Looking 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 Taipei 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 Taipei day trip.
Taipei, the capital city of Taiwan, has it all —museums, temples, night markets, and parks. With history, culture, architecture, and amazing street food at your fingertips, you’ll never get bored in Taipei!
While Taipei is jam-packed with plenty to do, the city’s hustle and bustle can be quite overwhelming. Luckily, there are oodles of beautiful little towns dotted near the city’s edges where you can immerse yourself in nature!
But with so many hidden gems near Taipei, figuring out where to go can be a challenge. To help you find the best spots, I’ve compiled this epic list of 6 best day trips from Taipei! Even if you don’t have time to see them all during your Taipei itinerary, this guide will give you a good idea of how to spend your time outside the city.
Ready to whizz off on the best Taipei day trips? Let’s go!
In a rush? Save these Taipei day trips now for later.
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Taipei Day Trips Pre-Travel Tips
If you plan 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!
Read my epic Taipei itinerary and this first timer’s guide to Taipei, which includes everything you need to know for your first visit. This detailed Taipei nightlife guide and this two weeks in Taiwan itinerary will also come in handy.
The Best Day Trips from Taipei
Taipei Day Trip for foodies: Jiufen
If you’re looking for postcard-perfect views, Jiufen (九份) is one of the best day trips from Taipei. The charming village is nestled on a hilltop in Northeastern Taiwan 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 over Jiufen Village, mountains, and the ocean – making it the prettiest little town 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 – the prettiest Jiufen teahouse, offering unparalleled vistas.
While there’s plenty to keep you busy in Jiufen, there are also a bunch of unique things to do nearby – from hiking to climbing Longdong Rock.
Insider’s Tips: Jiufen is a popular tourist spot among locals and international visitors, so it gets crowded quickly. If you want to avoid the crowds, try to time your visit during the week.
How to get there
Jiufen is accessed in several ways, and I’ve written an entire guide highlighting how to get from Taipei to Jiufen.
You can take a tourist shuttle bus right outside Ximen MRT Station (near exit 4) or catch bus 1062 at Zhongxiao Fuxing MRT Station, Exit 1. Alternatively, train to Ruifang Station and then catch a Keelung Transit Bus to the village (coming every 15 minutes).
Taipei Day Trip for nature seekers: Shifen Waterfall
If you’re looking for one of o the most unique day trips from Taipei, be sure not to miss Shifen (十分) on your adventures! Make sure to read my detailed guide on getting from Taipei to Shifen before your trip. It includes loads of transport tips, as well as what to do in Shifen.
This little village perfectly blends old-world charm with fun activities for everyone. Moreover, this small 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, 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. 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.
How to get there
The cheapest way to reach Shifen is by train. Hop on any northbound 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 h 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.
Taipei Day Trip for cat lovers: 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 walkways to snap up pics of the beautiful mountain views and cats lounging around.
How to get to Houtong from Taipei
From Taipei Main Station, you can take any northbound train (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.
Taipei Day Trip for Photographers: Yehliu Geopark
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 with the cape, scouting for rocks resembling everything from mushrooms, honeycombs, and even a Dragon’s head!
Yehliu is a great place if you want to feel the sea breeze, test your imagination, walk along the peninsula or practice your photo skills.
Insider’s Tips: 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 some change. If you’re feeling peckish, you can find a bunch of eateries in the main area before you reach the Geopark entrance.
How to get to Yehliu from Taipei
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 outside Ximen MRT Station (near exit 4) and enjoy a hassle-free journey.
Best Day trip from Taipei for hot spring lovers: Wulai
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.
How to get to Wulai
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 traveling in Taipei is that it’s easy to get out of the city and immerse yourself in nature. You will find Yangmingshan National Park – a beautiful mountainous and volcanic area just north of Taipei City. Here’s a great guide on this hot spring and hiking paradise.
Best Taipei Day Trip for Sunset Chasers: Danshui
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, gorgeous Tianyuan Temple and an Old Fort, Danshui should be high on your itinerary.
Start your day 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.
Afterward, when your tummy starts to rumble, head back to one of the many eateries which line the promenade. Or pop into our favorite rooftop terrace restaurant, Red House Cafe, for magnificent views and great food.
How to Get to Danshui
From Taipei Main Station, take the Taipei MRT Red Line to the last stop (Tamsui). The ride takes about 40 minutes and costs NT$50.
Fancy cycling along the riverside bike paths? Here’s a great guide on biking around Guandu, Danshui, and Bali.
Best Tour Day Trips from Taipei
Prefer having your Taipei day trip all planned out? Join one of these Taipei day tours for a hassle-free experience.
Jiufen and Northeast Coast Tour
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 rock formations. Next, stop by Pitou Cape, offering spectacular views of caves and cliffs. Afterward, pass by Jinguashi Village as you make your way to the charming hillside town of Jiufen.
Northeast Coast Scenic Day Tour
This full-day Northeast Coast Scenic Day Tour takes you to unique rock formations and historic 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. Afterward, 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.
Yehliu, Jiufen & Shifen Shuttle Bus
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 while still planning your own itinerary.
Multi-city Car Rental
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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