When you visit Taiwan, remember to bring plenty of energy for all the outdoor activities and a big appetite for the island’s incredible food.
The mix of cultures in Taipei, including Chinese, Japanese and a healthy dose of Western influence, makes for a fascinating city. Taipei’s up-and-coming neighbourhood is centred on Dihua Street, which has an array of architectural styles ranging from 19th century merchant houses to Japanese modernism. It’s home to some of the city’s funkiest cafes and restaurants, as well as old-fashioned shops selling fabric, herbs and spices. The public transport system (MRT) is efficient for getting around Taipei as well as heading outside the city for day trips.
Outdoors enthusiasts, particularly hikers, can find plenty of things to do in Taiwan. The Zhuilu Old Trail crosses Zhuilu Cliff (1,100 metres high) and at points cuts right into the face of the cliff with spectacular views over the Liwu River. There’s also the climb to the top of Mount Qixing (1,120 metres) and Qixing Park, which has wonderful views of the island. Stop on the way down to recover with a dip in the hot springs of Lengshuikeng. And hiking the Sandiaoling Waterfall Trail, with its beautiful series of waterfalls, is another refreshing way to spend a day.
Renting a motorbike to travel around the island is one of the best ways to take in Taiwan’s verdant forests and views of the Pacific, and plenty of people do it by bicycle as well. If you’ve got time, you can head to the smaller surrounding islands, and spend a couple of days relaxing on golden beaches. Green Island and Penghu (the latter is particularly good for windsurfing) are two of the best.