How much does it cost to travel on Taiwan? Our budget and tips

Many say that if you can’t afford Japan, Taiwan is a good alternative. That made us think and expect this little island would be a lot like our beloved Japan. It’s definitely cleaner and more organized than other parts of Asia but that’s almost all the similarities it has with cherry- blossom- land. Still we completely fell in love with its nature, culture and beauty of its coast and mountains.

And I have to admit it’s more budget – friendly than Japan:)

Over 61 days we spend 3875 euro so around 63 euro per day for the two of us. A little above 30 euro each makes it a great alternative to Japan. But let’s break it down.


Where did we travel?

Taiwan is a pretty small island with a lot to offer. We visited their furthest southern part with its beachy national park (Kenting), we also emerged in their mountainous pearl of Taroko National Park. We couldn’t miss some of its most prominent cities like Taichung, Kaohsiung and obviously Taipei. When we got tired of the cities we relaxed by its magical Sun Moon Lake.

How did we travel?

Honestly I think renting a car on Taiwan is a great idea. We didn’t do that and regretted it afterwards. From what I read it’s not very expensive and some spots are difficult or even impossible to reach by public transport.

On transportation we  spent “just”398 euro. The prices of trains and buses were dirty cheap compared to Japan. A train from Taipei to Taichung was around 20 euros for both of us (750 TWD). Return bus from Zuoying to Kenting was 33 euro for both of us (1200 TWD). Actually we felt so sorry for ourselves that we didn’t try the high speed trains in Japan that we took one on Taiwan. It was “just” 2980 TWD (83 euros) so really cheap compared to the ones we saw in Japan.

The transport section includes some uber and taxi rides.

Curiosity! Buses in Taichung are FREE! Ok they can be pretty slow and a pain in the ass but who looks a gift horse in the mouth right?:)

Where did we stay?

Accommodation was the biggest part of our budget and it came up to 1876 euros. Out of this sum we spend 975 USD for a month of a private apartment in Taipei rented via airbnb (32.5 dollar a night). That one was a serious bargain considering that 99% of the studios I saw were for above 50 US dollars a night especially taking under consideration that we were in pure city center. The owner was going on vacation and wanted someone who could stay as long as possible so he offered 40% off for a stay above 28 nights.

For the rest we didn’t have that much luck anywhere else. The smaller and more beautiful the place was, the more pricey the hostel/ hotel was. At the Taroko National Park we had a private room at a local community home and that cost us 223 euros for 4 days.

We spent only 12 nights in dorms but those were not particularly cheap actually. For 7 nights in our hostel in Kenting we paid 234 euros for the two of us (around 20 euros per night). 

What did we eat?

Our food beginnings were difficult. Coming from lean, low fat, veggie Japan we had a hard time adjusting our bellies to more decadent, fatty Chinese cuisine. As usual we cooked ourselves most of the time but after some time we also enjoyed dinning at night markets, local restaurants and cafes. We didn’t deny ourselves many bubble teas either!

Food turned out to be 1369 euros out of which just 363 went on eating out on night markets, coffees and bubble teas. The rest was what we spent on ingredients to cook with. It might seem like quite a sum but we didn’t save, we treated ourselves buying fruit every single day and we tried out some weird ingredients. In this little fortune we also included quite a sum of tea, bought for gifts and for ourselves.

To give you an idea of eating out costs:

A very good bubble tea (good so not the cheapest) is around 70 TWD (around 2 euros)

Eating out at a night market we spent 200 - 400 TWD (5.5-11 euros) depending on what we bought. Barbecue was always the most expensive stand, together with fancy seafood. For cheaper meals we always turned to onion pancakes or dumplings.

How expensive are museums, tours etc?

On tourism we spend 139 euro. Many of the museums, temples and exhibitions were actually free. The most we spent on an entrance fee was when we went to see the Paul Smith exhibition in Taipei (560 TWD= around 16 euros for both of us). After all this free or dirt cheap cultural entertainment that one felt like a fortune. Although well spent.

In tourism we included mountain bikes rentals at the Sun Moon Lake (400 TWD = 11 euros) as well as renting an electric scooter in the Kenting National Park for two days (around 33 euros). A “huge” budget breaker was mountain bike rental with drop off in Taroko National Park. That was 1600 TWD (around 45 euros) well spent as it’s a super mountainous and dangerous area so we wanted to have the best equipment and calmly slide of a tremendous series of hills.

Where did the rest of our money go?

93 euro in the equipment and miscellaneous parts of our budget went to postcards, souvenirs, splurge in a private bath, a hat, some flowers and not much more:)

Money- saving tips and tricks

  1. Travel smart! Lots of spots on Taiwan are famous as weekend getaways and prices for accommodation get double or even triple during weekends and vacations. Try to avoid that. The three most popular of those are Sun Moon Lake, Kenting National Park and Taroko National Park.
  2. Hop on public transport! Buses, trains and metro are really cheap on Taiwan. In Taichung buses are actually free of charge. Just make sure you get yourself an Easy Card. You can buy it in many spots for example on metro stations and you put money on there to travel. It’s very easy, convenient and it makes everything even more affordable. The great thing is it works in buses and metro of Taipei as well as other big cities.
  3. Consider Airbnb! We managed to get a really great deal for an apartment in Taipei. It was central, pretty and it felt so homie. During the hottest summer months many people go away on vacation and some rent out their spots pretty cheap especially for longer stays.
  4. Enjoy free cultural events and exhibitions! Many of the art museums and cultural events are just free and really interesting.

Exchange rate used: 1 Euro = 34.48 TWD

Where and what to eat and drink in Taipei? Our favorite spots and dishes

  1. Tiny dumpling place

Unfortunately we have no idea how the place was called, if it even had a name but we know exactly where it was 🙂 we tasted so many dumplings everywhere on Taiwan but this little spot had the best ones by far. They were also pretty cheap, served in a very cozy place and the ladies working there were really sweet, although none of them spoke a word of English. After some time we also got fond of their water with floating jelly. I guess in a country where bubble tea is a religion, you just have to end up liking things like that. It helps that it was included in the service 🙂

  1. Mouthwatering gua-bao

This humble steamed bun with pork belly turned out to be our favorite dish. And after trying many around the island we unanimously decided one night market won. It had the best quality of meat, least amount of fat and most coriander and grounded peanuts. From our experience the quality of food on night markets was lower and lower the bigger the night market was. So in places where it was really crowded, the food was mediocre while smaller spots maintained high quality and often prepared the food fresh on the spot. The same night market had also the best barbecue with the most variety of veggies and meats and the most decadent sweet chilly sauce. Just next to that stand there was another one with spectacular roti with either eggs, bacon or just veggies. You will find it on our map below.

  1. Chinese food at its finest

Liu Pin Xiao Guan Chinese Restaurant was by far the most amazing restaurant we have visited on Taiwan. In this case looks are very deceiving, it seems like a so-so spot and the food doesn’t look very fancy but the taste is out of this world. They had a spectacular clam soup, noodle dishes, stir fries and fish. I honestly can’t believe they would have something disappointing.

  1. Get fruity everywhere

The whole island has an insane selection of all sorts of fruit. The availability changes with seasons but in general you can get passion fruits, dragon fruits both red and white ones, lychees, white pineapples and so much more. I have never made so many smoothies in my life. And I really miss those.

  1. The best fruit sorbet

With such a variety of fruit available, there are many spots offering juicy sorbet's. Nothing helps coping with the heat of the island better than a cool refreshment. After a very in-depth research we concluded that the ones sold at the Songshan Cultural Park were the best!

  1. Beef noodles worth queuing for

Taoyuan Street Authentic Shandong Beef Noodle might look humble from the outside but their beef noodle soup is worth standing in the queue. It’s delicious and full of flavor and their beef is soft and tender.

  1. Bubble tea EVERYWHERE!

Bubble tea is THE thing to drink on Taiwan. This tea based drink was invented on the island and rocked the whole world. There are so many varieties that the best way is to try them all and choose your favorite one. Give a chance to small businesses as well as big chains. I especially loved assam black tea with milk and tapioca balls. Jandirk was more a fan of a sweeter, fruitier type of teas with balls and fruit jellies 🙂

  1. More traditional tea

The island is famous for its teas especially for oolong and assam black tea. For more traditional tea tasting there is just one number one in Taipei- Wisteria Tea House. It’s a beautiful spot that looks like a Japanese tea house with our favorite tatami floors. Unfortunately we didn’t have a chance to visit them. We were unlucky to find it either closed or too busy to serve us. We were more than happy with lovely number two –C-tea-loft. This is a bit more modern tea house with an insane selections of teas and a very friendly staff that will eagerly tell you all about those.

  1. Coffee stop

Although tea is the national drink, coffee game is getting stronger and stronger especially in the capital. There are quite some popular and nice chains like Cama Cafe where they roast their own beans at the spot or Louisa Coffee with stylish interior and more delicate coffee. Our favorite one turned out to be the very artistic Artalley Cafe. Maybe the staff was a bit clueless but the coffee was good and the interior was stunning with super comfy chairs and a massive book selection.

8 must sees in Taipei

Like many other Asian cities, Taipei can be a bit chaotic and needs few days to fall in love with. For those who stay and explore, it offers tones of amazing tea houses, cafes, museums and art neighborhoods. We were heartbroken leaving it after a month and we know we will go back there someday. For now we want to show you our favorite spots in this vibrant city.

  1. Get creative at the Huashan 1914 Creativity Park

We discovered this pearl literally two days before we left Taiwan. I was almost heartbroken knowing I could have spent days there. Like many other places on the island, Huashan was a leftover of Japanese business, in this case an ex-sake winery taken over by art and given a new life. It’s a spectacular place with lots of cool, artsy cafes, museums, interesting exhibitions and the most original gifts and postcards ever. There are a lot of events happening there and plenty of green areas so it’s a perfect spot to picnic with a concert in the background. Heaven!

  1. Get even more artsy at Songshan Cultural & Creative Park

Similar idea to Huashan except Songshan is bigger and even more beautifully situated. Pond on one side, park on the other and a green courtyard in the middle made us forget we were still in the city. Obviously it has hyper interesting exhibitions and artsy souvenirs but what sets it apart is its charming, little bookshop/café. In a country where reading is essential and done by everyone, everywhere you really need places like that. Just crossing the doorstep I felt this lovely atmosphere of an old office with this specific smell of books and coffee.

After you're done reading we strongly recommend the best natural juice ice cream we have ever tasted! Location on our map below.

  1. See the army in action at the Martyrs’ Shrine

This pretty new shrine (built in 1969) is dedicated to Chinese soldiers who sacrificed themselves for their country. As many other important places it changes guards every hour. But honestly, this one is the most spectacular that we saw. Sheer precision, synchronization and shoes almost creating music. We stayed even after the "performance" to explore the beauty of the surrounding. Thankfully it misses some new, kitsch additions which leaves just perfect repetitions and a shrine that looks old and traditional.

  1. Feel the grand Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall

Built in memory of a former president of China, Chiang Kai-shek, the memorial hall is one of the main sites in Taipei. The hall itself is not extremely impressive for someone coming from Europe … but the change of guards is mesmerizing and the square on which it’s situated is massive and gives this feeling of a massive empire.

  1. Get cultural for “nothing” in the Taipei Fine Arts Museum

I was shocked a country famous for producing electronics and cheesy goods would have so much art. I completely didn’t expect that they would do even more. Spread art for everyone. Fine Arts Museum is another example of that. Entrance is just 30 NTD so less than a euro and you can literally spend a whole day walking around and exploring different exhibitions. We were especially interested in the exhibition about victims of the “Made in Taiwan” phenomenon.

  1. Emerge in a “weekend” garden on Chien Kuo Weekend Flower Market

Da'an’s flower market is a perfect event for all the flower lovers. You can literally find all the flowers and herbs that I’ve ever seen and also some micro plants kept in lab-like flasks. There are also lots of other curiosities like little fish kept in separate plastic containers or fresh honey on honey comb. Just next to the Flower Market there is also a Gem market.

  1. Get the best views on the city from the Elephant Mountain

Some might argue that the best views on the capital are from Taipei 101. For us it’s simple, why pay a lot of money to go on a tower when you can sweat for 20 minutes and see the whole city, tower included, for free? For us it was an easy choice. And judging by the biggest tripod crowds ever, we weren’t the only ones with that opinion. The mountain offers plenty of viewing platforms, the further you go, the more options and different angles you get. We decided to go there in the late afternoon to get the sight of the city during the day as well as with the sunset and at night. We never regretted those few hours, it was magnificent although crowded.

  1. Shopping around Taipei 101 and Xiemending

Especially Xiemending reminded us of shopping districts in Osaka or Tokyo. Obviously on a smaller scale. There and around Taipei 101 you can get everything: fine tea, clothes, electronics, souvenirs, nice Taiwanese cosmetics. You name it!

Day trips from Taipei

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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. A stroll along the beach in Tamsui

A small seaside town perfect for a sunset or a little stroll along the gift shops. It didn’t take our breath away but considering how close it is to Taipei and how cute the street art is in there, it would be a shame not to pay a visit.

  1. Shifen and the waterfalls’ hike

The waterfall in Shifen is the widest on Taiwan. Unfortunately so is the infrastructure next to it. But that’s where a beautiful hike starts that took us to three other waterfalls hidden magically in dense vegetation. One of them turned out to be a great stop for a cool dip. It’s possible to combine this hike with Pingxi mountains, more about it here.

  1. The ultimate relax in Beitou

Japan tempted us with baths for a very long time. Unfortunately prices or strict rules always stopped us from trying. When we finally came so close to a hot spring paradise, we knew we had no more excuses. Beitou is a perfect spot for every budget. There are plenty of open –air, super cheap bathhouses but also hotels that offer a private bathing experience. Those surprisingly can be affordable. We went to The Golden Hot Spring Hotel and paid 1480 TWD (41.34 Euro) for 1.5 hour in our private bath. It included soaps, shampoos, shower, wooden bath as well as a normal one.

Except for the bathing experience Beitou has a beautiful library, the Hot Spring Museum which used to be a bathhouse and numerous parks… or actually it’s all green there.

  1. Fearless walking in the Fanziaoqiuchangyan Park

The northern part of Taiwan is famous for moon-like rock formations. Most of them are actually a little too famous… But this spot pleasantly hidden from the mass Chinese excursions. And it’s a 2 in 1 kind of journey. Twisted rock formations and an amazing arch where fearless people can parade around, and more fearful ones can take pictures of them. Pretty clear on which side I stayed 🙂

  1. Spooky walk into the world of Spirited Away - Jiufen

Theoretically Jiufen shouldn’t be anything worth seeing. It’s super small, not much more than just one street with lampions and overhanging vines. But honestly there was something so charming in there, something that I wouldn’t even try to explain. The lack of people in the morning makes it pretty spooky … like if it was a set for a Spirited Away sequel. I can’t even imagine coming there in the middle of the night. If you guys do that, let us know!

  1. The tea paradise around The Thousand Island Lake

By every spot visited we have one big regret of a place we didn’t see. Because even if the time is not so limited, you can’t see everything. The tea plantations around the Thousand Island Lake are just that. They looked absolutely spectacular on every picture that we saw… even on bad shots untouched by any of the magic computer programs. But we simply found out about it a bit too late… Nevertheless it will be our first stop when we come back! For sure!

More disappointing places…

  1. Walking around in Yangmingshan Park

The fame of this place has grown into a sort of a legend. I understand why someone liked it so much, but I just can’t seem to find it to meet all the expectations. For us it was more of a park which was nothing compared to all the other hiking spots we saw on Taiwan. The only difference were fumes coming out from the sulfur hot spots but I wouldn’t say they were spectacular enough to make a whole trip to Yangmingshan Park. Not to mention that the wait for the bus to take you anywhere in the park is a torture. It goes very rarely.

  1. The Wulai Waterfall

Wulai was supposed to be a pearl for exploring indigenous culture, enjoying hot springs and nature. What we found were cheesy local shops, even cheesier hot springs and a waterfall that was not worth the bus ride. It was a pretty disappointing day.

  1. In the world of ceramics

Taiwan is really strong with street art and ceramic is almost as good as in Japan. So when we heard about New Taipei City Ceramic Museum and nearby park with ceramic sculptures and 1200 colorful windmills, we knew we had to see it. We were sure it would be beautiful… Well the windmills were nowhere to be find… not even one. And the park with the ceramic sculptures was just sad. It turned out to be the shortest out of our day trips that we wouldn’t recommend to anyone. And that is coming from a pottery lover.

Cycling around the Sun Moon Lake

The Sun Moon Lake is the biggest lake on Taiwan and on an island that small, it can get pretty crowded during the weekend. Because of the potential crowds and insane prices during the weekend we decided to go there during the week.

Although from many Taiwanese we heard that the Sun Moon lake is “just” a lake. I knew with a name like that it had to be spectacular. Arriving in the main town in the north of the lake I was actually pretty underwhelmed with what I saw. Instead of an oasis of peace and few charming houses by the lake I landed in a place full of not so cheap hotels, overpriced touristic shops and not so great restaurants.

Fortunately our hostel (Yue Lake Backpackers) turned out to be just outside of all that mess and it was actually pretty charming.

There are many ways to explore the area but since we love biking and having the flexibility of stopping everywhere, we decided to cycle around the lake (30km). I noticed that many bikes didn’t even have gears so I was calm that it would be a walk in the park. Flat as Holland. The touristic map was indicating all sorts of biking paths along the way so it seemed wheel friendly. It turned out that those were mostly very short and the longest one, the Moon lake bikeway, was suited only to push your bike. It was so steep that they even put signs everywhere to walk along your bike rather than riding it. But that came at the very end… first I was shocked and in a world of pain going up from our hostel to the Wenwu Temple for what seemed to be hours.

Wenwu Temple itself, although big, didn’t impress us with its architecture. It looked almost brand new even though it's 100 years. But it offers one of the most spectacular views on the lake and shade, very, very appreciated detail on Taiwan.

Cycling to the temple was the worst part of the biking trip. From there it was flat or even downhill… mostly.

The views we got were well worth the effort. The route is full of small side trails to walk to the lake or through the forest next to it. That way we spotted the weirdest boats that looked like floating apartments with huge nets waving on board like a flag.

Floating islands are another sight not to be missed on the lake. We spotted them on Songbolun Hiking Trail and Tutingzai hiking trail. Patches of land on the water where locals grow some vegetables. Although popular method in the area, no one could explain which plants were grown on them. So if you do, let us know!

Half way through the round we saw the most incredible pagoda (Cien Pagoda). Built in 1971 doesn’t make it too much of a historic sight. But 46 m and the fact that it’s been built on a mountain top assure spectacular views over the whole lake and surrounding mountains. Not to mention it’s one of very few pagodas that we saw, that was available for climbing all the way up. In Japan we could only admire them from a distance.

Cycling downhill from Cien pagoda we stopped at Xuanguang temple which was tiny and not much to see anyway. Just a small sneak peak at the Lalu Island which is this micro island surrounded by floating gardens. Looking at it it’s hard to believe that not so long ago it was much bigger and inhabited. Most of it ended underwater during an earthquake in 1999. Lalu used to separate the lake into a crescent moon and a sun.

Although the trip was supposed to take around 5 hours it took us the whole day. The last hour we spend in a pouring rain cycling like crazy to the Xiangshan Visitors Center looking for a shelter. Right when we reached it, the rain stopped and a kaleidoscope of colors came with the sunset. I couldn’t imagine a better place to see it. It’s not just any other tourist information. It looks more like an alien ship landed and never left. If that wasn’t enough facing the lake, there is a great pond that gives an illusion of an infinity pool. No wonder locals come here to take wedding pictures! There is even an open room for wedding photo session preparations.

We decided to come back and admire the spot for a great sunrise on the next day and we really weren’t disappointed. It was so serene, beautiful and misty.

Many people say that the Maolan mountain has the best sunrise views but that’s absolutely not true. In fact I wouldn’t even recommend that one. Maybe only for people who really want to see tea plantations but only for the sake of seeing the bushes. Don’t imagine mountain slopes going down to the lake covered in tea. I would be heartbroken waking up in the middle of the night and walking 45 minutes to see nothing special. But well, it’s also part of traveling, isn’t?

Practical info:

  1. Going around the lake is 30 km. It’s possible to do it on a bike. Just make sure you get a one with gears or an electric one. It’s also possible to go by bus.
  2. It’s possible to rent a bike as soon as the shop opens (7am) and bring it back on the next day in the morning. Renting a bike for a day with gears costs 200 TWD (5.57 Euro) including our discount that we got from our hostel.
  3. The Sun Moon Lake is easily reached from Taipei. There are a couple of direct buses per day. It takes around 6-7 hours to get there. For more frequent options you would have to go from Taichung.
  4. On the weekends it’s the number one destination for all the locals. During the week it’s practically an oasis of peace.
  5. Although we haven’t found anything mind blowing to eat. We managed to find a cheap and good restaurant selling noodle soup. One of very few spots that had veggies included in their options and not deep fried ones. The location is on our map below. So is our favorite (and best priced) bubble tea shop and waffles with assam tea (a must try snack!)
  6. It’s worth checking when the firefly season is. We heard there are a lot of festivals and millions of beautiful fireflies flying around not far from the lake.

Are you guys going to the Sun Moon lake? Or maybe you have already been and want to share your experience? Tell us below 🙂

Taichung in a day

Taichung is the 3rd largest city on the island and a perfect stop on the way to the Sun Moon Lake. It offers amazing street art, stylish cafes and a true Taiwanese experience but without the crowd of the capital. Even better... all of the spots are reachable by public transport and buses are for free!

Morning at the Rainbow Village

The Rainbow Village is the absolute must see and the only busy spot in Taichung. But early morning is pretty peaceful even there. Later in the day it's only busy when the tour buses unload and storm in there but after 15 minutes of chaos they are mostly gone and the village goes back to its calm state.

15 minutes sounds like very little time for a whole village but in reality it’s not that much of a village. It's just a small area of few houses with a square and few little streets. But still it’s worth the visit and I would even dare to say: a slow one:) 

Rainbow Village has been created by a veteran who goes by the name of Rainbow Grandpa. Those houses were dull and practically on the edge of ruin when he decided to give them a new life. He started painting everything from walls to floors, including details like lanterns. Although the patterns look childish, together they create a unique, colorful and heartwarming feeling. There is nothing like to wake up in the morning and have a rainbow of colors bringing you to life.

Rainbow Grandpa still hangs around there so you can definitely spot him in the village... we did 🙂

A stroll full of art in Stock 20

Although the area is not very big, it’s situated next to the central station which provides a very convenient location. It still needs a lot of work, there is just one café and the opening hours of the ateliers are not clear but… it’s just such a charming place full of art and murals. When the ateliers are open it’s even more interesting with some amazing stainless glass beauties, paintings and other handicrafts. It’s hard to believe that those were just some old warehouses used during the Japanese occupation and left for decades since then.

Coffee and a cake at Fermento

Fermento is a really lovely café with hip furniture and art. Not to mention the joy of light coming through glass walls. It’s a perfect spot to have a cup of coffee or taste some of the delicious Taiwanese teas. To go with it they have a selection of cakes. If that wasn’t enough Fermento is situated in a very nice neighborhood with plenty of nice restaurants and artistic shops. There is even a shop dedicated to masking tape with millions of designs. That one is a true art on its own that is now extremely popular on the island. From there it’s nice to walk around on the Greenway. The most popular green area in Taichung that offers so needed shadow at any time of the day.

Read a book in the National library of Public Information

Taiwanese love reading. In fact I don’t think I ever saw more people reading in my life. Even bookstores are actually encouraging their clients to stay and read with nice tables, stylish lamps and comfy chairs. We were told they try to earn money on other merchandise and in house restaurant instead.

It made us wonder how a library would look like so we decided to visit one in Taichung. It was quite an experience, people were reading everywhere and it looked more like a stylish café than a dull library. Not to mention the building itself is futuristic and worth a visit even without a book in your hand.

Cool off with a big cup of bubble tea

Coffee might be the new hip thing but its still tea that leads the way. Taiwan produces 20% of world’s oolong tea and it proudly grows also green and black varieties. What better place to try some bubble tea than Taichung, where it was invented in the '80s.

Bubble tea comes in a variety of flavors, it can be green, black or oolong, with fresh or powdered milk, with tapioca or other kinds of pearls. They often even put jellies in it. We tried many different shops but only one made us come back over and over again. Europa served in our opinion the nicest tea bubble or normal. Although the guys preparing it looked clueless, what came out of their hands was delicious.

Explore some fine art for free in the National Taiwan Museum of Fine arts

The museum itself is not an architectural pearl like many others are. But it offers a variety of interesting exhibitions and it’s actually for free. When we were there it presented amazing work of an artist creating moving art with light installations on it. It was literally the most soothing exhibition I saw in my life as the objects were almost floating above and next to us. Another room was all about explaining gravity in a beautiful, approachable way. 

Get some dinner at one of the night markets

Taichung just like any other place on Taiwan is all about night markets, they are literally everywhere and they vary in size and quality. The biggest one is Feng Chia. Although not as good as in Kenting or Taipei, it’s still satisfying especially if you pick up their barbecue meat and veg with a decadent sweet sauce. It’s not exactly picture perfect so you will have to see it with your own eyes:)

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