Taiwan is a breathtaking destination that offers a perfect blend of natural beauty, culture, and adventure, making it an ideal place for a road trip. Located in East Asia, this island nation boasts a diverse landscape that ranges from rugged mountains to pristine beaches, lush forests, and bustling cities. A road trip in Taiwan is an excellent way to explore the island at your own pace and discover its hidden gems.
Taiwan's stunning scenery is one of its main attractions. The island is home to numerous national parks, including Taroko National Park, which features soaring cliffs, glistening waterfalls, and winding rivers. Other must-visit natural wonders include Sun Moon Lake, Yushan National Park, and Kenting National Park. The island also has plenty of scenic drives that wind through picturesque countryside and coastal landscapes, such as the famous East Coast Highway and the Central Cross-Island Highway.
Beyond its natural beauty, Taiwan also has a rich cultural heritage that is evident in its temples, traditional markets, and historic sites. For example, the iconic Taipei 101 tower and the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall are two of the most popular landmarks in Taipei, the vibrant capital city. Visitors can also explore the traditional villages of Jiufen and Pingxi, sample local cuisine, and experience Taiwan's famous night markets.
One of the great things about a road trip in Taiwan is the ease of travel. The island is relatively small, which means that driving from one end to the other can be done in just a few hours. Roads are well-maintained, and drivers are courteous, making it a stress-free experience. Additionally, Taiwan's public transportation system is reliable and affordable, so if you prefer not to drive, you can still get around with ease.
Another benefit of road-tripping in Taiwan is its affordability. The island is a budget-friendly destination, with plenty of affordable accommodation, food, and attractions. Renting a car is also reasonably priced, and gas is relatively cheap compared to other parts of the world.
In conclusion, Taiwan is an excellent destination for a road trip, offering a diverse range of experiences for travelers to enjoy. Whether you are seeking natural beauty, cultural immersion, or adventure, Taiwan has something to offer. With its stunning scenery, ease of travel, affordability, and friendly people, Taiwan is sure to leave a lasting impression on any traveler.
You can’t visit Taiwan without at least a short sightseeing tour around its heart, Taipei. It ranks among world’s most densely populated cities. Upon entering the capital, you’ll be struck by the clamour of its streets, the colourful food stalls, and the beautiful architecture in the forms of temples, skyscrapers, and markets. Among the most interesting places to visit, you’ll find the National Palace Museum, the Presidential Buildings, the National Taiwan Museum, and Dihua Street.
At a stone’s throw away from Taipei, you’ll find a treat for the lovers of outdoor activities. Lose yourself in the deepest recesses of the Yangmingshan National Park to learn more on the great diversity of animal and bird species dwelling the place. In Beitou, you’ll find best hiking routes and hot springs, whereas in Wulai and Maokong, you’ll be surprised by the brilliant ambiance of wild hinterlands.
In the northern part of the country, there’s plenty to explore. Start your journey from the port city of Keelung enjoying a stunning location against beautiful sandy coves. Move more inland and you’ll find the Shifen Falls. In Jiufen and Jinguashi, you can explore local cuisine and admire charming architecture in the form of fragrant and steaming teahouses and snack stalls. For more natural wonders, you can also travel to Yilan County, where you’ll find the crystal clear Wufengqi Waterfalls.
Taichung is one of the most vibrant and dynamic cities of Central Taiwan. It is also a top-notch starting point for many trips around the region. Here, you’ll be able to explore the intriguing Chinese culture. You can travel to Beigang and Daji, where Taiwan’s most important Mazu temples hide.
In Lugang, Taiwan’s oldest town, you’ll learn more on local traditions while walking along its winding narrow streets. For the largest Buddha statue in the country, you should direct your steps to Changhua. Top-notch hiking experiences are available in the brilliant Yushan National Park.
Suggested Road Trips in Taiwan
Taiwan is a wonderful destination for a road trip, with many exciting routes to explore. Here are three of the best and most recommended road trips for first-timers in Taiwan:
Taroko Gorge Road Trip: Taroko Gorge is a must-visit destination in Taiwan, known for its stunning marble cliffs and gorges that cut through the mountains. The road leading to Taroko Gorge is equally breathtaking, winding its way through lush forests and along the edge of sheer cliffs. This road trip is ideal for nature lovers and adventure seekers who enjoy hiking, as there are many trails to explore along the way.
East Coast Road Trip: Taiwan's east coast is known for its scenic beauty and laid-back vibe. Starting from Hualien, this road trip takes you along the coast, passing through small fishing villages, stunning beaches, and dramatic cliffs. You can stop off at places like Taitung, the hot springs of Jhiben, and the remote Green Island. The East Coast Road Trip is perfect for those who want to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and immerse themselves in Taiwan's natural beauty.
Sun Moon Lake Road Trip: Sun Moon Lake is one of Taiwan's most popular tourist attractions, and for good reason. The lake is surrounded by lush forests, towering mountains, and charming villages. A road trip around Sun Moon Lake takes you along winding roads with panoramic views of the lake and the surrounding countryside. You can stop off at the many temples and pagodas that dot the area or take a boat tour of the lake itself.
These road trips offer a great way to experience the natural beauty and culture of Taiwan and are perfect for first-time visitors looking for an unforgettable adventure.
Taiwan offers a very affordable and comfortable network of buses. However, remember that you should make an advance reservation for weekends and holidays. Buses are also very heavily air-conditioned so a few warmer pieces of clothes will come in handy.
There’s also an extensive railway system. Trains in Taiwan are very comfortable and safe. Surprisingly, they’ve got pretty fixed timetables and you won’t be negatively surprised by delays. On Taiwan trains, you’ll be served some snacks and beverages.
However, holidaymakers who enjoy staying totally independent of the public transportation and rigid schedules should definitely consider renting a vehicle. There is a wide choice of car rental companies in the capital and at the international airport. They offer an interesting selection of vehicles that will live up to your most demanding expectations.
Contrary to many Asian countries, Taiwan follows right-hand traffic which is good news for the less experienced drivers as well as for those who have never driven on the left side of the road. Unfortunately, you should be very patient and watch out for native motorists who are very chaotic when it comes to driving. The situation is only slightly better in the rural areas.
There a number of traffic rules that have to be followed; however, they are similar to the ones prevailing in Europe. All passengers have to drive with their seatbelts properly secured. When it comes to blood alcohol level the allowed amount is 0.05% in Taiwan. You mustn’t drive and talk on the phone so it’s better to equip yourself with a hands-free set.
In order to drive a vehicle in Taiwan, the drivers have to be 18; however renting a car is possible when you are 25. It’s important to carry your driver’s licence, an International Driving Permit, registration documents, and insurance documents. What’s more, a warning triangle is a mandatory equipment piece.
Taiwan imposes the following speed limits: 100-110 km/h on highways (however pay attention to what’s indicated on road signs), 80-90 km/h outside built-up areas, and 40-50 km/h in built-up areas. Interestingly, you can use speed camera warning devices and you won’t be charged any additional fines if a police officer spots such a device in your vehicle.
In Taiwan, there are both mobile and fixed speed cameras. For speeding, you risk getting penalty points along with a speeding ticket.
A number of road sections in Taiwan require motorists to pay a fixed toll. Toll gates are appropriately marked. Paid sections are free from traffic jams and are rather inexpensive making your trip even more pleasant and convenient.
If you are planning to take a road trip in Taiwan, there are a few things you should be aware of:
Traffic: Taiwan is known for having heavy traffic, particularly in urban areas. It's important to plan your routes carefully and try to avoid driving during peak hours.
Road conditions: While Taiwan's highways are generally well-maintained, some of the rural roads can be narrow and winding. It's important to drive cautiously and be aware of any potential hazards.
Weather: Taiwan is prone to typhoons and heavy rain, particularly during the summer months. Make sure to check the weather forecast before setting out and be prepared for any changes in conditions.
Driving laws: In Taiwan, cars drive on the right-hand side of the road, and seat belts are mandatory for all passengers. Speed limits are also strictly enforced, and driving under the influence of alcohol is illegal.
Parking: Finding parking in urban areas can be a challenge, particularly in Taipei. Consider using public transportation or renting a scooter to avoid the hassle of finding a parking spot.
Overall, a road trip in Taiwan can be a wonderful way to explore the island's natural beauty and vibrant culture. With a bit of planning and preparation, you can enjoy a safe and memorable journey.
The best time to take a road trip in Taiwan is during the spring (March to May) and fall (September to November) seasons. During these months, the weather is mild, and the scenery is breathtaking. The temperatures are comfortable for driving, and there is less rainfall, which makes for better road conditions.
In the spring, Taiwan's countryside bursts with vibrant colors as the cherry blossoms and other flowers bloom. It's a great time to explore Taiwan's national parks and coastal areas. The fall season brings cooler temperatures, and the foliage turns into warm colors of red, yellow, and orange. This time of the year is perfect for exploring Taiwan's mountainous regions, where you can take in the stunning views of the landscapes and enjoy hiking.
It's important to note that Taiwan experiences typhoons during the summer months (June to August), which can result in heavy rainfall and flooding. The roads can become dangerous during these times, and landslides can occur. Therefore, it's best to avoid road trips during these months if possible.
In the winter months (December to February), temperatures can drop significantly, especially in the northern regions of Taiwan. While this can create some beautiful snowy landscapes, it's important to prepare accordingly and ensure that the roads are safe for driving.
Overall, the best time to take a road trip in Taiwan is during the spring and fall seasons when the weather is mild, and the scenery is stunning.
Taiwan is a relatively affordable destination for road trippers, with a variety of options for every budget. The cost of a day/week/month per person on a road trip in Taiwan can vary depending on your travel style, but generally speaking, it can be quite reasonable.
For budget travelers, there are plenty of affordable accommodations and food options available. Hostels and guesthouses can cost as little as $15-$20 per night, while street food and local restaurants can be very inexpensive, with meals costing around $5-$10.
For those who prefer more luxury, there are plenty of high-end hotels and resorts throughout the country. These can range from $100-$300 per night, or even more for the most luxurious options.
As for transportation, renting a car in Taiwan is relatively affordable. Prices can vary depending on the type of car and the length of your rental, but on average, a mid-sized car can cost around $40-$50 per day. It's important to note that gas prices in Taiwan are higher than in some other countries, so factor that into your budget.
Other costs to consider include admission fees to attractions and activities, which can range from free to several hundred dollars for more high-end experiences. However, there are plenty of free or low-cost options available as well.
Overall, with careful budgeting and planning, a road trip in Taiwan can be a relatively affordable way to see the country's beautiful scenery, experience its vibrant culture, and sample its delicious cuisine.
There are several great guidebooks and road maps available for a road trip in Taiwan. Here are a few recommendations:
Lonely Planet Taiwan - This comprehensive guidebook covers everything from cultural highlights to outdoor adventures, and includes information on transportation, food, and accommodations.
Insight Guides Taiwan - This guidebook provides detailed information on the history, culture, and customs of Taiwan, as well as practical travel advice and recommendations for top attractions.
Taiwan Atlas and Gazetteer - This detailed road map provides an excellent resource for planning a road trip in Taiwan, with comprehensive coverage of roads, towns, and attractions.
Tainan Map - If you're planning on visiting Tainan, this detailed map provides a wealth of information on the city's historic attractions, temples, and museums.
Taiwan National Park Maps - Taiwan is home to several beautiful national parks, including Yangmingshan and Kenting. These maps provide detailed information on hiking trails, campsites, and other attractions within each park.
Overall, a combination of guidebooks and road maps can be incredibly helpful when planning a road trip in Taiwan. They can help you discover hidden gems and plan your route efficiently, while also providing important information on culture, history, and safety.