Known for its famously adored street food, night markets, pineapple cakes, and of course, Taipei 101, is there a soul who doesn’t love Taiwan and all its wonders? Take a little trip with us as you comb through our guide on the top 10 things to do in Taiwan that aren’t totally basic.
It’s the month of reopenings and we can’t be more ecstatic than this! With Taiwan ceasing its mandatory Covid-19 quarantine for arrivals from 13 October 2022 onwards and its resumption of visa-free travel, it’s time to get you, folks, back to the land of delicious street food and night markets. Rushing to book your air tickets in order to get a taste of the much-beloved lu rou fan and Taiwanese bubble tea after long periods of deprivation? We’re here to help get you started. Here are 10 things to do in Taiwan that aren’t totally basic.
1. Appreciate Masterpieces At The Taipei Fine Arts Museum
Kicking off the list with an attraction in Taipei City, the Taipei Fine Arts Museum is sure to bring out your inner art connoisseur and is located conveniently near Yuanshan Metro Station in Zhongshan District. Founded in 1983, the museum features modern as well as contemporary art exhibitions held on its three floors (and on the basement level!). The museum hosts different exhibitions and artists throughout the year so be sure to check their official website for their list of ongoing exhibitions prior to your visit!
Top 10 Things To Do In Taiwan That Aren’t Totally Basic: Check out Taipei Fine Arts Museum here
2. Go Trekking In Yangmingshan National Park
Image Credits: Taiwanna Travel
While still keeping the list within Taipei, we recommend reconnecting with nature by trekking through Yangmingshan National Park. With the hustle and bustle of the fast-paced city life, going about our daily chores can certainly be draining and stressful. Hiking through this breathtaking National Park is sure to relieve some of that stress while allowing you to work up a sweat.
The park is one of nine national parks in Taiwan but if you’re feeling extra adventurous why not hike up Taiwan’s tallest dormant volcano? We promise that Qixing Shan, also known as the Shichisei Mountain (Seven Star Mountain), is worth the climb. Coming in at around 1120 metres above sea level, the journey up to this mountain’s peak will allow you to witness its many Sulphur deposits, fumaroles, and hot spring pools littered on its rocky side. And if that wasn’t enough, Qixing Shan also sports expansive views, trails lined with tall bristling bamboo, and wild little critters.
Top 10 Things To Do In Taiwan That Aren’t Totally Basic: Check out Yangmingshan National Park here
3. Take A Dip In The Rejuvenating Hot Springs Of Taiwan
Image Credits: Taiwan Everything
After all that hiking, why not unwind and soak your tired bones in the various hot springs of Taiwan that will not only relieve your sores but rejuvenate your skin? There are many options to choose from all over Taiwan. But we suggest making a trip to the Beitou Hot Springs, one of the most famous hot springs in Taiwan. Located conveniently in Taipei City, minimal traveling is required if your place of lodging is situated in the sprawling city of Taipei.
But if you’re not shy about travelling further, make your way down to Tainan’s Baihe District where you will find the Guanziling Hot Springs. Featuring a unique twist, these hot springs are the star of the show when it comes to their natural mud hot springs! The mud hot springs are known as “the best spiritual spring in the world” and are said to have the effect of nourishing beauty and strengthening the body. Sign me up.
Top 10 Things To Do In Taiwan That Aren’t Totally Basic: Check out Beitou Hot Springs here
4. Tour The Kavalan Whisky Distillery
Image Credits: whiskystories
Heading East of Taipei, you’ll arrive at Yilan County. For our 18+ aged readers, booking a tour to visit the Kavalan Whisky Distillery in Yuanshan Township is sure to be an interesting experience. The distillery is Taiwan’s first whisky distillery and uses the mineral-rich meltwaters of Snow Mountain in its whiskies, which helped earn them their many awards.
In addition to the standard tour of the premises, the distillery offers the option of taking part in their whisky tasting itinerary and DIY whisky blending workshops. Create your very own unique blend of whisky! You’ll get the pleasure of saying it’s a concoction that’s never been tasted. 💡 Idea: it’ll even make for an ideal gift.
Top 10 Things To Do In Taiwan That Aren’t Totally Basic: Check out Kavalan Whisky Distillery here
5. Whale & Dolphin Watching In Waters Surrounding Guishan Island
Image Credits: TAIWAN TRAILS AND TALES
Now that you’ve got your fill of alcohol, take a trip down to Guishan Island or Turtle Island! Aptly named so for… you’ve guessed it, being shaped like a turtle! The island is in fact the only active volcano in Taiwan. But if you’re planning a visit, take note that Turtle Island is only open to the public from March to November every day of the week except Wednesdays.
Additionally, if you’re heading for Taiwan in the months of May to October try booking a tour to go whale and dolphin watching. The waters around the island attract all sorts of migrating marine life due to the Kuroshio Current’s warm waters that flow through the region. You’re bound to have a whale of a time.
Top 10 Things To Do In Taiwan That Aren’t Totally Basic: Check out Guishan Island here
6. Explore The Spectacular Sights Of Taroko National Park
Image Credits: Global Alliance of National Parks
Traveling south of Yilan, get ready to marvel at the beauty of the natural landforms of the Taroko National Park! Where visitors get to hike along the highway winding through the Swallow Grotto Trail (Yanzikou), this park is also perfect for long strolls along the renowned Taroko Gorge. This destination is perfect for travellers who want to dip their toes into the wonderous expanse of nature in Taiwan but don’t want to stray too far from Taipei City. The park may be located in Hualien County, just a two to three-hour drive from Taipei, but it definitely sports a drastically different landscape that pleases the eye.
Top 10 Things To Do In Taiwan That Aren’t Totally Basic: Check out Taroko National Park here
7. Dive Into Tribal Culture At Formosan Aboriginal Culture Village
Image Credits: Travel King
Not actually a residential village, this amusement park located in Nantou County, Taichung, provides glimpses of the Taiwanese traditional tribal lifestyle. The park is aboriginal-themed and comprises the European Garden, Aboriginal Village Park, and the Amusement Isle. It allows visitors to learn about tribal handicrafts, architecture, traditional clothing weaving, and pottery. Visitors are also encouraged to interact with the Taiwanese aborigines through cultural stage performances and traditional dance. For the thrill seekers, the Amusement Isle is home to roller coasters, water rides and not to mention — the tallest free-fall drop tower in Taiwan, the “UFO Gyro Drop”. A destination to excite our fellow adrenaline junkies.
Top 10 Things To Do In Taiwan That Aren’t Totally Basic: Check out Formosan Aboriginal Culture Village here
8. Visit Taiwan’s Little Europe, Qingjing Farm
Image Credits: Hoponworld
Experience the tranquillity of the high-mountain countryside here at Nantou County’s very own Qingjing Farm. A peace so serene, it’ll make you wonder if you’ve been transported to a tranquil European mountainside town. Bask in its lush greenery as you watch the thrilling horse-riding show and interact with the fluffy sheep that roam the farmland freely. If you’re heading to Taiwan in the months of March to May, the farm also provides one of the best viewing experiences of cherry blossoms in all of Taiwan.
Top 10 Things To Do In Taiwan That Aren’t Totally Basic: Check out Qingjing Farm here
9. Sip On Some DIY Bubble Tea At Chun Shui Tang Cultural Tea House
Image Credits: TimeOut
After enjoying a riveting time at the Formosan Aboriginal Culture Village and Qingjing Farm, what’s better than having a sip of sweet creamy bubble tea? What about making your own delectable sweet treat beverage that’s catered to your own taste? Reserve a workshop session at Chun Shui Tang Cultural Tea House and engage in a bubble tea-making lesson with their in-house boba professionals. This tea house is said to be the birthplace of the iconic Taiwanese-style bubble milk tea. And with the rustic yet elegant aesthetic of the shopfront, we’re convinced it sure looks the part.
The tea house also serves an array of popular Taiwanese dishes like traditional minced pork noodles, mouthwatering braised bean curd, turnip cake, and savoury beef noodle soup. Perfect for grabbing a bite to fill your empty stomach after a day of boba.
Top 10 Things To Do In Taiwan That Aren’t Totally Basic: Check out Chun Shui Tang Cultural Tea House here
10. Watch The Sun Set Over Sanxiantai
Image Credits: Taitung County Government
For the last item on our list, we will be travelling southeast to Taitung to visit Sanxiantai. Formerly a narrow and elongated cape into the ocean, the island that stands today is the result of the ocean tide eroding away what used to be the neck of the cape. This leaves behind the lone island that’s disconnected from the main island of Taiwan.
Legend has it that three gods, Li Tieguai, Lu Dongbin, and He Xiengu, visited the island and left three pairs of footprints. Hence giving it the name, Sanxiantai 三仙台, which roughly translates to “The stage of the three immortals”. The site is located in Chenggong Township, Taitung, and is famous for its picturesque sandy beaches and the eight-arch cross-ocean footbridge that connects it to the eastern coast of Taiwan. Here’s a tip: While on the hunt for your next photo op, don’t forget to bring along some sunscreen!
Top 10 Things To Do In Taiwan That Aren’t Totally Basic: Check out Sanxiantai here
Make Taiwan Your Next Getaway
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