12 Free Things to Do in Taiwan
Setting your sights on Taiwan, but worried about keeping your finances in check? While the country is already budget-friendly, you can save even more by visiting free tourist spots. Ready to explore more for less? Here are the top things to do in Taiwan sans admission fees.
1. Visit the Chiang Kai Shek Memorial.
No trip to Taiwan is complete without visiting the famous Chiang Kai Shek Memorial. Block off an entire afternoon for this cultural landmark. Since its opening in 1987, tourists have flocked to the hall, which houses exhibits on history and human rights. While there, witness the changing of the guards, which happens hourly between 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.
Address: Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall, City Hall Rd., Xinyi District, Taipei, Taiwan
2. Experience Longshan Temple.
Newbie visitors to Taiwan often flock to MTR-accessible Longshan Temple, which is regarded as the country's most beautifully preserved Buddhist shrine. While dedicated to the Buddha of Compassion Guanyin, it also features shrines for Taoist and Chinese folk religion deities. Visitors can offer prayers or buy one of the many reasonably priced lucky charms available.
Address: Longshan Temple, Guangzhou St., Wanhua District, Taipei City, Taiwan
3. Encounter wildlife at Taipei Zoo.
Located in the heart of the city, the Taipei public zoo welcomes everyone free of charge. You can explore its numerous outdoor areas, which feature crowd favorites like koalas, pandas, and giraffes. The zoo also boasts indoor sections with exotic creatures and animals native to the region. Both locals and tourists flock to the zoo, so visit on weekdays to avoid the crowds.
Address: Taipei Zoo, Xinguang Rd., Wenshan Dist., Taipei City 116016, Taiwan
4. Relax in Daan Forest Park.
Need a day to unwind? Visit Daan Forest Park in the city center. This park is perfect for picnics, nature photography, or reading a book by the pond. If you're traveling with kids, they can enjoy the playground's swings, seesaws, slides, and sandbox. The park is just a short walk away if you’re staying in downtown Taipei. Otherwise, it's easily accessible via MTR or taxi. Don’t forget to stop by a convenience store or grocery store for snacks.
Address: Daan Forest Park, City Hall Rd., Xinyi District, Taipei, Taiwan
5. Admire the Red House's grandeur.
Established in 1908, the Red House is a must-visit free attraction in Taiwan. This octagonal building hosts exhibits, markets, theaters, and even a teahouse. The historical Taipei City landmark commemorates Emperor Showa’s enthronement. Before visiting, browse their website for a list of monthly activities, crafts, and workshops, so you can catch the highlights.
Address: The Red House, Chengdu Rd., Wanhua District, Taipei City, Taiwan
6. Enjoy Shifen Waterfalls.
Hiking enthusiasts can also enjoy Taipei's numerous outdoor spots. One notable path takes hikers along the Keelung River and across a bridge to the famous Shifen Falls. While the waterfall is the hike's highlight, the journey there is just as exciting. So, grab your mobile phone and get ready to capture the breathtaking scenery.
Address: Shifen Waterfall, Qiankeng, Pingxi Dist., New Taipei City, Taiwan
7. Dive into Taipei Astronomical Museum.
If you love all things outer space, add Taipei Astronomical Museum to your itinerary. It features a powerful viewing telescope and an IMAX dome theater as its main attractions. Astronomy fans can also enjoy a variety of displays and numerous interactive exhibits on site. Traveling with children? Consider checking out nearby attractions like the National Taiwan Science Education Center and the Children’s Amusement Park.
Address: Taipei Astronomical Museum, Jihe Rd., Shilin Dist., Taipei, Taiwan
8. Browse Eslite Bookstore's selections.
Are you an avid reader? If so, don't miss a visit to the 24-hour branch of Eslite Bookstore, which offers over 300,000 titles. As Taiwan's largest bookstore spanning five stories, it not only features books but also houses a café, clothing section, and gift shop.
Address: Eslite Bookstore, Tunhua South Road, Daan District, Taipei, Taiwan
9. Hike Elephant Mountain.
Hike up to Elephant Mountain's viewing deck for a picture-perfect postcard view. Whether you go during the day or at night, the cityscape views are incomparable. The tourist spot caters to first-time hikers. Starting from the Xiangshan MTR Station, the entire “trek” takes 20 minutes.
Address: Elephant Mountain, City Hall Rd., Xinyi District, Taipei, Taiwan
10. Sunbathe on Fulong Beach.
Take a quick, refreshing day trip away from the city and head to Fulong Beach. Embark on the hour-and-a-half train ride from Taipei Main Station with your beach essentials. The beach, especially serene on weekdays, is perfect for sunbathing, and you can enjoy snacks and cold beer in peace.
While there, you can go windsurfing, kayaking, or canoeing. You can check online to determine the best time to visit and enjoy events like the Fulong Sand Sculpture Festival or the Hohaiyan Rock Festival.
Address: Fulong Beach, Lunding Rd., Ruifang District, New Taipei City 224, Taiwan
11. Walk through Lukang Township.
Step back in time as you stroll through the historic town of Lukang, once a major cultural, economic, and transportation hub. Discover over 200 temples tucked away in alleyways. You'll also find handicraft stores and traditional food stands to fulfill your tourist needs.
While there, navigate the legendary Nine Turns Lane, designed to confuse pirates. Clear up your schedule because you'll need a whole day to explore the entire township.
Address: Lukang Township, Minquan Rd., Lukang Township, Changhua County, Taiwan
12. Explore Beitou Hot Spring Museum.
The Beitou Hot Spring Museum is just 30 minutes away from central Taipei. Built in 1913, this fusion of Eastern and Western architecture once served as a public bathhouse during the Japanese colonial period. Today, visitors can explore its exhibits on hot spring history, culture, and etiquette.
Eager to try the hot springs? While many natural pools in the area have entry fees, you can indulge in free foot soaks in the following locations:
- Sulphur Valley Recreation Area
- Beitou Quan Yuan No. 48 Park
- Fuxing Hot Foot Spa
Consider reserving a weekend at a local hot spring hotel for an extended stay. For the best hot spring experience, consider visiting between November and March when temperatures drop. Book in advance during these peak months for the best deals.
Address: Beitou Hot Spring Museum, Zhongshan Rd., Beitou District, Taipei City, Taiwan
Enrich your visit to Taiwan with free activities, from bustling street markets and quiet temples to stunning scenery and cultural celebrations. Whether you're on a tight budget or want to experience local life honestly, Taiwan offers many opportunities to experience its charm.
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