Random Picks

2023 Nov./Dec.

Eastern Taiwan Hot-Spring Resorts

What would you imagine to be the most soothing vista to see outside your window when staying at a hot-spring hotel? Perchance we may suggest tall breeze-swayed tropical trees up…
2022 Mar./Apr.

Island Getaway in Tainan City

Small, tranquil, and attractive Yuguang Island lies directly off the coast on the south side of Tainan City’s Anping Harbor. New purpose-built inn-style homestays, a new museum, and new on-land/on-water…
2021 Jan./Feb.

Sleeping in Old TAINAN

In Tainan, the small cultural-creative hotels, inns, hostels, and homestays found snuggled away within its close-knit community grids of side lanes and alleys do double-duty as time-travel devices.
2021 Sept./Oct.
Small Cultural-Creative Travels
2021 May/June
Meeting the Seediq
2024 May/June
Landlocked Mountain Playground Nantou
2022 Mar./Apr.
Old Tainan City Learns New Tricks
2021 Sept./Oct.
North Taiwan on a Budget
2023 Sept./Oct.
A Day in Old Penghu Communities

Free YouBike Rides in Taipei

Good news for visitors to Taipei who wish to explore the city on two wheels. When renting a bike of the popular YouBike public bike-rental system, the first half hour is free of cost again! Started on a trial basis in 2009 in Taipei City’s Xinyi District with just 11 stations and 500 bikes, the system has grown massively over the past 15 years. In the city alone there are now 1,345 stations (more than 6,500 in all of Taiwan). When the system was introduced the first half hour of a bike rental was free, to encourage people to try the new service; this policy lasted until 2015. The municipal government has now decided to bring free rides back to help achieve the city’s goal of reducing carbon emissions by 40 percent by 2030. The expected increase in demand for bikes will be met by adding more stations (2,000 by the year 2026) and bikes (from 16,562 to 27,500).


Alishan Forest Railway

Railway lovers visiting Taiwan will certainly want to take a ride on the narrow-gauge Alishan Forest Railway. The construction of this railway line (total length 71.6km) began in 1902 during the Japanese colonial era (1895~1945), with operation starting in 1912 (Chiayi-Erwanping section; further sections were added in the following years). Originally used for transporting timber, with passengers also carried, the railway became a tourist operation in 1963 and has been a popular means of transport for travelers ever since. What makes the train ride special is the climb from the coastal plains (Chiayi Station; 30m above sea level) all the way up to Taiwan’s high mountains (Zhushan Station; 2,451m), traversing several climatic zones with diverse natural environments (note: the section between Shizilu and Alishan stations remains closed for repair work, but is expected to be reopened later this year). For those railway aficionados who can’t make the trip up to Alishan, there is another railway treat to be had in Chiayi City. On the first Saturday of each month, a coal-fired locomotive (the No. 21) runs five times between Chiayi and Beimen stations, giving you the chance to go for a ride on a real steam locomotive train and snap memorable photos.


New Hotels

Hyatt Place New Taipei City Xinzhuang (新北新莊凱悅嘉軒酒店) | located in New Taipei City’s Xinzhuang District; 278 guestrooms; grand opening September 2022


New Hotels

Anna King Hotel (安娜與國王酒店) | located in central Chiayi City; 51 guestrooms; Thai-style interior design; grand opening in January 2023


New Park at Tainan’s High-Speed Rail Station

This year marks the 60th anniversary of Japan’s Shinkansen, aka bullet train, system. When the Tokaido Shinkansen Line was put into operation in October 1964, its stream-lined 0 Series trains became an instant hit, impressing people around the world. Today there are only 27 of these trains left, and one front car of those is now on display in the small 0 Series Oiran Train Scenic Park at THSR Tainan Station. The train car was imported to Taiwan in 2004 to serve as a testing vehicle for Taiwan’s new high-speed rail system (opened for service in 2007), and used until 2008.


New Bikeway Section Added at Sun Moon Lake

Sun Moon Lake, located in central Taiwan’s Nantou County, has been one of the island’s top tourist draws for many decades. The lake is surrounded by high mountains of the Central Mountain Range and is enchantingly beautiful whichever season you decide to come for a visit. Apart from just lazily taking in the lake-and-mountain scenery – from the comfort of your room balcony if you stay in one of the lakeside hotels – there is also much active fun to enjoy, first and foremost going on a round-the-lake bicycle jaunt. Much of the roughly 30km route, often named as one of the prettiest in the world, consists of dedicated bikeway sections, often very close to – and sometimes even above – the water. The newest section, opened last September, is a 600m stretch at the village of Ita Thao on the east side of the lake, which now makes riding from the Ita Thao Wharf to the Sun Moon Lake Ropeway Station even more convenient.


Keelung Buys Duck Boats

The city of Keelung, to the east of Taipei, is dominated by its port, and not surprisingly this is an asset worth promoting as a tourist attraction. Witnessing how port cities around the world, including Yokohama, Singapore, and Boston, have successfully employed amphibious vehicles (“duck boats”) for harbor cruises, the Keelung City Government has decided to purchase two such boats from Japan to put into service this year. The exact date when and the location where the boats will start operating has yet to be announced.


New Tainan City Museum

This year, Tainan City celebrates its 4th centennial. If you want to find out more about how the city developed over those 400 years, there might be no better place than the new Tainan City Museum (formerly the Koxinga Museum; reopened under a new name in December 2023 after nearly three years of renovations). The museum houses around 5,500 artifacts spanning from prehistoric to modern times. Also part of creating the Tainan City Museum has been the integration of three other cultural sites, the Tainan City Zuojhen Fossil Park in Zuozhen District, Tainan Shan-Shang Garden in Shanshang District, and Tapani Incident Memorial Park in Yujing District.


Keelung Lighthouse

Earlier this year, the Keelung Lighthouse became the 22nd lighthouse in Taiwan to be opened for visitors. Taiwan has a total of 36 lighthouses, 19 on the main island and 17 on offshore islands. The Keelung Lighthouse, located west of the entrance to the Port of Keelung on Taiwan’s Northeast Coast, was built in 1962 and has a height of 11 meters. At the site, you’ll find bilingual information boards introducing you to the tower’s history, and you’ll enjoy great views over the port’s mouth, Keelung Islet to the northeast, and Baimiweng Fort to the west (the fort is easily reached from the lighthouse by a hiking trail via Baimiweng Peak). To get to the lighthouse, take Keelung bus No. 301 from Keelung Railway Station to the Taibai Village bus stop and walk uphill from there.


New AI Translation Service at Visitor Centers

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is being implemented in all facets of life these days, including tourism. The Taiwan Tourism Administration recently unveiled a new service for foreign tourists. First installed on a trial basis at visitor centers inside Taipei Songshan Airport and at the Yehliu Geopark on the North Coast, the system facilitates communication between tourists and info center staff. Both sides simply need to talk into a microphone using their own language and then see the translation in the respective other language appear on a screen. Initially available for English, Japanese, and Korean, translating into and from Chinese, the system is said to be comparable to a seasoned interpreter with three years of experience.


New Penghu Ferry

The fastest way of getting to the islands of the Penghu archipelago from the Taiwan mainland is flying from Taipei, Taichung, Tainan, or Kaohsiung (less than an hour flight time for each route). A slower way is taking a ferry, either from the town of Budai in Chiayi County or from Kaohsiung Port (about four hours one way). If you opt for the latter route, starting this August you will enjoy the trip on a brand-new vessel, the Penghu Ferry. The new ferry has replaced the Taihua Ferry, which served on the route for more than 30 years.


Qingshui Geothermal Education Center in Yilan

Located in Yilan County’s Datong Township on the left bank of the Qingshui River (a tributary of the Lanyang River), the Qingshui Geothermal Park is a popular day-trip destination in this part of Taiwan. After an experimental geothermal power plant was established there in 1977, local residents and then tourists started to visit the site and make use of nearby hot-water pools (up to 95 degrees Celsius) close to the river for cooking eggs and vegetables and soaking their feet. To make a visit to the site safer, the government created the Qingshui Geothermal Park in 2010, the facilities of which have been upgraded and expanded several times in recent years (including the addition of foot-soak pools, cooking pools, and a bathhouse). The latest addition is the Qingshui Geothermal Education Center (opened this January), which includes a geothermal exploration hall and a generator control room. The small center allows visitors to learn about geothermal power generation, including introductions to related machinery and local geology.