How To Spend a Perfect Day in Taiwan

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A relatively less explored destination in East Asia, the island of Taiwan packs a punch with a pleasing mix of varied offerings, gorgeous national parks and mountainous scenic areas with hiking trails and few visitors, indigenous cultures rich in tradition, art and crafts, delicious cuisines from the mountains and coast, and cities that are effortlessly cool, fashionable, hipster, arty, and intriguing, all at once.
Then of course, there are the people friendly, open, welcoming (also of diversity) and so polite they put the rest of the world to shame, and you begin to wonder how Taiwan has remained a secret for so long. Here’s day Taiwan itinerary with places to visit in Taiwan, tips, practical information and additional ideas for shorter and longer itineraries. If you’re mainly visiting the capital Taipei, then you might be interested in my guide to the best things to do and places to visit in Taipei. Let’s exploce How To Spend a Perfect Day in Taiwan below.

How To Spend a Perfect Day in Taiwan

Day 1: Admire the views from Taipei 101 and savour the world’s best xiao long bao

First up on the itinerary is a visit to the city’s tallest and most iconic building, Taipei 101, so called, as you might have guessed, after its 101 floors. It was unveiled in 2004 to the accolade of the world’s tallest building, a reputation it maintained until the Burj Khalifa usurped the spot in 2010. Head to the observation deck to watch the sunset, before going right back down to the basement to eat some of the best xiao long bao the world has to offer at Din Tai Fung. While I’m usually not much of a city person, I was pleasantly surprised by Taipei, and I can safely say that I would love to return and see more of the city. It’s totally one of the top places to visit in Taiwan, something I don’t necessarily say of every capital.
There are so many amazing things to do and places to visit in Taipei, that you can easily spend a week here. Make no mistake, this city (along with New Taipei) is home to a population of six million, but surprisingly, I saw and felt none of the chaos that I’ve come to associate with Asian capitals think the daredevilry of strategically navigating the traffic of a Hanoi intersection or the sea of humanity that you find yourself in in a floating market in Thailand.

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Day 2: Art, Culture and Night Markets in Kaohsiung

Considering how off the beaten path Taiwan is, I won’t be surprised if you haven’t heard of Kaohsiung. I hadn’t, but Taiwan’s second largest city was full of surprises, and as is true of every place I visited on my trip, I’d have liked to stay longer and see more. So I’m definitely going to recommend it in my Taiwan itinerary. As the biggest port in Taiwan, Kaohsiung is important to Taiwan’s economy.
Considering that, the location of my hotel and the view from my window was fitting. Thanks to its southern location, the weather here can be considerably warmer and sunnier than in Taipei. It’s also pretty easy to get to we took the high speed rail from Taipei to Kaohsiung and got there in a very comfortable 2 hours and 6 minutes. See other options on public transport from Taipei to Kaohsiung. You can tour Kaohsiung on your own or do this guided trip with a local that’s very reasonably priced.

Liouho Night Market Kaohsiung

Day 3 : Discover Taiwan’s oldest city, Tainan

Tainan is the oldest city in Taiwan, located about an hour out of Taipei by high-speed rail. This sunny, southern city is famous for many things, but the most important are Du Hsiao Yueh’s danzi noodles. This franchise can be found all over Taiwan, but the chain began here in Tainan as a humble street stall. It was run by a fisherman who, during typhoon season, was forced to supplement his income by selling noodles. Who’d have thought bad weather could have delicious consequences.
Next up is Mazu Temple, a site devoted to the goddess of the sea. So the story goes, Mazu’s father and brother were out fishing one day and got caught in a typhoon. Fortunately for them, Mazu saved them through her dreams. Fujianese fishermen began to worship her, spreading her story across Taiwan and building temples like this one to pray for their own protection at sea.

How To Spend a Perfect Day in Taiwan

Day 4 : Explore Taiwan’s beautiful backyard

Alishan offers the opportunity to breathe some fresh air, see some tea plantations and to experience the region’s beautiful cloud waterfalls. Every so often, a mist slides down the mountainside, clinging onto the meticulously groomed tea hedges.
The delicious taste of Alishan’s award winning tea is often attributed to these cloud waterfalls, which are essentially natural irrigation systems. Stay overnight in the national park at Alishan House or a local farm stay.

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Day 5 : Learn 8,000 years of Chinese history at the National Palace Museum

The National Palace Museum is perhaps the world’s most comprehensive synthesis of 8,000 years of Chinese history. This sprawling museum skips, hops and leaps through a history that has grappled with censorship and its artefacts tell their own survivor story.
During the Japanese occupation and Chinese Civil War, hundreds of thousands of artefacts were in danger of being destroyed in the Cultural Revolution. Were it not for Chiang Kai Shek who shipped these artefacts in crates to Taiwan hundreds of thousands of porcelain vases, jade carvings and irreplaceable artworks would have been lost. This is once of How To Spend a Perfect Day in Taiwan.

How To Spend a Perfect Day in Taiwan