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Planning to visit Taiwan? This is your comprehensive Taiwan Travel Guide featuring the best things to do in Taiwan, must-visit tourist spots, places to stay, and sample itinerary and estimated budget.

Taiwan, a state situated near China, is the perfect blend of everything a tourist could wish for on their vacation. The island nation boasts modern, urban cities, stunning mountainous regions, and traditional Chinese temples that exude an authentic charm. With such a diverse range of landscapes and environments, Taiwan offers a plethora of things to do that are sure to captivate travelers of all types.

The country is also renowned for its vibrant night markets, which are some of the best in the world, offering an extensive selection of delectable eats and unique shopping experiences that cater to all tastes.

No matter what your interests may be, Taiwan has something to offer. Whether it’s immersing yourself in nature, delving into culture and history, indulging in delectable cuisine, or simply enjoying the buzz of the city, Taiwan is a destination that never fails to impress. Find cheap flights to Taipei

Here’s our list of the 21 best things to do in Taiwan for your next vacation!

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Best Things To Do in Taiwan

Visit the National Palace Museum

A perfect way to kick-start your Taiwan vacation is to delve into the rich culture and history of the region. The National Palace Museum, which first opened its doors in 1965, provides an extensive overview of over 8,000 years of history in Taiwan. It is one of the top tourist spots in Taiwan that a visitor shouldn’t miss. The museum’s collection boasts a vast array of Chinese art, including carvings, paintings, calligraphy, and ceramics, featuring a rich collection of 7,000 pieces.

National Palace Museum is one of the top tourist spots in Taiwan
National Palace Museum | Bigstock

Two of the must-see pieces in the museum are the Early Spring by Guo Xi, a renowned painting from 1072, and the Jadeite Cabbage carving. With its impressive collection and significant cultural importance, a visit to the National Palace Museum in Taiwan is an excellent way to get an in-depth understanding of the island’s culture and heritage.

Visit Taipei 101

Taipei 101 is an impressive engineering feat and the world’s first of its kind. It towers over the city at 508 meters high, comprising 101 stories, and was designed as a representation of the fusion of Asian tradition with technological advancement. The structure features a postmodern design mixed with pan-Chinese and Asian elements and was built to withstand the frequent typhoons and earthquakes in Taiwan.

A Visit to Taipei 101 is one of the best things to do in Taiwan.
Taipei 101

The Taipei 101 Observatory is a must-visit attraction in Taiwan. Located 382 meters above ground on the 89th floor, it provides a commanding 360-degree view of Taipei and the surrounding basin. Visitors can also see the massive damper, weighing 660 metric tons, which helps stabilize the building during high winds and seismic activity. The observatory offers high-power binoculars, a restaurant, pre-recorded audio tour guides in seven languages, and souvenir shops.

Explore Ximending

Ximending is a bustling neighborhood in Taipei’s Wanhua District that is known for its vibrant nightlife and cultural scene. The first pedestrianized area in the city, it offers a unique blend of entertainment, shopping, and food that is unlike any other in Taiwan.

A visit to Ximending is one of the best things to do in Taiwan.
A night in Ximending

Reminiscent of Shinjuku in Japan but with its own distinct Taiwanese flair, Ximending is a must-visit destination for any traveler to Taipei. Although busy both day and night, the neighborhood truly comes alive after dark when the neon lights illuminate the streets and the aroma of street food fills the air. Whether you’re looking for a taste of local cuisine, unique shopping experiences, or live entertainment, Ximending has it all. A visit here is one of the best things to do in Taiwan.

Go on a food trip at the Shilin Night Market

Night markets are an integral part of Taiwanese culture, and the Shilin Night Market in Taipei is the oldest, largest, and most well-known night market in the city. Situated near MRT Jiantan Station, the market is a labyrinth of sprawling alleys lined with food and merchandise vendors, quaint shops, and carnival games.

Going on a food trip at Shilin Night Market is one of the best things to do in Taiwan.
Shilin Night Market

The market’s centerpiece is a food court featuring 539 stalls that offer a wide range of dishes to satisfy any food cravings. Among the most unique menu offerings are lemon aiyu jelly, fried fish balls, stinky tofu, Fuzhou Ancestor Pepper Pie, Hometown Barbecue Chicken, Good Friend Cold Noodles, and Jian Ji Papaya Milk.

Exploring the maze of dense alleys in the Shilin Night Market is a unique opportunity to learn about the food and culture of the Taiwanese people. The market is an ideal spot to indulge in some delicious local cuisine and experience the vibrant energy of Taiwan’s bustling night markets.

Discover Taipei’s historical heritage at Liberty Square

Liberty Square is a public plaza in Taipei, also known as Freedom Square, and has played a significant role in Taiwan’s modern democratic history. The square is a hub for public gatherings and is a popular tourist attraction in Taipei. The major points of interest at the park include the National Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall, National Concert Hall, and the National Theater. The Liberty Square Arch is another popular attraction, a royal historical gate that looks beautiful when illuminated at night. The square hosts various festivals and red-carpet ceremonies and is a must-visit spot for those interested in Taiwan’s history and culture.

Liberty Square
Liberty Square

Visit the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall

The National Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall is a significant landmark in Taipei, covering an area of 250,000 square meters. Its white marble structure is inspired by Tiantan in Beijing and features blue roofs that reflect the bright sun and sky. The garden is adorned with red flowers, representing the colors of the national flag.

Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall is one of the must-visit tourist spots in Taiwan
Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall

The hall is home to the bronze statue of Chiang Kai-shek, which symbolically faces the Presidential Office Building and mainland China. The area also includes the National Theater and National Concert Hall, which have hosted world-renowned musicians and playgroups. The surrounding walls are designed with traditional Chinese garden aesthetics and host various events, such as concerts, school band performances, and fairs. The National Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall is a historical site that offers a glimpse of Taiwan’s rich cultural heritage.

Enjoy the Chiang Kai-shek Shilin Residence Park

Chiang Kai-shek Shilin Residence Park, located in Shilin District, Taipei, was the former official residence of Chiang Kai-shek and Madam Chiang. The park covers 9.28 hectares and is surrounded by the Fushan hills. It features both a Chinese-style inner garden with a stream, rock gardens, and a red-painted Chinese summerhouse, as well as a European-style outer garden with a carpet bed of flowers. The park also has a rose garden with over 4,000 plants of 200 species, Madame Chiang’s favorite spot for leisurely strolls, and various pavilions, including the New Orchid Pavilion and the Ciyun Pavilion.

Chiang Kai-shek Shilin Residence Park
Chiang Kai-shek Shilin Residence Park

The CKS Shilin Residence Park has been open to the public since 1996 and has undergone numerous renovations to become a scenic and recreational spot in downtown Taipei. Visitors can enjoy the stunning views of the gardens and attend various orchid and chrysanthemum exhibitions.

Visit the Longshan Temple

Longshan Temple is a historic temple in Taiwan, built in 1738 during the Qing Dynasty. Though it has undergone several rebuilds due to earthquakes and bombing during WWII, it remains one of the most popular and impressive temples in Taipei. Locals and tourists flock to this temple throughout the day to pray and ask for guidance from the Gods.

Longshan Temple

To fully appreciate the temple’s beauty, it’s recommended to visit in the evening when it’s lit up. Plus, the Huaxi Street Night Market is adjacent to the temple, so visitors can enjoy a night out after exploring the temple. Entrance to the temple is free.

See the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall

The Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall was designed by architect Wang Da-hung as a tribute to the founding father of the Republic of China. In addition to being a memorial, the hall serves as an educational and cultural center hosting various events throughout the year. The surrounding park provides a peaceful retreat for residents and visitors alike. Notably, the hall hosts several major cultural and arts events such as the Golden Horse Awards, Golden Bell Awards, and Culture Awards.

Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall

Visit Garden 91 Museum

Garden 91 is a hidden gem for art lovers, located on the top of the Yangmingshan mountain in Taipei. The museum features an extensive collection of sculptures and paintings that belonged to Mr. Lin, a Taiwanese collector and art enthusiast. Despite its impressive collection, Garden 91 is not a well-known tourist attraction, making it a great place to escape the crowds and enjoy the peaceful surroundings.

Overlooking view of Taipei City from Garden 91 Museum
Overlooking view of Taipei City from Garden 91 Museum

In addition to the museum, Garden 91 also boasts a beautiful garden with stunning views of Taipei City. Visitors can enjoy a leisurely stroll through the garden while admiring the natural beauty of the surrounding area. The combination of the art collection and the scenic setting makes Garden 91 a unique and memorable destination for anyone looking to experience the culture and natural beauty of Taiwan.

Explore Taroko National Park

Taroko National Park is the most visited of Taiwan’s nine national parks and is arguably the most popular tourist destination on the island’s east coast.

A day trip to Taroko is a favorite among tourists, and the park’s landmark Taroko Gorge is the main attraction. Known as one of Asia’s 7 wonders, the gorge boasts marble cliffs, deep winding tunnels, and a picturesque river that flows through the bottom.

Taroko National Park | © W.Scott McGill / Adobe Stock

Another beautiful spot in the park is the Eternal Spring Shrine, a classic shrine that serves as a memorial for veterans. It’s definitely worth a stop for its stunning views of the mountains and the never-ending waterfall that graces the landscape. Taroko National Park is a must-see destination for anyone visiting Taiwan.

See the Shifen Waterfall

Shifen Waterfall is a must-visit destination for those who love nature and its beauty. With its impressive width of 40 meters, it is one of the widest waterfalls on the island. The horseshoe shape and powerful flow of the waterfall earned it the nickname “Little Niagara of Taiwan,” and visitors are often delighted with a bright rainbow on sunny days, hence the second nickname of “Rainbow Pond.” The surrounding forested mountainside is also breathtaking.

Shifen Waterfall
Shifen Waterfall

Shifen Waterfall is within walking distance of Shifen Old Street, which is along the Pingxi Branch railroad line. Visitors may also notice interesting holes in the riverbed that have been created by the erosive action of the water, producing potholes that are in abundance in the Dahua Station area.

Explore Jiufen Old Street

Jiufen Old Street is a charming and lively marketplace located in the mountainous region of northeastern Taiwan, within the small town of Jiufen. The marketplace is a popular destination for tourists, and it’s easy to see why. The quaint alleyway is filled with numerous shops and vendors selling a wide variety of goods, from traditional Taiwanese foods to handmade pottery and souvenirs.

Jiufen Old Street
Jiufen Old Street

Although it can get quite crowded, with tourists from around the world coming to experience the lively atmosphere and picturesque scenery, the unique blend of culture, history, and food makes it a must-visit destination for anyone exploring Taiwan. In addition to the bustling marketplace, Jiufen is also home to a variety of other tourist attractions, including the stunning Keelung Mountain, the historic Jiufen teahouses, and the Shengping Theater, which has been transformed into a museum.

Relax in Beitou Hot Springs

Beitou Hot Springs is a must-visit destination for tourists who enjoy indulging in thermal hot springs. Located at Xinbeitou station, this area is a hotbed of public and private baths to choose from. The natural hot springs are rich in sulfur and are said to have therapeutic benefits for a range of ailments, making it a popular spot for both tourists and locals. The area also boasts an authentic and popular style of inns and resort hotels, which makes it easy to stay as long as you want. However, it’s best to book ahead of time to ensure availability, as this is a very popular destination.

Beitou Hot Springs
Beitou Hot Springs | Bigstock

Hike in Yangmingshan National Park

Yangmingshan National Park is a popular tourist destination located in northern Taipei City, known for its parks, hiking trails, interesting flora and fauna, and hot springs. With an area of 114 square kilometers and ranging in elevation from 200 to 1,200 meters, the park is a Category II protected area by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. It offers subtropical and warm temperate climate zones and a rich Japanese influence, evident in the area’s numerous hot springs and planted trees.

Yangmingshan National Park
Yangmingshan National Park

The area was once a center for sulfur mining and agriculture, with tea plantations and other crops. Today, the park’s boutique-style agriculture and tourism focus offers visitors Calla lilies at Zhuzihu and beautiful seasonal sights. From flowering seasons in February and March, summer winds and thunder, to autumn maple leaves and misty rainbows, and winter monsoons creating seas of clouds and snow, each season brings its own unique beauty to Yangmingshan National Park.

Explore the Yehliu Geopark

Yehliu Geological Park, located in northern Taiwan, is one of the most unique natural attractions in the world. Its eroded rock formations, sculpted by the forces of seawater, waves, and wind, have made the park a popular destination for both locals and tourists. The soft limestone composition of the rock layers allows for the constant effect of these natural forces, resulting in a surreal and otherworldly landscape that is a must-see.

Yehliu Geopark
Yehliu Geopark

Beyond the park’s iconic rock formations, such as the “Queen’s Head,” visitors can enjoy a range of other activities. A short walk beyond the Geopark leads to the top of a cliff, offering a breathtaking 360-degree view of the North Coast and the Pacific Ocean. The park also features an ecology reserve and Taiwan’s first marine park, providing a great opportunity to learn about marine wildlife and conservation efforts. Families can enjoy the Yehliu Ocean World, where they can watch acrobatic dolphin, whale, and seal shows, or take a stroll through a 100-meter transparent undersea tunnel. Whether you’re a nature lover, a marine enthusiast, or just looking for an adventure, Yehliu Geological Park is a must-see destination in Taiwan.

Visit Houli Flower Garden

Houli Flower Garden is a popular tourist destination in Taichung, Central Taiwan. This stunning garden is a must-visit attraction that showcases an extensive variety of flowers, including sunflowers, lavender, and cosmos, amongst others. The garden is an ideal place to relax and escape the bustling city life, offering a serene and picturesque environment that will leave you feeling rejuvenated.

Houli Flower Garden is one of the top tourist attractions in Taiwan
Houli Flower Garden

The garden spans over 10 hectares and features various flower exhibitions, a butterfly garden, and a windmill, making it a perfect location for photography enthusiasts. Visitors can also take part in fun activities, such as flower picking and tea tasting. The garden is accessible from Taipei as a day trip, or visitors can choose to stay in Taichung and explore other nearby attractions. Houli Flower Garden is a great destination for nature lovers, families, and anyone looking for a peaceful retreat in the heart of Taiwan. Check out our post on how to go to Houli Flower Garden from Taipei.

Visit Sun Moon Lake

The Sun Moon Lake National Scenic Area is a must-visit destination for tourists in Central Taiwan. This popular spot in Nantou County is the country’s largest lake and attracts millions of visitors each year. The area offers a range of accommodations, but the best place to stay is The Lalu Sun Moon Lake, which provides a breathtaking view of both lakes.

The Lalu Sun Moon Lake
The Lalu Sun Moon Lake

Visitors can enjoy a scenic cruise on the lake or explore the Formosan Aboriginal Culture Village by taking a gondola or the Sun Moon Lake Ropeway. There are plenty of other activities available in the area, such as hiking, biking, and hot springs. The lake also serves as a habitat for a variety of species, making it an excellent location for bird watching and nature photography. With its stunning natural beauty and abundant recreational opportunities, Sun Moon Lake is a destination that visitors to Taiwan should not miss.

Experience Gaomei Wetlands

Gaomei Wetlands is a protected wetland in Qingshui District, Taichung, Taiwan. The area is a popular tourist destination in Central Taiwan, known for its stunning sunsets and picturesque windmills. The wetlands are home to a diverse range of birds and sea creatures that can be observed by visitors during low-tide while walking on the 800-meter boardwalk.

Gaomei Wetlands
Gaomei Wetlands

At the end of the boardwalk, visitors can experience the wetlands more fully by removing their shoes and walking on the silt. It’s a unique and memorable way to fully immerse oneself in this beautiful and protected area. Whether you’re a nature lover or simply looking for a scenic spot to take in the sunset, Gaomei Wetlands is a must-visit destination in Taiwan.

Explore Formosan Aboriginal Culture Village

The Formosan Aboriginal Culture Village is a popular outdoor museum located in Yuchi Township, Nantou County. Established in 1986, it spans 62 hectares and features traditional homes and architecture of Taiwanese indigenous tribes, making it one of Central Taiwan’s must-see attractions.

Cherry Blossoms at Formosan Aboriginal Culture Village
Cherry Blossoms at Formosan Aboriginal Culture Village

In addition to the cultural exhibits, the village also boasts several theme parks, including the European Gardens, Aladdin Plaza, Aboriginal Villages, Amusement Isle, and Ti Ka Er Rainforest. Visitors can enjoy the cherry blossom view from February to March, which makes for a perfect Instagram-worthy photo opportunity.

Experience Lihpao Land Theme Park

Lihpao Land is a massive resort park in Taiwan that covers 200 hectares, featuring both land and water theme parks. The park offers a range of attractions for visitors to enjoy, including the five-star Fullon Hotel Lihpao Land, the Chamber of Secrets escape room, the Lihpao Outlet Mall, the Lihpao Road Station, the Lihpao Racing Park, and Sky Dream – Taiwan’s largest Ferris wheel.

Lihpao Land Theme Park
Lihpao Land Theme Park

Two must-try experiences at the park are Gravity Max at Discovery World and the Big Dream attraction at Mala Bay.

Gravity Max is a unique and thrilling ride that is the world’s only tilt roller coaster. Riders are suspended at a 90-degree angle before being dropped, twisted, and turned through a series of loops and curves. It’s an exhilarating experience that is not for the faint of heart.

At Mala Bay, visitors can experience the biggest artificial waves in Southeast Asia at the Big Dream attraction. It’s an ideal place to cool off on a hot day, with the waves providing a fun and exciting ride for all ages. Whether you want to catch some waves or just relax by the pool, Mala Bay is a must-visit spot at Lihpao Land.

Where to Eat in Taipei

There are many night markets in Taipei where you can find sumptuous food. The most popular is the Shihlin Night Market. You can also go to Ximending to fill your tummy with good food. One of the best bubble tea has a shop in Ximending. You can also explore Raohe Night Market or if you stay near Taipei 101, you can go to Linjiang Street Night Market. Lots of good food there, too!

Raohe Night Market
Raohe Night Market
Linjiang Street Night Market
Linjiang Street Night Market
Xing Futang in Ximending

Yong Kang Beef Noodle

One of the reasons why people visit other countries is because of the food, and this one you surely shouldn’t miss. Beef Noodle is the national dish of Taiwan and this family restaurant in the Da’an District is the perfect place to find this sensational dish. This will definitely give you a great taste of their local food. This restaurant has a Bib Gourmand rating by Michelin.

Address: No. 17號, Lane 31, Section 2, Jinshan South Road, Da’an District, Taipei City, Taiwan

Beef Noodle
Beef Noodle

Golden Formosa

The Golden Formosa is a popular Taiwanese restaurant in Taipei’s Shilin District. It started in the 1960s and is included in Taipei’s Michelin Guidebook. It received a 1-star rating and it’s definitely worth a stop.

Golden Formosa
Golden Formosa

Must-try is their signature twice-cooked deep-fried pork ribs. You can also try their juicy Hainanese chicken if you are eating with a group. As for dessert, the deep-fried taro balls are a must-have!

Golden Formosa's Deep-fried Pork Ribs
Golden Formosa’s Deep-fried Pork Ribs

Address: No. 101號, Tianmu East Road, Shilin District, Taipei City, Taiwan
Opening Hours: Tuesday to Sunday from 11:30 – 14:30 and 17:30 – 21:30

Din Tai Fung

Din Tai Fung is another popular Taiwanese restaurant with a number of branches across Taiwan. It is well-known for its different varieties of xiaolongbao both savory and sweet. It started in Taipei in 1972 and has now branches in more than 10 countries including the USA, China, Hong Kong, Singapore, and the Philippines. It received a Bib Gourmand rating in the Taipei edition of the Michelin Guide.

Din Tai Fung's Pork Xiaolongbao
Din Tai Fung’s Pork Xiaolongbao

Must-try dishes:

  • Pork Xiaolongbao NTD110 for 5pcs
  • Spicy Shrimp and Pork Wontons NTD180 for 8pcs
  • Chocolate Xiaolongbao NTD175 for 5pcs
Din Tai Fung's Chocolate Xiaolongbao
Din Tai Fung’s Chocolate Xiaolongbao

Bar 88 at Taipei 101

If you visit Taipei 101 Observatory, you should drop by Bar 88, a must-try cafe in Taipei. You can order a glass of coffee or bubble tea served with cotton candy and enjoy a stunning view of the city at the same time.

Bar 88 at Taipei 101
Bar 88 at Taipei 101

CAMA Coffee Roasters

If you love coffee, I highly recommend visiting CAMA Coffee Roasters in Taipei’s Yangmingshan National Park. Aside from good coffee, you can also enjoy the relaxing ambiance of the cafe. They serve different types of coffee from around the world – Africa, Colombia, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Taiwan local coffee, and more!

CAMA Coffee Roasters
CAMA Coffee Roasters

They have branches across Taiwan but this shop in Yangmingshan is a must-visit. It’s an old Japanese house converted into a cafe.

CAMA Coffee Roasters
CAMA Coffee Roasters

Shan Lan Cafe at Landis Resort Yangmingshan

Order a set meal at Shan Lan Cafe at Landis Resort Yangmingshan and enjoy an impressive view of the Yangmingshan Mountains. During spring, you can have a spectacular view of cherry blossoms just outside the restaurant. It’s perfect for that IG-worthy shot.

Set meal at Shan Lan Cafe
Set meal at Shan Lan Cafe
Cherry Blossom at Landis Resort Yangmingshan

Sample TAIWAN Itinerary

Day 1 Taiwan Itinerary

  • Arrival in Taipei early morning
  • Start your day by visiting Taipei 101, the iconic landmark of Taipei city. Take a ride to the top of the tower to enjoy the panoramic views of the city.
  • Next, head to Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall, a symbolic monument of Taiwan’s democracy and a beautiful architecture surrounded by lush gardens.
  • In the afternoon, visit the National Palace Museum, which houses an extensive collection of ancient Chinese art and artifacts.
  • In the evening, take a stroll through the bustling Shilin Night Market to experience the vibrant local street food culture.

Day 2 Taiwan Itinerary

  • Start your day early by taking a train to the stunning Sun Moon Lake, a beautiful natural lake in the center of Taiwan. Take a boat ride on the lake and enjoy the picturesque scenery.
  • Take a gondola and visit the Formosan Aboriginal Culture Village, a theme park that showcases Taiwan’s indigenous culture and history.
  • In the afternoon, take a train to Taichung and visit the Houli Flower Farm
  • Head back to Taipei and visit the trendy Ximending district, which is known for its vibrant nightlife and shopping.

Day 3 Taiwan Itinerary

  • Start your day by taking a trip to the historic town of Jiufen, located in the mountains east of Taipei. This charming town is known for its narrow streets, tea houses, and stunning views of the ocean. While in Jiufen, you can also visit the nearby Shifen Waterfall and the Shifen Old Street, where you can release sky lanterns.
  • Then, explore Jiufen Old Street and head back to Taipei.
  • Explore Raohe Night Market to enjoy some delicious street food and do some shopping or take a rest.

Day 4 Taiwan Itinerary

  • Early morning hike to hike Elephant Mountain’s trail
  • Go shopping
  • Check-out at the hotel
  • Visit Longshan Temple and go on a food trip to Din Tai Fung
  • Head to the airport / Fly back home

Where to Stay in Taipei

Taipei is a bustling city with a range of accommodation options to suit every budget and taste. Here are a few suggestions on where to stay in Taipei:

No matter where you stay in Taipei, it’s a good idea to look for accommodations near a subway station or other public transportation options. This will make it easier to get around the city and explore all that it has to offer.

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