Temple hopping

Who would have thought that there are more than 5,000 temples built in the small island of Taiwan?

Almost 93% of Taiwanese are Buddhist, Taoist, and Confucian. That explains why there are a lot of temples here.

One thing about temples in Taiwan: you, as a tourist, are not limited to just taking pictures and strolling around them. If you want to find some peace in a serene and tranquil environment, you can visit the temples here and try what other tourists have done: live as a monk for a day to truly understand how to live like one.

Shopping

A tour of a country is never complete without shopping. In Taipei, you will find all types of shopping areas. You will enjoy high-street fashion boutiques, and you can also find clothes and accessories stores that will suit the budget traveler.

 Famous shopping areas include the Shilin Night Market, which is the biggest night market in Taipei. Take note, though: Shilin Night Market is really, really big! If it is your first time to shop there, it would be best to go with someone who knows the area to avoid getting lost.

Taipei 101 Mall is also a favorite hangout spot for shopaholics. You can find here one of the best bookstores in Taiwan: Page One.

Haggling is normal in Taiwan, so don’t be afraid to bargain. Shop owners sometimes give a better discount when you can speak Mandarin or Hokkien, so if you are truly capable of speaking either these languages, now would be a good time to air it.

Water sports

There are a lot of good diving spots in Taiwan both for the novice and expert divers. Some of the best diving spots in Taiwan include Orchid Island, Taipasha, and Chungliao Submerged Reef.

There other water activities that you can try in Taiwan. If you want to go board surfing and kite surfing, you can go to Kenting National Park. You can also submerge yourself in the numerous hot springs in the area.

If you want to go fishing, drop by the Tamsui River, Hsintien River, Green Lake, and Shihmen Reservoir.

Aside from water sports, you can also go shark and dolphin watching during the months of March and April.

 Hiking

Taiwan has some of the best places for hiking, and most of the time, you easily find hiking groups that will let you join.

The most famous hiking spot in Taiwan is the Chaishan Nature Reserve. A word of caution on this place, though: macaques rule this area. These monkeys are like the kings of the forest, so don’t bring anything that will catch their attention, especially food that can easily be smelled from afar.

If you have to bring food to this reserve, try to keep the food deep inside your bag and cover it well so that none of the monkeys can smell it. Also, keep your camera near your body because the monkeys are also notorious for stealing and snatching cameras from the necks of unsuspecting tourists.

If you don’t feel like meeting any macaques, you can try visiting the country’s highest peak instead: the Yushan Mountain, or the Jade Mountain.

And if you want an extreme hiking experience, you should try Mt. Cilai. It has sharp, steep, and craggy peaks that are only good for the expert and adventurous hiker. Make sure, though, that you are an expert hiker before you try it, or you may wind up with far more adventure than you bargained for.

Cycling

Taiwan has some of the best trails for cycling; bikes are generally cheap and easy to hire; and the whole country is bike friendly. If you get a flat, you can get the hole plugged in any local scooter repair shop. If your tires get soft, the stores around will probably have a pump they will lend.

In fact, Taiwan even has a special Bike Day, which occurs every year on the first week of May.

Meinong is one of the best cycling routes because this countryside is lush and the view is simply awesome. On the other hand, you can bike anywhere here and have fun nonetheless. The scenery is great, the people are friendly, and the car drivers are not hostile to bikers.

If only for that car-bike friendliness you get to experience in Taiwan, it’s worthwhile setting your foot on the cycling pedal in this country.

This article is also available in: Spanish