Looking for some unusual and authentic activities to try in Taiwan? Look no further than these 25 unique activities which you should experience while visiting this beautiful island.
1. Play Majong
If you’re brave you can do this in the night market with the pros, but if you want a less intimidating experience, pick up a mini-game at any Taiwanese book shop and start learning about the four winds.
2. Do Karaoke
Gather up some friends and spend the night singing away. If you don’t want to spend a lot of money, go in the afternoon when a lot of places offer discounts.
3. Try Some Night Market Games
From catching baby fish, to shooting bows and arrows, to puzzle games, Taiwan’s night markets have a little something weird for everyone.
4. Go Shrimping
Catch ‘em and eat ‘em. It’s as simple as that. You can also go frogging in some select locations.
5. Talk to a Fortune Teller
You really need a Taiwanese friend to make this one work, but if you can manage it, it’s certainly a unique experience that you’d be hard-pressed to find back home.
6. Go for Hot Pot
You can’t leave Taiwan without trying hot pot. If you really want to go all out, try Shabu Shabu, the all-you-can-eat chain for a full belly that will last your whole trip.
7. Explore Some Bike Trails
Taiwan’s extensive network of bike trails as well as its public bike rental system and plethora of Giant shops, makes for a fun sunny afternoon of exploration. One of my favorite trails is in little known Zhunan, which is conveniently located on the rail line.
8. See an Island
From Penghu to Green Island, you’re spoiled for choice when it comes to Taiwanese islands. If you haven’t got a lot of time to go island hopping, then check out Cijin Island which is a five-minute ferry ride from Kaohsiung for some seafood, beach, and unique history.
9. Go Boutique Hopping
Taiwan’s malls in my opinion leave a lot to be desired. They’re typically overpriced and filled with pushy sales people, but where malls fail, boutiques pick up the slack. Head towards any of the famous shopping streets like Yizhong Night Market in Taichung and walk away with a slightly lighter pocket book.
10. Shop at a Morning Market
Night markets get all the love in Taiwan, but morning markets are special in their own right, filled with a more senior crowd peering over buckets of unusual sea life or stands filled to the brim with fresh, ripe fruit, morning markets really should be a part of your Taiwanese itinerary.
11. Climb a Mountain
Take your pick. There are so many, you really can’t go wrong. One of my favorite hikes are the Dakeng trails in Taichung, but nearly every town has a mountain nearby, so open up TripAdvisor and find the best trail near you. Another good hike is the lovely trail outside Jiufen, which is pictured below.
12. Stand in a Waterfall
Taiwan is strewn with waterfalls, unfortunately, most are not super accessible without a motorbike, so ask a Taiwanese friend to drive you or if you’re lucky enough to have a Taiwanese license, check one out yourself. Otherwise, go north as the waterfalls which surround Taipei and the north half of the island tend to be a tad more accessible than the South.
13. Rent an Umbrella on the Beach
It’s a peculiarity of Taiwan, and Asia in general, to go to the beach, but remain covered up the whole time. Join in on the fun in avoiding the sun by renting an umbrella in Kenting or one Taiwan’s other beaches.
14. Get Your Hair Done
Taiwanese hair salons tend to be cheaper than those back home in the U.S. You can go for a high-end salon if you want, but it’s best to ask for some local recommendations, as most Taiwanese people have a favorite reasonably-priced, local beautician.
15. “People Watch” in a Temple
There are temples galore in Taiwan, but my favorites are Lungshan in Taipei and Shou-Tain temple in Ershui. Both were very active when I visited and it’s a lovely feeling to watch so many people coming and going united by belief.
16. Order a Bubble Tea
The huge range of teas and specifications makes ordering a bubble tea an experience. Try learning a few Mandarin words before taking a crack at it, or just go up to a tea stand and point your way through the experience.
17. Relax in a Public Hot Spring
You can find free public hot springs in places like Jiaoxi and the Suao Cold Springs but in other hot spring towns it’s worth spending a few dollars to hang with the locals in a hot springs hotel public area. The older Taiwanese folks certainly have some good tips for tolerating the insanely hot pools.
18. Spot some Japanese Architecture
From the time of Japan’s colonial rule, there are old Japanese buildings littered throughout the island, some are concentrated in certain towns more than other. Check out my post about the lovely town of Douliu and its Japanese architecture for one suggestion.
19. Let Fish Nibble Your Feet
I’ve been to a few fish pedicure places in Taiwan, as they’re getting banned in other parts of the world, you should give it a shot while you’re in Taiwan.
20. Chew on a Betel Nut
It’s nasty. You should try it.
21. Relax in a Cat Café
There are several of these in Taiwan, and I’ve been to two in Tainan. Order a coffee and spend your afternoon cooing, “Here kitty kitty!”
22. Have Fun in an Arcade
I’ve written a whole post about the ridiculousness that is Taiwan’s arcades, but if you have an even slightly addictive personality, you’ll find the flashing lights and loud noises a blast.
23. Explore a “Haunted” Building
Taiwan’s older buildings have a tendency to be overtaken by wild Banyan trees, so you can see a few “haunted” buildings throughout Taiwan. The most famous are the abandoned factory in Anping and the Haunted House in Minxiong. Don’t bring any superstitious friends along as many Taiwanese strongly believe in the existence of ghosts.
24. Hike with Some Monkeys
You can see Taiwan’s Formosan Macaques on various hikes throughout the island, but the two which have been most successful for me are Ershui’s Fongboling trail and Kaohsiung’s Monkey Mountain. The little guys are not afraid of you though, so don’t get too close.
25. Selfie it in One of Taiwan’s Art Centers
There are plenty to pick from. There’s Jingpu Colorful Village, the Rainbow Village outside Taichung, The Pier-2 Art Center in Kaohsiung, the Bantou Jiao-Shi Pottery Village and that’s not to mention Taiwan’s other artistic set-ups like the word famous lantern festivals. Come with selfie-stick in hand my friends. Your Insta feed is about to get a lot more interesting.
Any other unusual suggestions for some fun in Taiwan? Let me know in the comments!