Taiwan has a total land area of 36,000 square kilometers and is divided into four regions: Northern, Central, Southern, and Eastern (and offshore islands). These four areas have distinct characteristics, serving visitors with a buffet of unique travel destinations.

Navigating Taiwan is easy. The transport system is one of the most efficient in the world, so efficient that it is possible to travel from north to south and back within a day! To give you a clear picture, going from Taipei to Kaohsiung, the island’s southernmost city, can be completed in as short as 1hr 36mins (96mins) via Taiwan High Speed Rail (THSR).

Taiwan’s capital and largest city is Taipei. Since we’ve been gushing over Taipei in our previous posts, this article will focus on the destinations in the other three regions. Taipei is connected to the other cities through their extensive railway and highway network, but you can also reach many of these cities by air. If you’re coming from Manila, you can fly to Kaohsiung, Hualien, and Tainan with EVA Air, but it will also connect in Taipei.

If you want to know more about Taipei, here’s our Taipei Budget Travel Guide or if you are curious about the free things to do and places to see there, discover these 10 FREE Things to Do in Taipei.

Taichung

Nearest Airport: Taichung International Airport
Train Station: THSR Taichung Station (in Wuri District); TRA Taichung Station (in Central District)

Central Taiwan is characterized by a mixture of verdant natural scenery, vibrant modern metropolis, and nostalgic cultural heritage. Taichung, the third largest city in Taiwan, best represents the region with its well-preserved historical and cultural sites, thriving trade and business scene, and lush surroundings. All these and its relatively drier climate and cheaper housing costs elevate Taichung to its status as an international-class city.

If coming from Taoyuan Airport, here’s how to get there.

  • From Taoyuan International Airport, take the newly opened Airport MRT System going south to THSR Taoyuan Station (NT$30; 20 mins). Another option is to take the airport shuttle bus (NT$15-NT$30 one way; 25 mins).
  • From THSR Taoyuan Station, purchase ticket going to THSR Taichung Station (NT$260-NT$805; 30 mins).
  • From THSR Taichung Station, you can either ride a local train going to Taichung Station (TRA Western Line/Mountain Line) located in Central District, Taichung City (6 mins) or take a free shuttle bus (for THSR passengers only) going downtown and to the university district.

Klook is offering 20% discount for a one-way THSR ticket for this journey. All you need to do is present your printed or mobile voucher and your passport at the THSR Ticket Counter. For non-reserved seat, you can claim your ticket anytime you want on the chosen date.

GET DISCOUNTED TICKET HERE


Top Taichung Attractions

  • Chung-she Flower Garden. Central Taiwan is also popular for its numerous flower markets. Chung-she Flower Garden treats its guests with visual feast any time of the year. It is notable for its success in growing tulips in low altitude areas of Central Taiwan. The place provides not only colorful getaway for families and friends but also a romantic backdrop for couples. Ready your cameras!
    Admission Fee: NT$150
    Operation Hours: 9:00am – 6:00pm (Monday to Friday); 9:00am – 9:00pm (Saturday & Sunday)
    Location: No. 469-13, Sanfeng Road, Houli District, Taichung City
  • Rainbow Village. In order to save the remaining veteran villages that were slowly being demolished to give way to modern buildings, one veteran Kuomintang soldier, Mr Huang Yongfu, decided to paint the walls and alleys with different colorful figures. This small area unexpectedly gained so much attention from locals and foreigners alike. Get a chance to see Mr Huang in action and support his craft. The vibrant paintings are very welcoming.
    Admission Fee: FREE
    Operation Hours: 8:30am – 6:00pm (Daily)
    Location: Lane 56, Chun’an Road, Nantun District, Taichung City
  • Chun Shui Tang Teahouse. Taichung is the birthplace of the widespread phenomenon that is bubble tea! Teahouse owner Liu Han Chie got his idea of serving cold teas in the early 1980s while his product development manager, Lin Hsiu Hui, thought of adding tapioca balls. Bubble tea (or locally known as “bobi”) was officially introduced to the market in 1988, starting what would eventually become one of Taiwan’s trademark drinks. Today, pearl milk teas are popular, with many different versions popping up, not only in Taiwan but also internationally.
    Operation Hours: 8:00am – 10:00pm
    Location: No. 30, Si Wei Street, Taichung City
  • Maple Garden
  • Fushoushan Farm
  • Calligraphy Greenway
  • Taichung Metropolitan Opera House
  • National Museum of Natural Science
  • Tunghai University
  • Fenjia Night Market

Sun Moon Lake

Photo provided by Klook

Sun Moon lake is the largest lake in Taiwan. Locals and foreigners alike flock to this lake, making it one of the most popular attractions. The east side of the lake looks like a sun, while the west side resembles a moon; it figures. The lake is located in Nantou County, but you can still go here on a day trip from other cities.

If you’re staying in Taichung and you want to visit Sun Moon Lake on a day tour without worrying much about getting there and going around the area, Klook offers a hassle-free Sun Moon Lake Day Tour inclusive of boat cruise plus insurance, lunch, and hotel pick up and drop off. Places and activities covered are:

  • Shuiwatou Trail (20mins)
  • Xiangshan Visitor Center (30mins)
  • Sun Moon Lake Boat Cruise (60mins)
  • Visit food and souvenir market (30mins)
  • Ci’en Pagoda
  • Hiking trail (20mins)
  • Visit Wenwu Temple (60mins)

RESERVE A SLOT HERE!


Alishan National Scenic Area

Nearest Airport: Chiayi Airport
Admission Fee: NT$200 (Weekend/Holiday); NT$150 (Non-holiday/Weekday/Visitors who arrive on public transport/More than 20 full price ticket purchase); NT$100 (Students/Children/Servicemen); NT$10 (Senior Citizen/Children under 120cm); FREE (PWD)
Operation Hours: 24 hours (all year round)
Location: Alishan Township

Photo provided by Klook

Southern Taiwan is characterized by tropical weather, various plantations, sandy beaches, and mountains (although not as intimidating as those in Central Taiwan). Chiayi County has some of the notable tourist attractions in Taiwan, but the most significant one is the Alishan National Scenic Area, one of the three major national parks in the county, which covers almost the entire Alishan township.

Alishan National Park is tailor-fit for those who favor communing with nature as a way of restoring their zest for life and adventure. The best time to go is during summer and cherry blossom season.

Other Attractions in Chiayi: Southwest Coast National Scenic Area, Siraya National Scenic Area, Meishan Park, Haomeiliao Wetland, Ping Huang Coffee Museum, Southern Branch of the National Palace Museum, and many more.

If you’re coming from Taoyuan Airport, here’s how to get there.

  • From Taoyuan International Airport, take the newly opened Airport MRT System going south to THSR Taoyuan Station (NT$30; 20 mins). Another option is to take the airport shuttle bus (NT$15 one way; 25 mins).
  • From THSR Taoyuan Station, purchase ticket going to THSR Chiayi Station (NT$445-NT$1260; 63 mins). Since THSR Chiayi Station is located in Taibao City, which is the county capital, it’s easy to get to where you want from here.

If your destination is Alishan National Park, at Chiayi Station, you can take the train or the bus.

  • By Train. Via Alishan Mountain Railway Chiayi Station to Fengqihu Station; NT$384, 2 hours. Then, take coach bus from Fengqihu to Alishan.
  • By Bus. Bus service from THSR Chiayi Station to Alishan; Around NT$300, 2.5 hours.

Securing your tickets and slots can be a bit tedious. Train tickets get easily sold out, sometimes stretching for days. Klook is offering Alishan Mountain Tour inclusive of pick up and drop off, so you don’t have to worry about your transportation. Other inclusions are:

  • Tsou Dance Performance ticket
  • Insurance
  • Services of an English-speaking guide
  • Aboriginal lunch

One-Day Trip Option Itinerary: Starts at 9am. Pass by Zhongpu, Aboriginal meal at Longmei,
Tsou dance performance, Alishan Forest Recreation Area. Ends at 5pm or 6pm.

Two-Day Trip Option Itinerary: Day 1 itinerary + take train to see sunrise at 4am (optional), Alishan visitor center, Fenqihu Old Street, Lunch, Yanping Mountain waterfall trail, Chukou (Everlasting Bridge). Ends at 5pm or 6pm.

RESERVE A SLOT HERE!


Tainan

Nearest Airport: Tainan Airport
Train Station: THSR Tainan Station (in Guiren District); TRA Tainan Station (in the old town square of Tainan)

Tainan is not only an important place in the southern region but also in the whole of Taiwan. It is the oldest city in the country and, understandably so, the birthplace of Taiwan. Many historic sites can be found here. Here’s how to get there from Taoyuan Airport.

  • From Taoyuan International Airport, take the newly opened Airport MRT System going south to THSR Taoyuan Station (NT$30; 20 mins). Another option is to take the airport shuttle bus (NT$15 one way; 25 mins).
  • From THSR Taoyuan Station, purchase ticket going to THSR Tainan Station (NT$575-NT$1590; 65 mins).
  • From THSR Tainan Station, you can either ride a local train going to Tainan Station (TRA Western Line/Mountain Line) located in the city center, or take a free shuttle bus (for THSR passengers only) going to the city center.

Klook is offering 20% discount for a one-way THSR ticket for this journey. All you need to do is present your printed or mobile voucher and your passport at the THSR Ticket Counter. For non-reserved seat, you can claim your ticket anytime you want on the chosen date.

GET DISCOUNTED TICKETS HERE!


Tainan Historical Tour

Photo provided by Klook

If you want to explore more of Tainan’s history and heritage, Klook is offering a tour inclusive of hotel pick up and drop off (hotels in downtown Tainan, Tainan Railway Station, and Tainan HSR Station), admission tickets, and insurance, among others. One of the stops is Old Merchant House of Tait & Co, where visitors will learn about how foreign trade and industry in Taiwan started and flourished before the Japanese came. The places covered are:

  • Eternal Golden Castle
  • Old Tait & Co. Merchant House & Tree House
  • Local place to eat Tainan snacks
  • Wushantou Reservoir Scenic Area
  • Xinhua Old Street

BOOK THIS TOUR!


Other Tainan Attractions

  • Anping Old Street. Yanping Street, also known as Anping Old Street, is the oldest merchant street in the area. As the original settlement of Dutch, it gained its title as “Taiwan’s First Street”, being first to be constructed by the Dutch people. Admission is FREE.
  • Blue Print Culture and Creative Park. Opened to the public in 2015, this former Japanese government dormitory became one of the most visited and most photographed places in Tainan. The murals and graffiti, the art installations, art studios, and quirky shops make this compound a selfie-worthy destination. Do not miss the photo opportunity! Admission Fee: FREE
  • Ten-Drum Rende Creative Park
  • Chi Mei Museum
  • Tainan Flowers Night Market
  • Anping Great Fort
  • Chikanlou

Kaohsiung

Nearest Airport: Kaohsiung International Airport
Train Station: THSR Zuoying Station; TRA Kaohsiung Station (Western Line and Pingtung Line)

Another city in the southwestern part of Taiwan is Kaohsiung. It is the second largest city in Taiwan, gaining its status as an international metropolis of the south.

  • From Taoyuan International Airport, take the newly opened Airport MRT System going south to THSR Taoyuan Station (NT$30; 20 mins). Another option is to take the airport shuttle bus (NT$15 one way; 25 mins).
  • From THSR Taoyuan Station, purchase ticket going to THSR Zuoying Station (NT$645-NT$1760; 75 mins).
  • From THSR Zuoying Station, take MRT Red Line going to the city center (NT$20-NT$25).

Klook is offering 20% discount for a one-way THSR ticket for this journey. All you need to do is present your printed or mobile voucher and your passport at the THSR Ticket Counter. For non-reserved seat, you can claim your ticket anytime you want on the chosen date.

GET DISCOUNTED TICKET HERE!


E-DA Theme Park

Admission Fee: Adult, NT$899; Students/Children, NT$799; Senior Citizen, Children below 12y/o & Pregnant Women, NT$580; PWD, NT$450
Operation Hours: 9:00am – 5:30pm (Daily)
Location: No. 10, Section 1, Xuecheng Road, Dashu District, Kaohsiung City

Photo provided by Klook

Although exuding youthful vibe, this Greek-inspired theme park is definitely for all ages. The theme park is one of E-DA World’s extensive vacation complex, consisting of shopping mall, university, and hotels, among others. It features not only outdoor rides but also indoor entertainment.

If you want to experience E-DA Theme Park for less, Klook is offering discounted tickets for foreign visitors. It is inclusive of:

  • 2 E-Da Theme Park adult tickets
  • 2 meals (Japanese Donburi)
  • E-Da Theme Park postcard set
  • E-Da outlet shopping mall coupon

RESERVE A TICKET HERE!


Fo Guang Shan Buddha Memorial Center

Admission Fee: FREE
Operation Hours: 9:00am – 7:00pm (Weekdays); 9:00am – 8:00pm (Weekends)
Location: No. 1, Tongling Road, Dashu District, Kaohsiung City

Photo provided by Klook

Built in the 1960s, this 30-hectare is the site of the biggest Buddhist monastery in Taiwan. Literally means “Buddha’s Light Mountain”, Fo Guang Shan complex is surrounded by lush forest, eliciting a calming ambiance while you marvel at the massive pagodas and the golden Buddha statue.

If you have extra budget and time and you want to experience more, Klook is offering this tour plus a visit to Cheng Ching Lake inclusive of hotel pick up and drop off and insurance.

RESERVE A SLOT HERE!


Kaohsiung Night Tour

If you fancy exploring Kaohsiung during nighttime, taking the Love River cruise is the best way to do it. Let the colorful lights illuminating the bridges reward you with fantastic view of the river and the skyscrapers. Klook is offering Kaohsiung Night Tour including hotel pick up and drop off, insurance, ticket admission, and more! Other places to visit are:

  • British Consulate Residence
  • Liouhe Night Market
  • RESERVE A SLOT HERE!


    Other Kaohsiung Attractions in Kaohsiung

    • Xizi Bay Scenic Area
    • Pier 2 Art Center
    • Kaohsiung Rose Basilica
    • Qijin
    • Lotus Pond
    • Old City of Zuoying
    • Meinong’s Hakka Village
    • Dream Mall
    • Reifeng Night Market

    Taroko Gorge and Hualien City

    Nearest Airport: Hualien Airport
    Train Station: TRA Hualien Station; TRA Xincheng Taroko Station

    Unlike the crowded Western side of Taiwan, Eastern Taiwan is characterized by dense forest and unspoiled coastlines. The destination that best represents this lush region is none other than Taiwan’s biggest county — Hualien. With the Pacific Ocean greeting from the east side and the Central Ridge from the west, it is no wonder that Hualien has a great deal of national scenic areas that adventure-seekers will find satisfying.

    • From Taoyuan International Airport, take the newly opened Airport MRT System going north to Taipei Main Station (NT$160; 35 mins). Another option is to take the bus (NT$65 one way; 55 mins).
    • From Taipei Main Station, take the Puyuma Express (Tzu Chiang trains) going to Hualien Station. (NT$440-NT$500; 2hrs). Note that ticket for Puyuma Express should be booked online in advance.
    • Get off at Hualien Station.

    Top Hualien Attractions

    We have separate posts for the attractions in Taroko Gorge and Hualien City. See links below:


    Where to Stay: Taiwan Hotels



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    Asta Alvarez

    Blogger at PhilippineBeaches.org
    Asta is the Managing Editor at PhilippineBeaches.org and a regular contributor to The Poor Traveler. She's also a mountaineer, production designer, and cineaste.
    Asta Alvarez

    Comments

    1. Abi says:

      For a 7 day trip, which of these places on your list would be your top picks?

      • Yoshke Dimen says:

        For me, Taipei > Hualien (Taroko Gorge) > East Coast Scenic Area

    2. maihiendanang says:

      Great! Thanks for your sharing. i’m going to Taiwan in this summer…kakaka keep posting.

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