Taiwan West Coast Trip

Taiwan is filled with incredible vistas, beautiful traditions, and a vibrant culture that is sure to make anyone want to stay forever. As you travel along the west coast of this beautiful country, you will travel past tropical forests and exquisite mountain ranges. Enjoy marvelous food, head to ancient temples and so much more during this Taiwan itinerary.

Where To Buy Tickets: 12GO

Countries Visited: Taiwan

Rail Passes:  THSR Pass

Price Range: $$$

Recommended Days: 10-14 Days

Riding Hours: Approx. 12 hr

Distance: 512 km

Transportation: Train

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Taipei: Beautiful Temples And Incredible Cuisine

Taipei is full of culture and history. Being home to some of the country’s most beautiful temples it is easy to understand why it is the region’s capital. Not only will you find an abundance of history. But you will also have the chance to try incredible cuisine and enjoy the thriving commercial hub of the markets that run throughout the city, day and night.

Danshui’s Old Street is one of the most popular attractions in Taipei. Here you will find the street lined with vendors that offer interesting street food, souvenirs, and plenty of activity during the weekends. Just outside the city is the remarkable village of Wulai where you can enjoy the hot springs and relax.

You may also want to hop on the cable car that takes to you to a nearby waterfall and aboriginal village. The Shilin Night Market is a great spot to visit for a bit of shopping. Here you will find novelty gifts, clothing and so much more at a far cheaper rate than the department stores in the city. But trust us when we say you will not lose out on quality! If you want to learn a bit more about the history of the country, head to the National Taiwan Museum. Where you can learn about the aboriginal tribes, the plants, and also the wildlife that reside or once resided in Taiwan.

臺北 Taipei Station → 臺中 Taichung Station | Duration: 3:17h | Transfers: 0

Taichung: Quirky Rainbow Village

Taichung is quite an industrial city and is considered to be a melting pot of culture and culinary delights. It is a vibrant city that is home to many unique features that are sure to keep you on your toes. You can visit the quirky Rainbow Village, take a walk in an expansive park or even enjoy a trip to a local brewery.

If you head to the National Museum of Natural Science you will have the chance to see one of the most popular attractions in the city, the moving dinosaurs. You will learn about the history of Taiwan and watch robotic dinosaurs move around making you think that you might have made it into Jurassic Park.

The Rainbow Village is a sight not to be missed, bright and colorful village used to be a home for former members of the military. Instead of being demolished as originally planned, every surface was painted and is now a protected cultural area. Take a trip to one of the city’s only breweries, the 3 Giants Brewing Company. There you can sample some of the beers and try some food whilst you watch the brewers craft.

臺中 Taichung Station → 嘉義 Chiayi Station | Duration: 2:00 h | Transfers: 0

Recommended Accommodations:

Stray Birds Taichung Hostel
Smile 73 Hotel

Chiayi: Adventure Off-The-Beaten-Track

The main city within the Chiayi County, is considered the gateway to Alishan, one of the top tourist attractions of the country. The city is a perfect spot for those looking for something less tourist-filled and a bit of off-the-beaten-track adventure. You will find a preserved culture that is waiting to be explored, plenty of warmth and charm.

One stop that you must visit has to be the traditional Japanese styled houses at the Hinoki Village. It is Taiwan’s first forest cultural and creative park and is home to a variety of businesses that occupy the 28 traditional houses. You can wander through the buildings made of Taiwanese cypress trees filled with tea houses, boutique stores, art galleries, crafts, and souvenirs.

The Song of the Forest was designed by the Wang Wen-Zhei and is a landmark that was made with local materials. The dome represents the trees that lie in the forest of Alishan and the walkway is meant to symbolize the railway between Chiai and Alishan. If you head to the Central Fountain, you will have the chance to watch one or two of the 14 water dances that are performed by the fountain every 15 minutes. It is especially beautiful at night as the many lights surrounding the fountain highlight the performance remarkably.

Chiayi Train Station → Chaoping Station | Duration: 2:08 h | Transfers: 0

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Recommended Accommodations:

An Lan Jie Hostel
Shianghu Boutique Hotel

Chaoping: Tea, Tea, Tea!

Chaoping is a province in which the Alishan National Park is located. It has plenty of hiking trails, beautiful scenic areas, majestic temples and more to be explored. Start your day with a sunrise viewing from the train and then take a hike to the Sisters Ponds. The legend of the ponds is that they are named after two sisters from the Tsou tribe who apparently fell in love with the same man and then threw themselves in the ponds to show their grief.

Probably one of the most famous attractions within the National Park is the Sacred Tree. A red cypress tree is believed to be over 3,000 years old. But it fell in 1998 and now visitors come to see the giant tree lying on its side in the middle of the forest.

If you want to visit the highest temple in all of Taiwan, then you want to head to the Shoujhen Temple which is home to around 10,000 miniature Buddhas. All of this walking will make you thirsty, so why not try some of the Alishan Tea. Head to one of the local tea plantations where you will be given a tour and a tasting of the delicious and aromatic tea. Something that is quite quirky that can be done in the area before heading to Stop 5 is to send a wooden postcard. An interesting souvenir that you can send back home to remind you of your incredible journey.

Chaoping Station → Tainan City Government | Duration: 3:57 h | Transfers: 2

Recommended Accommodations:

Alishan Tea Homestay

Tainan:  Haunted Houses, Hipster Cafes, And Plenty Of Markets

Once the capital of Taiwan, Tainan is filled with historic sites to be explored. Here you will find cheap and delicious food, friendly locals, and a compact city that is thriving although often hidden from tourist views. There is so much to see and do in this little city, from visiting haunted houses, stepping into hipster cafes, and enjoying a spot of department store shopping.

The Anping Tree House was once thought to be haunted thanks to the locals. The former salt warehouse was overtaken by Banyan roots through the walls, floors, and rooftops giving a very creepy sensation to the house. You can now explore the building thanks to a boardwalk provided by the city government. There you will find hidden nooks and enjoy views from above its roof. If you head to the sky bridge within the treehouse, you will climb onto a viewing deck with views of the Yanshui estuary and wetland area.

There are plenty of markets to be explored in Tainan. For a luxurious feat then you may want to head to Datong night market where you will be able to sample a smorgasbord of street food. It may not be the biggest night market in the city, it is definitely a favorite with the locals when it comes to the food. Why not take a trip to the Fairy Lake Leisure Farm where you can soak in an infinity pool that overlooks the miraculous mountain ranges. You can also explore the farm and go hunting for lychee, coffee beans, longans, and cherry tomatoes.

臺南 Tainan Station → 高雄 Kaohsiung Station | Duration: 0:59h | Transfers: 0

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Recommended Accommodations:

Fuqi Hostel – Heping
FX Hotel Tainan

Kaohsiung: Taiwan’s Second Largest City

Kaohsiung, the country’s largest port city has become a favorite for tourists and locals over the years, a perfect stop on this Taiwan itinerary. This could be due to the remarkable night markets, temples, and restaurants that are available within the city. Being Taiwan’s second-largest city, it is the perfect spot to end our adventurous itinerary.

One of the first foreign consulates on Taiwanese soil was the British Consulate. Set atop a hill, it has a beautiful view of the harbor and the compound has a residence and hiking trail to be explored. Right by the harborside is the Love Pier, also known as the Kaohsiung Harbor. Here you will find cafes and bars with outdoor seating, the perfect spot for a bit of romance. You may even want to jump aboard one of the riverboats and enjoy a cruise.

The Lotus Pond is an exquisite attraction with around 20 temples on the shore and plenty of paths to wander and find hidden gems. The reason for its fame is due to the unusual structure of the Dragon and Tiger Pagodas that are quite a sight to see.

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