10D9N Half Island Taiwan Itinerary – Discover Some Places That Are Off The Beaten Path
June 23, 2018
I’ve written quite a number of articles on travelling in Taiwan, and I won’t be stopping anytime soon. The beautiful Taiwan has so much to offer, from scenery to food to local culture. If you’re planning on doing a self-drive trip around Taiwan, I hope my 10 days 9 nights’ itinerary will help.
Day 1 – Sanxia Old Street, Lion’s Head Mountain, Xishuikeng Tofu Street (from Taoyuan airport to Taichung city)
My boyfriend and I picked up our rental car upon arrival at Taoyuan International Airport early in the morning, and drove to Sanxia Old Street for breakfast. Photo-taking opportunities are aplenty here, due to the architecture of red brick buildings with hallways connected by small lanes which dates back to the early 1900s during the Japanese occupation. You should try their unique handmade croissant ice cream which is shaped like a bull’s horns. Although the croissant was hard, dry, and not buttery enough, we love the grape-vanilla ice cream.
Sanxia Old Street
Address: Minquan Sreet, Sanxia District, New Taipei City 237, Taiwan (R.O.C)
We spent the early afternoon at the Lion’s Head Mountain Scenic Area. The mountain is said to resemble the head of a lion, hence the name. It is home to a wealth of historic temples and natural wonders such as the Shuilian Cave (Water Curtain Cave). There are scenic hiking trails which lead you to dozens of Buddhist temples in the region.
Lion’s Head Mountain Scenic Area
Address: No. 242 Shishan, Nanzhuang Township, Miaoli County 353, Taiwan (R.O.C.)
Have lunch at Xishuikeng Tofu Street, also known as Cingan Tofu Street. The local specialty is tofu, and the ones here are so smooth due to the quality of spring water used in making them. Tofu is served pan-fried, deep-fried, stir-fried, or in a soup. We highly recommend the deep-fried tofu balls from Cingan Tofu eatery. And, we dare you to try the three-colour stinky tofu!
Xishuikeng Tofu Street
Address: Xishuikeng, Tai’an Township, Miaoli County 365, Taiwan (R.O.C.)
From the tofu street, it’s only approximately an hour’s drive to Taichung city. We checked into our airbnb apartment in the evening and had an early rest due to a long day of travelling and exploring.
Day 2 – Xinshe Castle, Zhong She Guan Guang Flower Market & Gaomei Wetlands
The Xinshe Castle is situated in the mountainous area of Taichung. This medieval themed attraction made us feel as though we were in Europe. From Roman pillars and fountain to wooden houses and a secret garden to an impressive waterfall, there are many great photo spots at Xinshe Castle.
Address: No. 65, Xiezhong Street, Xinshe District, Taichung City, Taiwan 426
Opening Hours: Weekdays 9am to 6pm. Weekends 8am to 6pm. The restaurant is open from 11am to 5.30pm daily.
Entrance Fees: 250NTD (adult) / 150NTD (child between 7 to 12 years old, and elderly above 65 years old)
In the afternoon, head to the Zhong She Guan Guang Flower Market. The flower fields are 6 hectares large, and feature a myriad of blooms throughout all seasons. I wouldn’t call this a flower market. It felt more like attending a flower carnival where almost all corners are picture-perfect.
Zhong She Guan Guang Flower Market
Address: No. 333, Sec. 5, Sanfeng Road, Houli Dist, Taichung City 421, Taiwan
Opening Hours: 9am to 6pm daily Contact: 04-2557-6926
Jan-Mar (Tulip season) – 150NTD (adult) / 75NTD (child between 3 to 12 years old, and elderly aged 65 and above)
Apr-Dec – 120NTD (adult) / 60NTD (child between 3 to 12 years old, and elderly aged 65 and above)
Complete your sightseeing “tour” at the Gaomei Wetlands and be sure to catch the gorgeous sunset. This area is more than a thousand hectares in size, with at least 120 species of birds calling it home. You will often find wild geese, crabs, and mud-skippers on this grassy and muddy tidal flats. The highlight here is the windmills standing proudly on the wetlands.
Address: Qingshui Dist, Taichung City 436, Taiwan
Opening Hours: The boardwalk is closed during high tides.
Day 3 – Taichung Second Public Market, Wang Gao Liao & Feng Jia Night Market
We indulged ourselves a little by sleeping in before heading to the Taichung Second Public Market for breakfast. The springy local noodles were really delicious! You can take a look around the market and try other local delicacies too.
Taichung Second Public Market
Address: No.87, Sec. 2, Sanmin Road, Central District, Taichung City 400, Taiwan (R.O.C.)
Although many people recommend visiting Wang Gao Liao at night for the panoramic view of Taichung city and its neighbouring villages, we feel that it might be better to drop by in the day. Although the ambience is a little romantic at night, it is safer to visit Wang Gao Liao in the day because it can get pretty dark at night and the place is quite secluded.
You can visit Feng Jia Night Market around 6pm. This night market is the largest, most popular, and most interesting one in Taichung city. There is an abundance of enticing food such as sausages in sticky rice rolls, crepes, octopus meat balls, super tall ice creams, extra long French fries, XXL fried chicken cutlet, suckling pig, and many more.
Feng Jia Night Market
Address: Wenhua Road, Xitun District, Taichung City, Taiwan 407
Day 4 – Sun Moon Lake
The journey from Taichung city to Sun Moon Lake takes about 1.5 hours so we started the drive at 8am. Due to our early arrival in Sun Moon Lake, we managed to visit almost all the major attractions over there within a day.
Taiwan’s largest lake, Sun Moon Lake, is surrounded by spectacular mountains, and there are many hiking trails which offer panoramic views of the scenic town. This area houses the aboriginal Thao tribe, and the town Ita Thao is located across the lake from the pier area beside the Sun Moon Lake Ropeway. The small island named Lalu situated in the middle of the lake is reserved for aboriginal religious practices, so it’s off limits to tourists. Swimming in Sun Moon Lake is not permitted, with the exception of one annual event called the Swimming Carnival of Sun Moon Lake. It is the only time swimmers are allowed in the lake. Check out this link for the ultimate guide to Sun Moon Lake.
Day 5 – Hualien City
Depending on the traffic condition, it takes around 5 to 6 hours’ drive from Sun Moon Lake to Hualien city. We did not want to tire ourselves out, so we started the long drive around 10am after a hearty breakfast. We arrived in Hualien city around 4pm and checked into our airbnb apartment before heading to the Dongdamen Night Market.
Dongdamen is the largest street food night market in Hualien. This night market is situated at the Eastern edge of the city at the coast, and occupies the grounds of the old train station. There used to be many small-scaled night markets in Hualien, but they have all come together at Dongdamen.
Dongdamen Night Market
Address: No.50, Zhongshan Road, Hualien City, Hualien County 970, Taiwan
Day 6 – Taroko National Park
The Taroko National Park is one of Taiwan’s most beautiful attractions. There are a number of hiking trails which you can take, and you’ll be greeted by the continual rising of the mountains combined with the Liwu River. Do remember to check the weather forecast before visiting the Taroko National Park because some hiking trails might be closed due to slippery paths caused by the rain or due to road blocks caused by erosion.
Day 7 – Qixingtan, Qingshui Cliff & Shenkang Old Street
Qixingtan is one of the most gorgeous beaches in Taiwan. The water is incredibly blue, and the sand is so fine it felt so comfortable to sit there under the sun, feeling the warmth of it beating down on our skin. We enjoyed the view of the mountains embracing the coastline, especially when it seemed as though the mountain peaks were engulfed by puffy clouds.
Address: Haian Road, Xincheng Township, Hualien County, Taiwan
Located just a short drive away from Qixingtan is the Qingshui Cliff where you can witness the three distinct colour tones that make up the Pacific Ocean. The combination of blues and greens, with the pretty pebble coast of Chongde Beach paints a beautiful picture for photographers. Do note that swimming is prohibited at Chongde Beach, and you have to be very careful of falling rocks and strong waves while walking on the beach.
Address: Suhua Road, Sioulin Township, Hualien County, Taiwan
We stopped by Shenkang Old Street for a late lunch before carrying on the drive to Taipei city. Historical buildings at Shenkang Old Street resemble the traditional Minnan-style architecture. There are food stalls and handicraft stalls on both sides of the street. There’s one particular thing that draws in large crowds over the weekend – stinky tofu. Since we’ve tried this in Xishuikeng, we decided to save stomach space for other food.
Shenkang Old Street
Address: Shenkeng Street, Shenkeng District, New Taipei City, Taiwan 222
We arrived at the Taipei Main Station to return our car before checking into our hotel. It’s easy to get around Taipei city by the train and you should refrain from driving if you want to avoid traffic jams. Due to the long hours spent driving, we decided to rest early and recharge ourselves before exploring Taipei city.
Days 8 to 10 – Taipei City
There aren’t many things to do in Taipei city besides eating and shopping. Perhaps, you would like to read what I’ve shared in this article for more information on visiting Taipei city. We feel that spending 2 to 3 days in Taipei city is sufficient.
I hope this half-island guide is comprehensive enough for you. Do comment below and let me know if there are anything else you would like to find out about Taiwan!