For us, a holiday in Taiwan is a superb chance to explore the island’s ruggedly handsome landscape, where a well-served outdoor leisure culture will blow those cobwebs away in no time, leaving you fully rejuvenated.
For a fully rounded trip, add in a jaw-dropping variety of superb food, a sophisticated blend of modern culture with laid back spiritualism, and the island’s indigenous past, which is thought to hold the origins of Austronesian culture and language.
Get outdoors. Taiwan's scenic gorges, mountains and coastlines offer tempting terrain with superb views. The locals jump into their outdoor leisure with gusto, on tracks and trails that are well maintained and signposted. For the visitor, hiking or biking is an excellent way to appreciate the country beyond its cities, and there's nothing like meeting the locals at leisure to really learn what makes them tick. The marble gorge in Taroko National Park is particularly popular, while Kenting National Park has a sandy coastline to go with its excellent walking.
Feast on the food. Taiwan’s streetfood and restaurant scene is so delicious and affordable that eating out has become a tourist attraction in its own right. The country’s passion for food extends far beyond its famous night markets, however. Specialist foodie markets spring up even in the remotest countryside, and regional festivals are held to celebrate the distinctive local cuisines.
Cycling. Bicycles are a huge part of daily life in Taiwan. Cycle paths are consequently very well maintained, bike rental is good value, and you can even find bike-sized roadside loos! Scenic routes such as the ones around Taipei and Sun Moon Lake typically take you along paved tracks and wooden causeways, so the going is easy, and there’s plenty to see en route.
City life. Visit Taipei for the priceless treasures in its museums, for world-class performance art in its concert halls and theatres, and to enjoy a lazy afternoon in the city’s burgeoning cafe culture. The older southern city of Tainan offers a great contrast, and the city’s fascinating history is on display everywhere, and particularly evident in the island’s greatest concentration of temples.
Hot springs. When you have volcanically heated springwater bubbling up from beneath your landscape, you take every opportunity to bathe in it! Although Taiwan’s hot spring culture is generally more focused on healing and wellness than indulgent luxury, there are plenty of bath-houses to choose from. The waters have different mineral contents, so be prepared to wallow in some interesting colours.
Indigenous culture. It’s believed that the entire Austronesian language group originated on Taiwan, along with dozens of South-East Asian and Pacific cultures. These days the island’s indigenous population is small but famous, and their influence is preserved in areas such as Meinong on the south-west coast, and Alishan National Park.
Things to love in Taiwan
What to do in Taiwan: Discover more with our hand-picked experiences & highlights
Taroko National Park is focused on a famous landmark - the world’s deepest marble gorge, which carves through a landscape of crags and waterfalls for 19km. As you walk its web of excellent trails you may meet members of the region’s indigenous tribe, or see some of its wildlife - and wherever you wander, you’re guaranteed superb views.
Take a trip through the forests of Alishan National Park on one of the world’s last mountain railways, trundling along a narrow gauge line over wooden bridges and up switchbacks, and rising to witness dawn break over the mountains of Yushan.
Experience monastic life without the daytrippers during this overnight stay at the Fo Guang Shan Monastery, Taiwan's largest Buddhist monastery. The complex attracts many visitors keen to see one of the world's biggest Buddha statues, but after closing time you'll have the chance to interact with the monks and nuns, as well as practising meditation and calligraphy.
Discover your Taiwan
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The Selective difference
With us, you are taken care of from enquiry until your reluctant homecoming. Your holiday is designed by a specialist who knows your destination first-hand. Throughout your travels, you'll have expert personal guides where requested & our full logistical support. And, it goes without saying, we'll be waiting to hear all about it once you're home.
Our Brighton-based Destination Specialists spend each day working closely with colleagues and partners across Asia. This ensures we stay several steps ahead when designing inspiring holidays, staying up to date and overcoming obstacles, which means your holiday will be crafted using both local and international expertise.
The welfare of our destinations and their communities is incredibly important to us. We are focused on ensuring that your money makes a positive impact, as often as possible, by supporting communities and wildlife conservation through dedicated initiatives and by very carefully choosing our partners in Asia.
We may be partial to the occasional bad pun, but we don’t joke around when it comes to designing first class travel experiences. Over 90% of our clients rate us 5/5 after their holiday, and we're not ashamed to crack a proud grin on behalf of our award-winning teams in the UK and Asia.
We know your time is precious, before and during your trip. We want you to have a smooth and relaxing experience so that your main concern on holiday will be whether to order noodles or rice. There will be no hidden extras, and your holiday will be orchestrated seamlessly by your Destination Specialist plus our local guides and behind-the-scenes crews in your destination.
Explore Taiwan's highlights
Taipei combines a dazzling array of culinary options, a vibrant cultural scene, and a friendliness and approachability unmatched in other busy metropolises. It is also an excellent base from which to explore the country’s areas of stunning natural beauty, and has quite a few unexpected secrets of its own.
Taroko National Park
Carved by the Liwu River, Taroko Gorge is perhaps the single most impressive natural wonder of Taiwan, and boasts the title of world’s deepest marble gorge. Surrounded by lush vegetation and majestic mountains, the National Park delivers spectacular views of the canyon, hewn by water and geological activity out of the marble of the central mountain range.
Whilst Taipei can leave at least some visitors a little underwhelmed, Kaohsiung strikes all the right chords. From the vibrant arts centre to ultra-Taiwanese Lotus pond, its a city with plenty to fill a few days.
The Love River flows through the city and provides its leisure hub in the form of cycling and walking paths, a night market and several outdoor cafés which are popular spots for live music.
Tallest building in the world til 2009, its Tuned Mass Damper (an enormous pendulum) stops the building from swaying.
High speed rail
THSR runs along the west coast of Taiwan from Taipei to Kaohsiung (217 miles) in 2 hours 15 minutes. Major stops include Taichung for Sun Moon Lake, Chiayi for Alishan, and Tainan.
There’s over 4,800km of cycling routes across the island, made up of mixed terrains including cross-country mountainous roads to specially constructed trails.
Taiwan’s street food scene is one of the most exciting in the world. Famous specialities include oyster omelette, sweet bubble tea, and coal-roasted squid. The brave can try stinky tofu or pig’s blood rice cake. You will need four stomachs when visiting Taiwan!
Taiwan’s national treasure. Grown all over the island, but the best is grown high in the mountains. It’s not only for drinking, but the basis of Taiwan’s social tea culture, which includes tea ceremonies and tea arts.
A national obsession, and they range from quirky to weird. Hello Kitty is a firm favourite, but decidedly less cute is Taipei’s Modern Toilet Restaurant, where diners sit on loo seats to eat food shaped like...
There are karaoke bars everywhere, but everyone has a karaoke set at home in case they can’t go out to sing in the bars! The Formosa Star Train has a karaoke carriage on its round-the-island route, and there is even a karaoke train to Alishan!
Being surrounded by the ocean means Taiwan has a bounty of some of the best seafood in the world.
Temples & monasteries
Tainan has more than 300 ancient and new temples, & the island is covered temples dedicated to various Taoist or traditional Chinese gods, and Buddhist monasteries like the Fo Guang Shan Monastery near Kaohsiung.
An important part of Taiwanese life, with traditional Chinese and aboriginal festivals and ceremonies taking place throughout the year.