Imagine this: an island filled with art, rich cultures and traditions, stunning landscapes, and the one thing that people go fanatical for… bubble tea. This generous country encompasses all the experiences mentioned above, catering to travelers with different niche and interests. It truly deserves its slogan: “Taiwan – The Heart of Asia”. Nevertheless, here are 8 cities in Taiwan that is definitely worth visiting during your stay there!
Taipei: Miss Popular Of Taiwan
You’ve guessed it, it’s the first city that everyone thinks of when they think of Taiwan; Taipei – one of the largest cities in Taiwan and the centre of economic, politics, and culture. This city is a blend of modern and traditional. Despite the city’s modernisation, it remains a nice mixture of nature and urban buildings. As a result, Taipei is a gorgeous and relaxing urban metropolis to visit in Taiwan.
The most popular places in Taipei are their night markets. They are full of delicious local delicacies and pop-up stores. The Shilin Night Market and Huaxi Street Tourist Night Market are Taipei’s to-go night market. Shilin Night Market is one of the largest night markets in Taipei. Meanwhile, the Huaxi Street Tourist Night Market encompasses many unique goods that tourists love. The street feels traditional and historic with traditional post stands and lamps hung along the streets. Be sure to try Taipei’s famous stinky tofu, aiyu jelly, oyster mee sua, Taiwan sausages, and their cheap seafood whilst you are there!
Huaxi Street Tourist Night Market was home to x-rated shops in the early years before Taipei’s government banned prostitution.
Taipei 101 is a must-see attraction when you visit Taiwan. It is one of the world’s tallest buildings with a whopping 101 levels. It also holds the title of the building with the fastest elevator!
The observatory at the top of the building gives guests a picturesque 360 degrees view overlooking Taipei. Be prepared to get your ears blocked when you go up due to air pressure! Even if you do not wish to go up to the observatory, you can explore Taipei 101 mall. It offers an international shopping destination with the finest fashion outlets and gastronomic dining.
Other places to visit would be the Dadaocheng Wharf for the beautiful night scenery and shops, the National Theater & Concert Hall to enjoy world class music or guided tours and the Dalongdong Bao’an Temple for its architecture and Taiwan’s culture.
Hot Spring Galore
If you’d like to immerse yourself in a hot spring amidst of the city life, there’s no need to travel to Japan for an Onsen as Taipei has plenty to offer. There are two hot springs in Taipei called the Yangmingshan Hot Springs and Xinbeitou Hot Springs.
The Yangmingshan Hot Springs is located at the Datun Volcano Group. It’s a location where an active volcano created a number of hot springs due to its geothermal heat. Beitou hot springs have the most plentiful natural resources due to its geographical placement. As a result, many businessmen seize the opportunity to create hot spring hostel businesses here. Therefore, benefiting tourists with the number of options to choose from.
Did You Know
Contrary to popular belief, Din Tai Fung originates from Taiwan! It’s definitely a must-visit restaurant when in Taipei for both foodies and non-foodies. The restaurant has multiple floors and is located near Xinyi Road.
New Taipei City: Taiwan’s Spirited Away City
Once a part of Taipei until 2010, New Taipei City is one of the cities in Taiwan full of nature and natural resources. It also encompasses the history and culture of Taiwan. It is definitely a destination to head to if you want a look at Taiwan’s culture and natural attractions.
Jiufen and Shifen are the highlights when visiting New Taipei City with its winding old street and gorgeous waterfalls. The more popular activity to do would be setting off lanterns in Shifen and visiting the teahouses in Jiufen. If you are a fan of Studio Ghibli, you should visit Jiufen’s Amei Teahouse. It is the inspiration behind the architecture of Spirited Away. If you have daylight to spare, you may want to head to Keelung Mountain for a hike and savour the magnificent views of the little town.
Shifen Waterfall is nicknamed as “Taiwan’s Niagara Falls” due to the similarities they share.
Go Back In Time
Head to Sanxia Old Street to experience walking through a time warp with all the traditional looking architecture unchanged for years. Once an important distributions center of goods, it is now a location of remembrance with high culture value. If you’d like to spend time in nature, you can head to Fugui Cape, Caoling Historic Trail, visit the Queen’s Head stone and Manyueyuan National Forest to immerse yourself in the wild.
Just like Taipei, New Taipei City also have its fair share of hot springs namely, Wulai Hot Springs and Jinshan Hot Springs.
Keelung: Taiwan’s Fish Galore
Want to stray from the normal cities in Taiwan that tourists go to and get a more off the beaten track experience? Well, head to Keelung, Taiwan’s main shipping port. Expect many local fish markets, islands and the beautiful horizon.
Kanziding Fish Market
The Kanziding Fish Market existed as far back from the Qing Dynasty, making it one of the oldest outdoor fish market in Northern Taiwan. Be sure to wake up early as the freshest and most delicious products are on sale from 3am while the busiest periods of the market would be from 3am – 7am.
YM Oceanic Culture & Art Museum
If you are interested in marine sciences and museums, you may want to check out the YM Oceanic Culture & Art Museum which includes simulations to make you feel as though you are on a ship. There is also the National Museum of Marine Science and Technology if you would like to gain more in-depth knowledge on Keelung’s as a shipping port.
Get in touch with nature by hiking to Wangyou Valley Seaside Trail, the Heping Island Park which was a previous settlement of the Ketagalan Tribe and/or enjoy the sun at Dawulun Aodi Beach!
Chiayi: The Astronomical And Cultural City Of Taiwan
Chiayi City is over 300 years old making it a landmark for culture, legends and stories amongst all cities in Taiwan. Some of the earliest pioneers are from the Fujian Province and during the Lin Shuang-wen rebellion, the inhabitants remained loyal to the imperial government.
Chiayi is also the perfect location out of all the cities in Taiwan to view the starry night sky and learn about astronomy. Stargazing events are also hosted by the Chiayi Astronomical Society, Chiayi Forest District Office and the Chiayi Amateur Astronomers. This makes the city a perfect place for aspiring astronomers and couples.
Made popular by the Taiwan Folk Song, 阿里山的姑娘 which translates to “the lady in Alishan mountain”, the Alishan National Scenic Area contains 5 wonders for visitors to explore! One of the key highlights when going to Alishan would be their Forest Railway. Built in 1899 by the Japanese to transport logs down the mountain, it is now a beautiful route with beautiful sceneries to look at.
Know Chiayi Better
To know more about the history and culture of this city, visit Chiayi City Historical Relic, Chiayi Municipal Museum, and the Chiayi City Culture Center. Additionally, the World’s tenth landmark of Tropic of Cancer is based in Chiayi, established in June 2004. The Tropic of Cancer serves as the boundary of the northern temperate and torrid zone. It’s of equivalent significance as polar circles and the equator.
Tainan: Taiwan’s Kingdom Of Salt
Known as the ancient capital of Taiwan, Tainan is the oldest city on the island. The city is well known for its agricultural, fishery products, natural landscape and cuisine. There are many activities throughout the year to participate in from firefly watching to the Yanshui Beehive Rocket Festival that is popular among the locals or dip into Guanziling mud springs through the year.
Make Your Own Salt
Experience what’s it like to be a salt farmer in Jingzaijiao Tile-paved Salt Fields. Farmers laid down debris of pottery into the crystallizing ponds of the salt fields to avoid the salt sticking onto the mud. Through this, the salt mined by farmers are now clearer and purer. In addition, broaden your knowledge of the salt industry by visiting Tainan’s Taiwan Salt Museum. You can also purchase salt products in the museum. There’s also the Qigu Salt Mountains was once the largest salt field in Taiwan that supplied salt for the industries.
For recreational activities, visit the Tsou Ma Lai Farm which was once the residence of the Pingu tribe. Now, there is an archery field, a racetrack, pasture, camping and barbeque sites, great for a family’s day out. Visit the Wushantou Reservoir Scenic Area that has a melancholic underlying story to its origins. You can see the statue of the engineer overlooking the reservoir at the side of a hill. Other attractions near the lake is a temple that worships the Goddess of Mercy and the Sakyamuni Buddha.
You will not want to miss the Fire and Water Cave, a natural phenomenon that defies the laws of nature due to both dire and water existing together. Due to the natural gas emission of the cave, once lit, the flame will not go out while water gushes out, creating a spectacular scene of “fire within water”.
Taoyuan: Flower Kingdom Of Taiwan
Even though the city is narrowly shaped, this city contains an abundance of natural attractions earning the nickname of the “Flower Kingdom” and the “Land of a Thousand Ponds”. Taoyuan is full of cultural parks, trails, bikeways and scenic sights, a perfect destination for sightseeing in a nearby country. They are also popular for the county’s Hakka culture, rustic areas local industries and military communities.
Daxi Old Street
Do not miss the bridge at Daxi Old Street at night that illuminates from the LED light strips above water! The area has been the Taoyuan’s business commercial area ever since the Ching Dynasty, now it holds many old professions that are difficult to find elsewhere such as the iron mongers and stone workers. When you are there, be sure to purchase their famous dried bean curd that is even approved by the locals!
Dongyanshan National Forest
Head to Dongyanshan National Forest Recreation Area to get lost in the woods while educating yourself on the natural environment and wildlife from information boards placed around the walking trail. A perfect place for hiking!
The origin of the mountain’s name was because the mountain looks like “a hung eye looking toward the east” from afar.
Taichung: Artsy Fartsy Taiwan
Next to Taipei, Taichung is the second largest city in Taiwan that has pleasant climates all year! The city was established during the Japanese occupation and quickly became a major political, economic and transport hub of Taiwan! Additionally, it is Taiwan’s city of the arts with many museums catering to the different art forms!
This may seem like fantasy but there is an actual village in Taichung that has its houses, floors and walls painted in bright colors called The Rainbow Village! The illustrations are all painted by a single lady from the village, turning the village into a protected cultural and arts attraction by the government. If you are an artsy person and would like to see more of the arts scene of Taiwan, head to CMP Block Museum of The Arts and take a look at their seasonal art exhibitions, entry is also free as it is also a mall!
Zhongshe Flower Field
Be sure to visit the Zhongshe Flower Field if you are a lover of flowers! The attraction will be opened all year with different flowers exhibited in every season, it is a good location to take Instagram pictures!
Another location that you should visit would be the Qingjing farm and watch the sheep shearing and sheepdog herding show! The best time to visit the farm would be on the Weekends where there will be more activities available than on weekdays. More details can be found here. If you are at Qingjing, be sure to visit The Old England which is located nearby and enjoy the beautiful historic England architecture while enjoying afternoon tea.
Kaohsiung: Maritime Capital Of Taiwan
Being the country’s largest industrial center, the prosperous city of Kaohsiung hosted the 2009 World Games. It’s also known as the “Maritime Capital of Taiwan”. It is one of the cities in Taiwan that holds different ethics in Taiwan such as the Hakka community, Pingu, Paiwan indigenous tribes and many more, definitely a hub for learning about the different culture of Taiwan.
Being at the Maritime Capital of Taiwan, which is also the fourth largest container port around the world, it is a must to cruise around the Kaohsiung Harbour to learn about the modernization of the harbour and experience the beauty of Kaohsiung.
E-Da Theme Park
The buildings and attractions in this theme park are Greek-inspired. It also contains the country’s first roller coaster that operates in total darkness and the largest entertainment theatre and indoor creation center in Taiwan.
Marvel At Art
For viewing artsy installations, head to the Urban Spotlight to view the neon lights at the Central Park or marvel at the Dome of Light at the Formosa Boulevard Station which tells a message of love and tolerance. The completion of the Dome of Light took four years.
If you prefer something that is more natural, head to Tianliao Moon World. It has a landscape similar to that of the moon. Enjoy the scenery of illuminated hills
Find out more in-depth information about Kaohsiung here!
Best Time to Visit
Now that you are all excited about going to Taiwan, here are the best timing to visit in order to get the full experience from your trip to “The Heart of Asia”!
Bathe in great weather with little crowd during April – June and September – November. However, if you are on a budget and would like to visit Taiwan, head to the country during December – March as the country will be brimming with discounts!
Peak tourist seasons in Taiwan would be from July – August due to summer breaks around the world so prices of Hotels will spike up. Additionally, as it is summer break, the country will be hot and humid, proving not to be one of the best times for a hike. (Remember to book your accommodations early for the peak seasons!)
Regardless, as Taiwan has 4 different seasons, you may want to go back to the country again for 4 different experiences!
Want to see the mountains or national parks in its full glory? Visit Taiwan during Spring from April – June when the flowers will be in full bloom! If outdoor activities interest you more, head to Taiwan during Autumn from September – November when the weather is cool with little rainfall!
If you have been to Taiwan, tell us about a few most memorable destinations that you think we have missed out below!