The north of Taiwan is perhaps the island’s most recognisable with its shiny capital of Taipei, the spectacular northeastern coastline, the hot spring delights of Yilan country and the Hakka heartland of Hsinchu, but perhaps what befits its perennial status as Taiwan’s timeless favourite is the incredible synergy of tradition and modernity working its magic from the capital to new and fast-expanding urban centres of cool such as New Taipei City and Taoyuan. Head north if you are a first-time visitor for a splendid sampling of everything Taiwanese, and head north again if you are planning a repeated visit as this is still the best place to get reacquainted with all the Taiwanese classics before you commence on the rest of your island discovery.
Families comprising children and seniors will have a field day crafting out treasured holiday memories together in the north of Taiwan, as the region truly offers a platter of activities and experiences for everyone in the party. Children will have a field day of amusement and playtime at Taipei’s Children Amusement Park and BabyBoss City, adults can immerse in Taiwanese tea appreciation and farm life through DIY sessions, while the seniors can travel back to the good old times and reminisce the simpler pleasures of life in the nostalgic towns and sights nestled along the historic Pingxi rail line.
Stay closer to nature, rest your body and soul, and then pamper yourself with a fine stay at a luxury hotel, if this is what sound like a perfect sleeping arrangement for your dream Taiwan holiday, then you are in luck. With an overnight sojourn at Leofoo Resort Guanshi, Asia’s first safari-themed resort, a relaxing rest at a famous Jiaoxi hot spring resort in Yilan, and a two-night consecutive stay at an international 5-star hotel in the capital, you are guaranteed perfect sleep every night before waking up to explore the treasures of Taiwan the next day.
If you are like us who enjoy evergreen flavours in your meals, then Taipei Brick Kiln Restaurant is the place to be to pay homage to classic Taiwanese food. Dressed in rustic decor and with food prepared the same way as they were back in the swinging 60s, you are guaranteed a ticket back to the nolstagic past while sampling delish food at the same time. And that is not all, there are also other scrumptious meals such as a steamboat buffet and a dumpling feast honouring popular recipes waiting to fill your appetite for food prepared the traditional way.
While the north is Taiwan’s hub of vitality and modernity, the central core of the island is where nature comes into the limelight. Taiwan’s highest peaks congregate to paint a majestic mountainscape, the iconic Sun Moon Lake sparkles steadfastly throughout the passing of time and scenic sights such as Cingjing Farm and Xitou take turns to paint an idyllic image of paradise on earth. And even Taichung, the region’s principal city and gateway, takes on the aura of what surrounds it; full of refined teahouses and plenty of small creative shops fuelled by a sensibility of culture, calmness and grace.
With the folkloric Alishan pulling in the popularity votes with romantic Taiwanese tribal tales, and Yushan holding the fort as Taiwan’s highest peak, central Taiwan is undeniably the mountain capital of the island, if not the entire northeastern part of Asia. Hence, no travellers to this mountainous stronghold should miss the opportunity to ascend these majestic marvels of nature. With our Taiwan itineraries, you get to enjoy the icing on the cake with a complimentary Mount Hehuan sunrise tour all included. And that’s not all, we will also whizz you to Cingjing Skywalk Bridge, Taiwan’s highest skywalk newly opened in May 2017, for an extension to your date with sky-high nature.
Ignite your inner flower child and get in touch with everything pretty and romantic in the flower paradise of central Taiwan. Feast your eyes at the vast field of flowers, covering almost six hectares, at Taichung’s European-inspired tourist flower market and lose yourself amidst the charming landscape of tulips, sunflowers and lavenders. And if getting intoxicated with these blooms is not enough to satisfy your need for buds, mark out your calendar in February and zip into Taichung for a romantic nighttime date at Formosan Aboriginal Culture Village with the resplendent cherry blossoms.
Central Taiwan, blessed with dramatic mountains and sprawling lakes, is naturally a splendid choice to cosy up with nature and to get more intimate with local flora and fauna, and yes that means even while you rest for the night. Reward yourself with a deserving overnight stay in Sun Moon Lake, crowned as one of the eight wonders of Taiwan, enjoy the simple pleasures of farm life at Cingjing Farm, and be one with the enchanting forest as you enjoy a night stay surrounded by the woods at Xitou Nature Education Area.
Separated from the crowded west and north by the towering central ranges and encircled by plunging sea cliffs, pristine marble gorges and wooded hinterlands, the east is Taiwan at her wildest best. Yet there’s not its only appeal – eastern Taiwan is also home to the densest concentration of indigenous Taiwanese and in between the dreamy main cities of Taitung and Hualien lies their heartland welcoming any weary traveller into a less-manic utopia of Taiwan with an abundant dosage of generous spirit, fascinating culture and secrets on how to live life to the fullest with the widest smiles.
The eastern region’s relative isolation has enabled many indigenous tribes to preserve many of their traditions, beliefs, languages and practices even to this day. Embrace this opportunity to learn more about the Amis, Taiwan’s largest ethnic group among Taiwanese aborigines, with a visit to their tribal culture centre, gain insights into their traditional way of life, get initiated into important rites and make merry together with a slew of cultural song and dance performances. And don’t neglect your taste bud either; grab the opportunity to tuck into scrumptious and hearty Aboriginal meals which are bound to leave your stomach as full as your heart.
Buckle your seatbelts as you set to discover eastern Taiwan’s knockout scenery through a series of rides. Discover eastern Taiwan in a new light with an exhilarating hot air balloon experience flying high above lush tea plantations and verdant rift valleys, and be sure to snap plenty of insta-worthy photos as tens of other hot air balloons surround your vision like a floating dream. Take the pace down a few notches and hop aboard the East Coast Scenic Train for a relaxing ride through the region’s rustic countryside and old quaint villages. Lastly, fix a play date with incredibly cute dolphins and gigantic whales on board a wild dolphin and watch cruise and marvel at how close you can actually get to these wonderful creatures of the sea.
The wild ruggedness of eastern Taiwan and the convivial vibe of its inhabitants is surely going to require positive energy from its visitors to keep up with the grand nature and friendly spirit, but fret not; you get to stay three nights at a hot spring resort with personal in-room hot spring facility where you can rest and rejuvenate, and pamper yourself at a 5-star hotel in Taitung and Hualien, before waking up fresh to enjoy all the beauty of the region again the very next day.
Southern Taiwan is the all-rounder kid in school who also then grew up to become an adult with the most well-balanced life. Kaoshiung is the south’s star city with a charming appeal of big-city outlook and small-town friendliness; Tainan, the country’s ancient capital, continues to be the protector of everything that is old but gold about Taiwan; and Pingtung sparkles with tropical sunshine, shiny coasts and sandy beaches aplenty. The south is also proud of being the most Taiwanese in the country where you will hear a bulk of the population still belting out smooth conversations in the convivial Min dialect, while enduring relics and a fervour to supernatural rituals and folk festivals are testaments to why it is also regarded as the island’s most spiritual.
If you are a big fan of decade-long eateries serving up bowls of traditional recipes relentlessly over the years without stopping no matter the changing times and seasons, then you better be on full foodie mode once you hit southern Taiwan’s shores. Fenchihu railway bento, Wanluan pig knuckles, Fucheng traditional Tainan cuisine, nostalgic “gedaofan” and the splendid a la carte buffet at Tung Po Zuiyuelou – keep this list on hand and tick each meal off as you savour one delish dish after another.
Our selection of accommodation in southern Taiwan surely is not letting any worthy sleeping experience slip by your dreams. Stay two nights in Tainan and experience the ancient and historic vibe of Taiwan’s old capital city, rest under the stars surrounded by nature deep inside the lofty woods of Alishan, sleep with fascinating creatures of the sea with an overnight stay at National Museum of Marine Biology and Aquarium, and get your battery recharged at Hotel Cham Cham in Tainan, an adventure-themed hotel, before waking up to enjoy a plethora of thrilling activities such as ziplining and sky walking.
Southern Taiwan truly possesses a report card with the best average score in terms of sightseeing opportunities, cultural experiences, nature sites and adventure activities. Get acquainted with cute native deers at Paradise of Deer, rise to cloud nine with a sunrise and sea of clouds viewing experience at Alishan, pick and taste the most delicious pineapple, arguably Taiwan’s favourite fruit, get your adrenaline pumping with a go-karting experience at Dapeng Bay, and join in the celebratory mood as you participate in a unique wedding ceremony experience at charismatic Jingliao Old Street.
Whether you are craving for blue skies, clear waters, remote fishing villages or traces of history, each of Taiwan’s offshore islands may grant you that exact wish. Penghu, Taiwan’s main offshore island group, is the lynchpin of stunning nature and culture characterised by basaltic rocks, unique coral reefs and thriving fishing traditions; Kinmen, lying nearer to China than mainland Taiwan, has a definitive history shaped by war but it is also home to a splattering of traditional southern Fujianese courtyard houses and 21 government-designated historic sites; and Green Island rounds up the trio with stunning volcanic and sea-eroded formations creating an otherworldly landscape. In short, if you are an intrepid traveller searching for an off-the-beaten-track Taiwan experience, the offshore islands are where you should be heading to.
A long-standing reminder of the Chinese Civil War, Kinmen more importantly also stands for the Taiwanese their pride and honour as their first line of defence. Military history buffs will have a field day visiting important sites such as the solemn 823 War Museum, built in 1988 to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the 23 August 1958 Artillery War, spooky Jhaishan Tunnel blasted out of solid granite by soldiers in the early 1960s, and the controversial Military Brothel Exhibition Hall where state-sanctioned prostitution was allowed for Taiwanese military personnel during those tumultuous times.
If you like taking scenic walks during your vacation, enjoy basking in the sun at a sandy beach, and escaping the crowd to a quieter beach and watching the sun slowly sets over the ocean, then Penghu is your island of choice. And the pull gets even more compelling during the height of summer as the island puts on the lights for you. Held every summer ever since 2003, the Penghu Ocean Fireworks Festival eagerly illuminates the island with a splendid display of dazzling fireworks and electric energy alike.
Located a short distance offshore from Taitung, Taiwan’s Green Island is a splendid volcanic landform surrounded by beautiful coral reefs and filled with accessible scenic spots that can easily be seen in a day. Some of the highlights include the Green Island Lighthouse, Green Island Park, Guanyin Cave and Black Ghost Cave. For travellers who are looking for an extra pampering, a dip in the rare Zhaori Saltwater Hot Springs, one of the only three saltwater hot springs in the world, is guaranteed to be a relaxing affair.