Tainan City, born four centuries ago, is Taiwan’s most illustrious repository of important heritage sites. Here is a quartet of attractions that have been born within the past two decades.
Shoushan is the green lung of Kaohsiung City's urban core. It's easily reached and you can hike for a whole day without retracing your steps. Monkey sightings guaranteed!
There are countless options for budgets travelers to find cheap and good accommodation in Taipei. Here are three of Taipei's top hostels.
Bird lovers rejoice! There is a brand-new zoo in Nantou County with a focus on birds. In fact, it’s the largest bird-focused zoo in Asia, with dozens of rare birds kept. The zoo has numerous aviaries and outdoor areas where visitors can get up close to a wide variety of birds, including large species such as ostrich, crane, and flamingo. Among the most popular birds are the brightly colored Scarlet Ibis, Western Crowned Pigeon, and Vulturine Guineafowl. Apart from the bird area, there is also Dinosaur Hill, featuring large dinosaur sculptures.
SHUTER Enterprise, a Taiwan manufacturer of office and industrial storage solutions, has recently built the Babbuza Dreamfactory, a truly remarkable tourist factory at the center of which is a 10-story-high (30.8m) tree structure with a spiraling walkway (386m long) around it. Located in an industrial area west of central Nantou City, the facility was constructed as a “box of light,” with transparent walls letting sunlight in during the daytime and artificial light out during nighttime. Visitors seeking a bit of a thrill can do a 30m bungee jump inside the “tree” or tackle a 20m climbing wall. The tourist factory also has shop, dining, and cultural-performance areas. The grand opening is scheduled for December 23 this year.
Mori Hotel (森行旅) | soft opening August 2022; 42 guestrooms; located in Tainan’s Anping District
Le Meridien Taichung (李芳艾美酒店) | grand opening October 2022; 228 guestrooms; located close to Taichung Railway Station
Breezy Blue Hall
Railway enthusiasts will certainly be interested in the Breezy Blue train experience, a nostalgia railway ride on the South-Link Line, connecting Fangliao Railway Station in Pingtung County with Taitung Railway Station in Taitung County. The train has a diesel-engine locomotive and decommissioned non-air-conditioned cars meticulously restored to their original state, now allowing travelers to experience what rail travel was like decades ago. To learn more about Breezy Blue, visit the Breezy Blue Hall by the Fangliao station. Originally a dormitory building for railway workers, the hall is a cultural space with an exhibition room, bar area, and service counter.
Yongkang Street Is Cool
In a recent survey by the website timeout.com, Taipei City’s Yongkang Street was named one of the “33 coolest streets in the world.” The street (close to MRT Dongmen Station) and its surrounding lanes and alleys are well-known for diversified restaurants (Din Tai Fung dumplings), ice parlors (mango ice), and boutiques.
Taitung from Above
Taitung County is one of the most beautiful areas of Taiwan, and deserves to be seen from all sorts of angles. Taking to the skies gives you a whole new perspective of the land and the ocean to its east. Apart from taking a hot-air balloon flight during the annual Taiwan International Balloon Festival, you can now also go on 30-min. small-aircraft flights that take in the East Rift Valley, the Pacific coast, and Green Island. The planes, operated by Apex Flight Academy, seat nine passengers and reach heights of up to 1,000 meters. You can choose from three different routes, focusing on the valley, the coast, and the island respectively. The experience sets you back NT$9,900 (NT$85,000 for chartering an entire plane); tours are available Thursday~Sunday.
“Yong’an Sea Snail Cultural Experience Park”
About 20km west of downtown Taoyuan City is Yong’an Fishing Harbor. Like many fishing harbors, it’s known for seafood restaurants, but also attracts visitors with a scenic footbridge and the chance of catching eye-pleasing sunsets. One new reason to pay the harbor a visit is the recently opened “Yong’an Sea Snail Cultural Experience Park” on the opposite side of the harbor from the seafood restaurant area. Apart from its unique architectural design (the building was constructed to resemble a sea snail), this new sight also features fun AR and VR experiences for visitors, there is an observation deck with wind chimes, and inside you can sit down for a cup of coffee in the “Sea Snail Café.”
New Michelin Guide
Eagerly awaited each year by gourmets and gourmands alike, the Taiwan edition of the Michelin Guide this year gives you a great overview of the best culinary options in the cities of Taipei, Taichung, Tainan, and Kaohsiung. A total of 38 restaurants received stars this year, including one three-star recipient, Cantonese restaurant Le Palais (Taipei), seven two-star selections (Taipei 6 and Taichung 1), and 30 one-star picks (Taipei 24, Taichung 4, Kaohsiung 2)
Taipingshan Quiet Trail
There are many trails in Taiwan that give hikers the chance to enjoy a peaceful time embraced by nature, but there is only one (so far) that has been recognized by the US-based Quiet Parks International organization as a “Quiet Trail.” The almost 4km-long Cuifeng Lake Circular Trail, inside the Taipingshan Forest Recreation Area in Yilan County, is located at around 1,900 meters above sea level. Its exceptional quietness is due to the trail’s remoteness, about 14km from Taipingshan village along a narrow winding road, as well as the abundance of moss in the lush and moist forest along the trail.
Taichung’s Gaomei Wetland, best known for beautiful sunsets, is one of the most popular tourist attractions in central Taiwan. Off the south end of the wetland is a spacious modern visitor center with a rooftop observation deck presenting visitors with panoramic views of the area. On the grounds of the center is a lawn area that has recently been transformed into a new campsite, with 27 four-person tents resembling small yurts. Another new addition to the center is a restaurant on the second floor with seating for 80 diners.
Guanwu Route in Hsinchu
Some of the most scenic natural areas of Taiwan can be inconvenient to reach by public transport, if at all. The Guanwu Forest Recreation Area used to be one of them, but thanks to the Taiwan Tourist Shuttle service, visiting without your own means of transportation has become much easier. The Guanwu Route of the service’s network, launched at the end of August, connects the Hsinchu high-speed rail station and Zhudong Railway Station with the Guanwu area, the bus making stops along the way, including at the hot-spring village of Qingquan and Sheipa Leisure Farm. One-way tickets are priced NT$300, and there are two services a day.