When traveling, it’s helpful to have a list of key things you want to try to get the most out of your trip. We planned for months leading up to our Taiwanese adventure, and were definitely not disappointed.
From the intricate architecture, efficient transportation, and captivating landscapes, Taiwan is a place you could visit multiple times and still find new things to do and experience.
Because we loved Taiwan so much, today I decided to share with you our list of Top 10 Things to Do in Taiwan.
As usual, we’ll start with two honorable mentions!
Riding your first High-Speed Rail:
Riding a high-speed rail for the first time was definitely a memorable one. Going at what seems to be the speed of light, the high-speed rail train in Taiwan was ultra efficient, extremely clean, and made traveling something we looked forward to.
Compared to the bullet train in Japan, the cost was more than affordable, and we were able to make an entire loop around Taiwan in a very short period of time. Most high-speed rail trains come equipped with outlets for all devices, a food service, and of course, bathrooms.
Taking in the quiet solitude and magnitude of Fo Guang Shan Buddha Museum:
Located in Kaohsiung, the Fo Guang Shan Buddha Museum is something that should not be missed when visiting Taiwan.
The museum itself provides visitors with information on the history of Fo Guang Shan, a Chinese Buddhist new religious movement, and is the site of the largest Buddhist monastery in all of Taiwan.
Behind the museum is the big Buddha statue, whose magnitude can’t be described or properly shown in pictures or video. At over 300 feet, this statue made our visit to Fo Guang Shan a memorable one. Not only is the statue incredibly big, but we enjoyed the quiet solitude and reverence that the grounds had. We know you’ll appreciate the museum too, so don’t forget to add it to your list!
Now for our Top 10!
#10 Walking the Calligraphy Greenway in Taichung:
The Calligraphy Greenway is a long corridor surrounded by trees that links the National Museum of Natural Science to the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts.
This open space dedicated to arts and culture is the perfect way for visitors and locals alike to enjoy a quiet afternoon, or a night out on the town. We walked through the Calligraphy Greenway on our way to enjoy milk tea at Chun Shui Tang, and enjoyed live music, dancing, artwork, and souvenir vendors along the way. The city comes alive at night, and walking or biking along the greenway is the perfect way to experience Taichung.
#9 Watching the Sunset from Chihkan Tower in Tainan:
Chihkan Tower, also known as Fort Provintia, was built in 1653 by the Dutch. The fort served as their primary military and trading post until 1662, when the Ming Dynasty conquered it and took control.
Visiting the fort was something we really enjoyed during our time in Tainan. The buildings have been preserved in the original style, and the gardens are well maintained. Watching the sun set at the top of the main pavilion was a perfect and peaceful way to end our time in Tainan.
#8 Walking Through Wenwu Temple and overlooking Sun Moon Lake:
Sun Moon Lake is Taiwan’s largest lake, and is located in the mountains of Nantou. There are many things for visitors to do at Sun Moon Lake, including the Sun Moon Lake Ropeway, the Formosan Aboriginal Cultural Village, bike rentals, and beautiful Bed & Breakfasts in the quaint tribal town of Ita Thao.
During our visit to Sun Moon Lake, we biked from Ita Thao to Wenwu Temple, and climbed to the very top to enjoy the stunning views of Sun Moon Lake.
Along with the intricate halls and architecture, Wenwu Temple has a café where you can enjoy sweet treats and refreshments while taking in the beauty of the lake.
#7 Trekking through the Swallow Grotto Trail in Taroko Gorge NP:
Located right after the Buluowan stop, Swallow Grotto is a great way for travelers to experience the park on foot.
The “walking path” is actually a shared road between pedestrians, but even with the congestion of people, cars, and buses, the gorge maintains its grandeur.
With towering mountain peaks, crumbling rock formations, and the winding Liwu River, Taroko Gorge is a nature lover’s paradise. Like the big Buddha statue, pictures and video don’t do the gorge justice, and is something that should be seen in person.
Make this a stop during your visit to Taiwan!
#6 Biking around Cijin Island:
The ride to the island is fairly quick, and many passengers board the ferry with motorbikes and bicycles.
Once on the island, you are free to explore as you see fit. We rode our bicycles around the entire island, hiked to the Cihou Fort and Cihou Lighthouse, and sat on the beach watching the waves.
Cijin Island is one place you could easily find yourself spending an entire day enjoying the scenery, history, food, and atmosphere.
#5 Watching the tides on a sunny day at Yehliu Geopark:
Located in Northern Taiwan, close to the town of Wanli, Yehliu Geopark was one of our favorite spots in the country. The park houses hundreds of unique rock formations, and is a perfect place for explorers, nature enthusiasts, and families.
Along with the famous geological formations like the Queen’s Head and Elephant Rock, visitors can enjoy taking advantage of the hiking paths, finding seashells and rocks in the water, and soaking in the sun as you watch the tides come and go.
However you choose to spend your day at Yehliu, know that it will be an enjoyable and unforgettable one.
#4 Hiking to the top of Elephant Mountain and witnessing Taipei in all its splendor:
We went to the top of Taipei 101, and while the building itself is impressive, the views weren’t that great. Once we hiked to the top of Elephant Mountain, it made up for what Taipei 101 didn’t give us.
While the mountain can get pretty crowded with other hikers, don’t let that stop you from hiking it yourself! There are a few different viewpoints along the way that give different perspectives of Taipei 101, along with the beautiful city that surrounds it.
Hiking up the mountain is free, and should be done either earlier in the morning or later in the evening to avoid big crowds.
#3 Taking in the opulence and austerity of the Grand Hotel:
The hotel combines luxury with five-star comfort, and we enjoyed incredible views from our own private balcony.
We were fortunate enough to book a night at this 500-room masterpiece, but we would have been able to appreciate the building even if we had been onlookers.
If you don’t want to pay for a room, or if they’re all booked solid, make time during your trip to stop by the hotel, and marvel at the timeless beauty that it is. Visit the museum, learn about the history, and take lots of pictures. This is one hotel you won’t be able to forget.
#2 Drinking tea In Maokong:
There are so many teahouses to choose from, but we knew we wanted to visit one that overlooked the city of Taipei. We chose high mountain oolong, and were seated at a round wooden table where we were taught how to make our tea. For the next hour, we sat enjoying the crisp night air as we drank cup after cup of tea that warmed our bones and soothed our souls.
Not only was the experience of the tea ceremony absolutely unforgettable, but seeing the twinkling lights of Taipei made it 10 times more enjoyable. At the end of the night, the teahouse staff sealed up our bag of loose-leaf tea, and we happily took it with us as a souvenir of one of the coolest experiences we had in Taiwan.
#1 Finding that hidden gem of street food:
We don’t just love food. We love good food. Food that makes you excited to eat, and compels you to tell all of your friends about what you found.
Taiwan was a food mecca, and we’ll never forget the first bite we took of that heavenly cheese bread at Shilin Night Market, the fresh prawns that were swimming only moments before they were grilled up and served to our table, or the time we discovered the scallion pancake at Flower Night Market.
While there are a lot of great restaurants and dives in Taiwan, nothing can compare to the energy of night markets and the thrill of eating street food.
If you want to experience the heart of Taiwan, just check out one of the many night markets and street food vendors that are available.
From seafood to exotic meats, strange fruits and stinky tofu, finding that one street food that you end up dreaming about is something that every traveler should experience.