Here’s the best way to explore Taiwan on a budget itinerary, without scrimping on both iconic and unique experiences!


Taiwan holds a special place in our hearts — we love the affordable shopping, delicious street food and super duper friendly locals 💖 But besides eating and shopping, there are plenty of other things to do too.

We’re talking about discovering new scenic landscapes and trying exciting activities (like standup paddle boarding or getting strapped to a giant swing 🙃). Plus, did you know you can also see sakuras in Taiwan?

Rainbow Church Heart Sculpture - Things to do in Kaohsiung

Since we covered the more laidback Eastern Taiwan on our previous trips, this time we ventured out to lesser-known places along the West Coast. So check out our nine-day budget Taiwan itinerary (incl. must-visits and hidden gems) all under a budget of S$80/day 😲

Read also: 8D Eastern Taiwan Itinerary: The Gateway to Nature’s Best Adventures (Yilan, Hualien, Taitung and Kenting)

Taiwan Itinerary Route via the High-Speed Rail

Taiwan Itinerary Train Route Map - Taiwan Itinerary

Photo credit: Taiwan High-Speed Rail

This Taiwan itinerary starts from Taipei, before working south towards Kaohsiung, stopping by several cities like Taichung, Tainan, and Chiayi along the way.

Fun fact: Taiwan’s high-speed rail system is mainly based on Japan’s Shinkansen (which explains why the trains are super punctual)!

The high-speed rail (HSR) is one of the quickest and most convenient ways to explore Taiwan’s West Coast 🚅. There are 12 main stations on the line, stretching around 350km from Nangang to Zuoying — taking only less than 2 hours to travel from Taipei to Kaohsiung.

THSR Train Arriving - Taiwan High Speed Rail

Plus, the stations are connected to the local metro, which made it easier for us to travel to certain attractions. For example, the HSR Tainan Station is located next to the Shalun metro station, which is just four stops away from attractions like Ten Drum Cultural Village.

*Pro-tip: Book your tickets online via Klook to score one-for-one tickets! Do remember to reserve your seats beforehand as trains can be quite packed during the holiday seasons.

Enter code <THETRAVELINTERNKLOOK> or click here to get 5% OFF Klook activities, usable up to 5x. New users get 10% OFF their first purchase! T&C’s apply.

Read also: Exploring Taiwan by High-Speed Rail — Guide to Maximising your THSR Pass

Budget Breakdown

8N Accommodation: S$237.30
Transport: S$130.35 (excl. flights)
Activities: S$251.30
Food & Misc: S$91.50
Total: S$710.45 (~S$80/day)
(1SGD = 23.41)

(detailed breakdown for one pax here)

Day 1: Taipei 台北

THSR from Taoyuan to Taipei: ~20mins

Tall skyscrapers, quirky museums, and lively shopping streets — Taipei is a one-stop destination for fun. Since we wanted more time out of the city, we only spent a day here but still managed to check out some unique places in Taipei.

Unique Museums

Girl in Claw Machine - Taiwan Itinerary

Taiwan has some pretty interesting museums — on our last trip, we visited its first IG Museum, Gaki Hip! In the local dialect, the name sounds like words for: “take a picture by oneself” or “selfie” — and that’s what we did 📸

There are various themed rooms inspired by the local culture such as old telephone booths, claw machines with stuffed toys, and even bubble tea. However, the museum was only a temporary stint and is no longer there. But do keep a lookout on their socials for when they do return (hopefully in the near future).

Miniature Museum - Taiwan Itinerary

Buckingham Palace. Photo credit: Klook


In the meantime, you can still visit other permanent museums in Taipei like the Astronomical Museum (learn about the mysteries of space) or even the Miniatures Museum (see the world’s iconic attractions in mini-sizes)! For other upcoming museums or exhibitions, check out Taiwan’s official tourism site!

Lunch at Hao Ji Dumpling Noodles 豪季水餃專賣店

Hao Ji Dumpling Noodle - Things to eat in Taipei

For lunch, head to Hao Ji Dumpling Noodles store for their zha jiang mian (NT$50) and hot sour soup (NT$35) near Taipei Main Station. While it was really crowded during the lunch period, the wait was worth it.

Both dishes cost less than S$4 and came with pretty generous portions — we’d say it was a value-for-money meal!

Opening hours: 10:30AM – 8PM (closed on Sun)
How to get there: Walk 8mins from Taipei Main Station (Google Maps)

Huanshan 1914 Creative Park 华山1914文化创意产业园区

Huashan 1914 Creative Park was originally a Japanese sake plant in 1914. It was later refurbished into an arts and culture space housing various exhibitions and performing arts showcases!

Back in 2023, we came across a Mickey Exhibition dedicated to the history of the OG Disney character — which showcases artworks of different styles from around 30 international artists.

Stranger Things Pop-up - Taiwan Itinerary

Photo credit: 華山1914文化創意產業園區 via Facebook

For 2024, the exhibitions lined up include Pepper Pig (till 7 Apr), Hello Kitty’s 50th Anniversary (till 7 Apr) and even a Stranger Things pop-up store (till 10 Mar)! So do check out the official social platforms for updates on new events.

Opening hours: 24hrs (shops open from 11AM – 9PM)
How to get there: Take the train to Zhongxiao Xinsheng Station and walk 7mins (Google Maps)

Taipei 101 台北101

Girl Looking at Taipei 101 - Things to do in Taipei

You could say Taipei 101 is the pride of Taiwan. After all, it was formerly the world’s tallest architecture in 2004 at 508m tall, before it was taken over by Dubai’s 828m-tall Burj Khalifa in 2010 😲.

That said, the building still holds a record for having one of the world’s fastest elevators — taking you to the top in just 37 seconds! Once at the top, there are various observation decks to take in a panoramic view of the city, including an outdoor area on the 91st floor.

Entrance fee: From ~S$25.60/pax
Opening hours: 10AM – 9PM, last entry at 8:30PM
How to get there: Take the train to Taipei 101 World Trade Center and walk 5mins (Google Maps)

Read also: 4D3N Taipei Itinerary incl. Day Trips and Lesser-Known Things To Eat-See-Do

Day 2: Jiufen 九份, Shifen 十分, Yehliu 野柳

Train along Shifen Old Street - Taiwan Itinerary

Jiufen and Shifen are one of our favourite day trips from Taipei — roaming along their traditional old streets and lighting up sky lanterns along the railway are just some of the iconic experiences on most Taiwan itineraries.

Since these cities can be covered in half a day, we decided to take a short detour to Yehliu first as it’s in the area and along the way from Taipei too!

Yehliu 野柳

Yehliu Geopark Rocks - Taiwan Itinerary

First stop, Yehliu Geopark — a 1.7km long cape that’s home to several rock formations formed by natural erosion. The area is separated into three sections, each housing its own rock star (heh).

Queen's Head at Yehliu Geopark - Things to do in Yehliu

Section one is known for its diverse mushroom-shaped and candle rocks. Section two includes famous rocks like Fairy’s Shoe and the Queen’s Head — which we thought really resembled the late Queen Elizabeth. Section three is an important ecological conservation area of the park featuring sea-eroded caves and pearl rock.

Overall, 1 hour was enough to cover the whole park but we’d recommend giving an extra hour to fully soak in nature’s creations at a leisurely pace.

Entrance fee: ~S$5/pax 
Opening hours: 8AM – 5PM
How to get there:
 45min drive from Taipei 101 (Google Maps)

Jiufen 九份

Woman walking along Jiufen Old Street - Taiwan Itinerary

Jiufen Old Street is like going to your grandma’s house stocked with food — I know, weird comparison, but there are just so many different food stalls and tea houses along the narrow alleyway, it was hard not to stop and try everything we saw. If you’re short on time, here are our top picks:

A-Zhu Peanut Ice Cream Roll - Things to eat in Jiufen

Tasty braised pork rice (NT$40) from Zhang Ji Traditional Fishballs and A-Zhu Peanut Ice Cream Roll (NT$50) — which gave us two generous scoops of peanut ice cream wrapped in a thin crepe. Plus a bowl of taro ball soup (NT$40) from Lai Ah Po Taro Balls, which warmed us up on a rainy day.

Opening hours: 8AM – 7PM (Mon – Thu), 8AM – 10PM (Fri – Sun)
How to get there:
 Take Bus 1062 from Ruifang Train Station and alight at Jiufen Old Street (3 stops) (Google Maps)

Shifen 十分

Shifen Waterfall View - Taiwan Itinerary

Before making our last stop of the day at Shifen Old Street, we sidetracked a little to the nearby Shifen Waterfall. The 40m waterfall is dubbed Taiwan’s own Niagara Falls, and we could clearly see why.

*Pro-tip: Check the weather forecast before going and you might even catch a rainbow here on sunny days!

Girls Lighting Sky Lanterns - Things to do in Shifen

Setting off sky lanterns at Shifen Old Street is one of the most iconic experiences in Taiwan. Write your wishes on the paper lanterns, light them up, and watch them float up to the skies hoping the heavens answer it — ours was definitely to travel more 🤞🏻

Shifen Waterfall
Entrance fee:
Opening hours: 9AM – 5PM (Oct – May, last entry at 4:30PM), 9AM – 6PM (Jun – Sep, last entry at 5:30PM)
How to get there:
 Walk 12mins from Shifen Station (Google Maps)

Shifen Old Street
Opening hours:
How to get there: Walk 3mins from Shifen Station (Google Maps)

Read also: Taipei Day Trip: Shifen & Jiufen Guide To All The Must-Eat-See-Dos

Day 3: Keelung 基隆

View from Khoo Tsu Old Mansion - Taiwan Itinerary

Keelung may not be as well known as Jiufen and Shifen, but it has its own natural charm with beautiful ancient forts, temples, and colourful photo spots.

Heping Island Park 和平島海濱公園

Scenery of Heping Island Park - Taiwan Itinerary

Our day started with a trip to Heping Island Park or Peace Island Park. The small island felt like a weekend getaway with cabin houses, a seaside pool, and even a beach to relax at.

Views at Heping Island Park Lookout Point- Things to do in Keelung

Feeling a little more adventurous, we opted for a 30-minute (round-trip) hike on the Huanshan trail to Hepingdao Lookout Point. It was a relatively easy climb and the view overlooking the sea was just majestic.

Entrance fee: ~S$5/pax
Opening hours: 8AM – 6PM
How to get there: 17min drive from Keelung City (Google Maps)

Khoo Tsu-Song Old Mansion 許梓桑基隆古厝

Girl at Khoo Tsu-Song Old Mansion - Taiwan Itinerary

Back on the mainland, an iconic historical site we visited was the Khoo Tsu Old Mansion — a 93-year-old building from the Japanese colonial era. The mansion was named after its owner, a local who was a prominent figure in politics and civic matters in the past.

Although abandoned and covered in vines, it didn’t feel spooky at all but gave off a tranquil atmosphere among nature.

Entrance fee: Free
Opening hours: 24hrs
How to get there: Walk 14mins from Keelung Station (Google Maps)

Xiandongyan (Fairy Cave) Zuisheng Temple 仙洞巖最勝寺

Xianyandong Fairy Cave - Taipei Itinerary

What makes Xiandongyan Zuisheng Temple temple special compared to other temples is that it’s built in a natural sea cave — one of the biggest in Keelung at over 80m long!

Here’s some background: The caves were once a natural refuge for local fishermen during bad weather but were converted to a Buddhist temple during the Japanese colonial period.

Girl at Fairy Cave Path - Taiwan Itinerary

While exploring, we came across a narrow path on the left of the entrance leading to a Buddhist shrine. But be mindful, the path is only wide enough for one person and we had to squeeze through to pass.

Entrance fee: Free
Opening hours: 8:30AM – 4PM
How to get there: Take Bus 301 from Minzhi Village Activity Center bus stop and alight at Xiandongyan, Foshoudong (10 stops) (Google Maps)

Zhengbin Port Colour Houses 正滨渔港

group Photo at Zhengbin Port Colour Houses - Taipei Itinerary

Google “Keelung” and one of the first few images you’ll see are the 16 vibrantly coloured houses at Zhengbin Port!

It was once the largest fishing port in Taiwan back in 1934 and was later re-developed by the local government. After colouring the building facades and introducing new cafes and restaurants by the sea, this place is now one of the most popular attractions in Keelung.

Guess we’ll now be contributing these photos to Google, including a 5-star review 💫.

Entrance fee: Free
Opening hours: 24hrs
Address: Take Bus 101 (Xiangfeng St/Zhongzheng Rd) from Keelung City Bus Station and alight at Heping Bridge, Indigenous Assembly Hall (21 stops) (Google Maps)

Read also: 5D4N Taiwan Itinerary Under S$400 — Scenic Roadtrip Uncovering Hidden Gems in Taipei and Yilan

Day 4: Taichung 台中

THSR from Taipei to Taichung: ~20mins

Girl at Wele Cherry Blossom Park - Taiwan Itinerary

Did you know? Taichung is Taiwan’s second-largest city and is the birthplace of many delicious Taiwanese treats like sun cakes and bubble tea! It’s also a great base to head out for day trips to other cities like Taian and Nantou.

Sun Cake Museum 太阳饼博物馆

Sun Cake Museum Box - Taiwan Itinerary

I was today years old when I learnt that the famous Taiwanese delicacy tai yang bing (太阳饼) or sun cakes originated from Taichung 🤯. For those who’re unfamiliar, it’s a buttery and flaky pastry with a maltose filling.

Girls Making Sun Cakes - Things to do in Taipei

Learn about sun cakes at the Sun Cake Museum but what we’re really here for is the sun cake-making workshop! We joined a 1-hour session with a professional chef to create six freshly baked sun cakes.

Not to boast but ours turned out really well, being sweet on the inside and crispy on the outside.

Entrance fee: Free
Cost of workshop: NT$250/pax (~S$10.70)
Opening hours: 9AM – 5:30PM
How to get there: Walk 8mins from Taichung Station (Google Maps)

Desserts at Chun Shui Tang 春水堂 and Miyahara 宮原眼科

Man Holding Bubble Tea - Things to eat in Taipei

Apart from innovating sun cakes, Taichung is also where my favourite drink was created. Dating back to the 1980s, a local tea shop named Chun Shui Tang 春水堂 is said to be the inventor of bubble tea.

After having been there though, we found it to be slightly overpriced at NT$90 for a small cup of pearl milk tea. But hey, never forget your roots, so it’s still worth a try to taste how it all began.

Girl Eating Ice Cream - Things to eat in Taichung

Miyahara’s ice cream is another dessert we highly recommend. There are over 50 flavours, including 18 different types of chocolate ice cream. Some interesting flavours we got were the Alishan osmanthus oolong, and caramel apple — which tastes just like an apple pie.

Chun Shui Tang (Siwei Original Store)
Cost: From NT$90/cup (~S$4)
Opening hours: 8AM – 10PM
How to get there: Walk 14mins from Taichung Station (Google Maps)

From NT$90/scoop (~S$4)
Opening hours: 10AM – 9PM
How to get there: Walk 4mins from Taichung Station (Google Maps)

Yizhong Night Market 中夜市

Food Shop at Yizhong Night Market - Taiwan Itinerary

There are plenty of night markets in Taichung but Yizhong Night Market is the one to visit. It’s open daily, quite spread out, and not too crowded. Most importantly, we found the best bubble tea here (sorry Chun Shui Tang).

Girl Drinking Bubble Tea - Things to eat in Taipei

The milk tea (NT$40) from Black Tea Bus is really sweet and fragrant, and topped with mini pearls! Other local delicacies here are the usual chicken cutlet, papaya milk, and fried pancakes with interesting fillings like pork with curry.

Opening hours: 12PM – 10:30PM (Weekdays), 12PM – 11PM (Weekends)
How to get there: Take Bus 25 from Taichung Station (Minzu Rd. Intersection) and alight at Chung Hsing Hall (4 stops). Walk 3mins (Google Maps)

Bonus: Day Trip to Taian 泰安

Hu yan shan taiwan hidden gem

If you have extra time to spare, take a day trip to Taian — a mountain indigenous town located in Miaoli County.

It’s only 30 minutes from Taichung by train and is famous for its Huoyan Shan hike which can take up to 3 hours (round-trip). The incline is steep and may not be an easy hike for beginners but we assure you, the views at the top are worth it 💯.

*Note: Check the train/bus timings to Huoyan Shan Trailhead regularly on Google maps as they are infrequent.

Come here during spring (between Feb – Apr) to catch the beautiful pink blooms! Some places we recommend are Wele Cherry Blossom Park and outside the Taian Police Station — with street vendors selling food like scallion pancakes and Taiwanese sausages.

*Pro-tip: Check Google reviews regularly to see if flowers are still in bloom in these areas.

Read also: The Ultimate THSR Taiwan Food Guide: 25 Must-eats in Taipei, Taichung, Tainan, and Kaohsiung

Day 5: Nantou 南投

Fun fact: Nantou is Taiwan’s only non-coastal county but ironically, one of the country’s most beautiful lakes is found here!

Sun Moon Lake 日月潭

View of Sun Moon Lake Scenery - Things to do in Nantou

Photo credit: @grave_before_shave_ via Instagram

Surrounded by gorgeous mountains, Sun Moon Lake is one of the most scenic landscapes in Taiwan. It’s a popular day trip from Taichung, being only 2 hours away by bus.

To fully revel in its beauty, we went for a 1-hour Stand Up Paddling experience. Even without an instructor, it was surprisingly beginner-friendly and no one ended up falling in the water 🤭 .

Boy Paddling in Sun Moon Lake - Things to do in Nantou

Something else we learnt is that it’s easier to stand up when your board is moving — probably due to calm lake waters! If you’re not too confident, it’s also nice to just sit and paddle while taking in the views.

Other attractions to explore in the area (if there’s time), include Wenwu Temple, Yidashao Lakeside Trail, Riyuetanlan Station and Ci’en Pagoda.

*Pro-tip: Enter code <THETRAVELINTERNKLOOK> or click here to get 5% OFF Klook activities, usable up to 5x. New users get 10% OFF their first purchase! T&C’s apply.

Cost: ~S$29.50/pax for 1hr
Timing slots: 9AM – 4PM (hourly session)
How to get there: Various buses available from THSR Taichung Station to Sun Moon Lake (Google Maps)

Formosan Aboriginal Cultural Village 九族文化村

Girl at Formosan Aboriginal Village - Things to do in Nantou

As the Stand Up Paddling experience was near the Sun Moon Lake ropeway, we hopped on it to get to Formosan Aboriginal Culture Village.

The village has a section dedicated to replicas of aboriginal villages which you can enter and explore, but we definitely didn’t expect a full-on amusement park there too!

Rides at Formosan Cultural Village - Taiwan Itinerary

We took the Gold Mine Adventure — a water ride with two decent drops, and Maya Adventure — a rollercoaster that drops from a height of 11 stories.

If you are up for the challenge (unlike us), the toughest one here is the UFO Gyro Drop — hailed as the highest free-fall drop tower in Taiwan at 85m 😱.

Entrance fee: From ~S$30/pax (incl. Sun Moon Lake Ropeway ticket)
Opening hours: 9:30AM – 5PM
How to get there: Take the ropeway from Sun Moon Lake to Formosan Aboriginal Cultural Village (Google Maps)

*Note: The last bus from the village departs at 4:45PM but do leave earlier as drivers may depart early.

Day 6: Tainan 台南

THSR from Taichung to Tainan: ~55mins

Chihkan Tower Front Yard - Taiwan Itinerary

Established in 1661, Tainan is the oldest city in Taiwan with many historic temples, artsy streets, and unique villages.

We also chose to set up base here for the last few days of our Taiwan itinerary as it’s less than 30mins away by train to cities like Chiayi and Kaoshiung!

Chihkan Tower 赤嵌樓

Stone Tortoise Statue - Things to do in Tainan

With more than 300 years of history, Chihkan Tower is the oldest building in the West Central District and one of Tainan’s most famous landmarks.

It was formerly built in 1653 as a fort by the Dutch, and now it’s a national historic site comprising Haisheng Temple (海神廟), Wengchang Pavilion (文昌閣) and Penghu College (蓬壺書院).

Besides the beautiful traditional architecture, what caught our eye were the nine imperial steles carried by stone bixi — a mythical half-dragon, half-tortoise creature.

Entrance fee: ~S$3/pax
Opening hours: 8:30AM – 9:30PM
How to get there: Walk 15mins from Tainan Station (Google Maps)

Hai’an Road Art Street 海安路藝術街 and Snail Alley 蜗牛巷

People Walking Across Street - Taiwan Itinerary

At first glance, Hai’an Road might seem a little run-down and covered in graffiti. But as we walked around, we realised it was just a huge public art exhibition.

Some of our favourite artworks were the 3D pedestrian crossing — where we couldn’t resist recreating that iconic Beatle photo, and the rainbow blocks sculpture — which symbolises the diversity of gender and family 🏳️‍🌈.

Snail Alley Murals - Things to do in Tainan

Another lesser-known art street is Snail Alley, just a 10-minute walk away. Its name was based on a fictional alley in a novel by Ye Shitao, a literary writer in Taiwan who used to live in the area.

Snails were his metaphor for taking life slow and steady, so take your time while strolling around the residential area looking for snail-themed decors such as murals, artwork and even signposts 🐌

Hai’an Road Art Street
Opening hours: 24hrs
Address: Walk 20mins from Tainan Station (Google Maps)

Snail Alley
Opening hours: 24hrs
Address: Walk 10mins from Hai’an Road (Google Maps)

Ten Drum Cultural Village 十鼓仁糖文創園區

People Having Drum Lesson - Things to do in Tainan

After roaming the streets for photo-ops, we visited Ten Drum Cultural Village — a former sugar refinery during the Japanese colonial period, now converted into Asia’s first drumming-themed international art village 🥁.

Ten Drum Performance Theatre - Taiwan Itinerary

Photo credit: Tourism Bureau of Tainan City Government

Our main highlight here was the 45-minute music performance by Ten Drum, an internationally acclaimed Taiwanese percussion group. Besides drums, the group also used other instruments like flute and cymbals to create an amazing medley.

*Note: There are only two musical performances in the day, at 11AM and 3PM.

People on Sky Swing - Taiwan Itinerary

But the village isn’t just about drums, it’s also home to various thrilling activities and unique cafes. We were surprised to find fun attractions here like a seven-storey free-fall drop, zipline, sky swing, and even a 360VR experience.

Girl at Magic Space Cafe - Taiwan Itinerary

As someone laidback though, I preferred chilling in the Magical Space Cafe — which looked straight out of a Harry Potter movie with spellbooks floating in the air and “magic potions” for sale.

Entrance fee: S$18/pax
Opening hours: 10AM – 8:20PM (Weekdays), 9:30AM – 8:20PM (Weekends)
How to get there: Take the train to Bao’an Station and walk 15mins (Google Maps)

Read also: 7 Underrated Things To Do in Tainan

Day 7: Chiayi 嘉義, Alishan 阿里山

THSR from Tainan to Chiayi: ~20mins

Girl Hiking at Alishan - Taiwan Itinerary

Compared to the larger Taichung and Tainan cities, Chiayi is often overlooked. But we say it’s worth a day trip out for its star attraction — the Alishan National Forest Recreation Area — plus other hidden gems too.

Alishan Forest Recreation Area 阿里山國家森林遊樂區

Boy at Sisters Pond Alishan - Taiwan Itinerary

Contrary to popular belief, Alishan is not a mountain. Rather, it’s an entire mountainous area covering more than 1,400 hectares! To us, it looks straight out of a fairy tale with beautiful lakes surrounded by a misty forest.

It can take up to 3 – 4 hours (round-trip) to hike from Alishan Railway Station, but for people who are bad at hikes (like me), here’s our cheat code to cut that time by half — without missing out on iconic landmarks.

Railway Train Ticket - Taiwan Itinerary

Take the train from Alishan Railway Station to Zhaoping Station and go on a leisurely stroll towards Shenmu Station before taking the train back down to Alishan Station.

Girl Looking at Cherry Blossoms - Taiwan Itinerary

Overall, we managed to cover attractions like the Sisters Pond, Magnolia Garden, and Shouzhen Temple (currently under renovation) in a span of 2 hours, taking our time snapping photos. We were even treated to a few pink blooms during the hike — which really made all the walking worth it.

*Pro-tip: Travelling out of the city into the mountainous region can be a bit of a hassle, so we recommend joining a day tour instead! Plus, lunch is provided too.

Cost: ~S$85/pax (for 1 day tour)
Tour timing: 8:15AM – 6:30PM
Meeting point: THSR Chiayi Station (Google Maps)

Hinoki Village 檜意森活村

Hinoki Village Garden - Taiwan Itinerary

After returning to Chiayi from Alishan, our guide also brought us to Hinoki Village — a cultural village comprising 28 Japanese-style buildings.

Being a self-proclaimed Japan otaku (nerd), I was really excited to see a replica of the traditional houses and zen gardens in Japan here. There were even various shops selling Japanese souvenirs and food like gold-leaf ice cream!

Girl in Yukata - Things to do in Chiayi

Mochiron (of course), I had to rent a yukata (NT$550 for 2 hours) to truly immerse in the Japanese culture but mostly take pretty photos while exploring the village.

*Pro-tip: Head to Hinoki Village early as most shops close by 6PM.

Opening hours: 10AM – 6PM
How to get there: 30min drive from THSR Chiayi Station (Google Maps)

Dinner at San He 三禾

Braised Pork Rice - Taiwan Itinerary

Tired and hungry after a long day of walking, we asked our guide for dinner recommendations and he was kind enough to drive us to a local restaurant called San He.

We ordered the braised pork rice (NT$35) and turkey chicken rice (NT$35) to try, and the former was possibly one of the best I’ve had — literally melt-in-your-mouth soft 😋. Other add-on side dishes were available, such as braised egg, seaweed soup, miso soup, and vegetables.

Opening hours: 10AM – 7PM (closed on Thu)
How to get there: Walk 12mins from Hinoki Village (Google Maps)

Day 8 – 9: Kaohsiung 高雄

THSR from Tainan to Kaohsiung (Zuoying): ~15mins

Kaohsiung City Landscape - Taiwan Itinerary

On the last leg of our trip, we headed to Kaohsiung — home to several attractions such as the Dragon and Tiger Pagodas, as well as The Pier2 Art Center.

But since we visited those on our previous trip there, we wanted to explore new places and try new experiences.

Cijin Island 旗津島

Seashell Museum at Cijin Island - Taiwan Itinerary

Our first stop in Kaohsiung was out of the city and on a quaint little island named Cijin. It’s known for several iconic photo spots like the Kaohsiung Lighthouse, Starlight Tunnel, Cijin Shell House, and Rainbow Church.

After browsing through many IG-worthy pictures on the Internet, we were really looking forward to visiting Cijin Island and it didn’t disappoint — I mean just look at this 👇

Girl at Rainbow Church Heart Building - Taiwan Itinerary

My personal favourite was this hidden spot along the beach that resembled a mini Santorini!

Girl at mini Santorini - Things to do in Kaohsiung

*Pro-tip: Rent an electric bike (~NT$600/hr for a 4-seater bike) to save time and cover these spots around the island under 2 hours!

How to get there: Hop on a 5min ferry ride to Cijin Island from Gushan Ferry Pier (Google Maps)

Glory Pier 光榮碼頭

Glory Pier Horizon - Taiwan Itinerary

Photo credit: Kaohsiung Travel

Previously known as Pier 13, Glory Pier is located at the river mouth of Love River in Kaohsiung.

It used to be an important transport hub to the island areas of Kinmen and Matsu but now it’s a tourism and leisure attraction with a music centre — complete with three concert halls, an art gallery, and even a library!

Most people might also recognise a big yellow ducky at the pier, which is set to return to Love River Bay for a month from 27 Jan to 25 Feb 2024, after being MIA in 2023 🥲🦆

Opening hours: 24hrs
How to get there: Take the Kaohsiung Light Rail to Glory Pier Station and walk 3mins (Google Maps)

Liuhe Night Market 六合夜市

Taiwanese Sausage - Things to Eat in Kaohsiung

In true local fashion, we ended our last night in Taiwan by visiting a night market!

Since Ruifeng Night Market was closed on the day we were in Kaohsiung, we went to Liuhe Night Market instead. It may be smaller but it’s still packed with lots of delicious local food.

We tried the Taiwanese hot dog (NT$50) — a sausage stuffed into a larger sausage made of pork intestine casing filled with sticky rice, topped with peanuts and shallots. Wow, that was a mouthful, literally.

Girl Holding Fried Chicken - Things to eat in Kaohsiung

Of course, we also had the Taiwanese huge fried chicken which was so good that someone said and I quote: “I could make love to it”. Disclaimer: I swear it’s not me.

Opening hours: 6PM till late
How to get there: Walk 8mins from Formosa Boulevard Station (Google Maps)

Breakfast at Good Morning 早安美芝城 

Sandwiches and Burgers - Things to Eat in Kaohsiung

Serving up fresh toast, croissants, and burgers, Good Morning breakfast place was an unintended gem while walking around Kaohsiung city.

Some of the flavours were interesting, including a signature toast with a pork patty (NT$40) and a beef burger with peanut sauce (NT$55) — the burger actually tasted pretty good, without the peanut taste being too overpowering.

Opening hours: 6AM – 11:30AM
How to get there: Walk 5mins from Light Rail Commerce and Trade Park Station (Google Maps)

i-Ride Kaohsiung (5D Visual Flying Theater)

Girls Queuing for I-Ride Kaohsiung - Taiwan Itinerary

Before heading off to the airport, we squeezed in one last activity to explore all of Taiwan (in just 5 minutes) — i-Ride Kaohsiung!

It’s a 360° visual flying theatre where we “soared” over mountains, valleys, and cities in Taiwan. The 5D elements also took us by surprise with sprays of water and blasts of wind when diving into the sea or flying into the sky.

Hand Holding i-Ride Kaohsiung Photo - Things to do in Kaohsiung

To commemorate our adventure, we even snagged a photo souvenir for NT$100.

Cost: From ~S$16/pax
Opening hours: 9:30AM – 5PM (Wed – Sun), closed on Mon and Tue
How to get there: Take the Kaohsiung Light Rail to Software Technology Park Station and walk 5mins (Google Maps)

Read also: Top 7 things to do in and around Kaohsiung — Gateway to Taiwan’s laid back South

Where to Stay in Taiwan

As we were travelling down from Taipei to Kaohsiung, we based ourselves in three main locations — Taipei (Day 1 – 3), Taichung (Day 4 – 5) and Tainan (Day 6 – 9). So it was easier for us to take day trips to nearby regions without the hassle of constantly moving around.

Day 1 – 3: Finders Hotel (from ~S$37.30/night)

Bed in Finders Hotel - Where to stay in Taiwan

Our crib in Taipei was Finders Hotel — while the rooms weren’t as big as we thought, it was still pretty cosy and comfortable.

Finders Hotel Lobby Fooseball - Where to Stay in Taiwan

Photo credit: Klook

We also loved hanging out in the lobby to play darts and foosball, as well as grab free food like cup noodles, tea and biscuits whenever we got hungry 😋.

The hotel is conveniently located near attractions like Taipei 228 Memorial Park and National Taiwan Museum too!

Cost: From ~S$37.30/night (for 1 pax)
Address: No. 86, Section 1, Chongqing S Rd, Zhongzheng District, Taipei, Taiwan 100 (Google Maps)

Day 4 – 5: Green Hotel – Midori (from ~S$33.60/night)

Green Hotel Midori - Where to Stay in Taiwan

Not gonna lie, Green Hotel – Midori was probably the best accommodation we stayed at on this trip. It’s clean and spacious, and here’s the best feature — the toilets are fitted with a bidet!

What’s more, it’s situated in a mall called ASEAN Square with various food options like Vietnamese and even Indonesian cuisine. It’s also a 5-minute walk from Taichung station and nearby places like the Sun Cake Museum, Miyahara restaurant, and Taroko Mall.

Cost: From ~S$33.60/night (for 1 pax)
Address: 12F, No. 123, Luchuan W. Street, Central District, Taichung, Taiwan 400 (Google Maps)

Day 6 – 9: House Inn House (from ~S$19/night)

Bed at House Inn House - Where to Stay Taiwan

House Inn House may not be a fancy five-star hotel, but each room is really cosy with its own unique design — ours was retro-themed with a comfy couch and had prop items like a film light stand and even a standing karaoke mic.

It’s also just a 10-minute walk to Tainan station, which worked great for us since we planned to head out from Tainan and explore nearby cities like Chiayi and Kaohsiung!

Plus, there are also plenty of local clothing shops and fast food options nearby such as KFC and McDonald’s for a quick bite 😉

Cost: From ~S$19/night (for 1 pax)
Address: No. 33, Lane 108, Weimin Street, West Central District, Tainan, Taiwan 700 (Google Maps)

Tips for Planning Your Taiwan Itinerary

Photo with Friends - Taiwan Itinerary

Having mostly been to Taipei and its surrounds, it was refreshing to explore other regions and hidden gems in Taiwan!

I’ve fallen in love with newly discovered cities along the West Coast like Tainan and Kaohsiung for their picture-worthy spots, and was even lucky to catch some pink blossoms in areas like Alishan during spring!

People Walking Along Cherry Blossom Park - Taiwan Itinerary

Before you go, here are some tips for your future Taiwan itinerary:

1) Bring sufficient cash: not all shops accept cards, especially at local night markets.

2) Download useful apps like:
Taiwan Railways Administration — to check the train schedule
Uber — there’s no Grab
Google Translate — to ask locals for directions 📱

3) Pre-book travel essentials: travel insurance, SIM card and EasyCard (reloadable transport card) for a hassle-free trip!

4) Hunt for online deals: Klook has promotions like one-for-one Taiwan high speed rail tickets and the Klook Pass Taipei, which gives you entry for up to six attractions (like Taipei 101 Observatory and Jiufen Day tour) at a discounted price!

*Pro-tip: Enter code <THETRAVELINTERNKLOOK> or click here to get 5% OFF Klook activities, usable up to 5x. New users get 10% OFF their first purchase! T&C’s apply.

Read also: 25 Unique Things To Do In Taiwan Besides Visiting Night Markets

First published: 14 Mar 2023

Did we miss any other interesting places in this Taiwan itinerary? Share with us in the comments below!

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  1. Hi! Thank you for these comprehensive information! But if there are information about how long it takes from your destination to the next, that will great! And how long did you stay at each destination.


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