If you’re a slow traveler like I am then this 2-week Taiwan itinerary guide is perfect for you! Read on to see how I spent my winter vacation in this beautiful country.
I cannot tell you how much I loved Taiwan! I’ve already written about it a bunch (you can see what I have so far at the bottom), so I won’t continue to tell you how long and how much I’ve wanted to visit this country. Let’s just say, I was extremely happy after my two and a half weeks here, and I’d recommend this place to anyone visiting East Asia!
Below is my itinerary, except I shaved off a few days from Taipei and added one to Jiufen so it would be exactly 2 weeks. Let me know if you wind up following it, and what you thought!
General Taiwan Travel Tips
Best Time to Visit
The best time to go to Taiwan is probably late autumn (October – November) or may even mid-spring (late March-April/May). I went in February, and it was pretty cold and rainy, and everyone I know who went in the summer dealt with crazy monsoons.
I mostly got around by foot, train, bus, or the occasional taxi when it was raining too much. It’s super easy to navigate Taiwan, and you’ll find a lot of English speakers or English guidance.
Taiwan is relatively inexpensive! I’d say it’s a little cheaper than Korea for a lot of things, but slightly more expensive than Vietnam or some parts of Thailand.
Booking Ahead of Time
I only did one tour, and I booked it with Klook who has a bunch of different options in Taiwan.
As soon as I landed in Taoyuan, I went and got a SIM card from a stall nearby! There are different options, and I got the 10-day one and just dealt with no data for the end of my trip.
If you do want to get your SIM card ahead of time, check out this option on Klook*.
If you’re worried about your belongings or hospital visits, I always recommend getting travel insurance. I use World Nomads, and you can check all their options and what they cover here*. For longer travelers, I was recently introduced to SafetyWings*, and we’ve partnered with them at Female Digital Nomads. I’m going to use them while I’m in the US if I can, so I’ll update this to let you know if I recommend them!
For more logistics, check out this Taiwan trip planner post.
What’s Missing From This Itinerary
As a whole, this itinerary covers three main areas in Taiwan — Hualien, Jiufen, and Taipei. I feel like I really got comfortable in each place, but I do know others who managed to fit in a few days in Taichung and Kaohsiung in the same two weeks or slightly more.
An Easy 2-Week Taiwan Itinerary Guide
Getting into Taiwan
You’re most likely going to fly to Taoyuan International Airport. I immediately wanted to go to Hualien, so I had to figure out how to get down there!
It’s pretty straightforward! You have to first go to the bus station connected to Taoyuan (there are signs), take a bus to Taipei Main Station. Once there, you want to book a ticket to Hualien. They’re very nice in both areas and can speak enough English to help you out if you’re unsure.
The train was maybe 2 hours to Hualien, and I then just took a taxi from the train station to my hostel.
If you have a lot of stuff or are in a small group, you may actually want to book a private transfer from the airport to Hualien. It’s only a little over $100.
Hualien Itinerary: 4 Days
Hualien is along the east coast of Taiwan and is a great city base if you’re planning on visiting Taroko Gorge National Park. It’s also just a great, walkable city with plenty to eat and see at your own pace. Most people either do a day trip to Taroko from Taipei or they only stay one night in Hualien. Give yourself a lot longer!
Here’s how I’d break down my days:
- Days 1-2: Explore Taroko Gorge. In warmer, sunnier seasons, this could include a lot of little hikes, so you may want to give yourself at least 2 or more days to see the whole park. On the flipside, if you visit when the weather is crap, you may only want to do one day. This Taroko Gorge itinerary guide should help you plan for it.
- Days 3-4: On the days I didn’t go into Taroko, I just stayed in the city and wandered around. There are so many delicious restaurants (just check my Hualien food guide, which is full of local picks!) and cool things to see. I especially liked the Martyr’s Shrine and walking along the sea.
Tours in Hualien
- Taroko Gorge Day Trip
- Private Tour of Taroko
- Hualien Whale Watching
- Private Car for Downtown Hualien
- Taiwanese Aboriginal Cooking Class
I stayed at the Hualien Dropby B&B and it was lovely! I got a room to myself, had a ton of space, and my own bathroom. It’s also close to everything, so you can just walk to whereever you want to go or take a cheap taxi.
Next, you’ll want to hop on up to Jiufen. You can do this two ways:
- Take a train from Hualien – Taipei, and then from Taipei – Ruifeng Station.
- Book this tour* and stay in Jiufen stead of going all the way to Taipei
Jiufen Itinerary: 3 Days
A lot of people only do Jiufen as a day trip, but that was a little too quick for me! I opted to stay two nights to see not only Jiufen but have time to see the other areas on the Pingxi line. Unfortunately for me, it rained for most of my time in Jiufen except for the one day I made it out to Shifen!
How to organize your visit:
- Day 1: See Shifen Waterfall and Houtong Cat Village
- Day 2: Hike nearby if the weather permits
- Day 3: Roam around Jiufen’s different alleyways and night market. Don’t miss the road near Shenping Theatre, of course! At night, head to one of the teahouses to sip some tea and people watch.
For more details, you can see my Jiufen itinerary guide here.
I stayed at Jiufen Aromatherapy BnB, and it’s actually one of my favorite stays ever. You have a little cottage to yourself facing the sea. There are cats hanging out outside, and the owner comes to make soup each day!
To get to Taipei, you can take a train from Ruifeng Station to Taipei Main Station and then get a subway to wherever you want to go.
Alternatively, you can book a taxi or shuttle to Taipei. I took a taxi because I had all my things with me, and it was raining like crazy. This was also when I was catching a bit of a cold, so all I wanted to do was to be dropped off right by my accommodation.
Taipei Itinerary: 7 Days
And now Taipei! This city is quite massive, and my friends told me you could do spend your whole trip here and it’ll never get old. With a full week, you’ll have time see as much or as little as you’d like.
Here’s how I’d break it down:
- Day 1: Give yourself a rest, unpack, and relax. Maybe head out to a night market for food or just to a cafe to chill. You’ve been going for about a week now though, so it’s nice to have a chill day.
- Day 2: Just walk around! If you start at the Chiang Kai Shek Memorial and walk around you’ll see plenty of old buildings and interesting places.
- Day 3-4: Head out to the Beitou area for the hot springs and Tian Yuan Temple. If you want, you can pack this day a bit and also include the Cat Coffee Garden, the first cat cafe in the world, and Shilin Night Market or you could save them for the next day.
- Day 5: Go to Elephant Mountain for views of Taipei 101. If you go later in the day, you can wait for the sun to set and watch it light it up. Then head down to the Linjiang Night Market for food.
- Day 6: Head over to Bopilao or the little historical block and Lungshuan Temple. It’s also not too far from the Botanical Garden.
- Day 7: Use your last day to revisit any spots you missed, do some souvenir shopping, and just packing and getting ready to head out.
For more, check out this guide on some unique things to do in Taipei.
I stayed at this Airbnb, which was actually perfect because of how central it was! It’s not the cutest place, but it’s a typical one room type studio I’ve found all over East Asia.
Last Day (Optional): Taoyuan
So since I was flying out ridiculously early, I decided it would be easiest if I found a place near the airport to stay in. I hemmed and hawed over whether to splurge on a nice hotel or to stay at the small, admittingly slightly dodgy looking one.
The slightly dodgy looking one, called Beginning Guest House, had a really high review, and I decided to just go with that. It’s actually a super cute place! The owners are beyond nice, and you know how I’m a sucker for kind hosts. They even gave me a chocolate for Chinese New Year!
I stayed in a shared bedroom with two other guys and we all just sort of kept to ourselves on our beds. I managed to take a quick shower while they were both out too :p
In order to get to the hostel, I took a subway and then a bus and then walked! They helped me book a shuttle to the airport the next morning as well.
And there you have it! My slow 2-week itinerary for Taiwan. I definitely loved my time here, and I can’t wait to go back to see the other half of the island. I’m going to have to make a whole new post for a month itinerary once I go! Let me know what you thought I missed out on and should add to my future trip.
Have you been to Taiwan? Where would you go?