Taiwan is one of the easiest countries to explore. Its capital Taipei is a modern landscape with not just interesting landmarks but also efficient public transport system, so you can easily get around and even go out on numerous day trips. With day trips, you’ll get to see the other side of Taiwan — including old villages and streets, mountains, plantations for tea and other local produce, and much more. Here we’ve listed the best day trips from Taipei City.
P.S. Don’t forget to read about our First-Timer’s Guide to Taiwan.
Can you really say you’ve visited Taiwan without dropping by Jiufen? Jiufen is perhaps the most popular day trip from Taipei City. It rose to fame because many people believed it to be the inspiration for Miyazaki’s beloved animated film Spirited Away.
Jiufen was a mining town in the 19th century. Today, it’s made up of bustling alleyways with stalls selling souvenirs and delicious Taiwanese delicacies such as taro soup, fish ball soup, and pineapple cakes. You can also visit interesting landmarks such as the Amei Tea House. Moreover, Jiufen Old Street is located in a mountain area, so you can enjoy refreshing mountain & coastal views.
Jiufen is always crowded, so it’s best to go here on weekdays.
Jiufen is only 45 minutes away from Taipei City. It’s easy to get here: From Taipei Main Station, ride a train to Ruifang Station and then take a bus to Jiufen. From the bus station, you can walk uphill to Jiufen Old Street. Various tour agencies also offer day trips to Jiufen for reasonable rates.
2. Pingxi Rail Line
By Caroline of CK Travels
The Pingxi rail line is a perfect day trip from Taipei with 8 stops to explore along the 8-mile long ‘verdant valley’ in the countryside. This train line is a single-track railroad that was previously used to transport coal and runs through many old quaint villages.
You probably won’t have time in one day to alight at every stop but you should be able to explore the main highlights of the area. We recommend visiting Houtong Cat Village — a gorgeous riverside town famous for its large population of cats and cat-themed cafes and shops. Next alight at Shifen to marvel at the waterfall then head over to Pingxi to release a paper lantern in the air for good fortune (or watch locals release them). End the day at Jingtong Old Street — famous for its massive collection of wooden ‘bamboo wishes’. All of the towns have great street food options and plenty of souvenir shopping too.
To reach the start of the Pingxi line you need to head to Ruifang Station, which is located a 30-minute train journey from Taipei Main Station. Here you can purchase a Pingxi line pass for 80 NTD which allows you to hop on and hop off at any of the towns on the line.
3. Beitou Hot Springs
By Rose of Where Goes Rose
One of the best day trips from Taipei is over to Beitou Hot Springs, a geothermal area created by ancient volcanoes that long-ago pushed the island of Taiwan out of the ocean. Once you’ve explored the skyscrapers and food markets of central Taipei, this unique location is the perfect place to unwind and soak up the mineral properties of the thermal baths. Even if you have just 3 days in Taipei, it’s recommendable to squeeze in this natural wonderland.
On arriving in Beitou, head to the Thermal Valley where boiling water bubbles in bright turquoise pools. This is not the spot for bathing due to the scorching temperatures and sulfuric smells of egg — however, it’s a must for taking photos and understanding the area. Then visit the Hot Springs Museum to learn about its history and how people have used the area throughout the ages.
Finally, make your way to the Public Hot Springs. This is a chance to bathe with the locals and observe them socializing with their neighbors. Bring your swimwear and leave your cameras behind as no photos are allowed inside the hot springs. Locals swear the bathes will cure any ailments you might be suffering from!
Beitou is easy to reach from Taipei City. It is only 45 minutes away. Head to Beitou Station. Then switched platforms to Xinbeitou line and ride to Xinbeitou Station.
Tamsui is a small town on the northern coast of Taiwan. You can visit it along with Beitou, since it won’t take you a full day to explore it.
Head to Tamsui Old Street, a riverside road with lively ambiance and food stalls selling tasty treats, such as its specialty a-gei (glass noodles and tofu) and various seafood. With satisfied tummies, hop on a ferry to Fisherman’s Wharf and stay at the Lover’s Bridge for the sunset.
To get here, simply ride the train to Tamsui Station. From Taipei Main Station, travel time is about 40 minutes.
5. Yangmingshan National Park
By Kenny of KNCYX Journeying
Taipei has so many to see, do, and eat that I always go back for more. If you want to take a day off from the hustle and bustle and explore the nature, head to Yangmingshan National Park.
Yangmingshan National Park is one of the nine national parks in Taiwan. The area is popular not only among locals but also tourists for its famous spots like sulfur deposits, fumaroles, and volcano, being the origin of the Beitou Hot Spring in Taipei.
Spend a day in Zhuzihu in the flower farm, try local food in a restaurant – don’t forget to visit the Zhuzhihu Ponlai Rice Foundation Seed Field Story House and learn about Yangmingshan’s rice plantation history and development.
What’s more, you are in for a treat in May because of the pleasant weather, with plenty of sunny days and not a lot of rain. It is also the season for calla lilies and hydrangea to blossom. Visit the Zhuzihu area where the local farmers open their farming villages to the public with a small fee. Apart from calla lilies, some farms will grow hydrangea and the vibrant colors of the flowers are simply exciting.
Yangmingshan National Park is Taipei city’s back garden; it is only about an hour drive from Taipei city and the natural wonders are suitable for visit all round.
Keelung is an incredible place to visit. It’s the second-largest seaport in the country, with rice culture and sceneries.
Plan your day trip according to your preferences. If you’re into adventurous trails, you can visit the Shen’Ao Rail Bike where you’ll see murals, tunnels, and mine pit ruins. Then hike for 2-3 hours in Bitoujiao Trail, which is also known as the little great wall. Spend the rest of the afternoon relaxing with the amazing coastal views in Chaojing Park.
If you want a more laid-back day trip, explore the fishing harbor and shipyard and then visit Heping Island, a coastal park with pool and ocean views. Alternatively, Keelung also has interesting caves and old houses you can visit in a day.
Whatever activities you’ve done for the day, don’t forget to stop by Keelung’s Miaoku Night Market for cheap and delicious dinner.
A lot of people visit Keelung after a half-day tour in Jiufen, but as elaborated above you can allot a whole day here as well.
From Taipei Main Station, take a local train to Keelung Station. Travel time is around 35 minutes.
Wulai is one of the easiest day trips from Taipei City. Wulan is a village located at the south of Taipei City. It’s often described as gentle and peaceful, surrounded by refreshing mountain views.
There are many things to do in Wulai to fill your day’s itinerary. Visit one of the natural hot springs located along the Nanshih River. These are free for public use. Alternatively, you can also check in a hot spring hotel to relax in a public pool or private room with a hot tub. Even if you’ve already been to Beitou, it’s still recommended to go here since it is less crowded.
You can also check out Wulai Waterfall and its surrounding cafes and shops. For the best views, ride the gondola which goes up the mountain.
For the adventurous, there are easy hiking trails along the river in Wulai.
Lastly, Wulai is famous for its food, including wild boar sausage, barbecued mochi, sticky rice, and more.
It’s easy to reach Wulai from Taipei City. Just take Bus 849 near Xindian Station. The ride takes about 45 minutes.
8. Thousand Island Lake
Thousand Island Lake is one of the most underrated destinations in Taiwan. It’s a perfect day trip for those who wish to escape the crowd for a relaxing getaway with scenic nature views.
Thousand Island Lake is located in Shiding District. It’s a man-made water reservoir. The area is made up of islets, which gives the impression of a “thousand islands”. Once you get to the lake area, stop by a cafe to enjoy fresh tea and other local snacks and explore the tea farms.
This will only take you half a day, so you can visit nearby places as well. Stop by Pinglin for lunch and tea ceremony and then Shiding Old Street or Shenkeng Old Street for anything tofu.
Due to lack of public transportation, it’s best to visit Thousand Island Lake by private car or tour. It’s about 1 hour from Taipei City.
9. Taroko George
By Elisa from World in Paris
If you are looking for an easy day trip from Taipei to leave the hustle and bustle of the big city, Taroko Gorge is the place to go. Taroko Gorge is the most beautiful national park in Taiwan, great for hiking and enjoying magnificent landscapes.
In Taroko, there are many hiking trails of different lengths and difficulties. Hikers may want to study all the hiking trails beforehand to avoid wasting time on site deciding what to do. Taroko’s most famous hike is Shakadang Trail, which is 4.4 km long and mostly flat. Shakadang Trail is popular because of its beautiful landscapes and also because it is very close to the park’s headquarters and accessible even for those without a car.
Taroko Gorge is very easy to reach from Taipei by train. The train journey only takes 2.5 hours (one way) with a transfer in Xincheng. You can also decide to rent a car for the day and also visit other beautiful places on the way to Taroko from Taipei.
Taichung is a bit far from Taipei City, but it’s doable as a day trip. The most popular attraction here is the Sun Moon Lake, which is the biggest lake in Taiwan.
Spend the first half of the day exploring the surrounding areas on foot or on bike. You can visit flower farms, Formosa Aboriginal Culture Village, temples such as the Wenwu Temple, and various local businesses. Then spend the rest of the day relaxing in a boat tour, where you can appreciate the beautiful lake with the Central Mountain Range in the backdrop.
Alternatively, you can also do an alternative itinerary to see IG-worthy spots including the Green Fantasy Forest, Houli Flower Farm, and Rainbow Village.
Taichung is about 2-3.5 hours away from Taipei City. It’s accessible by bus depending on your destination, but to save time it’s best to rent a car or join a private tour for a day.
What other day trips from Taipei City do you recommend? Let us know in the comments section below!
What to read next:
Planning a trip to Taiwan? Here are important guides:
- First-Timers Guide to Taiwan
- 5 Days Itinerary in Taiwan
- One Day in Taipei City
- Best Day Trips from Taipei City
- What to Eat in Taipei City
Katherine Cortes is a 30-something freelance writer/editor. She likes beaches, snorkeling trips, and relaxing staycations (preferably with bath tubs!).