If you are considering your next travel destination, Taiwan might be just the place. That’s especially if you’re looking for something a bit exotic, with beautiful scenery, interesting food, lovely locals, and plenty of opportunity for adventure.
True, what comes to mind first when you think of this island destination may be bustling cities and bumper-to-bumper traffic. However, the natural jewels that await you even at very short distances from a cityscape will truly take your breath away.
Taiwan’s fascinating nature can definitely be the thing you need to refresh and recharge your batteries. Here are five spots that should head your must-see-in-Taiwan list.
1. Yangming Mountain
Yangming Mountain is an active volcano that is also a national park. It’s not too high or demanding, so it makes for an easier hike, if that’s the kind of adventure you’re looking for.
It was made famous by its cherry blossoms and hot springs. It’s also renowned as a picnicking spot, and there are plenty of fields where you can rest and enjoy the scenery.
If you’re looking for a bit of exercise, take the Tianmu Trail, which leads up 100 steps to an industrial site from the ’40s. The Jinbaoli Trail will take you through districts offering night markets and some of the best seafood you can try on the island.
Make sure to also visit some of the springs for a rejuvenating experience.
2. Taroko Gorge
Another national park you’ll want to visit is the Taroko Gorge, home to the deepest marble canyon in the world. There are also plenty of cliffs and peaks you’ll want to lay your eyes on, preferably on the way down.
The simplest way to enjoy the gorge is to take a ride up to the Baiyang Waterfall Trail, and then walk back down at a leisurely pace. You can do the entire climb, but that will be more in the realm of exercise than a sightseeing tour.
Note that there are plenty of waterfalls in the gorge and that the trail can be very slippery, so dress for the occasion, and don’t be afraid to get wet. If you’re feeling really adventurous, you can even go river tracing.
3. Beitou Hot Springs
If you don’t mind travelling a little bit further to see some of the best hot springs you’re ever likely to come across, head over to the Beitou region. This is where you’ll soak in some wonderful sulphuric waters.
Located at the base of Yangming Mountain, the area can be accessed via regular public transportation routes.
The springs are too hot and acidic to swim in them, but there are plenty of spas around that will help you drain your body and mind of all accumulated stresses.
The only downside of this site is that it tends to get crowded. So, you might want to spring (pun intended) for a private bath, where you can enjoy a stretch of water all for yourself.
Grab a bowl of ramen on your way out and enjoy a delicious meal as you rest your eyes on the scenery and enjoy the benefits of the pools.
4. Shifen Waterfall
More water-based attractions as we move to Shifen Waterfall. The route will take you from a coal mining region, where you will see mine ruins and picturesque mining villages. Once you reach Hegu, you will take a hike on foot and enjoy a bit of exertion as you traverse all the rope bridges taking you higher.
You don’t have to climb up all the way up to the falls, as there are others en route you can stop at and enjoy a meal or a drink. However, if you do go all the way, you’re in for a treat. The jade pool at the bottom of the falls is breathtaking, and the coffee you reward yourself with will be all the tastier.
5. Sun Moon Lake
Finally, make sure to take a trip to Taiwan’s largest body of water, the Sun Moon Lake. There are plenty of natural and cultural attractions to enjoy, so the three-hour trip from Taipei will be well worth it.
You won’t be able to take a swim, so don’t bank on that, but you can take a boat out to Lalu Island and enjoy a meal.
There are a lot of local stores you can explore, as well as street stalls selling art and food. There are also performances of all kinds. If you manage to visit during the season of the cherry blossom, you’ll be in for a rare treat.
Taiwan is a beautiful destination that’s not explored enough. It can introduce you to an amazing culture, providing that city buzz you may be craving, but it also boasts fascinating nature.
Don’t just take our word for it – see for yourself as soon as you get the chance!