Solo Travel in Taiwan
Types of Girl about the Globe (GatG) – Active, Foodie, Nature, Spiritual & Wellness
Taiwan is such an under-rated country and a hidden gem in Asia. It doesn’t have the crowds of tourists that you find in Japan and it’s incredibly safe. Plus there is bubble tea everywhere! This article is an overview of Taiwan. I spent a week here and share my travel tips, the best places to see the country, how to get around and places to stay to inspire you to visit Taiwan.
Solo Travel in Taiwan
Taiwan is ranked as the second safest country in the world behind Japan. In Taipei you’ll find some people speaking English. The Taiwanese are so accommodating and will even make a u-turn in the street to help you if you look lost and escort you where you are supposed to go. From my own personal experience, being in Taiwan feels comfortable because no one stares at you here. There is also an expat community as there are a lot of women teaching English.
Taipei is a foodie heaven with its numerous night markets offering all sorts of cheap but delicious local food. It’s also vegetarian friendly with amazing vegetarian cuisine. Make sure to try the beef noodle soup and smelly tofu that the country is known for.
As well as outdoor adventure and good hiking, Taiwan offers museums, monuments, water parks, hot springs, and also smaller islands with gorgeous beaches and great scuba diving.
Wellness solos will be in their element here as the locals are into their spas and the country has hot springs too. But, check before you go in as some of them don’t allow swimwear but it’s definitely a liberating experience. You also need a swimming cap too!
Taiwan has so much nature and nature solos will love Sun Moon Lake and Taroko Gorge. For cultural solos, there is also a Buddhist monastery which hosts retreats for foreigners to teach them more about Buddhism.
If you're unsure where to go in Taiwan, I have included my favourite places in Taiwan below to help you to plan your solo trip.
Taipei is the capital of Taiwan. This city is really cool and a good place to base yourself for a few nights if you don’t have time to travel around the rest of the country. You can do plenty of day trips from here.
One landmark that you have to see here is Taipei 101. This is the city’s tallest building (it used to be the Grand Hotel before). This 508-meter-tall skyscraper was once the world's tallest building, boasting a unique design inspired by traditional Asian pagodas. Head up to its observatory to enjoy panoramic views of the city.
My tip – If you're on a day tour, the company may drop you at Taipei 101 after the tour so check with them before. When you leave, if you order an Uber from Taipei 101, they only pick up from a certain area so make sure to exit from the East gate for your pick up.
In the modern Xinyi district, you'll find upscale shopping malls, nightlife, and a dynamic dining scene. And if you're interested in history and culture, make sure to explore the indigenous cultures of Taiwan at the Shung Ye Museum of Formosan Aborigines.
The National Palace Museum in Taiwan is a treasure trove of ancient Chinese artefacts that takes you on a journey through Chinese history and culture. Its extensive exhibits include priceless artworks, ceramics, calligraphy, and historical treasures. Nearby, the serene Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall stands as a tribute to the country's former leader.
Nature solos can venture to Yangmingshan National Park, where you’ll find hiking trails amongst lush landscapes and sulfur hot springs. Don’t miss the opportunity to witness the changing of the guard ceremony at the Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall, a tribute to the founding father of the Republic of China.
Songshan Cultural and Creative Park is a beautifully restored tobacco factory turned creative hub in Taipei. It hosts a range of exhibitions, events, and cultural activities, making it a hotspot for art and design enthusiasts. Stroll through its historic architecture, art galleries, and craft shops, and immerse yourself in Taipei's vibrant creative scene. It’s super nice and arty.
Taipei is also ideal to explore solo at night and the city is renowned for its bustling night markets; Shilin Night Market being one of the best. Here, you can taste a wide array of Taiwanese street food, shop for local goods, and immerse yourself in the city's vibrant street culture.
But if you don’t get a chance to see that night market, you can explore the Huaxi Street Night market instead. As the Huaxi Tourist Street Market is located near one of city's beautiful temples, Longsham Temple.
Longsham Temple is a historic Buddhist temple renowned for its beautiful architecture and cultural significance. Built in 1738, it features beautiful carvings and decorations and is even more stunning at night with a really serene atmosphere.
It’s really safe wandering through the lit streets and when you’re here, you can also indulge in some of Taiwan’s wellness. The night market has plenty of massage parlours for 400 TWD (New Taiwan dollar) which include a 20 minute free shoulder massage too!
Day Tours from Taipei
Yehliu, Jiufen & Pingxi
From Taipei it’s easy to take day tours to explore the north and east of the island. The most reachable day trips are Yehliu, Juifen and Pingxi all located in the new Taipei area that you can combine in one full day tour.
Yehliu is stunning. This coastal gem in northern Taiwan is a Geopark of natural rock formations shaped by erosion. It’s a really unique place to visit with a surreal landscape and formations such as a sandstone turtle and large mushroom. The most famous formations here are the “Princess’ and the “Queen’s Head” which sadly is eroding away. Tip – if you visit during the summer months there is no shade here so take a hat or umbrella to protect you from the sun.
One of my favourite places in Taiwan is Jifeun Village. This former gold-mining town has a chaotic charm to it where you can lose yourself in the assortment of shops as wander through its passageway. And don’t worry as you won’t get lost here either.
The street is full of local stores and sellers passing you free oolong tea and local food to try such as their famous pineapple cake. Make sure to try the ice cream and peanut spring roll. They even produce their own coffee too! It’s a great place to buy presents and souvenirs whether it’s just for yourself or others to take back home.
One of the most iconic and popular tea houses here is the A-Mei Teahouse, perched on a hillside, that offers panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and the coast. Nearby is the Daoist temple known as Jiufen Wangyou Temple (also known as the Wangyou Shrine). This temple is famous for its unique dragon sculpture that coils around the temple's pillars (a symbol of power, protection and good fortune in Chinese culture).
Taiwan even has its own ‘Little Niagara Falls'. Shifen Falls is also located in New Taipei and seeing its cascades from the several viewing platforms is definitely impressive. It's a really lovely area to sit and enjoy a snack or drink too.
If you do go on a tour that combines all of these areas, you'll also get to visit Pinxi. This small village nestled in a valley with a Taiwanese charm is known for its annual Sky Lantern Festival. You'll see air lanterns as they are let off into the sky, each one with a handwritten message of the sender’s wishes for the future.
Pinxi is a working train track so make sure to listen out for the tooting of a passing train as everyone steps of the tracks and out of its way.
The Maokong Gondola is a scenic cable car system in Taipei that takes you on a breathtaking journey through lush tea plantations, offering stunning views of the city and mountains. It's a unique opportunity to savor Taiwan's tea culture, explore traditional teahouses, and take in the serene atmosphere of the Maokong area.
Head south of Taipei to Taichung city, the Silicon Valley of Taiwan. This city has the most skyscrapers in the whole of the country and is where modernity is said to meet tradition.
Arty and Museum solos can explore art and culture at the National Museum of Fine Arts or check out a performance at the National Taichung Theatre with its own unique funky design. You can learn about the region's history at the 921 Earthquake Museum or get artsy at Rainbow Village, renowned for its colourful murals.
The vibrant artwork of a retired soldier featuring diverse scenes and characters, saved the village from demolition and instead turned it into a popular tourist spot. It’s worth visiting just for the story and impact of one man’s creativity to preserve his home.
Kaohsiung is the largest port in Taiwan with the best river name. The Love River is the heart of the city where you can walk along the river or take a scenic boat ride. See vibrant temples, including the Dragon and Tiger Pagodas at the Lotus Pond, or visit Cijin Island for its sandy beaches and fresh seafood. Get creative at the Pier-2 Art Center which hold cultural events or see panoramic view of the city at 85 Sky Tower.
But my favourite place here is the Fo Guang Shan Buddha Museum. There are so many Buddhas here; it's an amazing place. This huge complex is home to the world’s tallest bronze sitting Buddha statue which is stunning. The Great Buddha Land is one of Fo Guang Shan Temple’s oldest landmarks. It features 480 statues of Buddha which surround a forty meter-tall Great Buddha. If you don't get a chance to see any other place in Taiwan, make sure you visit this amazing, peaceful place.
Sun Moon Lake
Not far from Taichung is one of my favourite places in Taiwan. Sun Moon Lake is stunning and is called so because of its sun and moon shaped resemblance, this giant lake has so many beautiful places to visit and is really tranquil. It’s also ideal for the active solo as you can kayak across it or take a boat trip. There are also hiking and cycling trails around the lake such as the Shuishe Bikeway.
As well as its temples, you can also learn about the indigenous Thao tribe at the Thao Village on the east side of the lake and see their traditional houses and handicrafts. There’s a pier here and many local stalls selling their local cuisine. Make sure to try the rice chicken wings (which is chicken stuffed with rice), Gao bao – Taiwanese hamburger made of boar, and millet on a bamboo stick which is a tribal snack. (You can find all these stores near the 7/11 shop).
Tainan, Taiwan's oldest city, is a tapestry of history and culture. Explore the ancient Chihkan Tower and Koxinga Shrine, both steeped in history that showcase the city's heritage. The Anping Old Fort provides a good insight into Taiwan's colonial past and there's the Confucius Temple, one of Taiwan's oldest.
The Chihkan Tower and Koxinga Shrine, steeped in history, showcase the city's cultural heritage. Anping Old Fort sheds light on Taiwan's colonial past. The Confucius Temple, one of Taiwan's oldest, exudes tranquility and tradition.
The city's vibrant street food scene is a delight for foodies and make sure to visit the Flower night Market when you're here too.
Kenting National Park
Located in southern Taiwan, Kenting National Park is another must-see when you solo travel Taiwan. This natural wonderland has coastline and lush grasslands. You can go hiking at stunning Longpan Park, or see the Eluanbi Lighthouse, that stands tall on Taiwan's southernmost tip, surrounded by unique geological formations. The Maobitou coastal area is another gem, famous for its breathtaking sea-carved terrain and picturesque scenery.
The White Sand Bay and Xiaowan Beaches are perfect for sunbathing and water sports. and if you love exploring underwater, Kenting's coral reefs are another must-see, teeming with colorful marine life. As with the rest of the country, Kenting also has a vibrant night market where you can sample even more Taiwanese street food.
Taroko Gorge is a natural wonder with marble cliffs and waterfalls, temples and bridges. If you love nature this is a definite must-see. And there are hiking trails such as the Zhuilu Old Trail, and the Shakadang Trail for the active solo.
The Eternal Spring Shrine is a 200m trail which offers stunning views of the marble gorge. The trail leads to the shrine that was built of memory of the workers who died building the Central Cross Island highway.
The Swallow Grotto Trail gives you fantastic views of the marble canyons carved by the Liwu River. The Tunnel of Nine Turns is like a winding rollercoaster road through the gorge, and the Baiyang Waterfall Trail takes you to a picturesque waterfall. Taroko Gorge is a must-visit for anyone into nature and culture.
Tours in Taiwan
I spent time solo in Taipei and booked a 5-day tour for the rest of the country for the ease of getting around. I recommend Edison Travel as the guide was amazing. I met some great people and stayed in 5-star hotels that I wouldn’t have been able to afford otherwise. The tour visits the most popular and most important places in the country so it’s a great way to explore Taiwan.
Edison tour also offer day tours from Taipei to the north. I used them again for Yehliu, Jiufen & Pingxi. * Check rates and availability for Ediison Travel tours
Accommodation in Taiwan
Taiwan has a range of accommodation from the capsule hotels in Taipei to luxury 5 star hotels with their own hot springs in your room. The room sizes for budget accommodation can be quite small but if you're travelling solo then it's more than enough space for one person.
I’ve listed below all the accommodation that I personally stayed in as well as recommended accommodation from our solo female community. * Check rates and availability for all Taiwan accommodation
- $ – Star Hostel Taipei Main Station – I love this place so much that I stayed here twice! The staff are really helpful and you can choose from a dorm bed or private room. Breakfast is delicious and there is a lovely common space too.
- $$ – Citizen Hotel – This 3-star hotel is near the subway and walking distance to restaurants. They also offer an airport shuttle and laundry and you can store your luggage with them too.
- $$$ – Inhouse Hotel Taipei – This 4-star hotel is a great area, just a 5 minute walk from the train station. The staff are really welcoming and helpful.
Sun Moon Lake – Fleur De Chine – This 5-star hotel is just gorgeous. Situated near the lake, it has a pool, sauna and hot springs and even had hot springs in my room!
Kaohsiung – Grand Hi Lai Hotel – This 5-star hotel is one of the tallest skyscrapers in Kaohsiung. It even has its own mall on the ground level with a fantastic food court.
Taitung – Royal Hotel Chihpen – I loved the hot springs in this hotel (and in my room). They even had lavender and green tea springs. Breakfast at this 5-star hotel was amazing and they also host cultural performances every evening. My room even came with its own coffee machine and snacks!
Taroko – Silks Place Taroko Hotel – This hotel is just gorgeous. There's a rooftop pool with hot tubs and even an outdoor cinema. Plus They hold weekly yoga classes and have cultural singers in the evenings. It's located in such a peaceful place in the gorge.
Best Time To Go To Taiwan
March to May and sept to nov are best times to visit Taiwan. The summer months can get humid and sweaty. I travelled around the country during September as it was still very hot especially in the south where apparently it’s always summer. Below is an annual weather chart for Taipei to help you decide when to go.
- Can I drink the water? Yes the tap water is safe to drink.
- Is tipping expected? In restaurants, there is usually a service fee added so you don’t need to tip. It’s expected to tip your tour guide and driver (separately).
- Fixed price or barter? Fixed price.
- Any ATMs? Yes and you can find ATMS in the 7-Eleven shops.
- Which side of the road do they drive? On the right-hand side
- Good for vegetarians? Yes. There are lots of places that are good for vegetarians and vegans.
- Any Seven Wonders of the World? No.
Plan a Trip to Taiwan
Capital – Taipei City
Population – 23.57 million
Language spoken – Mandarin Chinese. Some people speak a little English
Local Currency – New Taiwan dollar
Do I need a visa? For British Citizens you don’t need a visa for Taiwan. You can stay up 90 days.