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Where to go in Taiwan

Because it is a small country, many think that Taiwan has few tourist destinations and that all tourists can go to are the restaurants and shopping malls in the city. The truth is, Taiwan has hidden gems scattered all over, and with the right information, you can truly enjoy Taiwan’s natural wonders.

Here are the top places to visit on your trip to Taiwan:

Green Island

Green Island

It is not called the Green Island for nothing. This volcanic island, which is about 33 kilometers off the coast of the eastern part of Taiwan, has lush forests and is also one the most popular scuba diving destinations in the country.

This island is home to many species of deer, chameleons, giant bats, migratory birds, and coconut crab. You didn’t realize such animals lived in Taiwan, did you?

But Green Island isn’t just known for all the pretty landscapes and flora and fauna you will find in there; it is also historically significant because it used to be the prison island for Taiwan’s most infamous criminals.

Of course, Green Island is not a prison now. Today, the island is completely safe, and a lot of tourists frequent the island to do a lot of things they won’t be able to do when they are in the city.

Aside from being a great diving site, this island is also known for being the best snorkeling sites in the country, so you can take this chance to see the underwater world.

You can also visit the only salt water spring in Taiwan, the Chaijih Hot Springs; the island’s wonderful lighthouses; or Taiwan’s abandoned aboriginal settlements – all in Green Island!

Taipei

Taiwan

Taipei is an inevitable part of any Taiwan tour itinerary because this is where your airplane will land if you’re coming from abroad.

Taipei, the country’s capital, is the busiest and most advanced city in Taiwan. Here you will find Taipei 101, also known as the Taipei World Financial Center, the landmark skyscraper of the city. With its total height of 509.2 meters (1,670.6 feet), Taipei 101 used to be the tallest building in the world, from 2004 until 2010, when the 828-meter (2,717-foot) Burj Khalifa was opened in Dubai.

Although Taiwan has garnered a reputation for being a technology hub, the city is not only for techies and IT buffs, because people interested in history and the arts will also find Taipei a wonderful city to visit. In the city center, you will find the Taipei Folk Art Museum, the Taiwan Provincial Museum, the National Museum of History, and the Fu Hsing Dramatic Arts Academy.

If you are into temples, you might be happy to know that Taiwan has over 5,000 temples that you can visit. The Lunghshan Temple, also known as the Dragon Mountain Temple, is an excellent sample of temple architecture.

Sun Moon Lake

Sun Moon Lake

Sun Moon Lake is one of Taiwan’s top tourist attractions. It is also the country’s largest body of water.

Why is it called Sun Moon Lake? A view from the top will answer this question. The Sun Moon Lake surrounds a small island, the east side of which looks like the sun, while the west side resembles the moon.

Through the years, the lake and its island have received a lot of names. In English literature, the lake is called Lake Candidius. During the Japanese occupation, the island in the middle of the lake was dubbed as Jade Island. Today, it is simply known as Lalu, or Lalu Island.

 Public swimming in the Sun Moon Lake is not generally permitted, to preserve the cleanliness of the lake. However, the locals do hold a once-a-year swimming race called the Swimming Carnival of the Sun Moon Lake every mid-autumn.

Aside from witnessing the swimming carnival, tourists and locals flock to the island to attend the festivities, which always feature a lot of laser shows, concerts, and fireworks displays.

Taroko National Park

Taroko National Park

Taroko National Park is one of the seven national parks in Taiwan, and it is the second largest of the seven.

Its original name was Tsugitaka-Taroko National Park. The name was given by the governor general of Taiwan during the Japanese occupation.

The park was closed in 1945, when the Republic of China took over Taiwan. It was only in 1986 that the park was reopened. It was then that Tsugitaka was dropped from its original name, and the park’s official name became Taroko National Park.

Taroko means magnificent and beautiful, which is exactly what the park is, as you will see when you take your tour around it.

Taroko National Park is famous for its Taroko Gorge, an area with an abundant supply of marble. The Cross Central Highway is found in the middle of the gorge and separates the west from the east side of Taiwan. It is reported that almost 450 people died in building this infrastructure.

Kaohsiung

Temple hopping

Kaohsiung is the country’s second largest city, and it is considered the next major city after Taipei. Kaohsiung also has the busiest port in Taiwan.

Some people think that this city is nothing but pollution and chaos. Do not be fooled by all this hearsay, because just like every single corner in Taiwan, Kaohsiung is also a must-see destination with its own share of scenic spots.

For instance, if you want to catch the best view of Taiwanese sunrise, better hop onto a bus and head for the hill that overlooks the harbour. Here you will find the old mansion of the British Consul. Go to the terrace, sit back, relax, and get the best sunrise view you will find in all of Taiwan.

Want to tickle your taste buds? Catch the ferry to Cijin Island, where the best seafood dishes in the country are cooked up.

And don’t pass up the chance to have an evening walk at Kaohsiung’s Love River. With its very calm atmosphere, this is the best place to go to with your loved one. The riverbanks are lined with cafes and restaurants where you can grab a bite when you’re tired of walking.

Changhua

ChanghuaUnlike the other tourist destinations in Taiwan, Changhua can only be classified as a quick-stop tourist destination since it does not offer many places to go to. Still, it is worth visiting because it is home to a 26-meter-tall Buddha statue, which is also one of the national landmarks of Taiwan.

This giant statue sits on a giant lotus flower that rests on a baguashan, or an eight-trigram mountain. The statue is hollow and has an entrance through which people can walk in and see dioramas of Buddha’s life. Right behind the giant Buddha statue is the Great Buddha Temple, which is also a great spot for watching the sunset.

If you are the adventurous type, you can head to the Changhua University and go rock climbing at the university’s artificial climbing wall. Make sure, though, that you bring your own stuff, because the university doesn’t have any rock-climbing gear for rent.

 

 

Penghu Island

Penghu Island

For sun worshippers and snorkelling enthusiasts, Penghu Island is the best place to hang out.

An archipelago made of ninety little islands, Penghu is known for its white sand beaches and crystal waters, which invite both locals and foreigners from all over the world to take a dip.

Water sports are extremely popular around the region. Scuba diving, snorkelling, surfing, windsurfing, and even kite surfing are some of the most popular things to do in the island.

Even though Penghu Island caters more to the adventure-seeking tourists, it also has traditional houses and temples you can visit if you prefer enjoyment that is a bit more subdued.

A visit to Makung City can be refreshing, too. This is the primary urban area of the island and has a lot of cafes and restaurants. You can also visit the Mazu Temple, one of the favorite tourist attractions in the city, where you will find the well of a thousand soldiers.

Kenting 

Kenting 

 

Another famous destination in Taiwan is Kenting National Park. This is also a popular destination for people who love to hang out at the beach.

The weather in this area of the country is pretty good except during the summer months, when typhoons usually come.

You may be surprised to know that Taiwan has some of the best beaches to visit – primarily because they are not so crowded with tourists, unlike the more popular beaches in beach-renowned countries.

You can go camping at Baisha Beach. Baisha literally means white sand, so you know what to expect when you get here. The place is free, so you can camp any time and don’t have to worry about paying for anything – just make sure you don’t leave any litter around either.

For surfing dudes, Jialeshu, which is considered as one of the best surfing spots in the country, is the place to go. If you didn’t bring surf gear with you to Taiwan, don’t worry. This beach has a lot of shops that sell and rent out surfing stuff.

Tainan

Tainan

Tainan is definitely Taiwan’s haven for everything cultural and traditional. It was the capital of Taiwan from 1683 to 1885. It is the country’s fourth largest city.

Tainan has numerous temples, the most popular of which is the Confucius Temple, which also happens to be the oldest Confucian temple in the country.

The other temples you can visit are the Fahua Temple, the Great South Gate, the City God Temple, the Koxinga’s Shrine, the God of War Temple, and the Matsu Temple.

Aside from temples, you can also go to Tainan’s National Museum of Taiwanese Literature and the Chikkan Towers.

You will find a lot of people hanging out in Tainan, especially on a warm and sunny day. If you want to explore the city more, you can visit the Eternal Golden Castle, which is one of the biggest parks in Taiwan. You can take pictures and discover the different parts of the castle.

Yushan Mountain

Yushan Mountain

This is the perfect place for people who want to go hiking. Yushan Mountain, which is also known as the Jade Mountain, is the highest piece of land in Taiwan, with a whopping height of 3,952 meters.

Yushan Mountain has five peaks that you can visit. Feel free to choose among the northern peak, the eastern peak, the western peak, the southern peak, and the main peak, which is the highest peak of all.