Taipei is a wonderful city, not only are there a ton of things to do within the city itself, there are also many amazing day trips from Taipei for a fun day out.
Secluded mountainous villages, beautiful beaches, historic sites, and National Parks are all within reach from Taipei. Here you can read about 15 great Taipei day trip options, plus information about what to do and how to get there.
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Day trips from Taipei
Taipei day trips: map
15 great options for a fun day trip from Taipei
Beitou is a district just north of Taipei and it strongly reminded me of Japan. This isn’t surprising since this area was developed during the Japanese rule in Taiwan.
Beitou is an area with natural hot springs and thermal activity. In the village, there are many public and private hot springs where you can soak in the hot sulfurous water.
While this should definitely be one of your activities during your Beitou day trip, there are a lot of other things to do in Beitou as well.
Be sure to visit Thermal Valley (also known as Hell Valley), the most famous tourist attraction in Beitou. This beautiful steaming pool has a mesmerizing blue-green color and a temperature between 90-100°C.
At the Beitou Hot Springs Museum, you can learn about the Beitou hot spring culture and admire beautiful old photos of what the town looked like in the past.
Other places to visit in Beitou are the Plum Garden, Ketagalan Culture Center, and Beitou Park. Be sure to admire Beitou Library, it’s a beautifully designed building. You can enter as well, just keep in mind the library is actually in use so you’ll have to be very quiet.
If you are also interested in exploring the surrounding Yangmingshan National Park, this one day tour is a good option.
How to get to Beitou
Beitou Hot Spring village is easily reached from Taipei city center by MRT. The Red Line (Tamsui–Xinyi) stops at Beitou Station, here you can change to Xinbeitou MRT station. The ride from Taipei Main Station takes approximately 30 minutes and costs 35NT$.
If you plan on using the MRT during your Taipei trip, which I highly recommend as it’s a very convenient, fast, and cheap way to travel, the easiest way to pay for your MRT rides is with an EasyCard.
This card can be used to pay for transportation, but also for cashless transactions at many convenience stores in Taiwan.
Click here to buy an EasyCard online
Stay in Beitou
If you want to spend more time in Beitou, there are plenty of nice places to spend the night. Accommodation here isn’t cheap, as Beitou is quite a popular place to visit near Taipei.
Tamsui (Danshui) is a lovely seaside district north of Taipei, located at the outlet of the Tamsui River. This is one of the best day trips Taipei has to offer, both due to its easy accessibility as well as the many worthwhile places to visit in Tamsui.
There are many historic sites in Tamsui, as it was occupied both by the Spanish as well as the Dutch in the 17th century. Worthwhile sights in Tamsui are:
- Yinshan Temple
- The Former British Consulate Residence
- Fort San Domingo (also known as Hongmao Castle)
- Hobe Fort
- Tamsui Fisherman’s Wharf and Lover’s Bridge
An excellent way to end a Tamsui day trip is by watching the sunset. So grab a bite to eat at one of the many seafood restaurants before heading to the Lover’s Bridge to see the sun setting into the Taiwan Strait.
How to get to Tamsui
Tamsui is easily reached from Taipei city center by MRT. The Tamsui–Xinyi line ends at this MRT station so all you have to do is hop aboard the Red Line for a 38-minute ride to Tamsui Station (50NT$ from Taipei Main Station).
Maokong is a pretty village on the outskirts of Taipei, located on the top of a 400-meter high ‘mountain’. Offering splendid views over Taipei as well as many things to do, a Maokong day trip is a must when visiting Taiwan’s beautiful capital.
Known for the cultivation of high-quality tea, it’s not surprising there are many teahouses in the village. To learn more about the art of growing tea, visit the Tea Research and Promotion Centre.
If you really want to immerse yourself in Taipei’s tea culture, consider taking this Tea Culture day tour.
There are several trails in the Maokong area, I recommend the short but steep hike to the Silver Stream Waterfall, also known as the Yinhe cave.
Beautiful Zhinan Temple was built in 1890 and is also worth a visit. Note the temple isn’t located at the top of the hill but has a separate gondola stop. You can either visit on your way up or back down.
How to get to Maokong
To get to Maokong, take the MRT to Taipei Zoo (the last stop on the Wenhu Line). From Taipei Main Station this takes around 30 minutes, the fare is 35NT$.
From Taipei Zoo MRT Station it’s only a 500-meter walk to the Taipei Zoo Gondola Station, the gondola will take you to Maokong in 17-37 minutes (depending on the system speed).
Click here to buy your Maokong Gondola ticket online.
You can also pay with your EasyCard.
Please note that the Maokong Gondola is closed on Mondays, however, you can also get to Maokong by bus.
Bus S10 leaves from Taipei Zoo MRT station and costs 15NT per person. While it’s a very scenic drive, the road has many twists and turns so it may not be suitable for those with motion sickness.
Wulai is another excellent day trip in Taipei and was recommended to us by several locals. If it hadn’t been pouring we would have stayed the entire day. Despite the rain, we still loved Wulai. It’s a charming village, the water has an amazing blue color and the forest is lush and green.
Wulai means ‘hot spring water‘ and there are several private hot springs facilities in the village. Check out the Volando Urai Spring Spa & Resort for a luxurious hot spring experience.
One of the best things to do in Wulai is hiking to the impressive 80-meter high Wulai Waterfall (pictured above on the left). The Wulai Falls are located about 1.5 kilometers from town and beautiful in any season.
Those interested in longer hikes can check out the Jia Jiu Liao Trail (20 kilometers) or the Fu-Ba National Trail (18 kilometers).
Wulai is home to one of the largest indigenous tribes in Taiwan, the Atayal. In the Wulai Atayal Museum you can learn more about their culture, way of life and their tradition of facial tattoos.
On Wulai Old Street you can spend quite a bit of time browsing through the many stall offering aboriginal food and local produce, be sure to sample some of the snacks that are sold here!
How to get to Wulai
From Taipei Main Station the MRT takes about 25 minutes to Xindian Station, the last stop on the green line (30NT$). Here you can catch bus 849 to Wulai (15NT$), the ride takes around 40 minutes and the scenery along the way is beautiful.
5. Juming Museum and Yehliu Geopark
Chloe from Chloe’s Travelogue: when travelers look for day trip destinations from Taipei, Jinshan is rarely coming to their minds. However, this rural district on the northern coast of Taiwan is a hidden gem that deserves more attention. Juming Museum and the more famous Yehliu Geopark are two attractions you can see in one day.
Juming Museum is an 11-hectare art park secretly tucked in the lush greenery of Jinshan Mountain. It’s home to the most extensive sculpture collection of world-renowned Taiwanese artist Juming.
The large outdoor sculpture park has various themed areas divided by the artist’s sculpture series. Enjoy your uninterrupted peaceful moment in the uncrowded natural parkland while appreciating Juming’s artwork, including the most acclaimed Taichi Series.
After you visit the Juming Museum, swing by Yehliu Geopark. Yehliu is a fine example of Taiwan’s unique geological landscape and only a 30-minute bus ride away from the Museum.
The coastal park features unique rock formations that Mother Nature created with the Northeast monsoon and wave erosion. Check out the iconic Queen’s Head (pictured above) and try to spot Fairy’s Shoe, Dragon Head, and other interesting shapes. These rocks continue to erode, so be sure to visit before they disappear!
How to get to Juming Museum and Yehliu Geopark
From Taipei to Juming Museum: from Taipei Main Station bus terminal, take KuoKang bus (1815) to Jinshan District office stop. Here you can hop on the complimentary museum shuttle bus.
From Juming Museum to Yehliu Geopark: take Taiwan Tourist Shuttle #862. To get back to Taipei Main Station from Yehliu, take bus 1815, the bus stop can be found on the main road just outside the park entrance.
6. Wanli UFO Village
Helen from Differentville: if you love modern architecture, spooky mysteries, or urban exploring, you’re going to want to take a day trip to the Wanli UFO village, about a 90-minute bus ride from Taipei.
Here, located by the side of Wanli beach, is a collection of incredible houses that look like they’re about to take off for space any second.
Known as Futuro Houses, they were designed as ski lodges in the 1960s. Only a few hundred were ever made, and not many are left, so being able to go inside this village of abandoned homes is really quite special.
Except, you have to ask yourself why are they are abandoned? No-one really knows but rumors of curses and graveyards abound (read more here).
Remember, they are abandoned and some are rotten so you need to use caution when exploring. Watch your step and wear closed-toe shoes. Also, some of the houses have now been taken over by families. If the home looks lived in, it probably is, so please don’t try to go inside.
There’s not much else to do around the houses and no facilities, so take drinks and snacks if you need them. You can also combine a trip to Wanli UFO village with a visit to Yehliu Geopark (#5) which is just up the road.
How to get to Wanli UFO Village
As with day trip #5 to Juming Museum and Yehliu Geopark, you can take the 1815 bus (KuoKang) headed towards Jinshan Youth Activity Center from Taipei Main Station.
Stay on the bus until you reach the stop called Feicui Bay, get out here and follow the road toward the sea, you’ll soon spot the houses.
Emily from Wander-Lush: if you’re looking for a slightly offbeat day trip from Taipei, Keelung City is brimming with history, heritage, and good food.
Keelung is less popular than other destinations on Taiwan’s northern coast, which makes it a great place to slip away from the crowds for a couple of hours.
Keelung is best known for its food scene and the colossal Keelung Miaokou Night Market. The market kicks off around midday and specializes in seafood (no surprise, given its location).
Unlike some other night markets in Taipei, Miaokou consists of small restaurants rather than stands. It’s great for a sit-down meal and for people-watching. Keelung specialties include Youfan (sticky rice), crab soup, and Shenji Paopao, a shaved iced dessert.
Another must-see in Keelung is Zhongzheng Park, a religious complex located in the hills above the city. It’s quite a climb (wear your sensible shoes), but the views from the top are worth it. Inside the park, you’ll find a 25-meter-high statue of Guanyin, the Goddess of Mercy, and a beautiful temple.
Every year, the park plays host to the Ghost Festival, one of Taiwan’s biggest calendar events. Lantern parades and folk art performances that blend Taoist and Buddhist traditions are a highlight. If you’re visiting Taipei in August or September, it’s a must-do.
Along Keelung harbor, there are many hidden treasures that allude to the city’s prosperous past, including Spanish and Dutch ruins. Khóo Tsú-song Old Mansion, a decaying house in the hills, was built by a wealthy merchant and later abandoned, is a favorite spot for urbexing and offers more panoramic views.
How to get to Keelung
Located 40 minutes by bus from downtown Taipei, Keelung is a small port city located on a natural harbour. It sits roughly halfway between Jiufen Old Street and Wanli. To get there, take the Fuxing Shuttle from Songshan Station.
Nicholas from Rambling Feet: Shifen (十分) is a tiny town that has a historic feel about it. The railway track runs right through the middle of the old street, with little shops flanking either side.
When a train isn’t passing through, the track is filled with tourists either crossing from one side to the other or launching sky lanterns. Many of the old street shops sell these lanterns for up to 200NT$. It is a ritual of sorts to paint one’s wishes on a lantern, light it up, and let them float away into the sky.
Another must-do activity in Shifen involves a 30-minute hike to the Shifen waterfall. The path is paved and includes a suspension bridge. There are many viewing points along the way and there are a couple of scenic spots close to the shops. The waterfall is breathtaking to watch and the amount of spray it releases lives up to its ‘miniature Niagara Falls’ moniker.
How to get to Shifen
Shifen can easily be combined with a trip to Houtong Cat Village (#9) and Jiufen (#10). This can either be done independently or as part of an organized tour. Another good option is this tour, which includes Yehliu Geopark (#5), Jiufen (#10), and Shifen (#8).
When visiting Shifen independently, you can travel from Taipei to Shifen by train or shuttle bus. From Taipei Main Station, take a train to Ruifang. Here you can change to the Pingxi Railway Line (平溪線), Shifen is the 4th stop.
The Taipei Unlimited Fun Pass
The tourist shuttle bus to Shifen is also included in the Taipei Unlimited Fun Pass and the Taipei Transport Fun Pass. It’s worth looking into these passes as they can save you a lot of money.
The Taipei Transport Fun Pass gives you unlimited rides on MRT lines, city buses, and 5 tourist shuttle routes. The Taipei Unlimited Fun Pass gives you free access to 16 top tourist attractions in Taipei as well (besides the unlimited rides).
Read more about the Taipei Unlimited Fun Pass here
Read more about the Taipei Transport Fun Pass here
9. Houtong Cat Village
Houtong Cat Village
Caroline from CK Travels: ‘Feline’ like a new adventure in Taiwan? Time to head to the Houtong Cat Village, situated on the famous Pingxi rail line and one of the most unique day trips out of Taipei.
You know you are in for something quite different from the moment you arrive at the station, which has a pedestrian bridge shaped like a cat and is kitted out with cat scratching posts. There is even a huge plastic cat figurine with a station masters hat ‘guarding’ the entrance.
Houtong is a mountainside village approximately 40km from Taipei that is now a self-proclaimed ‘cat village’. It is easy to see why, cats and kittens roam the streets and are cared for by the locals. Some live with owners whilst some are strays but still have access to cat boxes and dens built by the village community.
As you’d expect, there are also lots of cat-related gift shops selling all manner of moggy merchandise. You can also enjoy drinks in a cat cafe and several shops sell cat beer, we aren’t sure if it meant for tourists or the cats themselves!
Houtong is a former mining town, so there are also other non-cat-themed attractions like a mini-mining train that goes through all sorts of tunnels (not really our thing but the tour groups seemed to like it).
How to get to Houtong Cat Village?
From Taipei Main Station you can take a train to Ruifang station. At Ruifang Station, transfer to the Pingxi Line. A day ticket from Ruifang Station is 100NT$ and Houtong Cat Village is the first stop.
Houtong itself isn’t huge so you could combine this day trip with a visit to Shifen (#8), Pingxi, and Jingtong (all along the same Pingxi train line).
Allan from Live Less Ordinary: rumor has it that Hayao Miyazaki drew inspiration for the Ghibli classic ‘Spirited’ from the coastal hill town of Jiufen. And it is hard not to draw comparisons from the steep stairs and alleys decorated with pretty lanterns, the Japanese Ryokans and bathhouses, and the fixation on eating and food.
Jiufen was known already for its gold rush times and for WWII when POWs were sent to work in the mines. With everything the town has to offer, it’s a fascinating (though admittedly touristy) destination to explore.
I recommend staying until darkness falls, that is when the village truly comes to life with beautiful lights and lanterns around the Jiufen Old Street.
How to get to Juifen
Juifen can easily be done as a day tour from Taipei as there are both train and bus options to reach the somewhat remote coastal hilltown.
The easiest way to get to Juifen is to take a train from Taipei Main Station to Ruifang, the district where Jiufen is located, before hopping on a bus to the town itself. The journey takes around 90 minutes.
There is a direct bus from Juifen back to Taipei. You can find more details about traveling from Taipei to Jiufen here.
11. Fulong Beach
Those looking for a nice beach near Taipei instead of a cultural day trip can’t go wrong with Fulong Beach. This 3km golden sand beach can be found in the popular resort town called Fulong in New Taipei City.
At Fulong Beach you can go for a swim, spend the day kayaking or windsurfing or simply lie back and relax. There is a small entrance fee for the beach (100NT$ for adults and 10NT$ for kids) and the beach is accessible all year.
The main event at Fulong Beach is the annual Fulong Sand Sculpture Festival, which is held between April and August. If you happen to travel to Taiwan during this festival, be sure to visit!
Both national, as well as international artists, come to Fulong to create impressive sand sculptures, some are several meters tall. Another fun event is the Hohaiyan Rock Festival which is held in July.
If you don’t want to spend an entire day at the beach, consider hiking the nearby Caoling Historic Trail, a wonderful 8.5km trail that starts at Fulong Station and ends at Dali Station.
How to get to Fulong
There are two convenient options, you can either take a train to Fulong Station from Taipei Station, which will take between 60 and 90 minutes (depending on the type of train). The beach is a 10-minute walk north of Fulong Station.
Alternatively, you can take one of the five tourist shuttle buses, the Gold Fulong Shuttle Bus Line, which takes you to Fulong Visitor Center. If you have the Taipei Unlimited Fun Pass or the Taipei Transport Fun Pass, rides on this bus are free, otherwise, pay with your EasyCard.
Thanh from The Daily Tourist: if you are looking for fun day tours from Taipei, you shouldn’t miss Hsinchu, the oldest city in Northern Taiwan. There are many amazing things to see and do in Hsinchu, here are some of the most popular ones.
One of the best places to visit in Hsinchu is Eighteen Peaks Mountain Park. This expansive lunar shaped forest park was cultivated during the Japanese Colonial Era.
A popular spot for locals and travelers alike, Eighteen Peaks Mountain Park offers many recreational activities. Go for a hike, enjoy a picnic, or try to find all the 1-meter tall statues of Guanyin (the Buddhist Goddess of Mercy) scattered around the park.
One of the most beautiful places in Hsinchu is Ching-Tsao Lake, also known as Green Grass Lake. There is an island in the middle of the lake where you’ll find a lovely garden. You can access the island via the Yingyue Bridge.
The Hsinchu City God Temple or Chenghuang Temple is one of the most vibrant and colorful places in the entire city. Many people from all over the country come to visit this temple and worship here. If you are lucky, you may even see a traditional Taiwanese opera being performed in the courtyard!
Next to the temple, there are several stalls right selling different kinds of Taiwanese street foods. Be sure to sample some of the yummy goodies sold here!
How to get to Hsinchu
From Taipei Main Station you can hop aboard the HSR train to Hsinchu HSR Station. The train ride only takes around 30 minutes, however, at Hsinchu HSR Station you’ll have to catch the free THSR shuttle bus to get to the city center (20-30 minutes, depending on traffic).
While a day trip from Taipei to Taichung may seem far, Taiwan’s excellent public transport makes it a feasible option.
Taichung is Taiwan’s second most populous city and you can easily spend a couple of days here. However, if you are limited in time, a Taipei to Taichung day trip is a good alternative.
Taichung offers a myriad of fun activities, you can admire colorful street art at Painted Animation Lane and Rainbow Village, stroll around Calligraphy Greenway or visit the CMP Block Museum of Arts.
If you love boba (Taiwanese bubble tea) as much as I do, consider joining a boba tea-making class at Chun Shui Tang Cultural Tea House. Get an ice cream from the famous Miyahara store, the interior resembles Hogwarts from the Harry Potter movies and has to be seen to be believed…
How to get to Taichung
Train (HSR): Taichung is only an hour from Taipei by HSR (high-speed rail), a ticket costs 675NT$ for a non-reserved seat and 700NT$ for a reserved seat. You can buy a discounted HSR ticket online here.
Trains depart from Taipei Main Station, you’ll have to disembark at Wurih, which isn’t located in downtown Taichung. From Wurih, either catch a bus (which can take another hour) or a taxi (20-30 minutes, depending on traffic) to get to the city center of Taichung.
Bus: regular buses to Taiching depart from Taipei Bus Station (just north of Taipei Main Station), the journey takes around 2 hours and 50 minutes and a bus ticket is usually around 300NT$.
Buses arrive at Taichung Bus Terminal which is in the city center, making this a slightly longer but convenient way to travel to Taichung.
Organized tour: another excellent option is this Taichung day tour from Taipei, where you will visit several of the most popular sights in Taichung together with a knowledgeable tour guide. Transportation is included and prices are very reasonable.
Stay in Taichung
If you want to spend more time in Taichung, there are many accommodation options suitable for any budget.
- Budget (less than €30): Modern Inn (check Agoda/Booking)
- Mid-range (less than €100): Airline Inn Green Park Way (check Agoda/Booking)
- Top-end (over €150): The Splendor Hotel Taichung (check Agoda/Booking)
14. Taroko Gorge
That being said, if you have limited time available, it’s possible to take a day trip from Taipei to Taroko Gorge, just know it will be a very long day.
Taroko National Park is one of the top attractions in Taiwan and with good reason, it’s absolutely stunning! Some of the highlights in Taroko Gorge are the Swallows Grotto, the Shakadang Trail, and the Marble Bridge of Motherly Devotion.
Other points of interest are the Eternal Spring Shrine and the scenic town of Tienhsiang, which is a good place to have lunch.
Taroko Gorge was one of the highlights of our Taiwan trip and despite the (very) long trip from Taipei, I think the unique and beautiful natural scenery is worth the effort.
How to get to Taroko Gorge
The most convenient option to do a Taroko day trip from Taipei is as part of a tour. From Taipei, it takes around 2.5-3 hours to get to Hualien by train, with this Taroko Gorge Full-Day Tour you’ll be picked up from the station and taken to Taroko National Park where you will visit all the sites mentioned above.
Also included in the tour is a stop at Chi Hsing Beach and Stone Sculptural Park. Your guide will drop you off at Hualien station where you can take a train back to Taipei.
Stay in Hualien
15. Sun Moon Lake
As with Taroko Gorge and Taichung, I actually recommend spending more time at Sun Moon Lake, the largest lake in Taiwan, and one of the thirteen national scenic areas in Taiwan.
Sun Moon Lake offers beautiful scenery and has a rich indigenous culture. There are many things to see and do, some of the Sun Moon Lake highlights are:
- The Yuetan Bike Path: a 29 kilometers bike route that goes around Sun Moon Lake. You can also opt for a shorter section of approximately 12 kilometers.
- The Sun Moon Lake Ropeway: from the Ropeway, you can enjoy stunning views over the lake and forested mountains.
- Wenwu Temple and Ci En Pagoda: these beautiful buildings are highly worth a visit, both can be reached with the Round-The-Lake-Bus.
How to get to Sun Moon Lake
You can travel to Taichung HRS Station from Taipei (about one hour) and catch a bus to Sun Moon Lake from the train station (1 hrs and 30 minutes).
However, to make to most of your limited time at Sun Moon Lake, I recommend joining a Sun Moon Lake Tour from Taipei. This Sun Moon Lake Classic Day Tour from Taipei includes transport (by minivan or HSR+car) and most of the activities mentioned above.
Stay at Sun Moon Lake
Taipei day tour options: in conclusion
And that’s 15 great options for everyone looking for the best day trip from Taipei. I wish you a wonderful time in and around Taipei! If you have any questions about these day trips, leave a comment below or send me a message.
For more Taiwan travel inspiration, check out my Taiwan page.