We welcome guest blogger, and former resident of Tawian, Carin Bystrom to the blog this week to give us her opinion on the 5 best experiences to tick off your list in Taiwan.
While most travellers through Southeast Asia remain enamored with Thailand, Malaysia, and Singapore, Taiwan is often (quite unfairly) overlooked. There are still large pockets of the island still somewhat untouched from the tourism, and therefore a great place to get off the beaten track.
A beautiful island off the coast of China, just north of the Philippines, Taiwan maybe small but it is hugely blessed with breathtaking scenery, rich culture, and is full of adventures.
We love Taiwan and think it deserves a great big High Five – here are our favourite things to do there.
How to discover the very best of Taiwan
Being the capital, Taipei is full of things to do, number one being – eat! The Taiwanese have a rich food culture and are very proud of their delicious cuisine. Do what the locals do and stroll through the night markets of Shilin and Ximending, while tasting all the weird and fantastic treats they have to offer. Don’t miss out on sampling the traditional dish of Beef Noodle Soup as well as a local favourite of bubble tea.
Taipei is also home to some very fascinating cultural attractions. Visit the many temples around the city including Longshan Temple, go shopping at Taipei 101 and the XingYi district or learn about Taiwan’s history at Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall.
Join the locals at the many hot springs in YangMin Shan Mountain, just 40 minutes from the city.
Taroko National Park
Named after Taroko Gorge the Taroko National Park is situated along the eastern coast of the island. The park is home to stunning waterfalls, deep valleys, steep cliffs, and soaring peaks. The most famous area contains a walking only path which features some of the most awe-inspiring scenery in the whole of the valley.
There are no admissions fees into the park; however it can be useful to rent your own car if you feel comfortable driving through the windy roads, otherwise you can hire a guide to help you navigate your way around.
Taroko National Park.
Take a break from the bustling cities and head down to the southern most part of the island. Kenting is known for its sunny tropical weather and beautiful beaches. It’s a top vacation spot for the locals and is attracting more and more tourists every year – so get there while it’s still relatively quiet!
Part of the area is an ancient coral reef which was uplifted to form a plateau sloping toward the sea. Enjoy the holiday spot by lazying around the beach, dive or snorkel among the coral reefs or explore the thick tropical forest.
Sun Moon Lake
Sun Moon Lake is another break from the lively cities and is the largest body of fresh water on the island. Boating in and around the lake is popular both in small rented rowing boats or larger boats. You can also take a seat next to some locals chilling out in the carious natural hot springs.
On the banks of the lake is the Ci-en Pagoda, which sits on the hill southeast of the lake and was built by Chiang Kai-Shek in the memory of his mother – a beautiful tribute and a must see.
Sun Moon Lake.
The Penghu Islands make up the archipelago, situated in the Taiwan Strait between the island and the Chinese mainland. The archipelago consists of hundreds of small islands with crystal clear blue water with soft white beaches. The beaches are beautifully clean and not anywhere near as crowded as many of the beaches in and around Asia can get.
Renting a bike is probably the best way to travel around the islands, although there are regular boat rides that will give take you around the varied, though mainly beach based landscapes.