The Best Urban Getaways In Taiwan
Taiwan has a distinctive character, fusing ancient and modern Chinese traditions with Japanese and Western influences. Just 140 miles from China’s mainland, Taiwan boasts beautiful forested peaks, coastal plains, and thriving metropolises, making it an ideal place to spend a quick weekend away.
Although exploring remote areas on the East Coast can be an exciting adventure, getting to those places can be time-consuming. For travelers without a lot of time, worry not! Taiwan also offers plenty of options for you in its urban areas.
In this Pacific Prime Hong Kong article, we aim to give you a virtual tour of Taiwan and bring you to the best places for urban getaways in Taipei, Tainan City, and Kaohsiung. So lay back and read on!
Traveling Around Taiwan
Transportation into and around Taiwan is easy to manage and navigate through. The Taoyuan Airport in Taipei and the Kaohsiung Airport on the southwestern coast of Taiwan are the major hubs for international travel to the island, with the former accounting for a majority of arrivals to the country.
For local transport, the cities in Taiwan are serviced by Taiwan Railway, one of the best rail networks in the world, and interconnected by Taiwan High Speed Rail, a bullet train for inland travels, making it quick and easy to get almost anywhere on the whole island.
Urban Cities in Taiwan
Taiwan features a number of dynamic and picturesque cities perfect for urban getaways, with Taipei, Tainan City, and Kaohsiung being some of them. Below are introductions to a range of places where you can experience the hustle and bustle of Taiwan.
The thriving metropolis of Taipei is the economic and cultural center of Taiwan. Nestled in a basin surrounded by mountainous outcrops, Taipei is steeped in history and has a great number of activities to keep guests entertained when they come to visit this ancient and beautiful city.
The Shilin Night Market
For those who feel that the biggest means the best, the Shilin Night Market is the largest and grandest night market in Taiwan and offers an incredible shopping and dining experience for visitors to explore.
An assault on the senses, market stalls are spread over a maze of sprawling lanes and streets – neon sights buzz overhead, crowds meander looking for bargains and the aromas of local delicacies and street foods entice shoppers.
The market opens around 4 p.m. and runs until midnight; if you have time to visit only one night market whilst in Taipei, or even Taiwan as a whole, make sure it’s the Shilin Night Market.
National Palace Museum
Taipei’s National Palace Museum is one of the largest museums in the world, comprising a permanent collection of more than 690,000 Chinese artifacts and artwork, it is a must-see destination whilst in the city.
The collection encompasses over 8,000 years of Chinese history. Most of the collections are pieces amassed by China’s ancient emperors from the Neolithic age to the late Qing Dynasty. A visit to the museum surely offers a holistic snapshot of Taiwanese history and culture through an artistic lens.
Beitou Hot Springs
On the outskirts of the swirling metropolis of Taiwan lies the famous Beitou Hot Springs. Developed as a resort during the Japanese era (1895-1945), the hot springs are warmed by volcanic gasses to create a brilliant greenish hue, and to a perfect temperature to melt away the stresses of the day.
Train services are available in this area and has a number of private and public baths as well as numerous accommodation options for those wishing to stay for a longer period. Spend a day or two with friends or family, indulging in some pampering at this idyllic setting for relaxation and rejuvenation.
Catch a bird’s eye view of the city by taking a trip with the Maokong Gondola. You can get off to have a glimpse at a modern Buddhist temple along the way, spend some time shopping for traditional teas overlooking terraced green tea fields, or even hike to see local temples and waterfalls.
The site of the main Dutch colony on the island, Tainan was Taiwan’s oldest urban area. Some of the country’s most significant cultural sites are in this area, and a visit to charming Tainan provides insight into a bygone era.
Confucius Temple of Tainan
The Confucius Temple of Tainan was built in 1666 and has survived the war and numerous natural disasters. This elegant building is one of the most historically significant structures across Taiwan, and now a venue for cultural activities such as occasional dance performances and Tai Qi classes.
Anping Tree House
Located in the north of Anping, the Anping Tree House has been completely occupied by the expansive roots of a banyan tree. The roots and branches of the tree have wrapped around the building, blurring the lines between where the tree ends and where the building begins.
The canopy of trees overhead affords the site a dark and foreboding mood reminiscent of a fairy tale and is a unique attraction well worth visiting whilst in Tainan city.
Koxinga Ancestral Shrine
A family shrine built in 1663 by Zheng Jing, the Koxinga shrine is a complex and elegant structure. The central hall worships the statue of Koxinga and the spirit tablets of ancestors; whilst the cultural hall features historic and cultural pieces of Taiana such as street signs and paper money.
With a mixture of traditional Taiwanese influences and contemporary culture, Kaohsiung is one of the largest shipping ports in Asia, but there is far more to see than just the sprawling harbor.
Fo Guang Shan Monastery
Fo Guang Shan Monastery is one of the largest Buddhist landmarks in Kaohsiung. Around 37 kilometers from the town center, it is easily accessible by bus. The monastery is meticulously open to visitors meandering through the expansive grounds and exploring the immense outdoor area and halls.
Chinjin Island is just off the coast of Kaohsiung and is the perfect place to rent a bike, ride along the Cijin Coast, and sip on a traditional bubble tea whilst watching the sun slip over the horizon. This quaint island is impeccable for couples and families to visit from dusk to dawn.
Kenting National Park
For those who prefer to spend some time in the great outdoors, Kenting National Park, located about an hour out of Kaohsiung, is the perfect escape. On clear days you can view whales off the coast and enjoy watching the sun set and the sky erupt into a canopy of stars.
With pristine beaches, impressive scenery, and great opportunities for mountain bike riding or walking trails, it’s the ideal place to get a bit of time away from the sprawl of the cities of Taiwan.
Enjoy Your Trip With Pacific Prime
Everyone has individual preferences on the location to travel to. Be it Taipei, Tainan City, or Kaohsiung, one thing needed in common to entirely enjoy the trip is to secure travel insurance. It covers emergency treatments, lost properties, and delayed flights so you are personally and financially secure.
Pacific Prime is a trusted insurance broker with over 20 years of experience in the industry. We have liaised with a range of worldwide insurance providers to offer you the most suitable insurance plan for your requirements.
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