While Taipei offers enough to keep travelers occupied, it’s worthwhile to escape the seemingly endless sprawl of skyscrapers to experience other parts of Taiwan. These day trips from Taipei will make you fall in love with Ilha Formosa, “the Beautiful Island.”
Yangmingshan National Park — 9 miles (14 km) away
Yangmingshan is the most accessible of Taiwan’s eight national parks: It’s located within 10 miles (16 kilometers) of downtown Taipei and is connected by public transportation from Taipei Main Station. The 45-square-mile (117-square-kilometer) park encompasses Seven Star Mountain and an array of hiking trails and walking paths. A shuttle bus within the park takes visitors to various points of interest.
Wulai — 17 miles (27 km) away
Famous for its hot springs and aboriginal culture, Wulai sits less than an hour from Taipei. While the waterfall and hot springs are the main draw, there are also hiking trails worth exploring, as well as traditional aboriginal eats available along the main street—try the bamboo tube rice and wild mountain yams.
Jiufen — 22 miles (35 km) away
Jiufen (Chiufen) lies just north of Taipei in northern Taiwan, where it was a prosperous gold mining town until the 1950s. Rather than becoming a ghost town after mining was discontinued, Taipei residents continued to flock to the town thanks to its quaint streets and abundant teahouses. Stroll along the Jiufen Old Street and try various local dishes, learn about Taiwanese tea culture, and enjoy the views from this popular mountainous spot.
Yehliu Geopark — 22 miles (35 km) away
Located at Taiwan’s northern tip, Yehliu is a cape formed by geological forces pushing Datun Mountain out of the sea that extends about 5,577 feet (1,700 meters) into the ocean. It is home to the Yehliu Geopark, where the sea-eroded landscape is dotted with uniquely shaped rocks and geological features, including Queen’s Head, Dragon’s Head Rock, Honeycomb Rocks, Ginger Rocks, and Fairy Shoe.
Taroko Gorge — 94 miles (152 km) away
One of the most dramatic sights in Taiwan is Taroko Gorge. Accessible by car, train, or even a short flight, Taroko Gorge’s marble cliffs offer opportunities for hiking, biking, camping, river tracing, or just an afternoon of cruising through the gorge and taking in highlights like the Tunnel of Nine Turns and the Eternal Spring Shrine.
Sun Moon Lake — 155 miles (249 km) away
Although many people visit Sun Moon Lake on a multi-day tour, if you’re pressed for time it’s doable as a day trip from Taipei. The largest body of water in Taiwan is also home to one of the island’s aboriginal tribes. While swimming is not permitted, people flock to Sun Moon Lake to go bird-watching, cycle the lake’s scenic perimeter, visit temples, or go boating on the water. Be sure to take the boat to Lalu Island and try the famous tea-braised eggs.