Ecotourism has grown exponentially over the past decade, and whether or not it’s “in fashion” is beside the point, as long as it persists. In the end, increased awareness about protected areas in Taiwan can help locals, governing bodies, and visitors alike maintain Mother Nature’s attractions. In doing so, they will remain “healthy” for the enjoyment of generations to come, but more importantly, they can continue to serve as pollinator environments and provide important nutrients to wildlife and people alike. All of this serves the greater good. Now with that out of the way, we will dive into top national parks in Taiwan that you can add to your itinerary for your next visit to the South Asia island state. There are eight designated national parks, and none disappoint, but for the sake of being succinct we’re splitting the difference with a look at four that you simply cannot miss should time allow a chance to experience them all. Otherwise, you’ll simply have to come back again soon!
4 Must See National Parks and Nature Reserves in Taiwan
Taroko National Park
Taroko National Park is simply incredible, and while everyone has their own opinion regarding the best natural attractions connected to this national park, Qingphui Cliff (pictured in the intro) which is a 21 km long expanse of coastal cliffs averaging 800 meters above sea level, tops the list for most. Taroko National Park is also well known for its 3 km Shakadang Trail hike which follows a glowing blue stream and is bookended by lush tropical flora and a succession of sedimentary rocks. Within and along the ecological zone is the Eternal Spring Shrine and Swallow Grotto which overlooks the narrowest portion of Taroko Gorge. If you can do only one eco tour of Taiwan, this may very well be it. It can get crowded depending on the season, but with a local guide you’ll gain access to trails and hidden spots throughout the eco reserve that others may never know about.
Kenting National Park
With so much to offer, a local guide is the key to truly getting to know Kenting National Park and its exquisite southern seaboard.
Yushan National Park
With more than 30 mountains with peaks over 3,000 meters and what seems to be innumerable trails for hikers of all skill levels, you could spend a year in this region and not see it all, but be sure to make Kushan Peaks (the highest), Xiuguluan Mountain, Mabolasi Mountain, Dafenjian Mountain, Xinkang Mountain, or Guan Mountain hikes among your top picks. Xiuguluan River, Zhuoshui River, and Kaoping River are a few of the amazing scenic waterways passing through the national park, but there is so much more to see, hear, and experience with about 50 recorded species of mammals and 151 individual species of birds inhabiting the region. Factor in 228 butterfly, 18 reptile, and 13 amphibian species and you’ll find that the word biodiversity is a massive understatement. Beyond botanists and birdwatchers, budding archaeologists will also have a blast hiking the national park as it was once inhabited by the now extinct Bunun aboriginal tribe, which left behind a collection of prehistoric stone tools and pottery that to this day can be found on display in several protected sites within Yushan. Given the sheer abundance of flora, mountains, waterways, and wildlife that we cannot even begin to detail it all, but a good start will be for you to download the app and connect to a local hiking guide before your trip to Taiwan. We also recommend reviewing the Yushan National Park website here.
Yangmingshan National Park
North of Taipei towards the coast is Yangmingshan National Park, a dreamy expanse known for its spring time cherry blossoms while offering spectacular hiking trails without being too far from civilization – a big benefit for those who are a bit timid when it comes to exploration of the coasts and forests of rural foreign lands. But don’t let the relative closeness to Taipei make you think less of Yangmingshan as being a true eco destination. All you need to do is venture into Qingtiangang trail and it’s many sub-trails that lead to natural attractions such as Juansi Waterfall and Mount Ding. Yangmingshan is also home to Lengshuikeng hot springs, or Milk Lake, which invites hikers into its 40°C embrace where they can rest their trail weary muscles and joints. Given that Yangmingshan National Park is relatively close proximity to Taipei you will have an even easier time finding a local guide to help you navigate the large eco park’s many trails, peaks, and natural attractions.
Stay tuned as Loci Amica prepares to launch the local tour guide app across the world. Until then, keep checking back on our blog as we continue to update members with tips to experiencing Taiwan like a local.