Check out these fun things to do in Taiwan! Includes outdoor adventures, incredible views from high above, and delicious food!
*This guest post was written by Cat Lin*
Taiwan is an underrated travel destination in Asia. Located off the coast of Southeastern China, this beautiful island country offers adventure travelers a variety of exciting activities. From thermal hot springs to hot air balloon rides, Taiwan promises to surprise and entertain you with its breathtaking scenery and rich culture. To give you a taste of Taiwan, check out these fun activities you can do in Taiwan!
Taipei 101 is an iconic symbol of Taiwan and ranked one of the tallest buildings in the world. As its name suggests, the glass structure has a total of 101 floors, reaching a height of 508 m!
You can get to the top of the building through the Guinness World Record-breaking high-speed elevator, transporting you to the 89th floor observatory in just 37 seconds! From the observatory, you can get a bird’s eye view of Taipei City.
Insider’s Tip: Walk down to the 88th floor to see the giant wind damper that is used to offset the force of wind and help the building stand upright!
If you want to get a view of Taipei 101 itself, head over to Elephant Mountain, located 20 mins from the Xiangshan MRT station. The view from the viewing platform is definitely worth the effort! Read more about Taipei’s MRT system in this post on how to get around Taipei by subway.
Leave the bustling city and make a trip to the northern coast. At Yehliu Geopark, you will come across a dramatic landscape that is rarely seen anywhere else in the world.
The bizarre geological formations caused by weathering and erosion will make you wonder if you’re actually on earth! Some of the rocks are so interestingly shaped that people have given them nicknames. Wander around and see if you can find “Ice Cream,” “Sea Candles,” or “Fairy Shoe!” The most famous of all is “Queen’s Head,” named for its likeness to Queen Elizabeth I.
Do you know that Taiwan has the second highest concentration of hot springs in the world after Japan? To experience the healing power of thermal hot springs, travel 30 mins outside of Taipei City to Beitou.
The mountainous area of Beitou is a well-known resort destination. Visitors can spend as little as 40 NT (about $1.28) to soak in public baths and hot springs. But if you’d like a more exclusive experience, there are also plenty of upscale hotels and spa resorts in the area providing private day rooms for guests.
Besides hot springs, other popular attractions worth visiting include Japanese-style tea houses, gardens, thermal valley, and museums, where you can learn more about the area’s history and hot springs culture!
Taiwan was once colonized by Japan so you can see Japanese influence everywhere, from food to architecture. One of the most interesting sights to visit is the quirky village called Xitou Monster Village in Nantou!
The village was built in 2011 to commemorate the friendship between a Japanese and Taiwanese man that arose during the Japanese colonial period. Statues of monsters, spirits, and demons from Japanese folklore occupy this whimsical town, offering many photo opportunities! There are also many food stalls and souvenir shops to discover!
While in Nantou, make sure to stop by the famous Sun Moon Lake! This scenic lake is the largest alpine lake in the country and is divided into two sections (the diamond shaped Sun Lake and curved Moon Lake) by Lalu Island. Its mountainous landscape and picturesque cycling routes are the reasons why millions of visitors come here every year.
The best way to tour the lake is by bike. The entire loop is about 30km long with abundant photo spots along the way. Or, you can take the shorter route from Sun Moon Lake bikeway to Xiangshan, which is only 3.4 km!
Looking for some outdoor fun? Head over to Hualien for a white-water rafting adventure! Rafting trips in the East Rift Valley are a great way to experience an adrenaline rush.
You will splash over a 24-km long stretch of fun rapids, starting from Ruisui all the way to Changhong Bridge. Tackle the Xiuguluan River’s powerful white-water currents and you will leave with unforgettable memories – ones full of splashes, laughter, and remarkable scenery!
Also in Hualien is the magnificent Taroko Gorge, one of the Seven Natural Wonders of Asia. This 18-kilometer canyon is situated inside Taiwan’s most beautiful national park. Formed by erosion and earthquakes, the canyon cuts through towering walls of colored marble. It is hard to believe that some parts of the canyon are over 1000m high!! Walking around there will definitely make you feel small and insignificant.
The park has many beautiful sights to see including the famous Eternal Spring Shrine, Tunnel of Nine Turns Trail, Swallow Grotto, and Water Curtain Cave. The enchanting scenes of marble cliffs, raging river, and lush vegetation will make you not want to leave!
In the southeast part of Taiwan lies Taitung – the most untouched landscape of the island, and the best way to explore this region is by taking a hot air balloon ride! Jump in and soar over the sweeping East Rift Valley. As you rise higher, the winding rivers, patchwork of farmlands, deep lakes, and rolling hills will unfold before your eyes.
Hot air balloon rides can be booked all year round (as long as the conditions are right), but if you happen to visit during the summertime, make sure to time your trip with the International Taitung Hot Air Balloon Festival. The festival is held in Luye Highland every year between June and August. It is a great opportunity to see dozens of hot air balloons flying high in the sky all at once!
When it comes to whisky, most people think of Scotland, but did you know a Taiwanese whisky has been crowned the World’s Best Single Malt? That’s right. Kavalan Distillery is the proud winner of the World Whiskies Awards in 2015, and its distillery in Yilan is open to the public!
Every day, the distillery welcomes visitors to tour its site. Join the guided tour to learn all about the whisky-making process and what makes this tropical-fruit-style whisky so special. You can also upgrade your experience for an additional 1500 NT (about $47.84) to taste any whisky in the collection and blend a unique bottle of Kavalan Whisky to take home!
If you’re a food lover, it is worth making a trip to Tainan, the former capital and the oldest city of Taiwan. Because of its strong culinary heritage, this southern city is often referred to as the food capital of Taiwan. In fact, it is where many Taiwanese dishes (like oyster omelet) originated!
In Tainan, you can indulge in all sorts of delicious traditional foods. Danzai noodles, shrimp rolls, Taiwanese meatballs, and coffin bread are some of the local’s favorites and will have you hooked!
Pro Tip: Traveling light? Check out these Carry-On Essentials!
Taiwan is such an amazing country. It offers visitors a variety of things to do as well as incredible scenery. Hopefully these suggestions will inspire you to visit Taiwan and experience it for yourself!
About The Author: Cat Lin is a Taiwanese-born food and travel writer. She loves adventure travel and enjoys sampling local cuisine when traveling to foreign countries. She currently lives in Calgary, where she runs the food and travel blog For Two, Please with her husband, Kev. You can follow her online at Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.