Welcome to the 3rd edition of Travel Chats!
Travel Chats is a monthly interview series where I invite fellow female travellers and bloggers to share their latest adventures.
The goal is to inspire you to discover new destinations and get to know our contributors through their stories. The best part? They share their practical tips & advice (the good stuff you won’t find in a guidebook) to help you plan your trip.
In this interview, Amanda from travel blog Scatabout shares all about her recent 9-day trip to Taiwan. If Taiwan is under your radar and you’re looking for adventurous activities and natural attractions to visit outside of Taipei, keep on reading!
Travel Chats: Beautiful Places to Visit Outside of Taipei
Tell us a bit about yourself
Hi my name is Amanda, and my husband Dean and I love to travel. In 2010 we quit our jobs and spent a year travelling around the world. Then in 2015 we moved to Hong Kong to work and to explore more of Asia.
We recently started Scatabout, which is a travel blog & YouTube channel, which details and provides tips on the fun experiences we’ve had on our world travels. We created Scatabout with the hope to inspire others to get out and try something new.
How would you describe your travel style?
My travel style would best be described as adventurous. I am always happiest when doing something active such as, hiking, scuba diving or any activity which allows me to be outdoors. I would also consider my style to be a bit on the quirky side, as I am always looking for something to do, see or eat that is unique.
Tell us about your Taiwan trip and why you wanted to visit
My husband Dean regularly travels to Taipei for work and suggested on his latest trip that I come along as well. That sounded like fun and as I had just quit my job I thought it would give us an opportunity to explore some areas outside of Taipei on the weekend.
Our trip was 9 days in total and included stops in: Tai Chung, Taipei and Hualien.
We chose Tai Chung as it was less than an hour by fast train away from Taipei, making this an easy weekend trip. Taipei was a necessary stop for work, and we chose Hualien because we had heard about the amazing scenery at Taroko National Park and wanted to check it out for ourselves.
1. Tai Chung – 2 nights
- Day trip to Sun Moon Lake. We enjoyed a boat ride on the lake, and then a bicycle ride around the lake.
- Explored some quirky cafes
- Visited Rainbow Village
- Went to Feng Chia Night Market which is the largest night market in Taiwan
2. Taipei – 5 nights
- Bike ride along the Keelung river
- Shifen waterfall and Shifen old street where you can release a lantern on the operating railway line.
- Yehliu Geopark
- Taipei 101 secret viewpoint to get the best view of Taipei
- Elephant Mountain hike
3. Hualien – 2 nights
- River tracing in Emerald Valley. River tracing is a combination of hiking, swimming and rock climbing and is a very popular activity to do in Taiwan
- Taroko National park highlights including: Shandang trail, QingChui Cliffs and Swallows Grotto
We were a bit restricted with what we could do due to Dean’s work, so for others doing this trip I would advise spending an extra day in Hualien to do some more hiking and a maximum of 3 days in Taipei.
What was the most memorable moment of your trip?
Visiting Hualien was by far my favourite part of the trip. River tracing was so much fun and was a unique way to experience the outdoors. You can book the same trip through KKday here.
What resources proved most helpful when planning the trip to Taiwan?
For flights I used Skyscanner to help us decide what airlines and flight times were the best value for money.
What advice would you give to someone thinking of traveling to Taiwan?
– There is more to Taiwan than just Taipei. So, go and explore!
– If you travel outside of Taipei via train, book your return train tickets about 2 weeks in advance. Catching the train around Taiwan on the weekend is very popular with both locals and tourists. We missed out on our preferred times because we booked at the last minute.
– If you want to fly a drone in Taroko National Park then you need to obtain a permit.
– Australian passport holders can skip the lines at Taiwan Taoyuan International Aiport by registering at the counter on arrival. After registering you can use the electronic passport reader.
– Go to a night market and try all the street food you can! A must have is the “cōngyóubǐng” 蔥油餅 otherwise known as scallion pancake. It is like flaky roti bread with green onion, egg and sometimes other filings. It is my favourite snack food in Taiwan.
What’s your next adventure?
We are currently planning a trip to Vietnam during Chinese New Year (CNY).
Follow along on Amanda’s adventures
Special thanks to Amanda for sharing her experience!
– You can reach the south of Taiwan in only 2 hours by high-speed train. This means that it’s very easy to venture out of Taipei, plus public transportation is highly reliable and accessible for tourists.
– Taiwan is a foodie nation and has some of the best night markets in Asia. The variety of street foods is like no other.
– Taiwan has a humid, subtropical climate so spring and fall are considered the best times to visit.
Check out past Travel Chats:
Travelling to Asia? Check out these travel guides to help you plan your trip!
- A Local’s Guide to the Best Cafes in Hong Kong
- Hong Kong’s Hipster Neighbourhood: Tai Hang
- Things to do in Quarry Bay (+ some Insta-worthy spots you don’t want to miss!)