10 Places to Explore Taiwan's Incredible Natural Beauty

Traveling to Taiwan in 2020? If you love the great outdoors you'll want to check out the natural wonders in this stunning country.

March 09, 2020

Photo By: Taiwan Adventures/Neil Wade

Photo By: Taiwan Adventures/Neil Wade

Photo By: Taiwan Adventures/Neil Wade

Photo By: Taiwan Adventures/Neil Wade

Photo By: Taiwan Adventures/Neil Wade

Photo By: Taiwan Adventures/Neil Wade

Photo By: Taiwan Adventures/Neil Wade

Photo By: Taiwan Adventures/Neil Wade

Photo By: Taiwan Adventures/Neil Wade

Photo By: Taiwan Adventures/Neil Wade

Photo By: Taiwan Adventures/Neil Wade

Natural Beauty

Ask most Americans about Taiwan and they might be able to describe Taipei 101, the massive 101-story skyscraper towering over the island's largest city. But Taiwan is much more than a glass tower over a single, sprawling city— it is also an epic outdoor destination. Read on to find out why.

The Four Beasts

You don't even need to leave the shadow of Taipei 101 to tackle The Four Beasts, and some of the most stunning views in the world await those who do. This mountain range is named after four animals — the elephant, tiger, leopard and lion. The Four Beasts sit just outside of Taipei, plotting a course around the city. English-speaking tour operator Taiwan Adventures estimates a hike around the mountains to take four to six hours.

Teapot Mountain

A narrow road and a weathered, stone staircase mark the beginning of most hikes up Teapot Mountain. This journey to some of the most stunning views on the island requires an extremely brief section of spelunking and basic bouldering skills, but can be experienced in a single day. Its trailhead at the Jinguashi Gold Ecological Museum lies about 45 minutes from the center of Taipei.

Sandialong Waterfalls

Imagine walking through a lush landscape of roaring rivers, looking out from behind the curtain of a jungle waterfall and scrambling over a narrow suspension bridge before being ferried back to your hotel. Though it may sound like a fantasy, a journey to the Sandialong waterfalls holds just that. It's easy to see why this half-day excursion is one of the most popular day trips from Taipei.

Jade Mountain

Jade Mountain is the most-hiked peak in Taiwan for a reason. At almost 12,966 feet, it claims the title of Taiwan's tallest peak, luring summit seekers from all corners of the planet. Access to this steep, rocky summit inside of Yushan National Park requires a permit. And that permit requires a twist: you must provide photographic evidence of yourself atop at least a 9,800 foot peak. The process is complex, but the payoff — a view like this — is worth it.

Snow Mountain

On clear days, you might spot the faint outline of Snow Mountain from a street market in Taipei. Taiwan's second-highest peak stands at 12,749 feet, just shy of Jade Mountain but taller than Japan's Mount Fuji. A hike to its pinnacle takes two days, and hikers will need to not only apply for permits to Shei-Pa National Park, but also plan to spend the night in two, barrack-style cabins along the route.

Remote Campsites

Jade and Snow Mountains get the lion's share of hikers hoping to tackle Taiwan's tallest peaks, but the island is home to an astounding 268 summits over 9,800 feet. That's nearly 100 more than the entire Rocky Mountains. As such, the island is filled with trails that twist and wind into its high mountain passes. Wild camping is generally accepted in Taiwan, provided you are not on the roadside and have the proper park permits when necessary.

The Wuling Sixiu

Expect to go all-in if you want to get a glimpse of the Wuling Sixiu range, a group of four mountain peaks ruling over Shei-Pa National Park. A trek through the Wuling Sixiu can take at least two days and two nights. The hikes here are steep, exposed and require the use of fixed ropes to navigate some cliff sections. That sounds like adventure to us.

Rugged Coastlines

So much of Taiwan's incredible scenery is located inland that it's easy to overlook the island's coasts. Beachgoers will find the finely sculpted sands of Fulong Beach a convenient cab ride away from Taipei; but adventurers looking for a more rugged experience can find a breathtaking clash of geology to the city's northeast, where Heping Island, Bitou Cape and Yehliu GeoPark — a landscape of honeycombed rocks — await.

Taroko Gorge

A turquoise torrent of water slices through Taroko National Park, 96 miles south of Taipei. The park's signature attraction, Taroko Gorge, is home to death defying, narrow paths along its cliffs and harrowing suspension bridges that span the chasm on either side. To get there, take a three-hour train to Hualien and a cab to the park. Alternately, consider hiring an experienced guide service that can show you hidden areas of the park that most tourists might miss.

Datong Village

No roads. No electrical grid. Just a small town perched atop the mountains overlooking Taroko Gorge — this is Datong Village, home of Taiwan's indigenous Truku people. Datong is accessible only by a series of extremely steep, seldom-used paths. The village does host several overnight accommodations for travelers. Due to a lack of internet and phone service, it's recommended to book your stay in Datong with guide service to reserve a bed in this truly remote location.

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