Are you planning a trip to Taiwan? If so, this 2 weeks in Taiwan itinerary is just what you need to plan an epic trip!
Taiwan is a fascinating little island with so many amazing things to do and places to go. To help you discover all of Taiwan’s best bits, I’ve compiled this super detailed Taiwan itinerary.
In this travel guide, I’ll cover how to plan the perfect 2 weeks in Taiwan itinerary, what to do in Taiwan, and where to go in Taiwan. I’ve also included handy tips and tricks on how to navigate the top places in Taiwan, where to stay, and which tours to consider during your two weeks in Taiwan. Moreover, I’ve also shared additional recommendations if you’re spending three weeks in Taiwan.
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Planning a Taiwan Itinerary
2 weeks in Taiwan is not nearly long enough to see everything this beautiful, colorful island has on offer. However, it will give you a good taste of Taiwan and allow ample time to see all of Taiwan’s best bits.
This 2-week in Taiwan itinerary will enable you to sample all of Taiwan’s highlights – from the colorful temples, the crazy cuisine, the bustling cities, the chaotic night markets, and of course, the beautiful landscapes.
During these two weeks in Taiwan, you will experience Taiwan’s most popular attractions, local life, and get the opportunity to immerse yourself in nature. There will be opportunities for exploring, hiking, feasting, and relaxing, making this the perfect 14 day Taiwan itinerary!
As already mentioned, this guide is jam-packed with all the best things to do in Taiwan and includes loads of incredibly useful Taiwan travel tips. If you’d like to skip these tips and go straight to my Taiwan 14 days itinerary, you can do so by navigating your way around the table of contents.
Ready to discover how to spend 2-3 weeks in Taiwan and see Taiwan’s top attractions? Let’s go!
2 Week Taiwan Itinerary – Quick Overview
This 2-3 week itinerary can easily be tailored or extended to suit your traveling needs. Here’s a quick overview of what’s covered in this Taiwan itinerary.
- Taiwan Itinerary Day 1-3: Explore vibrant Taipei & Surroundings
- Taiwan Day 4-5: Visit scenic Hualien & go hiking in Taroko Gorge
- Itinerary in Taiwan Day 6-7: Visit Taichung & Sun Moon Lake
- Taiwan Day 8-9: Trek through lush Alishan
- Day 10: Visit there ancient city of Tainan
- Taiwan Itinerary Day 11-12: Explore Taiwan’s art hub, Kaohsiung
- Day 13-14: Soak up the beach vibes at Kenting
- Day 15: Back to Taipei or explore more of Taiwan’s hidden gems with an extended 3 weeks Taiwan itinerary. (See details below)
Taiwan Itinerary Pre-Travel Tips
Before you jet off on a whirlwind trip around Taiwan, you’ll need a few essential things in place first. Here are my top pre-travel tips to help you craft the perfect Taiwan intinerary:
- Plan your stops: Taiwan is a relatively small island, but proper planning is essential. Traveling from A to B can waste a considerably large chunk of your time in Taiwan. Therefore, it’s best to map out your stops and consider using a mix of transport modes to maximize your time in Taiwan. If you’re traveling during weekends or peak seasons, be sure to book train tickets online. Tickets are available 14 days in advance.
- Language barrier: Learn a few basic Chinese phrases to help you get by easily. Downloading Google Translate is also highly encouraged. And, make sure to download Traditional Chinese for a smooth journey.
- Sim Card: Order a local SIM card to pick up at the airport upon arrival to access maps, schedules, translations, and much more without the headache of searching for wifi hotspots.
- Easy Card: To save time and the hassle of bothering with small change, I highly encourage ordering an Easy Card. That way, you can tap-and-go on buses, trains, and the MRT. You can also use it to pay for some taxis rides or goods at convenience stores.
- Fun Pass: If you’re planning on visiting many of Taipei’s top attractions, consider grabbing an Unlimted Fun Pass. The Fun Pass allows you to save money on transport and entry fees.
- Travel Cover: Taiwan is a very safe country, even for solo female travelers. However, things can and do go wrong when you travel. World Nomads offers coverage for more than 150 activities, as well as emergency medical, lost luggage, trip cancellation, and more.
- Extra reading: If you want to know more about the island, its history, and people, I found this guidebook tremendously insightful and useful.
In a rush? Pin this 14 day Taiwan itinerary now to read later.
How to Get in
Taiwan has several international airports, but you’re most likely to arrive at Taoyuan International Airport. Taoyuan is located just 45 minutes from the capital, Taipei. From here, you have several options to access the city, the most accessible being the MRT. (Grab your MRT ticket here to skip the queue). If you are, however, traveling with heavy luggage, consider a private transfer to make things a little bit easier. Taxis are reasonable and plentiful too. While buses frequently run to the central bus station from the airport’s bus terminal.
Getting Around During Your Taiwan itinerary
Buses & Trains
Taiwan has an exceptionally well-planned public transit system, so getting around is super easy. Choose between buses, trains, or taxis. Besides the TRA trains, the high-speed rail (only along the western coast), significantly cuts traveling time, allowing you to maximize your time on the island. Both Taipei and Kaohsiung have an extensive Mass Rapid Transit system. Taichung has a BRT system (Bus Rapid Transit), and the subway will be ready in 2021.
Buses in Taiwan are cheap and frequent, but it might be a bit harder to find information in English. If you are, however, visiting the top tourist spots like Alishan, Jiufen, Yehliu, Sun Moon Lake and Taroko, it’s pretty straightforward to take a local bus.
Train Travel Tips
- During weekends or special holidays, trains tickets sell out quickly. So, remember to book train tickets online. It’s important to know, though, that tickets are only available 14 days in advance.
- Single journey tickets can be purchased at all train stations. But, you may want to grab a Joint Train Pass to save money and enjoy a hassle-free Taiwan itinerary. Currently, there is only a 5-day joint pass, but it is well worth considering.
Taxis are cheap and plentiful in bigger cities whereas you’ll see less in smaller towns. Like in most other major cities, you can flag down a cab from the street.
If you’re in a rush, the easiest way to get a taxi is to order one from the iBon machines located in any 7-11 islandwide. There is no English language option on the device, so if you can’t read Chinese, it’s best to ask one of the staff members for assistance. Also, make sure to have your destination’s address handy in Chinese, as most taxi drivers can’t speak English well
If you prefer to use Uber, that’s also an option for you, especially in bigger cities like Taipei, Hsinchu, Taichung and Kaohsiung. Just a heads up, you might need the Chinese address for the app.
In most cities, you’ll also find bike stations scattered around town where you can pick up a bike and then drop it off at any other station. You do, however, need a local number, which is where investing a local sim card and an Easy card comes in handy.
If you’re planning on using the biking system in Kaohsiung or Tainan, remember to register online first. Elsewhere, YouBike is the most common biking system. It’s important to know, though, recent changes to Youbike’s T’s & C’s now require a deposit to activate the registration. As of March 2021, the first 30 minutes of YouBike rentals in Taipei will no longer be free (unless you’re transferring to the MRT). The charge will be NT$5.
Car or Scooter Rental
Since Taiwan has a highly efficient public transport, it’s not necessary to rent a car on your Taiwan trip. Unless you want to, of course. In general, you can rent a car at the airports, HSR stations and even at bigger train stations. And, you’ll need a valid international driver’s license to do so.
Similar to renting cars, it is also possible to rent a scooter. In places such as Kenting, Sun Moon Lake, Xiaoliuqiu, Hualien, and Taroko, renting a scooter is a fun and easy way to navigate your way. Again, make sure you have a valid international driver’s license for a scooter, otherwise this will not be an option for you.
The Perfect 2 Weeks in Taiwan Itinerary: What to do in Taiwan
Although this guide covers all the best bits of Taiwan, it can easily be tailored to your traveling needs. Feel free to mix things up by adding stops, flipping your Taiwan trip around, or staying longer in one destination. But, remember to keep traveling time and the weather in mind.
The weather can vary quite a bit depending on where you are in Taiwan. For instance, it could be hot and sunny in one region, but rainy in another. Therefore, always keep an eye on the weather forecast.
After reading this post, however, you will have a pretty good idea of what not to miss on your Taiwan itinerary.
Taiwan Itinerary Day 1-3: Explore Taipei and surroundings
A fascinating history, beautiful architecture seamlessly blending old and new, and a fast growing food scene are among the many reasons that Taipei, Taiwan, is becoming an increasingly popular destination in Asia.
There are so many incredible things to do in Taipei, but getting a bird’s-eye view of the cityscape at Taipei 101, the tallest skyscraper in Taiwan, learning more about the country’s turbulent past at Chiang kai-Shek Memorial Hall, and browsing the ancient treasures at the National Palace Museum are all obligatory.
When it comes to food, Taiwan is just the place for a culinary journey! Whether you’re keen to join a food tour in Taipei or prefer to snack your way through the bustling night markets – there’s plenty of choices to keep your taste buds wanting more! Whatever you do, don’t forget to stop by Taiwan’s most revered Michelin Star Restaurant, Ding Tai Fong – a must for dumpling fans! If it’s nightlife you’re after, be sure to check out these fun things to do in Taipei at night!
Besides using the MRT (subway), another excellent way to see most of Taipei’s attractions in a short amount of time is by hop on hop off bus. The bus has two routes taking you to all of the highlights in the city.
With 3-5 days in Taipei, you could easily do a quick side trip to one of the unique villages nearby. So if you’re looking for a change of scenery, the options are endless. Some of the best Taipei day trips include visiting Keelung, Jiufen, Laomei Green Reef, Wulai, Shifen Waterfall and Yangmingshan National Park. If you’re visiting Taiwan with kids, Xpark Aquarium is another fun place to visit.
- Before you head out to explore the city, these Taipei travel tips will help you thoroughly enjoy your time in Taipei.
- Grab an Unlimited Fun Pass if you’re going to visit lots of touristy places in Taipei.
- Taipei 101 is always busy, and the queues can be a real pain. To save time and skip the lines, I strongly suggest grabbing an observatory priority pass online.
Where to stay in Taipei
Taipei has a fantastic selection of accommodation options, but staying near an MRT stop is highly encouraged. See my top picks for where to stay in Taipei or search the best room deals here.
To make the most of your time in Taipei, sleep in Ximending, Xinyi, Daan, or near the central station. All of these areas are well connected to transit options and many of the top sights in Taipei.
Here are some of the best picks near Taipei Main Station:
CityInn Hotel offers excellent value for money and is steps from Taipei Main Station. Besides the hotel’s fun, quirky interior, there are many shops and restaurants nearby, making it a great base.
Travelers looking for something a bit more posh may wish to check in at Palais de Chine Hotel located just 300m from the central station.
While shoestring travelers looking to stretch their dollars without sacrificing style and comfort can stay at Flip Flop Hostel – a bright and uber-modern hostel offering clean, stylish accommodations.
Tours to consider while in Taipei
After exploring the bustling capital city of Taipei and sampling some of the fantastic days drips on offer nearby, it’s time to get close to nature and explore the rest of the island.
Taiwan Itinerary Day 4 & 5: Hualien and Taroko Gorge
From Taipei, it’s a 2h30 train ride to Hualien – a charming seaside city and the gateway to Taroko Gorge. Make sure you catch a Puyuma or Taroko train to Hualien. Both these lines will get you to Hualien in the shortest amount of time. If budget isn’t a problem, you could consider flying while shoestring travelers may hop on the new direct bus from Taipei. For more tips, see my guide on getting to Hualien from Taipei.
Although most visitors rush through Hualien rather quickly on their way to Taroko, the city itself and its nearby attractions are well worth exploring.
Stop by the iconic Qingshui Cliffs, relax at Taiwan’s revered pebble beach, Qixingtan, and enjoy a stroll at Liyu Lake. More adventurous travelers can try some of the exciting adventure sports nearby. River tracing, paragliding and whale watching are just a few of the exciting activities you can enjoy while in Hualien. Although one day in Hualien is a bit tight, it will allow ample time to get to know the city a little bit better. And, of course, see most of the city’s highlights.
Also, be sure to read this Hualien first-timer’s guide for more tips on what to do in and around Hualien.
Where to stay in Hualien
To make the most of your time in Hualien, it’s best to stay near the train station. This way, you’ll have easy access to the Taroko shuttle bus and train.
Meci Hotel is an excellent option for travelers looking for a clean and trendy stay within walking distance from the train station.
While budget travelers could find cheaper dorm-style rooms at Wow Hostel without sacrificing style and comfort.
Alternatively, the Fullon Hotel is an alluring, 5-star hotel, a bit further away from the train station.
Tours to consider while in Hualien
The highlight of any Taiwan itinerary has to be the island’s stunning limestone gorge, Taroko Gorge. The 19km gorge is revered as the top tourist attraction in Taiwan, so visiting Taroko Gorge is a huge must.
Besides the hidden temples and sublime nature that draws thousands of tourists here, Taroko Gorge is well-known for its exceptional hiking opportunities. While there are easy hikes that require little effort, hiking the Shakadang Trail is highly encouraged. It’s a beautiful 4km trek taking you past azure-colored pools and lush jungle.
More serious hikers may consider trekking the Zhuili Old Trail – the most popular trek in Taroko. To follow this trail, however, you’ll need to apply for a permit online in advance. But to save the headache, it’s much more convenient just to join this fantastic guided tour.
- Rent a scooter, join a tour or hop on the local shuttle bus to get to Taroko from Hualien.
- There are a few hostels and budget accommodation options near Taroko, but most of them are a bit run down. So it’s best to base yourself in Hualien, where you’re likely to find more choice and value for money. If you prefer staying within Taroko Gorge and altogether skip Hualien, I highly recommend staying at the beautiful Silks Place.
Taiwan Itinerary Day 6 & 7: Taichung & Sun Moon Lake
On the sixth day of your 14 day Taiwan itinerary, head out to Taichung. As the second largest populous city in Taiwan, Taichung also serves as the gateway to Sun Moon Lake and dreamy Cingjing Farm.
Taichung is a fascinating city with many incredible things to do. From museums, galleries, hipster hangouts, a thriving street art scene, and the biggest night market in Taiwan, Feng Chia.
Depending on your interests, spend your time browsing the National Museum of Natural Sciences and the Museum of Fine Arts, or visiting the National Theater.
Getting close to nature is yet another popular pastime while in Taichung. Some of the city’s best nature escapes include dropping by Gaomei Wetlands, Lavender Cottage, and Xinshe Sea of Flowers. You’ll also find a whole host of awesome day trips from Taichung here.
Taichung is also a very photogenic city. All over town you can find quirky art hubs, outdoor exhibitions, and mind-bending architecture and public spaces. Street art chasers shouldn’t miss dropping by the most Instagrammable places in Taichung, such as Rainbow Village and Animation Alley either. Make sure also to read my detailed Taichung itinerary for 3 days and this guide on how to get to Taichung for more tips.
Where to stay in Taichung
Sof Hotel is a beautiful boutique hotel right in the heart of the city. The hotel offers clean, modern rooms and easy access to the city’s top attractions.
Travelers seeking upscale accommodation may wish to stay at the top-rated, 4-star premises of Hotel 7 Taichung while solo travelers can find clean, trendy dorm rooms at Ease Single Inn.
Tours to consider while in Taichung
Sun Moon Lake
After you’ve explored Taichung, hop on a bus to Taiwan’s largest natural lake – Sun Moon Lake. The bus ride takes 90 minutes, but you could also book a private driver or even join a day tour if you prefer. See all my insider’s tips on how to get to Sun Moon Lake here.
Spending 24 hours in Sun Moon Lake is more than enough time to see all the main attractions. The two main villages situated at opposite ends of the lake are Shuishe Village and Ita Thao. Besides its natural beauty, Sun Moon Lake is famous for its many excellent biking paths taking you around the lake, aboriginal food, and of course its temples.
One of the most remarkable temples not to miss while in Sun Moon Lake is Wenwu temple – a centuries-old temple offering magnificent views over the lake. Further afield, Ci’ En Pagoda is yet another great spot to get a bird’s-eye view of the area.
Most of the top sights are easily accessed by Round-the-lake shuttle bus or boats. And, bike rentals are cheap and plentiful too. If you want to be right in the hustle and bustle of Sun Moon Lake, base yourself in Shuishe Village. Travelers seeking something a bit more laidback may wish to stay in Ita Thao instead. Here you’ll find a booming aboriginal street food market, and have easy access to the Sun Moon Lake Cable Car.
Exploring Cingjing Farm en route to Sun Moon Lake? Read my detailed Qingjing Travel Guide, as well as this guide on how to get to Cingjing!
Where to stay in Sun Moon Lake
Fleur De Chine Hotel is a lavish property offering superb amenities and mind-bending views of the lake.
Hotel Del Lago is an excellent choice for mid-range travelers who’d like to stay on the lake’s shore.
If you’re looking for something a bit more secluded, stay at the romantic Timing House.
For more options, see my complete guide on the best places to stay in Sun Moon Lake.
Tours to consider in Sun Moon Lake
Taiwan Itinerary Day 8 & 9: Alishan
To maximize your two weeks in Taiwan, I highly recommend catching the direct bus from Sun Moon Lake to Alishan. Alternatively, you could head back to Taichung and, from there, take the HSR to Chiayi. From Chiayi, you’ll need to take yet another bus or join a shared shuttle to get to the Alishan Forest Recreation Park. As you can see, this will take considerably longer, so I wouldn’t advise following this route.
Alishan is one of the most-visited national parks in Taiwan, and no trip to Taiwan is complete without visiting it. Nestled high up among several of Taiwan’s most iconic mountains, Alishan offers excellent hiking opportunities through towering cypress trees and misty forests. Besides the terrific views on offer, Alishan is also well-known for its iconic old forest railway line and the best sunrise viewing spot in Taiwan.
Although it is possible to see Alishan in as little as a day, it means you would probably miss the sunrise. Therefore, settle overnight so that you, too, can experience this beautiful phenomenon.
For more in-depth tips on visiting Alishan, read my mammoth guide covering everything you need to know about visiting Alishan and this one on how to get to Alishan.
Where to stay in Alishan
Unfortunately, there aren’t too many options when it comes to choosing where to stay in Alishan. Alishan House is undoubtedly the best hotel within the Alishan National Forest Recreation Area and your safest bet.
Suggested Alishan tours
Taiwan Itinerary Day 10: Tainan
After exploring the lush forests of Alishan, take the local bus to Chiayi HSR station. Hop on a high-speed train and make your way to Tainan – the next stop on your 14-day Taiwan itinerary.
Taiwan’s ancient capital city, Tainan, packs the perfect mix of history, temples, architecture, and phenomenal food. With a deep-rooted history dating back nearly 400 years, Tainan is steeped in tradition and culture. Visiting Chihkan Tower, Anping Old Fort, and Shennong Old Street are just a few of the incredible things to do in Tainan. Besides these, wandering through a few of the ancient temples (there are almost 1000 temples in Tainan!) is also obligatory.
Tainan also boasts a booming food culture influenced by several cultures. Some of the most notable dishes to try while visiting Tainan include almond tofu pudding and Danzai noodles.
Be sure also to read my detailed guide on getting to Tainan for more transport tips.
Where to stay in Tainan
Tainan is a sprawling city and has a great selection of hotels and hostels. To make the most of your 1 day in Tainan, I recommend staying near the city center. This way, most of the attractions, as well as the train station, will be nearby.
FX Hotel is at a perfect central location, and offers excellent value for money.
Shangri-La’s Far Eastern Plaza Hotel is a modern 5-star hotel close to some of Tainan’s top attractions.
Those looking for slightly cheaper accommodation, may wish to check in at the stylish 158Hostel instead.
Suggested tours in Tainan
Taiwan Itinerary Day 11 & 12: Kaohsiung
There are lots of options to visit in Taiwan’s largest port city, Kaohsiung. While 2 days in Kaohsiung isn’t nearly enough time to explore all its corners, it will allow ample time to see all the top sights and enjoy the city’s booming art scene and laidback hipster vibes. You can also find out how to get to Kaohsiung here.
Start your trip by visiting some of Kaohsiung’s most Instragrammable places, such as the Dragon and Tiger Pagodas, and Art Pier 2. Further afield, don’t miss the opportunity to tour the largest Buddhist monastery in Taiwan, Fo Guang Shan where you can get a closer look at some of the treasures housed in the memorial hall, or admire the giant bronze buddha.
As elsewhere in Taiwan, Kaohsiung has many bustling night markets, with Luihe Night Market being the top pick among tourists. Seeing that Kaohsiung is a seaside city, definitely feast on some of the fantastic seafood on offer here! If you need more ideas, this guide on what to do in Kaohsiung will also come on handy.
Travelers seeking a quick nature break can hop on a 5-minute ferry ride to dreamy Cijin Island. The best way to see all this little island has on offer is by bike. There are many bike shops right in front of the 7-11 when you disembark the ferry, but you could also pick one up near the Art Pier.
Some of the highlights on Cijin include dropping by the Rainbow Church and snacking your way through the old street. For sweeping views of the island and harbor, don’t miss Cihou Fort or the Kaohsiung Lighthouse on your visit.
Where to stay in Kaohsiung
Just Sleep offers modern mid-range accommodation, located near Kaohsiung Station.
For travelers who want to take in the sights and sounds of Kaohsiung, FX Inn is a perfect choice and offers easy access to the city’s must-see destinations.
Treat yourself at Silks Club, a posh 5-star hotel near some of the city’s top attractions.
Tours to consider while in Kaohsiung
Taiwan Itinerary Day 13 & 14: Kenting
Catch the Kenting shuttle bus at exit 2 of the Kaohsiung HSR station to Kenting (2 hours). Be sure to use your Easy Card as the price will be much cheaper. Tickets are also open-ended, meaning you can return whenever you please. (For more transport options, check out my guide on how to get to Kenting).
You can’t come to Taiwan without at least stopping by the dreamy seaside village of Kenting. On weekends Kenting buzzes with tourists and locals who’ve come to enjoy the laidback beach vibes, excellent water sports, and tasty treats at the night market.
Most of the activities in Kenting include taking in the magnificent views, enjoying some beach time, and eating as much seafood as you possibly can! Whatever you decide to do, don’t miss exploring the scenic parks nearby. Maobitou and Longpan Park both offer mind-blowing vistas.
Other popular activities include visiting the Eluanbi lighthouse, stopping by the most southern point of Taiwan, and simply lounging on the best beaches in Taiwan! More adventurous travelers may consider joining some of the excellent water sports activities, such as diving, snorkeling, or surfing nearby.
- The best way to explore Kenting is by scooter, but to do so, you’ll need a valid international driver’s license. If that is not an option for you, you might still be able to rent an electronic scooter at some of the shops.
Where to stay in Kenting
There are heaps of places to stay in Kenting, but the three main areas are Chuanfanshi, Kenting Street, and Nanwan. If you want to be right in the heart of Kenting, it’s best to stay near the main street.
Apple Room Hostel is an excellent budget option with a beautiful chic interior. For something a bit more upscale, Howard Beach Resort or Caesar Park Hotel are both fantastic 5-star options.
Kenting can, however, get quite crowded on weekends, so if you want to skip the crowds, stay at Chuanfanshi instead. Hold On Bed and Breakfast and Chuanfanrock Haku Beach Days Inn both offer stunning ocean views and beautiful modern rooms.
Tours to consider while in Kenting
Taiwan Itinerary Day 15: Back to Taipei
Since you’ll be traveling from south to north (roughly 4-5 hours), you won’t have a lot of time to do much on your last day of 2 weeks in Taiwan. So, be sure to get an early start so that you can enjoy a bit more of Taipei.
Once back in Taipei, relax at your hotel, grab a bite to eat, or enjoy a gentle stroll through suburbia where you’re bound to get a closer look at locals going about their daily life.
Extended 3 week Taiwan Itinerary
Taiwan is a beautiful country filled with many hidden gems. If you have longer than two weeks in Taiwan, there is plenty more to see and do! With three weeks in Taiwan there is more than enough time to enjoy a round-island Taiwan itinerary.
Follow the same steps as above, but instead of going to Taroko Gorge on Day 4-5, leave this as your final stop before making your way back to Taipei.
Here are a few more options you might want to add to your Taiwan itinerary if you have three weeks in Taiwan.
After exploring laidback Kenting, make your way to one of Taiwan’s most scenic treasures – Taitung. From here, you can catch a local TRA train to Hualien (and access Taroko Gorge) before finally making your way back to Taipei.
Taitung is mainly an untouched slice of Taiwan, and not many travelers venture out this far. Partly because of the traveling time involved to get there. But if you have a few extra days on your three weeks in Taiwan itinerary exploring this scenic coastal area will be well worth your time. Besides the mind-blowing landscapes on offer, there will be plenty of opportunity to enjoy the beach vibes, soak in the nearby hot springs, or cycle through rice paddies. Read my detailed guide on things to do in Taitung. This guide on exactly how to get to Taitung will also come in handy.
Since 2-3 days is sufficient time to explore Taitung, you could easily adjust the rest of your Taiwan itinerary. For instance, spend an extra day in Taipei or even more time relaxing at the beach or exploring Taroko Gorge.
Visit the Islands
Another option to consider on a Taiwan 3 week itinerary is visiting one of the nearby islands. There are several dreamy islands dotted not too far from Taiwan’s shores. All of which can be easily reached by ferries or even direct flights. Here are my top picks:
Penghu is a cluster of 90 islands and islets with Magong being the biggest. It’s a 30-minute flight from Taichung and a 1-hour flight from Taipei. If you’re interested in exploring all the top attractions in Penghu, be sure also to read up on how to get to Penghu.
Green Island is one of Taiwan’s most scenic islands and lies just off the coast of Taitung. You can catch a ferry at Fugang Fishing Harbor, or take a direct flight from either Taitung or Taipei.
Near Kaohsiung, take a day trip or perhaps even spend a night at Taiwan’s coral island, Xiao Liuqui. You can catch a ferry (40 minutes) at Donggang Ferry Harbour in nearby Pingdong County.
Xiao Liuqui is a tiny island, and it takes less than 1 hour to drive around the entire island. Still, it has a wealth of activities to entice travelers – from snorkeling and scuba diving to exploring caves and watching epic sunsets. Read my detailed guide to Xiaoliuqiu to discover all of its best bits.
When to visit Taiwan
Taiwan is generally a great destination to visit year-round. However, there are a few things to keep in mind when planning your Taiwan itinerary. First of all, there are four distinct seasons in Taiwan, spring (Mar-May), summer (June-Aug), autumn (Sept-Nov), and winter (Dec-Feb). These vary in temperatures, precipitation, and humidity, not only by season but also by location. If you’re not sure what to pack for your trip, check out my super detailed Taiwan packing list.
Expect the most pleasant weather in Taiwan during spring and autumn. Accommodation prices are very reasonable, and in general, you won’t see that many tourists during these seasons. During spring you’ll also have a chance to see the cherry blossoms in Taiwan!
Summer is the peak season in Taiwan, but you should know that it can be sweltering and extremely humid. Rain and typhoons (especially Jul-Sept) aren’t uncommon, which could also impact your travel plans. So remember to check the weather forecast in advance and plan your stops accordingly. Summer in Taiwan is, however, a great time to cool off in some of Taiwan’s best waterfalls!
During winter, temperatures dip quite a bit, and it can be rather unpleasant. However, that does not mean you shouldn’t visit Taiwan in winter since you’ll still get some sunny days. Ultimately, it boils down to what you consider as cold weather. As a South African, I still find winter in Taiwan freezing. However, if you come from a colder country you’re likely to have a different opinion.
Visiting Taiwan during Chinese New Year
The only thing that could considerably impact your Taiwan trip during winter is the Lunar New Year celebrations. (Check the exact dates online, as it varies from year to year). During Chinese New Year, traffic is heavy, tourist spots crowded, and accommodation and trains very hard to come by.
If you must visit during CNY, be sure to book trains tickets 14 days in advance, and consider booking accommodation a few months before your trip. You should also know that many shops and tourist attractions will be closed during these festivities.
Budget Tips for Taiwan
Traveling in Taiwan is generally very reasonable, and I have found your money goes a lot further here than in many other Asian countries like Japan or Singapore.
Here are a few extra tips and tricks, combined with the ones above to help you save a few bucks on your Taiwan itinerary:
- Taiwan has an excellent choice of hotels and hostels, catering to all budgets and preferences. Generally, you don’t need to worry too much about booking well in advance, unless you are traveling during Chinese New Year or other special holidays. But, know that last-minute booking deals might not guarantee you the best place to stay.
- Food is relatively cheap in Taiwan, especially if you eat at night markets. Also, tipping is not required in Taiwan. Expect a 10% service fee to be already worked into your bill if you’re eating somewhere fancier. Oh and, prepare for higher prices in Taipei and overly touristy places, while eating out in the south is less expensive.
- Use a mix of public transport to help you stretch your dollars. Buses, trains, and the MRT are generally much cheaper than taxis and the high-speed rail.
That wraps up this 2-3 weeks Taiwan itinerary. Have you visited Taiwan yet? What tips or suggestions do you have for fellow travelers planning to explore Taiwan in 14 days or more? Drop your comments below.
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