Taiwan is an island nation located off the coast of southwest of Okinawa, Japan and north of the Philippines that is governed by the Republic of China since 1945. Shaped roughly like a sweet potato, the island nation has more than 23 million people and is one of the most densely populated places in the world. Besides its crowded cities, Taiwan is also known for steep mountains and lush forests.
Penghu has a wonderful coastline full of rock formations and basalt columns. The most accessible colomns are at Daguoye, but you can find some at Xiaomenyu aswell. These are on the west side of Magong island. You need your own wheels to get there.See detail page
The village is a very pittoresk cluster of old houses with basalt foundations and coral walls. The oldest dating back to 1690. Some houses in the centre are renovated and some are converted into shops. You need your own wheels to get there.See detail page
If you visit only one temple in Taiwan, go to Baoan Temple. It’s a beautiful one from 1760, the temple combines interesting elements from Taoism and Buddhism. An old man who worked as a volunteer, explained a lot of rites to me in broken English. And urged me to throw red bamboo blocks on the ground, stir in a container with long wooden sticks and burn paper! An unforgettable experience.See detail page
I thought it was an alpine lake with serene beauty. Don’t miss this one! You can hike or bike along the encircling 33 km road and enjoy the wonderful mountain and water scenary. Don’t forget to stop at the Wenwu Temple, and take The Year of Steps (yes, that’s 365 steps ☺) down to the lake.
I rented a good Merida bike at Lane 12, Zongxing Rd, ShuisheSee detail page
An hour of Taipei is a vast geological area. Set yourself up for sniffing sulfur fumes. Crazy! Take the park shuttlebus (108) and get out at stop 5 for the highly photogenetic sulphuric steam vent eating into a mountain. Stop 6 has a greenish-milky white sulphur lake which is also worthwile (and a little restaurant).
Take the nr. 5 Red bus from Jiantan MRT to the park bus stationSee detail page
Here, out of this world statures emerge from the sea. Sea and wind erosion caused the most bizar rocks. The bus from Taipei takes one hour and 20 minutes.
The park is nearly empty at 12 o’clock, as the Chinese tourists and their selfie sticks get into the tourist buses for lunch.See detail page
Go to a different night market every night! They are foodie heaven. I loved Shilin Night Market for it’s the largest one of the bunch. Try stinky tofy, takoyaki (octopus balls), paper pork and giant grilled quids. 101 Jihe Rd. Another favorite is Raohe St Night Market, a smaller market but with the best bun ever: Hújiāo bǐng (beef pepper bun). You cannot miss the food, it’s the first one at the entrance and has a huge queue. Raohe St, btw Tayou Rd and Bade Rd.
Try these too!
Gongguan Night Market, Gongguan MRT
Guangzhou St Night Market, Guangzhou St, btw Xiyuan Rd and Wuzhou St
See detail page
The best trail I did was the Baiyan Waterfall, it’s an easy one and the reward is a stunning view of three (yes, three!) waterfalls. And if you dare…a bonus is a cave walk on a small ledge to get to the Water Curtain Tunnels. Bring a raincoat or get really, really wet. And a flash light could save your life. The trailhead is 1 km north of the village Tianxiang.
If you loooooove blue water, do the Shakadang Trail.See detail page
The Pingxi railway was once used for transporting coal, now it’s a fun touristy line passing through 7 little villages. All feature “old streets” with old Japanese buildings and sell tourist paraphernalia. But a few have something special. Get off at Shifen for the gorgeous waterfall, at Pingxi to release a sky lantern and at Houtong Cat Village if you miss your cat.
Catch the Pingxi train at Ruifang train stationSee detail page
Climb the four peaks of the elephant mountain and at each peak you’ll be speechless (OK, also because you are out of breath). The views of the city and the iconic Taipei 101 are magnificent. The way up is only stairs, but takes just about 15-20 minutes. Remember to take a right at the fork after the first flight of stairs.
Start at Xiangshan MRTSee detail page
Between Sun Moon Lake and Alishan, lies this gem. It’s a valley surrounded by three mountains, it’s cool and the forest is lush and rich and did I mention it’s cool (16C). I especially liked the ‘Forest Trail’, where you’re amazed by hundreds of tall trees.See detail page