Have you enjoyed most the sights that Taipei has to offer? Feel like getting away from the hustle and bustle of the city and lose yourself in nature? Would you like to explore the smaller gems of Taiwan and the 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 atop 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 its 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 a mountainous atmosphere ( the drive to Wulai was absolutely stunning).
The third destination of my liking near Taipei is the Beitou Hot Springs area that is 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, walkthrough 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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