Where legacies are as diverse as the scenic landscapes and vivacious traditions thrive side by side with Asian sophistication, Taiwan, also known as the Republic of China, resides on the breathtaking island of Ilha Formosa. This land of soaring sea cliffs, marble-walled gorges and tropical forests is an ideal destination for those who love exploring natural wonders. But don’t leave indoor activities out of the picture. With its unique fusion of cultures and well-developed hospitality industry, Taiwan offers once-in-a-lifetime dining experiences, a diverse set of attractions, and adventurous entertainment.
Things to do
Start your journey at the capital of the “beautiful island.” For those who love high-end shopping and crave astonishing views, Taipei 101 is the ultimate “yes.” Formerly known as the Taipei World Financial Center and the world’s tallest building, observe urban sights from a bird’s-eye view or shop in one of the boutiques on the 5th floor. Visit Beitou Hot Spring Museum to warm up. Based on the Mount Izu Hot Spring Bathhouse in Japan, the museum offers visitors a chance to experience the amazing history of hot springs. Another option for hot springs is to stop by 32 Villa, which is truly the gem of the flourishing hot spring tourist industry situated in the shades of lush greenery and streaming waterfalls. Another must-see sight is the Taipei National Palace Museum. Designed in the style of a Northern Chinese palace, this world-class museum hosts hundreds of thousands of historical relics and ancient Chinese artifacts, including those from the Forbidden City. Covering 5,000 years of China’s historical and artistic achievements, the permanent collection is a massive bulk of cultural heritage.
Where to Eat
Indulge in a luxurious traditional dining experience with Songhe Restaurant in the Grand Hotel. With a choice of more than one hundred dishes in the restaurant’s buffet, you will have a chance to sample Chinese, Western, and Japanese delicacies for breakfast, lunch, dinner or afternoon tea. The ingredients are fresh, the dishes are toothsome, and the service is warmer than hot springs. For the taste of affordable local street food, head to Shilin Night Market, one of the largest and most famous night markets in Taipei. This night market is a wonderland of Taiwanese cuisine with myriads of vendors serving endless feasts of snacks, including stinky tofu, deep-fried chicken steaks, oyster omelets, stir-fried cuttlefish, shrimp rolls, shaved ice, and many more. Thirsty?
Look forward to local craft beer, juices from the freshest local fruits, aromatic teas and Asia’s best gourmet coffee.
Where to Stay
Reside in luxurious accommodations of Le Meridien Taipei, a 5-star property with panoramic city views and exquisite amenities, such as indoor and outdoor heated pools, large fitness center and saunas. Located in Xinyi District, the hotel is in a 50-minute drive from Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport and an ideal option for travelers interested in city trips, culture and gourmet food. But the best dining is at your doorstep. With a total of five on-property dining options, you won’t stay hungry. Start your day with international buffet breakfast, have Cantonese delights at My Humble House for lunch or dinner, enjoy hand-crafted cocktails at Latitude 25 lobby lounge, and visit ChocoArt for chocolate-inspired dishes.
Things to Do
The gorgeous city of Taichung is the next destination to visit on our list. For the sophisticated entertainment, listen to the sweet sounds of powerful singing in National Taichung Theatre, a “cave of sound” for opera performances. Designed by Japanese architect Toyo Ito, the opera house is truly a landmark that features a restaurant and a roof terrace to relax, enjoying picturesque city views. To see the most colorful houses in Taiwan, visit Rainbow Village, where animals, dolls, and airplanes are painted side by side with manga characters on the house walls and alleys. You may even have a chance to meet Huang Yung-fu, Rainbow Grandpa, who is responsible for vibrant decorations and who still resides in one of the beautiful houses. Eager to learn more about Taiwanese culture? Take a day trip to Lukang, a sleepy yet fascinating town featuring some of the most magnificent temples in the country, curiously curved streets, traditional buildings and dusty old shops full of outlandish goods. Don’t leave Lukang without visiting Mazu Temple, the sacred shrine dedicated to worshipping the sea goddess. Built in the eighteenth century, the temple shocks visitors with its intricate stone carvings that depict the stories of Romance of the Three Kingdoms, an ancient Chinese historical novel. From the first to the third lunar month, myriads of pious worshippers celebrate Mazu’s birthday, bringing happiness and life to narrow streets of Luang.
Where to Stay
Stay in chic rooms and suites at the Millennium Hotel Taichung, the first global hotel in central Taiwan. Located in Shih-Jen center, the hotel is a luxurious outpost for raiding nearby cultural attractions and shopping destinations. Millennium Hotel Taichung boasts a wide range of amenities including a gym, a pool, garden settings, and spacious venues for business meetings. For dining and drinks, choose between classic afternoon tea at Limi Bar, a high-quality steak at the Prime, or rooftop based Moonlight – Skybar for exclusive views and fabulous cocktails.
Sun Moon Lake
Things to Do
Start your acquaintanceship with Sun Moon Lake by visiting a local tea farm. A fantastic find for tea lovers, Antique Assam Tea Farm is located in Yuchi Township of Nantou, a picturesque place with perfect temperatures for tea leaves to thrive. Don’t miss a chance to visit the unique farm as it is the only establishment producing black tea in a region of green tea farms Taiwan. For stunning views, head to Sun Moon Lake Ropeway. The ticket for the 7-minute-long voyage also includes entry to the Ita Thao and Formosan Aboriginal Culture Village amusement park—nice additions to brighten your day. Hop up on one of the most popular things to do at Sun Moon Lake, with boat rides across Taiwan’s largest lake, Nantou. The wisest option for nature lovers would be to buy an all-day boat pass on Klook for NT300, which gives you unlimited rides between the three main piers (Shuishe, Ita Thao, Xuanguan) on an eco-friendly electric boat.
Where to Eat
Discover the absolute best affordable Chinese food at Lake View Chinese Restaurant. Having always taken pride in promoting Chinese cuisine, the restaurant serves traditional dishes with homemade sauces. For those who miss home or who are still adjusting to local flavors, Lake View Chinese Restaurant also offers an array of Americanized Chinese cuisine with a healthy dining concept. Don’t let simplistic design and low prices fool you. The restaurant is indeed a landmark of Sun Moon Lake.
Where to Stay
Unwind in one of the 5-star spacious villas with panoramic views or elegant suites with an artistic vibe at Sun Moon Lake’s historic luxurious Lalu. Built with relaxation in mind, the hotel features Zen architecture, the largest swimming pool in Taiwan, a fabulous spa and tea house. On-property restaurants serve Italian, French and Asian dishes. Fifteen minutes away from the Sun Moon Lake Bus Terminal and a 1-hour drive from Taichung Train Station, the hotel is a perfect choice to settle down and contemplate virgin nature while relaxing in a chic setting.
Things to Do
The area with most attractions is Anping District located within the city of Tainan. Stroll through Anping Old Street, which is lined with traditional rammed earth houses that coexist with low brick houses as well as Western-style mansions. The street boasts all kinds of old stalls and shops, filled with local souvenirs and Asian goods. Don’t forget to explore alleys such as Jasmine Alley or Rouge Alley, where time flows backward. Visit Taijiang National Park to enjoy nature, learn more about fishing traditions, and stop by Qigu lagoon, the hometown of the oyster industry. You can taste fresh and delicious local oysters throughout the year at the village’s belief center, Longshan Palace. To get inspired by the militaristic heritage of the town, visit Fort Zeelandia, a Dutch colonial defensive stronghold; the Eternal Golden Castle, an ancient structure built to resist the Japanese troops; and Anping Tree House, a former warehouse covered with living banyan roots and branches.
Where to Stay
Explore Tainan from Tayih Landis Hotel Tainan, the luxurious 5-star hotel with posh accommodations and great amenities including an indoor pool, state-of-the-art fitness center, a spa and sauna facilities. Located amid Tainan’s most popular attractions, the hotel has a tour desk designated to assist with travel arrangements. Food lovers are especially welcome at the hotel since it boasts a variety of culinary options. The Market Place Buffet Restaurant offers Italian, Asian and Western cuisines. For a quick bite, come by La Moda Café, which serves handmade desserts, sandwiches, freshly brewed coffee and tea. Japanese cuisine can be tasted at the Takegawa Japanese restaurant. Cantonese and New Asia Teppanyaki restaurants are also tasty options to consider.
Things to Do
To contemplate a unique fusion of history and music, check out Ten Drum Rende Creative Park. Once a Japanese colonial era sugar mill that was left abandoned for years, it is now a rehearsal space for the local drumming troupe Ten Drum Art Percussion Group. Visitors are allowed to peek into the former thriving sugar industry and enjoy an authentic musical performance. For a dose of awesome feelings, head to Pier 2 Art Centre. The seaside location of Pier 2 Art Centre used to be a deserted place full of abandoned warehouses. Now, it is a set of artistic warehouse clusters and diverse types of artworks made with happiness and joy in mind; it is teeming with locals and tourists eager to contemplate the urban canvas. The next cultural stop is the National Kaohsiung Centre for the Arts that symbolizes the transformation of Kaohsiung. Once a major commercial harbor, it is now a contemporary, diverse city with a vibrant artistic climate. Here, you have a chance to see formal and informal performances in virtue of the seamless flow between the interior and exterior designs. After a culturally-saturated day, take a stroll at Kaohsiung Liuhe Night Market, a tourist night market in Xinxing District. Treat yourself at one of the most popular markets in Taiwan, offering seafood, handicrafts, clothing, knives, cameras and live animals for sale.
Where to Stay
Take a cover in one of the spacious accommodations at Grand Hotel Kaohsiung, the luxurious asylum surrounded by evergreen nature, possessing amazing views of Cheng Ching Lake. The service is excellent with amenities such as a fitness center and a year-round outdoor pool, to name few. Ideal for couples, the hotel preaches an atmosphere of romance and Eastern aesthetics. A stone’s throw access to all major attractions, the hotel is also perfect for the hunters on culture. Dine at your doorstep with four on-property restaurants that are splendid even for the most sophisticated guests whether it’s breakfast, lunch or dinner. Grand Hotel is an evergreen piece of the urban cake called Kaohsiung.