Taiwan, formerly known as Formosa, is a beautiful country, great for tourism and living. Besides its small size, it has an infinity of activities to do and places to visit.
With so many interesting places in Taiwan, we need to divide this post into two parts (part two here). For this part, we’ll list 15 places from the west side of the island, mostly. A tiny number of what Taiwan has to offer, though.
The video above is only 5 minutes long but is good enough to make you willing to plan your next trip to Taiwan.
1 – Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall (Taipei)
The National Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall is a national monument, erected in memory of Chiang Kai-Shek.
Right of the entrance, you will notice how wide the place is, with the National Concert Hall on your left, the National Theater on your right, and the Memorial Hall in the middle, at the end of the square. The entrance to the square is something impressive too.
Tip: The change of the guards is a plus you don’t want to miss.
Hours of operation: 9 AM – 6 PM
Nearby hotels: Hotels in Taipei City
More information: http://www.cksmh.gov.tw/eng/index.php
3 – National Palace Museum (Taipei)
With 700,000 pieces of artifacts and artworks, the National Palace Museum, in Taipei, is one of the largest of its type in the world. The collection holds over 10,000 years of Chinese history from the Neolithic age to the late Qing Dynasty.
Tip: It can be quite crowded sometimes, mostly because of the famous Jadeite Cabbage. There are waves of tourists who go in large groups to see this artifact. So the tip is to enjoy the other artifacts first (around 700,000 pieces, remember?) and try to visit the Cabbage between those waves.
Open daily from 08:30 to 18:30 all year round.
Admission: NTD $250
Nearby hotels: Hotels in Taipei City
More info: https://www.npm.gov.tw/en/
5 – Sun Moon Lake (Nantou County)
You will find yourself in a pleasant city surrounding this beautiful lake. It’s almost mandatory you rent a good bike (and a good one, please!) and give a ride around this huge lake. Don’t worry. If your concern is where to find a place to rent your bike, the city has plenty of options. You have to check the conditions of the bike before you rent it, though. There are good prices everywhere, but sometimes the savings do not pay for your comfort and safety. The bike path is well maintained, with tons of places to eat, to take pictures, to relax, and to enjoy.
If you feel like walking instead of riding a bike, fear not, you will have even more paths and options to choose.
Tip: Start early, have a nice breakfast, carry some snacks and water with you and you are good to go. Oh, and if you see places selling mushroom sandwiches with tofu, you definitely should try, they are delicious.
7 – Taijiang National Park (Tainan)
An ecological paradise in Taiwan, the Taijiang National Park is on the migration route for Asian birds. Every autumn and winter thousands of birds can be seen there.
Tip: When in there, try to visit the Sicao Green Tunnel. Do not forget to carry your earplugs to decrease the noise made by both the boat engine and the tourist guide.
9 – Fo Guang Shan Temple – Kaohsiung Buddha Temple (Kaohsiung)
Among all the Buddhist temples in Taiwan, this one is the largest, and certainly one of the most impressive (if not the most). Located in Kaohsiung, this huge place is the HQ for the Fo Guang Shan, an order that calls itself as the International Buddhist Progress Society.
If a giant golden Buddha isn’t enough to make your mind, there are eight pagodas, pavilions, halls, gardens, museums and much more. Actually, I would need an entire post just to talk about this amazing place 🙂
Tip: There are two main entrances leading to different places of the complex. Save some time to visit the monastery, in special the museum. Don’t spend all your time at the giant Buddha side.
11 – Love River (Kaohsiung)
You will find restaurants, a vibrant night market, places to rent a bike (even for free) and more alongside the river. The Love River is also a stage for the Kaohsiung Dragon Boat Festival and other sailboat competitions.
Tip: If you are traveling in June, don’t miss the Kaohsiung Dragon Boat Festival
13 – Penghu Islands (Penghu County)
Also known as “Ilha dos Pescadores”, Portuguese for Fishermen Island, Penghu is an archipelago of 64 islands and islets in the Taiwan Strait.
Penghu is one of the top places in Taiwan. It has a great structure for tourism, with plenty of places and activities to do. Even being an archipelago, it’s easy to find transportation from one island to another, though. The island is also famous for the basalt formations spread all over the National Scenic Area.
Tip: Do not miss the Wang’an Island, to the south of Magong. It’s not overcrowded; it has great places to visit, good food, and a delicious cactus ice cream. When there, you can rent a scooter or a car to help you explore this beautiful place.
15 – Kenting National Park (Pingtung County)
Kenting is the oldest and southernmost national park of Taiwan. It offers beaches, scenic mountains, tropical climate, the sunshine, good nightlife and much more.
You may rent a car or a scooter to explore further, especially the Eluanbi Lighthouse area, located at the southernmost point of Taiwan.
Tip: Don’t miss the National Museum of Biology and Aquarium, it’s cheap, good and easy to find.