#01 Sun Moon Lake

One of the island’s most relaxing retreats, with nature walks, cool breezes, calming views and a shoreline brimming with cultural interest.

#01 Sun Moon Lake

#02 Kinmen

This island is the frontline between Taiwan and China – the latter is literally a stone’s throw away – and now an absorbing blend of former battlefields and well-preserved imperial Chinese monuments.

#02 Kinmen

#03 Hot springs

Taiwan has over 150 hot springs, most set among mountainous landscapes and piped into hotel resorts, ranging from the ultra-hip to the cheap and cheerful.

#03 Hot springs

#04 Kenting National Park

Studded with fine-sand beaches and rolling surf, this resort-fringed national park covers Taiwan’s southern tip and is a haven of snorkelling and diving.

#04 Kenting National Park

#05 Taroko National Park

Taiwan’s most visited national park is sliced in half by narrow, deep-cut Taroko Gorge, one of Asia’s top natural wonders and an absolute must-see.

#05 Taroko National Park

#06 Lugang

Taiwan’s most attractive old town, with traditional architecture, beautiful temples, tasty snack food and shops stocked with the work of the island’s most accomplished craftsmen.

#06 Lugang

#07 Lanyu (Orchid Island)

Inhabited almost solely by the seafaring Tao tribe, whose traditional ways of life give this lush Pacific island an almost Polynesian flavour.

#07 Lanyu (Orchid Island)

#08 Aboriginal culture

Taiwan’s indigenous peoples, divided into fourteen officially recognized tribes and several other distinct groups, have their own vibrant cultures quite separate from the Chinese majority.

#08 Aboriginal culture

#09 Tainan

The old capital of Taiwan remains an important stronghold of Taiwanese culture, its myriad temples the perfect places to absorb its complex religious traditions.

#09 Tainan

#10 Surfing

The island’s lengthy stretch of Pacific coastline has vastly underrated surfing, with countless breaks – and plenty of typhoon swell – to challenge both beginners and serious shredders.

#10 Surfing

#11 Chung Tai Chan Monastery

Nothing else quite looks like this enormous Buddhist monastery, packed with artistic gems, elegant shrines and innovative architecture.

#11 Chung Tai Chan Monastery

#12 Alishan National Scenic Area

Gorgeous, rugged valleys, high mountain tea plantations and Tsou villages culminating in the misty forests of Alishan itself, home of the spectacular “sea of clouds”.

#12 Alishan National Scenic Area

#13 National Palace Museum

View the former contents of Beijing’s Forbidden City in this world-famous museum, an extraordinary collection of Chinese art and historical artefacts.

#13 National Palace Museum

#14 Dajia Mazu Pilgrimage

One of the world’s biggest festivals involves thousands of pilgrims on an animated seven-day parade circuit between the revered Mazu temples in Dajia and Xingang.

#14 Dajia Mazu Pilgrimage

#15 Climbing Yushan

At 3952m, Yushan (Jade Mountain) is far and away northeast Asia’s highest peak, but a spectacular and well-trodden trail to the summit makes it surprisingly accessible.

#15 Climbing Yushan

#16 East Coast National Scenic Area

From the north’s towering cliffs to the south’s expansive beaches, the east coast is a feast for the eyes and is a hotbed of aboriginal cultures.

#16 East Coast National Scenic Area

#17 Night markets

Taiwan’s night markets are the best and cheapest places to try a selection of the island’s famous “little eats”.

#17 Night markets

#18 Taipei 101

At 509m, East Asia’s tallest building dominates central Taipei, providing mind-blowing views of the surrounding area.

#18 Taipei 101

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