19 Top Things To Do in Taiwan

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Read this guide to find some of Taiwan’s most beautiful and famous places. You’ll also find activities for solo travelers, families, and more.

I’ve lived in Taiwan for almost 5 years and have seen many places. I want to compile recommendations from myself and others, along with other information, to help you build your itinerary.

While making your way through this piece, you’ll find the following:

Let’s begin.

20 Amazing Tourist Spots in Taiwan #

Here’s a list of the best places to visit in Taiwan:

Type in the city you’re visiting and find an attraction.

AttractionBest ForWhere to Find
Night MarketsFamilies & FoodiesEverywhere
TemplesThose Interested In Religious SitesEverywhere
Bike RentalsActive PeopleMost Cities
Cherry BlossomsSeasonal Activities & FamiliesCertain Areas
HikingFamilies & Solo TravelersEverywhere
Taipei 101Indoors & FamiliesTaipei City
Taipei Fine Arts MuseumFamiliesTaipei City
National Palace MuseumHistoriansTaipei City
Beitou Hot SpringsWinterTaipei City
Jiufen Old StreetFamiliesNew Taipei City
Houtong Cat VillageFamiliesNew Taipei City
Tamsui Old StreetFamiliesNew Taipei City
Fo Guang ShangSolo TravelersKaohsiung City
Tiger & Dragon PagodasFamiliesKaohsiung City
Love PierCouplesKaohsiung City
Chung Shui Tang (Restaurant)Families & FoodiesTaichung
Sun CakesFoodies & SouvenirsTaichung
Painted Animation LaneFamiliesTaichung
Miyahara Ice CreamFoodiesTaichung
Anping Old FortFamiliesTainan City
Jing Zhai Jiao Tile Paved Salt FieldsFamiliesTainan City
Guanziling Hot SpringsWintersTainan City

As you dive into this guide, you’ll find a bit more details on each activity.

Things To Do That Are Unique to Taiwan #

The following sections will cover various activities that you’ll only find in Taiwan. In most cases.

1. Visit One of Taiwan’s Many Night Markets: Best for Foodies & Families

Taiwan’s home to more than 65 night markets. 30 of them sit in the greater Taipei area (New Taipei, Keelung, and Taipei cities).

These markets are one of the better ways to give you a grasp of Taiwanese culture.

Many of them will have the following:

  • Food stalls
  • Carnival-style games
  • Souvenir shops
  • Clothing stores

Most markets have vendors that provide specialty foods, making that particular market famous for that food. Moreover, vendors don’t charge much for their dishes.

Many Taiwanese night markets will have foods they specialize in.

In general, I recommend trying these dishes:

Beef NoodlesOyster OmeletsOyster VermicelliSoup Dumplings
Stinky TofuFried RiceFruit JuiceBubble Tea
Tofu PuddingFried ChickenFamous Local Dishes
List of foods to try at Taiwanese night markets.

Don’t know what half of these foods are? I have a guide that’ll help.

Lehua Night Market, Yonghe District, New Taipei City, Taiwan
Lehua Night Market

Some night markets will have food stalls or restaurants that received the Michelin bib gourmand award. That means they have good food.

I’ve tried many Michelin restaurants in Taiwan. These have affordable yet tasty foods.

To learn the history of each night market, you could take part in a night market tour.

Depending on what part of Taiwan you’re in, the stall owners will understand English. If they don’t, point at what you want or use a translation app.

Most of the time, locals opt to eat at night markets over restaurants or cook at home. Going to street food vendors gives them a quick and cheap way to get food after an intense day.

You won’t have a difficult time finding these night markets. No matter what city you’re in, there’s usually a Taiwanese night market nearby.

2. More Than 9,000 Temples to Visit: Those Interested in Religious Sites

If you thought 70 night markets were a lot, what do you think about Taiwan’s more than 15,000 temples?

Visiting them presents a fantastic opportunity to learn about various folk heroes, gods, and more.

Furthermore, you might run into a ceremony every once in a while. Be sure to do your research on what deity the temple is based around. Otherwise, it could lead to bad luck.

Taiwan’s most famous temple is Longshan Temple (艋舺龍山寺). It’s in Taipei City’s Wanhua District and is beside the Ximending Pedestrian area. You could easily spend an entire day there.

At night, you could go to one of the many bars.

3. Rent a Bike: Best for Active Individuals

If you have 5–12 days worth of stamina, a durable bike, and a thirst for adventure, consider riding a bike around the entire main island. This thorough PDF guide shows you the ideal route, fitness training, tools, and everything else you need to conquer this journey.

Do this journey solo if you want. However, it’d be ideal to find a partner to watch your back in case anything happens. While the country is extremely safe, anything can happen at any time.

Many people will rent YouBikes. So long as the city you’re in supports it. You’d have to register to use them first, though. I cover how to do this in a separate guide.

4. Spend a Day at the Beach: For Families & During the Summer

Taiwan, unlike Thailand, isn’t known for its beaches. It does have some great areas for surfing, sunbathing, and burning in the sun with your family.

I talk about these more in-depth in a separate guide.

5. Gaze at Cherry Blossoms: Best Seasonal Activity for Families

From mid-February to April, cherry blossoms will blossom throughout Taiwan. While many will see these trees outside Taiwan, it’s an excellent opportunity to explore nearby tourist attractions.

To make the most out of your trip, I recommend checking out cherry blossoms in Taiwan throughout these areas:

  • Yangmingshan National Park: also, hike or view the sulfur valley while you’re here
  • Sun Moon Lake: also visit the Taiwan indigenous people’s village
  • Tianyuan Temple: it’s out of the way but also has a beautiful temple

I mentioned hiking. Let’s talk about that again.

6. Hike on One of the Many Trails: Best for Families & Solo Travelers

Taiwan has more than 841 hiking trails with varying difficulties, environments, and vistas.

Most trails aren’t well maintained compared to what I’ve seen in America. And many of the paths aren’t clear. But they’re still worth hiking.

Prepare yourselves for snakes, wild dogs, giant hornets, and mosquitos. Those are the most dangerous threats I’ve encountered.

Keep yourself safe with high-top boots and insect repellant. Also, avoid wearing perfume, cologne, or similar scented products to avoid attracting wasps.

I’m not a hiking specialist or a frequent hiker. I recommend consulting AllTrails for path information.

Hikes I’ve tried and recommend include:

  • Yangmingshan National Park: beautiful views everywhere, but the long grass gives snakes plenty of hiding spaces
  • Elephant Mountain: mostly stairs, but gives you a fantastic view of Taipei City
  • Teapot Mountain: great view of the Yin Yang Sea

Find attractions for specific cities throughout Taiwan. Let’s begin with Taipei.

Best Tourist Attractions in Taipei City #

The following section will cover some of the most popular things to do in Taipei City.

From my experience, Taipei has the most support for English speakers. It also has the most walkable and accessible sidewalks. Many areas outside Taipei will sometimes require you to walk on the road.

To reach Taipei from the Taoyuan International Airport, take the Taoyuan Metro to Taipei Main Station. Also take the Taiwan High-Speed Rail or Taiwan Railway Administration trains, or the bus.

You could fly directly to Songshan Airport in Taipei. But it usually costs much more than flying into Taoyuan.

1. Watch the Sun Rise From Elephant Mountain’s Peak: Best for Active Folks

When hiking Elephant Mountain, you’ll face a steep 15–20 minute hike that’s all concrete stairs. As you ascend, you’ll likely encounter a lot of locals and tourists, but there’s plenty of room for people to pass each other.

This path will take you to an observation area. Xiangshan’s observation spot overlooks some of the best views Taipei has.

The reward makes fighting the onslaught of mosquitos and the millions of stairsteps you must endure worth the effort.

If you visit during New Year’s Eve, Xiangshan and Maokong Mountain are some of the best spots in Taipei to watch the skies explode.

Elephant Mountain also gives you a great vantage point to snap pictures of sunrises and sunsets. So, you’ll want to make sure you time your hikes right.

Bring sunscreen, insect repellant, a camera, and water or Super Sapau (Taiwan’s Gatorade). These items will prevent dehydration and protect you from mosquitos and wasps.

The best way to get to Xiangshan is to take the Taipei MRTs Red line to the Xiangshan terminal station. You’ll need to walk a bit until you reach the hiking trail.

Elephant Mountain hiking path entrance address: Alley 342, Lane 150, Section 5, Xinyi Road, Xinyi District, Taipei City, 110

2. Taipei 101: Best Indoor & Family Activity

You likely saw Taipei 101 from Elephant mountain while you were there.

Why not check it out?

You’ll find a high-end shopping mall and food court on the lower floors. If you want to make your way up one of the world’s tallest buildings, you’ll need to buy tickets from the 5th floor.

I wrote a guide that tells you how to get your hands on these affordable tickets.

Take a lightning-fast elevator to the 89th floor for NT$190 ($6.83). Once you reach this floor, view most of Taipei and get your hands on Taipei 101 souvenirs.

Do you want to be on top of one of Taiwan’s highest points? Visit the Skyline (top floor) also. But this ticket will cost you a little more.

view of taipei city from the top of taipei 101

If you’re a Starbucks fanatic, consider visiting one of the tallest Starbucks on the globe. It’s located on the 35th floor and requires a reservation to enter.

You’ll need to buy at least NT$250 ($8.99) worth of drinks from the secret Starbucks while you’re there.

To reach Taipei 101, take the Taipei Metro Red Line to Taipei 101 World Trade Center Station. Or, take the Blue Line to Taipei City Hall Station.

Taipei 101’s address: 110, Taipei City, Xinyi District, Section 5, Xinyi Rd, 7 89

3. Taipei Fine Arts Museum: Best for Families

The Taipei Fine Arts Museum has many contemporary art exhibits. There’s not much else to say other than it’s a great place to visit indoors. To escape the heat or rain.

Arrive on Saturday between 5:00 and 8:00 PM, and you’ll get free entry.

You’ll need to pay NT$15 for entry prices for children between 6 and 11 years old. Other visitors will need to pay NT$30.

If you’re in a group of 20 or more people, you’ll need to pay NT$21 per person [1]. 

4. National Palace Museum (Northern Branch): Best Indoor Activity for Historians

The National Palace Museum (NPM) has more than 700,000 pieces of Chinese works of art and imperial artifacts. These relics span 8,000 years of history.

The National Beijing Palace Museum and other institutions handed many artifacts to Taiwan [2]. This event happened after the ROC’s evacuation to Taiwan during the Chinese Civil War.

The NPM has a Southern Branch in Taibao City and a Northern Branch in Taipei City. Visit both if you can.

Regular admission is NT$350 ($12.59). They’ll offer a slight discount if you’re in a group of 10 or more.

National Palace Museum, North Branch’s address: No. 221, Sec 2, Zhi Shan Rd, Shilin District, Taipei City, 111

5. Soak in the Beitou Hot Springs: Best for Winters & Relaxing

Taiwan has more than 100 hot springs [3]. Yet out of all the ones I’ve visited, Beitou triumphs the rest.

They have top-notch hotels that don’t cost too much and gave me some of the best sleep of my life. And strolling through the Thermal Valley was quite an experience.

The Beitou Hot Spring Museum shows you how Taiwan was during Japan’s occupation.

Beitou’s park and trails were relaxing, despite the sulfur aroma.

These hot springs won’t only do wonders for your skin, but are perfect for bathing after a long day of walking [4]. Visit a public unisex hot spring or rent a private room. I recommend the latter.

To reach Beitou Hot Springs Resort, take the Taipei MRT Red line and get off at Beitou station.

From there, walk to Beitou or transfer to Xinbeitou. This route will take you to the main hot spring area.

If you transfer to Xinbeitou, you’ll have to wait at least seven minutes for a cart to arrive.

Beitou Public Hot Spring address: No. 6, Zhongshan Road, Beitou District, Taipei City, 112

If you’re in Taipei City, you may confuse it with its neighbor.

Things To Do in New Taipei City #

Keep reading to find New Taipei City tourist attractions. I’ll talk about where to find them, what to do at each attraction, and other tidbits.

Before I continue. Taipei vs. New Taipei, which is better?

Taipei City has MUCH more English support and has higher walkability. New Taipei has its tourist attractions more spread out. Sometimes, you may need to take buses, taxis, or Uber to get to some spots.

1. Jiufen Old Street: Best for Active People & Foodies

If you’ve ever wanted to feel like you were in the movie Spirited Away, now’s your chance. Around the 90s’, a former gold mining mountain village morphed into a bustling labyrinth of street food stalls, trinket shops, and relics.

If you don’t want to stray too far from the town, spend half the day exploring. And if you’re not allergic, try the peanut ice cream rolls.

It’s a crepe wrapped around ice cream, peanut shavings, and cilantro. The ice cream roll isn’t too sweet, and the cilantro paired with ice cream gives it a refreshing taste.

Don’t forget to check out the A-MEI Teahouse. It was once a blacksmithing storefront, and now it serves as an establishment where locals and tourists can drink Taiwanese tea or buy souvenirs.

Out of everywhere I’ve been in Taiwan, Jiufen (Jioufen) remains my favorite.

As for things to do, you could spend a day here. Arrive in the morning and chow on some Taiwanese breakfast. It doesn’t matter where.

Next, you’ll want to make your way toward Teapot Mountain. It’s a 2.2 mile (3.5 km) hike that’ll take you by a rock shaped like a teapot. Moreover, as you reach the top of the mountain, experience a breathtaking view of the nearby ocean.

Your next option for hiking is the Junguashi Geopark.

It was once a hillside used for mining excavation. But now, it’s a series of trails that’ll take you through lush forests and waterfalls.

No matter the hiking trail you choose, I recommend making your way to the Golden Waterfall. It’s small. But this natural formation gives you a glimpse into the days during Taiwan’s gold rush.

Before the sun sets, you’ll want to go toward the waterfront and watch the Yin Yang Sea. It features various rock formations that overlook a yellow- and blue-tinted bay. You’ll want to take an Uber, taxi, or bus to get here.

A-MEI Teahouse address: 224, Taiwan, New Taipei City, Ruifang District, 市下巷20號

Golden Waterfall address: Jinshui Rd, Ruifang District, New Taipei City, Taiwan 224

A great place for ice cream peanut rolls (A-Zhu Peanut Ice Cream Roll): No. 20號, Jishan St, Ruifang District, New Taipei City, Taiwan 224

2. Pet All the Kitties in Houtong Cat Village: Best for Families

Houtong cat village is an abandoned mining town the locals transformed into a cat haven. While small, families should include this in a day trip while exploring Taiwan’s East coast.

When you enter Houtong, you’ll find kitties and bowls of cat food everywhere. You’ll also find feline-themed cafes, shops, and statues. It’s a great place to pick up some small souvenirs while helping the locals and their cat companions.

How do you get to Houtong Cat Village?

You could take a taxi or an Uber. Or, if you’re at Taipei Main Station, take a northbound Taiwan Railways train that stops at Ruifang Station. If you’re coming from eastern Taiwan, take the Yilan Line toward Ruifang Station.

The next part focuses on people who don’t mind a quick, yet intense hike.

If you’re familiar with Japan’s occupation, here’s a good question.

What happened to all the torii gates?

When the Kuomintang retreated to Taiwan and transitioned from Japanese rule, they removed almost all these gates.

However, Houtong has one of few remaining Shinto Shrines. The Houtong Shinto Shrine, or Houtong Shrine Relics. Very little to do in this area. But it’s a great area to learn more about Taiwan’s past.

Houtong Village Shinto Shrine, New Taipei City, Taiwan
Shinto Shrine in Houtong

Houtong Shinto Shrine address: No. 61, Houdong Rd, Ruifang District, New Taipei City, Taiwan 224

3. Watch an Amazing Sunset in Tamsui: Best for Families

Tamsui (pronounced as Danshui) sits on Taiwan’s northern coast and houses various historical relics left behind by western and Japanese colonists.

I recommend visiting this Tamsui in the middle of the day. Watch the contrast between the bay when the sun’s up, and after it sets.

During the day, rent a YouBike and ride along the Jinse Shui’an Biking Trail. YouBikes don’t cost much. And it’s a great way to keep you in shape during your trip.

Afterward, if you’re feeling brave enough, take a sometimes bumpy boat ride to the Fisherman’s Wharf, home to the Lover’s Bridge. Or, you could take a bus or the Danhai Light Rail Transit (LRT).

Once you view the sun setting, take a walk along the waterfront. Try from a myriad of food stalls (or Turkish Ice Cream) while feeling the ocean breeze brush your face.

Also view street performers, play carnival-style games, visit souvenir shops, or whatever else.

view of tamsui waterfront, new taipei, taiwan

Speaking of souvenirs, don’t forget to buy Tamsui’s famous Iron Eggs. They’re black eggs that someone repeatedly stewed in a mix of crystal sugar, soy sauce, and occasionally Chinese medicine.

Reach Tamsui by taking the Taipei MRT Red line toward Tamsui Station. It’s $2.30 for a one-way trip. And it’ll take you about an hour if you’re coming from central Taipei.

Things To Do in Kaohsiung #

The following sections will cover things to do in Kaohsiung.

Fly directly to Kaohsiung VIA, the Kaohsiung International Airport. Conversely, if you came in through, for example, Taoyuan, consider taking the high-speed rail train, renting a car, or taking the bus.

Once you’re there, consider strolling through Ruifeng Night Market, one of the cities’ largest. Afterward, get some sleep and get ready for some of the following fun the next day.

1. Fo Guang Shan Monastery: Best for Solo Travelers or Pairs

While it’s challenging to get here, if you appreciate great architecture or are curious about the culture, Fo Guang is a free and fantastic piece of history to visit.

Once you arrive, you’ll find the tallest bronze sitting buddha statue in the world (108m or 354 ft) flanked by eight beautiful pagodas. On top of that, you’ll find more than 480 Buddha statues here. Truly a sight to behold.

Address: No.153, Xingtian Road, Xingtian Village, Dashu District, Kaohsiung City

2. Find the Tiger and Dragon Pagodas at Lotus Lake: Best for History

In the northern outskirts of Kaohsiung city lies Lotus Lake, where you’ll find a myriad of historical gems.

The two enormous seven-story pavilions were built in honor of the Chinese God of War, Kuan Kung (Guan Gong).

In front of each of the two towers are a giant dragon and tiger that you enter to get to the pavilions.

Make sure you enter the buildings from the dragon’s throat and exit through the tiger’s jaws because you’ll be a lucky duck if you do so

Lotus Lake Address: Lotus Pond, Zuoying District, Kaohsiung City, 813

3. Relax at Love Pier: Best for Couples

Formerly dubbed Kaohsiung No. 12 Pier, it was renamed to create a romantic atmosphere for locals and tourists with its heart-shaped scenery.

Love Pier’s address: No. 11, Gongyuan Second Road Yanchengpu District

Or take Kaohsiung’s MRT to Yanchengpu Station.

Things To Do in Taichung #

Taichung lies in central Taiwan, is fairly easy to reach, and is fairly convenient to get around. Not as much as Taipei and New Taipei Cities, though.

The following sections will go over things to do in Taichung.

Confused on how to get there? I wrote a separate guide that’ll help.

Klook.com

1. Original Chun Shui Tang (Bubble Tea Restaurant): Best for Families

Taiwan’s Chun Shui Tang was founded in May 1983 and claimed to have invented the glorious silky bubble tea drinks. While Chun Shui Tang has shops throughout Taiwan, the one in Taichung is the nation’s first.

It has a unique atmosphere and isn’t crammed like most Taiwanese restaurants. Moreover, they have various souvenirs to buy once you finish drinking tea and eating. Yes, they have food as well.

How does the birthplace of bubble tea’s drink compare to other shops?

chun shui tang bubble tea

Honestly, I didn’t care too much for it. However, everyone has varying taste buds, so I at least recommend trying their boba tea.

You’ll need to rent a scooter, hail a taxi, or use an Uber to reach this place.

Chun Shui Tang (Original Store) address: No. 30 Siwei Street Origin Store, West District, Taichung Taiwan

2. Try a Sun Cake: Souvenir or a Must-try

The Sun Cake, or tai yang bing, is another sweet native to Taichung. This dessert has multiple layers of thin wrappings bakers wrapped around a maltose filling.

Once you bite into this snack, you’ll notice flakes break off your dessert as you taste the Sun Cake’s smooth and sweet filling.

I bought my first Sun Cakes at the 23 Sun Bakery. They’ll sell you these cakes individually or as a special gift box. I recommend getting the box if you want to introduce these to your family or friends.

This place charges quite a bit for these cakes. However, it’s worth the price. Especially as a souvenir.

Speaking of. You should check out my guide on decent souvenirs to buy for folks back home while in Taiwan.

Ensure you eat these over a bag or a dish to avoid making a mess. I also recommend eating these with a warm cup of tea.

23 Sun Bakery’s address: No. 191, Section 1, Sanmin Road, West District, Taichung City, 40343

3. Browse the Painted Animation Lane: Best for Families

Put on your nostalgia goggles because you’ll find an alley filled with various wall canvas’ displaying American cartoons, anime characters, and video game scenes in Taichung’s west district.

picture of super mario world, animation alley, taichung, taiwan
Here’s a canvas with characters from the Mario games.

There isn’t too much to do here. You may find a café and a claw machine place. However, this area’s a great showcase of talented Taiwanese artists.

It’s also free to enter. You simply walk a reasonably short distance through the alley maze and snap pictures while wondering what character you’ll find next.

Taichung Painted Animation Lane address: Lane 100, Linsen Road, West District, Taichung City, 403

4. Miyahara Ice Cream: Best for Expensive Ice Cream

The Miyahara building housing expensive, yet coveted ice cream that comes in 50 unique flavors like:

  • Muskmelon
  • Honey Lime
  • Dragonfruit
  • Assam Black Tea
  • Honey Cheese
  • Raisins Mascarpone
  • Citrus White Chocolate
  • Rosemary Tea

Miyahara charges NT$90 ($3.23) for a single scoop, NT$160 ($5.74) for a double, and NT$225 ($8.08) for a triple. Fairly pricey, but it’s a unique experience.

If you don’t want to spend a lot of money on ice cream, stroll through the adjacent building. Once you enter, you feel like you’re in Hogwarts School of Wizardry with its unique theme.

While making your way around the area, you’ll also find sweets in retro packaging in addition to other traditional Taiwanese pastries such as the Sun and pineapple cakes.

However, if you want fresh air, walk along the paved trails of the nearby Green River waterfront (Taichung’s revamped waterway).

Miyahara, Taichung address: No. 20號, Zhongshan Road, Central District, Taichung City, 400

Popular Places in Tainan City #

Keep reading to find some of the most popular things to do in Tainan City.

1. Travel Time in Tainan City’s Anping Old Fort: Best for Families

In 1624, Dutch colonists captured the modern-day town of Anping and finished construction of its stronghold, Fort Zeelandia, in 1634.

fort anping tainan, taiwan

It now sits as a relic of the past, with a museum having an entry fee of NT$50 ($1.79).

Anping Old Fort’s address: No. 82, Guosheng Rd, Anping District, Tainan City City, 708

2. Jing Zhai Jiao Tile Paved Salt Fields: Best for Families

If you still want to time travel, the Jing Zhai Jiao tile paved salt fields serve as a remnant of a once-thriving salt industry.

It’s best to come here when the sun’s about to set to watch it shine on the reflective pools.

Jing Zhai Jiao Tile Paved Salt Fields address: 727, Tainan City City, Beimen District, 西南郊復育鹽田

3. Work Wonders for Your Skin at the Guanziling Hot Spring

After all that time traveling, you’ll need to relax, and hot springs will make that happen. If instead, you’re thirsty for more adventures, nearby are several temples, footpaths to various mountains, and the Water and Fire cave.

Address for Guanziling Hot Spring: 732, Tainan City City, Baihe District

Taiwan Tourist Attractions Map #

Wrapping Up

I can only go so far in depth when talking about things to do in each city. Otherwise, this post would take forever to read.

Use it as a jumping off point. Consider the hidden gems and tourist attractions I suggested. Then map out nearby things to do.

Other Taiwan exploration guides will explain many of the above destinations and more.

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About Tee

Tee began first experienced the wonders of traveling when visiting Vietnam. Afterward, he went crazy and ventured to at least… More about Tee