Route: Taipei Taichung Changhua Chiyai Tainan Kaohsiung Hualien Keelung
Duration: 14 nights
Transport: This route is a 15 day trip covering 8 of Taiwan’s most popular cities. You’ll spend 14 nights in your accommodation and travel by train during the day – check the itinerary below for full details
Summary: Discover the wonders of Taiwan in this epic, whistle-stop trip around one of eastern Asia’s smallest but most exciting nations. From the artsy and colourful capital of Taipei, to the stunning temples scattered around the island and all of the incredibly scenic areas of natural beauty in between, Taiwan really has a lot to offer and this tour of the island will make sure you experience it.
Taipei is the capital city and the cultural, financial, and political centre of the island of Taiwan. Visit the National Palace Museum: a gigantic collection of nearly 700,000 pieces of ancient Chinese imperial art, or for something a bit different, check out one of Taipei’s creative parks. Apart from holding art exhibits and live cultural shows, creative parks host fashion shows, expos, seminars, and lifestyle bazaars all within an historic, industrial setting. If you’re in the mood for an easy hike you can climb up Elephant Mountain for breath-taking views of Taipei and the 101 Observatory, another nice spot to admire the city from above. When it comes to food, don’t miss typical dishes, such as Beef Noodles, Soup Dumplings, Minced Pork Rice and Bubble Tea. And what could be better than tasting them at one of the most famous night markets of the city? You can also take part in the more unusual Urban shrimping, a popular Taiwanese pastime where locals barbecue and eat as many shrimps as they can fish within a certain time limit!
Train to Taichung – 1 hour
This cultural hub makes a perfect spot to break up a journey from Taipei to the south of the island. Taichung city has it all, parks, temples, museums, night markets, and is near the sea. The Folk park is a good starting point to experience a traditional Taiwan. To sample the local food we recommend heading to any of the many markets in the city.
Train to Changhua – 1 hour
Changhua City is the capital of Changhua county, one of the first regions in Taiwan to be modern and developed. This history makes it a fascinating place to visit and explore, with outdoor activities like cycling on the doorstep. There’s also plenty of local food to try in the area, including Taiwanese meatballs, fried oysters and fire stir-fried noodles.
Why not hop on a bus to Lukang? Nicknamed “Living museum”, the small town of is home to some of the most beautiful temples in the country. You should definitely check out Longshang and Mazu Temple. with its beautiful wood carvings, high ceiling featuring the black faced Mazu Statue. In Lukang Old Street you’ll get a glimpse of traditional lanes with shops and food stalls.
Train to Chiayi – 3 hours
This small Town is famous for being the starting point when visiting Alishan National Park. It’s also within touching distance of Ali Mountain, which you can get to on one of the last 3 high plateau trains in the world. Check out Ming Yuan Pharmacy, filled up to the ceiling with Taiwan’s indigenous flora, before visiting one of the city’s temple. Check out the Hinoki Village just outside the city or wander around in Beigan old street with its many traditional shops and food stalls.
Train to Tainan – 1 hour
Former capital city of Taiwan and oldest city of the country, Tainan is famous for its many temples and fortresses. Visit Grand Mazu Temple, a former palace, or the city God Temple where they will work out whether you’ve done more good or bad in your life, which of course isn’t the least bit daunting! If you want a cool place just to have a wander around, head to Shennong Street with its quirky shops, cafes and art galleries. Check out Anping old street to stroll down the oldest and most historical streets in Taiwan. One of the remnants of the Dutch presence in Taiwan can be found at Anping Fort, along with its detailed museum. Last but not least, don’t forget to check out the Great South Gate, one of the only remaining city gates protecting the city.
Train to Kaohsiung – 1 hour
Big southern harbor city of Kaohsiung is known for its buzzing atmosphere. Despite being a more modernised city, it has it’s fair share of natural space with Shoushan Mountain and its many temples and pavilions featuring an impressive view of the city. Close to the city are several lakes with also beautiful pavilions and pagodas such as the Dragon and Tiver Pagodas. Kaohsiung is also home to colorful night markets like Liuho or Riufeng Night Markets, they are the perfect places to discover the local cuisine and check out some of the traditional shops. Tianlo stone temple is a sight to behold with its gaudi-esque feel. Another instagram friendly spot is the lotus pond, especially at night with hundreds of lights reflecting off the water.
Train to Hualien – 5 hours
Located on the upper east coast, Hualien is a colourful city, home to many parks, riverside bike routes and the ocean nearby. Check out the former fishing village of Qixingtan, perfect for picnics and easy to visit by bicycle, before heading out to the biggest Matsu Temple of the city, Gangtiangong. You’ll have to step through a dragon’s mouth to enter, but once you’re inside this impressive temple it won’t disappoint. The, Fogstan Gallery is a must see for any art lovers out there. You can then wander around Pine Garden, and see the architecture left behind from Japanese occupation in the 1940s. This building was where Kamikazes used to enjoy their last night before setting off on their final mission.
Train to Keelung – 3 hours
Nicknamed Rainy Port, Keelung is the second biggest port city in Taiwan and a very underrated day trip from Taipei. You can check out the protected north eastern coast with the impressive Longdong Cape or the Fulung Beach with its white sand and pristine waters, making it one of the most beautiful beaches in Taiwan. Next, head out to Yenliao Park for a day of charming canals and pavilions or to Zhongzhen Park with colourful temples, a 22m statue of the Goddess Guanying, as well as the impressive Zhuputan Temple. The abandoned house of Khoo Tsu song old Mansion built under the Japanese occupation and now consumed by nature is definitely worth a visit. Don’t forget to go to Miaokou Night Market filled with delicious local food before leaving the city.