The Perfect Taiwan Itinerary: A One Month Travel Guide

Taiwan Itinerary - empty road in Kenting

Did you know Taiwan has the largest number and density of high mountains in the world? I for sure did not! And this wasn’t the only thing about Taiwan that surprised me. I had no idea this little island used to be called ‘Ilha Formosa’, meaning ‘beautiful island’ in Portuguese. A fitting name though, Taiwan is beautiful indeed and really green! Even in the busy and modern capital Taipei, nature is just one MRT ride away.

Taiwan itinerary and travel guide

In this post you will find:

  • Why you should visit Taiwan
  • Our Taiwan itinerary including all the best things to do in Taiwan
  • General travel tips for Taiwan
  • How to get around in Taiwan
  • Where to find great budget accommodation in Taiwan

The Chang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall in Taipei

Why you should visit Taiwan

During our month in Taiwan I met some of the friendliest people of all my travels and I don’t say that lightly. When our rented electric scooter died on a steep hill in the middle of nowhere, the owner of our hotel came to our rescue.

One of our Airbnb hosts showed us his favorite restaurant (and insisted on paying for us no less) where we had the best beef noodle soup of our 1 month Taiwan trip.

The owner of a fruit stall kept giving us free fruit and drinks because we came back a couple of days in a row.

I could go on but I think I made my point: Taiwanese people are super nice! Anyway, on to the point of this post: our Taiwan itinerary…

Places you must visit in Taiwan: the Qingshui Cliffs on Taiwan East Coast

Taiwan itinerary and travel map

In the map below you can find our Taiwan itinerary, at the end of the post you can download this map.

The ultimate Taiwan itinerary

  • Day 1-3: Kaohsiung
  • Day 4-6: Kenting National Park
  • Day 7-9: Tainan
  • Day 10-11: Taichung
  • Day 12-13: Sun Moon Lake
  • Day 14-19: Taipei (part I)
  • Day 20-23: Hualien and the Taroko Gorge
  • Day 24-29: Taipei (part II)

Dragon and Tiger Pagodas at the Lotus Pond in Kaohsiung

Taiwan travel itinerary: important facts and figures

• I traveled with my husband; our trip started in Kaohsiung and ended in Taipei. Our Taiwan trip itinerary was 29 days in total.

• We traveled around Taiwan by public transport (train, bus and MRT). In Kenting National Park and Hualien we rented a scooter. In Kaohsiung, Tainan and Taipei we used the public bicycle rental systems to get around.

• If you want to know more about the costs of our Taiwan trip, check my budget breakdown.

• You can find all the accommodations we stayed at (Airbnb and hotels) during our 1 month trip here.

• I have written detailed guides for most places we visited in Taiwan, in these guides you can find detailed information about our day-to-day activities, transportation and accommodation. You can find the links to those posts in the itinerary below.

The Ultimate Guide To Travel Taiwan In 1 Month

Things to do in Taiwan

Day 1 – 3: Kaohsiung

Kaohsiung isn’t a well-known city, at least I had never heard of it before traveling to Taiwan. Of course that could also just me being ignorant… Anyway, Kaohsiung is the second largest city in Taiwan and this is where we started our trip.

Check out my post about things to do in Kaohsiung.

The Rose River in Kaohsiung, the second city of Taiwan

Day 4 – 6: Kenting National Park

From busy Kaohsiung we traveled to green Kenting National Park, in the South of Taiwan. Fun fact: did you know there are 9 National Parks on this small island?

Kention National Park is beautiful, the beaches are pristine and the empty roads through lush jungle make it the perfect place for a scooter road trip. An electronic scooter of course, very eco-friendly.

Check out my post about things to do in Kenting.

One of the best things to do in Taiwan is visit beautiful Kenting National Park on the South Coast

Day 7 – 9: Tainan

Our next destination was Tainan, the oldest city in Taiwan and one with a Dutch history which made it extra interesting for us (being from the Netherlands and all). Back in 1624, the VOC (Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie or United East India Company in English) built Fort Zeelandia in Tainan and used the city as their ruling and trading base.

Besides the Dutch Fort there are many beautiful temples in Tainan. In fact, there are more Buddhist and Taoist temples in Tainan than in any other Taiwanese city!

Check out my post about things to do in Tainan.

One of the many temples in Tainan (Taiwan)

Day 10 – 11: Taichung

Unfortunately it was raining during our entire stay in Taichung. We made the most of it though and went to the movies, ate wood-fire oven pizza and hung out in cute cafes.

The best pizza of Taichung

Day 12 – 13: Sun Moon Lake

The Sun Moon Lake is the largest lake in Taiwan and a very popular place to visit. It sure is a gorgeous place, unfortunately the rain that found us in Taichung followed us to the Sun Moon Lake.

We had planned to do lots of outdoor activities, like cycling around the lake and hiking up Mt. Shuishe. Instead, we spent most of our time in the Starbucks in Shuishe Village, running outside whenever the rain stopped for a brief moment to take pictures of the still beautiful looking lake.

The Sun Moon Lake is one of the most well-known Taiwan attractions

Day 14 – 19: Taipei (part I)

I loved Taipei! I’m not usually one for big cities for a long period of time, but I really enjoyed our time in Taipei. We spent 12 days there in total and still didn’t run out of things to do.

What I loved about Taipei is how easy it was to find some green, there is so much nature just a subway ride away from the center. We hiked a mountain trail in the Maokong area and didn’t come across anyone else!

Check out my post about things to do in Taipei.

View over Taipei and the Taipei 101 from the Elephant Mountain

Day 20 – 23: Hualien and the Taroko Gorge

The East coast was my favorite part of Taiwan and I have only seen a small section! There are steep cliffs, a stunning blue ocean, marble mountains and green jungle. It’s much less populated than the rest of Taiwan, only 4% of the Taiwanese live on the East Coast.

We spent 3 days in Hualien and used this relaxed city as a base to explore the famous Taroko Gorge and the area south of Hualien.

Check out my post about things to do in Hualien.

The Qingshui Cliffs on the East Coast of TaiwanTaroko Gorge National Park in Taiwan

Day 24-29: Taipei (part II)

Because of the approaching typhoon season (June – October) it was already very rainy on the East Coast. Therefore we did not continue south to Taitung, but went back to Taipei instead. We had mostly sunny days for the remainder of our trip and there was a lot more to do in and around Taipei so I don’t regret this decision. But I sure would love to see more of the East coast of Taiwan! Next time…

Dragon boat festival in Taipei

Taiwan travel tips

In general traveling around Taiwan is very easy. The country is safe, well-organised and, as I said at the beginning of this post, the people are super friendly. Nevertheless, here are some travel tips to make your Taiwan trip even easier:

• Buy an get an iPass! You can use this pass all over Taiwan to pay for transport (MRT, bicycles, bus, train, ferry, etc.). The pass gives you a discount on the transport fares and saves you the hassle of having to pay with coins. You can top up your credit in 7-11 and Family Mart (you can also pay with your iPass in these shops and several others).

Why you should buy an iPass in Taiwan

• Buy a tourist SIM-card at the airport. We bought a 30-day plan with unlimited 4G for only 1000NT (€30)! Imagine that, we could use unlimited data on all our devices (and we carry a lot of devices) for only €1 per day. We had reception everywhere, except in the tunnels on the East coast.

• Be prepared to use Google Translate a lot. While the people in Taiwan are super friendly and always willing to help, I was surprised to learn that many Taiwanese don’t speak English. At all. They will still try to help you though and Google Translate makes it a lot easier.

How to get around in Taiwan

Public transport is excellent in Taiwan: it’s dependable and inexpensive. There is a large network of  trains, buses and MRT lines (in Kaohsiung and Taipei). You can also take a taxi or use the public bicycle system in Taipei, Kaohsiung or Tainan.

In the table below I’ve listed all the transport information (and fares) from our 1 month Taiwan trip.

Taiwan itinerary: we used public transport during our 1 month trip around Taiwan.

Rent a public bicycle to get around in Kaohsiung

Where to find great budget accommodation in Taiwan

In the table below you can find the places we stayed at (only the ones I recommend!). I’ve also written a separate post about our accommodation in Taiwan with more details about the places we stayed at.

HengchunKenting Light Blue Bed and Breakfast€22/$26Agoda
HualienHoney B Trip B&B€25/$30AgodaBooking
KaohsiungYichi’s place€26/$31Airbnb
Sun Moon LakeItathao Hotel€39/$46AgodaBooking
TaichungTaichung Loft Hostel€22/$26Agoda
TainanTie Dao Hotel€17/$20AgodaBooking
TaipeiJemma’s place€25/$30Airbnb
TaipeiDavid’s place€21/$25Airbnb

Great budget accommodation at the Sun Moon Lake in Taiwan

—> Accommodation discount <—

If you have never traveled with Airbnb before you can get €30 of your first Airbnb stay with this link!

I had a great time in Taiwan and hope this post will help you plan your trip to this wonderful little island. You can download the map and table with transport information below. If you have any questions, leave a comment or send me a message!

Looking for more travel planning resources? Check out the Phenomenal Globe Travel Planning Library!

Complete guide to plan the perfect Taiwan trip: one-month itinerary with highlights plotted on a map so it’s easy for you to find them, detailed information how to get from A to B in Taiwan and useful travel tips how to make the most of your trip to Taiwan. Including Kaohsiung, Kenting National Park, Tainan, Taichung, Sun Moon Lake, Taipei and Hualien (Taroko Gorge). #Taiwan #asia #travelComplete guide to plan the perfect Taiwan trip: one-month itinerary with highlights plotted on a map so it’s easy for you to find them, detailed information how to get from A to B in Taiwan and useful travel tips how to make the most of your trip to Taiwan. Including Kaohsiung, Kenting National Park, Tainan, Taichung, Sun Moon Lake, Taipei and Hualien (Taroko Gorge). #Taiwan #asia #travel
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  1. September 15, 2017 / 11:09 pm

    Hi Lotte,
    Super itinerary here.
    I had no idea this land had that many mountains, although I feel captivated when enjoying any Taiwan photo with all the jungle and forests.
    It’s green-ness surprised me. For whatever reason, I always thought city-ish when dwelling on Taiwan because I associated this lush land with Taipei.
    After flying in nearly 6 years ago – when we started our world tour – I saw that even Taipei had quite a bit of green in the area, and some wet, tropical conditions too.
    Twas a 24 hour layover on a trip to Bali so, being the first time I flew – yes, from JFK NYC to Bali – I just rested in to hotel, but I look forward to seeing more of this rocking place.
    Thanks for sharing.

    • Lotte
      September 15, 2017 / 11:57 pm

      Thank you so much for your kind comment Ryan! Taiwan is indeed very green, even in/close to Taipei it’s easy to find nature. But I can imagine you were exhausted from your long flight and needed sleep instead of jungle;-). Next time…

  2. September 16, 2017 / 10:18 pm

    I absolutely agree with you about the Taiwanese being friendly. We were in Taipei a few years ago and whenever we stopped on the street to look at our map we were soon surrounded by people offering to give us directions. They are such lovely people.

    • Lotte
      September 17, 2017 / 5:46 pm

      Wouldn’t it be great if all people in the world were so nice as the Taiwanese? A lot less wars I think and a lot more happiness and kindness…

  3. Elena
    September 21, 2017 / 4:17 am

    I like your itinerary: not rushing through places and you allocated 3 days for exploring my favorite city in Taiwan – Tainan ;).
    We spent two months in Taiwan (living in Taoyuan close to Taipei). If it were up to me, I would stay there much longer. Taiwanese are the friendliest people on Earth. They were incredibly warm and helpful. Imagine, just walking on a street and start looking around – immediately someone would ask what are you looking for. Google translate is useful, as you mentioned since there are just a few locals who speak English. BTW, the high-speed train became my new favorite way of transportation.

    • Lotte
      September 21, 2017 / 11:17 pm

      Thank you Elena:-). I loved Taiwan and Tainan, I can absolutely understand why you choose to live there for a while! Indeed, the Taiwanese people are so incredibly kind and warm… Just thinking about Taiwan makes me want to go back!

  4. Jade
    October 28, 2017 / 6:17 pm

    Hi Lotte,
    What a comprehensive travel plan of Taiwan. I plan to visit Taiwan with a friend next month and we have about 11 days and 10 nights. Given our time, how would you recommend us plan and hit the highlights (in your opinion) of our trip? We will land in Taoyuan and want to visit Kaoshiung as well…though not sure if it’s too much…we’re thinking of Taipei, Sun Moon Lake, Alishan, Kaoshiung, and Kenting…but this seems like a bit too much….any suggestion would be appreciated!! 🙂

    • Lotte
      October 29, 2017 / 6:54 am

      Hi Jade,

      Haha thanks! We spent a month in Taiwan so had quite some time to explore:-). About your itinerary, it does sound ambitious but public transport in Taiwan is very good so if you really want to you could make it work. I would suggest:

      Day 1: Taipei
      Day 2: Taipei
      Day 3: Taipei
      Day 4: Sun Moon Lake (travel by bus from Taipei)
      Day 5: Sun Moon Lake
      Day 6: Alishan (travel from Sun Moon Lake by bus)
      Day 7: Kaohsiung (I think you have to travel to Chiayi from Alishan by bus and take a train from Chiayi)
      Day 8: Kaohsiung
      Day 9: Kenting (taka a bus from Kaohsiung)
      Day 10: Kenting
      Day 11: travel back to Kaohsiung/Taoyuan to catch flight (take a bus to Kaohsiung and a train to Taoyuan if that’s where your flight departs).

      I haven’t visited Alishan myself but seen beautiful pictures… I would also take the weather into account, when we were at Sun Moon Lake it was raining for 2 days straight and we couldn’t do all the outdoor activities we had planned. And as much as I liked Kaohsiung, if you are more of a nature person I would visit Kenting instead. Rent a scooter and explore the beautiful beaches!

      Hope this helps! Enjoy your trip and let me know if you have any other questions:-)

  5. Angie V
    December 11, 2017 / 1:40 am

    Thanks for the great information. This is the best description and current itinerary I have seen so far. Very informative!

    • Lotte
      December 11, 2017 / 9:58 am

      Thank you Angie:-)

  6. Binh Ba
    February 22, 2018 / 3:31 am

    Thank your for post, it’s very useful! Taiwan looks really amazing.

    • Lotte
      February 24, 2018 / 10:41 am

      Thank you, Taiwan is amazing indeed:-)

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