Perhaps Taipei’s best feature is the ease in which you can transport yourself out of the city and into Taiwan’s amazingly picturesque locations. Taipanese are treated to an assortment of historical towns, hot springs, day & night markets and much more.
Luckily, getting to and from these destinations has never been easier thanks to Taipei’s convenient public transport network. Here we take a look at the best day trips to get yourself out of the hustle of city life, and into Taiwan’s wonderment.
#1 New Beitou
Beitou Thermal Valley
If you visit Taiwan without soaking in a natural hot spring, have you really visited Taiwan? Every Taiwanophile knows the answer to this is an astounding “No.” New Beitou is known for it’s beautiful natural scenery, hot spring hotels, and fascinating museums.
This quaint and relaxing town has an assortment of public and private hot spring options, museums and attractions to choose from. An intriguing characteristic of New Beitou is the ease in which you can leisurely stroll from place-to-place while enjoying the lush greenery.
Getting there: MRT Red Line to Beitou Station, then transfer for one stop on the New Beitou Pink Line.
What to do: Bathe in the Millennium Hot Springs (must-do), check-out the Thermal Valley, get cultured at the Beitou Hot Springs Museum, New Beitou Railway Museum and Plum Garden.
#2 Sanxia Old Street
Sanxia Old Street
East meets West in Sanxia Old Street where traditional Chinese culture lives within baroque style architecture. Originally a tea production epicentre, Sanxia Old Street is now home to an abundance of stores selling high-quality handmade products and beautifully crafted ceramics.
At 260 metres long, Sanxia Old Street is the longest street in Taiwan and has also maintained some of its best preserved history. You can literally spend all day here perusing the streets while tasting the local delicacies and getting lost in the maze of historical lanes and alleys.
What to do: Try the famous Chaye tea leaf, visit Qingshui Sushi Temple and browse the Li Mei Shu Memorial Gallery.
Getting there: Take shuttle bus to Sanxia Elementary Station across the road from Yingge Railway Station, then turn right.
#3 Shifen Old Street
Traditional Chinese lantern flying in Pinxi Old Street
Don’t be deterred by the sea of romantic images of lantern flying by affectionate couples permeating social-media, Shifen can be enjoyed by everyone of all ages and relationship statuses.
A former coal mining town, Shifen has turned into popular market that attracts visitors far and wide. Here you can browse through the markets, saunter through mother nature and Shifen Waterfall, and most famously release a traditional Sky Latern into the day or night sky.
What to do: Stroll across the Guanpu Suspenion Bridge, get natured Shifen Waterfall, write your wishes and set them into the sky with a Sky Lantern.
Getting there: Take the train from Taipei Main Station to Ruifang Station (or, take the Jinguashi bus from Jiufen), from there purchase a One Day ticket for the Pingxi Line.
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Wulai is a small scenic town one hour south of Taipei that blends Taiwan’s amazing scenery with its rich history. A former logging town, Wulai is now famous for its hot springs, rice wine and aboriginal food.
Make sure you bring your swimwear to enjoy some of Taiwan’s infamous natural hot springs while floating down the Nanshi River. Sadly Wulai was devastated by Typhoon Soudelor in 2015 making some attractions inaccessible, however this should not deter tourists visiting this beautiful town.
What to do: Take the Wulai Log Cart to the Wulai Waterfall, ride the Gondola, Cable Car , browse the Wulai Waterfall Visitor Center and Wulai Atayal Museum, soak in the natural hot springing in Nanshi River.
What to eat: Try the wild mountain boar, bamboo tubes rice, and millet wine.
Getting there: Take the MRT Xindian Line to Xindian Station, and from there a 40 minute ride on the 849 bus.
If you’ve ever trawled through a Taiwan travel brochure then you’ve likely come across images of Jiufen. Famous for its street food, traditional tea houses, cafes and souvenir shops, the Jiufen Old Street market packs an abundance of things within a beautiful maze of curving interconnected alleys.
Jiufen’s most glamorous feature is from being perched atop Keelung Mountain, giving it 360° panoramic views of Taiwan’s northern coastline. This also makes for great hiking trails that can be enjoyed in conjunction with strolling the markets of Jiufen Old Street.
What to do: Browse the infamous markets of Jiufen Old Street, visit the Shengping Theatre, dine at a traditional tea house and view the stunning views along the Mount Keelung Trail ( about 30 minutes).
What to eat: Try the taro ball soup and glutinous rice cakes and peanut ice cream rolls.
Getting there: Take the 1062 bus directly from Zhongxiao Fuxing Station or, Songshan Station to Jiufen. Or, from Taipei Main Station take the Tze-Chiang Limited Express to Ruifang Station and the 965 bus to Jiufen Old Street.