Last week I went on one of the most epic of roadtrips I’ve had for a long while. And with none other but my elderly parents! Though less nimble as they were, we were able to circle Taiwan in just over a week. I think it was quite a feat for them to have seen so much as first-timers to this little island. Small it may be, there is plenty to see and do in Taiwan, and I am so glad they’ve had the chance to appreciate its diversity. For me this getaway was doubly special because not only did I get to show my parents how wonderful life could be in Taiwan, I again witnessed some ridiculously beautiful scenes, only to further reinforce my will to stay.
Hopefully you’ve seen my other post about how awesome I think Taiwan is for a leisurely drive. This time, taking a trip all the way around the island and exploring some central areas made me realise how much more there is to discover here! It absolutely fascinates me how quickly the landscape can change, how local customs and food differ by just crossing through counties, and most importantly, in discovering that the road itself is sometimes more worthwhile than the actual destination. We made no set plans on this trip, just went with whichever road felt right. Most often than not, ending up in the quietest of towns and discovering their uniqueness only once we arrived there.
A picture paints a thousand words, so here’s a selected few to get you inspired. If you’ve yet to embark on your own roadtrip around this island, don’t hesitate to do so! Honestly, it would be a big shame to visit Taiwan and not take advantage of how easy it is to get around. My dad is nearing 80 years, and still managed it!
There’s always more reasons to love Taiwan, whether you’re:…getting a taste of the provincial life…
… finding yourself at the quieter end of Sun Moon Lake.
…or tresspassing sugar cane farms and appreciating the simple contrasts.
Aowanda National Park may be a little hard to get to, but it is well worth the windy roads and blind turns.
Catching the last of autumn’s changing palette
“I took a walk in the woods, and came out taller than the trees” Henry David Thoreau
Just a little out of the way in little Xinpu of Hsinchu County, you could learn how persimmons are converted into sweet delicacies the traditional way. Shi bing (柿餅) are delicately fragrant, rich in flavour, with an interesting QQ texture. They are also made elsewhere in Asia, but what makes Hsinchu’s stand out is their particular sweetness. All natural sugars of course! Keep an eye out for them while persimmons are still in season.
Trying out traditional Hakka tea which is a mix of almonds, peanuts, black and white sesame freshly grounded together, then stirred with matcha and hot water before consuming. It’s healthy and yum! — at 「老屋•窄門咖啡」.
Sail Rock, also coined ‘Nixon’s Head’ for its resemblance to the former American President (though really I don’t see it), is actually an age-old coral reef that stands almost 18m tall!
At Hualian’s Qixingtan (七星潭)
Qingshui Cliff on a glorious day
Probably one of the nicest places to be laid to rest, not far from Chishingtan Coast is a cemetary that has ticked all the boxes in terms of great FengShui. Driving along the road, it is the longest and prettiest stretch of gravestones, I’ve had the chance to see. Please note my intention is to not make this an attraction. I simply appreciate the uniqueness of this area and do not want to offend anyone.
From oceans to mountains and every place in between! Taiwan is beautiful in every direction.
Where and How: We hired a car from Taipei taking the western highways to start the bulk of our roadtrip in central Nantou County. Where without a doubt, we were already blessed with a fair collection of picture perfect scenery. Of course you could start with the East Coast and East Rift Valley, as I have done on many occasions, but I highly suggest you leaving that till last. There’s nothing quite like tracing the Pacific Ocean to finish off what would already be an epically beautiful roadtrip!
For reasons unknown, Google Maps have restricted the number of locations I could add to my map. Though it does not represent all the places visited, most of them were en-route to destinations already listed here. If you still can’t decide where to go, remember I’ll be more than happy to help!