Taiwan was called Formosa which translates to “beautiful island” by Portuguese during the Discovery Period because of the amazing natural scenery.

 

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Hundreds of years later, Taiwan developed into a country with a unique culture and architecture, where are the most attractive places to go in Taiwan.

10 must-go places in Taiwan reasons below, I highly recommend you put them into your trip lists for your Taiwan trip.

 

Must-go Places in Taiwan

  • Taipei 101 臺北101
  • Dragon and Tiger Pagodas 龍虎塔
  • Maolin National Scenic Area 茂林森林園區
  • Night markets 夜市
  • Longshan Temple 龍山寺
  • Fo Guang Shan Buddha Museum 佛光山
  • Fort Zeelandia 熱蘭遮城
  • Jiufen 九份
  • Houtong Cat Village 猴硐貓村
  • Indigenous Tribes 原住民部落

Taipei 101

臺北 101


Taipei 101 is not just a normal commercial building, it is also an icon of Taiwan.

The building, Taipei 101, that looks like a bamboo tree was the world’s tallest building between 2004 and 2010, besides it is still the tallest and largest green building in the world and is also the tallest building that is in an earthquake zone. Taiwan is situated on the Eurasian Plate, and therefore the earthquake frequency is much higher in this region.

Besides earthquakes, typhoons are one of the biggest natural disasters in Taiwan, because of these two main reasons, all the houses/buildings must be designed with anti typhoon and earthquake measures.

taiwan where to go Taipei 101
Photo by maggie hung on Unsplash

The feature of Taipei 101

Wind Damper (Tuned Mass Damper) is a feature used in buildings to damper the effects of earthquakes. Taipei 101’s wind damper can be seen and a very interesting attraction that you can visit.

In Taipei 101, there is an elevator that can travel from the 5th floor to the 89th floor in 37 seconds. This elevator is in the top three fastest elevators in the world.

If you have a chance to travel in Taiwan during the New Year time, you might want to celebrate the New Year eve celebration in Taipei 101. Taipei 101 has been celebrating New Year Eve since 2004 with a spectacular and very famous firework display.

 

As I mentioned earlier, Taipei 101 is not just any commercial building, it is also a Taiwanese icon. While I am writing this post, Taipei 101’s outfit is covered by TW (Taiwan) can Help, Taiwan’s cheer up message for the coronavirus situation.

This is quite common for the building to be covered with a heartwarming message for example on mother’s day, you will see M♥M and different slogans.

Recommend : Click for Taipei 101 Observatory E-Ticket price

Taipei 101 information :

  • Address : No. 7, Section 5, Xinyi Road, Xinyi District Taipei City, Taiwan 110
  • Open hours : 11 – 21 daily
How to get to Taipei 101 :
  • MRT – Xinyi Line: Taipei 101 Station, Exit 4
  • MRT – Bannan Line: City Hall, about 10 minutes walk from Exit 2

Dragon and Tiger Pagodas

龍虎塔

If you are looking for some Oriental symbols in Taiwan, Dragon and Tiger Pagodas is one I would recommend you to visit.

taiwan where to go Dragon and Tiger Pagodas
Phtot by 大雄 汪 on Flickr

One of 10 must-go places in Taiwan Dragon and Tiger Pagodas is a temple located in my hometown, Kaohsiung. Dragon and Tiger Pagodas is not just a normal temple, it is a temple situated on Lotus Pond. 

 

Where is the entrance?

Due to the name Dragon and Tiger, it is not difficult to guess which creatures are protecting the temple. It is believed that entering the Dragon’s mouth and leaving through the Tiger’s mouth brings good luck and takes away any bad luck. 

Along the lake there are 5 religious landmarks.

taiwan where to go Dragon and Tiger Pagodas map
  • A : Kaohsiung Confucius Temple 高雄左營孔子廟
  • B :  Zuoying Yuandi Temple 玄天上帝神像
  • C :  Spring and Autumn Pavilions 春秋御閣
  • D:  Wuliting 五里亭
  • E:  Dragon and Tiger Pagodas 龍虎塔
  • Blue Circle : historical landmark, Old Confucius Temple
 

Every year between February and March the biggest Lantern Festival in Taiwan takes place. Each city will show their best creativity and portfolio of Lantern work. In Kaohsiung, there are a few spots that will display the Lanterns such as, Love river, Lotus Lake and Fo Guang Shan Buddha Museum (I will talk about this place later). 

Recommend : Check Taiwan High-Speed Rail Unlimited Pass Price

taiwan where to go Dragon and Tiger Pagodas
Photo by 大雄 汪 on Flickr
 

Dragon and Tiger Pagodas information :

  • Address : No.9, Liantan Road, Zuoying District, Kaohsiung City, Taiwan 813
  • Open hours : 8 – 18 daily
How to get to Dragon and Tiger Pagodas : 
  • MRT – R15 (Redline) : Ecological District Station, about 25 mins from Exit 2 by walking or taking a Red 51 bus 15 mins. The bus costs $12 NTD.
  • MRT – R16 (Redline) : HSR Zuoying Station, 15-20 Mins by walking.
  • Train station/HSR – Xin Zuoying Station (They are next to each other), 15-20 Mins by walking.

Maolin National Scenic Area

茂林森林園區


Maolin National Scenic Area is 6 districts combined together. 

  • Taoyuan District (桃源區)
  • Liouguei District (六龜區)
  • Maolin District (茂林區)
  • Sandimen Township (三地門鄉)
  • Wutai Township (霧台鄉)
  • Majia Township (瑪家鄉)
 
A town covered by foggy
Maolin National Scenic Area 由中華民國交通部觀光局提供,攝影者霧台鄉公所

In each district or township, you are able to see different tribes of Indigenous peoples with their own living style and unique cultures. Maolin National Scenic Area is a remote district where you can enjoy a rest from the metropolis.

In the whole Maolin area, there are some suggested tours you can plan for yourself. No matter if you prefer nature exploration or hiking/biking or even just purely enjoying hopping between the indigenous tribes. 

 

What can you see in Maolin?

Purple butterfly watching is one of the famous attractions in Maolin. If you are a keen nature observer, you probably would like to take a trip to see the rare purple butterflies. The best time for butterflies watching is November to February.

Maolin is a massive forest area with six different tribes living in it. Inside the Maolin National Scenic Area there are plenty of things you can choose to do.

You can go rafting or the hot springs, visit tribes and learn about the indigenous culture, mountain climbing, hiking and biking. It is sort of like a Disneyland for nature lovers.

Recommend : Hire your private driver take to travel

taiwan where to go mao-lin
Photo by summer_wahine
 

Maolin National Scenic Area information :

Address : Maolin District, Kaohsiung City, 851, Taiwan

Night markets

夜市


Since you have some interest in Taiwan, you probably heard about the Taiwanese Night Markets. These markets are everywhere and they are at the top of 10 must-go places in Taiwan. The night markets have always been my favorite places to visit in Taiwan. I would go to the night market after my mom made dinner at home, and I would get a second round of dinner or some snacks there.

taiwan where to go taiwan night market

Taiwan’s night markets started off as being spontaneous markets that appeared on the street and would be completely taken down at the end of that day. Nowadays, many of those markets are managed by the government and these markets and stalls are permanent fixtures, meaning that stall owners have a designated spot to open their stalls.

Read more : Why Everyone Love Kenting After Visiting

Night markets have always been a lot of fun for me. Don’t be mistaken, food is not the only thing you can get at the night markets either. At some of the bigger night markets you are able to find some “night market games” as well and even some shops for other needs, such as clothes and apparel.

Recommend : Taipei Jingmei Night Market Walking Tour

taiwan where to go taiwan night market

Some of the foods I mentioned below might seem strange or different but I recommend trying something new, you might be surprised!

 

Here are some foods I recommend trying:

There are many more options in the markets, which you have to explore for yourself. 

  • Stinky Tofu 臭豆腐 
  • Oyster Omelet 蚵仔煎  
  • Chicken Fillet 雞排  
  • Fried Squid 酥炸大魷魚  
  • Fried chicken (Popcorn chicken)鹽酥雞 
  • Pig Blood Cake 豬血糕
  • Bubble tea  珍珠奶茶
  • Flaky scallion pancake  蔥抓餅
  • Slack Season danzai noodles  擔仔麵
  • Taiwanese sausage with sticky rice  大腸包小腸
  • Tube rice pudding  筒仔米糕

Longshan Temple

龍山寺


Longshan Temple is a relatively special temple for all Taiwanese people. It was built in 1738. There are a large number of temples in Taiwan, however Longshan temple is considered the main temple in Taipei and even Taiwan.

Recommend : Taiwan iPass Public Transit Card (Taoyuan Airport Pick-Up)

taiwan where to go Longshan Temple
Photo by Maren Wilczek on Unsplash

The reasons why Longshan temple is such a popular temple and one of 10 must-go places in Taiwan is because religious people believe that their questions and problems can be answered or solved by asking the Gods there.

Another reason Longshan Temple is so famous is that it accommodates more than one religion; it is important for Tao, Buddhist, and Confucian religions.

 

What do you must see in Longshan Temple?

Longshan temple is also famous for its Caisson (Asian architecture) architectural design. Also there is another thing that makes Longshan temple so well-known is social movement. Before Taiwan officially became a democratic country and got rid of the declared martial law, it was a long process to receive the news and information. People who wanted to deliver news or activities used Longshan temple’s many religions advantages.   

Recommend : Taipei Half-Day Private Tour price, click here

Old temple architecture design
Caisson 由中華民國交通部觀光局提供,攝影者 林璟辰
 

Travel tips for temples in Taiwan :

If you have an opportunity to visit a temple and you would like to know how it works, here are some tips I can share with you (this information is suitable for all the temples in Taiwan)

  • There is no dress code into Longshan temple (but I don’t think Bikini will be a good idea).
  • Generally there is no entrance fee to any temples in Taiwan, and you are also free to take as many pictures as you like.
  • Longshan Temple no longer offers incense or praying cash in an effort to protect the environment; however, some temples are still doing them.
  • When you enter any temple, make sure you step over the threshold when walking through doorways, because the threshold is considered as God’s door.
  • If you would like to pray to the Gods, remember to follow the correct way to pray. In general, face to a God from your right side to left side, and from front to back. But some temples have their own rules, so you might want to double check before you pray, people at the temple will be happy to help you. 
 
taiwan-temple
台南南鯤鯓代天府,Beimen Nan Kun Shen Dai Tian Temple in Tainan
 

Longshan Temple Information :

  • Address : No. 211, Guangzhou Street, Wanhua District, Taipei City, Taiwan 10853
  • Open hours : 6 – 22 daily
How to get to Longshan Temple : 
  • MRT – Bannan Line: Lungshan Temple Station, turn right after Exit 2
  • Train – Wanhua Station, 7 mins by walking

Fo Guang Shan Buddha Museum

佛光山


If you are a fan of any kind of religion, you should check it out Fo Guang Shan, one of must-go places in Kaohsiung.

Fo Guang Shan Buddha Museum is not just a museum, it is also an active Buddhist Temple in Kaohsiung, besides it can be found everywhere in the world. You even can find two Fo Guang Shan temples in Melbourne.

taiwan where to go Fo Guang Shan Buddha Museum
Fo Guang Shan Buddha Museum | Photo by Youxing Tu on Flickr
 

Fo Guang Shan Buddha Museum was built in 2011 and the area is about 100 hectares in Kaohsiung. The Buddha statue itself is 40 metres tall not including the seat which is 10 metres tall. It is the largest and tallest Buddha statue in the world.

What can you see in Fo Guang Shan Buddha Museum ?

In Fo Guang Shan Buddha Museum, you are able to see the Buddha’s history with an AR and an audio guide. As I mentioned earlier, on the Dragon and Tiger Pagodas part. Fo Guang Shan Buddha Museum is one of  Lantern festival hosts, too. 

There is also very interesting information, as I mentioned in a previous post Taiwan Guide. Taiwanese are very friendly about religions, every year Fo Guang Shan Buddha Museum holds  “When Buddha meets The Gods event”. In 2016, there were 2188 Gods joining in this event. 

Recommend : Kaohsiung Private Tour: Fo Guang Shan Monastery, Cijin Harbor & Ruifeng Night Market by KKday

Fo Guang Shan Buddha Museum day view
Fo Guang Shan Buddha Museum day time
 

Fo Guang Shan Buddha Museum Information :

  • Address : No.1, Tongling Road, Dashu District, Kaohsiung City, Taiwan 84049
  • Opening hours : Mon & Wed -Fri 9 – 18, Sat & Sun 9 -19
How to get to Fo Guang Shan Buddha Museum :

Take the HSR to Xin Zuoying Station/R16 HSR Zuoying Station → Take the Kaohsiung Bus or E-Da Bus to the Buddha Museum stop 

Fort Zeelandia

熱蘭遮城 (安平古堡)


Taiwan has been colonized by a number of different countries over its history. One of those countries was the Netherlands. They ruled in Taiwan between 1624 and 1662, during a period of time known as the Discovery Period. The Dutch were based in the south of Taiwan and decided to set up their capital in Tainan in a place called Fort Zeelandia.

Built in a Dutch style of architecture, Fort Zeelandia is now a museum that has a lot of interesting information including pictures, maps and artifacts from that time period. 

taiwan where to go fort
Photo by 思弦 張 on Flickr
 

Another Dutch Architecture

Beside 10 must-go places in Taiwan, Fort Zeelandia, Fort Provintia 普羅民遮城 赤嵌樓)is also a great place to visit. Fort Provintia was the largest commercial centre of Taiwan. People combined some religions (Tao and Confucian religions) and that is what Fort Provintia looks like now.

The street in front of Fort Provintia, used to be a popular street in Taiwan and even now, the street is occupied by many tourists. 

Recommend : KKday price, Southern Taiwan Day Tour: Tainan, Kaohsiung or Kenting

taiwan where to go Fort Provintia
Old commercial centre Fort Provintia in Dutch period

 

Fort Zeelandia (Anping Old Fort) Information :

  • Entry fee : $ 50 NTD 
  • Address : No. 82, Guosheng Rd, Anping District, Tainan City, Taiwan 708 
  • Opening hours : Mon to Thur 8:30 – 17:30, Fri to Sun 8:30 – 20 
How to get to Fort Zeelandia (Anping Old Fort) :

Take the train to Tainan Station → transfer city bus No. 2 to Anping Old Fort stop.

Fort Provintia (Chihkanlou) Information :

  • Entry fee : $ 50 NTD 
  • Address :  No. 212, Section 2, Minzu Road, West Central District, Tainan City, Taiwan 700 
  • Opening hours : 8:30 – 21:00 
How to get to Fort Provintia (Chihkanlou) :

Take the train to Tainan Station, transfer Tainan City Bus (No.3, 5) to Chikanlou(Chihkanlou, The Chamber of Red Hill)stop.

Jiufen

九份


If you were to ask me, Which place I would go if I only had one day in Taiwan? I would probably say go to Jiufen. Jiufen is defintely one of must go places in Taiwan.

taiwan where to go jiufen

Jiufen is a small town situated in a mountain range in the north east of Taiwan. All the streets in Jiufen are very narrow and steep, Juifen’s topography makes the atmosphere unique. Due to the location, being on a mountain, fog appears frequently in the early in the morning and in the evening. The fog gives Jiufen a very special atmosphere.

I’ve been to Jiufen three times and each time I’ve been there I have always found something new or interesting to do or see. Jiufen is such an amazing place and you won’t disappoint if you decide to go.

 

Let me tell you an interesting story about the name of the town. 

Jiufen translates to “nine portions” in Manderin. A very long time ago in the early 1600s, there were only nine families living in Jiufen. At the time, travel was not so easy and supply shipments often took a long time to reach the town. Whenever a shipment did arrive however the town’s people would order nine portions, for the nine families living in the town. And so the name “nine portions” stuck.

taiwan where to go jiufen
 

Tips of Jiufen:

I highly recommend to go to the top of Jiufen, there you will find a restaurant that overlooks the Pacific Ocean and Keelung Harbor. You can sit and take in the incredible view while you’re enjoying a drink or some food or dessert.

The climate in Jiufen is quite humid and rainy year round however there are significantly more rainy days between October and March. Don’t be afraid, because these conditions are perfect to enjoy the atmosphere of Jiufen.

Recommend : Travelling to Jiufen one day tour, Check Jiufen’s deal

taiwan where to go jiufen
Photo by Yeo Khee on Unsplash

Jiufen Information :

Address :  224, Taiwan, New Taipei City, Ruifang District 

How to get to Jiufen : 

THSR Taipei Station (or TRA Taipei Station) → Taipei MRT  Zhongxiao Fuxing Station → Keelung Bus (bound for Jinguashi) to Jiufen

Houtong Cat Village

猴硐貓村


You probably can guess what kind of place it is from the name. Yes, you are right, it is a cat village, one of the 10 must-go places in Taiwan. If you are a huge cat lover, you definitely need to visit this village. Houtong was listed in the top 6 cat watching landmarks in the world by CNN.

There are plenty of cats everywhere around Houtong, train stations, streets, and even restaurants. In Houtong Cat Village, there are many different types of cats, many of which are wild; however, they are cared for by local volunteers.

Places near Houtong Cat Village

Not far from Houtong is Jiufen which is only 11 mins away by car. Near Houtong there are a number of interesting places to check out which include, New Taipei City Government Gold Museum, Jiufen Goldore Museum, and more. Since Jiufen is a mining town many of the museums and places to visit are connected to mining. 

taiwan where to go houtong cat village
Cats are everywhere in Houtong Cat Village Photo by Timo Volz on Unsplash

If you are a fan of hiking, I highly recommend you to check out the region and find some of the amazing mountainous trails in that area.

Recommend : Private Car Charter from Taipei to Houtong Cat Village & Teapot Mountain

Tips of Houtong Cat Village: 

Taiwan railway offers special trains to this area, you will see a lot of amazing views of north Taiwan on the way from Taipei.

Recommend : Buy Taiwan High Speed Rail (THSR) and Taiwan Railways (TRA) 5-Day Joint Pass

Houtong Cat Village Information :

Address : Chetouding Village (Cat’s Village), Houtong, Guangfu Borough, Ruifang Dist, New Taipei City

How to get to Houtong Cat Village : 

By Train – Houtong Station

Indigenous Tribes

原住民部落


Another 10 must-go places in Taiwan is one of indigenous tribes. (If you have time, you are more welcome to visit more)

In the previous post about top 5 popular nature destinations in Taiwan . I mentioned one indigenous tribe who lives with fishing on Orchid Island. Click here. I highly recommend you to visit. 

taiwan where to go indigious tribe
Stone Slab House

However, if you are short on time to travel to the offshore islands and thinking about visiting the tribes in Taiwan, this might be a good option for you.

There are 16 indigenous tribes in Taiwan now and each tribe speaks their own language (majority elder people in the tribe) and celebrates their own festivals and have their own cultural activities. A-mei is the biggest tribe in Taiwan and they hold harvest during July to August every year in Taitung or Hualien. 

Recommend : Car Rental Service: Camper Van and Pick-Up Truck, On sale now

10-must-go-indigious
Indigenous Tribes sculpture
 

Tips for joining festivals:

  • For the United A-mei harvest everyone is welcome to join and it is also free no need to sign-in, but for small tribes, you might want to get the permission before you go.
  • Taiwan’s Indigenous are very kind and friendly but please always respect their culture. 
  • Some tribe’s festivals welcome no outsiders, even for other indigenous tribes; some of them only welcome females and some only males.

Conclusion:

Selecting the top 10 most beautiful things to do or places to go to, it is not really easy for me because I know there are more places I would like to introduce you to. However, I thought that since this article is particularly for anyone who visits Taiwan for the first time, these ten places will be a good start for you to fall in love with Taiwan.

My article about Taiwan will not stop here, I am going to write more and more, if you have any preferences for certain topics, please feel free to comment below.


Travel tools

  • Need A TAIWAN travel brochure, check out Lonely Planet
  • Plan your Taiwan trip via KKday | Klook

*Both offers cheaper entry tickets to many attractions, such as museums and theme parks. You can even get discounts on sim cards, transportations and much much more.

When I look for flight tickets I usually go to:

Skyscanner is the biggest flight ticket search website

When I look for accommodation I usually go to:

  • Agoda (Tip: if you book a non-refundable room, you usually get a very good deal).
  • Booking.com (my favorite one, easy to manage bookings).
  • Hotel.com (If you book more than 10 nights, you will get one night for free).

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