Taiwan is truly Asia's best kept secret. The unique country has everything backpackers crave -- including high mountains, beautiful beaches, colorful temples, vibrant culture, delicious snacks, and friendly locals, just to name a few. If you are planning a trip to Asia, Taiwan is a must-see. Taiwan's most beautiful sights are outside of Taipei, so make sure to leave plenty of time to explore the island!
Regardless of its small size, Taiwan is jam packed with lots to do. The island is very tourist-friendly, with plenty of Taiwan hostels, cheap taxis, high-speed railways, trains, buses, and kind locals who are not only eager to practice their English but also to help out. Travelers who stop in Taipei for a short layover have plenty to see including Taipei 101 (the financial center/skyscraper), famous temples, Maokong Village, the National Palace Museum (housing many of China's most valuable treasures), Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall, and many other historical sights.
Taiwan hostels in Taipei can be found on every corner, and are typically located on the upper floors of office and residence buildings. Prices are usually quite affordable. Taipei has many famous restaurants, including Din Tai Feng, but the best place to try the delicious local eats are the vast night markets, which can be found all over the city.
The east coast of Taiwan draws both international and local tourists due to its beautiful views, great surfing, and aboriginal culture. Yilan City boasts natural hot and cold springs as well as picturesque tea- and rice-farming land. Down the coast is the famous Hualien City, which is the perfect gateway to Taroko National Park to the north and some of Taiwan's most beautiful coast to the south. The drive from Hualien to Taitung is one of the most breathtaking in the country, with two equally stunning routes -- the Coastal Highway and the East Rift Valley Highway, tucked between two high mountain ranges and filled with photo-worthy sights and aboriginal culture. Taitung is the last stop on the east coast, and is home to a unique blend of aboriginal culture and fisherman lifestyle. The East Coast cities have plenty of Taiwan hostels that are usually a bit cheaper than in Taipei, but be sure to book in advance as this gorgeous coast draws in many tourists.
The southern Hengchun Peninsula is home to the famous Kenting, and some of the best beaches in Taiwan. Kenting is easily the most popular beach destination in Taiwan, and there are plenty of relaxed and laid-back Taiwan hostels from which to choose -- all within a minute's walk of the beaches. Kenting is home to the oldest national park in Taiwan, and boasts beautiful nature as well as great nightlife. Foreign travelers will enjoy the nearly empty beaches during the daytime, as many Taiwanese avoid sun exposure and swimming.
The west coast of Taiwan is home to the largest cities, as it is the most inhabitable land in Taiwan. Although some tourists skip the west coast, it is certainly worth a visit. Taichung City is one of Taiwan's best cities to live and work in, and is proud to have the best weather in Taiwan (aside from Kenting, of course). Tainan is filled with traditional relics, buildings, and snacks, as well as rich history from the Dutch occupation. Kaoshiung is also worth visiting, and despite the muggy weather, it can be an enjoyable stop with plenty of tourist sites. One of the most special parts of this unique island are the high mountains, with just under three hundred peaks that exceed three thousand meters (just under ten thousand feet). There are also eight national parks in Taiwan, all with unique flora and fauna, including the Formosan Black Bear, the Formosan Macaque and the Formosan Barking Deer. Highlights include East Asia's tallest mountain, Jade Mountain (Yushan), and Taroko National Park.
Taiwan is one of the most unique countries in Asia. Its break from China has led it to be politically and culturally independent, turning it into one of the more interesting nations of modern times. The people of Taiwan are some of the kindest in the world, and the fun is endless! Make sure to include Taiwan on your bucket list!
Hi, I'm tati,
the Hostelz.com local expert for Taiwan hostels. Welcome.