6 Awesome Affordable Day Trips from Taipei
Planning to explore the outskirts of Taipei on a budget? In this guide, I’ll cover six easy and cheap day trips from Taipei to add to your side trips list! I’ll also show you how to get there, what to do and include handy tips to help you fully enjoy the perfect day trip from Taipei.
Taipei, the capital city of Taiwan has it all…museums, temples, night markets and parks. Not to mention, Taipei 101 – once the tallest building in the world. With history, culture, architecture and amazing street food – Taipei is one destination which should be high on your destination hit-list!
To be honest, the chance of getting bored in this magnetic city is slim. But, even though Taipei is jam-packed with plenty to do, the hustle and bustle of the city can be quite overwhelming. Luckily, immersing yourself in nature or venturing to one of the quirky villages nearby is pretty easy. Plus, who doesn’t like a change of scenery, right?
There are so many cool and interesting little gems near Taipei, making it quite hard to choose exactly where to go. In this guide, I’ll cover my top 6 day trips from Taipei recommendations (trust me there are MANY more). In fact, you’ll be surprised how many cool and interesting little gems there are dotted along northern Taiwan. And, moreover, how easy they are to reach (even with public transport). That said, even if you don’t have time to visit all of them, this guide will give you a good idea of the best day trips and how to spend your time outside the city.
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Pro Tips for Day Trips from Taipei
If you are planning on using public transport for any of these day trips from Taipei, it’s a good idea to get an Easy Card. You can buy an Easy Card at any convenience store, such as 7-11 or Family Mart (island-wide). The card only costs NT$100 (non-refundable) and you can top it up at convenience stores or Top-up machines in all MRT stations. When you have an Easy Card, you can simply tap and go on trains, buses and the MRT. You can even use it to buy things at convenience stores across the island.
Another option to consider is a Taipei Unlimited Fun Pass, which allows you unlimited rides on the Taipei MRT and Taipei and New Taipei City Bus (excluding buses with four-digits). You also get unlimited rides on 5 Taiwan Tourist Shuttle routes giving easy access to Yangmingshan, Yeliu, Pingxi, Jiufen and other major attractions. Which pretty much sounds like a win-win to me!
Also, read my first timer’s guide to Taipei which includes everything you need to know about visiting Taipei for the first time. And, see my two weeks in Taiwan itinerary to help you travel further afield.
The Best Day Trips from Taipei
If you’re looking for postcard-perfect views, Jiufen (九份) is one of the best day trips from Taipei. The little village is seemingly nestled on Keelung mountain and is well-known for its old-world charm, lantern-lit streets, tea houses, antique shops and ceramic teapots galore. Moreover, it offers spectacular views of the hillside village and ocean – making it one of the prettiest little towns in Taiwan.
Enjoy romantic strolls through the endless alleys and winding little streets – all lined with red lanterns. Let your taste buds lead the way through Jiufen Old Street – one of the most famous snacking streets in all of Taiwan. Work your way through the Old Street, sampling pastries and local delicacies such as peanut ice cream, fish balls and Hakka glutinous rice cakes. When you get thirsty after all that
eating and exploring, duck into Amei Teahouse. One of the quaintest little tea houses in Jiufen, offering unparalleled vistas.
Pro Tip for Jiufen Day Trips
Jiufen is a popular tourist spot for locals and international visitors alike, meaning it can get really crowded. So, if you want to avoid the crowds, try to time your visit during the week.
The easiest way to reach Jiufen is by bus. Hop on the direct Jiufen Shuttle Bus right outside Ximen MRT Station (near exit 4) for a worry-free journey. If you’re traveling Taipei on a shoestring, opt to take the bus or train instead. Make your way to Zhongxiao Fuxing MRT Station, Exit 1 and look for bus 1062 to Jiufen. Alternatively, take the train to Ruifang Station and then the Keelung Transit Bus to Jiufen (which leaves every 15 minutes).
If you’re looking for one of the most unique day trips from Taipei, be sure not to miss Shifen (十分) on your adventures!
This little village perfectly blends old-world charm with fun activities for everyone. Moreover, this little village also offers a glimpse into Taiwan’s beautiful natural scenery and coal mining industry.
Shifen draws thousands of visitors year-round – all eager to release sky lanterns from the railway tracks. If this sounds like fun to you, get ready to let those creative juices flow and decorate your very own sky lantern. Don’t forget to make a wish as you set it off into the sky!
Most people however, enjoy releasing their lanterns in the early evening hours. So, if you make it to Shifen too early, be sure to head to Shifen Waterfall, first. The waterfall stands 40-meters tall and is viewed as the most spectacular waterfall in all of Taiwan. After you’ve enjoyed a bit of nature, head back to Shifen Old Street. Once there, snack on famous local treats, such as taro balls and fried cuttlefish sticks. Then, wander along the railway track, where you can pick-up all kinds of quirky souvenirs ranging from sky lantern paraphernalia to Chinese trinkets and everything in-between.
For more handy tips and ideas, be sure to also check out this detailed guide on visiting Shifen from Taipei.
The cheapest way to reach Shifen is by train. Hop on any northbound rail train (except Keelung) towards Ruifang Station at Taipei Main Station. Then transfer to the Pingxi Small Line. You’ll need to buy a one-day ticket for this special line. If you don’t feel like bothering with public transport, I highly recommend grabbing the Shifen Shuttle Bus near Exit 4 at Ximen MRT Station.
Check out this guide on the Pingxi Line to learn more about all the quaint towns dotted along this unique small rail line. Plus, get added travel inspo for other day trips from Taipei.
Houtong Cat Village
The charming village of Houtong Cat Village (猴硐貓村) is hidden in the hills of Ruifang District, New Taipei. It offers scenic mountain views, insights into Taiwan’s former coal mining industry and a fun day with feline friends.
Start your journey sampling all the treats along the railway, then head up the hillside lined with cute tea houses and quirky souvenir shops selling an array of kitty souvenirs. Don’t forget to stop along the winding man-made walkways to snap up pics of the beautiful mountain views and cats lounging around.
From Taipei Main Station, you can take any northbound train ride (except Keelung) towards Ruifang Station. From Ruifang Station, you’ll need to transfer to a local train (to travel one more stop) or take bus 808 to get to Houtong. If you want to skip the hassle, I highly recommend taking the Su Ao train directly from Taipei Main Station, which stops in the heart of Houtong.
One of our favorite day trips from Taipei is visiting Yehliu Geopark (野柳地質公園). The geopark is home to extraordinary rock formations resembling all kinds of weird and wonderful shapes formed by years of sea erosion. It’s a great add-on to your day trips from Taipei list, as it offers unique sights you won’t find anywhere else in the world!
For instance, swing by the impressive Queen’s Head, then make your way along the cape scouting for rocks resembling everything from mushrooms, honeycombs and even a Dragon’s head!
Yehliu is a great place if you just want to feel the sea breeze, test your imagination, walk along the peninsula or practice your photo skills.
Pro Tip for Day Trips to Yehliu
Yehliu is a popular tourist spot for locals over weekends, so it’s best to come during the week if possible. There is a small charge to enter the Geopark, so don’t forget to bring small change. If you’re feeling peckish, you can find a bunch of eateries in the main area before you reach the Geopark entrance.
Take bus 1815 (bound for Jinshan Youth Activity Center) at Kuo-Kuang Bus Taipei Terminal, near Taipei Main Station. The bus departs every 20 minutes and costs under NT$100. Alternatively, hop on the Yehliu Shuttle Bus just outside Ximen MRT Station (near exit 4) and enjoy a hassle-free journey.
Wulai (烏來) is a small aboriginal village just 40 minutes away from Taipei City. It’s home to Taiwan’s indigenous Atayal tribe, making it a great place to sample some unique aboriginal delicacies. Apart from snacking your way through the Old Street, Wulai offers plenty to do and see. Especially for outdoor lovers. Here you can enjoy free outdoor hot springs and unique natural attractions. Follow the scenic hiking trails through lush jungles. Then ride the Wulai Mini Train to the base of Wulai Falls. Finally, enjoy a quick cable car ride up the hill for a bird’s-eye view of the 80-meter waterfall plunging into the river.
If you’re looking for a welcome reprieve (or to escape the crowds), duck into Volando Urai Spring Spa & Resort to enjoy the therapeutic waters within the comfort of a private Grand View Bathhouse.
Catch Bus 849, near Xindian MRT Station on Beixin Road (departing every 10-15 minutes). The ride takes about 45 minutes and will set you back NT$15 for a single ride.
One of the best things about Taipei is that it’s so easy to get out of the city and immerse yourself in nature. Just north of Taipei City, you will find Yangmingshan National Park – a beautiful mountainous and volcanic area. Here’s a great guide on this hot spring and hiking paradise.
One of the easiest day trips from Taipei, has to be to the lovely seaside town of Danshui (淡水). With amazing sunsets, tasty seafood, quirky street performers, a few temples and an Old Fort, Danshui should be high on your itinerary.
Start your way at Danshui Old Street where it’s easy to find delicious treats for any taste bud. Then head to the river bank to enjoy the magnificent views of the Danshui River. You could even hop on a boat to explore Bali island – the small island across the bank. Alternatively, keep strolling along the promenade where you’ll find Lover’s Bridge – a popular spot to snap up awesome sunset pics.
Afterwards, when your tummy starts to rumble, head back to one of the many eateries which line the promenade. Or pop into our favourite rooftop terrace restaurant, Red House Cafe for magnificent views and great food.
From Taipei Main Station, take the Taipei MRT Red Line to the very last stop (Tamsui) on the line.
Fancy cycling along the riverside bike paths? Here’s a great guide on biking around Guandu, Danshui and Bali.
Best Tour Options for Day Trips from Taipei
Don’t feel like using public transport? Join one of these trips from Taipei for a hassle-free experience.
Enjoy being picked up at your hotel on the Jiufen and Northeast Coast Tour. Visit the Bay of Two Colors, where you’ll get to take in the stunning combination of blue and yellow ocean water. Then continue to Nanya, to experience the area’s unique rocks formations. Next, stop by Pitou Cape, offering spectacular views of caves and cliffs. Afterwards, pass by Jinguashi Village as you make your way to the charming hillside town of Jiufen.
This full day Northeast Coast Scenic Day Tour takes you to unique rock formations and historical lighthouses. Get to see Nanya Coast famous for its rock formations. Then, head to Bitou Cape Park, which has mushroom-shaped rocks, a natural whirlpool and a lighthouse. From there, you’ll continue to the Fulong for a traditional bento box lunch. If you’d like to skip lunch, opt to stroll along the beach (a small additional fee applies). If you come during summer, don’t miss the annual Fulong Sand Sculpture Festival. Afterwards, explore Sandiao Cape Lighthouse (the Eye of Taiwan) and Beiguan Tidal Park. And finally, stop by the Waiao Tourist Center to visit the fairy-tale like Mr. Brown Café Castle.
Grab the Yehliu, Jiufen & Shifen Shuttle Bus right outside Ximen Station to explore these three must-see sights in one go. The great thing about this package is that you can enjoy roundtrip transfers, whilst still being able to plan your own initerary.
Plan your own itinerary and decide how long to stay in areas covered by your package of choice with this Multi-city Car Rental. The car rental is for eight full hours, which allows you plenty of time to explore at your own pace.
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