Taiwan is a small island and although Taipei is pretty much in the deep north of it… it feels like it’s in the middle of it all. I can’t think of many other capitals with such a variety of day trips. We saw weird rock formations, a stunning green coast, lush carpets of algae, hiked with some of the most amazing views and even chilled out in a hot spring village.
If that wouldn’t be enough with high speed trains on the island you could actually go as far as Kaohsiung for a day trip. That means you can get a pretty good idea of the island without moving around so much. Something we really appreciated during our month in Taipei. So here are some of our favorite spots… and few we wouldn’t visit again.
Hike of a lifetime - Pingxi Mountains
Definitely our favorite day trip from Taipei. Those are actually three small hikes up three amazing mountains that stand just next to each other. I have never done a hike so short with views like that in my life! Especially recommendable at sunrise. A whole blog post about that here.
The greenness of the northern coast
A surprisingly short bus away (1 hr when google indicated 3hrs) took us to beautiful, serene beaches. We started with Laomei beach in the Shimen district that is famous for lush, green algae (seasonal, we were there in May, location indicated on the map). Then we strolled along the coast heading south passing empty beaches, a charming lighthouse and a cheesy wedding picture location. But what truly made our day was the seafood market along the way. It was the most bizarre one we have ever seen in our entire life and we saw the ones with huge tunas in Tokyo. This one had just such a variety of creatures (many of them couldn’t be called fish), that it left us stunned. The sales men were ready to cook anything we would like to buy whether it was a sea urchin or pufferfish. As usual we had our lunch packed and we honestly prefer to see those buddies underwater rather than on a plate so we politely walked away.