Taiwan is an incredible island. There is so much to see and do. If you are making the capital city of Taipei a base for part of your Taiwan travels, then definitely consider doing a few days trips. (For our favorite 10 family activities in Taipei, click here.)
Because of the high-speed train, along with good bus routes and generally small size of the country, there is a lot you can accomplish in a day trip in Taiwan.
Here are two of our favorite day trips that kids and adults alike will enjoy:
1. Jiufen and Pingxi
There are many tour companies that offer day trips throughout Taipei. They are relatively inexpensive and most of them will pick you straight up from your hotel or where you are staying and drop you back off there at the end of the day.
If you’ve always wanted to participate or be apart of the Sky Lantern festival in Taiwan but won’t be traveling during that time, pick a tour that will go through Pingxi where you and your family can make your own paper lantern and watch it light up the sky with your hopes, dreams and wishes. It’s a fabulous tradition and really cool to experience with family and friends.
In the coastal town of Jiufen, you’ll wander the narrow streets tasting snacks, teas, fruits and more as you browse the market. Jiufen is a town famous for having been an inspiration for the Miyazaki classic Spirited Away. Walk through the market to the seaside cliffs and have tea and snacks while sitting outside watching the ocean. If you are in the market for a traditional clay tea pot, there’s a famous two story store, right in the heart of the town’s main market streets.
Try Viator tours for this day trip. We had our fluent English/Taiwanese/Mandarin guide Annie, who was perfect at pointing out restaurants or shops to try!
(TIP: Wait to book any day tours until you arrive in Taiwan. There’s no rush and it’ll give you a chance to adjust and get over any jetlag before you decide what you want to see and do.)
2. Beitou Hot Spring
The Beitou Hot Spring is a famous natural hot spring just northwest of Taipei. In fact, it’s quite close to the National Palace Museum. You could make a night of it by staying at one of the hot spring resorts in Beitou (there are many of them) and spending the second day at the Palace Museum before heading back to Taipei proper.
The hot spring itself is quite walkable, and there is a nice Beitou Hot Spring Museum at the base of the spring with many cultural exhibits. There is a public hot spring that you can go in, though if you are looking for the hot spring water in a more exclusive, luxurious setting, consider one of the hotels.
Kagaya or 日勝生加賀屋國際溫泉飯店 (No. 236, Guangming Road, Beitou District, Taipei City, Taiwan) is a Japanese style resort that is steps from the museum and right on the hill leading to the hot spring. You can stay in a tatami room or a western style hotel room with beds. A tatami room is a fabulous adventure the kids will love. It’s super comfortable sleeping on all the bedding and it’s a great way to experience Japanese culture right in Taiwan!