Best activities you definitely should not miss out on when you’re in Taiwan!

It’s no coincidence that the Portugese named Taiwan “Ilha Formosa”, beautiful island, when they first saw Taiwan in the 1500s. Besides its beauty, Taiwan is packed with exciting things to do. Continuing in our series of blog posts about Taiwan, this time we’ll have at the top activities to try out when you’re in Taiwan. Here’s our list of top 5 things to do when visiting the island. Enjoy!

1. Exploring the famous night markets

Many people are walking through a street of a night market decoraded with yellow lanterns in Taiwan.
Night markets are the heart and soul of Taiwanese nightlife. Photo by Robert_Pastryk / CC BY

In Taiwan, you don’t necessarily have to go to a club to find the best nightlife. Instead, you can head up to the food markets and spend the night by testing tasty Taiwanese street food treats. Night markets are an important part of Taiwanese food culture and social life, and people often gather together with their friends to enjoy street food all night long. Besides the food, the stalls at the night markets offer anything from clothes and handicrafts to carnival games.

Taiwan’s best-known must-see food market is the Shilin night market in Taipei. The market is crowded all the time, so you’ll be guaranteed to have the authentic, hectic night market experience no matter which night of the week you decide to visit it!

2. Enjoying the hot springs

A bridge and a green plate in front of steaming water in Taiwan.
Escape the busy city and chill in one of the many hot springs in Taiwan! Photo by Deadkid dk / CC BY

Living in a metropolitan city like Taipei is amazing, there’s no way around it. But sometimes the constant noise and the number of people can get overwhelming. For times like that, a trip to a hot spring is the perfect solution!

There are over 100 hot springs on this small island, and they range from budget-friendly public bathhouses all the way to luxurious spas. The most famous and easily reachable hot springs are located in Beitou. So, pack your towel and swim cap (yes, you need a swim cap) and melt your stress away surrounded by Taiwan’s beautiful scenery.

3. Visiting ancient temples

People are walking on a big square in a garden that is leading to a white temple in Taiwan.
Even the surroundings at the Chiang Kai-Shek temple are worth a visit. Photo by Rovin Ferrer / CC BY

Don’t be surprised by the number of temples when you arrive in Taiwan – there are more temples than there are convenience stores! The colorful, overly decorated temples are for worshipping Taoist gods. Especially the older generation dedicates their time praying for their children’s good grades and burn fake money to honor deceased relatives.

If you have excess time, we recommend going on a one-day temple hopping tour. If you’re in a hurry, you should at least visit Longshan temple. It is said to be the must-visit temple in Taipei and when you look at the pictures, you won’t wonder why.

4. Hiking in Taiwan’s majestic natural landscapes

Aerial view from mountains that protrude above mist in Taiwan.
After your hike you’ll be rewarded with a beautifull view like this! Photo by Y_C_LO / CC BY

Taiwan’s beautiful valleys, majestic mountains, waterfalls and diverse nature make it an excellent place for hiking. There are hundreds of hiking trails all over the island, and most of them are suitable for independent exploring. The guided tours on the hardest treks offer extreme-adventure seekers a perfect way to enjoy the mesmerizing landscapes while practicing sports.

Hiking is possible in Taiwan all year round. Weather-wise, the ideal season for trekking is from August to October, however. The hiking routes are usually not crowded at all, so you get to enjoy the views at your leisure. If you’re up for some stunning views and refreshing outdoor air, grab your trekking shoes and head to the Taiwanese nature!

5. Taiwan Lantern Festival

A person is holding up a lantern to let it go on a festival in Taiwan.
Send your wishes up to the sky at the Taiwan Lantern Festival in Pin Xi. Photo by Austin Neill / CC BY

Pin Xi, a small hillside village located about 30 kilometers from Taipei, is known for its historic sky lantern rituals. In Pin Xi, the sky lantern flying tradition dates back to the 16th century when the sky lanterns were used to deliver messages during a war or an attack. Nowadays the lanterns are a popular form of art.

You might also be interested in: Top 5 Most Beautiful Places to Visit in Taiwan

Pin Xi hosts the annual Sky Lantern Festival, which is celebrated around the first full moon of the lunar year. Visitors at the festival have the chance to write their wishes on the paper lanterns and release them to the sky together with thousands of other sky lanterns. Back in the old days, the lanterns included metal wires, but today they are made entirely out of flammable material and are thereby more environmentally friendly. If you’re in Taiwan around March, make sure to experience this breathtaking festival and light up the dark night sky with your wish!

Studying abroad in Taiwan is one of the best ways to experience the island for yourself and discover the many things you can do there.

Find out more about studying abroad in Taiwan

Asia Exchange is a Finnish company providing study abroad opportunities in Asia Pacific for students from all around the world. Want to get travel tips and new blog posts straight to your inbox? Subscribe to our monthly newsletter! If you have any questions about studying abroad, feel free to contact us! We’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

This post was written by our former interns Jenni and Iris. 

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