“Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. – Izaak Walton
Taiwan is a country that, like most countries in Asia, is worthy of a visit. Taiwan is a sovereign state but it’s not recognised by the UN and is claimed by the People’s Republic of China.
With 23.5 million inhabitants who mainly speak Chinese, Taiwan is home to manufacturing. However, it mixes modernity, tradition, and nature.
In 2018, 11 million tourists visited Taiwan, which was once known as Isla Formosa, “The Beautiful Island”.
The population resides mainly on the western part of the island, by the South China Sea, with Taipei (9.2 million), Taichung (4 million), Kaohsiung (3.6 million), and Tainan (1.8 million) being the most populous cities.
Are you looking somewhere to stay in Taiwan?
Here’s Superprof’s guide to visiting Taiwan!
Are you looking for cheap flights from the UK, Bangkok, or Singapore to Taoyuan International Airport?
You should check flight comparison websites like Skyscanner to find the best prices.
It might seem at first like finding somewhere to stay in this urban jungle is impossible. (Source: 3dman_eu)
Whether it’s for short stays or long trips, it’s important you choose the right city to stay in because each place is different and you can’t do the same things in Taipei, Hualien, Kaohsiung, and Taichung, for example. There are plenty of things you can do but you need to choose the right type of accommodation…
There’s a wide variety of accommodation in Taiwan from rudimentary youth hostels to luxury hotels:
You can go on accommodation comparison sites like Booking.com to find some good deals in Taiwan. There are also good places to stay on Airbnb with entire flats available for £20 per night and discounts if you plan on staying a while. For longer stays, you’ll probably want to rent and flatshare.
Having a Taiwanese roommate will not only do wonders for your language skills. It’ll also help you to discover more about Taiwanese culture and history.
You can also look for Facebook groups where people post ads for properties to rent in Traditional Chinese (and English).
You can pay around £300 for a room in a flat with two other people.
Find out more about why you should visit Taiwan.
So where are you going to stay in Taiwan?
Unlike what you might think, it can be expensive to rent in Taipei. This means that there’s loads of demand and a huge gap between social classes.
The Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall is a popular tourist attraction. (Source: leechentou)
Taipei, the capital city, which means “Tai[wan] North” in Chinese, is probably the first place you’ll once you’ve landed in Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport. We recommend looking for somewhere near Taipei city centre next to all the popular tourist attractions:
Is the accommodation in Taipei too noisy or too expensive?
Consider heading to New Taipei City, across the Tamsui River from Taipei.
New Taipei City is home 3.9 million inhabitants and there’s a large choice of accommodation that tends to be cheaper and calmer than the options in Taipei. However, you will be further from all the attractions.
It’s nice relaxing in the Tamsui neighbourhood because it’s calmer than Taipei city centre. Furthermore, Tamsui is by the sea at the mouth of the Tamsui River. You could rend bikes and cycle down to Fort San Domingo, Shalun Beach, Tamsui, and Tamsui Lover’s Bridge.
Do you like hiking?
Don’t miss your chance to walk along to Xiangshan Mountain for an excellent view of the Taipei 101 tower. There’s also a mountainous region in the centre of the island that’s perfect for keen hikers!
Find out more about the best things to see and do in Taiwan.
Would you like to stay nearer the sea?
We tend to feel better in open spaces than confined within a concrete jungle. Hsinchu to the south of Taipei is one of the bigger cities in the conurbation.
It’s home to Taiwan’s electronics industry with 115,000 people working in the sector. If you’ve had any electronics with “Made in Taiwan” on them, they probably came from Hsinchu.
In Hsinchu, you can visit the following attractions:
While it’ll be calmer than Taipei city centre, it’s still Taiwan’s sixth-largest city with 420,000 inhabitants.
Find out about the best time of year to go to Taiwan.
At the end of your stay, it might be a good idea to stay nearer the airport. Nobody likes going home at the end of their trip, especially getting up early and heading to the airport.
The Shimen Dam near Taoyuan. You should definitely visit it towards the end of your stay. (Source: Juan00)
Some of the most popular attractions include:
Taoyuan is home to 2.22 million inhabitants and stretches from the Dongyanshan National Forest to the sea with the international airport in the north of the municipality.
If you like travelling around, you could take the train to the south of the island. Let’s have a quick look at the cities to the south of Taiwan.
Taiwan’s second city, Taichung is on the west coast of the country and home to 2.78 million people. Taichung is the perfect spot for romantic excursions to Sun Moon Lake or Dabajian Mountain.
Once you’ve visited Taichung, you have to go to Sun Moon Lake. (Source: seancom)
There are plenty of affordable holiday rents available on Airbnb.
Don’t expect to find nice sandy beaches in Taichung, the coastline is covered in factories.
You want to visit Taichung for the temples, night markets, and mountains. Make sure you visit Taichung Park in the city centre, the city’s oldest green space.
Tainan literally means “Taiwan south” whereas Taipei means “Taiwan north”. Tainan is home to Taiwanese tradition, culture, history, cuisine, and Taoist temples. It might be worthwhile visiting Tainan during the Chinese New Year as it maintains the local traditions and puts on quite the show.
With 1,613 temples, Tainan is home to more Buddhist and Taoist sites than any other city in the country. You should definitely see the Kaiyuansi, Zhuxi, and Fahua temples, the Grand Matsu Temple, Sidian Wu Miao, and Dongyue Dian. There are plenty of buildings that were constructed in the 17th century under the Qing Dynasty.
Staying in Kaohsiung is the perfect compromise. Kaohsiung is the third-largest city on the island with 2.77 million people enjoying the tropical climate.
The Dragon and Tiger Pagodas on the Lotus Pond are two of the city’s most important monuments and in Kaohsiung, you can come across macaques in the Gushan neighbourhood by the Shoushan mountain.
Kaohsiung, like most Taiwanese cities, is densely populated and industrialised. This does mean that there are problems with pollution. You can enjoy a walk around Shoushan Mountain.
After having visited Kaohsiung, you can take the train to Kenting National Park and stay in the Hengchun Old Town!
If you’ve still got time, make sure you spend the evening in Hualien and visit the Taroko Gorge, another unmissable sight on the island. If you’re looking for more travel tips, check out the other articles in our Taiwan travel guide series before you plan your trip!
If you’d like to learn some Chinese before you visit Taiwan, you could consider enlisting the help of one of the many talented tutors on Superprof! The tutors on the site offer three types of private tutorials to help you learn some of the language: face-to-face tutorials, online tutorials, and group tutorials.
Face-to-face tutorials are taught with one student and one tutor and tend to be the most cost-effective type of tutorial since every minute in the lesson is spent focusing on you as the student.
Online tutorials are similar to the face-to-face tutorials but take place either on a call or via webcam. They’re usually cheaper than face-to-face tutorials.
Finally, group tutorials are classes with one teacher or tutor and multiple students. However, with group tutorials, you and a group of friends (perhaps the people you’ll be travelling to Taiwan with) could get lessons for cheaper.
Each different type of tutorial has its pros and cons and it’s really up to you and your budget to decide how much you’ll need to learn, how you want to learn, and what your budget is!