When I visited Taiwan, there were many aspects of the country that I really enjoyed. The scenic view from the mountains, the serene lakes, the temples, and of course, its culture. But, after visiting Taiwan, I found out that there are still other impressive spots that are well worth visiting – Thanks to Google!
In this blog post, I’m sharing with you the less-known spots in Taiwan I consider as a must-visit destination. I selected Taiwanese countryside destinations because I find them more relaxing. And above all, those fall on the type of destination which really helps me unwind, refresh, or we can just say renew my mind.
I included the routes, tours, and activities for each destination to help you plan your itinerary in visiting Taiwan. So without further ado, let’s now tackle the 10 beautiful countryside destinations to visit in Taiwan:
The Mixed European and Taiwanese Countryside Destination: Cingjing Farm, also known as Evergreen Grassland, is a vast green pasture with a stunning mountain range in the backdrop. Here in Cingjing Farm, visitors see the core mountain tops of Puli Basin, glowing slopes, and valleys. The unparalleled beauty of the natural surroundings of Cingjing Farm, its flora & fauna, and emerald meadow will help you relax and make you forget time.
As an Asian, what appeals to me most about Cingjing Farm is its Western vibe. The sights, the hotels, and the fields will really make you feel that you are in Europe or New Zealand. It thrills me to go back to Taiwan anytime sooner.
I am also a bit excited to see the animals in Cingjing Farm that I have never seen in my life. Like, the Aberdeen Angus cow, Barbado Sheep, Arab Horse, Corriedale lamb, and Hereford cow.
Where is Cingjing Farm?
Cingjing Farm is located in Renai Township, Nantou County. To go to Cingjing Farm from Taipei, first hop on the THSR to Taichung. Then, get a ride on a Nantou-bound bus. Drop off in Puli stop and switch to the bus following the route Puli-Songgang or Puli-Cuifeng (Cuifong). Ask to be dropped off in Cingjing Farm.
What to do in Cingjing Farm?
- Cingjing Farm has many trails where visitors can spend time sightseeing incredible mountain views and breathing fresh air. Try Mountain View trail, Cuihu Trail, Tea Garden Walk, Great Wall trail, Backgammon Ascent trail. However, don’t miss the sunset trail at sunset, of course, and the Cherry blossoms trail in spring.
- Try the 1.2-kilometer Cingjing Skywalk, situated at 1700-2,000 meters above sea level. It is the longest skywalk in Taiwan connecting the Green Green Grassland and the Cingjing Guest House.
- Feed and interact with the sheep and cows roaming around the farm or the Green Green Grasslands. The animal feed can be bought from the dispenser machines with just only 50 NTD.
- Watch the sheep shearing show (New Zealand-style) at the eastern edge of the Green Green Grasslands.
- Attend the show where the shepherds lead the sheep with shepherd dogs using fascinating commands and whistles.
- Take a quick journey to Switzerland by visiting the Small Swiss-Garden. Walk around the garden under the trees like the green maple, formosana, beech, elm, and deciduous pine. There are adorable sculptures, flower-lined paths, and a miniature windmill to be checked too. At night, enjoy the LED artificial sunflowers and illuminated fountains, which brighten the whole garden.
- See the Horsemanship Show Stage, where professional equestrians and acrobats perform. There, different horses from many parts of the world present enthralling tricks, fun for all audiences.
- Teach kids to ride ponies.
We never really planned to go to Jiufen, the cozy and soulful countryside of Taiwan, the time we visited Taiwan. I heard it was already a mainstream destination, and many people are flocking to Jiufen every day. I wanted to have a peaceful getaway avoiding the crowds as well.
However, after a few weeks, my coworker traveled to Taiwan too. When he came back, he showed me his photos from Jiufen. That time I realized that it is actually a good place I must visit the next time I go to Taiwan.
Jiufen is a town founded on the side of a hill, slightly inland from the Pacific Ocean. I can totally imagine the view from Jiufen, and I can already sense the awe I’ll get from it!
This town is well-known for its Bihai Mountain, Japanese-style nostalgic architecture, small alleyways in its old town, street food treats. Jiufen’s historic downtown area, lined by two pedestrian streets: Jishan Street and Shuchi Street, is the tourist’s main attraction.
On the photos that I saw on the internet, they seem archaic and cozy. With the beautiful Chinese lanterns hanging above, it appears that I’m gonna love the overall vibes that Jiufen has.
Where is Jiufen?
Jiufen is only an hour and a half away northeast of Taipei (Ruifang District, New Taipei City). Most travelers come to Jiufen by bus. There are two routes available: (1) From Adventist Hospital bus stop on Bade Road in Taipei, wait for and take the Jiufen bus #1062. (2) Take the same Jiufen #1062 bus from Zhongxiao Fuxing MRT station Exit #1 or Songshan station in Taipei.
However, since Jiufen is in the north of Taiwan, you might want to consider going to the nearby places after Jiufen to maximize your day. This Jiufen-Shifen-Yehliu tour should help you with that.
Jiufen is a very Instagrammable place in Taiwan near Taipei. But you should check out these Instagrammable places in Taipei.
What to do in Jiufen?
- Visit downtown Jiufen (Old Street) – The district is known for its historic eateries, shops, and teahouses. It is the spot where tourists relive the past by trying local specialties and buying handicrafts and other trinkets. The area also offers breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean the harbor at the shores.
- Have a tea at a Traditional Teahouse while watching the sunset – Jiufen’s traditional teahouses are exceptionally atmospheric. They offer a traditional tea experience and often with stunning views of the coastline. It is advisable to visit one just before sunset and watch as the towns along the coast begin to light up. Many say that the night view from Jiufen is better than during the day.
- Explore Keelung mountain – Mount Jilong, also known as Keelung Mountain, is a quick but exhausting climb that takes most people about 30 minutes to reach the summit. But along the way and at the top, you’ll get panoramic views of Jiufen’s scenery and the mountains in the distance. Hiking could be tiring, but the views are just simply priceless.
- Photo Ops with Traditional Chinese Clothing – Chipao Chinese Dress Rental located across the Jiufen bus stops allows rental of Chinese clothes to fit your vibe with Jiufen’s beautiful lantern lighted streets.
When I conducted my research, the nearest destination I found from Jiufen was Jinguashih. It is only 30 minutes away from Jiufen’s Old Street if you’re going to visit it on foot. It is countryside destination in Taiwan where the mountains and see meet.
Jinguashi is known for its gold and copper mines. Like Jiufen, Jinguashi is situated between the mountains and the coast and has extraordinarily stunning sceneries. It also has an abundance of historical artifacts from the area’s mining days, making it an excellent tourist destination in northern Taiwan.
How to go to Jinguashi?
If you are directly going to Jinguashi, you’ll have to take any bus headed to Ruifang Station. There are buses at Ruifang Station going directly to Gold Ecological Park at Jinguashi.
What to do in Jinguashi?
- Visit Museum of Gold. Here, visitors learn the history of gold mining in Jinguashi under Japanese rule. The parts of the museum which most visitors are attracted to are the prison for the allied prisoners of war and the Benshan tunnel. At the Benshan Tunnel, travelers can go underground and experience the daily lives of miners working in harsh conditions.
- Hike the Teapot Mountain. Behind the Jinguashi Gold Museum is Teapot Mountain. As viewed from the direction of Jinguashi Geological Park, the peak resembles a teapot without a handle; hence, the location is also known as ‘Earless Teapot Mountain.’ Teapot Mountain only reaches around 600 meters in height. Because it is close to the north coast, travelers hiking the mountain enjoy a breathtaking panoramic view of the ocean, coastline, and hills.
- Have a glimpse over the Golden Waterfalls. The Huangjin Waterfall, also known as the “Golden Waterfall,” has to be one of Taiwan’s most unusual waterfalls. This waterfall is not only relatively wide and tall, but it also has a vein-like percolating look and vivid brownish-orange underlying rocks.
- Stroll at Qitang Old Street. In early Jinguashi, Qitang Old Street was the most prosperous and bustling street. Walking down this street is like going back in time. During its early days, many shops thrive in Qitang. It was even known as the “Little Ginza.” Now, The street has long-standing general stores with old-fashioned cigarette display cases.
- Imagine the old Japanese Shinto Shrine. It was a shrine built by a Japanese Mining Company that took over the management of the Jinguashi mine during the Japanese occupation in Taiwan. This is also known as the “Mountain God Shrine,” where many Japanese large-scale religious ceremonies and rituals were held. However, World War II destroyed the shrine, and now only pillars and gates remain to it.
It is one of the places in Taiwan where people appreciate nature the most because of the stunning colors of the trees and flowers that fill the views of the farm all year round. According to 8car.com, flowers are blooming / trees changes colors/trees bear fruit on Wuling farm every month, the beautiful and colorful countryside Taiwan.
January: Plum blossom, maple leaves, wax plums
February: Plum blossom, Sakura
March: Peach blossom, pear blossom, plum blossom, apple blossom
April: Pear blossom, plum blossom, apple blossom
May: Wisteria, Rose
September: Pears, apples, camellia, sage, cosmos, lily flowers
October: Pears, apples, camellia, sage, cosmos, lily flowers
November: Maple Leaf, Ginkgo
December: Maple Leaf, Ginkgo, maple leaves, plum blossoms, wax plums
Yet, the most appealing months are February and Mid-November to December because Sakura and maple leaves are seen everywhere on the farm.
As someone who lived a life in a country with eternal summer, I always wished to experience four seasons. I beg to see the leaves of the trees change their colors, and trees bloom with lovely flowers.
Where is Wuling Farm?
Wuling Farm is in Taichung but is very far from the city center. The farm is already in the mountainous central region of Taiwan, situated 2000 meters above sea level. Going to Wuling Farm requires you to go to 3 different TRA stations before getting a bus to the farm.
- In Fengyuan Station, hop on an 865 Bus headed to Lishan. When you arrive in Lishan, transfer to 866 Bus Shuttle-2. Drop off in Wuling Farm Stop.
- In Yilan Station, hop on Kuo-Kuang Bus #1751. Drop off in Wuling Farm Stop.
- In Luodong Station, hop on Kuo-Kuang Bus #1764. Drop off in Wuling Farm Stop.
If you are coming from Taipei, not well familiar with TRA Stations, and don’t like wasting time finding or waiting for buses, have this Wuling Farm Day Tour. It will make your trip to Wuling Farm convenient and comfortable.
What to do in Wuling Farm?
- Enjoy nature sights. The Wuling Farm has breathtaking views of the nearby mountains and pleasant walks to scenic locations such as the Taoshan Waterfall.
- Spend a night glamping. Wuling farm has a camping ground where visitors can camp and make campfires. It could be a good bonding opportunity when traveling with the whole family or a bunch of friends.
- Relax with tea. Wuling farm has a tea garden and Tea Village, where you can treat yourself to a warm cup of home-grown, homemade tea.
The Instagrammable countryside of Taiwan, a paradise for photographers! Gaomei Wetlands is the spot in Taiwan where the beautiful mirror shots of windmills from Instagram were captured. It was one of the places that were on our list, but we failed to visit. We miscalculated the time, so I’m just including it on my future destination in Taiwan.
Many say the best time to visit Gaomei Wetlands is in the late afternoon when visitors can enjoy the sea breeze and watch the sun slip below the horizon. Well, I agree! Based on the photos that I’ve seen, it could really be one of the best sunset-watching spots in Taiwan.
Where is the Gaomei Wetlands?
Gaomei Wetlands is located in Qingshui District in Taichung, and only an hour and 10 minutes away from Taichung city center by bus. It is at the mouth of the Dajia River, and it covers over 300 hectares of grassy, mossy, muddy flat land.
To go there, you just need to catch Bus #309 from Taichung Station and drop off on Gaomei Wetlands at No. 18 windmill station. Since morning and noontime aren’t the ideal time to visit Gaomei Wetlands, It’s better to first travel to the Rainbow Village or Miyahara before the wetlands. If you want a more convenient, guided trip, you can check this Taichung Day Tour.
What to do in Gaomei Wetlands?
In case that you will be visiting Gaomei Wetlands, not just for the sunset, here are the activities that await you:
- Rent an e-bike. You can find electric bike rental shops south of the visitor center to rent e-bikes for an hour to explore the area. One hour of e-bike ride costs only 150NTD.
- Watch animals on wetlands. Water species such as mudskippers, fiddler crabs, and other crustaceans can be seen crawling around during low tide. In some seasons, migratory birds flock to the area. They are also fun to watch, particularly when they are hunting for their prey.
- Photograph the windmills. Because the Gaomei Wetlands has saltwater, it tends to be more reflective and thus acts as a mirror. It gives Instagrammers a good photo opportunity for their feed.
Taijiang National Park
The undiscovered Taiwanese countryside destination. The main reason why I like traveling to the countryside is the beautiful nature sceneries that give me awe. When I was looking for more destinations in Taiwan, I saw the photo of the Mangrove Green tunnel from Taijiang National park, and I was captivated instantly. It is just one marvelous place now I really aspire to visit.
Taijiang National Park is the eighth and youngest national park in Taiwan. The park encompasses 50 square kilometers of land and 340 square kilometers of water of coastal lands north of Anping Harbour. Here, visitors can see lagoons, tidal flats, mangrove swamps, and wetlands home for rare fish, crustaceans, other animal and bird species, including the endangered black-faced spoonbill.
Where is Taijiang National Park?
Taijiang National Park is located in Tainan City on the southwest coast of Taiwan. To go here, you need to arrive first on TRA Tainan Station, where you can find Tainan City Bus #2 or #88. Hop on either of the two buses and alight at Tourist Fish Market. You can also hop on the bus with #99 Anping to Taijiang Route from TRA Tainan Station. Then, alight at Taijiang National Park Headquarters stop or Sihcao Ecological & Cultural Area stop.
What to do in Taijiang National Park?
- Explore the park using a bike. Cycling is an excellent activity in Tiajiang because the climate is sunny in most parts of the year in southern Taiwan. Most importantly, the bike trails are mostly flat. So cycling would not require much effort and would not tire you a lot.
- Cruise along the green tunnel. Drift along a river in a mangrove swamp with beautiful sceneries of canopy trees above.
- Stroll at Anping Old Street. Founded by the Dutch, Anping Old Street is Taiwan’s oldest street, with stalls and shops and a maze of alleyways.
- Explore the Anping Old Fort. See the 17th-century stronghold, now turned museum. It is a place to learn the history of the Dutch occupation and see artifacts like old weapons, uniforms, and sketches of historic ships.
The peaceful lake of Taiwan countryside. Liyu lake, I think, is the smaller version of Sun Moon Lake. Like its bigger sibling, it is situated at a higher altitude and surrounded by majestic mountains. It also has a 4-kilometer bicycle path encircling the lake! However, Liyu lake seems more serene because it is less known, and lesser tourists visit the lake.
This lake is also known as Carp Lake because of the abundance of carps on its 104-hectare waters. It is also the biggest freshwater lake in Hualien. Around the lake, visitors see statues of Buddha, big Koi Carps, and other animals. Food stalls and BBQ stands are there too. From what it looks like and what reviews say, Liyu Lake seems to be a good camping site giving visitors authentic countryside feel.
But above all, what attracts me the most is the picturesque views of the lake and the mountains. I like how tranquil it looks and how refreshing it seems.
Where is Liyu Lake?
Liyu Lake is situated in Hualien County’s Shoufeng Township, about 18 kilometers from Hualien City. Visiting Liyu Lake is easy. First, arrive at Hualien Train Station and transfer to Hualien bus 1139. It will head towards the south. Alight in Liyu Lake Visitor Center.
What to do in Liyu Lake?
- Have a picnic in the lake. There are barbeque stands, food stalls, and picnic tables in the Visitor Center.
- Enjoy the water sports. There are paddle boats, kayaks, and motorboats visitors can rent from the visitor center.
- Go around the lake by bicycle. Cycling most popular activity in the area. The visitor center allows visitors to rent bikes for all ages for just 100NTD.
- Stroll around the lake. The four-kilometer pathway around the lake takes an hour to finish on foot. Reviews say, with nature’s incredible views in Liyu Lake, we would not even feel tired walking that long.
- Watch fireflies at night. In some seasons, around April, fireflies roam around the lake, giving the lake a magical view.
You can learn to stand up paddle boarding with the help of a professional in Liyu Lake too. After visiting Liyu Lake you can go to a nearby epic destination called Taroko Gorge, aslo in Hualien.
The best countryside in Taiwan’s southern portion. Taiwan has a rich culture, and the idea of seeing more compels me to come back. So far, I’ve seen two unique cultures from Taiwan. The first is in Taroko, and the second is in Thao Village in Sun Moon Lake. The next thing that I would like to experience is the Hakka Culture from the south of Taiwan in Kaohsiung City. Hakka in English means “guest families.”
Basically, Hakka Culture is practiced by Hakka People who speak the Hakka language. They are a Han Chinese subgroup whose ancestral homes are chiefly in the Hakka-speaking provincial areas of China (Guangdong, Fujian, Jiangxi, Guangxi, Sichuan, Hunan, Zhejiang, Hainan, and Guizhou). However, throughout the centuries, they managed to spread out to various parts of Asia like Taiwan.
You’ll know about Hakka culture later on later sections. But, what is clear is that Hakka culture thrives in Taiwan in a district called Meinong. As said by taiwan.net, In Meinong, Hakka people manifest good harmony with nature, create beautiful artworks, and cook delicious cuisines. The vibrant culture, the simplicity, and sincerity of the Hakka People made Meinong hailed as the “Land of Smiles” of Taiwan.
Where is Meinong?
Meinong is located 45 kilometers east of Kaohsiung City. To go here, first, you need to be in either Zuoying THSR Station or Kaohsiung TRA Station. There, you’ll find the bus going to Meinong. Alight in Meinong station.
What to do in Meinong?
- Visit Turn Red Nature Life and get an experience of traditional Taiwanese farming. There, visitors learn how to make their own scarecrow and ornaments made through straw weaving and wire braiding. The visitors also experience the rural life in Taiwan here.
- Try the local food. Taste the Famous Hakka dishes in Meinong like stuffed bitter gourd, salt-baked chicken, stuffed tofu, and beef ball soup.
- Walk down the old street of Meinong. Here visitors find a neighborhood full of old traditional buildings, an excellent place to get a throwback of life from the pasts centuries.
- Get artsy by painting a paper umbrella. Visit Mr. Lee Ming-Hsiang’s store and paint paper umbrellas. Oil-paper umbrella craft is a big part of Hakka marriage tradition, which visitors can experience in Meinong.
- Enjoy nature, photograph the sceneries, bike around, and bird watching in Meinong lake. Visitors can do a lot of leisure activities in Meinong lake, even fishing.
You can easily discover Meinong and the culture in the village through the help of the Meinong & Aboriginal Village Culture Tour.
If there is one place in Taiwan that is actually in the countryside, that would be Penghu. It is also called Pescadores Islands, a small archipelago composing 90 islands and islets in Taiwanese straight. What interests me a lot about this Taiwan countryside is the Erkan Old Village, where homes are built from stones and corals.
It is just unusual to see East Asian houses made from those materials. Besides, I’m just curious to see a Chinese or Taiwanese town in the middle of the sea because they are usually located inland and at the highlands.
Yet, it is not only the houses that await us there. In the photos I saw on the internet, there are beaches, sea caves, temples, and another fascinating old street in Penghu to explore too. I bet this is going to be a totally unique experience in Taiwan.
Where is Penghu?
Penghu is located on the west of the main island of Taiwan. You can go here via plane or ferry. There are flights to and from Pengu in TPE Songshan, Taichung, Chiayi, Tainan, Kaohsiung, and Kinmen airports. If you want to visit by ferry, the ports in Kaohsiung or Chiayi can offer you trips to get you to Penghu.
What to do in Penghu?
- Stroll through the Zhongyang Old Street. Wander in the historic street of Magong City, the only city in Penghu. Visitors can find local delicacies stores, traditional tea houses, and other shops.
- Enjoy the beach. Penghu has crystal clear blue waters and a white sand beach. Visitors can swim, snorkel, sunbathe, or even rent a banana boat and drift across the currents.
- See the rocks at the shores and other islands. There are geological sites to explore in Penghu, like the sea erosion in Whale Cave and the Twin Heart Stone Weir.
- Explore the Erkan Village. See the century-old residential where houses are made from rocks and corals and look different from the traditional Chinese houses.
Last but not least is Alishan, the heavenly Taiwanese countryside in the mountains. It is a beautiful mountaintop destination in the mountainous central regions of Taiwan. On our trip to Taiwan, Alishan was supposed to be our next destination after Sun Moon Lake. It’s just time did not permit us so, now I’m including it on this, my bucket list of countryside destinations in Taiwan.
To tell you honestly, I really wanted to go to Alishan mainly because I want to experience the heavenly phenomenon that occurs on it, the sea of clouds. It is the event when an overcast is formed at a lower elevation while are on higher ground, for example, at the summit of a mountain.
Another reason is, Alishan has a gorgeous forest where an old-looking but charming train passes through. It kinda throws anyone who would see back in time during the first industrial revolution. Lastly, I just love hanging around the forest. It’s so refreshing and soothing.
Where is Alishan?
Alishan or The Alishan National Scenic Area is a mountain resort and nature reserve located in Alishan Township, Chiayi County, Taiwan. The fastest way to go to Alishan is through bus #7322C and #7322D from Chiayi Train Station.
What to do in Alishan?
- Take the Alishan Forest Railway. Visitors get a very scenic train ride through the lush forest, which becomes a cherry blossoms paradise during spring.
- Catch a beautiful mountain sunrise. When the weather is doing great, it is the chance to get a glorious morning with a sea of clouds that turns the peaks of the mountains into islands above the clouds.
- Meditate on the sister ponds. Alishan Forest Recreation Area has two ponds where visitors can commune with nature, relax and refresh.
- Forest bath on Giant Tree Plank Trail. See trees that are more than 2000 years old and towers for more than 40 meters in height.
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