by TaiwanMe Blog Topics: TAIPEITM TRAVEL

It’s official, 2020 is up and running. It’s already been a busy year so far in Taipei with our fair share of things to do. But if your next weekend getaway isn’t already prepared then it’s time to start planning.

A blissful characteristic of Taipei is its abundance of easy-to-access weekend getaways. These trips may only be an MRT ride away but feel as though you have been transported to another part of the world. Temples, natural hot springs, mountains, zoos, heritage preserved street markets – it’s all available. Here is a pick of Taipei’s top 10 day trips.


#1 Yehliu Geopark – thousands of years in the making


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Yehliu Geopark is a mesmerising landscape full of naturally styled rock formations. These beautiful structures are the result of thousands of years of erosion spread over Yehliu Cape’s 1,700 meter coastline. Queen’s Head, Ginger Rock and Mushroom Rocks are just a few of the many amazing structures that can be seen here.

Located on the northern cape of Taiwan, Yehliu Geopark is a unique feature of Taiwan and considered a must-do by many. For a full list and detailed information of all naturally formed geo-structures, see here.

Getting there: Take the KuoKuang bus from Terminal A of the Taipei West Bus Station at Taipei Main Station (90 minutes).

#2 Sanxia Old Street – a trip down memory lane


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Full of beautiful baroque-style architecture, Sanxia Old Street is a heritage preserved taste of Taiwan’s past. Originating as a tea production town from the Japanese period, Sanxia Old Street now hosts a huge street market full of traditional goods and tasty street food.

Visitors stroll the streets checking out the artisan crafted souvenirs, tasting the local tea and eating traditional snacks including cow thorn cake (niú jiǎo). A highlight of Sanxia Old Street is the Qingshui Zushi Temple which is an elaborate temple with beautiful stone carvings. Getting lost in the endless maze of interconnected lanes and alleys is a great way to spend the day without a moments weariness.

Getting there: Take the MRT blue-line to Xinpu Station. Then take the 910 bus from the Banqiao Flower Market to Sanxia Old Street.


#3 Yangmingshan – get lost in a mountainous wonderland


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Yangmingshan National Park is where those picturesque images with seas of colourful flowers are taken. This mountain in north Taiwan offers a diverse range of activities, all of which are complimented by Taiwan’s natural beauty. Visitors enjoy hiking trails, natural hot springs, beautifully manicured gardens and stunning views of Taipei’s skyline.

The annual Yangmingshan Flower Festival is held during cherry blooming season (February – March) and draws crowds of up to a million throughout the month long period. This is an amazing spectacle and is considered the best time to visit Yangmingshan.

Getting there: Take the MRT red-line to Shilin Station then take the R5 bus to Yangmingshan National Park. Or take the 260 bus to Yangmingshan stop, and then the 108 bus to the Yangmingshan tourist centre.

#4 New Beitou – soak in natural hot springs


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Soaking in a natural hot spring in Taiwan is as important as eating sushi in Japan. New Beitou is a historic town in the northern region of Taipei famous for its natural landmarks (Thermal Valley), museums, and geothermally warmed hot springs. The town sits at the bottom of Yangmingshan which means it’s enveloped with beautiful lush greenery.

Hot springs come in all variations with the two most popular being Spring City Resort Beitou Hot Spring Spa and the Millennium Hot Spring (Beitou Hot Spring). A unique feature of New Beitou is that everything is within comfortable walking distance. Getting there is also easy on the MRT, making it a perfect day trip location from Taipei.

Getting there: Take the MRT red-line to Beitou Station, then take the special MRT pink-line one more stop to New Beitou Station.

#5 Taipei Zoo – fun for all ages


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Taipei Zoo is home to Taiwan’s largest collection of animals and widely considered Asia’s largest zoo. This zoological garden packs thousands of animals from all around the world in its giant 165 hectare park. Indoor and outdoor exhibitions include the Koala House, Asian Tropical Rainforest, Insectarium and many others.

The most popular exhibition of which is the Giant Panda House. This is home to a giant panda family of three, including Yuan Zai, Taiwan’s very own panda cub born in 2013. You can spend all day walking around Taipei Zoo and still manage to miss a lot on offer.

Getting there: Take the MRT brown-line to Taipei Zoo Station.


#6 Jiufen – get spirited away


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An amazing street market which is also one of Taiwan’s most recognisable landmarks. Jiufen is a former gold mining town that has been converted into a picturesque street market. The winding side-alleys are replete with tasty street food, cool souvenir shops and quaint teahouses.

Major attractions in Jiufen Old Street are the A-Mei Tea House, Shengping Theater and many boutique specialty stores. There is a popular rumour that Jiufen served as the inspiration for the town in animated film Spirited Away. Whether true or not, there is no denying Jiufen’s unique beauty.

Getting there: From Taipei Main Station platform 4, take the Chu-Kang Express (TRA) to Ruifang Station. Then take Exit 1 and walk 250 meters to the bus stop next to the police station. Catch the 788 or 827 bus to Jiufen Old Street.

#7 Tamsui – historical attractions and stunning views


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Tamsui sits on the northeastern tip of Taiwan and is popular for its historical attractions and beautiful sunsets. Being situated between mountains and coastline gives Tamsui some amazing scenery that can be enjoyed from various lookouts. Here you can also try some of Taiwan’s best barista-made coffee and visit the Tamsui Old Street market.

A good way to enjoy Tamsui is by push-bike along the waterfront. Along the way you can check out Hobe Fort and Fort San Domingo to see remaining vestiges of Taiwan’s colonial past. End the day by finding a romantic hideout to view Tamsui’s amazing sunset.

Getting there: Take the MRT red-line to Tamsui Station.

#8 Wulai – get immersed in Taiwan’s beautiful nature


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Nestled in the Taiwanese forrest, Wulai is a former wood logging town turned tourist hotspot. Visitors come for the lush greenery enveloping the town, natural hot springs that spout from Nanshi River and traditional aboriginal food sold in the street market. Traces of the indigenous Atayal people and its wood logging past still exist in Tamsui making for an interesting cultural addition.

Back in 2015 Wulai was ravaged by a typhoons Soudelor and Dujuan but luckily still remains a popular tourist destination. One of the must-do attractions is riding the gondola over Wulai Waterfall to Yun Hsien Resort for some spectacular views.

Getting there: Take the MRT green line to Xindian Station, then take bus 849 (40 minutes) to Wulai.


#9 Shifen Old Street – a romantic getaway


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Part of a former coal mining village in Pingxi, Shifen Old Street is now famous for its traditional Chinese lantern flying and street market. Shifen Old Street has retained its original structure from its coal mining days and is wrapped around the Pingxi Railway tracks. This gives it a very unique style and interesting Instagram backdrop that attracts tourists who come to fly traditional Chinese sky lanterns.

Every year Pingxi hosts the Lantern Festival on the last day of the Lunar New Year. This spectacle marks the end of the holiday and is celebrated with elaborate lanterns that decorate the sky and traditional glutinous rice balls (tāng yuán).

Getting there: From Taipei or Songshan stations, take the Tze-Chiang Limited Express train to Ruifang Train Station (30 minutes). From there purchase a one day ticket for the Pingxi Line to Shifen Station (30 minutes).


#10 Jiaoxi – a tranquil escape from city-life


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Jiaoxi is a relaxing town in the western county of Yilan. Famous for its natural hot spring and beautiful landscape, Jiaoxi is a popular weekend getaway for locals. Here you can bathe in private or public hot springs (Tangweigou is a good one), explore the night market, hike in the many trails and treat yourself to Garra Rufa fish pedicures.

The most common way to enjoy Jiaoxi is usually an overnight stay at one of the may hot spring hotels. Visitors to Jioaxi can also check out the Lanyang Museum and Waiao Beach in the nearby Toucheng Township.

Getting there: Take the Chu-Kuang Express train directly to Jiaoxi Station. Or take the Kamalan 1915 bus.

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