First-Timer’s Travel Guide to Taiwan

2019 is the Small Town Roaming Year for Amazing Taiwan. It is another tourism campaign to promote the rich and unique history, culture, and beautiful ecological attractions of its 368 districts, cities, counties, and towns. 

First-Timer’s Travel Guide to Taiwan
Taipei 101 | Bigstock

This idyllic island in Asia is becoming one of the hottest destinations of foreign tourists, who want to explore the iconic city attractions, the national parks, as well as the historic and cultural sights that only Taiwan can bring. It is home to amazing coastlines, glittering metropolitan life, and beautiful landscapes, all waiting for you to discover and unravel.

So, if you cannot wait to see all the glorious destinations of Taiwan, check out this travel guide to find out what’s in store for you.

Visa Requirements to Taiwan

A significant number of nationalities do not require a visa to visit Taiwan. The validity of the visa-free scheme depends on nationality. Some nationalities can enter Taiwan on a visa-free status for 90 days, others get 30 and 14 days.

Visa-Exempt Nationalities

Citizens of the following countries may visit Taiwan visa-free for 90 days.

All European Union citizensMarshall Islands
AndorraMonaco
AustraliaNew Zealand
CanadaNicaragua
ChileNorth Macedonia
EswatiniNorway
GuatemalaPalau
HaitiParaguay
Holy SeeSan Marino
HondurasSouth Korea
IcelandTuvalu
IsraelSwitzerland
JapanUnited States
Liechtensteinnil

Citizens of the following countries may enter Taiwan visa-free for 30 days.

BelizeSaint Kitts and Nevis
Dominican RepublicSaint Lucia
MalaysiaSaint Vincent and the Grenadines
NauruSingapore

Visitors from Brunei, Philippines, Russia, and Thailand may visit Taiwan without a visa for 14 days.

Turkish citizens can get a visa on arrival for 30 days, free of charge. All other nationalities can get an eVisa or apply for a visa from the Taiwan Embassy or Consulate in their country.

How to get to Taiwan?

Taoyuan International Airport is the main gateway to Taiwan. Flights from Europe, North America, Australia, and the rest of Asia are available. If you cannot get a direct flight from your city, you may try flying to Hong Kong or Bangkok and get a connecting flight to Taiwan. You can check and book cheap flights to Taiwan now.

Liberty Square
Liberty Square | Photo by Dudva under creative commons

When is the best time to visit Taiwan?

Taiwan has warm weather throughout the year. Summer in this subtropical country is from June to August when the temperature is over 30 degrees Celsius.

The best times to explore and enjoy Taiwan is during Autumn (September to November) and Spring (March to May), although rain becomes prevalent during this period especially in May.  You will also enjoy the Winter season, which is from December to February, the time where the colored Maple trees display their charms.

How to get to the city center from Taoyuan International Airport

The primary gateway to the mainland is through the Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, one of the busiest airports in the world. From its location in Taoyuan County, the airport is approximately one hour away to the city center. The other airport is the Taipei Songshan Airport in the Songshan District, which has direct flights from China, Japan, and South Korea.

You can travel to your hotel via MRT, bus, or taxi. The most expensive mode of transport is via taxi, but the most convenient if you are traveling with your kids, carrying heavy luggage, or arriving late at night. Typically, you will be paying between NT$1000-1200.

By Bus

You can book your ticket to the Bus Counters near the terminal’s Arrival area. The fare depends upon the rates of the bus companies, but within NT$125-$145 range. You may also book a roundtrip bus transfer via Klook.

By Metro/Train

Both terminals have metro stations- A12 Station in Terminal and A13 in Terminal 2. Trains operate from 6 am to 11 pm and the fare is NT$160. Travel time if you take Express is about 37 minutes.

Connecting to the internet in Taiwan

Connecting to the internet in Taiwan is relatively easy. You can buy a prepaid sim or rent a pocket wifi or connect to the free public wifi in the airport, hotels, and other establishments.

Prepaid SIM card
You can purchase a SIM card when you arrive at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport or you can also buy a sim card online and pick it up when you arrive.

Free Public Wi-Fi
There are many public areas across Taiwan with available free hotspots. It includes malls, community centers, public libraries, museums, hotels, and restaurants.

Pocket Wi-Fi
Another option is to connect using a pocket Wi-Fi device that gives you data access. You can rent a 4G Portable Wifi online and pick it up when you arrive at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport.

Beitou Hot Springs
Beitou Hot Springs | BigStock Photos

How to get around Taiwan?

Exploring Taiwan is easy because of the varied forms of transport. The fastest and most efficient is via the Taipei MRT, which connects the districts of the Greater Taipei Metropolitan Area. You can get a Metro Pass or a Taipei Fun Pass to save on your transportation cost around Taipei.

Another great option is to rent a car and self-drive. The roads of Taiwan are excellent for driving. Just remember that cars are driven on the road’s right side. Self-driving requires you to present a valid international driver’s license. Rent a car now, check rates and availability.

A mix of tourist shuttles, buses, trains, and taxis is also a perfect way to get around the best destinations in Taiwan.

Don’t forget to get a Chunghwa Telecom 4G Sim to enjoy mobile data which is valuable in researching and navigating the city.

Where to stay in Taipei, Taiwan?

Taipei is an affordable place to stay in; if you don’t mind sleeping in a dorm room, a bed costs around NTD300 to NTD565+++ a night. A private room costs approximately NTD1000-NTD2000+++ a night. The best places to stay are either near attractions or metro stations. This reduces your expenses and time spent going to and from famous destinations during your trip. Taipei Main Station and Ximending are recommended places to look for accommodation. Below are highly-rated accommodations near Ximending and Taipei Main Station (click to see the rates, reviews, and availability):

Xingtian Temple
Xingtian Temple | BigStock Photos

Must-Try Food in Taiwan

Yong Kang Beef Noodle

One of the reasons why people visit other countries is because of the food, and this one you surely shouldn’t miss. Beef Noodle is the national dish of Taiwan and this family restaurant in the Da’an District is the perfect place to find this sensational dish. This will definitely give you a great taste of their local food.

Yong Kang Beef Noodle | Photo by Jonathan Lin under creative commons

10 Top Tourist Attractions in Taiwan

Taipei 101

One of the top attractions in Taiwan that every traveler should include in their itinerary, Taipei 101 was considered as the “World’s Tallest Building” from 2004 to 2011, right before Dubai’s Burj Khalifa was built. You can find the most extravagant mall on the first five floors of the infrastructure, while a spacious food court in the basement. It offers a breathtaking 360 view of Taiwan and neighboring cities at its observatory decks, and it features the largest steel damper to withstand typhoons and earthquakes. Get your Taipei 101 Observatory ticket.

View of Taipei 101 from Elephant Mountain | Bigstock

National Palace Museum

This museum with 690,000 artifacts including the Jadeite Cabbage with insects and Mao-Kung Ting bronze cauldron is a great example of when technology and treasures meet to provide big impact and greater insights. Not to mention, the latest technology implemented at the National Palace Museum, digital imaging and computer animation, visitors can simply appreciate artworks created decades ago come to life!  

National Palace Museum in Taipei City
National Palace Museum in Taipei City | BigStock

The in-house restaurant enables the diners to grab a taste of Taiwanese most diverse and mouth-watering cuisine. Buy your National Palace Museum E-ticket now.

Taroko Gorge

One of the eight national parks in the country, Taroko Gorge is undeniably one of the top attractions in Taiwan. Surrounded by Zhuoshui River in the west, Shanzhan and Mugua River in the east, and Dajie River in the north, Taroko Gorge is a stunning natural beauty in Taipei that attracts thousands of travelers every year.

Taroko Gorge
Taroko Gorge | Photo by eugene_o under creative commons

Five popular trails in Taroko Gorge are as follows:

  1. Yanzikou Trail –Wearing a hard hart during the trail is required, there are plenty of marble walls, and potholes.
  2. Changchun Trail –Despite the steep and slippery steps, everything is worth it as the trail leads you to the phenomenal Eternal Spring Shrine.
  3. Tunnel of Nine Turns Trail – social media influencers may find this trail as one of the best. There are marble gorges, wildlife, running waters and cliffs that are perfect for those Instagram-worthy shots.
  4. Baiyang Waterfall Trail – a well-maintained trail requiring travelers to be ready for 2.2 km hike.
  5. Shakadang Trail- it is dubbed as “Mysterious Valley Trail” surprise you with crystal clear pool.

Sun Moon Lake

Visiting the top attractions in Taiwan will not be complete without spending some time in Sun Moon Lake, awarded as one the “Eight Wonders of Taiwan.” You can find this as a perfect spot to enjoy the beautiful scenery of Lalu Island, Xian Mountain, Meihe Garden, and Wenwu Temple. Aside from the nearby attractions and splendid features, Sun Moon Lake is perfect for Knowledge Tourism since it’s Taiwan hydroelectricity production center.

Sun Moon Lake Taiwan
Sun Moon Lake Taiwan | Photo by Eddy Tsai under creative commons

Taroko National Park

One of the nine national parks in Taiwan, you can find ten trails and Taroko Gorge blessed with marbles inside this enormous Taroko National Park. When you’re here in Taroko National Park, you can do the most remarkable activities such as the following:

  • Have a campfire session with villagers in Datong and Dali Village
  • A quick stop in Chime Bridge painted in red in resemblance of Chinse society.
  • Immerse in a tranquil Wenshan Hot Spring
  • Visit the iconic spot in this park which is the ChingShui Cliff
Taroko National Park
Taroko National Park | Photo by Xavier Berlioux under creative commons

Kenting National Park

Kenting National Park brings you a different world where amazement and relaxation meets! In Kenting National Park, you will never run out of things to do, as it features 10 attractions within the area. Here are the top 3 attractions you will definitely enjoy are as follows:

  1. Kenting Forest Recreation Area – for better travel experience in Taipei, this Recreation Area is composed of Fairy Cave, Silver Dragon Cave, and the Valley of the Hanging Banyans.
  2. Baisha – 400 meters long beach with pure white sands, corals, and shells.
  3. Chuhuo – located near the Pacific Ocean, this is the ideal place to witness crumbled ridges, limestone caves, and red soil.
Kenting National Park | Photo by 萬家良 under creative commons

Shilin Night Market

Never go hungry again at Shilin Night Market divided into two major sections. You can satisfy your cravings as much as you can at this market since local cuisine is available here. Buy souvenir items as the other section of Shilin Night Market features general merchandise. Affordable items, mouth-watering cuisines, and friendly vendors are just enough reasons to convince you to include this market to your itinerary.

hilin Night Market
hilin Night Market | BigStock Photos

Yangmingshan National Park

Strategically located in the northern part of Taipei, with a total land area of 11,455 hectares, Yangmingshan National Park is accessible from downtown. Long ago, this park used to be a mining area but to protect its nature and wildlife, operations were shut down. Visit Yangmingshan National Park every February until March for the season of flowers, and cherry blossoms or you can visit it during October, where silver grass and maple leaves cover entirely the mountains.

Yangmingshan National Park
Yangmingshan National Park | Photo by Minghsiung.yang under creative commons

Shifen Waterfalls

Creating rainbow colors every time its water flows on the lake, Shifen waterfalls stands 20 meters, this can be found on top of Keelung River. Travelers flock on this attraction to take some photos or seize the moment right in front of the awe-inspiring view in the midst of tranquility. For Taipei, Shifen Waterfalls is their version of America’s “Little Niagara”. Book a Shifen Guided Tour.

Shifen Waterfalls | Photo by Weihao.chiu under creative commons

Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall

To understand Taiwan’s rich culture and history, travelers should consider visiting this memorial hall as one of the top attractions in Taiwan. Chiang Kai- Shek Memorial Hall was opened in 1980, it houses a bronze statue of Chiang Kai-Shek, president’s personal items, documents. The colors of this structure are based on Taiwan’s flag:

  • Blue roof tiles
  • White walls
  • Red flowerbeds

It’s never too late to visit these top attractions in Taiwan, and through this list, going home will definitely hard to do!

Top Tours and Activities to Do in Taiwan

Taipei Free Walking Tour Historic Route

Enjoy a tip-based walking tour around Taipei. Go on a leisurely walk to some of Taipei’s best tourist attractions and learn the stories behind them. Reserve a slot here.

Taipei Double Decker Bus Tour

Klook.com

Northeast Coast Day Tour

Klook.com

Yangmingshan National Park

Klook.com

Taipei Motorbike Tour

Klook.com

Suggested Taipei Itinerary

Day 1 Taipei Travel Guide Itinerary
Arrival in Taipei
Arrive early in the morning and check-in at the hotel
Visit Sun Yat Sen and Chiang-Kai Shek Memorial Halls
Walk around, eat or shop at Ximending at night

Day 2 Taipei Travel Guide Itinerary
Explore TaipeiVisit Yehliu GeoparkGo to Shifen and Jiufen

Day 3 Taipei Travel Guide Itinerary
Day tour from Taipei
Yangmingshan day trip
Explore Shilin Night Market or other markets

Day 4 Taipei Travel Guide Itinerary
Check out of the hotel
Go up Taipei 101 or just visit, alternatively, you can also hike Elephant Mountain’s trail 

*You can add other places you’d like to visit during your stay or replace some places and go at a more relaxed pace.

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