Alexandra Stoddard, the famous lifestyle philosopher once famously said, “When you leave a beautiful place, you carry it with you wherever you go”. She is, of course, absolutely right and nowhere is that more true than in Taiwan. Dubbed ‘Ihla Formosa’ or the beautiful island by Portuguese sailors back in 1542, Taiwan has changed beyond all recognition in more recent times, but there is still no shortage of beautiful and inspiring vistas to be marveled at.
In this article, I have compiled my personal pick of the best view in Taiwan. These are views of just a few of Taiwan’s natural and man-made wonders which have caught my imagination on my travels around the island. They have certainly stayed with me and whenever people ask me to suggest places in Taiwan, many of these are the first places to pop into my head. You undoubtedly have your own favorite views from around Taiwan too. If I haven’t included them here, why not share them with us on our Facebook and Twitter pages.
- British Consulate, Kaohsiung – 打狗英國領事館
British Consulate. (Image from hanachrisantyjioe.blogspot.tw)
Kaohsiung is my home city and the place in Taiwan closest to my heart. As an ex-pat Brit, I have always felt slightly drawn to the former British Consulate building, but it is the stunning view that draws me back again and again. For my money, it is best view in the city and tops both the viewing gallery of the 85 Sky Tower and the Shoushan LOVE Lookout(壽山情人觀景台) for my money.
Maybe it is the close proximity to the harbor entrance giving a close-up view if ships coming in and out. Maybe it is the way the view can be framed in the arches of this beautiful old building. Maybe it the outline of the mountains behind the skyline that be enjoyed on the few clear days a year Kaohsiung enjoys at the moment. Whatever it is, the view is a truly special one and well worth the climb to experience it.
- Baqi Rest Stop, Hualien - 芭崎休息區
Baqi Rest Stop. (Photo by David Spencer)
This rather well-hidden rest stop on a sharp bend of the Number 11 freeway between Hualien and Taitung offers perhaps the best view of one of the most spectacular parts of the whole of Taiwan. Walk to the end of the carpark and past the gift shop and you are greeted with a stunning panorama looking south.
As well as being able to enjoy the full length of the beautiful Jiqi Beach (磯崎海灘), you can see the undulating mountains that line this part of the coast stretching off into the distance where they disappear over the horizon along with the Pacific Ocean. It is one of those views that I could happily sit down and stare at for hours. Yet so many tourists in this part of Taiwan will just sail past en route to their next scheduled stop. Stop here, take some time out, and you can really begin to appreciate how picturesque Taiwan’s scenery really is.
- Jiufen and the northern coast 兒九份和北海岸
Jiufen. (Photo by Flickr user Jerry Wu)
Whether you take in the view from Jiufen whilst wandering the delightful hillside streets and alleyways, or choose to do so from one of the many famous tea houses which cling to the hillside in this small town on the northern coast of the country, you cannot fail to be in awe of the spectacular coastal panorama laid out in front of you.
The town itself is rumored to be the inspiration behind the Japanese animated movie Spirited Away and is enchanting in itself. But its location on the side of a mountain overlooking the rugged northern coast, where the Central Mountain Range descends into the sea is every bit as special. It is a great place to watch the sun go down, but frankly at any time of day, with a clear sky, it is a wondrous scene and one that will quite literally stop you in your tracks.
- Elephant Mountain, Taipei – 象山
Elephant Mountain. (Wikimedia Commons image)
Taipei 101 is undoubtedly the most recognizable icon in Taiwan and the view from its viewing gallery and the experience of getting up there is one most visitors relish. But that view is missing the one landmark most visitors want to capture, Taipei 101 itself. In my view, the best place to head to capture a photo of the Taipei skyline with its most famous feature is Elephant Mountain.
Elephant Mountain, or Xiangshan (象山) is easily accessible from the Xinyi Shopping District where Taipei 101 is situated. It is a fair climb with plenty of stairs but should only take you 15 or 20 minutes to get to the viewing point. It can get busy up there, but the reward for your efforts is an uninterrupted view across the whole city, with Taipei 101 in the foreground. Many recommend climbing up mid-afternoon as the sunset views are especially spectacular. But frankly, you cannot fail to be impressed no matter what time you choose to climb.
- Qingshui Cliffs by Taroko Gorge - 清水斷崖
Qingshui Cliffs. (Wikimedia Commons image)
Qingshui Cliffs are very much on the tourist trail given their close proximity to Taroko Gorge. But this is no reason to give them a miss as the view that they offer is truly one of Taiwan’s most spectacular. For it is here that the Mountains hug the coast line and plunge spectacularly into the mighty Pacific Ocean.
As well as marveling at the spectacular natural vista of Taiwan’s might mountains dropping away into the Ocean, you can also enjoy the different colors of the ocean as the drop continues underneath the sea. But it is also a great point to enjoy one of Taiwan’s most impressive manmade feats too as you can watch cars winding along the Number 11 Freeway as it heads north from Taroko clinging to the cliff face en-route to Yilan and the north.
- Wuling, Nantou County - 武嶺
Wuling. (Wikimedia Commons)
It is impossible to talk about the best views in Taiwan without heading into the mountains at some point and Hehuanshan is one of the most popular mountain destinations. Wuling sits on the road between Main peak and the East peak of the mountains and is the highest place in Taiwan that can be easily reached by public roads. Needless to say, the scenery is truly stunning.
At this altitude, you are often above the clouds which means you can enjoy the sight of the mountains poking their peaks through a sea of clouds. On a cloud-free day, visitors can see for many miles across this unspoilt national park. Sunsets are truly special too, but make sure you have somewhere to stay as the treacherous roads are tough going at night. It is a great place to see flowers too with the Azalea season in May and June particularly impressive.
- Longpan Park, Kenting - 墾丁龍磐公園
Longpan Park. (Photo by flickr user Matt Chang)
Many visitors will head from Kenting to the National Park and take in the view from the most southerly point on the island. But for an even more impressive sight, head just a little further north to Longpan Park. From here, it is possible to overlook the most southerly point of the country and see where the Pacific Ocean meets the South China Sea.
Longpan Park itself is sat on the eastern side of Kenting Peninsula and is an open grassy area which is prone to very strong winds in the winter months. But it is nonetheless a great place to head from Kenting to take in the Pacific Ocean and is a popular stop for people wanting to see either sunrise, sunset, or the unspoiled night sky. Sitting up here taking in the scenery seems a world away from the noise and chaos of Kenting town just a couple of miles down the road.