Taiwan Travel Guides
Top Things to See
Throughout its relatively brief existence, Taiwan has been a major focal point for colonisers from Europe and Asia. Each culture has left its mark, creating a travel destination which offers an intriguing taste of many different regions. The influence of the Asian powers of Japan and China can be seen in Taiwan’s temples, historic sites, and cuisine. The National Palace Museum is the best place to start your education, but don’t forget to spend some time lingering in Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall to see the contemporary face of Taiwan. Natural beauties like Taroko Gorge and Alishan Mountain complement the dynamic character of Taipei, which is awash in attractions, shopping and delicious cuisine.
Hsiahai City Temple
This interesting temple plays a special role in the daily lives of the Taiwanese who live in Taipei. Dedicated to the city god who watches over the capital’s neighbourhoods, this shrine is integral to daily life. Tucked away on Dihua street, visitors can search it out and spend time watching the steady trickle of Taoist worshippers who come to pray for good fortune and happiness. Phone: +886 2 2765 2046.
Taiwan’s oldest surviving Buddhist temple was first built in 1653, and remains one of the island’s main architectural treasures. The design bears an uncanny resemblance to China’s Forbidden City. A series of walled courtyards enclose beautifully decorated buildings with priceless pillars and wood carvings. If you’re a fan of temples, Lungshan should not be missed.
National Palace Museum
One of Asia’s finest cultural museums is a rare survivor of Mao’s Cultural Revolution. Its collection started in the 10th century as the private art repository for Chinese emperors, and today remains one of the world’s top sites of Chinese art and artefacts. Don’t leave Taipei without spending a day marvelling at the priceless treasures on display, which include such gems as the Jade Cabbage, Olive Stone Boat and the painting of One Hundred Horses. The museum is located on Chih Shan road in Taipei.
Sun Moon Lake
Taiwan’s largest natural lake is one of the island’s most popular tourist attractions. One visit to this sparkling jewel nestled high in the mountains at 760 metres will make it clear why so many visitors love spending time at this natural wonder. Nearby is the traditional homeland of the Thao aboriginal tribe. The lake is also home to a large array of birdlife and butterflies.
Taiwan’s oldest settlement is known as the ‘City of 100 Temples’, despite the fact that it now boasts 220 temples. Some of the island’s finest Confucian temples can be found in this city, such as the 1665 Confucius Temple and Koxinga’s Shrine. There always seems to be an interesting festival happening in Tainan, so put this ancient town on your list of cultural highlights.Visit this website for further information about Tainan temples
The centre of Taiwan’s thriving economy is this bustling, energetic metropolis in the north of the island. Climb the world’s highest skyscraper, the Taipei 101; browse some of Asia’s most fashionable shopping malls and indulge in some of the finest Chinese cuisine on the planet. A wonderful underground metro system will whisk you around in style as you explore the old and new sides of Taipei.Visit this website for further information about Taipei City Guide
One of Taiwan’s most popular and sublime natural destinations is Taroko Gorge. The Liwu River has cut canyons into the marble, creating cliffs that tower over the clear, rushing water. The gorge is just one of the highlights in this massive park full of temples, shrines, hot springs and mountain peaks. Hiking trails allow access to all of these different environments which feature too many attractions to list. Some 89 species of bird and hundreds of butterflies add a touch of life to Taroko.
Top Things to Do
Catch a cultural performance at Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall. While you are in Taipei, consider attending a show at the National Concert Hall, National Theatre, or National Opera House. Taiwan has one of Asia’s most dynamic performance arts scenes, and some of the shows are mind-blowing, covering contemporary dance and music, as well as the traditional arts inherent to Taiwan. No matter when you visit, you can be sure there will be a worthwhile performance scheduled.
Climb to the top of the world’s tallest structure, Taipei 101. The planet’s fastest elevator will whisk you to the top in less than four minutes, where you can soak in the magnificent views over Taipei. After you’ve had your fill of panoramic vistas, head down a few dozen floors to the high-end shopping complex where top restaurants and boutiques await your business.Visit this website for photographs and further information about Taipei 101 in Taiwan
Enjoy the subtropical side of Taiwan in Kenting National Park. Covering the southern tip of the island is this wonderful park with excellent sandy beaches and lush tropical vegetation. On the beach you can rent jet-skis, sea kayaks, and other water sports equipment. The snorkelling and diving offshore is good, as is the bird sanctuary and golf course. Rent a motorbike to help you get around the various tourist sites of the park in style.
Experience traditional Taiwanese village life in the pristine mountain hideaway of Maolin. An hour from Taiwan’s second-largest city, Kaohsiung, is this quaint mountain village surrounded by waterfalls, hiking trails, river walks and amazing scenic views at every turn. Maolin makes the ideal base for exploring this southern region, where the aboriginal village of Dona is just nine miles away. Dona Hot Springs is also nearby, offering one of Taiwan’s least-spoilt outdoor springs. Camp out or check in to one of the modest motels in Maolin for a relaxing getaway.
Learn about Zen Buddhism first hand at Chung Tai Chan Temple, one of the most comprehensive spiritual centres in Asia. This international centre is a nexus of Buddhist academic research and cultural preservation. The nuns who live here offer tours of the temple and grounds, and can explain the motifs, iconography and other details of the Buddhist art here.
Step back in time by walking along Sanhsia Old Street in Taipei. This single street is a real tapestry of the storied history of Taiwan, with hundreds of traditional old houses lining the pavement. The architecture is a unique blend of Japanese and Baroque styles, harking back to the early days of the Republic of China. There are tours available for Sanhsia Old Street which cover Tsushih Temple and Yingko’s Pottery Street and Museum, but you can always explore this historic gem on your own.
Take a ride on the 45 mile Ali Mountain Forest Railway through Taiwan’s most popular and spectacular mountain park. Alishan is a sacred place to the Taiwanese, and nearly every national has visited this mountain at least once. Many wonders are here, such as the 3,000-year-old Alishan Sacred Tree and the Shoujhen Temple with its golden altar and 10,000 tiny Buddha images all lit by LED lights. Sunrise is the most popular time to visit the summit of Alishan, while the tranquility of the surrounding forest is best experienced by slowly walking the trails that wind through the ancient trees.