Taiwan – A country so small and yet so diverse. Taiwan is still overlooked by many travelers – it’s a pity because this island has a lot to offer. Taiwan’s attractions are unique in their architecture and breathtaking nature. I visited Taiwan in the summer of 2014 after receiving a scholarship for a summer school program at NCC University in Chiayi. During class, we were introduced to the culture of this wonderful country, while on the weekends we had time to discover the country itself. However, since my time in Taiwan has been so long ago, I asked a few fellow travel bloggers and locals to help me put together an individual Taiwan itinerary.
This Taiwan itinerary 7 days or more includes all the popular highlights of the country plus some insider tips. Even though this route is considered a Taiwan 7 days and 6 nights itinerary, we included way more wonderful places, so you can create your individual route by spending 7 days in Taiwan or 10 days in Taiwan or as many as you want to (visiting all the amazing places we collected for you, you are able to even spend a month or more without getting bored or having seen it all).
- Also called the Republic of China
- Many countries still do not recognize Taiwan as an independent state
- The official language is Mandarin, but here (in contrast to mainland China) the traditional Chinese characters are still used
- 36,179 km² area
- includes main island Taiwan + minor islands
- Time zone: UTC +8
Taiwan Itinerary 7 days – Planning
Before you start exploring this unique country, you should plan a few things ahead. In the following section, we will help you to check the most important aspects of your 7 day itinerary Taiwan.
Best Time to visit Taiwan
The best travel time for Taiwan is March-May, and September – November.
Rainy Season in Taiwan
During the summer months increased and heavy rainfall should be expected. Also, strong storms can occur.
If you want to personalize your Taiwan travel itinerary 7 days, you should be aware of how to get from one place to another prior to your arrival in the country. Transportation in Taiwan is usually very well organized and easy. All of Taiwan’s major sites are well connected.
The fastest way to travel in Taiwan is by train. Taiwan has a well-developed rail network that reaches from the capital city of Taipei to the most important places on the island. The places that are not accessible by train, you can head to by bus. The bus is one of the main means of transportation in Taiwan. Tickets can be purchased locally or booked online at this website. If you would like to visit Penghu, you can also go by boat or take a domestic flight.
Another thing to think about before you travel is the visa. However, European citizens, as well as US-Passport holders, are generally allowed to enter the country for 90 days visa-free for tourism purposes. However, always check with your embassy or Ministry of Foreign Affairs before you leave. You should also always check if there are any travel warnings.
Taiwan Travel Cost
Of course, before you travel you should think about how much money you want to spend during your days in Taiwan. The average traveler spends about 30 €/$ 35 per day. However, this price may vary greatly, depending on your type of trip. If you book your tickets and accommodations before you travel, you are on the safe side as far as the travel budget is concerned (as long as you do not consider a huge shopping trip). The best Accommodation offers can be found on Booking.com.
The currency in Taiwan is the New Taiwan Dollar and 1 Euro equals about 35 New Taiwan Dollars and 1 USD equals around 30 NTD. (As of 2020)
What should you pack?
Of course, you should also consider what you should take with you to Taiwan. Especially as a backpacker, every kilo is less is a blessing. To get an approximate idea of what to take with you and what should stay at home, have a look at our backpacker packing list for women or our backpacker packing list for men.
Your Ultimate Taiwan Itinerary to the best places to visit in Taiwan
Day 1 + 2 Taipei
I absolutely love Taiwan, as it’s one of the most underrated destinations in the world right now. The capital city of Taiwan is a must if you’re coming to Taiwan. Here are some of my top recommendations:
Raohe Night Market
Hands down the best night market when it comes to food. This is the one that all the locals go to. Make sure to the Pork Pepper Buns, Stinky Tofu (if you dare), Milk Tea, and the Grilled Japanese Pork.
One of the tallest buildings for many years, this gorgeous pagoda-style building has one of the best views of Taipei.
Climb to the top of this scenic viewpoint for one of the best sunsets in Taipei. (Author’s note: You will find more information on the Elephant Mountain later in this itinerary)
One of the hippest and trendiest neighborhoods in Taipei, you’ll be able to find the latest fashion trends and Instagrammable cafes here.
Chiang Kai Shek Memorial
One of the founders of the democratic country of Taiwan – this beautiful memorial is a historical and beautiful place to visit.
National Palace Museum
One of the most important museums in Asia, this also holds the famous Jade Cabbage.
The most famous temple in Taipei – it’s a great place to observe local Taiwanese coming to offer prayers.
Recommended by Henry from This Life of Travel
Day 3 Taipei Day Trips
From the capital Taipei, there are so many exciting destinations you can visit. You should include at least one day trip from Taipei into your 7 Days in Taiwan itinerary. You can also combine several destinations into one day trip. The best tourist attractions around Taipei can be found in the following section.
Located an hour away from Taipei by bus, Keelung City makes for a fantastic alternative day trip or overnighter.
Keelung is a port city with a huge harbor and a long history as a strategic settlement. Part of its charm is the fact that Keelung sees far fewer tourists than nearby Jiufen and Shifen. When I visited during Lunar New Year—one of the busiest periods for travel in Taiwan—I was still one of few tourists around. Keelung doesn’t have the same atmospheric Old Streets as its inland neighbors, but it is home to some hidden gems—not to mention one of Taipei’s best night markets.
Zhongzheng Park sits atop Dashawan Mountain, a short uphill walk from the center, and commands fantastic views of the city and harbor. It’s a great place to get oriented and start your Keelung adventure. Shrines, temples, and effigies dot the park’s grounds, including a 22-meter-high statue of Guanyin, the Goddess of Mercy. Zhuputan is Keelung’s crowning jewel. The red, gold and white temple houses a folk museum and plays host to Zhongyuan Pudu, the annual Mid-Summer Ghost Festival, which combines Taoist and Buddhist traditions once a year in July.
Keelung’s biggest tourist attraction is the Miaokou Night Market. Seafood is favored among the dozens of stallholders who line Keelung’s streets, tossing their hot woks and working their deep fryers on overdrive. You can try most of the popular Taiwanese market delicacies in Keelung. Unlike other night markets, this one has plenty of outdoor seating, making it a great people-watching experience as well.
Recommended by Emily from Wander Lush.
Many visitors go to Taipei when they visit Taiwan and there actually is a really nice day trip from Taipei called Jiufen. Since the discovery of gold in the late 1800s, Jiufen quickly developed from an isolated village into a large town during the Japanese occupancy days. Nowadays Jiufen is famous for its traditional architecture, tea houses, street food, hiking, and the beautiful backdrop of mountains and the ocean.
Jiufen is an easy 1 hour day trip from Taiwan and one can either take a train combined with buses or a direct shuttle bus to visit. The main streets of Jiufen have many unique shops and street food vendors for those who enjoy the food. Some of the noteworthy street food includes Taiwanese Sausage, Peanut Ice Cream Roll, Taro Balls, and Stinky Tofu.
Many visitors go to Jiufen for the red lanterns in cute alleyways which lead to the famous A-Mei Tea House, the real-world inspiration of Spirited Away. One can sit tea and enjoy the view of mountains and ocean at the same time.
In addition, those who like to hike can come to Jiufen to hike up Keelung Mountain for a beautiful panoramic view of the surrounding area. There are also waterfalls and temples one can visit in/ near Jiufen, which makes it a very eventful day trip from Taipei.
Jiufen is a beautiful day trip from Taipei for someone who wants to fully enjoy the beauty of Taiwan outside of the big cities. Although Jiufen has gotten very popular and touristy, it still has its old-time charms.
Recommended by Serena from Serena’s Lenses
Shifen Old Street & Shifen Waterfall
Shifen Old Street
One of Taipei’s most popular day trips takes you to Pinxi. There is a colorful world waiting for you as soon as you arrive at Shifen Station. There are many shops around the train station, where you can enjoy delicious Chinese and Taiwanese snacks and dishes, as well as many unique souvenirs.
The market and the shops are located directly next to the tracks, which makes the whole experience even more special. The most beautiful experience, however, is letting the lanterns fly. For about 100 – 200 NTD (about 3 – 6 €) you can buy a lantern and write your wish on it. Later you let fly so that your wish comes true. Let yourself be advised well, as each color represents a different kind of wish.
One of Taiwan’s most famous sights is created by nature itself: The Shifen Waterfall. About 30 minutes walk from the Shifen train station you will find this wonderful attraction. To get there you can either follow the right or the left side of the tracks. The right side is more popular as it also passes the Cheng-An Temple, while the left side offers more beautiful scenery. However, the walk is absolutely worth it. Arrived at the 20-meter-high and 40-meter-wide Shifen waterfall, everyone will be enchanted by the beauty of this impressive waterfall.
Tamsui (Danshui) is a district of New Taipei City, in northern Taiwan. It sits at the junction of the Taiwan Strait and the Tamsui River. Near the river, busy Tamsui Old Street is lined with shops, restaurants, and vendors selling local dishes, specialties, souvenirs, and delicacies.
There are quite a few interesting places to see in Tamsui district and most of them are accessible via the bus or by walking. Since Tamsui is also located on the northern edge of Taipei, boats are also being used as a mode of transportation.
If you decided to go, here are must-visit spots in Tamsui you should go; Tamsui Old Street; Fisherman’s Wharf; Lover’s Bridge; World Chocolate Wonderland; Lover’s Tower; Fort San Domingo; Tamsui Golden Anchor; Tamsui Qingshui Temple and Tamsui Longshan Temple; and Love Lane Tamsui. Don’t miss any one of them!
Recommended by Jerny from The Jerny
Beitou is known for its hot springs which makes this a must-visit place in Taiwan if you like relaxing in hot water. There is no lack of hot springs in this area and you can see them as you walk around. There are many options to enjoy the springs with public pools and bathing areas.
You can also pay to have your own private bathing area in a hotel which is what we did. It is easy to turn up and find one. Beitou is basically a suburb of Taipei and is on the metro line. It’s very easy to visit here which does make it quite popular.
On arrival at the metro station, it’s just a short walk to be a big park area and many of the hotels surrounding this have a private bathing option. You don’t need to be a guest. For about US$30, we had a room for a family with a hot spring bath, a cold bath, a shower area, a changing area, and towels, toiletries, and bottled water for an hour and a half.
I highly recommend you take some time out of your Taiwan trip to relax and enjoy the hot springs at Beitou.
Recommended by Sharon from Dive Into Malaysia
Hutong Cat Village
Taipei might be famous for its cat cafes, but a short train ride away there’s something even more exciting for kittyphiles…an entire cat village.
Houtong Cat Village is home to around 200 cats. Some are much-loved pets, others are strays unofficially adopted by the residents of this old coal-mining town and now living their best life with little wooden houses to shelter in and bowls of food dotted all over the small town for snacks.
The furry residents have restored the town’s fortunes and it absolutely capitalizes on the cat action – there are giant cat statues to selfie with, cat cakes to snack on, and all manner of cat-themed goodies to buy as souvenirs. One of the cafés even offers cat beer! The actual furry residents take it all in their stride, sprawling out in the sun as people take their photos, only occasionally giving a hiss if you get too close for comfort.
Most of the cat-ivity occurs on the winding streets the climb the hill on the west side of the station but also wander across to the east where you’ll find the remains of the town’s coal mine. Part of it has been left to fall in disrepair creating a jumble of wood and metal that looks like something from the Hunger Games, the mine itself now has its own tour. It’s definitely worth a wander.
Getting to Houtong Cat Village is an easy trip from Taipei (which is why it’s my pick as a day trip for solo travelers). There’s a direct line from Taipei’s main station and the journey takes an hour. You can also catch a train to nearby Shifen from the village.
Recommended by Helen from Destination>Differentville
As someone who always seeks adventure, nature, and amazing views, Elephant Mountain is definitely one of my favorite places to visit in Taiwan. Also known as Xiangshan, it is located at Xinyi District, Taipei, Taiwan. Standing at 183 meters high and has a hiking trail of about 1.5 km long, climbing it is not easy, but definitely worth it. It requires a hike to the stairs to get to the wooden balcony overlooking the city. This viewpoint is where you will be greeted with amazing views of Taipei City, the city skyline, and the towering Taipei 101 dominating the city’s skyline.
Depending on your stamina, you can reach the viewing point in less than 30 minutes. But for someone like me who loves to slow down and appreciate nature, climbing it took me about an hour with a few rests in between.
For me, the best time to Elephant Mountain is during the late afternoon to catch the magnificent sunset, and up until the early evening where you’ll see the glittering Taipei 101 with lights all lit up.
Taipei 101 is an architectural landmark in Taipei you shouldn’t miss when traveling to Taiwan. And there’s no better way to see it than from Elephant Mountain. I’ve climbed it twice and I still want to visit it again soon.
Recommended by Mervin from Pinoy Adventurista
Day 4 Kenting National Park
The visit to Kenting is one of the most beautiful memories of my time in Taiwan. Kenting National Park is located on the southern tip of Taiwan and is considered the most visited national park in the country. With its beautiful beaches, it is a must for all beach lovers and sun worshipers.
The closest beach to Kenting Town is the Nanwan or South Beach. Nearby you will also find restaurants, 7-11 shops and everything else you might need. About 5 km from Kenting Town is the Baishawan or White Sand Beach. It is, as the name says, full of white sand and therefore beautiful, but unfortunately also a popular destination for Chinese tour buses and therefore often crowded. If you are looking for a quieter beach or looking for suitable surfing spots, Jialeshui Beach is just right for you. Since this small beach is about 25 minutes outside the city, you will find much fewer tourists here. Jialeshui is also the name of the waterfall, which you can discover in the same area.
At night you can find a great night market on the so-called Kenting Street, with many delicious dishes and snacks. Here you can try the famous Stinky tofu (your nose will help you find it). By the way, our favorite snacks were the fried potato balls and fried Oreos. If you visit the night market, please keep in mind that you are in a national park and you should dispose of your garbage accordingly. The place has a big problem with the garbage left by the tourists.
Extra travel tip: The driest months to visit Kenting are November – April. However, it can be much cooler here in winter. In the summer it is very hot, but heavy rains and storms can occur.
Day 5 – 7
Although Taiwan is a very small country it is full of terrific destinations and wonderful nature. Seeing everything in just a week is almost impossible. That’s why in the following you will find various ideas so that you can combine according to your interests and preferences.
Taichung was a real surprise to us. After spending 5 days in Taichung, we consider this city is a must-visit for Taiwan. The absolute coolest things to do in Taichung are:
Rainbow Village, Calligraphy Greenway, Audit Village, and the Chun Shui Tang, the original store and birthplace of the famous Bubble Tea.
The Rainbow Village is a small complex of houses built by 9 retired soldiers. After the buildings needed renovation, the ministry planned to demolish them instead of a renovation. However, when the artist and former soldier Grandpa Huang heard the news, he wanted to stop the demolition. He started to paint the village, inspired by other artists like Frida Kahlo. The colorful houses became quickly recognized, and a petition stopped the demolition. Today, the Rainbow Village is the #1 sight in Taichung. It is free to enter.
Number two on our list of greatest things to do in Taichung is the Calligraphy Greenway and the Audit Village. The stretch takes you along old, traditional Japanese houses. Today you find here beautiful coffee shops, tea houses, designer shops, and restaurants. It is the hipster area of Taichung, no doubt. The Audit Village can be found at the end of Calligraphy Greenway. This small area of 10-20 small houses is home to a hip bar, a neat coffee shop, and more shops like designer clothing and Accessories.
Last but not least, Taiwan is famous for its Bubble Tea. The birthplace of this famous drink is Chun Shui Tang in Taichung. The restaurant is still open and welcomes guests from all over the world. We actually came here to try their bubble tea and to have lunch. A great recommendation, do not miss it. They do also serve vegetarian food.
There you have it, Taichung is an underrated city, worth it to spend 2-3 days. With the Stray Birds Hostel, you can also stay in a cool and social hostel. Find all the best hostels in Taiwan in our complete guide to backpacking Taiwan.
Recommended by Matt from Hostel Geeks
Taiwan is a small country full of gems: from stunning beaches and lakes to incredible landscapes and unique mountains. It surely is the perfect country for hikers and climbers. In fact, this little island has the highest density and the largest number of high mountains in the world!
Yuan Zui Shan, also known as Mount YuanZui (“ Bird Beak Mountain”), is a Must if you are visiting Taiwan and love the outdoors. Yuan Zui Mountain is located in Dasyueshan National Forest Recreational Area, near Taichung city and it’s easily accessed by car.
The hike is challenging, fun, and really unique. The summit of the mountain is a breathtaking triangular-shaped rock only reachable through a rope-assisted climb. Despite the unquestionable difficulty of the hike, the strategic hooks and ropes will support even the less experienced climbers to safely ascend and descend the mountain. The highest point offers a wonderful view of the entire Recreational area. On clear days you can see so far!
This is a great one-day adventure to enjoy with friends on a sunny day. Don’t forget to bring some light food to snack on once at the peak! You won’t be disappointed by the beautiful Yuan Zui Shan!
Recommended by Susie and Stephen from Dreamers who wander
Yufu Cycling Pathway – Fuli Township
Taiwan is known for its nature and cycling culture for beginners to pros. Cycling across the countryside was an unforgettable experience, during 4 days we covered almost 400km on Taiwan’s east coast. We crossed hills, tea plantations, impressive gorges, and cute villages.
One of the most beautiful roads was the Yufu Cycling Pathway near Dongli Station in Fuli Township. The cycle path was built over a former railway track and is surrounded by rice fields. Even if you don’t cycle, it’s a stunning and peaceful place to visit. This cycling pathway has about 10km and is super safe and easy to cycle. You will probably meet friendly cyclists from all around the world.
Taiwan is a great destination for cycling and it’s super prepared for it. The police stations are also bike-aid stations, you can rely on them to rest, use the bathroom, fix your bike, or simply ask for directions.
Our cycling adventure started after visiting Taipei, then we cycled the east coast all the way to Daren city before crossing the mountains to the west coast. If you don’t want to cycle that much you can plan your stop at Yufu Cycling Pathway when visiting Hualien, Taitung, or Taroko National Park.
Recommended by Nat from Love and Road
Taroko National Park
Taroko National Park is one of the most scenic destinations in Taiwan. It is located just 40km outside of Hualien city and makes for an easy stop on your trip around the island of Taiwan. The park covers 920 square kilometers of steep mountains, thick forests, and the deep valley of the Taroko Gorge. It is a fantastic place to escape the city and explore Taiwan’s natural beauty.
There is a whole list of popular attractions in Taroko National Park such as the Tunnel of Nine Turns, the Eternal Shrine, and the Tianfeng Pagoda. These are all easy to visit in one day with the hop-on-hop-off bus pass which starts n Hualien. As you follow the winding road deeper into the park you will be amazed by the construction. The road seems to make its way through the narrowest sections, carved into the steep mountain face.
Then, for those staying in the national park a little longer, (1 or 2 nights) there are also a number of trails which you can hike. By spending a little longer in the park exploring these trails you will discover awesome viewpoints, waterfalls, and secret hot springs. If time permits, it is definitely worth allowing a little extra time here.
Recommended by Josh from The lost Passport
Although Hualien (花蓮) usually serves as a gateway to Taiwan’s most famous natural wonder – Taroko Gorge, this sleepy east coast city has plenty to offer and is one of the best places to visit in Taiwan.
Hualien City and County form part of Taiwan’s East Rift Valley – a unique coastal stretch weaving through natural landscapes home to rice and flower fields, waterfalls, and cliffs. Not to mention, stunning ocean views and plenty of photo opportunities!
Spending a few days here will quickly reveal just how picturesque the city (and surrounding area) is and why locals often head here for a weekend getaway. Besides being extremely photogenic, there’s also plenty to do and see in Hualien. This is why any visit to the city would simply not be complete without stopping by the Pine Garden and Chi-An Chinghisu Temple for a glimpse into the former Japanese colonial era. Strolling along the pebble-stone beach at Qixingtan, visiting one of the nearby hot springs, and snacking your way through Dongdamen Night Market are other popular pastimes enjoyed by locals and tourists alike. For more adventurous travelers, activities such as whale watching and river tracing can also be enjoyed in the area.
Hualien is easily accessed by train from Taipei.
Hop on either the Puyuma Limited Express or Taroko Express, which are slightly faster than the Tze-Chiang Express. The journey takes around 2 hours and opt for a Coastal Line ticket as the ocean views are beyond breathtaking!
Recommended by Mariza from Hoponworld
Sun Moon Lake
The most popular day trip from Taichung takes you to the Sun Moon Lake. The unusual name of the lake might be given to it because of the different forms of the lake’s shore, which are shaped like a crescent moon, or a sun. Other sources suggest that the name was created because of the different colors of the water.
With 8 km², it is the largest inland waters of Taiwan. In addition to the wonderful nature, you will find all kinds of activities here. For active travelers, there is the possibility to cycle around the lake on a 30 km long cycle path. Don’t worry, the lake can also be bypassed by bus. If you decide on a day pass, you can get off at the main attractions and continue on the next bus. For those who want to experience the lake itself, there are also various boat trips.
Another way to enjoy the wonderful view of the lake is the cable car (Sun Moon Ropeway), which brings you to the Formosan Aboriginal Cultural Village. This is an amusement park where you can discover Taiwan’s highest free-fall tower, largest European garden, and tallest bell tower.
Considering that Taiwan is a small island, it has some of the best hiking trails to experience. One of the popular and challenging hiking trails is Jade Mountain (also known as Yushan). What is special about this place is that it’s the highest summit in Taiwan at a staggering 3,952 meters (12,966 feet).
The hike is no easy task as it takes two days to complete due to the altitude and distance. You can complete the hike in one day, which is what our group did, but it’s one long and exhausting day. All hikers need to have a permit and arrange a stay at the local lodges on the mountain if doing an overnight stay.
The 31km (19.2 miles) trail provides stunning views of the mountain range. You’ll start the hike in the early morning to see the beautiful sunrise, scramble over rocks, walk on overgrown tree roots and rocky paths, and eventually reach the peak. Don’t forget to take a photo of the sign at the top of the mountain to celebrate your accomplishment. It’s an incredible journey while you enjoy the outdoors, spend time with your hiking group, and get fresh air in the mountains. Let’s go hiking!
Recommended by Jackie from Life of Doing
The lesser-visited city of Xinying, (also pronounced and spelled Shinying) is an off the wall gem in the middle of the Taiwanese countryside. Both the high speed and the regular trains run through Shinying, making it an easy and cool add-on city to your Taiwan adventure.
The first thing to note here is that there are no backpacker hostels, very few hotels, and hardly any foreigners. This is a pure immersion into the Taiwanese lifestyle that you dreamt up as a child reading geography books. The main joy here is the intrigue on the streets of the city itself, notably the locals who flinch their eyelids at a real foreigner in their city. Sightseeing wise, it is Taiwan to the core. Each night there is a wide range of night markets and roadside barbecue stalls serving up delicious treats from stinky tofu to dragon fruit ice cream to chicken bum kebab to duck face.
The city also has the headquarters for Tainan County and has plenty of greenery. The leafy central park is frequented by local students, keep fit freaks, and bookworms. On the edge of the city, head out to enjoy the peace and beauty of Swan Lake with its floral gardens, leafy waters, relaxing greens, and of course the nature with birds aplenty.
The city’s canals and 228 monuments add to the more touristic attractions to go alongside the many temples. The Gung Ho temple is the most famous and well worth a visit for its colorful exterior. By night, indulge in a spot of shrimp fishing with the locals, or go to a karaoke bar (KTV) or simply eat out at the night market before a night in the city’s small but cozy selection of pubs (particularly the Ocean every day pub).
Recommended by Jonny from Don’t Stop Living
If a place in Taiwan has burnt its name into my brain, that’s the Alishan. Our professor was obsessed with the place and showed us photos, videos, and even songs about Alishan on a daily basis during class in order to convince us to visit. Alishan is a national park located approximately in the middle of Taiwan’s main island. This national park is a high mountain region that hosts mountains up to 2000 meters high.
During the Japanese colonial era, a narrow-gauge railway has been built here that will take you up to the mountains up to today. Alishan is popular throughout the country for its unique wildlife, plants, and breathtaking views. In addition, the oolong tea which is extremely popular all over the country is growing here. (You shouldn’t leave Taiwan without tasting at least one cup of this yummy tea) The forests of this mountain are given a unique color combination by the bamboo mixed with bright red cypresses. If you like walking and want to get to know the wonderful Taiwanese nature, Alishan should not be missed.
Whilst Taipei is the busy capital of Taiwan, Tainan is a laidback and vibrant city, rich in history and culture. The former imperial capital has a vast array of religious temples, delicious food stalls, night markets, and charming alleyways that make this such a great stop on any trip to Taiwan.
The best way to get a feel for the city is to explore on foot. The center is relatively compact so take a self-guided tour: wander the alleyways, do a little shopping, admire the architecture and pick up treats to eat along the way. Take a break at one of the countless cool cafes tucked away and enjoy amazing coffee or bubble tea.
With over 1600 Buddhist, Confucian, and Taoist temples peppered throughout the city, it is impossible to ignore the deep religious history of the city. Colorful, decorative temples are seemingly on every corner and draw you in to explore and learn more about the rituals and history of the city. Great temples to visit include Confucius Temple, Lady Linshui Temple, Guangdong Temple, and Matsu Temple.
Other highlights in the city include a visit to the unique Anping Tree House and the beautiful Chimei Museum.
Finally, a visit to the Flower Night Market in the north of the city is essential when in Tainan. The huge open-air food market is only open three nights a week, so make sure to plan your visit in advance. It can get very busy so we recommend starting early. Food highlights include the spring onion pancake, stinky tofu, roast pork rolls, and fried dumplings.
Recommended by Rachel from Adventure and Sunshine
Kaohsiung is a port city located in the southern part of Taiwan. This charming city is where you will discover real Taiwanese southern hospitality.
While it is the second-largest city in the island country, the look and feel is quite different from the capital city of Taipei. Kaohsiung is a great place to see both the old and new Taiwan. Historically, the city was developed and industrialized under Japanese colonial rule. But the city government has put a lot of efforts to foster cultural and tourism development in recent years. Many parts of the city are in the process of gentrification by young artists and the like-minded in a way that blends both the historic and modern architectures infused with Taiwanese culture.
I recommend visiting Siziwan. Pier 2 Art District once was the port for the maritime industry and warehousing. Now it has transformed into an artistic commune with its own steampunk murals, modern arts, and indie craft shops. The old industrial railways used to converge at this port but now have been converted to a sprawling park space where locals can go picnic on the railroad ties during the weekends. The old British Consul Office and Residence in the nearby area offer one of the best harbor views of Kaohsiung from atop of the hill.
Kaohsiung is also home to one of the biggest Buddhist Monastery in Taiwan and the tallest religious statue on the water in Southeast Asia. For more details and other things to do in Kaohsiung, check a customizable 4-day Kaohsiung itinerary here.
Recommended by Chloe from Chloe’s Travelogue
A quick Wikipedia search will tell you that Fangshan Taiwan is a rural township famous for its Aiwen mangoes, and a complete contrast to the overlooked black sand beaches and a stunning coastline.
Just a stone throw from Kenting, I had cycled from Kaohsiung to Hualien and made a pitstop in Fangshan, Pingtung County in Taiwan at a guesthouse called Tiny Greece with Santorini-like views. The Tiny Greece homestay had all the workings of a quaint guesthouse with oceanfront views facing the Fangshan beach. It was the perfect place to stay in a cabin, take a bicycle ride to a mixed rice mom-and-pop-stall, and savor the sweet mangoes that are known in this little county.
The southern-most tip of Taiwan is known for the best skyline, views, and peaceful azure blue seas. The enormous variety of things to do in Taiwan in this part of the country do not involve haggling with crowds, but instead provides plenty of freewheeling ways to enjoy nature at your own time minus the crowds.
Recommended by Pashmina from The Gone Goat
Day 7 Return to Taipei
And already the time in Taiwan is over again. If you have a little more time, you should definitely stay longer in the country to discover more. As you can see, it is impossible to visit all these great destinations within 7 days.
Bonus Beach Vacation in Taiwan
Taiwan has exceptionally beautiful beaches. If you have a little more time, you should definitely visit the small sub-islands of Taiwan as well.
If you want to spend more time in the country or just want to relax a bit, then you should definitely also visit the little islands of Taiwan. The most popular and largest is Penghu. The Penghu Islands, also called Pescadores, are an archipelago consisting of a total of 90 islands and are located in the west of the main island of Taiwan. Still today, Penghu is an absolute insider tip for international tourists and is usually just visited by tourists from mainland China and local tourists.
To get to Penghu, you should either take a small domestic plane or take the ferry.
Penghu is full of stunning beaches and offers the absolute island vibe. You can spend hours in the sun, eat fresh fruit and ice cream, and just relax. If that is too boring, you can also try surfing or other water sports, join an island hopping tour, or go fishing. In the evening you can visit Magong City to enjoy a cold beer with locals who are always looking forward to talking to travelers.
FAQ about your Taiwan trip
How many days do you need in Taiwan?
There is so much to discover in Taiwan, so we recommend staying in Taiwan for at least 7 days. But if you have more time, you should definitely stay longer. I spent a month in the country and still haven’t seen everything. Although the country is small, it is full of attractions.
Is one week in Taiwan enough?
In a week in Taiwan, you can get a good overall picture of the country and visit some of the top attractions in Taiwan. If you have more time and want to immerse yourself in the country’s culture or discover attractions off-the-beaten-path, you should definitely take more time.
What is the best month to visit Taiwan?
The months March – May, and September – November are considered the best travel time. At these times of the year, it is mostly dry and the temperatures are pleasantly warm, but not too hot. If I had to choose a month, I would probably choose September.
What is the coldest month in Taiwan?
With temperatures around 15°C (60°F), January is the coldest month of the year.
How to travel around Taiwan
The public transport network in the country is well developed and you can get around the country quickly and easily by bus and train. Another popular option is to rent a car and drive from A to B yourself. RentalCars is a popular car rental company.
Is it dangerous to travel in Taiwan?
I remember Taiwan as a very safe country to travel to. Even late at night, even as a woman traveling alone, you can still be out and about without hesitation. During the summer months, however, occasional tropical storms can occur. Before you travel, always find out more from official sources such as the Federal Foreign Office of your country, like the the US Department of State.
Is Taiwan expensive?
In comparison to most western countries, traveling in Taiwan is quite cheap. The average traveler spends around $35/€ 30 per day. However, your travel costs may vary depending on the type of travel and budget.
When is the cherry blossom season in Taiwan?
Like Japan, Taiwan has a cherry blossom season (sakura) every year. The cherry blossom season in Taiwan takes place between the end of January and the beginning of April and usually has its peak in March. However, the times may vary depending on the winter season.
Is tap water safe to drink in Taiwan?
No, you should only drink tap water in Taiwan boiled or filtered. To be on the safe side, you can travel with a drinking water filter or buy bottled drinking water.