Discover the complete Taiwan travel guide curated by our amazing team at Lightfoot Travel!
We can finally travel again! We dream of the clear blue waters of Okinawa, discovering more of Korea, and exploring everything Laos has to offer. Just a short flight from Hong Kong, Taiwan is full of history, culture and some of the friendliest people you’ll ever meet. So, check out our Taiwan travel guide below – it’s sure to come in handy on your next trip to Formosa!
Your Complete Taiwan Travel Guide
While Taiwan may be small in size, it has a lot to do, places to go and people to see. According to statistics, Taiwan has more than 100 peaks above 3,000 meters above sea level, more than 100 hot springs, 9 national parks, 15,000 beautiful temples, quiet golden sand beaches, black sand beaches, and a world full of Buddhist history. class museum, wow-inducing skyscraper, and Numerous night markets – there’s always something for you. On top of that, Taiwan is the happiest place in Asia according to a 2020 survey. Is Taiwan the best kept secret in Asia? Lightfoot Travel thinks so. Here’s where to explore in Taiwan.
Taitung, a lovely town on Taiwan’s east coast, attracts visitors with its natural beauty, Aboriginal heritage, world-class scuba diving and snorkelling, and opportunities for swimming, hiking and biking. In fact, it’s an excellent starting point for exploring the coast, enjoying hot springs and visiting rice fields. Routes 9 and 11 run from Taitung to Hualien, perfect for cyclists and avid photographers. Get ready for alpine cliffs and endless ocean views. The town has a good market, friendly bars and coffee shops, while Taitung’s National Museum of Prehistory introduces Taiwan’s aboriginal culture. For nightlife, Dulan Village, 30 minutes south of Taitung, is where the action happens.
Stay at The Gaya Hotel in Taitung.
Taipei, the capital of Taiwan, is a cool and chaotic modern metropolis that offers a veritable smorgasbord of events. For starters, our top pick is climbing the iconic 509-meter-tall bamboo-shaped Taipei 101 skyscraper, with upscale shops at the base and express elevators to the observation deck near the top. Visit endless hidden temples, the Chiang Kai-shek Mausoleum, the Taiwan Museum of History, and venture into Dadaocheng to see old Taipei in its golden age.
Shifen Old Street and Shifen Waterfall are touristy, but they’re a great place to watch lanterns fly over the railway tracks. Eating is a national pastime here, as evidenced by Taipei’s more than 30 night markets. For street food, Shilin Market is recommended; don’t miss the oyster omelette, a favorite staple for foodies.
Stay at the Mandarin Oriental Taipei.
3. Hualien & Taroko Gorge
Taroko Gorge is called the Grand Canyon of Taiwan for a reason. This unbelievably majestic landscape, permeated by waterfalls and gorges, is quite dramatic. As the most popular national park in the country, and with easy access to Taipei, it can get busy. But there are plenty of walks that take you off the beaten path, past marble canyons, running water and wildlife.
The Zhuliu Trail, an ancient hunting trail of the Taroko people, was slightly widened during the Japanese occupation of Taiwan, offering a once-in-a-lifetime experience for the adventurous. Follow a guide who will not only hold your hand but also lead you to the famous Taroko Old Man who makes sausages using black pepper grown in the park – the perfect post-hike pick-up!
Stay at Silks Place Taroko.
4. Sun Moon Lake
True to its name, Sun Moon Lake is located at the foothills of the mountains in central Taiwan. Surrounded by fringed verdant peaks, this is a peaceful retreat from the urbanization of Taipei with a spiritual vibe. There are plenty of walking and cycling trails around the sparkling expanse, as do boat tours, all the better for sunset cocktails on board.
Surrounding the lake are towering pagodas, temples, street food and cute cafes in the many small villages inhabited by the indigenous Thao tribe who live here. The nearby Formosan Aboriginal Culture Village is also well worth a visit to learn more about local life. Top tip from our Taiwan travel guide: The sunrise over the lake is spectacular!
Stay at The Lagoon at Sun Moon Lake.
5. I think
Don’t overlook Taiwan’s oldest city: Tainan is full of trendy places, charming cafes, beautiful scenery and a lovely laid-back attitude. A blend of old school and classic with elegance, the historic architecture and vintage aesthetic are the first things you’ll notice here. Stroll along places like Shennong Street, Zhengxing Street or Xinmei Street, and you’ll be transported back to the 1980s among the rustic shophouses converted into bakeries, cafes and mini museums.
After immersing yourself in the ancient buildings, mostly depicting Chaozhou and Hokkien styles, you can admire exquisite artworks at the Chimei Museum. Then, seek out some inner Zen at the Confucius Temple, one of Taiwan’s oldest temples, and hang out nearby, nibbling on stinky tofu until Tainan’s famous Flower Night Market comes alive.
Stay at Silks Place Tainan.
Taiwan may not be your top choice for tropical beaches, but hear us out. The southern tip of the island (called Hengchun Peninsula) is very popular for its old villages, green hills, fishing ports and beautiful sandy beaches. As a region, Kenting is still relatively undeveloped and tourist-free (compared to Taipei), so now is the time to go. Enjoy coastal hikes on the windswept sands, snorkel and dive in the turquoise waters, enjoy a chilled picnic on South Bay Beach, or rent a scooter or bicycle to explore on two wheels. Kenting Town has many small hotels, restaurants, street vendors and bars with live music.
Stay at Caesar Park Hotel Kenting.