5 Nature Destinations in Taiwan for Relaxation & Healing

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What I really enjoyed about Taiwan was its nature. When we were planning our trip, I found many places connected to nature that I couldn’t wait to visit. I was so excited!

I love visiting places with nature because they help me feel peaceful. Being in nature helped me clear my thoughts, relax, and think deeply.

What’s special about these places in Taiwan is their strong spiritual feel. You’ll really feel it when you find a temple in the forest. I had this experience, and it was very special to me.

Most of Taiwan’s nature spots are in the mountains, which means they have beautiful views. Trust me, they’re amazing! Now, let me tell you about my top five favorite nature spots in Taiwan.

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1. Sun Moon Lake

Blue spaces, like lakes, have been recognized for their positive impact on our well-being. They not only inspire us but also help us feel calmer and more meditative. Based on my experience, I found this to be true, which is why I love lakes.

In Taiwan, Sun Moon Lake stands out as the most beautiful lake you could visit. It’s an alpine lake nestled in the mountainous heart of the country, specifically in Yuchi Township, Nantou County. The view there is incredibly captivating, especially during sunrise and sunset. Sun Moon Lake is a natural attraction in Taiwan that you should definitely visit.

While sunrises at the lake are generally beautiful, a misty morning with a fiery-colored sky at Sun Moon Lake is a sight to cherish. It’s moments like these when you feel as if you’re living in a fantasy or a movie. All your worries and stress will surely melt away!

What to expect in Sun Moon Lake

There’s plenty to do around the lake. You can visit temples, explore shrines, bike around the lake, hike trails, or even enjoy an aerial view of the lake via a ropeway. However, one activity I highly recommend is climbing Ci’en Pagoda.

Located at the top of Mount Shalaban, Ci’en Pagoda is a remarkable destination around the lake. Once you reach the summit of Mount Shalaban and climb to the top floor of Ci’en Pagoda, you’ll feel on top of the world! From there, you’ll have a panoramic view of the lake, with clouds almost within reach. It’s an incredibly uplifting experience.

Lastly, if you’re looking to meditate, there are numerous trails around the lake where you can stroll, pause, and breathe in the fresh air. I suggest visiting Hanbi Trail as it offers the most scenic view of the lake, especially during sunrise.

If you plan to take your time exploring Sun Moon Lake, consider getting this very affordable bike ticket. It allows you to explore the lake faster than on foot and also includes unlimited boat rides.

If you want to visit this beautiful natural attraction, here’s my one-day Sun Moon Lake itinerary.

2. Alishan

During my quarter-life crisis, mountains became my primary refuge. They offered a serene environment that allowed me to introspect and answer questions that only I could. The mountains revealed wonders to me, wonders I had never known before. They diverted my attention from anxiety and negative thinking, enabling me to think clearly without distractions.

In Taiwan, Alishan is the ideal place for a healing experience similar to mine. Alishan is one of Taiwan’s most stunning natural attractions. It’s a nature reserve and mountain resort located in the heart of Taiwan, specifically in Alishan Township, Chiayi County.

When you visit Alishan, you’ll feel the distinct ambiance of an Asian country. Alishan mirrors the imagery found in early and classical Chinese mountain paintings. Imagine a forest enveloped in mist, and mountains transformed into islands by a sea of clouds. Witnessing the sea of clouds phenomenon will make you realize the wonders of the world. It will fill you with awe.

What to expect in Alishan

Alishan’s high altitude makes it possible to witness a sea of clouds. This altitude also results in temperatures that are 10 degrees cooler than most places in Taiwan. Such a temperature makes drinking Alishan high-mountain Oolong Tea (2nd photo) more enticing. It is effective in improving mood and reducing stress.

If you are a nature lover, you will surely enjoy strolling along the Giant Trees Boardwalk in Alishan, aside from the sea of clouds. Here, you can immerse yourself in a forest of giant trees and walk along the wooden zig-zag trails. The paths are well-maintained and have ample signage, so there’s no need to worry about getting lost or injured. It is an ideal place for forest bathing.

At the end of the Giant Trees Boardwalk, you’ll find the Shouzhen Temple (3rd photo). It is the largest temple in Alishan, filled with exceptional craftsmanship, statues, and paintings of mystical creatures such as dragons and tigers, along with other deities. You can light your own incense at the front of the temple, meditate, and enhance your spirituality.

The Sister Ponds (4th photo) is another peaceful spot in Alishan. These bodies of water, surrounded by trees, contribute to the overall relaxing vibe of the area. Like Sun Moon Lake, the Sister Ponds can make you feel relaxed and calm. If you wish, you can rest in the hut located in the middle of the larger pond and commune with the environment.

Lastly, the Alishan National Forest Recreation Area features a small railway network that runs through the woods. A train ride (5th photo) through the lush and misty forest can be an exciting addition to your relaxation trip to Alishan.

For more information, please see the official website of Alishan.

3. Cingjing Farm

During the nearly four years I spent working in the city, I was oblivious to the toll it was taking on my mental and physical health. It wasn’t until two days before I quit my job that my body sent me a warning, making me realize the extent of the damage.

My survival during those years was largely due to my quick, enjoyable trips to the countryside. These places provided me with the space, tranquility, and time I needed to recondition my mind and combat burnout.

One exceptional place in Taiwan offers a countryside experience with a European flair – Cingjing Farm. It’s among the top destinations for witnessing Taiwan’s natural wonders. Like Alishan and Sun Moon Lake, Cingjing Farm is situated at a higher elevation, offering visitors a unique farmland experience amidst breathtaking mountainous scenery.

Cingjing Farm is located in Ren’ai Township, Nantou County. It boasts Taiwan’s highest skywalk. But you don’t need to be experiencing burnout or anxiety to visit. Cingjing Farm is a must-visit destination, regardless of your current state of mind.

The mountain views and the cattle roaming around Cingjing Farm will help rejuvenate your mind. Unless you’ve lived or stayed on a farm before, they will offer you an incredible new perspective.

What to expect in Cingjing Farm

Visiting here, you’ll surely appreciate the fresh air, lush forest, and the scenery of evergreen plains. You’ll see acres of flowers on the hillside and clouds touching the mountain top. This spectacular view has earned Cingjing Farm the nickname “Foggy Eden.”

Like Alishan, Cingjing Farm also experiences the dramatic phenomenon of a sea of clouds. It’s a rare occurrence, and its formation greatly depends on the weather. The sea of clouds usually appears at dawn. So, if you want to witness it, wake up early and stay in the fields just before sunrise. The most beautiful view comes when the sun first peeks above the clouds.

In the northern section of Qingjing Farm, you’ll find the Green Green Grassland. It’s a pasture where you can watch sheep, cows, and other cattle roam around an open patch of land. You can even come closer to the cattle and interact with them. If you’ve never seen a sheep in person, this is your chance! The Green Green Grassland is home to Arab Horses, Barbados sheep, Corriedale lambs, Hereford cows, and Aberdeen Angus cows.

Lastly, Qingjing Farm offers accessible trails. If you visit in spring, take a stroll along the Sakura Trail. You’ll find beautiful cherry blossoms lining your path. On an ordinary day, you might want to trek the Sunset Trail in the afternoon. It offers a charming view of nature during the golden hour.

4. Beitou Hot Springs

Water, whether hot or cold, has properties that positively impact us humans. Interestingly, it’s been observed that people who bathe in hot springs tend to sleep better than those who don’t.

Moreover, studies have found that individuals who spend time in hot springs experience reduced stress levels and an increase in overall happiness. In the Beitou District of Taipei, there are numerous hot spring spas and resorts available for body and mind relaxation.

One of the great things about bathing in hot springs is the immediate relief it provides. There’s no need for strenuous activity; simply submerging your body in warm water can make you feel instantly better. However, if you find your mind filled with numerous thoughts, you might want to consider visiting the other places I mentioned.

What to expect more in Beitou Hot Springs

In Beitou, you have a variety of hot springs to choose from, depending on your needs and budget. You can access the city-owned public hot springs, the locally-owned private hot springs, or the luxurious hot springs in high-end spas and hotels.

If you’re on a budget, I recommend visiting the public hot springs. The entrance fee is only 40 to 50 NTD per person. Here, swimwear is required, and you’ll join other locals and tourists in the baths.

However, if you’re looking to indulge yourself, consider booking a stay at one of the modern luxury hot spring resorts. Bathing in a hot spring at night can be a delightful experience and a wonderful way to end your day.

Before you take your hot dip in the morning or afternoon, I suggest taking a stroll around Beitou. There are several points of interest, such as the Thermal Valley and Beitou Public Library. The Thermal Valley, also known as Hell Valley, is a scenic spot where steam rises from a volcanic crater filled with sulfurous hot spring water. It’s a fascinating destination where you can observe the vapor emerging from the sulfuric water.

For something unique, consider visiting Beitou Public Library. It’s Taiwan’s first green library, featuring impressive green architecture. This library could be the place in Beitou where you can learn new things and find a moment of tranquility.

5. Xitou Nature Education Area

In 2019, I made five trips to the mountainous northern region of our country for mountain climbing. The experience of hiking along the forest trails was something I cherished, second only to the sight of the sea of clouds at the summit. The leaves overhead, creating gaps that reminded me of stars in the night sky, held my gaze. The phenomenon of crown shyness among the trees always filled me with awe. It’s a simple wonder that never fails to amaze me.

I was unaware of the benefits of immersing oneself in the forest until my friend introduced me to forest bathing. That’s when I realized the numerous benefits I had gained from my walks in the forest.

In Taiwan, the Xitou Forest Recreation Area offers one of the best forest bathing experiences. Located in Nantou Lugu Town, in the mountainous central region of Taiwan, the Xitou Forest Recreation Area covers 2500 hectares in the highlands and is situated about 1150 meters above sea level. It’s a stunning natural attraction, especially for those who wish to spend time in nature.

Due to its high altitude, the recreation area has milder temperatures compared to the low-lying areas. The average temperature in Xitou Forest is about 17 degrees Celsius, making it ideal for strolling without breaking a sweat. This is also why Xitou Forest is an excellent location for forest bathing.

What to expect in Xitou Nature Educational Area

In the Xitou Forest Recreation Area, you’ll find a multitude of trees and birds. Some of these trees are as old as 2800 years and have grown to a height of 46 meters! The most common trees in Xitou Forest are the Chinese cypresses and Ginko trees.

The abundance of trees in Xitou Forest has made it a paradise for birds. Studies have found that the area is home to more than 7000 birds. The sound of birds chirping enhances the forest bathing experience, making you feel truly immersed in nature. Complete silence in the forest isn’t desirable as it can create an eerie and creepy atmosphere.

Parts of Xitou Forest are dominated by bamboo trees. It’s one of the places in Taiwan where you’ll feel a strong sense of being in Asia. The bamboo trees in Xitou Forest are reminiscent of the Shunan Bamboo Sea, featured in the movie Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.

One of the most well-known locations in Xitou Forest is Daxue Pond, which features a cool arched bridge in the middle. Like the Sister Ponds in Alishan, Daxue Pond is an excellent place for meditation. The sound of the water in the pond can help you find inner peace and calm.

For more information, please check the official website of Xitou Nature Educational Area

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Taiwan Nature Destination
Taiwan Nature Destination

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