One of the things that I liked the most in Taiwan is the numerous places where you can improve your general well-being. Aside from the temples, Taiwan houses many natural scenery and activities to help you meditate, relax and ultimately regain your inner peace. You may not know; they could also help you discover your true self in the process.
The high spirituality and nature-orientedness of the destinations in Taiwan gave me a totally new experience in traveling. They helped me enjoy my trip while discovering new things about myself and the world.
What’s best with these destinations? They come with awe-filling scenery. Awe is actually a very beneficial thing, you know? Awe is the feeling that makes our lives better.
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Unlike other countries in the world, Taiwan offers you easy access to these places. Their bus and train system synchronizes well with our commonly used smartphone applications; thus, finding a ride to those destinations would not be difficult and dangerous. There is little to no hassle when giving yourself a retreat in Taiwan.
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Without further talking, here are the top five places in Taiwan you can experience peace, healing, and reconnection with yourself:
Sun Moon Lake
The first natural attraction in Taiwan is Sun Moon Lake.
A post on theguardian.com says blue spaces, like lakes, were identified to improve our well-being.
They do not only give us a sense of awe, but they also make us calmer and come into a more meditative state. And based on my experience, I found them accurate. These are the reasons why I love lakes.
In Taiwan, Sun Moon Lake is the best and the most beautiful lake you could ever visit. It is an alpine lake situated in the middle of the mountainous center of the country (Yuchi Township, Nantou County).
The view there is incredibly dreamy, especially during sunrise and sunset. Sun Moon Lake is a natural attraction in Taiwan you must never miss visiting.
Though the sunrise in the lakes is generally beautiful, you will be truly blessed if you catch a misty morning with a fiery-colored sky in Sun Moon Lake. It will be when you feel that you live in a fantasy or a movie.
All your problems and stress will definitely be gone in an instant!
There are a lot of things that you can do around the lake. You can visit temples, hang around the shrines, bike around the lake, hike trails, or even have an overlooking view of the lake through a ropeway.
However, if there is something that I will recommend that you must not miss doing, that would be climbing Ci’en Pagoda.
Ci’en Pagoda is at the top of Mount Shalaban, and it is one epic destination you can find around the lake.
When you reach the summit of Mount Shalaban, and you climb Ci’en Pagoda until its last floor, you’ll feel that you’re already on top of the world! There, you’ll have an overlooking view of the lake, with clouds you can almost reach.
It will be a very uplifting feeling.
Lastly, if you want to meditate, there are tons of trails around the lake where you can stroll, stand by, and get some fresh air. I recommend that you visit Hanbi Trail because it is the one that gives you the most scenic view of the lake, especially during the sunrise.
You can check my one-day guide for Sun Moon Lake to learn more about Sun Moon Lake and the best spots.
However, if you are planning slow travel around Sun Moon Lake, I suggest that you get this ultra-cheap bike ticket to explore the lake a little quicker than on foot. It comes with unlimited boat rides too.
Mountains were my primary refuge during my quarter-life crisis. It was the place where I found the serenity that allowed me to look within myself and answer questions that only I could answer.
Mountains also showed me wonders that I never knew existed. They grabbed my attention from anxiety and negative thinking, allowing me to think clearly without any distractions.
In Taiwan, the best place where you can have a healing experience similar to mine is Alishan.
Alishan is one of the most beautiful natural attractions in Taiwan that you can see Taiwan. It is a nature reserve and a mountain resort in the middle of Taiwan located in Alishan Township, Chiayi County.
When you come to Alishan, you will feel that you are in an Asian country.
Alishan resembles the images of early and classical Chinese paintings of the mountains. Like, a forest shrouded in mist and mountains turned into islands by a sea of clouds. When you witness the sea of clouds phenomenon, you will realize that the world really works wonders.
You’ll be filled with awe, as in.
Oolong Tea Plantation
Alishan has a high altitude which makes witnessing a sea of clouds possible. It is also why it is 10 degrees cooler than any other ordinary place in Taiwan. This temperature makes drinking Alishan high-mountain Oolong Tea much more enticing to drink.
It is a real deal in improving mood and de-stressing.
If you are a nature lover like me, aside from the sea of clouds, one thing that you’ll surely love in Alisan is strolling along the Giant Trees Boardwalk. There, you can immerse yourself in a forest of giant trees and walk along the wooden zig-zag trails.
You won’t have to worry about getting lost or injured as the paths are properly maintained and have enough signage. It is a place perfect for forest bathing.
What’s remarkable at the end of the Giant Trees Boardwalk is the Shouzhen Temple.
It is the largest temple in Alishan and is jampacked with exceptional craftsmanship, statues, and paintings of mystical creatures such as dragons, tigers, and other deities. At the front of the temple, you can light your own incense, meditate for a while, and boost your spirituality.
Sister Ponds is another place in Alishan where you can have a peaceful moment.
Obviously, They are bodies of water too. Thus, similar to Sun Moon Lake, Sister Ponds shall make you feel relaxed and calm as well. Trees surround these ponds, and they add to the overall relaxing vibe in the area around the pond.
If you like, you can stay in the hut in the middle of the larger pond to rest and commune with the environment for quite a bit.
Lastly, Alishan National Forest Recreation Area has a small railway network that traverses the woods. A train ride in the lush and misty forest will be an exciting bonus activity for your relaxation trip to Alishan.
In the nearly four years I spent working in the city, I never realized how it was already killing me mentally and physically. It was only until my body warned me two days before I quit my job I realized that I was already taking my toll.
My quick but fun trips to the countryside made me survive those years. Those places gave me some space, quiet, and time to recondition my mind to combat burnout.
There is one fantastic place in Taiwan where you can experience the countryside, European style! They call it Cingjing Farm. It is also one of the best destinations for seeing natural wonders in Taiwan.
Like Alishan and Sun Moon Lake, it sits on a higher elevation, giving visitors a farmland experience with incredible mountainous scenery.
Cingjing Farm, located in a Cingjing town, Ren’ai Township, Nantou County, has the highest skywalk in Taiwan.
Actually, burnout or anxiety is not really a prerequisite before going here.
Cingjing Farm is a totally must-visit destination, whatever you’re currently feeling. The mountain view and the cattle roaming around in Cingjing Farm will help you refresh your mind.
They will provide you incredible new sights unless you have lived or stayed on a farm before.
If you come here, you will surely love the fresh air, lush forest, the scenery of evergreen plains, acres of flowers on the hillside, or the clouds touching the mountain top. Because of this spectacular view, Cingjing farm became known as the “Foggy Eden.”
Like Alishan, the dramatic phenomenon of a sea of clouds also happens at Cingjing Farm.
You are very blessed if you catch this phenomenon because it often does not occur. Its formation greatly depends on the weather. The sea of clouds usually happens at dawn, though.
So if you want to see it, wake up early and stay in the fields just before sunrise. The most beautiful view comes at the first peek of the sun above the clouds.
You can find the Green Green Grassland in the northern section of Qingjing Farm. It is the pasture ground where you can watch sheep, cows, and other cattle roam around an open patch of land.
What’s fun? You can come closer to the cattle and interact with them.
If you’re like me, who has not seen a sheep in person in my whole life, it will be your chance to do so! There are Arab Horse, Barbados sheep, Corriedale lamb, Hereford cow, and Aberdeen Angus cows in Green Green Grassland.
Lastly, Qingjing Farm has accessible trails too.
If you come here by spring, check out Sakura Trail. You’ll find beautiful cherry blossoms along your stroll at it. Then, if it is an ordinary day, you may trek Sunset Trail during the afternoon to get a charming view of nature during the golden hour.
There are also scenic highland views plus deep canyons from Taroko Gorge in northeastern Taiwan.
Beitou Hot Springs
Most importantly, it has been discovered that individuals who have spent time dipping in hot springs have reduced stress levels and increased general happiness.
In Beitou District, Taipei, you can find tons of hot spring spas and resorts to help you get that body and mind relaxation. What’s excellent about bathing in hot springs is that you don’t have to trek to feel relieved.
You just submerge your body in warm water, and you’ll instantly feel good. However, you might still want to try other places I mentioned if you find yourself in conflict with many thoughts running in your mind.
Beitou Thermal Valley
In Beitou, you can choose any hot spring you want, whatever your needs, and whatever your budget is. You can access the public hot springs owned by the city, the private hot springs owned by the locals, and the modern luxurious hot springs in high-end spas and hotels.
If you are keeping a budget, I suggest going to the public hot springs. Entrance only costs 40 to 50 NTD per head. Here, you must wear swimwear, and you’ll join other locals and tourists in bathing.
But if you really want to treat yourself, I suggest that you book in the modern luxury hot spring resorts instead.
It is nicer to bathe in a hot spring at night. I think it’s also the best way to end your day, don’t you think?
So I suggest that before you have your hot dip in the morning or afternoon, take a stroll around Beitou first. See stuff that might interest you, like, The Thermal Valley and Beitou Public Library.
Thermal Valley, or what others call Hell Valley, is a scenic spot in Beitou, where steam rises from the volcanic crater filled with sulfurous hot spring water. It is one crazy destination where you can see the vapor crawling out of the sulfuric water.
If you are looking for something cool and unique, you should check out Beitou Public Library.
It is Taiwan’s first green library built with amazing green architecture. This library, I think, is going to be the place in Beitou where you can learn new stuff and meditate.
If you want to maximize your day before taking a soothing bath on Beitou’s hot springs, check out this Taipei City-Beitou and Yangmingshan Day Tour.
RELATED: Another beautiful spot in Taiwan’s northern region is Yehliu Geopark which is just an hour or two hours away from Beitou. By the way, Beitou is one of the most photographed places in Taipei. You should check out the rest.
Xitou Nature Education Area
In 2019, I went 5 times to the mountainous northern portion of our country to climb mountains. Hiking along the trails in the woods was the next thing I liked after seeing the sea of clouds at the summit.
I could just not get my eyes away from the leaves above us in our path. The gaps that the leaves make are the stars we see at night. I am always amazed by the crown shyness of the trees.
It is a simple wonder which will always fill me with awe.
Neither did I know that immersing ourselves in the forests is actually advantageous to our well-being. Just until my friend introduced me to forest bathing, I realized all the benefits I gained from walking in the forest.
In Taiwan, you can have the best forest bathing in Xitou Forest Recreation Area. It is located in Nantou Lugu Town, also in mountainous central Taiwan. Xitou Forest Recreation Area spans 2500 hectares in the highlands, situated at about 1150 meters above sea level.
It is a beautiful natural attraction in Taiwan, especially if you really want to spend time in nature.
Because of the high altitude, the recreation area acquires milder temperatures compared to the low-lying areas. The average temperature in Xitou Forest is about 17 degrees Celsius, making it perfect for strolling without sweating. It is also the reason why the Xitou Forest is excellent for forest bathing.
You will find tons of trees and birds in Xitou Forest Recreation Area. Some trees are 2800 years old now, and they are already 46 meters high! Impressive, right? The trees that you can commonly see in Xitou Forest are the Chinese cypresses and Ginko trees.
Because trees are abundant in Xitou Forest, they became a paradise for the birds. Studies have found that more than 7000 birds are living in the area.
I really love it when I hear birds chirping.
Their sound makes the whole forest bathing experience much better as you can feel that you’re really with nature. Besides, it is not desirable to have complete silence while in the forest. It will be eerie and creepy.
How would you be able to think positively about that?
Xitou Forest also has parts where most of the trees you can see are bamboo trees. I’ll bet it will be one of the places in Taiwan where you will feel that you’re really in Asia.
The bamboo trees in Xitou Forest resemble the Shunan’s Bamboo Sea featured in the movie Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.
By the way, the most known location in Xitou Forest is also a pond. They call it Daxue Pond, which has a cool arched bridge in the middle. Like Sister Ponds in Alishan, this, too, will be an excellent place to meditate. The sound of the water in the pond shall help you find peace and calm within.
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