Taiwan Itinerary for 7 or 10 Days with 48 Top Must do things

February 13, 2024

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Visiting Taiwan for a week but have no clue what are the best things to do? Still largely undiscovered by travelers, Taiwan is one of the best and safest places to travel in all of Asia.

We have traveled extensively in Taiwan and recently came back from a Taiwan trip where we experienced the area’s best hikes, nature spots, food, hot springs, tourist attractions, and spiritual spots to visit.

Nestled in the Pacific Ocean, Taiwan has some of the best hikes in Northeast Asia, rich culture, welcoming locals, best night markets in the world, origin of Boba Milk Tea, world class beaches, and home to the world’s most diverse butterflies discovered (over 400+ butterfly specifies).

Home to one of Asia’s highest mountains, Jade Mountain, Sun Moon Lake, lush hikes and lakes, white sand beaches in Kenting, vibrant city and night market life… it’s no wonder Taiwan was named “Formosa”, meaning beautiful, by Portuguese explorers and is one of the most beautiful places on Earth.

If you’re looking the perfect destination to visit and nourish your spirit in Asia, you’ve come to the right place. In this guide, we share our ultimate 7-day or 10-day itinerary and the most soulful spots this enchanting island country has to offer. Consider this our love letter to Taiwan, and our way of giving back so you can fall in love in Taiwan too!

Have you ever seen such beautiful building with traditional and modern elements? Taipei 101 is a special gem and Taiwan truly is a special place!

🌟My Top Taiwan Recommendations
Before we dive into this guide, here are a few things you can’t miss on your trip to Taiwan!

🏙️Enjoy skyline views from Taipei 101: Taipei 101, one of the world’s tallest buildings, is one of the best places to see Taipei city views. Do not miss the opportunity to see one of the most beautiful architectures in the world that merges modern and traditional culture! Book your Taipei 101 ticket.

🧖‍♀️Soak in Beitou’s Thermal Hot Springs: Soak in Beitou’s natural white sulphur hot springs to soothe your body and mind. Do not miss this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity! This is one of the best hot springs that allow mixed sex which is perfect for couples, families, and friends. Best Beitou hot spring.

🍜Dine at Din Tai Fung: Eat quintessential Taiwanese dumplings at Michelin Star restaurant Din Tai Fung. Try all 8 types of Xiao Long Bao dumplings. Best Din Tai Fung deal.

🌿Relax with a Pressure Point Massage: Unwind after a long day of walking and exploration with a Villa.Like Massage and Spa experience. Start with a free foot massage along with your Oriental Pressure Point body massage. Best Massage in Taipei.

🚄Take the High Speed Rail to Explore Taiwan: Taiwan is so much more than just Taipei. Travel to Kaohsiung, Tainan, Chiayi, Taichung in a matter of hours . Pre-book your high speed rail ticket in advance or get a multi-day unlimited HSR pass at a steal of a price! The ticket is valid for up to 90 days after booking so if you need to change your reservation, you can easily do it online.

👨‍✈️Hire a Private Car Charter: The best way to explore Taipei is by private car charters. Experienced car charters will take you to wherever you want to go, save you time, and are much more comfortable than a taxi or a large tour bus. This option is perfect if you have 2 or more people in your group as a family, friends or couple. You can choose a preferred language of English, Korea, Japanese of Chinese, and even ask your driver for attraction and food recommendations. Best private car charter in Taipei and to Yilan and Qingshui Geothermal Park.

🌃Where to Stay: A panoramic city view with resort amenities at the Taipei Marriott Hotel, a luxury mountain view suite conveniently located nearby Taipei’s biggest night market, Shilin Night Market at Tango Taipei Hotel Shilin, or a downtown friendly hotel suite with gorgeous avant-garde design ambiance near Ximending shopping area at citizenM Taipei, or book a VRBO vacation home near Taipei main station.

Table of Contents

  1. • Taipei Taoyuan Airport (TPE) Ultimate Guide – Where to get ATM Cash, SIM Card, Pocket Wifi & Car Transfer
  2. • Taipei Hotels | Where to stay in Taipei
  3. • Day 1 in Taiwan: Hike Pingxi Crags, fly a sky lantern in Pingxi Old Town, and eat Taiwan food
  4. • Day 2: Hike Taipei’s Elephant Mountain, Taiwan Tea, and and Shilin Night Market
  5. • Day 3: Visit Keelung Mountain, Jiufen Old Town, Houtong Cat Village, Long Shan Temple, and Chang Kai Shek Memorial Hall
  6. • Day 4: Beitou Hot Springs, Teapot Mountain Hike, and Best Taipei Vegan Food
  7. • Day 5: Lao di fang Taipei hike, best breakfast in Taipei, and HSR bullet train to Kaohsiung
  8. • How to take the Taiwan High Speed Rail (HSR) bullet train from Taipei to Kaohsiung
  9. • Day 6: Kaohsiung attractions – Nature Retreat, Vegan Food, and Shopping in Kaohsiung
  10. • Day 7: Fo Guang Shan, Nature, Relaxation, and Culinary Delights in Kaohsiung and Taiwan Hot Springs
  11. • 7 or 10 Days Itinerary in Taiwan
  12. • Final Thoughts: Taiwan Travel Guide: 7 Day Taiwan Itinerary with 46 Best Things to do in Taiwan

Taipei Taoyuan Airport (TPE) Tips – ATM Cash, SIM Card, Pocket Wifi, Car Transfer

Upon your arrival in the vibrant island of Taiwan, your journey begins at the Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport (TPE airport) in Taipei, the primary gateway to this captivating destination. To ensure a smooth start to your adventure, follow these essential steps.

  1. ✈️ Arriving at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport (TPE): The moment you step off the plane, the modern and efficient Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport welcomes you! Navigate through the well-designed terminals, shops and facilities, Taiwan airport lounges such as Plaza premium lounge, and take in the warm hospitality that sets the tone for your visit.

  2. 🏧 Currency Convenience: After you grab your luggage, head straight to the nearest ATM to easily obtain local currency. This ensures you’re ready for any spontaneous discoveries or transactions during your stay. Taiwan’s vibrant night markets, local Taiwanese cuisine, and unique tourist attractions will beckon, and having local currency on hand enhances your experience. As the saying goes “Cash is King” and many shops and night market vendors are cash only.

    Travel Tip: We always recommend opening an Charles Schwab Investor Checking Account (no monthly fees) as the holy grail of travel debit cards, because it offers UNLIMITED ATM fee refunds. You never have to worry about an ATM fee again. Always, always, always choose to be charged in the local currency of the country you’re in. If a Taiwan ATM asks if you want to be charged in USD, say no. Don’t let the machine do your currency conversion.

  3. 🌐 Stay Connected with a Sim Card or Pocket Wifi: Get connected right as you land by pre-booking a Taiwan 4G SIM card with internet capabilities for your phone, or a pocket wifi to connect multiple devices. The friendly staff will help you set up your sim card in less than 3 minutes. The sim card comes preloaded with some credits for outgoing calls, and all incoming calls are free. This not only keeps you in touch with loved ones but also enables you to access maps and travel apps on-the-go.

    Convenience at your fingertips is key to unlocking the best experiences in Taiwan. Not sure whether to go with the SIM card or pocket wifi? We prefer to get a SIM card as your phone battery will likely outlast any pocket wifi. With a pocket wifi, you have to keep switching the internet on and off to save battery as they only last 6 hours.

  4. 🚌 Pickup an Easy-card: Pre-book your EasyCard and pickup as soon as you land at the airport. An Easy Card is like an electronic wallet and is a must-have companion to pay for your transportation in Taiwan. Whether you are taking the MRT, bus, Taiwan Railways, High-Speed Rail, ferries, public bike rentals, or using it to pay for food at convenience stores – you can use the Easy card for that!

  5. 🚖 Book Your Car Transfer in Advance: The best way to reach your hotel is to pre-book a private car transfer to get to your hotel. The cars and drivers are always top notch and pre-vetted. We always recommend to pre-book your transfer to save time so you can get out and spend more time exploring Taipei and the night markets! It’s the same cost as a taxi, but much more comfortable. Pre-book at least 3 days in advance.

  6. 🌃 Get to Taipei Hotel: With currency sorted and your phone connected, head from TPE airport to your pre-arranged hotel. Whether it’s nestled in the heart of Taipei or tucked away in a scenic corner, your accommodation sets the stage for a memorable stay.
Have you seen such beautiful old streets? Visit Jiufen Old Street for the best food.

Taipei Hotels | Where to stay in Taipei

We recommend to base yourself in Taipei for your first time in Taiwan. Taipei, the vibrant capital, serves as the quintessential introduction to Taiwan’s captivating blend of tradition and modernity. Taipei pulses with energy day and night, inviting exploration of its bustling night markets, savory street food, and captivating art, cultural scenes, and day trips within awe inspiring views. From its the iconic Taipei 101 to its historic temples, Taipei offers a seamless fusion of the old and the new, embodying the essence of Taiwan’s rich cultural history.

Taipei travel is extremely safe, as is all of Taiwan. Learn about safety precautions in Taiwan from out insider tips.

Where to Stay: A panoramic city view with resort amenities at the Taipei Marriott Hotel, a luxury mountain view suite conveniently located nearby Taipei’s biggest night market, Shilin Night Market at Tango Taipei Hotel Shilin, or a downtown friendly hotel suite with gorgeous avant-garde design ambiance near Ximending shopping area at citizenM Taipei, or book a VRBO vacation home near Taipei main station.

Many other bloggers will recommend that you stay in hotels near Taipei Main Station, however we do not. Taipei Main Station is the busiest and largest MRT subway station in Taiwan, and so every time you head out/return, you’ll be faced with a sea of people. Our go-to hotel when we visit Taipei is Tango Taipei Hotel Shilin, near Shilin Night Market. It’s tucked away in a quiet locals corner, near the MRT station on the main red line, steps away from the best night market in Taipei, Shilin Night Market, and one of the best morning hikes in Taipei, JianTanShan (with famous views of laodifang).

Want more Taipei hotel options? Use the map below to find hotels and vacation rentals in Taipei, Taiwan:

Now on to the best things to do on your Taiwan vacation and Taipei Travel!

Day 1 in Taiwan: Hike Pingxi Crags, fly a sky lantern in Pingxi Old Town, and eat Taiwan food

1. Hike at Pingxi Crags (Xiaozi Shan)

Start your first day in Taiwan with a thrilling adventure to Pingxi Crags Hike, also known as Xiaozi shan (平溪小三尖). With its jaw dropping vertical cliff faces and three peaks to climb, it’s one of the best hikes in Taiwan. It was great fun hauling ourselves up there! At first sight it does not look easy to climb but there are plenty of footholds, railing, and ropes to grab at. It was very safe, and we even saw plenty of fit elders climbing later in the day as well. Witness breathtaking views at the top of the 3 peaks, serene buddha statues, and kickstart your journey surrounded by the beautiful Taiwan views!

2. Explore Pingxi Old Street

After an invigorating Pingxi Crags hike, immerse yourself in the charm of Pingxi Old Street, a mere 10 minute walk away from the trailhead. Explore the narrow lanes filled with traditional shops, local crafts, and the distinctive atmosphere of this historic area. It’s also much quieter than the tourist packed Shifen Old Street.

For a taste of local Taiwanese cuisine, dine at the little blue restaurant called 平溪祖傳切仔麵 nestled at the beginning of Pingxi Old Street. Do not miss this restaurant – it was one of the best Taiwanese food meals we had in Taiwan!

Pro-Tip: Use our Daily Google Maps guides. Some must-eats restaurants and best Taiwan tourist attractions in Taiwan are only available in Mandarin Chinese names on Google maps. Don’t worry if you can’t read Chinese because we’ve created a free daily google maps guide at the end of every section with all the Taiwan attractions for that day for you!

You’ll thank us later as you indulge in authentic Taiwanese food, savoring the rich and diverse flavors that will leave your taste buds delighted and body nourished. Check out our in-depth guides on all the things you should to do at Pingxi old street and what to eat in Pingxi, Taiwan!

Save our Pingxi food guide for later.

As you continue your culinary exploration, don’t miss the chance to try Yu Yuan, featuring taro and sweet potato balls, and indulge in a delightful peanut ice cream at 平溪橋頭花生捲冰淇淋. These sweet treats are a perfect blend of traditional Taiwanese flavors.

3. Pingxi – Fly a Sky Lantern

Make your day magical by participating in the tradition of releasing sky lanterns in Taiwan.Write your wishes and intentions on all sides of the lantern, and release them spiritually to the universe! Add a touch of romance with a red date drink as you marvel at the lanterns illuminating the sky. Read our sky lantern experience guide to learn where to fly a sky lantern in Taiwan, and the prices in Pingxi.

Taiwan Must-visit: Pingxi old street is the best place to fly sky lanterns without crowds!

Pro Tip: You can go to Pingxi during February for the sky lantern festival, but we recommend going any other time of the year (in early mornings) to have the place to yourselves.

4. Best Massage at Like.Villa in Taipei

After a long flight and a day filled with adventure, unwind and pamper yourself at Like.Villa Massage. Relax your senses and rejuvenate for the exciting days ahead.

Relax with a Pressure Point Massage: Unwind after a long day of walking and exploration with a Villa.Like Massage and spa experience. This is our favorite massage spot in Taipei with multiple locations all over the city, we went to the Renai location. Start with a free foot massage followed by your full body Oriental Pressure Point massage. Book the best massage in Taipei.

End your day with a delightful meal at a local restaurant, savoring the diverse and mouthwatering dishes that Taiwan has to offer. Reflect on the day’s experiences and look forward to more unforgettable moments on your Taiwan journey. Day 1 sets the tone for an incredible adventure – full of exploration, flavors, and cultural wonders.

Day 2: Hike Taipei’s Elephant Mountain, Taiwan Tea, and and Shilin Night Market

1. Hike Elephant Mountain in Taipei (Xiang Shan) and the Four Beasts Peaks

Begin your second day in Taipei with a hike to the majestic Elephant Mountain (Xiang Shan). The trailhead starts at Daitiandian Lingyun Temple, leading you to the iconic Xiangshan Six Boulders Observation Deck. Marvel at the breathtaking views of Elephant Peak and explore the interconnected peaks of the Four Beasts Scenic Area, including Lion Mountain, Leopard Mountain, and Tiger Mountain.

Escape the crowds as you follow the trails that connect these peaks, offering a serene experience amidst nature’s beauty. Opt for the Elephant Mountain trail to Guanyin Pavilion, continuing north to Lion Mountain and connecting to Leopard Mountain Trail. This scenic route takes you past stone carvings, small colorful temples, and offers panoramic views of Taipei 101, culminating in a descent to Yongchun MRT. Access the MRT using your pre-booked EasyCard, the easiest way to pay for transportation in Taiwan.

Recharge with a delectable meal at Bafang Dumpling with its multiple locations across Taipei, savoring the flavors of authentic Taiwanese dumplings.

2. Explore Taiwan’s tea heritage in Pinglin Tea Plantation

In the afternoon, head to Pinglin for a traditional Taiwanese tea ceremony experience with this Shiding and Pinglin Tea Plantation Tour. Explore Pinglin Old Street, immerse yourself in the rich tea culture of the region. Visit the Pinglin Tea Museum to deepen your understanding of Taiwan’s tea heritage.

Visit Pinglin to experience traditional Taiwanese tea ceremony.

3. Taipei 101 Sunset and Evening Views

The tour ends and drops you off right in front of Taipei 101, where you can catch the spectacular night views of Taipei. Taipei 101, one of the world’s tallest buildings, is one of the best places to see Taipei city views. Do not miss the opportunity to see one of the most beautiful architectures in the world that merges modern and traditional culture! Highly recommend to pre-book your Taipei 101 ticket, skip the line, and save time for night market exploration afterwards!

Taipei Must-visit! Pre-book your Taipei 101 ticket to skip the line and enjoy evening city views.

4. Eat the best Taiwan food and snacks at Shilin Night Market, including Stinky Tofu

After the dreamy views at Taipei 101, take the MRT metro to Shilin Night Market, a paradise for food enthusiasts. Indulge in the iconic Taiwanese stinky tofu, refreshing papaya milk, flavorful Taiwanese cold noodles, and the delightful Oyster Vermicelli or Oyster Misua! And yes, we love stinky tofu! 🙂 The vibrant atmosphere and diverse array of street food will make this night market experience truly unforgettable.

How to get to Shilin Night Market from Taipei 101? From Taipei 101, take the MRT directly from Taipei 101 station to Jiantan MRT Station. The Shilin Night Market is just one minute walk from Jiantan station.

Other famous night markets in Taiwan are Feng Chia Night Market in Taichung, and Raohe Street Night Market in Taipei. Day 2 combines the best of nature with a culinary journey through Taipei’s iconic peaks and flavors. Enjoy every moment as you uncover the beauty and taste of Taiwan.

Day 3: Visit Keelung Mountain, Jiufen Old Town, Houtong Cat Village, Long Shan Temple, and Chang Kai Shek Memorial Hall

1. Keelung Mountain Trail for the Taiwan best hikes in near Taipei

Kick off your third day in Taiwan with a magical sunrise hike at Keelung Mountain Trail, a personal favorite Taiwan hike of ours. Let the morning hues paint the sky as you immerse yourself in the breathtaking sunrise views from this picturesque trail.

Taiwan Must-do! Keelung Mountain is our favorite hike in Taiwan with panoramic ocean and cascade mountains.

2. Jiufen Old Street for the best tea house and food

Next, venture to the enchanting town of Jiufen Old Street for a food heaven adventure! This is our favorite town to eat in Taiwan. Don’t miss our Jiufen Food Guide on all the best eats and our favorite tea house 芋仔蕃薯! (They’re the earliest open tea house which is perfect after a sunrise hike!

Dive into the culinary delights, savoring the Misty Cake puff pastries, yuyuan, taro pastries, and peanut ice cream that Jiufen Old Street is famous for. Jiufen used to be a gold mining town so you’ll see lots of rich history around every unique corner. Take a leisurely stroll through the narrow streets, absorbing the charming atmosphere.

Save our Jiufen old street food guide to know all the 10+ must-eats!

Be sure to save our best souvenirs to buy in Taiwan. (there’s so many!) You can get all your food souvenirs, gifts, and mandatory personal food stash 😊 at Jiufen and at amazing prices!

3. Houtong Cat Village

Houtong Cat Village, in Taiwan is the a perfect day trip from Taipei for couples, travelers, and cat lovers! Continue your day with a visit to this meow-gical town where over a hundred adorable feline friends roam freely and explore the cat themed shops. Explore the Ruisan Coal Transportation Bridge and enjoy scenic views along the Keelung River. This charming cat village in Taiwan is one of the best things to do in Taiwan. Be warmed, it will steal your heart!

Know what to expect at Houtong cat village, and how to greet these furry companions.

4. Longshan Temple

Whether you seek spiritual solace, cultural enrichment, or simply a moment of quiet reflection, Long Shan Temple welcomes you with open arms. Longshan temple is an incredible temple with a sacred ambiance, making it a must-visit destination in Taipei. If you go early in the morning, you’ll catch the locals and monks chanting their morning prayers.

5. Visit Chang Kai Shek Memorial Hall

Head to Chang Kai Shek Memorial Hall, a must-visit tourist attraction to see the national monument built in memory of Chiang Kai-shek, former President of Taiwan. The monument, surrounded by the most beautiful park in Taipei, stands at the east end of Memorial Hall Square. The memorial park also houses a beautiful grand arch entrance, The National Theater, National Concert Hall, beautiful flower grounds.

Be sure to walk around the upper exterior of the National Theater and National Concert Hall, where you can observe the cultural scene and local gatherings. These groups include young and old people gather to practice Taichi, Taichi Sword, Stretching, hip hop dance and more. The locals are very friendly, and some will even welcome you to join in! It’s a perfect way to observe local traditions and culminate your day of cultural exploration.

6. Dinner at Yuan Vegetarian Buffet Restaurant 原素食府

End your day with a culinary extravaganza at the Yuan Vegetarian Buffet Restaurant 原素食府 in Banqiao! Here, you can try over 70+ vegetarian dishes, ranging from traditional Taiwanese food, dim sum, herbal soups, bao buns, cakes, to international cuisines. The buffet is located just outside of the MRT station. Reservations are required so be sure to call or book a reservation on Open Table app.

Not into buffets? Eat world famous Taiwanese dumplings at Michelin Star restaurant Din Tai Fung. Try all 8 types of Xiao Long Bao dumplings with this Din Tai Fung meal deal that also helps you to skip the 1.5 hour wait time.

Day 3 promises a blend of natural beauty, cultural richness, and the warmth of Taiwanese hospitality. Enjoy the diverse experiences as you create lasting memories in Taiwan.

Day 4: Beitou Hot Springs, Teapot Mountain Hike, and Best Taipei Vegan Food

1. Brunch at Nationwide Healthy Vegetarian Buffet

Start your day with a delightful Nationwide Healthy Vegetarian Buffet where for around 100 NTD ($3 USD). The best part is you get to enjoy over 25+ vegetarian and tofu dishes. Moreover, can enjoy unlimited bowls of soup, rice and porridge. We went to the location at the Zhongshan Jinxing Branch, but they are a renowned chain all across Taiwan. We were super impressed with all the offerings vegan, vegetarian and protein options! Indulge in a variety of healthy and delicious vegetarian dishes to fuel your energy for the day ahead.

2. Explore Beitou Hot Springs Resort, Beitou Library, Thermal Valley, and Beitou Hot Spring Museum

Embark on a journey to Beitou District, known for its natural hot springs and historical charm. Begin with a visit to Thermal Valley, Beitou Library and the Beitou Hot Spring Museum. Both experiences are free and a serene haven for cultural enthusiasts.

Visit one of the our favorite Beitou hot spring resort, and soak in soothe your body and mind. Do not miss this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience a natural white sulphur hot spring! Spring City Resort is one of the best hot springs in Taipei that allow mixed genders, which is perfect for couples, families, and friends.

Meditate on the naturally heated stones in the Thermal Valley and witness mother nature show off the hot springs! Note, the Thermal Valley is boiling hot, and not safe for swimming.

Spring City Resort is one of the best hot springs in Taipei that allow mixed genders.

End your night at the local Beitou night market, a 5 minute walk from Xin Beitou MRT Station.

3. Adventure to Teapot Mountain Trail and Qitang Old Street

Next, embark on the Teapot Mountain Trail in Ruifang. Challenge yourself with this invigorating hike, rewarded by panoramic views at the summit. After conquering Teapot Mountain, dive into the historical charm of Qitang Old Street. Visit the Chuen Ji Hall Temple, adorned with a captivating dragon and phoenix statue. Capture colorful moments at the Rainbow Steps (彩虹階梯). Explore charming cafes like Cafe & Me or 金瓜石 祈堂小巷 景觀CAFE館. Rainbow steps is different than Rainbow Village in Taichung city.

Visit Rainbow steps and Teapot Mountain Trail, one of the best hiking trails in Taiwan and best day trip from Taipei!

Immerse yourself in the remnants of Taiwan’s mining history, and cap off your journey with a well-earned meal at one of the local eateries.

4. Visit a Tea house in Jiufen Old Street in the evening

As the day transitions to evening, take an Uber to the nearby Jiufen Old Street for a delightful exploration of evening snacks, tea, and dinner.

Conclude your day with dinner at our favorite Jiufen Tea house 芋仔蕃薯 , where you can savor the unique flavors of Jiufen’s culinary delights in a tranquil tea house setting. Trust us when we say, you’ll want to dine here both in the morning and in the evenings! The views in the morning are absolutely stunning with sea to mountain views, and the vibe at night with the lanterns is gorgeous!

Learn where the best Jiufen tea house is in our Jiufen Old Street food guide with 10+ must eats!

Day 4 promises a perfect blend of adventure, history, and culinary exploration. Enjoy the diverse experiences as you continue to uncover the wonders of Taiwan. Be sure to save our best souvenirs to buy in Taiwan for all the must-buy gifts and personal food stash 😊!

Day 5: Lao di fang Taipei hike, best breakfast in Taipei, and HSR bullet train to Kaohsiung

1. Morning Bliss at Jiantanshan Trailhead, one of the best hikes in Taipei

Embark on an invigorating start to your fifth day in Taiwan with a visit to the Jiantanshan trailhead in Shilin, Taipei. On the way up, you’ll pass many spots where elders gather and sing karaoke, and working out to their morning exercise routines. The locals are extremely friendly so feel free to join in on their morning exercise. We were even invited to share a cup of tea with elders! Watch for signs to visit the two most two best viewpoints below.

From Jiantanshan, you’ll enjoy panoramic views of Taipei, Songshan Airport, and the iconic Yuanshan Grand Hotel Taipei where you can also do a traditional qipao experience or take a tour of Grand Hotel’s secret passages. Don’t miss the detour to 北眼平台 (White North Eye Platform), a pretty white sphere lookout offering one of the best views of Taipei, planes flying off, and a unique perspective of this wonderful city. The climax of the trail awaits at the Plane Spotting Platform, also known as Laodifang Lookout. From the North Eye Platform, keep hiking another 30 minutes to Laodifang (老地方 aka Old Plane Airplane Observation Deck). While there are not many official trail signs on this trail, there are many handmade signs by hikers that point you in the right direction to Laodifang (老地方觀機平台). Along the way, you’ll see all types of beautiful butterflies and friendly little lizards.

From Laodifang, instead of hiking back the same way you came from, hike down easefully to Tongbei St. There you’ll find a peaceful residential area and a Family Mart as a pit stop before heading to breakfast. Pick up some freshly steamed sweet potatoes at Family Mart, our favorite delicious and healthy snack after a good Taipei hike!

2. Best Taiwanese Breakfast in Taipei at Sihai Soy Milk

Head to Sihai Soy Milk for the best Taiwanese breakfast, a perfect way to fuel up for the rest of the day. Do not miss this must-eat Taiwanese breakfast spot! At Sihai Soy Milk, we highly recommend the shaobing yuotiao 燒餅油條 the most iconic breakfast item in Taiwan and vegetarian friendly, along with the freshest soy milk squeezed daily. Shaobing also called huoshao, is a type of baked, unleavened, layered flatbread in Taiwanese cuisine. Jade also loved the Xiao Long Bao and Shaobing with green onion pancake.

Fill up your mornings with the Best Taiwanese Breakfast at Sihai Soy Milk in Taipei!

How to take the Taiwan High Speed Rail (HSR) bullet train from Taipei to Kaohsiung

Taiwan is so much more than just Taipei. A trip to Taiwan is not complete without visiting multiple cities!
After breakfast, take the High-Speed Rail (HSR) to Kaohsiung in Southwest Taiwan.

How do you book an HSR trail ticket in Taiwan?
Travel to Kaohsiung, Tainan, Chiayi, Taichung in a matter of 1-2 hours by pre-book your high speed rail ticket in advance or get a multi-day unlimited HSR pass at a steal of a price! By pre-booking, you’ll get 20% off your ticket. The ticket is valid for up to 90 days after booking so if you need to change your reservation, you can easily do it online.

How do you get to the highspeed rail HSR in Taipei?
Navigate to HSR Taipei Station on Uber and ask your driver for a convenient drop-off inside the parking garage, the closet stop to the HSR. This is the closet drop off spot next to the HSR, and will save you so much time and energy if you have luggage. If the driver won’t go inside the parking garage, ask for a drop off near the HSR Taipei Station M1 & M2 exit entrances, which are the closest entrances to the high speed rail HRR.

How far in advance do you have to arrive at Taipei Main Station before your high speed rail (HSR) departure time?
Be sure to arrive at least 1.5-2 hours before your departure time as Taipei Main Station is the largest and busiest train stations in Taipei. The trains are very punctual and there is assigned seating. There is also plenty of shopping and good eats in Taipei Main Station. They do sell food on the train, however we prefer the bentos and baked breads sold at Taipei Main Station as you have a lot more options.

Is there a place to put luggage on the HSR train?
There are compartments at the back and front of every train block, however the space usually only holds 4 large luggage so if you have large luggage, we highly recommend to arrive at least 20 minutes to get in line.

Upon arrival at Kaohsiung Zuoying Train Station, secure your luggage in lockers. If the lockers inside the station are full (which we found often to be the case), head outside the station towards the shopping mall next door where you’ll find a large 7/11 storefront. Right before entering the 7/11, you’ll find large lockers on the left hand side. The lockers are indoors right before the escalators leading upstairs to the mall and Uniqlo. Follow the provided map link for ease of navigation. It was around 60 NTD (2 USD) for 3 hours, which was very reasonable and a better rate and more spacious than the lockers inside Zuoying train station.

4. Visit Dragon & Tiger Pagodas, Lotus Pond, and Drink Milk Tea Boba

Continue your exploration in Kaohsiung with a visit to the nearby Dragon and Tiger Pagodas and Lotus Pond Scenic Area. Don’t miss the Dragon Tiger Tower, a must-see attraction in Kaohsiung. The appearance is truly unique, and it is spectacular to see from a distance! There is a belief that entering through the dragon’s throat and exiting through the tiger’s mouth, turns bad luck into good fortune. After soaking in the cultural and scenic beauty, treat yourself to some boba at 嚮茶 Shiny Tea, where you’ll find some of the freshest and chewiest boba in Taiwan.

Travel to Kaohsiung in matter of 1-2 hours from Taipei Main Station by pre-booking your high speed rail ticket in advance or get a multi-day unlimited HSR pass at a steal of a price!

Conclude your day with some leisurely by heading back to Zuoying Station for some shopping at Uniqlo and Air Space Lady where you can find trendy and comfortable clothing options for both men and women. After shopping and dinner, pickup your luggage and head to your hotel in Kaohsiung.

Day 5 promises a dynamic mix of trail adventures, delectable breakfast, and a smooth transition to the vibrant city of Kaohsiung. Enjoy the journey!

Day 6: Kaohsiung attractions – Nature Retreat, Vegan Food, Shou Shan Hiking, and Shopping in Kaohsiung

1. Nature Retreat at Golden Lion Lake Butterfly Gardens

Start your sixth day in Taiwan with a delightful Taiwanese breakfast, savoring the traditional rice ball, Fan Tuan, shaobing, and soy milk to kickstart your day with local flavors. You’ll find Taiwanese breakfast available in every local neighborhood, by simply looking on google maps or asking around. With plenty of vegetarians in Taiwan, you’ll also find at least 1-2 vegetarian Taiwanese restaurants in every neighborhood.

Embark on a nature retreat at Jinshih Lake Butterfly Garden and Golden Lion Lake Butterfly Garden. Here you’ll see over 100+ types of butterfly species in its outdoor flower garden and 3 indoor gardens. You’ll also get to see the life cycle of caterpillars as they crystalize to turn into a majestic butterfly. This is a completely free activity, perfect for couples and families. Immerse yourself in the tranquility of these beautiful spots using the provided map link for easy navigation.

Did you know that Taiwan has the highest density of butterflies in the world? There are over 400 species of butterflies here.

2. Eat like a local at this 綠饌食 Vegan Taiwanese restaurant in Kaohsiung

For lunch, indulge in a delightful vegan experience at a local restaurant called 綠饌食, where you can eat traditional Taiwanese food such as fragrant mushroom rice (vegan luruofan), dan dan noodles, sweet and sour soup, small plates, and more. Follow the provided map link to discover this hidden gem that offers a diverse range of tasty plant-based delights.

Did you know that Taiwan is one of the most vegan friendly travel destinations in the world? You can get quintessential vegan Taiwanese and global cuisine in every city in Taiwan.

3. Hike at Shou Shan Hiking Trail and meet Monkeys

In the afternoon, challenge yourself with a hike along the Shou Shan Hiking Trail. The Shou Shan Hiking Trail is famous for monkey spotting, and it doesn’t disappoint! As soon as you enter the parking lot and start the hike, you can see a families of local resident monkeys, along with mama and baby monkeys.

We spotted over 100+ monkeys on our hike and some very playful ones hopping from one car to the others in the parking lot! The monkeys here were bold but super friendly and non-aggressive. It was surreal to see monkeys so up close and personal.

Brace yourself for adorable encounters with playful monkeys as you explore the scenic beauty of this trail. One of our favorite memories in Kaohsiung, Taiwan was observing baby monkeys eating pink flowers at Shou Shan hiking trail! Be sure to keep loose belonging, snacks, sunglasses, and food in the car.

4. Shopping at Uniqlo Taiwan in Kaohsiung Gangshan

After a day of outdoor adventures, take a break for some more shopping at UNIQLO Kaohsiung Gangshan Store and Air Space Lady. The Gangshan stores are much bigger and have a larger section, which is also where we did most of our shopping in Taiwan.

You might be wondering – is the Uniqlo in Taiwan any different than Japan or US stores? We found we loved the men’s section in Taiwan as it had cloths more suitable for warm weather, versus the one in Japan had more cloths suitable for winter. This big shopping area offers a plethora of options, and ample parking space is available for your convenience. Deeshen loved shopping at Uniqlo in Taiwan!

Jade absolutely loved shopping at Air Space Lady, with beautiful women’s dresses and tons of unique pink outfits. We basically did all her shopping for the next year there!

Day 6 promises a perfect blend of nature exploration, culinary delights, and leisurely shopping in Kaohsiung. Enjoy every moment as you continue to uncover the diverse experiences Taiwan has to offer. Use the map link for a hassle-free journey.

Day 7: Fo Guang Shan, Nature, Relaxation, and Culinary Delights in Kaohsiung and Taiwan Hot Springs

1. Visit the majestic Fo Guang Shan Buddha Museum in Taiwan

Commence your seventh day in Taiwan with a journey to Fo Guang Shan Buddha Museum (佛光山寺), also known as Buddha’s Light Mountain Monastery. Fo Guang Shan, located in Kaohsiung, is the largest Buddhist monastery in Taiwan, and a must-visit destination that adds cultural richness to any Taiwan itinerary.

The museum stands as a testament to Buddhist art and philosophy, featuring a vast collection of artifacts and exhibits that showcase the history and teachings of Buddhism. Its stunning architecture, garden grounds, and the towering Fo Guang Big Buddha that measures 5 meters tall, creates a serene and spiritual atmosphere that captivates any visitor. Immerse yourself in the serene beauty of this temple using the provided map link for easy navigation.

What time should I reach Fo Guang Shan by? We recommend reaching Fo Guang Shan at least 20 minutes before opening at 9am, so that you can enjoy the temple peacefully and also head to Tainan afterwards to enjoy amazing hot springs in Taiwan!

Visiting Fo Guang Shan Buddha Museum was one of the BEST things we did in Taiwan, and it’s one of the unmissable top attractions in Kaohsiung.

Fo Guang Shan Buddha Museum is one of the most beautiful and largest temples in the world!

2. Rejuvenation at Joy Day Villa with Hot Springs and Healing Therapies

After a morning of temple exploration, indulge in ultimate relaxation at Joy Day Villa in Tainan. There are no hot springs in Kaohsiung, however one of the best things things locals love to do in Kaohsiung, is to go up to Tainan to enjoy the best hot springs in Taiwan!

Enjoy a rejuvenating experience with over a variety of hot springs, free natural face masks, and the unique Doctor Fish therapy. Joy Day Villa offers one of the most unique hot spring experiences in Taiwan, where you get to bathe in 20+ different hot springs in all temperatures, electromagnetic waves, herbal bath, cold plunge, water massage, and more.

Taiwan Must-visit: Joy Day Villa in Taiwan is one of the best hot springs with over 20+ hot spring pools.

3. Must-eat in Taiwan: Stinky Tofu

As you drive back to your Kaohsiung hotel, stop by the locals favorite stinky tofu 台南六故乡鄉味關東 open til 10pm for a taste of authentic stinky tofu with a side of Taiwanese pickled cabbage. Delight your taste buds with the unique flavors that Taiwan has to offer. Plan to fly out of Kaohsiung International Airport in the late evening or the next day.

Day 7 promises a perfect blend of nature, relaxation, and culinary delights in Tainan. Enjoy the diverse experiences as you savor the final moments of your Taiwan journey. Navigate using the provided map link for a hassle-free journey. The soothing waters and natural treatments revive your senses!

We absolutely loved spending the afternoon at Joy Day Villa, and our skin felt so soft after their green tea and apple clay face masks! Many locals even bring their own ramen to eat in between hot spring sessions. You can pick a variety of ramen up at 7 Eleven and Joy Day Villa has hot water machines along with large eating areas.

7 or 10 Days Itinerary in Taiwan

Here’s a brief outline of the itinerary we just covered in this article and a 10 day version. Since so many visitors only visit Taiwan for a few days or a week, and try to squeeze in as much as you can. We’re providing options for both a slower 10 day version (recommended!) and a more rushed itinerary (7 day).

Taiwan is so much more than just Sun Moon Lake and Taroko Gorge! Did you know that you can’t even swim in Sun Moon Lake? We’ve shown you the most scenic places, must-do attractions in Taiwan, cultural scenes, must-do attractions in Taiwan, and hikes that any person in average shape can do.

We’ve only include one tour on this entire itinerary. Why? We believe Taiwan is best experienced without masses of tourists. Taiwan is easily accessible by public transportation, Uber or hiring a private car charter in Taipei.

Taiwan in 1 Week: Nature/City/Culture-Focused

  • Days 1-4: Taipei and day trips from Taipei. Include from these: Jiufen Old Town, Houtong Cat Village, Pinglin tea plantation, Beitou hot springs, Scenic hikes, and more
  • Days 5: Lao di fang hike in Taipei, sample Taiwanese breakfast, and take HSR to Kaohsiung
  • Day 6: Kaohsiung
  • Day 7: Kaohsiung and Tainan, stay overnight for next day morning flight directly from Kaohsiung International Airport

Taiwan in 10 days: Relaxed Pace

If you are able to spend more than a week in Taiwan, you can visit all the main stops I mentioned above. But add an extra night at each for a more relaxed pace.

  • Days 1-4: Taipei and day trips from Taipei. Include from these: Jiufen Old Town, Houtong Cat Village, Pinglin tea plantation, Beitou hot springs, Scenic hikes, and more
  • Days 5: Lao di fang hike in Taipei, sample Taiwanese breakfast, and take HSR to Kaohsiung
  • Day 5-7: Kaohsiung
  • Day 8-9: Tainan, Kenting or Orchid Island (Lanyu)
  • Day 10: Back to Taipei or directly to Taoyuan Airport or Kaohsiung Airport

Taiwan Itinerary Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is 1 week enough for Taiwan?

In one week, you can travel a lot of ground in Taiwan, even though you can’t see “everywhere” in that time. If you’re itching for a journey that’s more urban, divide your time between Taipei and Kaohsiung, using the Taiwan High Speed Railway (THSR) to get to places along the way.

If not, spend a few days in Taipei and then take a road trip through the picturesque counties of Yilan, Hualien, Taitung, and Pingtung along Taiwan’s east coast. Alternatively, fly to one of Taiwan’s beautiful islands Lanyu. Check out this ultimate guide to visiting Orchid Island (Lanyu) in Taiwan from my friend Gillian.

We’re certain you’ll fall in love with Taiwan, and will want to come back over and over!

How many days is enough for Taiwan?

In general, you ought to visit Taiwan for as many days as possible. On the other hand, I think it’s a good idea to allow yourself at least two weeks if you want to go on extensive vacations. Even with a week to spare in Taiwan, you will still need to make some selections.

What to do in Taipei for a week?

You can get a taste of what it’s like to live in Taiwan’s capital in just one week in Taipei. Get a hotel in a central district such as Shilin (our favorite hotel is Tango Taipei Hotel Shilin), Da’an, Wanhua, or Zhongzheng, and use the remaining time to explore day trips from Taipei to Jiufen, Houtong Cat Village, Pinglin, and the nature hikes outlined in our guide.

What other places not mentioned on this list that I should consider visiting?

Taiwan is so beautiful and every city has its own natural charm. The most famous places in Taiwan are Jiufen, Taroko Gorge, Sun Moon Lake, and Kenting, however we found these places quite touristy and recommend visiting other cities that we shared. We’ll be creating a Kenting guide in the future so stay tuned!

Is it worth it to visit Rainbow Village in Taichung City?

I visited Rainbow Village over 10 years ago, and it was so colorful and vibrant. We no longer recommend to visit Rainbow Village. The reason is because much of the village has been sadly destroyed by new development and vandalism since 2023, and Rainbow Grandpa passed away in 2024. (Rest in Peace) However, we know that there’s so many new beautiful things will surely sprout up here in the future and am grateful for the beautiful memories that Rainbow Village has served others for over 2 decades.

Do you need a visa to visit Taiwan?

Depending on the country you are traveling from, you may or may not need a visa to visit Taiwan. Check Taiwan’s Bureau of Consular Affairs website for the latest visitor visa info. United States citizens can visit Taiwan without a visitor visa for up to 90 days, and

Did you know that citizens from India, Vietnam, Indonesia, Myanmar, Cambodia, and Lao can get a free and instant travel authorization certification (acts as a visa)? Apply here online? It’s free, official, and allows stays for up to 14 days in Taiwan. It was a very easy process!

Don’t miss our Taiwan safety guide to learn about how safe Taiwan is, and safety tips.

Final Thoughts: Taiwan 7 Day Itinerary Travel Guide & Tips

We hope this article has helped you narrow down your options for the best attractions and travel spots in Taiwan, Taipei and Kaohsiung.

If you’re looking for stunning nature, delicious Taiwanese food, and rich cultural heritage, you won’t be disappointed by any of the attractions on this list. As your incredible journey through Taiwan comes to an end, you’ve experienced the diverse landscapes, rich cultural heritage, and mouthwatering cuisine that make this island country truly special. From flying sky lanterns in enchanting Pingxi, to eating delectable Taiwanese food, to walking down the mesmerizing lantern-lit streets of Jiufen old street, to climbing the trails of Keelung Mountain, each day brings new serendipitous adventures and discoveries. We hope you love Taiwan as much we do!

If you’ve spent time in Taiwan, we’re curious about which Taiwan activity is your favorite. Let us know in the comments.

If you’re planning an upcoming Taiwan trip, be sure to take a look at my other Taiwan and Taipei travel guides so you don’t miss our favorite hidden gems! We’ve no doubt that Taiwan will leave a life changing mark on your journey!

Is Taiwan safe to travel right now? Taiwan is one of the safest countries in the world for solo travelers, women, Americans, foreigners and more. Nonetheless, there are a few possible risks, both natural and man-made. Learn about these in advance to increase the safety of your travel to Taiwan!

Houtong Cat Village: Immerse yourself in the adorable world of cats in this charming village.

Jiufen Food Heaven: Delve into the gastronomic delights of Jiufen, exploring its culinary treasures.

Pingxi Food Guide: Dive deeper into the culinary wonders of Pingxi with this dedicated blog on local food delights.

Pingxi Sky Lantern: Relive the magic of releasing sky lanterns in Pingxi and discover the beauty of this traditional festival.

Exploring Pinglin, Taiwan: Uncover the charm of Pinglin with its tea plantations and rich cultural heritage.

Choosing Between Keelung Mountain and Teapot Mountain: If you found yourself torn between two scenic trails, this blog helps you decide between Keelung Mountain and Teapot Mountain.

  1. Taylor says:

    What a great list of things to do in Taipei and a full itinerary. I’d love the Elephant Mountain hike with those great views of Taipei 101!

  2. Tracy says:

    What a wealth of information! I enjoyed a quick trip to Taipei years ago but look forward to savouring slowly. Saving this blog post for then!

  3. Sonia says:

    This is such a comprehensive list. My favorite on your list is the Shou Shan Hiking Trail with monkey spotting. I hope to be able to visit.

  4. Maryanne says:

    Your photos are really stunning. It looks so beautiful. Unfortunately I have only been to the airport in Taipei but look forward to a proper visit someday soon. Thank you so much for all the wonderful information you have provided.

  5. Amanda says:

    Absolutely in love with this guide! I love, love, love that you include recommendations to avoid the busy tourist crowds! Saving this for when I cross Taiwan off my list!

  6. Jasmina says:

    This is such an amazing guide! I absolutely LOVE the photos. I’d love to visit Taiwan as soon as possible!

  7. Zara Aitken says:

    Wow, great guide! This was super useful, thank you!

  8. This is incredible!! So much useful information for my upcoming trip to Taiwan. Just wanted to say thank you for all the tips!

  9. Tigrest says:

    Very interesting post! I have never been to Taiwan, but would love to visit now, especially to see Taipei 101, Dragon and Tiger Pagodas and Fo Guang Shan Buddha Museum.

  10. Rose says:

    Wow, this is such an amazing guide! I’ve been dreaming of going to Taiwan for a little over a year now. I think I’ll finally pull the trigger for next autumn, and will definitely be referencing this. Thank you for sharing so many great spots!!

  11. jeanne dee says:

    Wow, you are amazing!! What a wonderful and detailed post and the photos are divine!! I will def keep this for planning my trip to Taiwan!!

  12. Rosemary Palmer says:

    This is such a great list of a trip to Taiwan. I have friends who have visited and just love it.

  13. Cosette says:

    The Taipei 101 tower is truly a beautiful architectural building. I would love to do the hikes for the beautiful views. My son loves cats, so we would definitelu visit Houton Cat Village.

  14. Cass says:

    My bestie and I have dreeeamed of going to Taiwan together for so long so I love this. The temples, hot springs, mountains, and… Everything all look amazing! Also, appreciate where you’ve noted there are good vegan options

  15. Sue says:

    Stinky tofu sounds scary, but the rest of Taiwan looks amazing! :). Wonderfully detailed information! I’m saving and hopefully can visit soon.

  16. Shaf says:

    This is such an awesome collection of spots – it’s making me miss Taiwan so much!! ❤️❤️❤️

  17. Josy A says:

    Amaaaaazing post! I would love to visit Taiwan. My two favourite things on holiday are hiking and food – and Taiwan looks incredible for both of those! Oh and hot springs, and you mentioned them too!

    I really love the modern architecture that retains a distinctive cultural twist like Taipei 101.

  18. Katie says:

    Such an in-depth and helpful guide! The Joy Day hot-springs look like the perfect place to relax after a few days of hiking and exploring. Will save this for when I get to go!

  19. Kelly says:

    Gorgeous photos! I love how detailed this list is for a trip to Taiwan across 7 to 10 days. I’ll be saving this for a future trip. Thanks for sharing your recommendations!

  20. Christy S. says:

    Loving all the places listed and as an animal lover, what really caught my eye was the cat village! Your photos are great and it was like I was on vacation with you guys.

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