#01 Sun Moon Lake
One of the island’s most relaxing retreats, with nature walks, cool breezes, calming views and a shoreline brimming with cultural interest.
Sun Moon Lake, Taiwan © CHEN HSI FU/Shutterstock
This island is the frontline between Taiwan and China – the latter is literally a stone’s throw away – and now an absorbing blend of former battlefields and well-preserved imperial Chinese monuments.
© Philos Chen/Shutterstock
#03 Hot springs
Taiwan has over 150 hot springs, most set among mountainous landscapes and piped into hotel resorts, ranging from the ultra-hip to the cheap and cheerful.
Studded with fine-sand beaches and rolling surf, this resort-fringed national park covers Taiwan’s southern tip and is a haven of snorkelling and diving.
Taiwan’s most visited national park is sliced in half by narrow, deep-cut Taroko Gorge, one of Asia’s top natural wonders and an absolute must-see.
© Watchara Tawongsa/Shutterstock
Taiwan’s most attractive old town, with traditional architecture, beautiful temples, tasty snack food and shops stocked with the work of the island’s most accomplished craftsmen.
#07 Lanyu (Orchid Island)
Inhabited almost solely by the seafaring Tao tribe, whose traditional ways of life give this lush Pacific island an almost Polynesian flavour.
#08 Aboriginal culture
Taiwan’s indigenous peoples, divided into fourteen officially recognized tribes and several other distinct groups, have their own vibrant cultures quite separate from the Chinese majority.
The old capital of Taiwan remains an important stronghold of Taiwanese culture, its myriad temples the perfect places to absorb its complex religious traditions.
© The HippoZoom/Shutterstock
The island’s lengthy stretch of Pacific coastline has vastly underrated surfing, with countless breaks – and plenty of typhoon swell – to challenge both beginners and serious shredders.
Nothing else quite looks like this enormous Buddhist monastery, packed with artistic gems, elegant shrines and innovative architecture.
© Suchart Boonyavech/Shutterstock
Gorgeous, rugged valleys, high mountain tea plantations and Tsou villages culminating in the misty forests of Alishan itself, home of the spectacular “sea of clouds”.
View the former contents of Beijing’s Forbidden City in this world-famous museum, an extraordinary collection of Chinese art and historical artefacts.
Gugong National Palace Museum, Taiwan © Avigator Fortuner/Shutterstock
One of the world’s biggest festivals involves thousands of pilgrims on an animated seven-day parade circuit between the revered Mazu temples in Dajia and Xingang.
© Lewis Tse Pui Lung/Shutterstock
#15 Climbing Yushan
At 3952m, Yushan (Jade Mountain) is far and away northeast Asia’s highest peak, but a spectacular and well-trodden trail to the summit makes it surprisingly accessible.
© Kriangkrai Thitimakorn/Shutterstock
From the north’s towering cliffs to the south’s expansive beaches, the east coast is a feast for the eyes and is a hotbed of aboriginal cultures.
© Chen Liang-Dao/Shutterstock
#17 Night markets
Taiwan’s night markets are the best and cheapest places to try a selection of the island’s famous “little eats”.
© Baiterek Media/Shutterstock
#18 Taipei 101
At 509m, East Asia’s tallest building dominates central Taipei, providing mind-blowing views of the surrounding area.
© Sean Hsu/Shutterstock