Taiwan Top 10

I’ve got three weeks to spend in Taiwan. Transport is not an issue. Not counting Tapei, which I know everyone must do, what are the must-see places in Taiwan.
Thank you, oracle of Formosa!

  • Drive along the east coast of Taiwan
  • Drive along it again
  • Drive along it one more time
  • Jade Mountain
  • Taroko Gorge
  • Penghu (very different topography from Taiwan proper)
  • Jiufen, roof top cafe, especially as the sun goes down

The central and southern cross-island highways are outstanding, and a trip to Taiwan is not complete without a ride on the Alishan railway.

I would also add Wulai to your trip. Yes, it is a bit touristy, but I find the river and waterfall very beautiful, and the stream up top (take the cable car) is a great place to sit near with your feeting dipping in the water. The boardwalk near the entrance to the aboriginal area is also a good place to try some snacks and various kinds of wine.

  1. Second the east coast trip and Taroko. The Hualien - Taroko - Jade Mtn route is spectacular.

Jiofen, Taidong are nice get aways.
3. Kenting is nice all year round and as it gets cooler the tourist numbers drop off.
4. Chipen has nice hot springs…
5. If you want to get across to an island I suggest Kinmen, Penghu.

Near Taipei

  1. Jiufen and Jinguashi
  2. Wulai (better hotspring place than Zhiben)
  3. Yeliu

Further away

  1. Taroko Gorge/Hualian
  2. Taidong (and the area behind the Taidong new train station, that I forget the name of)
  3. Yilan/Luodong
  4. Taipingshan
  5. Kending
  6. Sun Moon Lake
  7. Xitou


You could also make a trip to Yinggo and make a pot or, since you’ll likely be gone when it’s ready for pick up, go to one of the restaurants where you get to keep the dishes you eat off of. This is a good place to pick up some souvenirs, too.

Thanks everyone for your ideas. I was surprised to find a number of them not in the Lonely Planet. Maybe it is a little old now… Or maybe it’s just not that good. Also I found that the spellings of place names were often very different - this pinyin/Wade-Giles thing is a real headache. Most people seem to use pinyin, while the Lonely Planet uses Wade-Giles.

Thanks again for all your suggestions!

I have always found the Taiwan Lonely Planet a little thin on interesting places to go. Stock standard fair, but nothing out of the box.

Have fun and let us all know your final plan.

Sonny wrote

[quote]Most people seem to use pinyin, while the Lonely Planet uses Wade-Giles.


Actually, Lonely Planet has got it right. Throughout the text they use both spellings for place names. The traditional name, usually wade-giles, is followed by hanyu pinyin in parentheses. And the good thing is that their hanyu pinyin has tone marks. In the Language section L.P. uses hanyu pinyin.

I don’t find the Taiwan Lonely Planet very useful, especially the index. For example, if you go to the entry “museum”, it says “see individual entries.” If I’m a tourist, how would I know what the individual entries would be? Simple: I don’t. I expect them to be listed under museums.

AWOL wrote

[quote]I have always found the Taiwan Lonely Planet a little thin on interesting places to go. Stock standard fair, but nothing out of the box.


I think Lonely Planet is very good. I haven’t noticed any travel suggestions in this thread that aren’t in L.P. Perhaps that would make a good thread. Many guidebooks are written by travellers, but Robert Storey, the Taiwan L.P. author, has lived here for twenty years.

I think one of the biggest problems with writing a travel guidebook for Taiwan is that you need to assume that most tourists will be using public transport and that they can’t speak Chinese. That cuts down the options.

Well, I have used Lonely Planet Bali, Thailand and Taiwan.

ONLY the Taiwan LP has Chinese (the local language) in it. It comes in handy when asking for help!

Maybe the reason there is no Thai or Indonesian in the other 2 guides is pretty much everyone can speak English in Bali and Thailand?

Here’s a spot you won’t find in the Lonely Planet. Taian in Miaoli county. It’s a small area that’s been recently opened to tourism. So far there is not much development there though enough that you can enjoy more than just the great outdoors.

In a 3 kilometer stretch you can: hotspring cheaply or luxuriously and soon outdoors by a river, hike along a path blazed by the Japanese to patrol the Taiyang tribe, hike to ancient trees, hike to numerous waterfalls, swim in a pure mountain creek, swim in a pure mountain river, camp or stay at a 5 star hotel (or even at an old Officers Club built by the Japanese to take advantage of what they considered the best hotspring water in Taiwan)boulder, abseil, paintball, creek climb (climb up inside a creek wearing special shoes and equipment), walk for hours in a wide river valley, bike, and eat deer, wild boar, mountain chicken, flying squirrel and a host of delicious, fresh mountain vegetables and Hakkanese snacks.

I just came back from spending three days there and had a really fun time. The scenery is as good as in Alishan but in Taian everything is concentrated in one small area. You could camp here and enjoy yourself even without transportation. Now’s the perfect time to go, before the cold weather and the strawberry season brings in the crowds.

This message brought to you by Tourism Taiwan.

Mucha Man, do you think you could P.M. me with a few of the details of your trip? I’m planning a couple of weekend trips and would be interested in this…


The Big Babou.

Thanks again for all your great tips. You’re a knowledgable crew! It’s interesting, though, that no-one has mentioned any cities (Taipei, of course, is a given). No mention of Kaohsiung, Taichung, Tainan… As a traveller with three weeks, are any of these worth lingering in, or should I just pass though?

Go to Tainan. Lots of history there. I also think Hualien is a fun place to stay overnight, on your way to Taroko or further down the East Coast or wherever – the people seem fairly nice, less traffic than Taipei and the other big cities and the bars are fun.

For cities, Taidong is good, as is Ilan (but you should go to the Luodong part fo Ilan).


Hotspring at Shin Shing
Smangus/Jheng Si Bao/Taikang

Sun Moon Lake
Chin Ching Farm
Taroko National Park.

Southern Cross Island Highway

Edit: To my mind, most of the cities are fairly drab and offer few attractions for a tourist.

About Taroko:

How many days would you recommend for a worthwhile, thorough trip there? 2 days, 4 days? Thanks.