20 Top Rated Tourist Attractions in Taiwan

Jul 22, 2021

Taiwan is blessed with some of the world's most dramatic natural scenery. And yet, many of its visitors are here for the great bargains on dining and shopping rather than the scenery.

Yet, the best things to see and do in Taiwan are largely outside the major cities. At the same time, you'll discover that Taiwan is rich in culture, like the UNESCO World Heritage temples that dot the western coastline.

Taiwan is different from other tourist destinations. The people are a major reason to visit, and the food is surprisingly good. And although you won't find any natural wonders like Hawaii, Taiwan's the ideal destination if you like adventure or really like peace and quiet.

If you have the time, you'll find the culture in Taiwan as diverse as the landscape. Plan your trip with our guide to the top attractions in Taiwan.

Taroko Gorge

Photo of Taroko National Park
Taroko National Park: en.wikipedia.org

Situated at the center of Taiwan, the Taroko Gorge is a sacred and important area to Taoists and Buddhists and is considered the second Buddha's footprint. The Taoist pagodas and shrines here are testimony to the veneration of the place, as well as to the colorful history of this region of Taiwan. Be sure to take a look at some of the other attractions and activities in the area, including Bunun, Shuanglin and Paomuhan.

Taichung

Photo of Taichung
Taichung: en.wikipedia.org

Taichung, the main city of the Taiwan island, is well worth a visit. The largest city in the southwest, it has a delightful mixture of historical charm and modern sophistication. If you'd like to see Taichung as well as another section of Taiwan, you could visit the coastal city of Tainan, which is smaller but an easy train journey away. Or, if you'd rather, you could move on to a more rural area to visit interesting sights such as the Taipei Zoo or a waterfall such as Beimen.

Taipei 101

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Taipei 101: en.wikipedia.org

Taipei 101, a 105-floor, landmark high-rise in Taipei, is the second tallest skyscraper in the world. The building, designed by Taipei-born American architect I. M. Pei, has been one of the city's most popular sights, especially when illuminated at night. Travelers can look down from the observatory for views of the colorful neon lights and urban landscape of Taipei and in the winter, see the unusual spectacle of the buildings clad in ice. Exhibitions in the double-height lobby gallery explore the urban environment, cultural influences, and design of Taipei, one of the world's fastest growing cities. To get there, take the Taipei Rapid Transit Corp (TRTC) or the Airport Express train to the Taipei Train Station. The building's ground floor has shops and galleries, an underground food hall, cafés, and the W Taipei 101 Hotel.

Taipei

Photo of Taipei
Taipei: en.wikipedia.org

Taiwan has long been a special place in the heart of those who know it. The abundant rain forests, crystal clear beaches, and the Chinese architecture make it all the more beautiful. The island, just off the east coast of mainland China, was made its own nation in 1949. Only in recent years have the people of Taiwan felt as if they were truly their own nation, with access to Chinese cultural traditions, yet also having a very distinct, original identity. Few cities in the world have as much to offer the visitor as the capital, Taipei. Taipei is a beautiful city, rich in architecture, and home to the world's highest concentration of beautiful temples and pagodas. Travelers should also visit the other side of Taiwan, where stunning beaches, dramatic landscapes, and beautiful colonial architecture await the visitor.

Read more 👉  Top Rated Tourist Attractions in Taipei

Taitung

Photo of Taitung City
Taitung City: en.wikipedia.org

Taitung is Taiwan's most western and southern island. Just 27 square miles and surrounded by Pacific Ocean, this pocket of Taiwan has a mix of old towns, rural villages and some of the country's most stunning beaches and dramatic coastal scenery. In the northern end of the island, explore the former Shuanglian Train Line (龍去鐵路), which has been turned into a scenic trail with cycling, hiking and nature spots for the public to enjoy. Surrounding the island is an area known as China Sea Land and Taiwan's coastline is among the best in the world. Visits to beach resorts like Hualien County, the so-called "Beach Town" are the biggest attraction with activities ranging from scuba diving, sea snorkeling and sea kayaking to hiking. Beijing, Tianjin and Shanghai are located within close proximity of Taitung, making trips to the latter ideal for visitors.

Hualien

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Hualien City: en.wikipedia.org

Hualien is one of Taiwan's most enchanting island destinations. It is known for its white sandy beaches and the vast coral reefs around offshore islands. The island is filled with a wonderful array of breath-taking scenery, including mountains, forests, lush valleys and hidden bays. The northwest coast has some of Taiwan's best-known beaches, with beautiful hues of white and turquoise sea and stunning rock formations. Things to do in Hualien include sailing on a junk, shopping at the local markets, strolling along the coast or simply relaxing in a kite surfing or wind surfing, to name just a few activities.

Hsinchu

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Hsinchu: en.wikipedia.org

A popular destination for Taiwan's rich and famous, Hsinchu (Hsinchu is Taipei spelled backwards) is filled with elegant boulevards, great restaurants and designer shops. The old quarter is centered on Hsinchu City Hall (Hsinchu Chingchih), the city's majestic five-story limestone building. Built in the 1930s, the city hall serves as a symbol of Hsinchu. The presidential palace is a nice stroll away, and the city's most famous parks can be found within. Hsinchu's outstanding cultural heritage is exemplified by the Taipei Fine Arts Museum (Tayuan Huashan Shih), which has a great collection of Chinese art.

National Palace Museum

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National Palace Museum: en.wikipedia.org

National Palace Museum in Taipei is the most important collection of the Ming and Qing Dynasties in East Asia. A 20,000-piece collection of Chinese art is on display at this magnificent building designed by the famous modernist architect I.M. Pei. The museum is located in the formerly imperial Taipei, one of the world's most historically significant city. A highlight of a visit to this center of culture is a visit to the magnificent modern art exhibition of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

Kenting National Park

Photo of Kenting National Park
Kenting National Park: en.wikipedia.org

Although small in area, Kenting National Park is one of Taiwan's best-loved parks for its stunning scenery of forested hills, karst cliffs, meandering rivers, and luxuriant bamboo and tea plantations. Set on Taiwan's westernmost tip, the coastal region is relatively undeveloped, and its beachfront areas remain relatively undiscovered, giving Kenting an unusually peaceful ambience and the reputation of being one of Taiwan's most relaxed beach resorts. Besides the main tourist areas, Kenting is home to quiet fishing villages that surround its coastal waters, notably Checheng, which is the administrative center of the park. A winding dirt road leads through its hilly terrain, and visitors can follow it past attractive mountain temples to explore some of the small-town attractions of Muding and Longtan. Kenting is the most significant source of fresh water on Taiwan's western coast, and the 15 freshwater lakes, fed by underground water flow from as far as the Taiwan Plateau, provide an excellent opportunity to experience China's longest river, the Liujiang. The best time to visit is between October and February, when the weather is sunny and clear, and the summer months of May to August.

Changhua County

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Changhua County: en.wikipedia.org

Located on the western coast of Taiwan, this bucolic destination boasts more than 100 national parks, including Lanyu Nature Reserve and Huangniao Nature Reserve. Noteworthy beaches include Hanggang (Cape of Good Hope) and Hualien, which features powdery, fine white sand. The area is also known for its incredible gastronomy, with its abundance of excellent wines, fruits and seafood. Join wine lovers and gourmands for a day at the wine festival in nearby Penghu City. Travelers visiting Changhua can base themselves in either Taichung or Changhua, both of which offer everything from great shopping, delightful dining and a great setting for strolling along beaches with the warm waters of the South China Sea.

Taitung County

Photo of Taitung County
Taitung County: en.wikipedia.org

Taiwan is a mountainous nation located in the South China Sea between the Philippines, Japan, and China. One of the country's best-known sights is the Taoist Taipei Big Buddha, built in 2006 in a limestone cave on the outskirts of the capital city, Taipei. The enormous bronze Buddha statue, formed of thousands of pieces of cast iron, is more than 110 feet high and stands on a platform 110 feet in diameter. Located about 2 1/2 hours from Taipei, Hsinchu is the third-largest city in Taiwan. A city of about 860,000 people, Hsinchu is characterized by a large wooden bridge and Hsinchu City Hall. It is the site of the Taiwanese Jewish Cultural Center and the home of the University of Hsinchu, one of the country's best colleges.

Kaohsiung International

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Kaohsiung International Airport: en.wikipedia.org

Kaohsiung is a dynamic port city in Taiwan, with the Chungyu Poopo Beach, Pooh Poo Beach, and the Monkey Beach all in the south west of the city. Together with the Pingtung County, the province of Pingtung, the city is divided into 12 sub-counties. Some 2.9 million people live in the area, making it one of Taiwan's most densely populated cities. There is a distinct Burmese influence in the region due to many of the northern Chinese immigrants being Burmese, as well as a strong Chinese influence due to the sizable Chinese population. Downtown Kaohsiung is one of the best places to visit, with its vibrant street life, museums, and cultural attractions, including the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall, Taoist Temple, Chung Gu Fu and Chi Su Temple, and National Taiwan Museum. The best way to see Kaohsiung is by foot, on a rented scooter or taxi, with a local guidebook.

Jiufen

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Jiufen: en.wikipedia.org

Jiufen (Jiu Fen in Mandarin) is one of the most famous destinations in Taiwan's southern province of Chiayi, famous for the creation of China's most famous Taiwanese opera, the kung fu show known as kung fu itself. Jiufen is an area of narrow, winding streets and one-story dwellings with galleries full of all sorts of cultural products and souvenir stands. The local day-trippers from Chiayi make their way here on weekends. Jiufen is a two-hour drive from Chiayi City, from which there are plenty of bus and taxi services.

Tainan

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Tainan: en.wikipedia.org

Tainan is a modern, crowded city situated on the southern coast of Taiwan. During the colonial era, the former outpost became a transit point for the Taiwanese soldiers sent from the mainland to fight the Japanese. The war left Tainan virtually undamaged and, with its good port facilities and solid urban development, became an industrial center. Tainan is one of the larger cities in Taiwan. There are many superb attractions to see within the city, including Tainan's infamous Soong Ching-ling's residence and the Tainan Revolutionary Martyrs Cemetery. In the surrounding area, visitors can spend their time hiking and cycling through the beautiful Formosan countryside and can visit a number of interesting caves and shrines on Mt. Hehu in southern Tainan. Tainan is well connected to the international airports of Taipei and Kaohsiung.

Kaohsiung

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Kaohsiung: en.wikipedia.org

Taiwan's most famous city and the largest in its southern half is Taipei (its official name is Taipei County). It is most famous for the seven peaks of Zhongzheng, the Taipei city monorail, the Taipei Tower and Taipei 101 (world's tallest skyscraper). Kaohsiung is its most popular port. Once the major port of the city of Fujian, Kaohsiung was one of the first places in the world to be connected to the telegraph. Taipei is still considered the center of education and technology in Taiwan. The city's beautiful streets and natural surroundings make it an excellent base for exploring the southern half of the island. Taiwan's leading museums are here. As one of the few countries in the world with a unified government, Taiwan has a wealth of valuable material for collectors and history enthusiasts. The National Palace Museum has the world's most comprehensive collection of Chinese art and is one of the premier attractions in Taiwan. Other points of interest include the Zoological Park, one of the island's few remnants of a wilder past, and the gorgeous beach at Daan, one of the most popular surfing and swimming beaches in the country. Be careful, however, that you don't slip off the impressive black marble pedestrian footbridge that connects the two parts of the city.

Sun Moon Lake

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Sun Moon Lake: en.wikipedia.org

The deep and wide basin of Sun Moon Lake (Yongzheng Tan) is at the center of the Taiwanese Buddhist mountain range known as the Wutai Shan. The Jade Emperor Temple (Wen Miao) at the highest point of the mountain is also of interest, as it contains some beautiful statuary and excellent murals. Several other temples are located along the walking trails around the lake. The holy mountain Kuan Yin Ching is accessible on foot and climbs up to the top in less than an hour, passing several shrines along the way.

Shilin Night Market

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Shilin Night Market: en.wikipedia.org

Situated on a hilltop in the northwest of Taiwan is Shilin Night Market, the most famous night market in Taiwan and one of the most popular tourist spots in Taiwan. It is considered one of the most attractive and traditional night markets in the world. Shilin Night Market is renowned for its huge fish and seafood markets as well as its tens of small and colorful open-air markets selling cheap clothes, shoes, and household goods, which are situated around the edges of the large open-air section of the market. There are also opportunities to wander the streets and enjoy various night time musical and performing arts shows as well as to take in the moonlight. Visitors can also wander through any of the stalls and take pictures.

Keelung

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Keelung: en.wikipedia.org

Keelung (郑縣), set on a stunning rocky promontory that juts out into the Taiwan Strait, lies 75 miles northwest of Taipei. Unsurprisingly, there is much to explore in this small city, with its charming laid-back atmosphere, its offbeat markets, and its captivating views across the blue water. A bevy of fine hotels and restaurants dot the city's waterfront, many of which provide glimpses of rural Taiwan as a forested haven with its close proximity to Taipei. The city is also home to a top-flight culinary scene with a number of restaurants serving up fantastic Taiwanese fare, and there are numerous inviting cafés to keep the sun up and the books down while you soak up the sights.

Penghu

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Penghu: en.wikipedia.org

Penghu is an island off the coast of Taiwan and considered part of the same archipelago as the island of Taiwan. An area with hundreds of small islets and rocks surrounding a shallow emerald sea, this is the perfect tropical escape and the favorite honeymoon destination of many Taiwanese newlyweds. One of the more beautiful sights is Linhorst Islet, a huge forested rock towering above the deep turquoise sea. Due to the island's proximity to the Japanese coast, this area has been designated a special wildlife reserve for several endangered species. An ecological wonderland, nature enthusiasts flock to this paradise, seeking beauty and adventure alike. A visit to Penghu means that you can stay in beachside townlets that are open for business only at the height of the summer months. Just south of Penghu lies the Turtle Island, a short ferry ride from the western coast. This uninhabited island offers one of the most breathtaking experiences in Taiwan, as it is slowly being swallowed by the sea.

Chiayi Park

Photo of Chiayi
Chiayi: en.wikipedia.org

Chiayi Park, just south of the busy Wanhua district in Taipei, is famous for the 36-meter-high (115-foot-high) "Window of Chiayi". This unique structure, built of stone and glazed tiles, is shaped like a window and houses a tiny memorial garden where some flowers are planted every spring to celebrate the city's founding in AD 1627. Chiayi Park has museums and memorials to Chiayi's former ruler, as well as the well-preserved ruins of a palace and the Ta Hsiang Yee Cung Memorial Pagoda, Taiwan's largest gilded pagoda dating to AD 987. Other structures include the National Taipei Fine Arts Museum, the Chongshin Cultural Center, and the 7,115-square-meter (77,000-square-foot) Central Taiwan College of Traditional Arts.