route will also allow you to see a spectacular waterfall. There are many opportunities to take photographs of the surroundings.
4. Hike in Alishan Scenic Mountain Area
Alishan Scenic Mountain Area is a popular area amongst both locals and tourists because of its natural beauty. Many visitors access this park via the mountain railway, which is an experience in itself. After disembarking from the train at the top of the mountain, visitors can explore the mountain, choosing from a number of trails that vary in difficulty. This is a great way to explore one of the most stunning parts of Taiwan. Although you must pay for the train ride, exploring the mountain area is new.
3. Explore Yushan National Park
Another fantastic national park to visit is the Yushan National Park. This national park is home to the tallest mountain in Taiwan, along with several other magnificent peaks, including Sanqingshan. It is one of the most diverse landscapes in the state, and people visit to hike, see the wildlife, and take photographs of the mesmerizing landscape.
2. Visit the National Palace Museum
When visiting Taiwan, you must include a trip to the National Palace Museum in your itinerary, as this is, without a doubt, one of the best things to do in Taiwan for first-timers. Even those who have visited this state island before will often return to this attraction on each visit. This is the best place to learn about Taiwan’s history. Within the museum, there is an impressive collection of artifacts that relate to the imperial past of China. When Chiang Kai-Shek’s government fled from mainland China during the cultural revolution, they saved many artifacts, they rescued thousands of items that are now on display in the museum. You will find the museum in Taipei City.
1. See Taipei 101
According to The Culture Trip, the best thing to do in Taiwan for first-timers is to visit the Taipei 101. Once, this was the tallest building in the world. Although it no longer holds this title, it is still an impressive structure. It is an iconic sight on the capital’s skyline, and it is architecturally impressive both inside and out.
Written by Liz Flynn
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