Places To Visit in Taiwan
Taiwan is a small island nation 180km east of China with modern cities, traditional Chinese temples, hot springs resorts and dramatic mountainous terrain. Taipei, the country’s capital in the north, is known for its busy night markets, Chinese Imperial art at the National Palace Museum and Taipei 101, a 509m-tall, bamboo-shaped skyscraper with an observation deck.Popular destinations are Taipei, Taichung, Kaohsiung, Sun Moon Lake and Taroko National Park.
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Taipei, the capital of Taiwan, is a modern metropolis with Japanese colonial lanes, busy shopping streets and contemporary buildings. The skyline is crowned by the 509m-tall, bamboo-shaped Taipei 101 skyscraper, with upscale shops at the base and a rapid elevator to an observatory near the top. Taipei is also known for its lively street-food scene and many night markets, including expansive Shilin market.
Major attractions include the National Palace Museum, displaying a vast collection of Chinese Imperial art moved from Beijing’s Forbidden City in 1949, and the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall. The old neighborhoods of Wanhua and Datong are filled with historic sites, including Longshan Temple, founded in 1738 and honoring numerous Buddhist and Taoist gods. Near the city and accessible by metro is the longtime spa region of Beitou, offering soaks at geothermal springs and hikes at adjacent Yangmingshan National Park. Another popular day trip is the Maokong tea region, reached by the 4km-long Maokong gondola from Taipei Zoo.
Taichung is an industrial city on the western side of central Taiwan. It’s a gateway for exploring the island’s mountainous interior, including nature areas like Sun Moon Lake, popular for boating and hiking. In the bustling city center are museums, temples and the ornate brick Taichung Station, a legacy of the Japanese colonial period (1895–1945).
Taichung’s iconic Fengjia night market has a huge variety of street-food vendors, plus souvenir and electronics sellers. The Calligraphy Greenway park links the National Museum of Natural Science with the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts, which specializes in modern Taiwanese works. Taichung’s also known for traditional teahouses (where bubble tea was invented), stylish nightlife spots and shopping, from the boutiques of Yizhong Street to the malls and department stores along Taiwan Boulevard. South of the urban core in Wufeng, the 921 Earthquake Museum commemorates the devastation wrought by Taiwan's massive 1999 earthquake.
Kaohsiung is a massive port city in southern Taiwan. It's home to many skyscrapers, such as the 248m-tall Tuntex Sky Tower, and is known for its diversity of parks. Its focal point is the Love River, with walking paths and cafes along its banks, and cruise boats navigating its waters. Shopping options range from high-end malls to the Liuhe and Ruifeng night markets.
Other central attractions include Lotus Pond, lined with colorful temples. Museums range from Kaohsiung Museum of Fine Arts, anchoring the bucolic Neiweipi Cultural Park, to Pier 2 Art Center, showing contemporary work in converted urban warehouses. Shoushan Zoo houses many species in a verdant, mountainside setting. North of the harbor, the 19th-century British consulate at Takao, near Sizihwan Beach, offers sweeping views of the city and port activity. The island of Cijin, forming a natural breakwater across Kaohsiung’s harbor, is a popular excursion, with seafood restaurants, beaches, temples and bike paths.
Sun Moon Lake
Sun Moon Lake is the largest body of water in Taiwan as well as a tourist attraction. Located in Yuchi Township, Nantou County, the area around the Sun Moon Lake is home to the Thao tribe, one of aboriginal tribes of Taiwan. Sun Moon Lake surrounds a tiny island called Lalu. The east side of the lake resembles a sun while the west side resembles a moon, hence the name.
Taroko National Park
Taroko National Park is one of the nine national parks in Taiwan and was named after the Taroko Gorge, the landmark gorge of the park carved by the Liwu River. The park spans Taichung Municipality, Nantou County, and Hualien County. The park was originally established as the Tsugitaka-Taroko National Park by the Governor-General of Taiwan on 12 December 1937 when Taiwan was part of the Empire of Japan. After the Empire of Japan's defeat in World War II, the Republic of China assumed control of Taiwan. The ROC government subsequently abolished the park on 15 August 1945. It was not until 28 November 1986 that the park was reestablished. Sights include: Tunnel of Nine Turns Eternal Spring Shrine Yentzihkou, Swallow Grotto Chinheng Kungyuan, Park Tsihmuchiao.