Taiwan Travel Guide
Discover the enthralling beauty of Taiwan, a hidden gem in East Asia that beckons with its breathtaking landscapes, rich history, and vibrant culture. From towering mountains and lush forests to bustling cities and serene temples, Taiwan offers a harmonious blend of the ancient and the modern.
Immerse yourself in the island’s welcoming atmosphere, indulge in its delectable cuisine, and embark on an unforgettable adventure through its scenic wonders and cultural treasures.
Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, a history buff, or simply in search of a unique travel experience, Taiwan promises a treasure trove of memories waiting to be made.
Capital city: Taipei
Currency: New Taiwan Dollar – 1 USD = 32.5 TWD.
Electricity: Power voltage is 110 Volts. Power sockets type A and B.
Languages: Mandarin Chinese is the official and most widely spoken language in Taiwan. Dialects such as Hokkien are also spoken, as well as English as a second language.
10 Handpicked Highlights of Taiwan
Discover the majestic beauty of Taroko Gorge, Taiwan’s premier natural wonder. Carved by the Liwu River, this stunning marble canyon boasts towering cliffs, cascading waterfalls, and lush vegetation.
Visitors can explore the area through a network of trails, with the Tunnel of Nine Turns and the Swallow Grotto being among the most popular spots. The park also holds significant cultural importance, with various shrines and temples scattered throughout.
Sun Moon Lake
Immerse yourself in the tranquility of Sun Moon Lake, Taiwan’s largest freshwater lake. Surrounded by mountains, this picturesque lake is perfect for boat rides, cycling, and hiking. The area is also rich in cultural heritage, with the Wenwu Temple and the Ci’en Pagoda offering insights into Taiwan’s history and spirituality.
Alishan National Scenic Area
Experience the enchanting beauty of Alishan National Scenic Area, renowned for its stunning sunrise, cloud sea, and ancient forests. Take the Alishan Forest Railway to reach this magical destination, and enjoy a leisurely stroll through the old-growth cypress trees. The area also holds cultural significance, with various indigenous villages providing a glimpse into Taiwan’s diverse heritage.
Kenting National Park
Discover the tropical paradise of Kenting National Park, located at Taiwan’s southernmost tip. With its pristine beaches, coral reefs, and lush forests, Kenting is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. Visitors can indulge in water sports, explore the park’s diverse ecosystems, and enjoy the vibrant nightlife in the nearby town.
Yangmingshan National Park
Explore the volcanic landscapes of Yangmingshan National Park, just a short drive from Taipei. Known for its hot springs, fumaroles, and stunning cherry blossoms, Yangmingshan offers a unique blend of natural beauty and relaxation. Hike to the summit of Qixing Mountain for panoramic views of Taipei and the surrounding countryside.
Step back in time in Jiufen, a charming hillside village that inspired the Studio Ghibli film “Spirited Away.” Stroll through the narrow lanes, explore the quaint teahouses, and savor the stunning views of the Pacific Ocean. Don’t miss the opportunity to try the famous taro balls and peanut ice cream rolls.
Yushan National Park
Conquer the heights of Yushan National Park, home to Taiwan’s highest peak, Jade Mountain. This challenging trek rewards adventurers with breathtaking views and a sense of accomplishment. The park also features diverse flora and fauna, making it a hotspot for wildlife enthusiasts.
Delve into Taiwan’s history in Tainan, the island’s oldest city. Explore the ancient forts, temples, and preserved streets, and savor the local delicacies. The Chihkan Tower and Koxinga Shrine offer fascinating insights into Taiwan’s past, while the bustling night markets provide a taste of the city’s vibrant present.
Escape to the Penghu Islands, an archipelago in the Taiwan Strait known for its stunning beaches, basalt columns, and historical sites. Visit the Magong City for its ancient temples and traditional architecture, and explore the islands’ unique geology at the South Penghu Marine National Park.
Marvel at Taipei 101, once the world’s tallest building and a symbol of Taiwan’s modernity. Take the high-speed elevator to the observation deck for panoramic views of Taipei, and explore the surrounding area’s shopping and dining options. Don’t miss the opportunity to experience the annual fireworks display on New Year’s Eve.
Taiwan's Geography & Landscapes
Taiwan, a lush island in East Asia, boasts a diverse array of geographical features that make it a unique and captivating destination. From towering mountains and pristine beaches to dense forests and sprawling urban centers, Taiwan’s landscapes are as varied as they are beautiful.
Mountainous Interior: Home to Yushan, also known as Jade Mountain, which is the highest peak in Northeast Asia, Taiwan’s mountainous regions offer stunning scenery and challenging treks. The Central Mountain Range runs the length of the island, creating dramatic landscapes and rich biodiversity.
Coastal Plains: Along the western coast, you’ll find flat plains that are home to much of Taiwan’s agricultural production. These areas are also where the majority of the population lives, with bustling cities and towns dotting the landscape.
Eastern Coastline: Characterized by its rugged terrain and steep cliffs, the eastern coast of Taiwan is less developed and offers some of the most breathtaking coastal scenery on the island, particularly in the Hualien and Taitung regions.
Offshore Islands: Including the Penghu Islands in the Taiwan Strait, as well as Kinmen and Matsu closer to the coast of China, these islands offer unique landscapes, cultures, and histories that are distinct from mainland Taiwan.
Northern Tip: The area around Taipei, Taiwan’s capital, features a mix of urban and natural landscapes, with mountains to the south and east, and the ocean to the north.
Southern Tip: Known for its tropical climate and beautiful beaches, the southern tip of Taiwan is a popular destination for both locals and tourists looking to enjoy the outdoors.
Best Time To Go To Taiwan
Taiwan’s climate varies significantly across the island, with tropical conditions in the south and subtropical conditions in the north. The country experiences four distinct seasons, each offering a unique experience for visitors.
Spring (March to May): With mild temperatures and lower rainfall, spring is one of the best times to visit Taiwan. The country comes alive with cherry blossoms and other spring flowers, providing stunning scenery across the island.
Summer (June to August): This season is hot and humid, with temperatures often exceeding 30°C (86°F). Summer is also typhoon season, which can bring heavy rains and strong winds, particularly to the eastern and southern parts of the island.
Autumn (September to November): Like spring, autumn offers comfortable temperatures and lower rainfall, making it an ideal time to explore Taiwan. This season also sees fewer tourists, providing a more relaxed travel experience.
Winter (December to February): Winters in Taiwan are mild, though temperatures can drop significantly in the mountainous regions. This is the best time to enjoy hot springs across the island, and it’s also the season for strawberry picking in certain parts.
Best Season to Visit: Both spring and autumn are considered the best times to visit Taiwan due to the pleasant weather and lower tourist crowds. However, the best time for your visit will depend on your specific interests and the regions you plan to explore.
Traveling in Taiwan
Taiwan is widely recognized as one of the safest countries in Asia, if not the world. The people are friendly, the streets are clean, and crime rates are low. However, like any travel destination, it’s important to stay aware and take precautions to ensure your trip goes smoothly.
Be Weather Aware: Taiwan is susceptible to typhoons, particularly from June to October. Stay updated on weather conditions, and follow any advisories or evacuation orders.
Respect Traffic Rules: While Taiwan’s roads are generally safe, traffic can be chaotic, especially in cities. Always cross at crosswalks, and be mindful of scooters, which are prevalent.
Watch Your Belongings: Petty theft can happen, particularly in crowded places like night markets or public transportation. Keep your valuables secure and be mindful of your belongings.
Stay Hydrated: Taiwan’s summer can be extremely hot and humid. Drink plenty of water, and take breaks in shaded or air-conditioned areas when needed.
Practice Good Food Safety: Street food is a highlight in Taiwan, but ensure that it’s freshly cooked and bought from a reputable vendor.
Be Mindful of Local Customs and Laws: Taiwanese people are generally conservative and law-abiding. Respect local traditions and adhere to the laws to avoid any misunderstandings.
Avoid Illegal Drugs: Drug laws in Taiwan are strict, and penalties for drug offenses are severe.
Have Travel Insurance: Ensure you have comprehensive travel insurance that covers health, theft, and cancellations.
Know Emergency Numbers: The emergency number in Taiwan is 110 for police, and 119 for fire and ambulance.
Beware of Scooters: Scooters are everywhere in Taiwan, and they don’t always follow the rules of the road. Always be aware of your surroundings, especially when crossing the road.
Getting to & Around Taiwan
Taiwan is well-connected both internationally and domestically, making it easy for travelers to get to and around the island.
Airports: Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport is the main gateway to the country, with numerous international and domestic flights. Songshan Airport in Taipei handles domestic flights and some flights to China and Japan.
Airlines: EVA Air and China Airlines are the main Taiwanese carriers, offering extensive domestic and international networks.
High-Speed Rail: The Taiwan High-Speed Rail (THSR) connects major cities along the western coast of Taiwan, offering a fast and efficient way to travel long distances.
Buses: Extensive bus networks cover the entire island, offering an affordable way to travel, though it can be slower than the train.
Metros: Taipei and Kaohsiung have metro systems that are clean, efficient, and easy to navigate.
Scooters: Scooters are a popular way to get around, particularly in smaller towns and rural areas. Rentals are available, but ensure you have a valid license and insurance.
Ferries: Ferries connect Taiwan’s main island to its smaller offshore islands.
Cycling: Taiwan has invested heavily in cycling infrastructure, making it a great way to explore certain parts of the country.
Taiwan offers a wide range of accommodation options to suit all budgets and preferences. From luxury hotels and boutique B&Bs to affordable hostels and guesthouses, there’s something for everyone.
- Luxury Hotels: International and high-end local chains are found in major cities and tourist areas.
- Boutique B&Bs: These are popular in rural areas, offering a more personal and local experience.
- Hostels: Ideal for budget travelers and available across the country.
- Guesthouses: Family-run establishments that are a good option for those seeking a more authentic experience.
Prices vary depending on location and time of year, with major cities and tourist areas being more expensive. Overall, Taiwan offers good value for money, and the standard of accommodation is high. Most places provide modern amenities, and you’ll find that many Taiwanese people speak at least some English, particularly in the hospitality industry.