Taiwan’s an underrated gem of Asia.
Here are the seven top sights you will need to visit if you are in Taiwan:
1. Longshan Temple – The Meeting Place of the Gods
Lungshan celebrates many festivals. Wealth of deities are idolized here that’s why it’s often called “meeting place of the gods”.
Lungshan means “Dragon Mountain.”
Longshan Temple is Taiwan’s oldest temple built 280 years ago in 1738. It was built in honor of Guanyin, the Goddess of Mercy. It comprises a few buildings and is located conveniently across the Longshan Temple “BlueLine” Subway Station.
The architecture, intricate craftsmanship and ornate carvings are sights to behold. Although the smoke from burning joss sticks had darkened and dulled the detailing, regular maintenance has allowed the details to be visible and enjoyed by visitors.
Longshan Temple is a highly recommended visit whether for historical or religious reasons.
2. Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall (CKS Memorial Hall) – The Most Prominent Historical Landmark in Taiwan
Chiang Kai-shek is known by multiple names. His official name is pronounced Jiang Jieshi (Chiang Kai-shek in Cantonese), as well as the name Zhongzheng (中正), most commonly used to refer to Chiang Kai-shek.
CKS Memorial Hall is the white building with the blue octagonal roof in between the National Concert Hall (on the left), the National Theater (on the right) and the superb archway at the front. This square is very huge and vast with lots of people including tourists and locals.
Regardless of the political views and sympathies, this is an impressive square to visit for its 2 large concert halls, trees and gardens and the main memorial hall with an interesting exhibit on Chiang Kai-Shek’s life.
Also, changing of the guard ceremony is a must-watch event which usually takes about 15 minutes long. These guards are very precise in every movement, perfect in every detail of dress and deportment. Two stands at parade rest facing each other, moving every 10 minutes to salute each other, and scare the imprudent tourists, wielding chromed receiver M1 Garand’s with chrome bayonets and wearing chromed helmets.
Three comes out, one sergeant, two guards, to replace the two standing guards. It’s a complex, intricate, but well-choreographed replacement routine. The stone-faced soldiers mirror each other’s movements in perfect synchronization.
After the replacement and the soldiers are back standing guard on their pedestals, an attendant checks every detail of their ‘deportment’, wipes the sweat from their brow, fixes their tassels, straightens their uniforms and helmets in an almost ritualistic manner. Quite fascinating, memorable and a must see in Taipei.
3. Kenting National Park – The Asia’s Version of Hawaii
The crown jewel of Taiwan’s Hengchun Peninsula has got to be Kenting National Park. As the country’s only tropical national park, it encompasses a large area of 33, 268 hectares, which include land and surrounding waters. This national park is specifically situated in a bigger region also named Kenting.
Kenting National Park offers visitors the chance to explore forests, pastures, lakes, beaches, mountains, coral reefs, and agricultural land.
Here, you can also get an excellent glimpse into the rural lifestyle of the Taiwanese. The national park boasts such a captivating landscape, that it became one of the film settings for Ang Leeís hit movie “The Life of Pi”. After getting recent international exposure, the national park has been receiving even more visitors from all over the world. But even without the movie, Kenting National Park proves to be a memorable destination.
Hills, high cliffs and low mountains that dominate the area will greet when you reach the park. Taiwan’s national park is a haven for different types of wild animals including over 300 bird species.
If you love seeing wildlife in their natural habitats, then Kenting is the place to be. The botanical garden within the park houses thousands of tropical plants. It’s considered to be one of the best in the world.
There are many ways to reach Kenting National Park. You can take a bus, which travels every hour, from Taipei Bus Station. There are also regular buses that run from Kaohsiung to the national park. To reach Kaohsiung, you can take the High-Speed Rail service that links Taipei to Zuoying (Kaohsiung). You can maximize sightseeing opportunities by renting a bicycle and scooter.
You have to show a valid license and sign a rental contract to rent a
If you are press for time, seeing the main attractions within the park can be challenging.
The best way to accomplish this is to join a forest tour that usually starts at the Visitorís Center. Forest tour itineraries depend on the number of days you are signing up for.
These tours include these notable attractions:
They also usually include meals and are often in walking distance or by driving.
For relaxation and recreation, the park has its fair share of sandy swimming beaches that feature gorgeous turquoise waters. Aside from swimming, surfing is increasingly becoming popular on most beaches in the park. At the major beaches, jet skiing is commonly, and you can rent the equipment. Because the park’s coast is teeming with healthy coral, scuba diving is definitely one activity that is very popular while visiting Kenting.
There are numerous lodging options within Kenting National Park. You can choose to be extra comfortable in midrange hotels or go on a budget and stay in hostels and surf houses. To enjoy the beauty of raw nature, consider camping here with friends or family, but make sure to contact park authorities beforehand to
4. Taipei 101 – World’s Tallest Green Building
Towering above the city like the gigantic bamboo stalk it was designed to resemble, Taipei 101 is impossible to miss. At 508m, Taipei 101 held the title of’world’s tallest building’ for a number of years. Until 2011 it held the title of the world’s tallest green building.
The cloud-piercing Taipei 101 tower and the frenetic 24-hour pace of life leave no doubt about the cosmopolitan nature of the cities. The contrast between city and countryside, together with the blending of the old and the new, leaves you with the feeling of being in a time tunnel that passes from the past through the present and into the future.
5. Shifen Waterfall of Taiwan – the Little Niagara of Taiwan
Taiwan is known for its strong Chinese culture, vibrant street life, and culinary prowess, but it also caters to those who adore nature. One of the country’s most prized natural attractions is the Shifen Waterfalls.
Shifen Waterfall is located at the Pingxi Township in Taipei County and surrounded by a mountainous area adorned by kettle pits in river beds. Kettle pits refer to round shallow pits created because of the erosion of soft rocks and rapid water flow.
Travel experts and guidebooks consider Shifen Waterfall as the most beautiful in the country.
Because of their resemblance, the Shifen Waterfall has been referred to as the Little Niagara of Taiwan.
The waterfall is quite accessible from the capital Taipei as the Shifen town is only an hour away. Several tourists take the train service from the city’s main station – specifically the Hua-Dong or Yilan line. If you are on board either train line, you have to get off the Houtong or Ruifang station and transfer to Pingxi Line. This particular line has the Shifen station. From this station, you will only need to walk 15 minutes to reach the Shifen visitor center. It is also possible to drive to Shifen or take regular bus routes that pass through the waterfall section. You need to pay a fee to gain entrance to the waterfall area. This fee covers the maintenance costs of the attraction and insurance.
The Shifen visitor center is at the Ruifang Special Scenic Area, which covers a land area of 56.89 hectares that runs from the Keelung River to the regions of Xinliao and Nanshan.
The scenic area is appropriately named as it showcases a spectacular landscape characterized by luscious mountains, waterfalls and river potholes.
Dropping by the visitor center before proceeding to the fall, is quite advantageous because you can get brochures in English and Chinese from here. This brochure features an extensive map of the area and some important information about the waterfall and kettle pits. The center also conducts regular video presentation sand sky lantern making classes.
The nearest attraction to the visitor center is the eyeglass cave. You can get here by walking across a suspension bridge and heading towards the river. The cave is more interesting because of a small waterfall that flows through it.
As you go towards the main Shifen waterfall, you will find local vendors with stalls that sell barbecue pork sausages. These sausages are reportedly very tasty and give out an aroma that is simply irresistible to many visitors. Reaching the waterfall requires you walk beside a railway track, which still receives trains every half an hour, so be cautious. Shifen Waterfall’s path is filled with small pebbles; so make sure that you wear comfortable outdoor shoes.
The waterfall exudes a very laid back and calming vibe, which is similar to what you will feel all through the town. However, the amount and the speed of the water plunging to the big deep pool underneath is quite astounding and it creates a mist that surrounds the entire area. After experiencing the beautiful Shifen waterfall, you can also enjoy a cup of coffee or tea at a nearby quaint coffee shop.
6. Shilin Night Market – The Biggest Night Market in Taipei
One of the biggest night market in Taipei. This night market is easily accessible by MRT, the nearest stop is Jiantan Station. The station exits into a major road junction between Jihe Road and Wenlin Road.
Shilin Night Market is lively with a variety of street food, games stalls, and shops selling souvenirs, clothes, toys, and accessories. There’s also a huge foodcourt at the basement level.
The place is clean and neatly set up. Porter international is just around the corner. Milk tea, beef cubes, chicken cutlet etc. all along the road. The inner part of the market comes with souvenirs and game booth. Adidas, champion and other retail outlets are there too.
7. Yehliu Geopark
Yehliu Geopark is a fascinating natural attraction located on the north coast of Taiwan. The rock formations are the results of years of geological movements and erosions. At the entrance, there is a
Walking paths lead across Yehliu.
This is an outdoor attraction with a few sheltered areas. Daytime visits can be hot and sunny. So, do bring along an umbrella which will come in useful in case of raining.
As the rock formations encroach into the sea, there is a red line marked on the ground to restrict visitors from venturing too near the coast.
Security staff tends to stop people from time to time who deliberately ignore the red line for a photo opportunity. There is really no need to venture across the red line as there are lots of photo opportunities. If there are kids, be careful since some area are not barricaded properly and even for an adult, it may be quite dangerous for them to run around.
The rock formations are truly unique.
Many have honeycomb designs and rise from the ground like mushrooms. Some take on unusual shapes. Guards guide visitors along a queue to pose beside the rock formation called “Queen’s Head”.
This place is astounding and beautiful. The scenery, the rocks, the wind and everything else makes it the perfect place for your holiday. The ticket entrance is not expensive at all, about 80 NTD for 1 adult ticket. Make sure to bring a bottle of water with you since they don’t have any stalls or shops to sell things inside unless you don’t mind walking all the way back out at the entrance to buy drinks.
Each corner of Taiwan is blessed with a
Visit Taiwan and experience its island life, to tour around this gorgeous island, this secret realm for travelers, this fount of culture, and enjoy an encounter with the warm friendliness of the island’s people.
Taiwan warmly welcomes you to a sociable, smart travel experience.