When the Portuguese discovered Taiwan in 16th century, they aptly labeled it as “Ilha Foromosa”, or beautiful island in English. Today, even with all the modern-day developments, Taiwan remains beautiful and remarkable, teeming with jaw-dropping natural backdrops and untouched national parks. And, while it’s seriously underrated and largely undiscovered by Western travelers, the blossoming island should be on everyone’s travel bucket list. An eclectic mixture of indigenous, Japanese, Western and Chinese influences, Taiwan has, after all, a host of wondrous places that will surely appease your wanderlust and adventurous spirit.
Wondering where to go in Taiwan? Here’s a list of some of the best and most gorgeous places to visit in Taiwan!
1. Sun Moon Lake
Sun Moon Lake, the largest alpine lake in Taiwan, is famed for its cultural heritage and breathtaking natural beauty. Not to mention, it has a fairly pleasant year-round weather, and has a surrounding countryside dotted with pagodas and temples. See Pagoda of Filial Virtue, or also known as Chi-En Pagoda, to enjoy admirable vistas. During springtime, the trail that leads to the pagoda will be filled fireflies. Likewise, you may take cable car ride that lets you see the remarkable beauty of Sun Moon Lake from a bird’s perspective.
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Taitung, though it’s less developed than its capital, is the perfect spot for those who need to escape the hustle bustle city life. Not only is does it offer a laid-back and pleasant atmosphere, but it also has some stunning geological landscapes. Additionally, it’s pretty safe, making it a terrific destination for female solo travelers.
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With its magical feel and striking architecture, Jiufen seems a scene from an anime movie or a fairy tale. In fact, the streets of this small town were the inspiration to the award-winning mystery fantasy film of Hayao Miyazaki – Spirited Away. Trust me, every corner and alley in this Taiwanese is filled with Instagram-worthy sights and wonders. From its antique store and surreal building to food stalls and tea houses, this town definitely has the hallmarks of a memorable getaway.
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4. Kenting National Park
Beloved for its eye-catching mountains and white-sand beaches, the country’s southernmost and oldest national park is, hands down, one of top places to visit in Taiwan. Nature sights aside, the park offers a wide range of diversions to its visitors too, including restaurants, cocktail bars, street games, beach bar, snorkeling and diving. If you visit in on summer, the beaches and streets will be filled with merrymakers who come to experience its festivals.
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Want to dive deep into the history and culture of Taiwan? Then, make sure to include Tainan to your list of places to visit in Taiwan. Stepped in history and culture, Tainan was once Taiwan’s capital during the Qing Dynasty as well as the operation base in the 17th century for the Dutch East India Company. The best attractions in Tainan include the Chihkan Towers, Fort Towers and Taiwan’s oldest Confucius Temple.
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6. Taipei, Taiwan
Taipei – the wondrous capital of Taiwan – is home to some of the most impressive historic and modern cultural treasures of the country. To me, one of top, must-see cultural attractions in Taipei is the National Palace Museum – a treasure trove showcasing the world’s most outstanding collection of Chinese art. From ancient bronze exhibits to Ming vases, the National Palace Museum hosts more than 500,000 artifacts and displays that were transported to Taiwan in 1949 (during the civil war) by the fleeing Goumindang. Furthermore, the museum has plenty of other noteworthy displays, like the terracotta sculptures of Qin Culture and the artworks from the Tibetan Buddhists.
Of course, there are plenty of other Taipei attractions that will add more fun to your trip, besides the National Palace Museum. For a memorable trip in Taipei, check out Hsing Tian Kong, Daan Forest Park, Yangmingshan, Ximending, Lungshan Temple of Manka, and Taipei 101. To top it all off, the food in Taipei is supremely tasty and cheap.
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7. Taroko Gorge
From Taipei, take a picturesque coastal ride to one of the most mesmerizing natural wonders in Taiwan – Taroko National Park. Famed for its unrivaled scenery and metaphoric rocks, the national park will relax your senses and unleash your inner shutterbug with its ruggedly beautiful coastal cliffs, subtropical forested canyons as well as sub-alpine, high elevated coniferous forests. To make things even more exciting, Taroko Gorge is home to a ton of trails and Taiwan’s highest peaks, with elevations that go as high as 3,400 meters.
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8. Yilan County
Yilan Country will sweep you away with its gorgeous coastline, plunging waters, sprawling parks as well as hot and cold springs. Coined as playground for outdoor enthusiasts, Yilan has a myriad of offers to those who are into nature and adventure, like surfing, white-water rafting, dolphin spotting, whale watching and hiking. What’s more, the Yilan is so serene and relaxing, meaning it’s a great idyllic to chill and indulge on a soothing getaway.
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Kaohsiung, even with its industrial roots, has easygoing walks and a medley of temples and pagodas. Drop by Lotus Pond’s Dragon and Tiger Pagodas, and see the larger-than-life dragon and tiger sculptures function as the complex’s entrance and exit. Afterwards, shuffle your feet to the nearby elaborate Spring and Autumn pavilions. Built to honor the God of War and God of Mercy, these sweet spots display a gigantic and colorful God of Mercy sculpture sitting on a dragon.
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10. Maolin National Scenic Area
When visiting Taiwan, don’t forget to drop by Maolon National Scenic Area. Although it’s relatively unknown to many foreign travelers, this remarkable destination will wow you with its hot springs, waterfalls, gorges and virgin forests. Moreover, Maolin has noteworthy trails as well as a handful of sites worth a visit, like Meinong Folk Village and Purple Butterfly Valley.
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Daijia is an old coastal town and an extraordinary mix of some of its most stunning natural assets. The Tiezhen Mountains, Da’an River and Dajia River combine to create a majestic natural landscape enveloping the town. To top it all off, the town is home to quite a number of historic sites like Chastity Arch and offers a multitude of local products and crafts.
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