Here’s what I’m putting my Taiwan bucket list before I go for the first time.
As I said in my 2018 plans post, I’m headed to Taiwan! I’m actually kind of amazed I haven’t managed to get to this country before now. I’ve wanted to go since I was 15 or 16 and discovered Taiwanese pop culture. I’m getting back to my travel roots and planning this trip more like I did when I went to Thailand and a lot less like my more haphazard planning of 2017. First on that list is creating a bit of a Taiwan bucket list to get myself organized and ready to go.
But first here’s a quick list of how I’m planning this trip differently:
- I’m not reaching out for any sponsored anything. Originally, I was planning on reaching out to the tourism board, individual hotels, or, even, tour companies. However, I don’t want to worry about tying in any sort of work with my travels in Taiwan this time around. I can always come back and do collaborations, but for this first trip, I really want to do it all on my own and go at my own pace.
- I’m really researching ahead of time. Last year I traveled a little too quickly, so a lot of information I found out after the fact. This time, I’ve been making notes, watching films, and so on in preparation. I’m just really excited, and I don’t want to come back to Korea and think, “Hm, whelp, could have done that differently!”
- I’m budgeting a bit. Just a tiny bit! This is more of an experiment for myself, but I might write up my cost breakdown if I really do stick to jotting things down. My attitude towards my trips in the past have generally been, “Just make sure you don’t overdraft!” And, if my credit card bill is anything to go by, that is a TERRIBLE motto! So, yeah, I’m budgeting. Maybe I’ll get an app to monitor it or, more likely, I’ll jot things down on my phone.
Okay, now for the fun stuff!
My Taiwan Bucket List (For Now)
So, because I have 2 1/2 weeks in Taiwan and I’m solo traveling, I’m only planning on hitting up 3 major spots: Taipei, Hualien, and Jiufen. I had Taichung and Sun Moon Lake on my list as well, but I don’t want to bounce around too much, and those two are the furthest from Taipei. My visit to the Rainbow Village will just have to wait!
Most people I know have visited Taroko Gorge National Park, so I jotted that down when I was first skimming blog posts and writing down fun things to do in Taiwan. My plans are to spend a few nights in Hualien and visit Taroko and Liyu Lake. This will also let me wander around Hualien itself!
On the list:
- Taroko Gorge National Park – a stunning park with different routes and viewpoints.
- Liyu Lake– the largest lake in Eastern Taiwan and near Hualien
Jiufen, from all I’ve read, is one of the best places to visit in Taiwan. With its old time charm and its connection to one of Studio Ghibli’s most famous films, Spirited Away, I wasn’t about to visit and not check it out!
I know I could very easily do a day trip to Jiufen and return to Taipei, but that seems a little rushed. Plus if I stay overnight, I can get up early and hopefully not compete with crowds to get some of the photos I know I’m going to want to get.
My friends wrote a really nice breakdown of their trip and even made a cute little map, so I’m probably going to follow their post for the most part and play it by ear once I get into town. Another friend also told me about Shifen, so I’m hoping to make it out there as well!
On the list:
- Jiufen Old Street – the hotspot for all things that inspired Spirited Away
- Houtong Cat Village – A cat village one stop away. I mean…
- Shifen Waterfall – A waterfall with Niagra fall vibes
Now for the big kahuna of the list! (Does that even make sense?) I’m going to spend most of my time in Taipei where I’ll catch up on any projects, relax, and, you know, try to visit all the places I’ve looked up. Plus, of course, I fully plan on embracing the night market scene and eating my fill of good food!
On my list of things to do in Taipei:
- Kitten Coffee Garden – it has different names, but it’s the oldest cat cafe in the world.
- Taipei 101 – one of the tallest buildings in the world
- Elephant Mountain- an easy hike with great cityscape views
- Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall – a beautiful landmark for the first president of Taiwan
- Bopiliao Historical Block – Features 18th century architecture
- Longshan Temple- temple near Bopiliao from the 1700s
- Huashan 1914 Creative Park – a super quirky park with different installations. The one that caught my eye was the colorful upside down house!
- Beitou Hot Springs Resort – Can you believe I’ve lived in Asia for 3 years and have not once gone to a hot spring?
- Wulai Hot Springs – Alternative to Beitou. I might try to hit up both.
- Yehliu Geopark – An interesting park along the northern coast with different honeycomb style rocks.
- Tian-Yuan Gong – A gorgeous 200m tall pagoda
- The Night Markets – I fully intend to get most of my nourishment on this trip from the night markets! The three I wrote down were Shilin, Rahoe, and Linjiang. When I research the food, I’ll have to add a whole section of what to eat to this post (or maybe just make a whole separate one).
I’ll have to come back to update this list more once I’ve been to Taiwan. What do you think I’m missing?
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