The Taiwan National Parks!
The Taiwan National Parks!
Taiwan is a small island nation located in East Asia. The country is home to 10 national parks with unique attractions and activities to offer visitors. Whether you’re a nature lover, an adventure seeker, or just looking for a peaceful escape from the city, Taiwan’s national parks are sure to impress. Here, we’ll take a closer look at the 10 Taiwan National Parks, highlighting some main features and attractions.
On my recent visit to Taiwan, I was lucky to experience Taroko National Park. I wish I had read an article like this before my trip because I didn’t know about the number 9. Now I have to go back to visit this unique place.
Why should you visit Taiwan?
Usually, when people are planning a trip to Asia, they choose to go to the Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand, or Japan. People do not ever think about Taiwan. In fact, how many of you know where Taiwan is? I learned about Taiwan when my parents moved there. Now I am obsessed with this country, and I would tell everyone it is a must-see destination for their next vacation.
Taiwan has a complicated history with China, but it is independent of China. They have a Democracy with an elected president. Taiwan has beaches, Mountains, Rain forests, big cities, and more. The best part about taking a vacation to Taiwan is the size of the island. There are few places in the world where you can get to the beach, mountain, and city on the same day.
Taiwan is so small that you can get from the north to the south in 2 hours by high-speed train. This means you can have so much freedom to venture out and explore without having to country-hop or change accommodations frequently.
Taiwanese people are very kind and family-friendly. When I visited Taiwan, I had a 6-month-old baby. I am often ignored and overlooked in the United States when struggling with my baby in public. In Taiwan, everyone was so kind and helpful. Even though I did not speak their language, everyone was always ready to help or lend a smile.
You should visit Taiwan because it is a beautiful country with kind people.
Now I will tell you about the 10 Taiwan National Parks. Let me know in the comments which one you would like to visit.
1. Shei-Pa National Park:
Nestled in the Central Mountain Range of Taiwan, Shei-Pa National Park is known for its rugged terrain and diverse ecosystem. The park is home to one of the highest peaks in Northeast Asia, the 3,886-meter-high Xueshan Mountain, which offers a challenging hike for experienced climbers.
Besides being a beautiful place, Shei-Pa National Park has a fascinating story. Long ago, the natives of the area, called Saisiyat, were connected to a village of Pygmy by only a single bridge. When the Pygmy started to harass the women of the Saisiyat, the Saisiyat cut down the bridge that connected this tribe to the world. In time the tribe died off. The legend says that the mysterious tribe placed a curse on the Saisiyat. If the Saisiyat ever forgot about them, then the Saisiyat would also be exterminated. Every two years, the Saisiyat holds a month-long festival to remember the neighbors they killed.
If you are interested, non-Saisiyat are welcome to attend this event. Remember to be respectful of the beliefs and culture of the Saisiyat when you visit.
2. Taroko National Park:
Located in the northeastern part of Taiwan, Taroko National Park is known for its stunning marble cliffs and rugged canyons. The park is home to the Taroko Gorge, a 19-kilometer-long canyon that is a popular spot for hiking and sightseeing. Visitors can also explore the park’s many temples and shrines, including the famous Eternal Spring Shrine. Other popular activities in the park include rock climbing and river tracing.
This is the Taiwan National Park I was able to go to during my time in Taiwan. The drive from Taipei to Taroko was stunning. I went from the traffic in the big city to winding mountain roads and long tunnel systems. Taroko Taiwan National Park is where you need to go to see a beautiful canyon and forest.
On our day trip to Taroko, we set out to hike Xiaozhuliu Trail. Sadly when we were halfway through the hike, we came upon a closed gate that said the trail was closed due to falling rocks. I don’t know how the trail ends, but there is a suspension bridge and a waterfall. The start of the trail is through a dark tunnel, so bring a flashlight or have your phone.
We were able to hike the Baiyang Trail. This short hike will take you from the parking lot by the 7-11 to the top of a hill with a beautiful temple on the top. This hike is walking straight up a mountain. Luckily there are stairs. I did this hike with my 6-month-old strapped to me in a baby carrier. The views were worth the trip and it is such a fast hike. Stopping at the local restaurant for some traditional Taiwanese food is a must. The restaurant has one table, and you can watch them cook your food. It is like a home-cooked meal!
3. Shoushan National Park:
Shoushan is located in the Gushan District in Kaohsiung City. This national park is in the middle of a massive coastal city. You can expect to see vibrant leafy trees, beautiful coasts, Banyan trees, monkeys, tropical birds, and more. This is a perfect example of why Taiwan is the ideal destination for a vacation. You can read about the history of Shoushan here.
Check out the Monkey Mountain Trail for a moderate hike (3.2 miles). It is called Monkey Mountain for a reason, there are monkeys everywhere. Watching monkeys in the wild is fun, but remember, they are wild animals. Do not get too close or feed them. However, don’t fear; these monkeys are used to seeing humans.
Chaishan Banyans are iconic trees in Taiwan. These trees differ from every other tree because they grow down instead of up. The branches grow downwards until they reach the ground. This cycle continues as long as the tree lives. A Banyan tree can grow to cover acres. This Taiwan National Park has them here.
Check out the Kaohsiung City Shou Shan Zoo. This zoo borders the national park. I am a sucker for the zoo. I have not been to this zoo, but I went to the Taipei Taiwan zoo, which was a fantastic experience.
Many lookouts are easily accessible and have picturesque views of the Taiwan national park. One unique lookout at this Taiwan National Park is the Love Lookout. Look out at the national park and ocean on one side and the city on the other with the word love spelled out in giant letters.
4 Taijiang National Park:
Located in Tainan City, the Taijiang Taiwan National Park has another unique experience waiting for you. Taijiang is a wetland. It is not like other national parks that have beautiful mountain ranges. The best way to experience Taijiang is by boat or river raft. Float along the canals of the wetlands as you are surrounded by mangrove trees.
5. Kinmen National Park:
Located on the Kinmen Islands just off the coast of mainland China, Kinmen National Park is known for its rich cultural and historical heritage. The park is home to numerous ancient fortifications, including the famous Juguang Tower, which offer a glimpse into the island’s past as a military stronghold. Visitors can also explore the park’s many traditional villages and temples, including the Confucius Temple and the Fujian Tulou.
Kinmen is a Taiwan National Park that preserves the war history in Taiwan. During World War II, the residents of Kinmen had to develop major defense systems to protect them from communist attacks. The soldiers dug the Jhaishan Tunnels tunnels to transport supplies around the island. Check out the Guningtou War Museum to learn more about the complex history between China and Taiwan.
Drive across the Kinmen Bridge to the Liehye Township. Here you can visit the August 23 Bombardment memorial. This site honors the communist attack that lasted 44 days.
Please remember that traditional settlements still reside in the Kinmen area. Be respectful of their privacy and culture during your visit.
6. Yushan National Park:
Located in the Central Mountain Range of Taiwan, Yushan National Park is known for its high peaks and alpine scenery. The park is home to the highest peak in Taiwan, the 3,952-meter-high Yushan Mountain, which offers a challenging climb for experienced hikers. The park is also a popular spot for birdwatching, with over 300 species of birds living in the area. Other popular activities in the park include camping, fishing, and hot spring bathing.
The site to see at Yushan Taiwan National Park is the Jade Mountain Peak. The mountain gets its name from the lush forest that grows on the peak, making it look like rich jade. If you have the time and experience, you can hike to the top of Jade Mountain. Or you can take a shorter hike or drive to a lookout that will give you a perfect view of the peak.
7. Kenting National Park:
In southern Taiwan, Kenting National Park is known for its tropical climate and beautiful beaches. The park is a popular spot for swimming, snorkeling, and scuba diving, with clear waters and abundant marine life. Visitors can also explore the park’s many hiking trails, which offer stunning views of the coast and the surrounding mountains.
Kenting is a thriving biodiverse ecosystem. This is a marine national park. The main draw is the water and beaches. This is the place to get in the water. Because of the area, this park is in, the water remains warm year, making it a perfect place for coral to thrive. Where there is coral, there will be beautiful and colorful marine life.
8. Yangmingshan National Park:
In the northern part of Taiwan, Yangmingshan National Park is known for its volcanic landscapes and hot springs. The park is home to the famous Seven Star Mountain, which offers a challenging hike for experienced climbers. Visitors can also explore the park’s many hot springs and geysers, including the famous Beitou Hot Springs.
9. South Penghu National Park:
South Penghu is an island located off the west coast of Taiwan. It is a popular tourist destination due to its scenic beauty and rich history. Here are some popular activities to consider during your visit to South Penghu:
- Visit Magong City: This historic city is the capital of Penghu and is famous for its well-preserved old street and traditional architecture.
- Explore the Penghu Great Bridge: This bridge connects the two main islands of Penghu and is an excellent place for scenic walks and photography.
- Visit the Penghu Marine National Park: This park covers many Penghu islands and is an excellent place for snorkeling, diving, and observing marine life.
- Visit the Penghu Fisheries Culture Museum: This museum offers a glimpse into the fishing culture of Penghu and its history.
- Visit the Beihai Tunnel: This underground tunnel was used during World War II and is now a popular tourist attraction.
10. Dongsha Atoll National Park:
Located in the South China Sea, Dongsha Atoll National Park is known for its unique coral reefs and marine life. The park is a popular spot for diving and snorkeling, with clear waters and abundant colorful fish and other marine creatures. The island is shaped like two horseshoes around each other. The larger is uninhabited, and a nature preserve; the smaller is where the tourism is.
Right now, visitors cannot visit Dongsha Atoll Taiwan National Park. Here is the announcement from the Taiwan Department of Interior “The Dongsha Atoll National Park is not open for tourism currently due to the ecological studies, environmental restoration, and safety management in the Dongsha area.”
I hope one day it is open for travel again because of all my years traveling and researching the world. This is the first time I have seen a place like this.
Check out my list of travel tips to help you plan your trip to Taiwan. That sums up the 10 Taiwan National Parks. If the flight from the USA to Taiwan was shorter, I would be going back soon. Returning to Taiwan one day and visit all 10 Taiwan National Parks is on my bucket list.
I love to plan trips and learn about new places, but I want us all to remember that you do not have to fly to Taiwan to experience the world. Put your phone down and step into the world right before you. Being a traveler and adventurer can happen right in your town. Keep exploring!
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