Day Trips Around Taipei
The secret is finally out: tourists are discovering that Taiwan is an island of quite extraordinary natural beauty. Taipei is a food and shopping haven on its own, but be sure to make time for at least a couple of the countless little-known gems that lie scattered around the city.
There are enough enchanting spots to keep a weekend explorer going. Here’s a personal list of places – all feasible day trips from Taipei – that may well prove to leave lasting memories.
A steamy Gateway in Beitou
Beitou is a mountainous district in the north of Taipei City, Taiwan. It’s known for its hot springs and natural green spaces.
Getting There: Take the train from Taipei City and alight at Xinbeitou station. The Journey is 30 minues long and costs 2 USD. Walking is the best way to get around Beitou
Beitou Outdoor Public Hot Springs:
Address: No. 6, Beitou District, Zhongshan Road, Taipei City 112
Opening hours: Mon – Sun: 5.30AM – 7.30AM, 8.00AM – 10.00AM, 10.30AM – 1.00PM, 1.30PM – 4.00PM, 4.30PM – 7.00PM, 7.30PM – 10.00PM
One of the more popular public baths. In here, you can choose between hot mineral-water springs at four different temperatures, in four pools. These are adjusted according to varying winter and summer climatic conditions too.
Thermal Valley (Hell Valley)
Address: Zhongshan Road, Beitou District, Taiwan 112
Opening hours: Tues – Sun: 9.00AM – 5.00PM
This volcanic crater has been heralded as one of Taiwan’s eight natural beauties due to the rare green sulphur that creates almost magical green waters. The natural sulphuric water is so uncommon that it can only be found in two places, Beitou and Akita, Japan, so be sure not to pass up on this! Its waters can reach up to boiling point (100°C), making it unsuitable for bathing
Hot Spring resorts in Beitou
If you prefer to enjoy your hot spring with more privacy, we recommend you to approach one of the many hotels in Beitou. Most hotels in Beitou offer private hot spring packages that differ in time, services offered and price – you will be spoilt for choice.
The Golden Hot Spring Hotel offers several private hot spring packages that include:
- Private Hot Spring Bath (only includes a room with hot spring bath as per picture above): SGD$42 (1 hour) / SGD$50 (1.5 hours)
- Private Hot Spring Bath – Larger Bath House: SGD$50 (1 hour) / SGD$58 (1.5 hours)
What to Eat:
Man Lai Hot Spring Ramen
The best, yet simplest thing on the menu is the hot spring egg,which traditionally is a soft boiled egg prepared using hot spring water. The egg is topped with shredded seaweed and a sauce. 1 egg is USD $0.80. Another popular item is the Miso Ramen with braised pork, which is a little different from the original Japanese version, and is literally Ramen noodles in miso soup. 1 bowl is USD$4.
2. The Best Night Market Shopping in Keelung
Keelung is a vibrant yet small port city and one of the most important trade centers in Taiwan. Situated along the north coast of Taiwan, Keelung enjoys a refreshing sea breeze and plenty of fresh seafood!
Where to Go:
Keelung Islet is a beautiful volcanic island surrounded by cliffs, and there is almost no plain on it. Walks and pavilions are the main recreational facilities on the island. Along the wooden walks, various plants indigenous to Taiwan will unfold before the eyes of visitors, displaying the beauty of nature. For instance, Formosa lily blossoms will cover the entire island in the spring.
To get there: Take the boat to Keelung Islet from port across the train station. Each Boat ticket costs USD$13.
Getting there: take the Keelung bus in Keelung station to Yeliu.
The rock landscape of Yehliu Geopark is one of most famous wonders in the world. The costal line is stretching in a direction vertical to the layer and the structure line; besides, the influences caused by wave attack, rock weathering, earth movement and crustal movement all contribute to the formation of such a rare and stunning geological landscape.
Yehliu Geopark is home to a number of unique geological formations including the iconic “Queen’s Head”. Besides the Queen’s Head, other remarkable formations include Sea Candles , Fairy Shoe, Ginger Rocks, Elephant Rock, Ice Cream Rock, Kissing Rock, and Princess’ Head.
Kanziding Fish Market
Kanziding Fish Market is the oldest continuously operated and largest fishery distribution center in Northern Taiwan. The market is open seven days a week from 3AM-7AM right downtown.
What to Eat:
Keelung Night Market
When you’re stomach starts growling after all the uphill climbing, there’s only one place to go; the Keelung Night Market. This market is well organized, clean and excellent value with an abundance of fresh seafood, local snacks and Taiwanese specialties on offer.
Make sure to try baked crab and fish ball soup, two classic favorites in Keelung. Bubble tea is a very popular drink in Keelung and is widely available across the city.
3. Discovering the Aboriginal Culture: Wulai
Wulai, is an aborigional tribe that closest to Taipeiand is famous for hot springs and the Atayal aboriginal culture.
- Take the Taipei metro (MRT) to Xindian Station (新店站).
- Upon exiting the station, there should be a tourist centre on the right. Just behind the tourist centre is a bus stop.
- Queue for the bus 849 – the bus comes every 10 to 15 minutes.
Take all the way till the end (about 40 minutes ride) and bus fare costs NT$15.
Where To Go:
To get to Wulai Waterfall:
Take a little train (USD$1.60 per person) that brings you 1.5km up the valley. Take a stroll on the Lover’s Path– total walking distance from the bus terminal to the waterfall is about 2km.
Wulai Old Street
Each shop in the old street is rich in aboriginal flavor, whether it is the delicious cuisine or handicrafts, each are unique in their own respective ways. These factors also give the entire street a one-of-a-kind atmosphere. When the peak season arrives for bathing in hot springs or admiring cherry blossoms, the Old Street becomes a boisterous playground filled with people and noise.
Wulai Hot Springs
Wulai Hot Spring’s is deeply loved by both urban jetsetters and visitors alike. The water is weak-acid-carbonic and relatively comfortable to bathe in, possessing beautifying and gastrointestinal healing effects.
What To Eat:
Small eateries in Wulai Old Street
The Old Street is filled with the fragrance of hot spring corn, mountain boar, millet sausages, hot spring eggs, bamboo rice and other mouthwatering eats.
Our favourite: Mua-ji
Here in Wulai, the mua-ji is grilled to make it hot, then coat it in some sweet sauce before finishing it off with a generous sprinkle of finely chopped peanuts (USD$1). A delicious and sticky snack to end the day.
4. Vertical Escape at Pingxi
One of the easiest day-trips to do from Taipei is a visit to the Pingxi District in the northeast of Taiwan. Known for its natural beauty and must-see events, such as the famous annual Sky Lantern Festival, the towns of Pingxi and Shifen make for great pit stops during a tour of Taiwan, or as a quick visit from Taipei City.
Getting to the Pingxi District is easy, with trains running several times a day from Taipei City. You can get to either Pingxi or Shifen town via the same line from Ruifang. The cost of transport is USD $1.65.
Where to Go:
Location: Directly in Shifen
Pingxi Old Street
Address: Pingxi Old Street, Pingxi District, New Taipei City
The Pingxi Old Street has an old-world atmosphere. Along both sides of the railway on the slanted hillside are traditional houses untouched by modernity. Nearby business are traditional grocery shops, drink stalls and fruit shops. You can see the local residents’ humble life.
Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival
Address: Shifen Old Street
The Sky Lantern Festival is the event of the year in Pingxi, as hundreds of tourists travel from far and wide to witness the release of the beautiful Chinese lanterns into the night sky. Tradition dictates that you write a New Year wish on the lantern before setting it off into the sky. This New Years Celebration attracts huge crowds and is a fantastic spectacle, as thousands of glowing lanterns gently float into the sky.
The Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival takes place every year during the Chinese New Year.
If you like hiking, you can have some some hiking trails to Xiaozi mountain at Pingxi to see the special terrain scenery.
There’s perhaps no more exciting walk within day-trip distance of downtown Taipei than Mt. Xiaozi (Filial Son Mountain). This seemingly inaccessible rock can be scaled by walking up steep flights of steps.
What to Eat:
PIngxi Old street
is filled with food shops and their aroma. A couple of shops sell barbecued sausages and boast long queues. There is also a stall selling Ice cream with peanut shavings wrapped in popiah skin which costs USD$1.
5. Golden Mining Towns: Jiufen and Jinguashi
Jiufen and Jinguashi used to be gold mining towns. The mine and town that miners live is now degenerated into a place for people to experience the old life in the past that attract a lot of visitors from all over the world.
From Taipei, take the train north to Ruifang Station. After exiting the station, cross the street to the bus stop and board the Keelung Transit bus towards Jiufen. From here, the bus trip takes roughly 15 minutes, and the fare is USD$0.65.
Where to go:
Jiufen Old Street
At the Old Street, you’ll find countless shops and restaurants overflowing with rich, fragrant smells. The diverse array of handicraft stalls and old-style grocery stores, bed and breakfast guesthouses and teahouses are filled with an air of nostalgia in the festive atmosphere.
Jinguashi Gold Museum
Address: No.8, Jinguang Rd., Ruifang District, New Taipei City, Taiwan
Opening hours: Monday to Friday 920am – 5pm, Weekends 930am – 6pm
Jingushi Gold Museum is the first of its kind in Taiwan – The main building includes the Museum of Gold, the Environmental Building, the Crown Prince Chalet, Benshan Fifth Tunnel, and Japanese-Style Residences.
Address: 1.2km away from Suinandong on the Jinsui Highway, Ruifang District, New Taipei City
Located off the Jinguashi-Shuinandong Highway near the Gold Ecological Park, the water from the Golden Waterfall has a yellow hue from the copper and iron deposits it picks up seeping through Jinguashi’s old mines. The insoluble minerals then produce riverbed rocks that are yellowish-brown in color, creating this unique sight. As the water is heavily laden with metals, it is toxic so please do not dip your hands in. One thing for sure – you will not turn into Ironman.
Address: Near Golden Waterfall
Approximately 580 meters high, Teapot Mountain is shaped like a handleless teapot, giving it its name.
What to Eat:
Grandma Lai’s Taro Ball Shop
This is the ancestor of Jiufen’s taro ball dessert shops, and many tourists make sure that this shop is the first stop of their journey. In the early days, The shop’s taro balls use an entire freshly picked taro that is finely pureed before wrapped tightly in flour, thus maintaining the natural sweetness of the taro. Sink your teeth into the soft and doughy dessert and taste the fresh sweetness of taro.
Wu Di ‘Flower Lady’ Taiwanese Sausage
This stall may be known more of its boss, a ‘flower lady’ with a big pink flower in her hair and plastic specs, who welcomes you to take a photo of her. Her Taiwanese Kurobuta sausages (USD$1.10) are one of the best – long, oily but tender, sweet-salty and tasty.
Address: 142 Jishan Street
Jiufen Teahouse was once the meeting place for many great Taiwanese writers and artists when it first opened. When you enter from the narrow crowded street, you come into a spacious and calm interior. Bundles of tea and high quality ceramics and tea implements fill the first level. You can choose your favorite tea and tea snacks from the menu and sit there for as long as you like.