6 Reasons Why Taiwan Should be on Your Travel Itinerary

Note from Editors: In view of the current situation, please avoid all unnecessary travel and try to stay home. Don’t worry, like all things, it will end at some point and you’ll be able to travel again. In the meantime, check out what you can do while staying at home.

If you’re planning a round-the-world trip, chances are Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam are all on your checklist of must-see destinations. For those really adventurous souls, maybe Malaysia or the Philippines will even make the cut. But what about Taiwan? It’s that little dot off the coast of China, and after calling it home for nearly two years, we can attest to its awesomeness. Not sure if it’s worth your time or tight budget?

Taiwanese
Taiwanese

Here are a few reasons to reconsider Taiwan on your next backpacking adventure:

1. Dramatic Scenery

The cities might be a concrete jungle, but as soon as you escape the confines of high-rise apartments, stunning landscapes surround on all sides.

Scenic east coastline
Scenic east coastline

Whether it’s the Pacific Ocean crashing into jagged sandstone cliffs, remarkable Taroko Gorge with its raging rivers and mystical ambiance, or the striking white sand beaches of the south, chances are you’ll find vistas that invoke inspiration and awe.

2. Outdoor Adventures

 In a country providing such a picturesque backdrop, it’s intuitive to get outdoors and enjoy it.

Rock climbing Long Dong Taiwan
Rock climbing Long Dong Taiwan

A few particularly popular calorie-burning options are hiking, cycling and rock climbing. Regardless of your fitness level, you’ll find something that meets your needs.

Cycling in Taiwan
Cycling in Taiwan

Cost: hiking is typically free provided a permit isn’t required, bicycles can be rented for around $10 USD a day. Rock climbing is often free if you have your equipment, as most groups will welcome you in. (Try Long Dong for some of the best climbing in Asia). Scuba diving, paragliding, surfing, and kite surfing are also popular activities, although you’ll have to find the right location to pursue them. These niche sports can also get more expensive depending upon equipment needs.

3. Spiritual Temples

God Of War Temple
God Of War Temple

Buddhism and Taoism are the two largest religions in Taiwan, and it’s very common to stumble upon temples in every back alley or street corner. Visitors are welcome, so don’t hesitate to go exploring. Inside you’ll find ornate statues of deities, colorful hand-painted structures, and the smell of incense drifting up to the gods. Two of the most popular places to discover Taiwan’s temples are Taipei and Tainan, although they’re located in even the most remote areas. Temples are active places of worship, and an ideal place to immerse oneself in traditional Taiwanese culture.

Admission: Free

Futian Temple on Lion's Head Mountain
Futian Temple on Lion’s Head Mountain

4. Festivals

Festivals are another great way to learn about the history and religious beliefs of Taiwan, and they’re just plain fun. Watch hundreds of paper lanterns released into the sky at Lantern Festival, barbecue with locals during Moon Festival, cheer on dragon boats as they race to the finish line during Dragon Boat Festival, or watch a 14 meter long boat burned to the ground at Burning Boat Festival.

Lantern Festival
Lantern Festival

Regardless of your choice, the experience is bound to be a memorable one.

Burning Boat Festival
Burning Boat Festival

Cost to attend: Free

5. Night Markets

Night markets are an iconic element of Taiwanese culture, and while at first they can be a bit overwhelming, they certainly transform into many travelers favorite part of Taiwan.

Shilin Night Market in Taipei
Shilin Night Market in Taipei

Streets are lined with food stalls of every variety, serving up everything from chicken hearts to stinky tofu to ice cream in a toilet. Be prepared to finagle the crowds to find what you want and you’ll leave with a full stomach and authentic Taiwanese experience.

Vendor Taiwan Night Market
Vendor Taiwan Night Market

Cost: Depends on you, but food doesn’t get much cheaper than this. Expect to pay $1-$2 USD per item.

6. People

At the end of the day, the biggest take away from your time in Taiwan will more than likely be the people. Taiwanese are incredibly hospitable and genuinely kind. Chances are you won’t ever have to ask for help; if you even look like you’re in need someone will be there to assist.

Taiwanese BBQ at Moon Festival
Taiwanese BBQ at Moon Festival

We’ve lost track of how many times we’ve been lost and a local has personally escorted us to our destination.  Whether it’s translating our broken Chinese, providing advice on the best local attractions, inviting us to dinner or offering up friendly conversations on the street, Taiwanese consistently blow us away by their generosity and desire to make our experience here smooth sailing.

Cost to make new friends: priceless

About the Authors

BIO PHOTO

Dan and Casey are the two lovebirds documenting their travel musings at A Cruising Couple. They’re writing, photographing and drinking wine from their home base in Taiwan until August. After that who knows where they’ll be! Be sure to stay updated on all their adventures by connecting on facebook and twitter!

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Agness Walewinder
Agness Walewinder
Travel freak, vagabond, photography passionate, blogger, life enthusiast, backpacker, adventure hunter and endless energy couchsurfer living by the rule "Pack lite, travel far and live long!"
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75 thoughts on “6 Reasons Why Taiwan Should be on Your Travel Itinerary”

  1. I always wanted to visit Taiwan and those 6 reasons just make me wanna go there ever more. Thanks guys for sharing. I’m more determined to make it there this summer. The temples are stunning!

  2. I’ve been to Taiwan and I absolutely loved the night markets. You can get there such amazing, cheap and delicious food! It’s a must see and explore place when visiting this country.

    1. Agness Walewinder

      We always explore night markets everywhere we go. The nicest one was in Bangkok and Siem Reap. The food is always so delicious and cheap in Asia :)

  3. Dan and Casey @ A Cruising Couple

    Agness, thanks so much for having our guest post about Taiwan! I really hope people will find it inspiring and helpful :-)

    1. Agness Walewinder

      It’s been our pleasure. Thank you so much for the contribution. It’s a great piece of work and I bet people will find it inspiring and helpful :).

  4. I think the fact that people forget about it is why the people are so friendly. Maybe it’s because it rhymes with Thailand so no one thinks to go there, but that makes it better for everyone else. Whenever we were lost, we’d ask for directions, and if people didn’t speak English, they’d call their friends on mobile phones until everything was okay. It was great.

    1. A Cruising Couple

      Too funny you mentioned the Thailand thing-we actually have a whole post on our blog dedicated to the fact that everyone thinks we live in Thailand when we say Taiwan. Taiwanese people definitely go above and beyond to help :-)

  5. cosmoHallitan

    I’ve heard nothing but great things about Taiwan, and this post makes me even more eager to go! Need to start planning a trip…

  6. Jess @UsedYorkCity

    My best friend is originally from here and goes back every few years to visit and reconnect with her roots;-) She raves about it, but until now I never realized how affordable it can be!

    1. Agness Walewinder

      Awesome! I met a Taiwanese girl in Prague, she was my host and she always invites me to visit her in Taipei. She told me it’s much cheaper than China so I need to check it out :).

  7. Becky Padmore

    We’ve just had a guest post about Tawain on our site and I have to say before then I never really thought about visiting, but it looks gorgeous especially from these photos!

    1. Agness Walewinder

      Yes, we agree, the photos are just amazing. Love the vivid colors and how they captured the moment! Brilliant job!

  8. I haven’t been to Taiwan and I admit it’s not on top of my list. Now I see that it has a lot of beautiful and exciting things to offer. Very inviting post and very lovely photos.

    1. A Cruising Couple

      Thank you-hope you make it here one day! We have to admit we came to Taiwan not really knowing anything about it other than you could make money teaching English. It’s an amazing place though, and we’ve definitely fallen in love with it!

    2. Agness Walewinder

      Yes, Taiwan has a lot to offer and we can’t wait to visit some of the temples. We’re so tired of Chinese temples:)

  9. memographer

    I am thinking to go to Taiwan when I go to China… and possibly Mongolia… It looks great in your pics!

    1. Agness Walewinder

      It is indeed. I bet the food is just amazing at those markets. I feel like having a Taiwanese bbq right now :)

  10. Taiwan has never really crossed my mind before, but looks like it should be on my itinerary looking at these photos. Thanks!

    1. A Cruising Couple

      Yay! It definitely should be :-) Hope you make it out here sometime! And thanks so much!

  11. Wow – i’m getting more and more convinced that I need to get an extended layover in Taiwan on my next trip to visit my parents in Indonesia next time. It looks like an amazing country!

  12. Emma @ GottaKeepMovin

    You had me at spiritual temples! All these photos are fantastic – I’d always wondered what Taiwan really looks like, and after seeing these photos it’s defintely been bumped up on my must visit in Asia list. I having a teaching English qualification, so who knows, might make it there to teach one day!

    1. Agness Walewinder

      We are teaching in China and it’s been such an amazing experience, seriously. If you have a chance to do so in Taiwan, we would recommend you to just go for it without thinking! Those spiritual temples are irresistible to explore!

  13. Taiwan is beautiful. I spent half of my childhood in Taiwan and always looking forward to my next trip to Taiwan. The food is seriously amazing. Oh! I really want to be there now :D

    1. Agness Walewinder

      Seriously? Didn’t know you lived there for such a long time. I bet it was a great time. :)

  14. Mary {The World Is A Book}

    These pictures are beautiful and really show why Taiwan shouldn’t be missed. It’s such an underrated country. I have always wanted to visit and hoping to go for a long layover next summer. I have two good friends who are Taiwanese and I always love seeing their pictures. They’re going again this summer for a food/bike tour.

    1. Agness Walewinder

      Thank you Mary. We agree, Taiwan shouldn’t be missed and we can’t wait to finally be able to explore it. We are hoping to go for a longer layover next year and cycling Taiwan is a great idea, indeed!

    2. Dan and Casey @ A Cruising Couple

      A food/bike tour sounds like the perfect way to experience Taiwan! There’s a cycling route that circumnavigates the whole island, which make cycling much more feasible.

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