A typical Taiwan itinerary ranges from 3 to 10 days but I would recommend spending more time in this beautiful country. Personally, I just wandered in and around Taipei, during my relaxed Taiwan itinerary of 7 days – There is just so much more to see here.
Feels like I need to go back already and check out the cool spots I had to skip!
Taiwan is a country which has it all – geological parks, beaches, great food, quaint towns, stunning gorges, waterfalls and the big city madness too, of course. So it pretty much fits the bill for all sorts of travelers and is already a popular destination for Asians (and upcoming for westerners).
If you are planning to visit popular attractions in Taiwan, here’s my own one week itinerary to give you some ideas on planning your DIY getaway …and a few travel tips sprinkled in for good measure.
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My Taiwan 7 Days 6 Nights Itinerary in and around Taipei
When I am on my own, I am a lazy traveler.
So, my 7 day Taiwan free and easy itinerary had two full “chill-days” just to relax and unwind.
I am glad I kept them as I had two days of thunderstorms so luckily I could move one of my tours to a sunny day and the other day rain gods weren’t happy with me, was one of my free days. So it all turned out to be perfect.
Depart from Delhi.
Arrive in Taipei. Arriving in a new country after a 10 hour long flight, does need some ‘taking used to’. I would suggest to keep this day free and easy but if you like to be up and about you can add ‘no – stress’ stuff to your first day.
For example, I added a short visit to the lovely Taipei 101 observatory but due to dark skies, I rescheduled my plans for a clearer day. After all, isn’t that the whole point of epic city views?
A good replacement can be shopping at the famous Ximending street. Even if you don’t want to shop, I would recommend walking around and enjoying this upscale, chic, new-age shopping street.
Here, you can also enjoy eating at the famous modern toilet. Think toilet humor – like poop shaped chocolate ice-cream or eating out of mini toilet pots? Do you dare to? If so, there’s lots to do at Ximending to keep you entertained for a good part of the day.
Day trip to Taroko gorge and Hualien.
As a nature lover, just the idea of visiting Taroko national park made me jump with joy and anticipation.
Imagine cascading waterfalls, stunning trails, gorges, clear waters, suspension bridges, temples and treks – All in one park! That’s what Taroko has to offer and more. Think photo opportunities and splendid treks! *Dreamy*
During my train ride from Taipei main station to Hualien, I was hoping it won’t rain. Some trails get closed and well you simply cannot get killer shots in the rain. I was extremely lucky that day as it was sunny and bright till it was time for tour to end. So, DO check the weather before zeroing on the perfect day to explore Taroko Gorge. Some of my friends had warned me so I had my fingers crossed all through.. and it worked.
Taroko is the perfect place for adventurers and nature lovers. Even though I was travelling solo, I quickly made friends with 3 others who were part of this KKday tour to Taroko and Hualien.
Our first stop was the Shakadang trail which was simply breathtaking. I must’ve taken hundreds of shots just there – the views are to die for. This was surely one of the highlights.
I also enjoyed the stunning waterfall views from the various strategically located suspension bridges. The one next to the Eternal Spring Shrine is also a must see.
Our tour also included a lovely lunch at the only 5 star hotel in Taroko National Park – Silks Place. Beware – the servings are huge.
Tip – If you want the “best” shot of Taroko gorge, look out for the narrowest point of the gorge. This is just next to Swallow Grotto (Ensure you have English speaking guide so you can share this information).
I am pretty sure these pictures convince you to add Taroko national park to your Taiwan tour itinerary 🙂
Convinced? Well then, you can book this exact tour here!
Trust me for someone who lives out of a suitcase, traveling can get stressful. Plus with the unpredictable weather in Taiwan, free days are a must.
I used this day to visit Taipei 101 (Remember, I had a booking for Day 2 but moved it due to bad weather).
Lucky, I booked my Taipei 101 observatory tickets online at KKday – Not only were they discounted but I got to skip the long ticket queue and got some lovely complimentary tea bags at the souvenir shop.
Basically if you want to enjoy a stunning 360 degree view from the 89th floor of Taipei 101 tower (which is world’s tallest green building), this is how you do it.
Tip – If you want to enjoy the city view minus the glass observatory, just take the stairs to level up where you have un-interrupted bird’s eye view of Taipei city.
This will just take an hour so you still get a full free day to yourself. Use it to check out the Shilin night market or other interesting shopping areas.
If you are in the mood for some awesome food and freshly brewed beer, I would highly recommend visiting Commune A7.
Not just for the F&B, here, you get a better view of the Taipei 101 tower – heck, you can even take pictures with it. This quite tricky to do when you are right below the tower though, so do try this trick.
Pack your bags and head to Jiufen.
Jiufen is the enchanting town which mesmerized Miyazaki and inspired the popular Japanese anime ‘Spirited Away‘. Surely its a rumor but when you visit this town, you will see the similarities are surreal.
I decided to spend two days in Jiufen and I would highly recommend you to do so too. It is totally different and even more enchanting at night – far less people and a tranquil retreat from Taipei.
Tip – Jiufen is a mountain town with lots of stairs and steep inclines so you must check location of your hotel beforehand. Its best to carry a small backpack if you plan to stay overnight and not bring your entire luggage (like I did) which will mean you end up spending $$$ on expensive taxis in town.
Day 5 was pretty jam packed with attractions. First stop was the stunning Yehliu Geopark (my tour did not include cost of entry so its advisable to carry some cash. Entrance fee to Yehliu is just NT$ 80 (approx USD 2.6).
Yehliu consists of amazing mushroom and honeycomb rock formations and landscapes caused due to sea erosion. This is one of the most popular natural wonders of the world.
The best thing to do at Yehliu is spotting the famous formations like Queen’s head, Fairy shoe, Beehive, Dragon’s head and many more creative names, based on their shapes. There are maps and signboards and its easy to find your way in the crowd.
Our next stop on the tour was Shifen. First you are ushered to Shifen old town street where you get to set off your own Chinese sky lantern.
I opted out for the sky lantern due to my ‘lantern overdose’ in Hoi An, but at 200-250 NTD ($8 max for four color lantern) , that’s one thing you need to do if you are in Shifen. Each color in these Chinese lanterns represents one thing red for good fortune, pink for romance, orange for money and so on so forth. Hence a four color one is supposed to get you at least four positive elements – of course you need to write your wish on it before drifts away into the blue skies.
Since I skipped the lantern mania, I walked around a lot and enjoyed street food and the beauty of walking in a small town. However, street food at Jiufen trumps this any day!
After that you can either walk for 20-25 mins to Shifen waterfalls or take a bus (2 mins) ride. Since we were on our KKday tour bus, we hopped on to save time – more time at attractions is always better eh?
Shifen waterfall is also called little Niagara of Taiwan and makes for a lovely natural landscape to gawk at.
A few pictures later, we were off to Jiufen where I bid adieu to the lovely gang and set off on my own.
Since it was already getting late and cold (yes Jiufen is way colder than Taipei), I started towards my hostel.
Upon checking into my private room (Which happened to be a complete , furnished, private wooden bunglow) at Flip flop hostel Jiufen , I felt I was in a little serene mountain paradise. I mean, imagine the cool breeze, fresh mountain air and your own cozy wooden bungalow in the hills? At no point did this look or feel like a hostel.
The night was far from over though, as the Flip flop hostel in Jiufen arranges free night walks every single day. How awesome is that? The hostel incharge takes anyone who is keen on a lovely hour long walk around town – showing old mines, art, history, temples and the popular Jiufen old street. I must admit, Jiufen is way prettier at night and this walk is a MUST DO!
Free day in Juifen.
Yay this was another free day I got. Again, I got lucky with my free day as it started pouring heavily since 6 am, right upto midnight.
The day started with a lovely free breakfast at the hostel – some of the best fresh bread I have ever tried, chatting with hostel buddies and chilling.
This whole day I was simply in my cozy hostel lobby sipping warm coffee, looking out at the rain and scurrying in the storm to buy ramen from the convenience store next door – and I squeezed in some solid blogging hours. Win – Win!
Tip – Spend the evening watching Spirited Away coz there is no better place to watch it then Jiufen 🙂 Trust me on that.
Depart for Taoyuan International airport.
I would say start early and get a glimpse of morning madness at Jiufen old street. It opens early and you can see tourists looking for a quick bite or hot tea. Tons of souvenir shops and food stores are bustling already at 0800 hrs.
I took a quick look around as I had to bring my bags upto the end of the street (Around 1 km walk from my hostel) and had to stop several times to click pictures. The ocean views are way better early morning vs noon/ evenings and the misty mornings are so very special.
In less than two hours I was at the airport and ready to hop on my flight to Delhi.
Tip – You must grab a bite at the amazing food court in Taoyuan airport. There are plenty of options and the food is good and cost effective.
Taipei Travel Tips for First Time Visitors
Visiting Taiwan for the first time? Well here are some handy travel tips to help ya out.
Check Weather Forecast
This is my number one tip to check weather forecast before you plan your Taiwan itinerary. Some spots like Taroko, Taipei 101 observatory etc will be absolutely no-go in the rain. Keep those for the sunny days. A trip to Jiufen, however, can still be enjoyed in a drizzle. Either ways, be prepared with your folding rain jacket (I use North Face) and a folding umbrella in your daypack at all times. As long as you anticipate a downpour anytime and plan well, you are all sorted.
Wear Comfortable Walking shoes
I think Taiwan is the place I walked the most in 2017 – seriously! I do enjoy walking around destinations to get a good feel of them at a slow pace. However, in Taiwan almost every attraction entails a lot of walking too. So, get your waterproof, comfy footwear and walk away.
Pre-Book Airport Transfers
Pre-book your safe reliable airport transfers online for just USD 25 before you head there. It’s always nice to have a smiling, local waiting to pick you up at the airport – especially if you are traveling for the first time and/or solo (like I was).
Rent a Portable Wifi
Taiwan even has Wifi in most buses so you will be pretty sorted through the trip. However, if you are like me and want to stay connected at all times, simply rent a Taiwan Unlimited 4G Portable Wi-Fi Rental and pick it up from the airport. Its easy, fast and reliable. With unlimited Wifi and multiple devices, you can even share it with your friends.
How to Obtain free Taiwan visa for Indians
I had to include this in my blog because I found out many were not aware of this rule – even airline staff. So, if you have a valid (OR expired) visa within 10 years of issue from any one of these countries (Australia, Canada, Japan, Korea, New Zealand, any of the Schengen countries, the United Kingdom, or the United States), you get a free visa for Taiwan. You can read all visa terms here and apply for your free travel authorization certificate here. Its fast and instant – as soon as you fill out the form, you get an approval – simply take a print out along with your current/expired visa from above mentioned countries and you are good to go.
Just note that your expired visa was issued within 10 years, that’s all – I traveled to Taiwan using my expired Schengen & Uk visas. Super easy!
Where to Stay in Taipei
Personally, I only tried private rooms in both Taipei and Juifen with the Flip flop hostel and I LOVED them to bits. Rooms are clean, comfy and minimal and staff was friendly. The hostel was very artsy and had a fun decor. I would recommend booking your own dorm or private room with them if you are traveling solo, otherwise check one of these awesome hotels in Taipei.
So that’s pretty much it! This was my free and easy Taiwan itinerary for you to copy if you are a lazy (yet outdoorsy) traveler like me 🙂 You will see my itinerary only includes spots in and around Taipei as its based on my personal experience and mostly natural wonders – however, there’s a LOT more this beautiful country has to offer. So, go out and make your own Taiwan trip itinerary.