When Portuguese sailors discovered the archipelago of Taiwan in the 1500s, they quickly knew that the land was filled with beauty and natural resources. Historically, the main island of Taiwan was known as Formosa, meaning “beautiful.” And Taiwan is a beautiful place indeed—a country that is full of life and amazing scenery.
Their culture and people are nothing short of amazing. This is why Taiwan is a great place to visit at any time of the year. While there are plenty of things to see and do there, we’ve rounded up three things you can do as soon as you get there.
Off the Beaten Path
Whether you’re traveling with family, a group of friends, or solo, you can’t go wrong with a Yangmingshan National Park tour. This incredible tour will show you the natural and vibrant side of Taiwan in one go.
Start the day by touring the world’s first Urban Quiet Park. Enjoy the day as you take in the beautiful nature that surrounds you. The tour includes a trip to the Geothermal Valley, the Yangminghshan National Park, and Beitu Hot Spring Museum, where you can learn more about the hot spring culture and its history in Taiwan.
You can also enjoy a relaxing hot spring foot bath at the Lengshuikeng Recreation Area, where the water in the barrier lake is about 40 degrees Celsius; perfect temperature for those tired feet and leg muscles!
Go on a Night Market Food Adventure
What’s traveling to any destination without exploring the local cuisine? In Taiwan, you’ll find a rich cuisine with dishes influenced by the different local groups, their derivatives of Japanese, and an array of Chinese dishes.
Take your palate on a wonderful food adventure as you enjoy new and familiar tastes and flavors at one of the largest night markets in Taiwan: the Shilin Night Market. Here, you’ll find authentic Taiwanese snacks, including smelly jerky by the local people—a street snack that is more popularly known as Stinky Tofu.
These tofu snacks are cooked in different ways: fried, steamed, stewed, and barbecued. While it may be a completely new flavor to you, it’s a really great snack to try out and one that you can’t get enough of once you get the hang of it!
Aside from the vast array of local grub that you can find at the Shilin Night Market, you can also find refreshing drinks like fresh juices and bubble teas. There are also seafood options and meat options, including sausages and steaks. Should you look for an evening snack, there are some tasty sandwiches and pastries at the market, too.
If you’re taking the Yangmingshan Tour and are not checking in to any of the hot spring hotels for the night, you’ll be dropped off at the Shilin Market coming back from the tour. Best to schedule these two activities on the same day to save time and transportation fees, too.
Soak in Hot Springs
Should you wish to stay overnight at a hotel in the Beitu area, there are several hotel options where you can enjoy soaking in a hot spring to relax your tired muscles and unwind at the end of the day.
Nothing beats getting your soak on after a full day of walking and getting around the city. Hot spring bathing benefits have been proven through history. The benefits include improving blood circulation, as well as the digestive and detoxification abilities of the body.
Soaking in the hot spring also helps soothe muscle aches and pains and provides an overall relaxing feeling. In addition, the minerals found in hot springs are good for the skin.
You can opt for a traditional spring bath or have one at a hotel, where the water is delivered to a private pool or tub within the facility.
Either way, you cannot go wrong spending a bit of your day soaking up the minerals and taking advantage of the benefits you can get from bathing in hot spring water.
Have a 360-degree View of Taipei
If you want to get a bird’s-eye view of the city, head over to the tallest building in Taiwan—Taipei 101.
It’s impossible to miss the majestic structure from afar. And up-close, it’s a massive architectural beauty that stands at 508 meters, including the spire, which is the long tapering object seen at the top of the building.
The building was named the tallest building in the world from 2004 to 2010 and still offers the best 360-view of Taipei from its indoor observatory on the 89th floor of the 101-floor structure.
The building also has an outdoor observatory on the 91st floor, but this area is only open to visitors when the weather permits. You can also view the wind damper on the 88th floor and see the giant golden tuned mass damper in action.
Aside from these interesting spaces, the building also houses restaurants, a shopping mall, and a secret club—like a speakeasy—that exists on the 101st floor of the building and isn’t accessible via the regular elevators.
As of late, the building management has decided to open the 101st floor to the public, with additional entry fees and opening hours depending on the weather condition of the day.
The Bottom Line
All in all, Taiwan is one of the best places to see. It’s got history, nature, and bustling city life, with friendly locals, fantastic food, and exciting places to visit. Every moment spent there is definitely going to be a memorable one.