One of the things that I liked the most in Taiwan is the numerous places where you can improve your general wellbeing. Aside from the temples, Taiwan houses many natural sceneries and activities that can 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 while discovering new things about myself and the world. What’s best with these destinations? They come with awe-filling sceneries. Awe is actually a very beneficial thing, you know? Awe is the feeling that makes our lives better.
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.
Without further talking, here are the top five places in Taiwan you can experience peace, healing, and reconnection with yourself:
Sun Moon Lake
First natural attraction in Taiwan: Sun Moon Lake.
A post in theguardian.com says blue spaces, like lakes, were identified to improve our wellbeing. 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 all 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 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. For me, Sun Moon Lake is the natural attraction in Taiwan you must never miss to visit.
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 the time 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 reached the summit of Mount Shalaban, and you climbed 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 in it. However, if you are planning slow travel around Sun Moon Lake, I suggest that you get this ultra-cheap bike ticket so you can 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 serenity which allowed me to look within myself; 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, and they allowed me to think clearly without any distractions.
In Taiwan, the best place where you can have a healing experience similar to mine is Alishan. It is one of the most beautiful natural attractions in Taiwan that you can see in 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 really are in an Asian country. Mainly because 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 witnessed the sea of clouds phenomenon, you will realize that the world really works in 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 the reason 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 into a forest of giant trees and walk along the wooden zig-zag trails. You won’t have to worry about getting lost or getting 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 Giant Trees Boardwalk is the Shouzhen Temple. It is the largest temple in Alishan and is jampacked with exceptional craftmanship 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 and meditate for a while and boost up 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.
Here is the link to book Alishan National Forest Recreation Area Ticket in advance. However, if you want to avoid the hassle of commuting and making an itinerary, I got you this Alishan Tour perfect for days of relaxation to this spectacular destination in Taiwan. Meals and gifts included! <3
In nearly four years that 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’m already taking my toll.
What made me survive those years were my quick but fun trips to the countryside. Those places gave me some space, quiet, and time to recondition my mind to combat burnouts.
In Taiwan, there is one fantastic place where you can experience the countryside, European style! They call it Cingjing Farm. It is also one of the best destination 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 sceneries.
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, surely you will love the fresh air, lush forest, the scenery of evergreen plains, acres of flowers on the hillside, or the clouds that are 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 caught this phenomenon because it does not happen very often. Its formation greatly depends on the weather. The sea of clouds usually occurs at dawn, though. So if you want to see it, wake up early and stay on the fields just before sunrise. The most beautiful view comes at the first peek of the sun above the clouds.
At the northern section of the Qingjing Farm, you can find the Green Green Grassland. 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, Barbado sheep, Corriedale lamb, Hereford cow, and Aberdeen Angus cows to spot 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 ordinary days, 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 the 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 tons of 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 lastly, the modern luxurious hot springs in high-end spas and hotels.
If you are keeping a budget, I suggest that you go 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 during the morning or afternoon, before you have your hot-dip, get first a stroll around Beitou. 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 sulfuring 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 which is 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.
In case 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 is the next thing that I liked after seeing the sea of clouds at the summit.
In our path, I could just not get my eyes away from the leaves above us. Seems that 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, immersing ourselves in the forests is actually advantageous to our wellbeing. It is just until my friend introduced to me forest bathing when I realize all the benefits I gained from walking in the forest.
In Taiwan, the place where you can have the best forest bathing is 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 an altitude of 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 temperature 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, it 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 with that?
Xitou Forest also has parts where most of the trees that 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 here 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, and it 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 calmness within.
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