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Ultimate Taiwan Backpacking Travel Guide 2020

This diverse Asian country is full of so many things to do that you will be able to satisfy your inner traveler. The country is highly underrated as a travel destination that is why there is not much influence of commercialization, which is great for travellers who enjoy off the beaten path adventures.

The volcanic peaks, deep magnificent valleys, clear water beaches, beautiful flora and fauna, bustling metropolitan cities, Taiwan has all of it you can even think of. Enjoy traditional bubble tea, Michelin-starred dumplings, ancient temples, cultural through the fine-art museums, large night markets, whale shows, and various outdoor activities.

Below you will find some interesting facts and tips.

Taiwan at a Glace

Language

Mandarin Chinese

Currency

New Taiwan dollar

Best Money Exchange

Taoyuan Airport

Local Dishes

Tea

Drones Allowed

Yes

Is water safe to drink

Yes after Boiling

Vaccinations

Check CDC

Power Plug Type

A, B

Car Sharing Options

Uber & Taiwan Taxi

Peak Season

March to May

Backpacker Friendly

Yes

Hitch hiker Friendly

Yes

Credit Cards Accepted

Yes

Preffered Payment Method

Cash

Low Season

June to September

taroko bridge

Getting To Taroko National Park From Taipei, Taiwan

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Top 5 Things to See and Do in Taiwan

1. Taipei

With 101 stories, the top floor observation deck has telescopes which give you an impressive surrounding view.

2. National Palace Museum

Take a peek into the past of imperial China with the world's largest collection of Chinese imperial artifacts, including about 7,000 art pieces.

3. Taroko National Park (Taroko Gorge)

Famous for its impressive long canyon, Taroko Gorge, the park also has a Shrine and more to offer.

4. Tainan Temple

Get the cultural and spiritual touch of the city by visiting the numerous famous and infamous temples of the old Taiwan capital city.

5.Sun Moon Lake

Hop on the ferry boat or cable car, or explore through the foot trails, and get mesmerized by the panoramic views around the sprawling lake.

Other Things to See and Do in Taiwan

1. Yushan National Park

The beautiful park is famous for being home to the tallest mountain in the country, Yu-Shan. The park also contains ruins and many parts of the Central Mountain Range. Visit the Alishan National Scenic Area, hot springs at Dongpu, the beautiful Chiaming Lake and other charming peaks like Sanqinshan.

2. Taipei Zoo

Taipei has the largest zoo in Asia, often called as Muzha Zoo. It is a public zoological garden and the most famous one in Taiwan. Home to Yuan Zai, the first giant panda cub born in Taiwan, the zoo is the perfect place for animal lovers. Ride the MaoKong Gondola to visit MaoKong, the biggest tea growing area of Taipei.

3. Kenting National Park

The first national park of Taiwan is the perfect place for a beach holiday. The beautiful waterfalls, picturesque beaches, coral reefs, hiking trails, lush green forests, and resorts make this park a popular tourist destination.

4. Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall

Erected in honor of General Chiang Kai-shek, the Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall is a famous and important historical landmark for the country. Located at the east end of the Liberty Square, the national momentum also has a park along with the Memorial Hall. There is a museum and a library that completely documents the history of Taiwan.

5. Taichung City

This industrial city is mainly known for the Feng Chia night market which has an immense variety of electronic sellers, plus souvenir and street-food vendors. People having a taste for art and science should also visit the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts and National Museum of Natural Science. Go hiking to the captivating Wuling farm and Xueshan Mountain, and explore the Gaomi wetland and rainbow village.

6. Yilan County

Enjoy the rare view of whale migrations in Yilan County, at Wushih Harbor, if you visit during March and November. The Zhao Ying Temple and National Center for Traditional Arts are the main attractions. Also visit the Brick Ark Museum, Jimmy Park, Dongmen Night Market, Chia Chi Lan Wine Museum, and Memorial Hall of Founding of Yilan Administration.

7. Chimei Museum

This unique museum has a huge collection of natural history, Chinese art, western art, violins and other musical instruments. The Fountain of Apollo adds to the beauty of the iconic building. You will see multiple sculptures of Greek gods and other creatures. The ground floor has stuffed animals, the second floor has a musical box theater. The design of the museum is one of its kind in Taiwan due to being highly influenced by European architecture.

8. Yangmingshan National Park

Located just outside Taipei city, this beautiful park has the largest dormant volcano in the country. Due to the volcano, there are many hot springs in the park. Enjoy hiking on the several pathways and hiking trails and get mesmerized by the panoramic views. Surrounding is the lush area of Zhuzihu, water buffalo park of Qingtiangang Grassland, thermal valley, Beitou Hot Spring Museum and some other worth visiting places.

9. Hualien City

The small city on the east coast of Taiwan has many attractive tourist spots. The central Pine garden, Hualien County Stone Sculpture Museum with traditional and contemporary stone cravings, tranquil green area of Tzu Chi Cultural Park and Nanbin Park with its amazing night market. To view the beautiful ocean go to the Chongde Beach which has the rugged Qingshui Cliff, dive and surf in the East Coast National Scenic Area.

10. Penghu

Also known as the Pescadores Islands, Penghu is an archipelago consisting of 90 islands. Explore the rich historical and cultural region with amazing nature and beautiful ocean views. The place is famous among local tourists but not so well-known internationally so, you will find it is less crowded. Lay down and enjoy the beautiful beaches, whistling blowholes, and fresh seafood.

Typical Costs

WPCS 2.1.4

Transportation

Traveling using the train between cities may cost you around $16.00$30.00 depending on the distance. However, intercity traveling through local transport costs between $3.00$9.00.

Accommodation

Accommodation in Taiwan is not very expensive if you choose  a hostel instead of hotels. A single dorm bed starts from $10.00, while a hotel 

Food

Get cheap and delicious local food, a bowl of rice or noodles will be for $1.20 and is more than enough to fill you. Daily food costs may be around $5.20. If you go for medium-range restaurants, expect your budget to rise to $4.00$10.00.

Activities

Coming Soon

Suggested Budget

If you are traveling on a budget and choose the backpacker route rather than a lavish style, the average cost of traveling around Taiwan for you will be about $30.00$35.00 per day, per person. It is better to keep track of your expenses and plan them in advance to avoid any kind of inconvenience.

Travel Style Accommodation (per night) Food (3 Meals) Transportation Activities (Per activity) Daily Cost
Backpacker
$15.00 - $30.00
$5.00 - $10.00
$3.00 - $5.00
$4.00 - $10.00
$30.00
Mid - Range
$45.00 - $100.00
$15.00
$6.00 - $10.00
$12.00
$85.00
High - End
$150.00 - $300.00
$30.00 - $40.00
$30.00
$30.00
$250.00

Budgeting Tips

1. Book In Advance

Things get pricey really quickly, so book all your accommodation and excursions ahead of time.

2. Travel

Use local transpiration, it is very reliable in this region.

3. Go in off season

It goes without saying

4. Free Festivals and events

Keep an eye for free festivals and tourist destinations. You can always ask for some help from your hostel or just search online for upcoming festivals or must-see destinations around your location.

5. Food

Avoid the tourist hang-out spots because the food could be expensive.

Where To Stay

Here is a list of places I have stayed, I was happy with my stays here!

Taipei

Meander Hostel

Sun Moon Lake

Prebed Hostel

Tainan

Wow

How To Get Around

Car and Scooter Rentals

In far-flung and remote areas that are not accessible through trains and buses, renting a car or bike is a good option. You may need an international driver’s license to rent a car or a bike. You might face some complications while renting a bike as the process is not that simple. Be careful while driving and make sure that you follow the traffic rules, especially speed limit.

RideSharing

Taxis are available in almost all major cities and areas. Be sure to check the meter before the ride starts. There might be some extra charges for luggage and advance booking.

Trains

Taiwan Railway Administration, or TRA, has an extensive train network, connecting almost all the major cities. However, remote areas are not reachable through trains. Trains are comfortable and can be booked online, 14 days in advance through your passport number.

High-Speed Rail or HSR is a more advanced, faster and comfortable train service, operating on the west coast and is two times faster than ordinary trains. It can also be booked in advance through their website.

Bus

Buses are cheaper, faster and more comfortable compared to normal train services. The coaches are fully air-conditioned with huge comfortable armchair type seats, on-board toilets and, not to forget, movies. Almost all major cities can be approached reached via buses but for remote areas the service is limited. Keep your ticket safe with you until you get down off the bus.

Airlines

Due to the comfort of the road transport network, especially the HSR, the use of airplanes has reduced a lot. Far more expensive than buses and trains, this mode of transportation is used when people are in a hurry.

chicken bus

Taiwan Tourist Shuttles

This bus service offers about 42 routes to connect more than 100 tourist spots. Spots such as Alishan, Sun Moon Lake, Taroko Gorge and some hidden remote areas of the Central mountain range are not accessible through the normal transportation network. This is where this shuttle service comes to the rescue.

Hitch Hiking

There are many ferries at different price points, compare prices online so that you don’t over pay.

Resources

When To Go

Choosing the right season to visit Taiwan can greatly affect your experience.  The country has four seasons; summer (June – August), autumn (September – November), winter (December – March), and spring (April – June). Overall the weather is warm throughout the year, which means hot summers and mild winters. What you need to avoid is the time between July to September, which is the typhoon season.

Summer is extremely hot and humid with rains and typhoons, but it is the peak tourist season. Spring and autumn are pleasant and offer various beautiful natural views. Winter is the most suitable time if you want to travel on a budget.

How To Stay Safe and Aware of Scams

Taiwan is overall a relatively safer country compared to many others.

1.Documents and Cash

Keep extra copies of your documents like passport. Don’t put your cash together in one place, rather in different pockets, in the bag, under belt wallet, etc.

2. Taxis

The good ol taxi scam, make sure that your driver starts the meter!

3. Pickpockets

You can rarely avoid pickpockets when travelling, make sure you have a travel money belt and be aware of your surroundings.

4. Medical Insurance

Get medical insurance. Enough Said.

5. Drugs and Prostitution

If you are looking for this then you are asking for trouble.

Packing List

What to pack Depending on the length of your stay your list may be a little different but here is a small outline of what items you may want to pack.

2 Pairs of Shorts

5 long sleeve

8 pairs of underwear

Medicine: Tums, Aspirin, Pepto , Antibacterial Cream, Hydrocortisone cream

2 Pair of jeans

Flip flops

Toiletries

Locks: Some hostels provide locks for a fee, so bring your own

Swim Trunks

Comfortable Sneakers

Quick dry towel

Laundry Bag

5 shirts

8 pairs of socks

Dedorant

Hand Sanitizer

Power Bank

sarong

Sarong

Sun Glasses

Sun Screen

Jackets, coats, raincoats, etc. for Winter

Light clothes for Summer

Hiking Jeans

Refillable water bottle​

Sweatshirts

Universal Adapter

umbrella

Umbrella

Travel Security Belt

Sunhat

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