Taiwan, Formosa Island – Cities and Places to Visit

Take a trip to Taiwan and get ready for an adventure full of breakthroughs, experience the different cultures and meet amazing places.

Take a trip to Taiwan and get ready for an adventure full of discoveries, experience the different cultures and meet amazing places.

Although Taiwan is a developed country, it still has many characteristics of other Asian countries. It is common to see the street markets open from dusk till dawn – traces of the colonization of the Japanese and Chinese – where you can find everything from clothing to a wide variety of food.

On your trip to Taiwan take the opportunity to be dazzled by the natural relics: Taroko Gorge, Yushan Mountain, Alishan Forest, Sun Moon Lake. You also know the Taipei 101 event center which is Taiwan’s largest building.

As is tradition, thousands of Taiwanese and travelers celebrate the main festivals, such as the New Year’s Eve, where they gather and vibrate with fireworks.

Did you know that it was the Portuguese who named Formosa Island for Taiwan? This is one of the curiosities present in this article. Read on, and you’ll find others like this.

Essential information about Taiwan

Taiwan or Taiwan is an independent country, despite the conflicts and pressures of China and other countries. I knew that at the time of Taiwan’s independence many families were divided: some fled to Taiwan and others stayed in China …

Even today, these families have lost contact. Those who stayed in China cannot leave the country. And those who went to Taiwan will have the same problems if they return to China, that is, they may be held back.

The country has 25 well-built cities (variety of marketplaces and counties). The provinces, in turn, attract the lovers of energy, art, and local culture.

Taroko Gorge in Hualien, Taiwan | Happymind Travels
Taroko Gorge in Hualien, Taiwan

It is essential to know that three different cultures have already colonized Taiwan: Portuguese – named Formosa Island -, Japanese and Chinese, so this trip to Taiwan will have the opportunity to know various cultures and historical places.

Begin to get used to the bustle of the people who visit the night markets, as well as listen to Mandarin, the official language in Taiwan.

Things to know before traveling to Taiwan

The cities of Taiwan are an excellent destination for those looking to explore other cultures, religions, and art.

Its busy streets and night markets house an estimated population of 53.58 million people who officially speak the three types of (almost) same language “MANDARIN”.

In Taiwan, dollars and euros are accepted. But its official currency is the Taiwanese Dollar. It has ATMs everywhere, and most markets accept MasterCard and Visa cards.

Formosa Island is a small country in territorial extension, but with a strong culture, religion and with many things to admire. Visiting this Asian paradise is a unique and incredible experience.

Overall, the country’s climate is quiet for sightseeing, so take lots of cool clothes and a little shelter – no exaggeration!

To get started, learn a few words in Mandarin so you can respond to some locations. As well as fun, they will take great pride in your concern.

Learning Mandarin

O idioma que vai mais ouvir é o Mandarim, bem diferente de tudo o que provavelmente conheces. Ainda que seja difícil de aprender, pelo menos saber o básico para se desenrascar no lugar não é nada mal. Veja.

Hi – Nǐ hǎo
Thank You – xièxiè
Please – qǐng
YEs – shì de
No – bùyào
Clothes – fúzhuāng
Tea – chá
Water – shuǐ
Food – shípǐn
Do you speak English? – nǐ huì shuō yīngyǔ ma?
How much does this cost? – Zhè xūyào duōshǎo qián?
Lower the Price – Xiàzài jiàgé

The Taiwanese Gastronomy

The cuisine of Taiwan is varied and very rich, especially if you love that exotic dish! It is normal for restaurants to serve snake soup, inclusive, it is the favorite dish of the Taiwanese.

Get to know other tastes like delicacies such as Stinky Tofu (Smelly Tofu), to smell anywhere in the country, or cow’s stomach, seen as a local specialty, served in Din Tai Fung restaurants in Taipei.

Din Tai Fung in Taipei: Cooks preparing the famous Taiwanese dumplings | Happymind Travels
Din Tai Fung in Taipei: Cooks preparing the famous Taiwanese dumplings

Also, try the Hot Pot, one of the most beloved dishes of the Taiwanese. It is made syrup and with various vegetables along with pieces of meat such as chicken or pork and they serve seafood depending on the place.

Things to do on your trip to Taiwan

Taiwan has a wealth of tourism, and being little publicized is still a little explored country. The country is home to incredible natural spaces and metropolitan cities that deserve to be visited for their greatness.

But the natural spaces are just incredible, from the feeling of being under the clouds in the forest in Alishan to the stunning Taroko Gorge, in which it seems more like the Taiwanese have opened a small gap in nature.

Since the place is spacious, the traveler can enter and contemplate for cultural preservation.

Shilin Night Market in Taipei, Taiwan | Happymind Travels
Shilin Night Market in Taipei, Taiwan

Um dos passeios mais incríveis e divertidos de Taiwan são os famosos mercados nocturnos que abrigam quase a metade dos seus habitantes. A agitação noturna em Taiwan dá a sensação de que a cidade só acorda quando o sol se põe.

Aqui está a lista das 14 cidades para visitar em Taiwan. Anote da primeira à última, pois encontrará cidades incríveis demais para não serem visitadas. Além disso, elas possuem características únicas que as diferenciam da maioria das outras cidades taiwanesas. Pronto para a viagem?

1. Taipei

Taipei is the capital of Taiwan and the center of this Asian paradise. This city has attractions for all tastes from the well-known Taipei 101 (509-meter, 101-story building) providing a panoramic view of the town, as well as the Shilin Night Markets, National Palace Museum, Confucius Temple and Longshan, among others.

Next to the Taipei 101 event center is located the Xiangshan Hill, better known as Elephant Mountain. Try to go there in the late afternoon and enjoying a beautiful sunset, overlooking the 101, at the height of 183 meters.

Taipei 101 seen at night from Elephant Mountain | Happymind Travels
Taipei 101 seen at night from Elephant Mountain

For nature lovers and trekking, you do not even have to leave the capital. On the outskirts of Taipei, north of the city lies Yangmingshan National Park. It is a place where you can enjoy small trekking in the middle of nature, passing through several hot springs.

This place full of natural beauties and wildlife is just a few kilometers away from Taipei city, outside the urban area. The Yangmingshan National Park is a beautiful ideal for small trekking up to the altitude of 1200 meters.

It is important to note that it is a beautiful place very close to the city of Taipei.

Travel to Taiwan: Top of Mount Cisine in Yangmingshan National Park | Happymind Travels
Travel to Taiwan: Top of Mount Cisine in Yangmingshan National Park

Night markets are the ideal places to shop and try street food. In Taipei you have the Shilin market, the largest and most crowded, followed by the Raohe market, then the Tsinghua, the oldest and the smallest of them all.

Do not leave without experiencing the hot springs of the city, such as Beitou. It is a public hot spring, perfect for you to recharge your batteries for the next adventures of your trip.

To close the tour in the city, take the Xinzhuang, orange line, and watch a baseball game at Xinzhuang Baseball Stadium, or take that turn in the night market.

2. Hualien

Hualien is another city that attracts photography and nature lovers. It is situated on the west coast where high mountains and breathtaking landscapes surround it.

The Taroko Gorge is the center of all this beauty, one of the highlights on a trip to Taiwan. Near the train station, there is a bus that will take you to Taroko.

This trip is made of stops, in which you can go out and visit what you have in each one of them. Although the first one does not have much or nothing to see, follow the route that the next will surprise you by the incredible landscapes that you will find.

It is important to note is that the traveler himself leaves the bus at each stop and the last has a suspension bridge at Taroko Gorge. A good tip is for you to cross this valley and trek through nature. After that, the traveler returns to the road and waits for another bus.

This trekking visit, along with the constant waiting for the bus to the new stop, can last the whole day. To make the most of it, you must start this course very early.

Travel to Taiwan: Natural Landscape in Taroko Gorge - Hualien | Happymind Travels
Travel to Taiwan: Natural Landscape in Taroko Gorge – Hualien

Program to stay longer than one day, as there are stops that take between 4 to 6 hours, some of which can only be done with the guidance of the guides and by appointment.

The courses are lengthy and in some cases even dangerous. On the most hazardous trekking, you will first have to get the proper license and follow it with a guide.

Without this, you will not be able to enter such routes, since there are security guards at the entrances that will prevent your passage.

Without a doubt, it will be one of the most impressive moments on your trip to Taiwan. On this visit to Taroko Gorge, you will find the Shrine of Eternal Spring at the end of the trail, with a very impressive waterfall.

And there is more, still, in Hualien do not miss to visit Liyun Lake. It is about 20 km from the city, and the best way to do this route is by bicycle. When leaving the town, you will find a bit of traffic, but relax that afterward you will be at the mercy of nature.

If the lake has a singular beauty, the journey through the fields then, no one speaks even more towards the mountains!

3. Kaohsiung

Kaohsiung is the second most populous city in Taiwan, located in the southeast of the country. It has a vibrant urban dimension, huge buildings and many options of attractions to take advantage of.

With a beautiful view, the Monkeys Mountain (Chai Shan) is a natural park ideal for family outings, with friends, doing physical activities on the defined trails or just relaxing.

Monkeys Mountain (Chai Shan) in Kaohsiung, Taiwan | Happymind Travels
Monkeys Mountain (Chai Shan) in Kaohsiung, Taiwan

The park is full of monkeys strolling as a family or in a group. It’s funny because if you’re not careful, they steal your things: food, drink, sunglasses, etc. And do not even think about reacting, okay?

Also, the giant Buddha is one of the most sought after tourist spots and also has the lake of pagodas with great Buddhist gods around it. In the same way the Museum of Fine – are works of national or international consecrated artists.

4. Tainan

The Tainan city, located in southern Taiwan, is one of the oldest but incredibly modern and attractive towns. It is home to over a thousand Buddhist temples – it is where the famous Temple of Confucius stands – as well as other cultural and historical attractions.

The Temple of Confucius is a relic that was built in 1665, also known as the Temple of the Scholars. Thus it is perceived that since ancient times they invested in education.

Temple of Confucius in Tainan - Taiwan | Happymind Travels
Temple of Confucius in Tainan – Taiwan

The Taiwanese know Tainan for being where they traditionally find the best food in Taiwan. In Tainan, you will find a night market almost entirely dedicated to food, perfect to try everything you see. Just a hint, the clams there are huge and delicious!

The streets of Tainan are famous, and you can be sure that in this place you will find the most delicious food in the country! Savor Chou l’s shrimp roll, fried pork sandwich, and fresh oysters.

Visit the Chihkan Tower in which the Dutch built it in 1653 which is not a tower. But it is worth visiting because it is a beautiful building, where you can also contemplate an aquarium of fish of all colors.

Come and see a cozy place, Shennong Street, located in the old part of town, with narrow streets decorated with plants. There are some exciting shops: clothing stores, costume jewelry shops, art galleries, and some good alternative cafes.

Nielou Dove Tail Cafe in Shennong Street - Tainan | Happymind Travels
Nielou Dove Tail Cafe in Shennong Street – Tainan

Let yourself be absorbed in the sites and relax, for example, at the Nielou Dove Tail Cafe. Upon arrival, you will see architecture and rustic furniture, with photography and paintings exposed. The place is an alternative environment to relax to the sound of good music.

In the same way and a little more busy, but equally cozy has the Taikoo, which has two floors. It is another option to relax and have a good time on a small balcony from where you can watch the rhythm of the street.

Tainan is a big city. However, it does not have a metro and, to enjoy all the attractions of the place, the ideal is even to rent a motorcycle. You will find a place to rent just next to the train station, turning right, named J.L.H Scooter.

It is a bike and motorcycle rental shop. It is necessary to leave a document and accelerate the engine. Tainan waits for you!

5. Taoyuan

Taoyuan is a city located in the northwest of Formosa Island. Although it possesses 2,117 million inhabitants has little tourist popularity. The town is called the county earned the kingdom’s nickname of flowers and land of a thousand ponds, so imagine paradise!

Being the closest city to Taiwan International Airport, it is an excellent city to stay in the first or last days of your trip to Taiwan.

Get to know the varieties of cafes and restaurants and savor the best of the region’s cuisine. Not to mention the Vingue Jumping Parks, Shimen Reservoir, Cihu Memorial, Jiaobanshan, where they have options to enrich their cultural baggage with essential sculptures, magnificent scenery, adrenaline and lots of good food.

Jing Fu Gong Temple in Taoyuan - Taiwan | Happymind Travels
Jing Fu Gong Temple in Taoyuan – Taiwan

Also, visit the ZhonZheng Road Shopping District where you have shops and boutiques to get lost in shopping. The Jinfu Temple is also a place reserved for prayers and holds many stories about the colonization of the Chinese.

Surprise yourself with other sites like the Xiau Wulai Scenic waterfall, the Hutou Mountain park, the Sanmin Bat Cave cave – known as the Sanmin Bat -, the Lala mountain and more.

6. Taichung

The city of Taichung is located in the center-west of Taiwan and has 2.7 million inhabitants. It is rich in history, has beautiful landscapes, recreational areas, scenic bridges, and natural parks.

It’s a lively town with lots of festivals, lots of attractions and the already traditional mouthwatering delicacies – especially XL Chicken Cutlet and Bubble Tea.

Visit the Rainbow’s walls, a lively, colorful environment and artwork depicting animals, toys, and characters a true cultural sample.

Night View in the Park in Taichung - Taiwan | Happymind Travels
Night View in the Park in Taichung – Taiwan

And speaking of culture, meet and learn with the National Museum of National Science of Taichung – archives, and exhibitions on geology anthropology. Not to mention the Tropical Rainforest Conservatory – exhibits of more than 500 species of flowers.

For lovers of relaxation, leave on behalf of Guguan Hot Spring Park and immerse yourself in its sulfurous thermal waters and with therapeutic effect – cure many chronic diseases and skin treatments.

7. Alishan

The Alishan is perhaps one of the most beautiful places on your trip to Taiwan. The scenic Alishan forest has ancient trees with altitudes of 2190 meters, a railway station in the middle of the forest in which the Japanese built in the colonial period.

Talk about the route some more. Because it is a place with few people, it is possible to make the journey calmly. Now get ready for a fantastic view under the clouds that takes the breath away of any traveler.

Walk on the clouds in the Alishan scenic forest | Happymind Travels
Walk on the clouds in the Alishan scenic forest

Now, how about waking up early and watching the sunrise? You will have to book a tour which will take you at dawn, around 04 am, to a high point. And on the summit of the forest enjoying the view from the mountains, watch the sun rise behind the mountains, creating an enigmatic environment, typical of the mountain top.

Also, in the vicinity of Alishan, visiting the tea-fields up the mountain is a unique experience and do not fail to take a test. Its flavor is very strong and tasty – lasts up to 6 washes, so the taste stays intense.

8. Yushan Peak Trekking

Yushan Peak Trekking is a steep mountain, has 3952 meters and yet is quiet for travelers to climb. This is because the trail is easy to walk and very well structured.

Mount Yushan at almost 4000 meters and altitude in Taiwan | Happymind Travels
Mount Yushan at almost 4000 meters and altitude in Taiwan

To obtain authorization, the traveler must request permission to the Yushan National Park and another one of the representations of the region. Another tip is to take clothes to withstand the cold of the mountains.

It’s worth the adventure and the sight of the azalea plantation, so it’s not even talked about!

9. Sun Moon Lake

The Sun Moon Lake is a lake to be lost sight of on your trip to Taiwan. Its natural beauty has transformed it into cultural heritage. The ideal is to rent a bicycle and take that unpretentious turn to the lake. Take the opportunity to stroll for long hours, with tranquility and enjoy the lush landscapes.

Sun Moon Lake - Landscape view of Cable Car | Happymind Travels
Sun Moon Lake – Landscape view of Cable Car

The Cable Car then has a beautiful view across the lake. When you’re up there on the heights, look down and contemplate a picture full of fascinating sights.

10. Taitung

Taitung, located on the east coast of Taiwan, is a city less developed than Taipei but has paradisiacal views and a pleasant climate for walks.

Because of its charms, Taitung is called Taiwan garden. Also, it is close to a park of sculptures with rock formations shaped by the erosion of the sea.

Sansiantai Bridge in Sansiantai - Taitung | Happymind Travels
Sansiantai Bridge in Sansiantai – Taitung

The city has cultural and food attractions mainly grains and cereals. There are marine reserves like the Environmental Education Center. You can relax on a bike ride on the Dapo Lagoon or have fun with the hot air balloon exhibits on the Luye Plateau.

Do you know those stories that no water flows up? The truth is that there is yes and Taitung is a place that has already been named as a miracle because literally, the water flows up.

11. Kenting

The Kenting National Park, located on the southern tip of the island, is the Taiwanese Algarve. It is a place that shelters beautiful beaches, environmental reserves, villages, ports. Also, it has a favorable atmosphere making it a great place to do physical activities and sightseeing.

You can have a cold drink and refresh at the edge of the beach, walk the mountains in Fengchuisha, surf or admire the waves of the sea while eating fresh seafood.

The Beautiful Nature Park in Kenting - Taiwan | Happymind Travels
The Beautiful Nature Park in Kenting – Taiwan

Relax on the quieter beaches like Baisha Beach, enjoy the hustle and bustle of Nanwan, catch those waves in Jialeshui or venture out on the snorkel at Vela Rock.

There you can also participate in a kart race. Go with a friend and embark on this adventure! Enjoy the Spring Scream, one of the continent’s largest outdoor music festivals.

12. Penghu Island

Penghu, or fisherman’s island as it is known, is formed by archipelago which houses 90 islands and islets, has glorious temples, traditional Chinese houses, and beautiful beaches.

It is a little known destination for international travelers. The same strength is in the summer where local tourists refresh in the waters of the coast.

Chi-mei Island, south of the Penghu Island | Happymind Travels
Chi-mei Island, south of the Penghu Island

There are many activities to do in your trip to Penghu visit beautiful beaches, exhibitions of the Museum of Life, the Center for Tourism and Conservation of the Green Turtle – houses a very rich reserve of animals, such as turtles.

Also, you can unusually learn geology, outdoors! The Geological Center of the Ocean is a world geological park, stands out for the preservation area of the seabirds, stone plants.

Enjoy and experience the exotic island of Wagan Tiantai Hill. It is famous for pastures where cattle and goats graze quietly. What’s more, you can enjoy the sea cave adrenaline with basaltic formations and the Xiyu Western Fort fortress, built to protect the military.

13. Orchid Island

The Paradise Island of Lanyu well-known as Orchid Island situated the southeast coast of Taitung is an untouchable place where you will appreciate natural beauty and pure air everywhere.

Lanyu Island or Orchid Island in Taiwan | Happymind Travels
Lanyu Island or Orchid Island in Taiwan

You can go by plane or by ship. There, in addition to relaxing and enjoying such a landscape, you can take advantage to take beautiful photos.

The accommodations are restricted and a little distance from the island. We recommend that you rent a car or scooter to move around and make the most of this place!

14. Green Island

Green Island also known as Lyudao, is another island that has 3000 inhabitants and is an ideal tour to escape the hustle and bustle of other cities on your trip to Taiwan. You have two options to get to the island: plane or boat.

Lyudao or Green Island in Taiwan | Happymind Travels
Lyudao or Green Island in Taiwan

There you should not fail to try the foods: tasty algae, fried or dried deer, fried or dried fish or even seaweed.

The attractions of the place are lovely: Port Nan Liao, shopping at Nan Lemon Village, diving into the lighthouse pool or the natural pools of Cbai Kou.

Also, you can visit the Human Rights Memorial – where governors and presidents were imprisoned between 1940 and 1980.

What you need to do before boarding to Taiwan

Before you take it in your backpack and embark on a trip to Taiwan, cherish your safety, which is also an important part. It is essential to do all the consultations and be up to date with the mandatory vaccines, although in Taiwan there are no major disease outbreaks.

Also, we suggest subscribing to World Nomads, a guarantee that promises your health care anywhere in the world, including Taiwan.

Know the best time to visit Taiwan

Taiwan is a very hot country. Most of the time temperatures force residents to take off their coats and jump into the water. The best seasons to travel are spring and fall.

Traveling to Taiwan in winter, temperatures are strict, but it is still an excellent time to visit Taiwan. In the summer, Taiwan’s heat is almost twice as high as in Portugal. So imagine!

For your trip to Taiwan, we recommend that you light clothes and forget about the warm coats. In this undiscovered paradise, the beach environment does not match with a jacket. We suggest the following clothing: T-shirts, light shirts and cotton pants.

Avoid traveling between August and September, which are times of typhoons, and certainly will disrupt your trip to Taiwan.

In short, one realizes that Taiwan is a rare gem that needs to be stoned. There are cities ideal for radical adventures, others more historical, even artistic, others more religious.

Everything will depend on your taste and availability to discover and unveil the mysteries and riches that this country has to offer to all travelers.

Did you like the country? Do you have any other information we did not mention? Please, contact us, ask your question in the comments that we will be happy to answer! Until the next adventure!

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