A Taiwan Travel Itinerary You Must Try
In this 10 day Taiwan travel itinerary you will be introduced to a diverse, accessible, friendly, yet a lesser traveled country in Asia. Explore the busy streets of Taipei, hike through the cool mountains of Taroko Gorge, try surfing the waves in Kenting or explore the ancient fort of Anping. Taiwan is a small country yet full of action.
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Day One: Arrival in Taipei
Taipei is the capital city of Taiwan. This huge sprawling city is home to over 6 million people including the metropolis area, making it the 40th most populous city in the world. Situated on the northern tip of the Taiwan Island, Taipei has a rather cool climate in the winter for which it is advisable to pack some warm clothing if traveling from Southeast Asia.
Stay Here: Hotels in Taipei under $50
One of the best ways to soak in the atmosphere of a large city like Taipei is to just wander the streets for a few hours. Forget about the maps and the guidebooks, get on your shoes and pull out a camera. Taipei is a pretty photogenic city.
After a long walk around the city, it is time to fill up on some local foods. In recent times Din Tai Fung has become a well-respected name for Dim Sum, and this is where it all started. Located in the city center behind a hole in the wall, the only thing giving this restaurant away is the line of people trying to get in.
Once in don’t be surprised to find yourself sharing a table with some strangers, who just like you want a bit of the action. Din Tai Fung serves up some amazing dishes such as the such as the Xiao Long Bao and other tasty dumplings.
Day Two: Treasure Hill Artist Village and Keelung Port
The Treasure Hill Artist Village is a unique spot to add to your Taiwan travel itinerary. Nestled nearby the heart of Taipei place defines the ‘hipster’ subculture. Unlike the gentrification of the business district, the Treasure Hill Artist Village has been left to develop organically.
From afar small houses and stack above one another in an almost slum-like appearance. However, under a closer inspection, the enclave is a fairly organized artist community, houses and art galleries intermingled with a network of small winding pathways. A vegetable garden lies in place of a carpark and a cycle track replaces a road.
In the afternoon venture out further to take a walk along the harbor promenade at Keelung.
On the map, Keelung City appears as a separate city from Taipei. It is really part of the same sprawling urbanization. Keelung is a popular destination for locals to visit on a sunny weekend, strolling along the harbor promenade, snapping a bunch of selfies and eating in a wide range of restaurants.
The most impressive time I found to visit Keelung was in the afternoon, watching the sun to settle down over the mountains and the harbor lights beginning to switch on.
Opposite Keelung, you can also explore Bali Island with more information available in my detailed guide to Taipei.
Day Three to Five: Taroko National Park
Hiking enthusiasts get ready! One of the mandatory attractions of a Taiwan travel itinerary is a visit to Taroko National Park. The best way to do this is to spend at least two days and one night in the park.
When you come from Taipei you will arrive by the early afternoon. It is best to drop your bags off and check into one of the local accommodation options such as Yu’s Homestay B&B.
You can easily spend two days exploring the hiking trails in Taroko National Park. Hike up the mountains with amazing views of the Taiwanese countryside, and get an impressive view of the Taroko Gorge below. In the late afternoon make your way up the mountains to the Wenshan Hot Spring. This is the perfect spot to soak away in the volcanically heated water and relax those worn out hiking legs.
Read More: What to do in Taroko National Park
Getting to Taroko National Park form Taipei is easy. Jump on an express train from Taipei to Hualien. A one-way trip takes about 3 hours and costs 450 NTD (15 USD). From the station in Hualien either take the tourist bus or try one of the other options explained in my guide to Taroko National Park.
Days 6 to 8: Head South to the Beaches in Kenting
The next stop in my Taiwan travel itinerary is to shoot down the south coast to Kenting on the southern tip of Taiwan.
After spending a week in Taipei and the mountains of Taroko National Park it would seem that Taiwan is a fairly cold country. This is until you head to the beaches. Kenting feels like an endless summer with bright sunny days. The weather here is a good 10 degrees warmer than Taipei, an impressive difference for such a small country.
Stay Here: Hotels Near the Beach
Put the jackets and hiking boots to the side and pull on a wetsuit. While the water is still fairly cold here, Kenting is the most popular spot for the Taiwanese to surf.
One of the best ways to see the southern end of Taiwan is by renting a motorbike for a day or two. Ride out of the town along the coastal rods to discover beautiful beaches, coral coastlines and sweeping views of the ocean from the winding mountain roads.
Motorbikes can easily be rented on the main strip in Kenting by showing a driver’s license from your home country and putting a passport down as a deposit.
Days 9 and 10: Tainan the Ancient Capital
The city of Tainan is the last stop in this quick Taiwan travel itinerary. Tainan is located halfway up the east coast of Taiwan and is actually regarded as the birthplace of Taiwan.
Tainan is the oldest city in the country formed in 1661 when the Taiwanese drove the Dutch settlements out of this part of Taiwan. Tainan then continued as the country’s capital city through to the late 19th century.
Located to the west of the city is the ancient Anping Fort and Eternal Fortress. This was originally built by the Dutch in 1624 when It was still called Fort Zeelandia.
Stay Here: Budget Hotels in Tainan
The best way of getting to the Anping Fort is by public bus Number 2 from Tainan train station. Walking here could take a very long time.
Another interesting thing to do in Tainan is to cruise through the Sihcao Green Tunnel on a bamboo raft. The green tunnel is a set of densely grown mangroves which have been cultivated in a way to give the appearance of a natural tunnel. Entry is 200 NTD (USD 6.50).
On your next day in Tainan head out to the Qigu Salt fields. In the past times, this was the largest solar salt filed in Taiwan. The salt industry is now a thing of the past, however, the remaining mountain stands at the same height of a 6 story building. The salt field provides a good insight into the historical industry of Taiwan.
This Taiwan travel itinerary does not cover the whole of the country, in fact, it is missing the entire north-west section. For an alternate route head over to Treksplorer’s post on What to Do in Taiwan in 10 Days or Less.
What do you love about Taiwan? Drop me a comment below!
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