Taiwan is a small jade-coloured island in the Pacific Ocean just off the southeastern coast of China. The country is a tropical paradise with lush green forests all around. Even the bustling capital city with its skyscrapers is surrounded by green mountains. Due to the presence of tall summits, it is also an incredibly beautiful place for hikers. Culturally, Taiwan is diverse even as it is ancient. The presence of aboriginal tribes on the islands makes for a fascinating study in anthropology. The exquisite temples that stand alongside the neon-lit skyscrapers, allow for an oasis of calm to exist on the island. The many night markets are a testament to Taiwan’s mixture of the traditional with the new. There’s never a dearth of tours and activities in Taiwan but for some of the best memories of the island, scroll through our list of some of the best day trips from Taichung, Taiwan.
1. Chiayi City
Chiayi City, a relaxed, unassuming city in southwestern Taiwan is an adventure paradise for those who like to travel off the beaten path. Hike through the hidden forest trails of Alishan National Scenic Area, discover the Tsou aboriginal villages, spend time unwinding at Hinoki Village’s Japanese bathhouses or even go ghost hunting at Minxiong Ghost House. Chiayi also has some great places to grab Japanese traditional food, as well as other specialities created by local stores. The city is not very well known to travellers, which means the town is a peaceful haven for those who want to visit it.
2. Douliu City
Douliu City is not a tourist hotspot. That said, it is the perfect place to truly dive into Taiwanese culture away from the hustle and bustle of the bigger cities. The city also has vestiges of the country’s history. The old street is lined with Baroque-style buildings from the Japanese era. House of Citizen is another important 19th-century building. For those who like things to be a bit more modern, the Honey Museum might entertain. The museum is a great study of how honey is made and to taste the types of local honey available. You can also visit the Douliu Roundabout where water shows are a staple every evening.
3. Xitou Monster Village
Xitou Monster Village’s unforgettable mascot is a red monster with a freakishly long nose. But even more eye-catching are the spooky woods surrounding the misty trails, as well as waterfalls and monster-themed stays that make it look like Halloween all year round. The village is also known for its food. Traditional Japanese food, of course, is available, but so are eclectic specialities, the star of which is called the ‘stinging nettle buns’. You will also find all kinds of scary treats such as cookies that look exactly like witches’ fingers, or chocolate eyeballs at the local bakery. Furthermore, the area is surrounded by green hills and tea gardens. The tea houses in town source their tea from these farms, making the cup you order at Xitou Monster Village, a truly refreshing one.
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A protected land for its environmental value in central Taiwan, Gaomei Wetlands is known for its natural wetlands, stunning wildlife and spectacular sunsets. The area is located on the west coast of central Taiwan at the mouth of the Dajia River. This mossy, muddy flat land is an ideal home for crustaceans and migratory birds. You can rent electric bikes at the visitor’s centre and cycle through the scenic beauty of the wetlands as the calming sea breeze caresses you.
Gaomei Wetlands Tour from Taichung
Duration: 4hrs30 Min Duration
One of Taiwan’s most popular scenic destinations, the Sun Moon Lake is a beautiful, pristine lake, shaped like the sun on one end and the moon on the other. Surrounded by the central mountain range, the 748-meter (2454.07 feet) lake is also famous for cherry blossoms growing in the area. It is best to take in the lake view from places like the famous Wenwu Temple, Ci En Ropeway or the Sun Moon Lake Ropeway, which offers a panoramic view of the spectacular landscape. The lake is also known for being the home of the Thao aboriginal tribe where visitors can observe their customs and performances in the area.
Sun Moon Lake Day Tour: Shuiwatou Trail, Xiangshan Visitor Center, Wenwu Temple with Sun Moon Lake Boat Cruise
Go on a magical journey through towering mountain ranges and lush green forests. Take a stroll on the suspension bridge through a forest that houses trees that are 3000 years old. Catch unforgettable sunrises and sunsets over the tops of the ancient woodland full of blooming flowers as the breeze soothes you into a complete state of zen. You will get to experience nature at its finest when you take the day tour to Alishan Forest Railway.
Alishan Forest Railway Day Tour from Taichung
Taipei’s neon lights, shopping malls and towering buildings are contrasted by exquisite Buddhist temples and flower gardens that push you headlong into Taiwanese culture. This well-connected city is home to sprawling gardens, ancient temples, and beautiful museums. Help yourself to delicious traditional fares at the famous street markets that are always buzzing with activity, or treat yourself to a ride on the fastest elevator in the world right here in this city. The city is also famous for its night markets, where you can eat at Michelin star restaurants or buy cheap brand knock-offs. In all, Taipei is a modern city that is always a great place to discover the eastern culture.
Taiwan’s harbour capital, Kaohsiung, boasts pleasant weather all year round. It is a laidback city with all the amenities of a modern city sans the hustle. Visit its famous temples and monasteries, discover how art and robots go together, explore the black sand beach or simply admire the lotuses and the greenery. You can also explore Taiwan’s oldest city here, which is hauntingly mesmerizing or take time to visit the country’s oldest national park that boasts stunning beaches and oceanfront sunsets. Kaohsiung is also known to have some of the best beef noodles in the country and the South Asian street fare here is simply stunning. There’s no dearth of activities in Kaohsiung; in fact, beware that once you visit the city, you may not want to return.
Take time off busy schedules and the big city rush to relax in Taiwan’s own ‘Foggy Eden’. Wind down in the midst of blue mountains and rolling green hills. Breathe in the fresh air as you marvel at the clear blue skies that are studded with stars at night. You can visit the Swiss garden which is aptly nicknamed “paradise in the mist” or take a walk on the skywalk at 2000 meters (6561.68 feet) above sea level. Stopover at the Old English hotel for a short detour to Europe, or take a look at the sheep sheers hard at work at the farm. Do not miss out on this day tour.
Qingjing Farm Day Tour from Taichung
10. Zhuolan Gorge
Most grand canyons were created at a time human memory does not reach back to. Zhuolan Canyon is an exception to that. The gorge was created very recently, during 1999, when an earthquake lifted up the ground by quite a few meters. The torrential waters that accompanied later typhoons, created a canyon that is almost 20 meters (65 feet) high in some parts. Even today, the land is quick to erode due to the river, is never truly still and is thus prone to tectonic shifts. So visit Zhuolan not merely for the tropical shrubbery that surrounds it, but to watch the forces at work even as you walk into the area.
Explore Taichung and its neighbouring areas
Taichung, being in central Taiwan, affords many opportunities to travel into areas not many tourists go to. Visit the most beautiful corners of the country by going on some of the best day trips from Taichung, Taiwan.
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