Top 10 Things To Do in Taiwan

Wulai, one of the top things to do in Taiwan

Now that we’ve had our big Asian adventure, I’m taking a breath to reminisce a bit. There’s no shortage of memories, either – sore feet, a metric ton of Pepto Bismol, and a list of pretty impressive sightseeing. I’ll launch off with some of the best things to do in Taiwan – plus a few others we didn’t get to.

Despite some gastro-related worries, I had way more fun than I thought possible back before I knew anything about the country. We did the most we could cram in the little time we had, but you could easily spend a whole week in Taiwan and not get bored. Hopefully, I can give it a try myself next time we travel those parts.


Where to Stay

As to where to lay your head, we chose Leofoo Residences. It was decent. An apart-hotel with okay prices in a good location, a kitchenette and a washing machine. (Which we desperately needed at this point.)


First Batch of Things To Do in Taiwan – Been There, Would Recommend

Speaking of “been there,” we stayed at an apart-hotel last time we were in Taiwan. It was okay. Didn’t dazzle us, but didn’t kill us either. I do like the idea of apart-hotels (individual apartments with hotel amenities), but I’d probably stay at a different one or a straight-up hotel next time around.

#1 On the List of Top Things To Do In Taiwan: Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall

This one’s a memorial site smack-dab in the middle of Taipei. The whole place is massive, as are the temple-looking concert hall and theatre sitting around some nicely trimmed gardens. They call the area around the hall “Liberty Square,” with the memorial hall itself being a pretty imposing white building with a blue roof. It comes loaded with details on Taiwan’s history, plus info about the former Chinese president, Chiang Kai-Shek. You know, back when Taiwan was under China’s thumb.

Chiang Kai Shek Memorial in Taipei, Taiwan

#2 On the List of Top Things To Do In Taiwan: Shifen Village

So, remember that Disney movie where they lit up paper lanterns and let them float up into the sky? That’s a real tradition in Shifen Village (and apparently a lot of places in Asia), and you better believe I gave it a shot. Wrote my wish, released the lantern, and watched it rise up (until it burnt to a crisp). Good times. There’s also a train track that runs right through the village that absolutely nobody cares about crossing whenever, despite it being active as anything. Overall, the whole place had a lot of charm to it aside from just the lanterns. Definitely a nice stop.

Shifen Village in Taiwan

#3 On the List of Top Things To Do In Taiwan: Longshan Temple

If you’re only going to visit one temple in Taiwan, make it Longshan. This temple-in-a-temple is stunning to look at, which is amazing considering it’s almost 300 years old and maintained through local donations. There’s a lot of love and pride put in this temple and it shows.

Longshan Temple in Taipei

#4 On the List of Top Things To Do In Taiwan: 228 Peace Park

This park provided an unexpected bit of nature right in the middle of the city. It had gorgeous tall trees (all the better to block out those pesky buildings, I’m sure) and a nice, peaceful atmosphere. The park is a memorial to the victims of the February 28th Massacre of 1947 (i.e., 2/28), when China violently suppressed an anti-government uprising in Taipei.

228 Peace Park in Taipei

#5 On the List of Top Things To Do In Taiwan: Dihua Old Street

If you’re a fan of historic buildings, you’ll want to give Dihua Old Street a try. The architecture has been preserved over the past hundred years and it makes for a pretty cool step back in time. There are a lot of shops around (some of which have modern interiors to mix up the old-world feel), but they’re mostly closed in the morning if you just want a stroll.

Dihua Old Street in Taipei

#6 On the List of Top Things To Do In Taiwan: Jiufen

Foodies out there could probably die happy after taking a stroll through Jiufen. I couldn’t enjoy this place as much thanks to some prior experiences with food poisoning, but the little I did sample was pretty good. Quick warning – the place was packed and kind of a maze, so not the best if you’re claustrophobic. Also, a lot of stray dogs hanging around for no reason. Weird. Otherwise, worth it if you want to try some Taiwanese street food.

Jiufen Market in Taiwan

#7 On the List of Top Things To Do In Taiwan: Taipei 101

I see Taipei 101 recommended everywhere – mostly for the view at the top – but since we visited on a cloudy day, we didn’t get to enjoy it. Boo. Or yay, since it meant we saved some money not buying a ticket to get up there. The visit wasn’t a complete waste, though. The first few floors at the bottom also serve as a mall, so it’s a good place to knock out some souvenir shopping if the observation deck’s not your thing.

Taipei 101 in Taiwan

Batch Two to Take a Crack at – Things To Do in Taiwan… That I Didn’t Get To Do

#8 On the List of Top Things (That I Didn’t Do): Raohe Night Market

We’d planned to visit Huaxi Night Market but stopped at the last minute thanks to being too tired. (Or in other words, lazy. How dare we not suffer more for our vacation plans?) Turns out that was probably for the best. A lot of recent reviews say it’s gotten kinda lackluster in recent years.

In its place, Raohe Street Night Market rises to the top as possibly one of the best things to do in Taiwan. The variety of foods, souvenirs, herbs, and medicines is impressive on its own, but unlike some other markets, it’s not a maze designed to baffle tourists. Food’s the main feature, but you can nab some traditional grub or something more modern, depending on your mood.

Raohe Night Market, one of the top things to do in Taiwan

#9 On the List of Top Things (That I Didn’t Do): Wulai

Including Wulai like it’s just one attraction is kind of cheating, but there’s so much to see. I refuse to pick just one spot from this district! Luckily, you don’t really have to, since it’s all in one place: Wulai Hot Spring Township. Transportation‘s a pain, so you might want to skip it if you’re only in Taiwan for a day. For a longer trip, though, it’s the perfect retreat. The town itself is beautiful and quaint, you can take a scenic train to its waterfalls, hop on a cable car, hike up the mountain (like, a lot), and of course, enjoy soaking in some natural outdoor hot springs.

Wulai, one of the top things to do in Taiwan

#10 On the List of Top Things (That I Didn’t Do): Taroko Gorge

Here’s one for you nature buffs out there. Taroko Gorge is probably one of the most beautiful places in Taiwan and a must-visit. Like Wulai, you only want to head out there if you’re in for a longer trip, but unless you’re allergic to walking, you definitely want to swing by. Okay, to be fair, it really isn’t for the faint of heart – it’s mostly hiking trails and lots of sweaty walking – but the views are 100% worth it. My jaw drops just looking at pictures of the place, it’s ridiculously pretty. Crystal-clear rivers, heart-stopping sheer cliffs, and shrines tucked into green mountain forests.

Taroko Gorge, one of the top things to do in Taiwan

Things To Do in Taiwan Aren’t the Only Tea I Spill

There are tons of things to do in Taiwan well worth seeing. I’ve only named a few here based on my last trip and some extra research, but there’s tons of information out there to help you cobble together your own trip. And as it just so happens, this is only the first of a series of posts I’m doing about Taiwan. So, buckle in and follow me for my next update – Taiwan’s best local drinks.

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Cheers, Jordan