If you’re one of the millions of people who’ve never been to Taiwan, now’s the time to start seriously considering it. And here’s why.
Taiwan is an untapped destination – offering everything from five-star hotels and michelin-starred restaurants to rural counties and beachside townships where English is a rarity.
Despite it’s overwhelming coastal and mountainous beauty, tourists in Taiwan are few and far between – making it one of the most culturally authentic countries to visit in Asia.
But if you’re wondering what the hell to do in Taiwan, don’t fret. We’ve gone and done it for you, accompanied by some pretty great agents, no less. See?!
So without further ado, here’s what Taiwan has to offer (spoiler; it’s pretty damn amazing).
The Toroko Gorge
The Taroko Gorge is a hikers haven and a photographers dream, but believe us when we say to book the hiking trails and larger suspension bridges in advance.
The gorge itself is completely marble, and with aqua-coloured water gushing between massive boulders, this is no place for white water rafting – just white water watching – from the aforementioned trails or suspension bridges or from tunnels that have look-outs around every corner.
But wear helmets when walking through the dark tunnels alongside the gorge, as falling rocks are a regular hazard for anyone walking through them – which is why part of the Taroko Gorge has been closed for over five years.
Spend two to three days here – it’ll be hard to get bored.
The Matai’an Wetland Ecological Park
The Matai’an Wetlands are beautiful, filled with shallow water plots and lily pads and old wooden bridges to navigate them.
The highlight, however, is learning about (and partaking in) ecological fishing – which you can’t have a visit to the wetlands without.
This type of traditional fishing was used by the Ami Tribe long ago, and involves a three-levelled structure consisting of hollow bamboos and trunks and branches from different trees.
Even if you don’t catch any fish in bamboo, you’re sure to catch some with the hand nets the fishermen provide. After (or before) you can devour a traditional salt-roasted fish, cooked to perfection.
King Car Kavalan Whiskey Distillery
Who would’ve thought you could find a whiskey distillery in Taiwan?
King Car also produces coffee, which is perfect after having one too many nips. Take a tour around the grounds and make sure to watch one of the whiskey barrels being roasted (literally being set on fire) right in front of your eyes.
Then head back into the aircon to select one (or five) of the many, many whiskeys to taste, plus a cup of their famous brew. Now that you know how whiskey is made, you have to try them all, right?
Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall
If the memorial itself isn’t reason enough to visit one of Taiwan’s most historic landmarks, this view definitely is.
Located in Taiwan’s capital, Taipei, head up the 89 stairs (to represent Chiang’s age when he died) to watch the hourly changing of the guard. If you aren’t impressed by the unbelievable synchronised march, go check out the view again.
There’s also a gallery downstairs, filled with interesting facts that tell the story of Chiang Kai Shek’s life.
The Taipei 101 is by far the tallest structure in Taipei, and the observatory is located on the 89th floor of the 101-story building, offering stunning views of the city.
There can sometimes be low-hanging clouds, so double check the weather before you go – the Outdoor Observatory Deck on the 91st floor closes if there’s too much rain or clouds – not that it dampens the view from inside.
Its elevator is also the fastest in the world at 1,010 meters per minute. Get ready for your ears to pop!
Downstairs, there’s shopping, offices, and the famous, Michelin-starred Din Tai Fung Dumpling Restaurant – which is worth the hour-long waiting time.
What trip to Asia would be complete without a visit to the night markets? The markets in Taipei are massive, and has everything from some of the latest fashion to confusing-looking food (see above).
Bargaining is encouraged, although the markets are mostly pretty good value – notable purchases within our group included fancy Italian shoes, two dollar t-shirts and a Bart Simpson phone charging cord – plus mango and pineapple cakes, obviously.