02 Mar 6 Incredible Day Trips From Taipei You Have To Experience
Although exciting as Taipei City is on its own, the actual beauty of Taipei lies in its close proximity to a range of other amazing rugged, rural and magical places of natural beauty that exist in this country. Just beyond Taipei City, you’ll find countless national parks, wonderful thermal valleys and hot springs, wide lakes, spell bounding towns, traditional villages and other epic, natural locations.
Here is a list of some of our favourite Taipei day trips you have to experience.
1. Jiufen: Get Spirited Away in Jiufen
Photo by: note thanun
This charming old Japanese mining town Jiufen, is made up of enchanting atmospheric alleyways and colourful streets that reflects the vibrancy of Taiwanese culture. This picturesque mountain town has amazing sea views, rolling hills and an abundance of small shops, eateries and old Chinese tea houses.
The focal point of Jiufen is Jishan/Jiufen Old Street. A narrow market strip that twists through the town. Snacks such as Taiwanese sausages, fish balls, peanut ice cream, glutinous rice cakes and Jiufen’s specialty. The squishy taro and sweet potato balls served hot in a sweet soup or cold over shaved ice, can be found on this strip. If the crowds get too much, take refuge in one of the many tea houses here. Notorious for being the inspiration behind Studio Ghibli’s animation film, “Spirited Away”, is the A-Mei Tea House.
Jiufen is also home to the picture-perfect Shengping Theatre, which is considered the first modern theatre in Taiwan. Other great sightseeing options nearby include Teapot Mountain (Chahushan), an invigorating hike that offers some stunning scenery on a clear day. The Gold Ecological Park in Jinguashi, Shifen Waterfalls and Keelung Mountain are also worth visiting.
Getting to Jiufen from Taipei – 1 hour
Jiufen can be accessed by public transport. Take Exit 1 from Zhongxiao Fuxing MRT Station and look out for bus #1062.
Alternatively, you can take the train to Ruifang Station and switch to bus #827 and #788.
The entrance to Jiufen Old Street will be found next to the 7-11 on the main highway to Keelung.
2. Shifen/Pingxi: Light Up the Sky at Pingxi
Photo by: Vernon Raineil Cenzon
Pingxi is another rural Taiwanese town just next to Jiufen which makes it another perfect Taipei day trip option.
This town is famous for the Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival, which is held around 8 February every year. Pingxi is special for its unique architecture and design as its main market area, Shifen Old Street, is built alongside the Pingxi line railway tracks, previously used to transport coal. Along here, you’ll find a multitude of souvenir shops and can also find some delicious Taiwanese snacks to munch on.
The most popular thing to do here, of course, is the lighting and releasing of lanterns. During the festival, there’s a mass ascension of glowing lanterns that cover the sky in a magical display of colour, absolutely mesmerising. The entire main street gets busy with an active night market selling all sorts of nick knacks and treats. If you can’t make it in time for the festival, that’s okay! The releasing of lanterns actually happens all year round. Vendors and shops sell a variety of paper lanterns that can be personalised with blessings or wishes for the coming year.
In this area, you can also enjoy some amazing waterfalls. Shifen is well known for the Shifen Waterfall, 40m tall, it creates a beautiful rainbow as it cascades into the lake. The waterfall is located about 30 minutes away from Shifen Old Street.
Getting to Pingxi from Taipei – 1.5 hours
Trains depart from Taipei Main Station hourly: Take a train to Ruifang Station and from there, transfer to the Pingxi Rail Line and get off at Shifen Station.
It is also very possible to do Jiufen and Shifen/Pingxi in one day. From Jiufen to Shifen: Take the Pingxi Small Railway to Ruifang Station and transfer to bus #788, #827 or #1062.
3. Beitou: Get Your Steam On
Photo by: benbeiske
Soak your troubles away at the district of Beitou, which is home to some of the most popular hot springs in Taiwan. Beitou is a hot spring village and thermal valley within the mountains, located on the outskirts of Taipei. You can either spend a relaxing day here enjoying the hot springs and the views of the lovely surrounding hills or stay overnight at one of the amazing resorts.
Visiting the Thermal Valley is a must at Beitou. This incredible hot spring is the primary source of water in all the bathing houses in this area. Thermal valley earned itself the name of “Hell Valley” due to the endless steam that rises and continues to hover over the jade waters. You don’t want to dip your feet or hands in here though, as temperatures range between 80 to 100 degrees.
Other places worth a visit here are the Beitou Hot Springs Museum and Millennial Hot Springs, which is a public bath house with several open-air bathing pools.
Getting to Beitou from Taipei – 30 minutes
The Beitou District can be accessed by public transport. Take a train from Taipei Main Station and head north to Beitou MRT Station.
At Beitou MRT, transfer to the Xinbeitou line and get off at Xinbeitou MRT Station.
4. Yehliu Geopark: Where the Mountains Meet the Sea
Photo by: Gab Pili
Experience Taiwan’s beautiful natural scenery by heading to Yehliu Geopark, which is found near the coastal town Yehliu north of Taipei. This is a beautiful area; a fine demonstration of what nature can create on its own.
Perfect for those craving a bit of sea air, the Yehliu Geopark is home to some unusual yet spectacular geological limestone rock formations, which are quite unlike anything else found anywhere else in the world. Look out for the iconic “Queen’s Head” as well as other remarkable formations like the Sea Candles, Fairy Shoe, Ginger Rocks, Elephant Rock, Ice Cream Rock, Kissing Rock, and Princess’ Head.
Nearby, you’ll also find the Yehliu Ocean World which is great for families and travellers of all ages, which features acrobatic performances by dolphins and sea lions as well as a 100m long under ocean tunnel. Yehliu Geopark is open 8-5pm every day and it costs 4 AUD to enter.
Getting to Yehliu Geopark from Taipei – 1.5 hours
The best way to get here is by taking the express bus service.
Go to Terminal A at Taipei main bus station, go to the KuoKang window and purchase a ticket for NT$96 to Yehliu Geopark.
5.Tamsui: For The Best Sunsets
Photo by: Lisanto
For something a little more slow-paced, head over to Tamsui. This lovely seaside town sits at the mouth of Tamsui river and is only 40 minutes away from Taipei, making it a perfect day trip candidate.
Along the river boardwalk as well as the town’s famous Tamsui Old Street, you’ll find an array of souvenir shops, game stands, incredible street food and tasty Taiwanese treats. Be sure to get your hands on some “ah gei” (tofu fishcake filled with noodles) as well as some freshly made fishballs whilst you’re there.
As the day winds down, make your way to Fisherman’s Wharf by catching a ferry from Tamsui Old Street so you can witness one of Taipei’s most renowned and iconic sunsets. For others, you can head over to Lover’s Bridge just down Fisherman’s Wharf. A favourite spot for couples and tourists alike to capture amazing photographs against the setting sun.
Getting to Tamsui from Taipei – 40 minutes
From Taipei Main Station, take the Red Line and head north to Tamsui Station. Upon exiting the station, turn left to reach Tamsui Old Street and the waterfront.
For Fisherman’s Wharf, take red bus #26 just outside Tamsui Station.
6. Wulai: Experience Aboriginal Culture
Photo by: Senning Luk
Wulai is the perfect destination for a little bit of history and culture as it offers an intriguing look into the Taiwanese indigenous culture of the Atayal Tribe. When you get to the village, head over to Wulai Old Street. This is different from most other old streets in Taiwan as all the shops and restaurants have an indigenous flair to them. Here you’ll find lots of original aboriginal handcrafts and foods that are also tinged with indigenous influence, such as roasted wild boar, raw pickled pork, sticky rice cakes and river prawns.
Wulai however, is more famous for its scenery – riverside hot springs and mesmerising natural attractions like the brilliantly turquoise river, dense jungles, cliffs, and waterfalls which makes it a perfect day trip from Taipei for the more adventurous travellers. Wulai falls reigning 80m tall, is the largest of the waterfalls located within the Wulai Gorge. Walk 20 minutes from Wulai Old Street or take a ride on the Wulai Scenic Train to the base of the falls and view this magnificent waterfall plunging into the river.
You can also learn more about the indigenous Atayal people by checking out the Wulai Atayal Museum. Here you can witness them doing cultural performances like singing traditional songs.
Getting to Wulai from Taipei – 1 hour
Take the MRT from Taipei Main Station to Xindian Station. Then exit and turn right towards bus stop B located along Beiyi Road. Take bus #849 bound for Wulai.
Frequently Asked Questions on Taipei Day Trips
Is taking public transportation in Taiwan difficult?
Public transportation in Taiwan is convenient and easy to use. The subway system in Taipei is especially efficient and user-friendly. Just be sure to buy a rechargeable EasyCard before you start using the trains and buses!
Can you do these day trips by yourself/without booking a tour?
Yes, you can certainly do these day trips out of Taipei by yourself without booking a tour. All are accessible via public transportation and are very popular Taipei day trip destinations. They have decent signage along the way and locals will know the destinations you’re talking about if you need to ask for help.