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Two Weeks in Taiwan

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Two weeks is just enough time to travel Taiwan’s perimeter and see the main highlights without rushing. Adjust to the culture with a few days around the capital, Taipei, followed by a trip to Tainan to see Taiwan’s oldest temples. Stop for a night on the rural island of Xiao Liuqiu before hitting the beach in Kenting. Then ride the train up the magnificent east coast to Taroko Gorge to wrap-up your two-week trip around Taiwan.
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Shi-men Ting, Wanhua District, Taipei City, Taiwan 108
Ximending, located in the northeastern part of the Wanhua District of Taipei, is a major point of interest for Taiwan's fashion-conscious. The area is heavily influenced by Japanese culture and offers a plethora of stores featuring an eclectic...
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Section 1, Jianguo South Road, Da’an District, Taipei City, Taiwan 106
Every weekend thousands descend on this normally boring stretch of Taipei for one of the most impressive markets in town: the Jianguo Flower Market. Vendors from around the city and region display amazing examples of flowers and plants, many of...
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10 Zhongxiao East Road Section 5, Taipei, Taipei City, Taiwan 110
The W Taipei showcases the city’s geography and cutting-edge technology. The lobby’s light installation reacts to human motion, and guest rooms feature dramatic skyline views. The W is also home to some of Taipei’s hottest nightspots, including...
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No. 221, Sec 2, Zhi Shan Rd, Shilin District, Taipei City, Taiwan 111
When Chiang Kai-shek fled mainland China for Taiwan, he took with him many of the treasures that at one time were featured in Beijing’s Palace Museum. Among the items are relics and antiques reflecting 8,000 years of Chinese history. Today the...
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108, Taiwan, 台北市萬華區富民里
I love discovering street food when I travel and Taipei was great for finding cheap eats everywhere. From noodles to fried food to roasted poultry, you can find anything sold on tracks along the streets. The night markets are also a great stop and...
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Taipei 101, No. 7, Section 5, Xinyi Road, Xinyi District, Taipei City, Taiwan 110
Soaring more than 1,600 feet into the air, Taipei 101 is one of the tallest skyscrapers in the world and probably Taipei’s most iconic site. For a small fee, visitors can spend time on the observation deck—a large space that offers a 360-degree...
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No. 21, Zhongshan South Road, Zhongzheng District, Taipei City, Taiwan 100
I have been to many memorials, castles, and government buildings, but the entryway to the Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall is just stunning. I just love the boldness of the colors and architecture.
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No. 211, Guangzhou Street, Wanhua District, Taipei City, Taiwan 10853
Longshan is not Taipei's largest temple, but its unique beauty and proximity to the MRT have made it a very popular one. It's an awesome place to stop by at sunset when the after-work crowd comes to worship. The temple fills with people from all...
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The Huaxi Night Market ((華西街觀光夜市), also known as 'Snake Alley' is famous for selling various snake-based goods such as medicine, soup, and wine. It's best known, however, for the shots of snake blood that one can take. Pictured, from left to...
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No. 194, Section 2, Xinyi Road, Da’an District, Taipei City, Taiwan 106
The art of making the perfect xiao long bao, or soup dumpling, is something the Taiwanese take very, very seriously. Maybe that’s why so many food experts say that the best dumplings in the world can be found in Taipei at the classic restaurant...
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11656, Taiwan, Taipei City, Wenshan District, 新光路2段32號
Maokong 貓空 is a mountain of sorts, a tourist attraction located in Taipei's Wenshan District. It's popular with visitors due to its stunning views and fields which yield famous tea. The top of Maokong is connected with a gondola station which...
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No. 162號, Section 1, Heping East Road, Da’an District, Taipei City, Taiwan 106
Located near National Taiwan Normal University, the Shi-Da Night Market is said to exist in one of the most "trendy" areas of Taipei. The market has downsized in recent years due to rezoning, but is known for its variety of delectable Taiwanese...
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No. 39號, Chang'an West Road, Datong District, Taipei City, Taiwan 103
When my mountain biking plans were rained out, I had to find something else to do, so I decided to check out Taipei's Museum of Contemporary Art. I was surprised by the variety of the artwork there. They have everything from paintings to...
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Taiwan
If you're ever visiting Taipei and feel a bit overwhelmed by the city, Yangmingshan National Park will provide an escape from the chaos of urban living. One of eight national parks in Taiwan, Yangmingshan offers visitors and locals alike a welcome...
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253, Taiwan, New Taipei City, Shimen District, 下員坑路33之6號
Located in the Guanyinshuan National Scenic Area in New Taipei, Taiwan's Yehlio Geopark showcases an otherworldly landscape that is not to be missed. It is the only place in the world where you can see the geological features present in this park,...
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Alley 342, Lane 150, Section 5, Xinyi Road, Xinyi District, Taipei City, Taiwan 110
The base of Elephant Mountain is just a short walk from the base of Taipei 101 and offers one of the most accessible and stunning views of the city—except, perhaps, from the top of the tower itself. The hike up the mountain is steep, but can be...
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704, Taiwan, Tainan City, North District, 台南市北區
Night markets are a quintessential Taiwan experience. Young couples, families, retirees, and swarms of teenagers descend upon these markets to graze, gossip, flirt, play, and graze some more. Lately, the ones in Taipei have been over-run by...
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No. 1號, Zhongzheng Road, West Central District, Tainan City, Taiwan 700
Founded on Oct. 17, 2003, the National Museum of Taiwan Literature is the first national museum in Taiwan dedicated to the literary arts. Prior to its opening as the museum in 2003, the museum housed the Tainan Prefectural Government. The building...
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Tainan City, Taiwan
Golden Beach is the largest beach within Tainan City limits in the southwest of the city. It's a popular place for beach activities, recreational anglers and swimmers, and is home to the Tainan Kite Surfing Club. The beach is around 50 meters wide...
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Tin Pan Alley is an artsy, laid-back bar and eatery set up in a building with no roof, allowing visitors to eat, drink, and dance under the stars. Located in the heart of Tainan City, the bar has been said to be one of the premiere nightspots in...
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Lane 370, Gongyuan South Road, North District, Tainan City, Taiwan 704
The Armory is a popular expat bar located in Tainan City, Taiwan. Once upon a time, an army post sat behind the building, hence its name. A few pieces of the old post can be found in the bar's interior. The Armory is a popular hangout for people...
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Lane 35, Guosheng Road, Anping District, Tainan City, Taiwan 708
Fort Anping (also known as Fort Zeelandia), located in the town of Anping in Tainan, Taiwan, is a fortress that was built over ten years from 1624 to 1634 by the Dutch Verenigde Oostindische Compagnie during its 38-year rule of the area. Fort...
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No. 2號, Nanmen Road, West Central District, Tainan City, Taiwan 700
This historical site was Taiwan's first academy, built in 1655, for the purpose of continuing classical Chinese teachings and training civil servants on the island, which was at political odds with Mainland China. The building is prized for it's...
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741, Taiwan, 台南市善化區西衛
The Oyster Omelet is perhaps one of Taiwan's most famous delicacies and can be found in night markets throughout Taiwan. The omelet is made with fresh oysters and a batter of potato, sweet potato starch, and green vegetables. It's topped off with...
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Liuqiu Township, Pingtung County, Taiwan 929
Xiao Liuchiu is a beautiful island, but the best spot has to be the iconic Vase Rock. This spot is located near the downtown area and ferry dock. There's a wooden walkway where you can walk along the coast and watch the sun set over the Taiwan...
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Liuqiu Township, Pingtung County, Taiwan 929
Xiao Liuqiu is basically a fishing village, and is known throughout Taiwan for its seafood. The main street is lined with seafood restaurants with the catch of the day sitting out front on ice in glass cases. You can always tell which is the...
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92942, Taiwan, Pingtung County, Liuqiu Township, Zhongxiao Road, 2號1 巷 之 18 號
There are two main places to snorkel on Xiao Liuqiu. One is at the base of Vase Rock, near the main harbor. The other is on the opposite side of the island. The tropical fish are something to see, but the amazing thing about this spot is the...
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Liuqiu, Liuqiu Township, Pingtung County, Taiwan 929
Xiao Liuqiu can be circumnavigated by scooter in under an hour, and although it may sound a bit pedestrian, it is a wonderful experience. Scooters can be rented at the harbor. Helmets are mandatory in Taiwan, an are always a good idea, but are...
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929, Taiwan, Pingtung County, Liuqiu Township, 屏東縣琉球鄉
Black Dwarf Cave (also known as Black Ghost Cave) is located on Xiao Liuchiu's west coast. It's more of a walkway through a maze of precipitous lava rock formations than a tunnel into a cliff like one normally expects of a cave. The cave has a...
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Liuqiu, Liuqiu Township, Pingtung County, Taiwan 929
This west-facing beach may appear to be white sand at a glance, but your bare feet will quickly discover that it's made of corse shards of coral, so watch your step. Rough edges aside, this beach is seldom visited (some people may have been known...
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No. 18, Zhongbu Cross-island highway, Xiulin Township, Hualien County, Taiwan 972
These beautiful hot springs are located several kilometres into the gorge. To get there you must drive or cycle to the parking lot and then walk down a long wooden staircase built into the cliffside. At the bottom you'll find a quaint...
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A fellow named Rihang owns a guest house near the bottom of the gorge that runs a fantastic program for visitors: Rihang will rent you a room, help you apply for hiking permits (when necessary), and then will drive you to the trailhead of your...
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Cingshuei Cliff, Taiwan
There is an area of Taiwan, that, in my mind, will always be one of the most beautiful places on Earth. The Cingshui Cliffs, located along the Su-Hua Highway in Hualien – a county in eastern Taiwan – are soul-stirring and breathtaking to behold....
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972, Taiwan, Hualien County, Xiulin Township, 富世村283-3號
If you pass through Taroko, the Eternal Spring Shrine is one of the places you have to stop. This unique shrine built into the mountainside over a waterfall can be seen from the highway, and it's a just a short walk through a cave-like trail...
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This broad, flat trail meanders along the riverside for several kilometres. With only a slight slope, it's one of the easiest and most scenic hikes in Taroko Gorge. If you follow the trail far enough you will come to some azure swimming holes,...
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Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall is one of my favorite places to wander around or hang out to read/people watch. This particular day was beautiful, and only enhanced by the perfect soundtrack.