Photography & travel tips from an award-winning photographer, educator & wanderlust

3 weekend trips from Taipei

Have you enjoyed most sights that Taipei has to offer? Feel like getting away from the hustle and bustle of the city and loose yourself in nature? Would you like to explore the smaller gems of Taiwan and culinary delights they have to offer?

Then read on to find 3 relaxing and picturesque towns near Taipei, which are going to delight even the most experienced traveler.

First off, hop on the 30-40 minute bus ride to Jiufen. While it is famous for possibly being the inspiration of the Japanese animation “Spirited Away,” (I didn’t see the animation) I found other reasons why Jiufen is a delightful little Taiwanese town. It is full of what feels like a labyrinth of narrow streets and alleys that all eventually lead somewhere. After just two days there, it was easy enough to navigate, even in the pouring rain or at 6 am.

There were plenty of yummy snacks and dishes available from various vendors. Plenty of shops selling souvenirs for purchase, while you fight the crowds for that magnet or Cilantro Ice Cream. The view of the shore and nearby islands gave this town a very romantic vibe as we were sipping on our Taiwan Beer beverages. It’s also popular for hiking a top the mountain in the images above or spending time in one of many coffee/tea shops in the area. You can also purchase tea as a souvenir.

Wulai – my second pick for a weekend getaway from Taipei is about 1 hour bus ride away. It is known for it’s aboriginal villagers and hot springs. Walk on Main Street to get in line to get your hands on the ever popular Wile Boar Sausage (which comes in various flavors). Or try any other snack that you see on the street, chances are they are all pretty good (I liked the tapioca pudding drink and various skewers on a stick). Make sure to book yourself into a hotel with a soaking tub and you’ll be set for a weekend full of relaxation, sightseeing (a few waterfalls can be walked to or hiked up to in the area) and mountainous atmosphere ( the drive to Wulai was absolutely stunning).

The third destination of my liking near Taipei is the Beitou Hot Springs area that are conveniently located on a subway line (2 trains required to get here, the last one is pretty slow). This place definitely sees the weekend crowds and for the right reasons. Pull out your selfie stick for a steamy and toasty picture with your family or a significant other. Learn about the history of the aboriginal tribes of Taiwan at the Cultural Center, walk through The Plum Garden and its residence or visit the Hot Springs Museum – all within walking distance of one another (just follow the crowds).

Finding the three weekend getaways from Taipei is not difficult, especially if you’re using the Internet. Get yourself an inexpensive Sim Card at the Airport and getting to various destinations should be as easy as clicking on Maps App and typing in your desired area. It is pretty good at estimating the distance, fastest way of getting there and approximate cost (the last condition is not always perfect, but close enough and Taiwan’s transportation is pretty cheap if you ask me).

What other weekend trips outside of Taipei would you recommend? Leave your comment below.

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  1. We absolutely loved Taipei! We went to Jiufen, but not the other two places because of the rainy weather on our last days. You have to check out Sprited Away! It’s one of Studio Ghibli’s best films! We were so sad not to go to Wulai, I was more interested in going to their natural hotsprings than Betiou but have heard great things about both! Luckily we were able to get some hot spring action in when we visited Taroko Gorge! You’re making me want to go back for some more of Taipei!

    • I feel like most people’s itinerary’s get rained out in Taiwan. We had a day or so of rainy weather during our 6 days there. Either way a gorgeous country and we were sad to not have visited the amazing Taroko Gorge (it looked fantastic from your travel videos!)

    • I didn’t have a lot of time myself, only 6 days but I felt like a few days here, there and there were enough to experience it.

  2. I am so desperate to visit Taipei and this post has just made me want to visit even more! The hot springs look amazing! And so does the street food. Super informative post it will come in handy to us when we hopefully make it there at some point this year!

  3. Alla, I have a few quick questions (pardon me if I’ve missed anything, I am still uffering from jet lag from my last trip). Can you do this in a long weekend or is it better to take the week? Me and my partner are currently in the process of sorting out holidays so any advice would be appreciated. Where did stay?

    • We did our 3 areas plus Taipei in 6 days, would I have liked more time – sure! In less time, I’d say stay in Taipei (which still has a lot to see!) We didn’t have any time to go south to any of the cities or places like Takoro Gorge, so I’m saving that for another time.

  4. We stayed in Comme Inn Taipei 3 in Taipei, Taiche Inn in Wulai and Dragon Inn in Jiufen (all booked through because they do 11th night free and have a handy app for your reservations)

  5. I loved Jiufen, but it was absolutely crazy with crowds when I visited. So stressful to walk around, unless you managed to find a side street! I might have to go to Wulai for a foodie pilgrimage. Boar sausage AND tapioca? Sign me up!

    Beautiful photos, too 😉

  6. Taipei has definitely made its way onto my list over the last few years, and I’m guilty of avoiding it bc I need a visa to get there. There’ll definitely be space for Jiufen on my trip there when the time comes!

  7. I had been reading about Taipei these days and a friend has recently visited with her hubby and only has good things to say. No travel plans there but will keep this in mind, Alla. Thanks.

  8. I haven’t been to Taiwan yet, but seeing this I would definitely include these places in my trip if I would go. It looks much rawer than images I saw of Taipei. I love your photos. It really makes me want to explore Taiwan myself. It is good to know these places are easily accessible.

  9. Jiufen is #1 on my list of things to see in Taiwan. What’s #2? I want all the street food in Taipei! It looks like you had a wonderful adventure. I was supposed to go for Chuseok and then there was a typhoon and my plans were cancelled…at the airport. I’ll be back to check this out when I plan a trip again!

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