Visited Taipei countless of times and beginning to find yourselves tired of the ubiquitous skyscrapers?
Then perhaps it is time to venture out of the city and explore what Taiwan’s serene rural areas have to offer. Furthermore, plenty of scientific research have also proved that the exposure to natural landscapes indeed reduces one’s stress levels significantly.
Here is our guide to 5 Must-Visit Scenic Countryside Destinations in Taiwan. These tranquil and natural Taiwanese beauties are the answers for both outdoor adventurers and worn-out city dwellers who are looking for a temporary escapade.
Jiufen is a mountainous attraction located at the Rui Fang District in New Taipei City. Previously an isolated village with only nine families, Jiufen flourished and grew rapidly following the discovery of gold during the Japanese Occupation. Today, it is one of the most popular destinations amongst both Taiwanese locals and travellers from all walks of life.
Other than being a popular filming spot, Jiufen is home to a vast variety of incredible street food and traditional homemade snacks where tourists can take home packaged bites at extremely affordable prices.
Fun fact: Legendary Japanese filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki was so inspired by Jiufen that he had illustrated it in his award-winning film Spirited Away.
Read our guide on the Must-Try Local Foods at Jiufen Old Street.
#2 QINGSHUI CLIFF
The 21-kilometre stretch of coastal cliffs located in Hualien County is a stunning landscape. Head to the lowest point, Qing He Beach, where you can walk along the pebbled coast and marvel at nature’s magnificence.
Looking up, we were blown away by how tiny we actually are! The height of the towering cliffs range from approximately 800 to 2400 metres.
Qingshui Cliff has been coined as one of the island’s Eight Wonders. The beautiful ocean transits from a light shade of blue to a darkish tone of blue and the pebbles lining up the coast are each unique. The beach is a wonderful place to meditate with the soothing sounds of crashing waves, but note that swimming is strictly prohibited.
#3 SUN MOON LAKE
Sun Moon Lake’s special terrains resemble the sun from one side and the crescent moon on the other end, hence gaining its apt name. Despite being a countryside destination, Sun Moon Lake itself attracts six million annual visits for its diverse ecological system, indigenous tribes and gorgeous scenery. The Taiwanese wonder is also Taiwan’s largest freshwater lake.
There are many entertainment and activities available at Sun Moon Lake, but it is best to do your research prior to arrival.
Visitors can view pretty cherry blossoms in full bloom in February, cycle on the world’s best cycling paths or celebrate the Harvest Festival with Thao aborigines on the first day of the seventh lunar month and on the second day of the eighth lunar month.
#4 TAROKO NATIONAL PARK
The 920 km² wide Taroko National Park is renowned for its iconic landmark – The Taroko Gorge.
Spanning across Hualien County, Nantou County and Taichung Municipality, it will take more than a day to fully explore Taroko National Park. The spectacular marble geological features were formed since 200 million years ago and are still morphing at a gradual rate.
Visitors can borrow helmets for free from the Visitor’s Centre to protect themselves from rockfalls. If you are travelling without a tour guide, do bring along a portable torch light as you might have to walk through a few tunnels in complete darkness. You can also expect suspension footbridges, plunging waterfalls and lush vegetation. Always check the weather before visiting Taroko!
#5 YUSHAN NATIONAL PARK
Yushan National Park boasts not just the highest point in Taiwan, but also the tallest peak in Northeast Asia. The tallest mountain – standing at 3,952 meters – boasts jaw-dropping scenery that would have you pinching yourself. We were literally walking in the clouds and were ecstatic on how surreal it felt! Till date, it remains one of our most memorable experiences.
More than half of Yushan National Park is elevated at above 2,000 meters, hence those suffering from altitude sickness should be warned that they might suffer from nausea and lightheadedness. Temperatures at Yushan National Park vary drastically due to its dramatic altitudes, but that makes the place a suitable habitat for many flora and fauna.