Taiwan things to see and do

Tourist offices

Taiwan Visitors Association in the USA

1 East 42nd Street, 9th Floor, New York City, NY 10017, United States
Tel: (212) 867 1632.
Opening Hours: Mon-Fri 0830-1730.
www.go2taiwan.net

Things to see and do

Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall

Take a look at the Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall, an imposing tomb and shrine to Taipei's most famous leader, which also houses Taipei's main venues for the performing arts, the National Theatre and National Opera House, in its large grounds.

Chinese New Year

Join in the celebrations for one of many festivals taking place in the capital, and gain an insight into the island's culture. The Chinese New Year, the Dragon Boat Festival and the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival are all colourful affairs that really bring the streets to life.

Chung Tai Chan Monastery

The world’s tallest Buddhist temple, this epic feat of architecture took more than ten years to construct and was designed by C.Y. Lee, the man behind Taipei 101. It’s best accessed from the town of Puli in central Taiwan, and is notable among other things for its impressive blend of modernist techniques and old-world traditions.

East Rift Valley

Discover the East Rift Valley, where the world's largest continental plate, the Eurasian plate, and the largest oceanic plate (the Philippine plate) meet. This is Taiwan's largest fault line, a geologist's paradise - but also a fertile area rich in sediments that has earned the area the tag of the 'land of milk and honey'

Go birdwatching

Taiwan is home to about 460 different species of birds, including rare endemic species such as the Formosan blue magpie, and the Swinhoe's and Mikado pheasants. Other wildlife includes the famous Formosan rock-monkey, and about 400 species of butterflies.

Green Bay

Taiwan's precipitous terrain and steady winds offer perfect opportunities for hang-gliding and paragliding at all skill levels. Green Bay on the North Shore and the Luye Plateau in Taitung County in the southeast offer inspiring scenery to boot.

Kenting National Park

Chill out for a day or two in Kenting National Park, a much-visited forest recreation area boasting glorious beaches, coral lakes and a bird sanctuary, as well as facilities for watersports and golf, all set amidst tropical coastal forest. The park occupies the extreme southern tip of Taiwan.

Kinmen

An archipelago of islands located just two kilometres off the coast of mainland China (but still under Taiwanese rule), Kinmen represents one of the most fascinating – and little-known – options of a trip to Taiwan. As a pivotal strategic base during the unrest of the 20th century, it remains heavily fortified.

Lanyu (Orchid Island)

Learn about the aboriginal Yami, one of the world's last surviving hunter-gatherer tribes, on their island, Lanyu (Orchid Island), off the southeast coast. The volcanic island is also home to some of the finest coral reef in the region, and offers a peaceful taste of the tropics, even in peak season.

Ludao (Green Island)

Dive or snorkel in the waters around Ludao (Green Island), off the southeast coast: there are splendid forests of corals to admire, and, what's more, visibility is good all-year-round here. The island is accessible by boat from Taitung, and is famous for the political prisoners that were exiled here in the 20th century.

Lugang

A character-rich old port town in central Taiwan, Lugang is home to a wealth of atmospheric temples, traditional buildings and great places to pick up authentic local crafts. The historic centre is an enjoyable spot through which to wander.

National Palace Museum

A few hours in Taipei's National Palace Museum should be essential for anyone with even a remote interest in the region’s cultural heritage. It showcases the world's largest – and most exquisite – collection of Chinese artefacts, the majority of which came over with Chiang Kai-Shek’s supporters, much to the continued chagrin of Beijing. Truly unmissable.

Northeast Coast National Scenic Area

Take a memorable drive along the northeast coastal road, which gives spectacular panoramas of the foothills of the Central Mountain Range and the blue expanse of the East China Sea and Pacific Ocean. The route passes through a large number of small villages, many of them little changed since the advent of high technology.

Penghu archipelago

Admire the astonishing basalt rock formations of the Penghu archipelago, a group of islands in the middle of the Taiwan Straits. The columns were formed when lava erupting from deep into the earth cooled and contracted, and were then carved by wind and wave erosion.

Shop for unusual souvenirs

Malls and markets alike have plenty of exciting goods on offer, among them bamboo wares, paper umbrellas, aboriginal handicrafts, glass art, candied fruit and, of course, tea.

Snake Alley (Taipei)

Gawp at live snakes, pickled pythons and other oddities at Taipei's Huahsi Night Market, known locally as Snake Alley. This is more than just a gimmick for tourists – the various products available to buy, including snake testicles and turtle penises, are believed to promote virility.

Taian Hot Springs

Taiwan's volcanic past has left abundant reserves of geothermal energy all over the island, and there are well over 100 hot mineral springs scattered around the island. They’re hugely popular with both locals and tourists, and offer an indulgent way of soothing tired muscles. Arguably the best of them are in Taian in the north of the island.

Tainan

Visit Tainan, the oldest city on the island and the former capital. It’s known as the 'City of 100 Temples' – there are, in fact, 220, and amongst them some of the best examples of Confucian temple architecture in Taiwan. Expect ancient monuments, lip-smacking food and a packed calendar of festivals and events.

Taipei 101

Admire the view from the top of Taipei 101, which until recently was the world's tallest building. You can take a lift (the fastest of its kind in the world) up to The Observatory on the top floor for the ultimate city vista. It’s more than twice the size of the next tallest building in Taipei.

Taroko Gorge

Take time to marvel at the scale of Taroko Gorge, Taiwan's most iconic natural attraction and a worthy inclusion on any itinerary. The ravine’s towering cliffs are shot through with extensive marble deposits, contributing to the overall beauty of one of the Far East’s most striking sights.

Yushan (Jade Mountain)

Many of Taiwan’s national parks offer top-notch hiking, but dramatic Yushan is the pick of the bunch. This is largely thanks to Mount Yushan (Jade Mountain) itself, at 3,952m (12,966ft) the highest peak in North East Asia. It’s an important symbol of Taiwan's identity and a favourite target for mountain climbers.

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