East Coast of Taiwan: A First Timer’s Guide to Taitung

Taitung – often referred to as the Garden of Taiwan – is surrounded by lush green mountains and a turquoise ocean. Yet, this gorgeous place on the East Coast of Taiwan is one of the country’s most underrated destinations.

Is Taitung worth visiting? After reading the Best Things to Do in Taitung and seeing my photos in this post, you may agree that it is an off-the-beaten path for nature-loving, adventurous minds.

The most beautiful things are always hidden and hard to reach. Taitung is not the easiest area to reach via public transportation. And it might be the very reason why its beauty is still a well-kept secret from most international travelers. The good news is that it is not impossible. (See How to Get to Taitung below).

Welcome to the First-Timer’s Guide to Taitung! This guide will help you plan a perfect Taitung itinerary with what to do in Taitung, what to eat, and where to stay.

If you have more than three days in Taiwan, consider yourself lucky. Adding Taitung to your Taiwan itinerary is a worthwhile quest.

Also, be sure to read my East Coast of Taiwan (Part 2): Hualien >>

Table of Contents

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Things to Do & Eat in Taitung + Itinerary: East Coast of Taiwan for Nature Lovers | #Taitung #TravelTaiwan #AsiaTravel

Disclosure: This article may contain affiliate links. If you purchase by clicking some of these links, I may receive a small commission, at no additional cost to you. Click here to read full disclaimer. 

How to Get to Taitung

Taipei to Taitung Flight

From Taipei to Taitung, it takes about one hour by flight. You can take UNI Airways or Mandarin from Taipei Songshan Airport (TSA) to Taitung Airport (TTT). A round trip costs roughly NT$3,500 (USD 120).

Taipei to Taitung by Train (TRA)

Unfortunately, Hight Speed Rail (HSR) does not travel through the mountainous East Coast. 

From Taipei Main Station, take Taroko Express to Taitung Railway Station. It takes the shortest amount of 3.5 hours and costs roughly NT$1,500 (USD 50) for a round trip. 

Check the TRA website for Taipei to Taitung train schedules and individual booking.

Kaohsiung to Taitung by Train (TRA)

From Kaohsiung Railway Station, take Puyuma Express to Taitung Railway Station. It takes about 2 hours and costs roughly NT$700 (USD 25) for a round trip.

>> Reserve this Unlimited Train Pass (High Speed Rail + Taiwan Railways). Only available for international travelers. This hassle-free discounted pass is an excellent value for short-term vacationers eager to explore Taitung and other cities outside Taipei.

Taitung By Bus

There is no direct bus between Taipei and Taitung. You will either have to travel from Taipei to Hualien first, then take Hualien Bus (Coast Line 1145) for 3 hours or Dingdong Bus (Coast Line 8119) for 4.5 hours. Take Kuo-kuang Bus (Line 1778) from Kaohsiung to Taitung for 3.5 hours.

Insider’s Tip: If you easily get motion sickness, avoid taking a bus to Taitung. I have links to bus companies above; however, booking through the website is not intuitive, especially if you don’t understand Chinese. Your hotel may be able to assist you.

Taipei to Taitung By Car

You may choose to rent a car from Taipei to drive to Taitung. You will need to present your international driver’s license.

More conveniently, get this private charter service that accommodates multi-city travels and different group sizes. This is an excellent choice, especially if you plan to visit the East Coast from Hualien to Taitung or travel from Taipei to Taitung. You can enjoy the beautiful coastal landscape since you don’t have to drive!

How to Get around Taitung

By Rental Car

The East Coast of Taiwan is challenging to get around by public transportation. I highly recommend renting a car because you will want to swing by and take photos of so many scenic spots. It is the best and most efficient way to enjoy the East. 

>> Get this car rental with various vehicles to choose from. They will pick you up from Taitung Railway Station.

By Motorcycle

If renting a car is not an option for you, you may opt for a motorcycle. Be aware that scooter rentals in Taiwan hesitate to lease out scooters to foreigners without a motorcycle license. (Bring your international motorcycle driver’s license, not the four-wheel kind.)

>> Rent your scooter or electronic scooter from Taitung Railway Station.

By Taxi (no Uber)

Note that there is no Uber in this part of Taiwan. You can hire a local taxi for a day at a set price to follow your itinerary. Many taxi drivers offer a full-day tour (typically no extra cost) and usually know where to take you. This option comes in handy when you don’t have any specific itinerary. You may need to haggle in the local language, though. Alternatively, try this private charter service.

By Bicycle

From Taitung to Hualien, the East Coast has a scenic bike route many bikers dreams of riding. You may rent a bike or bring your own. (I recommend starting from south to north so that you can enjoy the ocean view on your right.)

Honestly, I don’t feel safe biking alongside the fast-driving cars and trucks on the highway! Suppose you rather enjoy city biking, like me. In that case, you may rent a bike from your hotel and ride in town. Many hotels offer complimentary bike rentals. (Scroll down for “Where to Stay in Taitung.”) 

>> As for a family-friendly activity, you can join on this Taitung city tour on an e-bike. A guide will take the group through Taitung’s top attractions.

Taitung Tours

The East Coast of Taiwan features many stunning natural scenic spots. Yet public transportation is not very convenient; and joining a tour would be a stress-free, time-efficient way to travel. Unless you have local resources (car and language), I highly recommend joining these tours on the East Coast for efficiency’s sake.

>> East Coast Guided Tour: This tour offers half-day or full-day tours from Taitung hotels. Depending on the package, you can visit Sanxiantai (#2 below), Jialulan (#9), Xiao Yeliu (#10), Taitung Sugar Factory, etc.

>> Chishang Green Day Tour from Taitung: For nature lovers, this green tour offers a perfect one-day itinerary in Taitung. From your hotel, it brings you to Brown Boulevard (#3) for cycling along the lush rice field, traverse through the Wuling Green Tunnel, and trek up Luye Tea Hill for a scenic view of the tea farm.

>> Duoliang Station & Huayuan Bay Half-Day Tour: Visit the most beautiful train station in Taiwan (#15). Appreciate driftwood artworks and explore the secluded Huayuan Bay in a half-day trip!

>> Taitung Scenic Route Half-Day Tour: Are you looking for a Taitung city tour?  I think it is easy to explore attractions inside the city on your own. Nevertheless, if you need help with transportation, consider joining this tour.

Best Time to Visit Taitung | #Taitung #TaiwanTravel #AsiaTravel

Best time to visit Taitung

Taitung is all about nature and outdoor activities. To best enjoy its gorgeous landscapes and seascapes, you will need a blessing from Mother Nature. On a sunny day, the turquoise ocean wave calmly hits the shore. But when it rains, the muddy wave soars angrily. (And the scenery is not pretty at all.)

You may visit Taitung in any season. Like the rest of Taiwan, just be aware of seasonal typhoons in summer (June – October). When an earthquake hits, transportation on the highway might get disrupted.  

Check the local weather here or ask your hotel before heading there.

Things to Do in Taitung

The East Coast of Taiwan boasts the most gorgeous coastal view – yet the most underrated – that you don’t want to miss.

If you have a week or two in Taiwan, I highly recommend taking a round-the-island trip. Many travelers start a round-the-island trip from Taipei (North) to Kenting (South) in the East of Taiwan, then back north on the west to fly out from Taoyuan. Or, vice versa. The following list of what to do in Taitung is organized roughly from north to south.

This article covers things to do in Taitung County. I will write more about other key cities along the East coast – Yilan and Hualien – in separate posts.  

Taitung Pisirian Tribal Village | Deer Driftwood Art | #Taitung #TravelTaiwan #AsiaTravel

#1. Pisirian Tribal Village

Did you know Taiwan has 16 officially recognized indigenous tribes in the country? Each tribe has its own culture, customs, and dialects. 

The Amis is one of the largest tribes living along the East coast of Taiwan. An Amis tribal village near Sanxiantai is Pisirian, meaning “goat-herding” in their aboriginal language. 

Paying tribute to the land of goat husbandry, the tribe is now known for its handmade driftwood goat arts along the coast. Walking along the East Coast Scenic Area, you may see Sanxiantai from afar. If you visit early in the morning, you can witness the Sunrise at Sanxiantai as well.

Be sure to swing by a local restaurant. Fish and mountain vegetables are a must.

Taitung Pisirian Tribal Village | Deer Driftwood Art | #Taitung #TravelTaiwan #AsiaTravel

A friendly dog greets the guests to this idyllic town.

You may also consider watching PawPaw Drum at the Pisirian Cultural Center. The tribe has created the PawPaw Drum to educate their children and pass on the tribal culture with songs in the Amis language while the parents are away for work in other places.

Location: [Open Google Map] 

Things to Do in Taitung Taiwan: Sanxiantai | #Taitung #Sanxiantai #TravelTaiwan #AsiaTravel

#2. Sanxiantai

Sanxiantai (三仙台) is a 9-arch bridge connecting Taiwan’s East Coast with an offshore island. According to a local legend, three of the Eight Immortals landed here, hence the name “the terrace of the three immortals.”

It is one of the most beautiful scenic spots on the East Coast. Capture the views with the bridge from afar on your camera (and with your eyes). Then, cross over the bridge to the island. Surrounded by the coral reef, the island features lush greenery and excavated geological landscapes.

Location: [Open Google Map] 

Hours: 8:30 am – 5 pm

>> Did you know Sanxiantai boasts a fabulous sunrise and sunset view? Watch this view on the paddle board.  

Things to Do in Taitung Taiwan: Brown Boulevard | #Taitung #TravelTaiwan #AsiaTravel

#3. Brown Boulevard in Chihshang

Taitung is famous for its high-quality rice. In Chihshang Township, you can visit a scenic road in the middle of rice fields with the mountain as the backdrop.

Brown Boulevard (池上伯朗大道) is also called Mr. Brown Avenue. This photogenic place has become popular since the Mr. Brown Coffee commercial was filmed. And that’s where its name came from. As you can imagine, there is Mr. Brown cafe, where you can grab a coffee.

Location: [Open Google Map] 

Insider’s Tip: In summer, it is pretty hot to walk with no shades. I recommend renting a 4-wheel coach bike – usually rides four people – or a bicycle. You can easily find rental shops. Or, take this tour that will take you to Brown Boulevard and include a bicycle rental.

Things to Do in Taitung Taiwan: Lisong Hot Spring | #Taitung #LisongHotSpring #TravelTaiwan #AsiaTravel

Image Credit: Taitung Tourism Website

#4. Lisong Hot Spring 

How does river tracing and soaking in a wild hot spring sound to you? 

Lisong Hot Spring is a perfect destination for outdoor adventurers and hikers. The natural outdoor hot spring is secluded in the Xinwulu River Valley. It can only be reached by river tracing, rock climbing, and hiking. 

After 1.5-hour of mountain activities, bathing in the milky spring water surrounded by the brown and jade green rock walls must feel so heavenly.

Lisong Hot Spring has been on my list for years, but I never got a chance. One time it rained too much, which wouldn’t have been safe. (Avoid during the rainy season.) Another time the entire area was shut down after an earthquake. And so on. There is no signage, either. I think it is best (and safer) to go with a guide who is familiar with the area. 

Location: [Open Google Map] 

Things to Do in Taitung Taiwan: Surfing in Dulan | #Taitung #Dulan #Surfing #TravelTaiwan #AsiaTravel

#5. Surf at Dulan

Dulan is a laid-back beach town in the North of Taitung City. If you are just passing by on Highway 11, you might not think much of it as a worthy spot to stop by. But exploring further around the town, you will soon realize this small town exudes completely different vibes.

With Yilan and Kenting, Dulan is one of Taiwan’s three best surfing towns. It is still a hidden gem where you can surf away from the crowds even during the peak season.

For beginners, you can take a surfing lesson (available in English) from professional instructors at WaGaLiGong. This place also is a budget hostel [Book here] and restaurant (their pizza is delicious!). You can also rent surfboards and other gear.

Where to Stay in Taitung: Dulan Stone Party | #Taitung #TaitungHotel #Surftown #TravelTaiwan

I enjoyed my stay at Stone Party [book here: BookingAgoda] It is a beautiful property surrounded by lush greenery and guarded by two friendly dogs. Highly recommend! (Photo above)

>> If surfing is not for you, Dulan also offers other water activities like stand-up paddleboarding (SUP) and snorkeling. 

Things to Do in Taitung Taiwan: Luye Highland Balloon Festival | #Taitung #HotAirBalloon #TravelTaiwan #AsiaTravel

Image credit: Taitung Tourism Website

#6. Luye Highland: Taiwan International Balloon Festival

Taiwan International Balloon Festival is one of the most anticipated annual summer events since its launch in 2010. Decorated hot air balloons from all over the world float in the Luye Highland air. The Night Glow Concert series is held throughout the 2-month-long festival period at night.  

For more info and schedule, visit the Taitung Balloon Festival official website.

Things to Do in Taitung Taiwan: Chulu Ranch | #Taitung #ChuluRanch #TravelTaiwan #AsiaTravel

#7. Chulu Ranch

“The hills are alive with the sound of music…” Is anyone a fan of the Sound of Music? If yes, you will appreciate a recreational farm on the hillside of Taitung that resembles the opening scene from the movie.  

Chulu Ranch (初鹿牧場) is a dairy farm and pasture land with the longest history in Taiwan. This 70-hectare ranch is situated 200m-390m above sea level. While it still produces 500 tons of fresh milk annually, you are invited to feed cows, see livestock, and enjoy the European pasture scenes in this grassland.

Things to Do in Taitung Taiwan: Chulu Ranch | #Taitung #ChuluRanch #TravelTaiwan #AsiaTravel

Sorry, the Big O couldn’t help but licking the ice cream before I could take a photo!

You gotta try their soft ice cream cone made with fresh milk. Also, don’t forget to stop by a souvenir shop. The milk biscuit is a must! (I love it!!) 

Location: [Open Google Map] 

Hours: 8 am – 5 pm

Things to Do in Taitung Taiwan: Coffee with the Ocean View | #Taitung #OceanView #TravelTaiwan #AsiaTravel

A windy, gloomy winter day. The scenery can be much more gorgeous on a good weather day.

#8. Savor Coffee with the Coastal View

For a coffee break, head over to Coconut Cafe or Little Fishes Kitchen. I recommend sitting at the outdoor table for a gorgeous ocean view over a meal or coffee. You may also walk down to the beach.   

Location: Coconut Cafe and Little Fishes Kitchen locates right next to each other. [Open Google Map] 

Hours: 10 am – 6 pm (Coconut Cafe is closed on Thursdays.)

Things to Do in Taitung Taiwan: Jialulan - Driftwood Art Park | #Taitung #Jialulan #TravelTaiwan #AsiaTravel

#9. See Driftwood Sculptures at Jialulan

Jialulan (加路蘭海岸) is a picturesque coastal park featuring driftwood art installations. Its unique artwork makes it a popular photo spot, together with the panoramic ocean and mountain view. 

Location: [Open Google Map] 

>> No cars? No problem! Take this East Coast Guided Tour to visit Jialulan, Xiao Yeliu (#10) and Sanxiantai (#2).

Things to Do in Taitung Taiwan: Fugang Geopark (Xiao Yehliu) | #Taitung #XiaoYehliu #TravelTaiwan #AsiaTravel

#10. Fugang Geopark (Xiao Yehliu)

Fugang Geopark (also called Xiao Yehliu or Little Yehliu) is a scenic spot on Taiwan’s east coast. As the name suggests, it features a distinctive geological landscape similar to Yehliu.

The coastal park highlights unique rock formations naturally created by marine erosion. If Yehliu has the Queen’s Head, Xiao Yehliu has mushrooms, tofu, etc.  

Location: [Open Google Map] 

Things to Do in Taitung Taiwan: Railway Arts Village | #Taitung #TravelTaiwan #AsiaTravel

Ride a bike inside the Railway Arts Village.

#11. Tiehua Music Village & Railway Arts Village

Tiehua Music Village (鐵花村) and Railway Arts Village are located side by side in Taitung City. These outdoor arts villages frequently host live performances, concerts, and handmade markets.

Things to Do in Taitung Taiwan: Tiehua Music Village | #Taitung #TravelTaiwan #AsiaTravel

Tiehua Music Village is lit up with miniature hot air balloon lanterns in the evening.

You can explore the area hunting for photo spots, food, coffee, and souvenirs during the day. At night, mini air balloons light up the park, making the evening stroll romantic. Visit this place late afternoon or early evening, so you get to enjoy the changes of day and night sceneries.

Location: [Open Google Map] 

Hours: 8:30 am – 5 pm

Things to Do in Taitung Taiwan: Night View at La Wei Forest Coffee Plantations | #Taitung #TravelTaiwan #AsiaTravel

#12. La Wei of Forest Coffee Plantations

For adventurous travelers, I recommend driving up the mountain to La Wei of Forest Coffee Plantations. It is super challenging to drive off-road up the unlighted hills. (We had many doubtful moments and almost attempted to turn around.) But the nocturne view of the lighted city below and glowing moon in the sky makes the adventure so worthwhile.

Things to Do in Taitung Taiwan: Night View at La Wei Forest Coffee Plantations | #Taitung #TravelTaiwan #AsiaTravel

And don’t get disappointed by the humble appearance of the place. As you may see many trophies on display, the Barista Champion brews excellent coffee. The hot pot is also delicious, served with rarely found mountain vegetables. 

Despite the challenging journey up there, I recommend visiting at night for its breathtaking view. Spraying a mosquito repellent is a must. 

Location: [Open Google Map] 

Hours: 4 pm – 10 pm (Sat. & Sun. 12 pm – 10 pm)

Things to Do in Taitung Taiwan: National Taitung University Library | #Taitung #InstagramTravel #TravelTaiwan #AsiaTravel

#13. National Taitung University Library

You may wonder why the heck I recommend visiting a college library on your trip. But trust me, you won’t regret it. 

National Taitung University Library is an exquisite modern architecture built in harmony with the surrounding nature. But there is more than just architectural beauty that attracts many visitors here.  

Things to Do in Taitung Taiwan: National Taitung University Library | #Taitung #InstagramTravel #TravelTaiwan #AsiaTravel

The school has a volunteer guiding dog. If you are lucky to be chosen by this cute guide, just follow him. He will lead you up the stairs, stop by at every vista point, patiently waiting for you to take photos, and show you back down on the other side. When the tour is over, he takes care of his business and goes on his way (to find the next group). Who wouldn’t want this special school tour?  

Location: [Open Google Map] 

Admission: NT$50 per car

#14. Relax at Zhiben Hot Spring (Jhihben Hot Spring)

Staying at a hot spring resort to relax at the end of your Taitung trip sounds like an excellent idea? Zhiben Hot Springs contains colorless, odorless Alkaline carbon. And that is said to be an ingredient to enhance your skin.

Note that there are many different names for Zhiben. Jhihben or Chipihpin or Chipihpen all refers to the same area.

For the best experience, stay at Hotel Royal Chihpin [Book here: BookingAdoda]. Soak in at a public pool (naked, gender-separated) or the private bathtub in your room. It is a high-end hotel and not cheap at all. But I prefer to stay away from busloads of lousy tourists (hello, I’m in hot spring to relax!) and wouldn’t mind paying a little more for a clean tub.  

Things to Do in Taitung Taiwan: Duoliang Railway - The Most Beautiful Train Station in Taiwan | #Taitung #InstagramTravel #TravelTaiwan #AsiaTravel

#15. Duoliang Railway Station

Dubbed the most beautiful train station in Taiwan, Duoliang Railway Station (多良觀光車站) is one of the must-visit scenic spots along the East Coast. And this is my favorite site! 

Once you get to the top of the cliff, wait for a choo-choo train to pass along the turquoise ocean. It is one of those postcard moments worthy of waiting.

Since the station no longer is a stop, you cannot get there by train. You will need to drive or ride a motorcycle or bike.

Like how all the other East Coast scenic spots are, you have to visit here on a sunny day. Taitung’s ocean can turn choppy and muddy when hit by a typhoon or rain.    

Location: [Open Google Map]

Hours: 9 am – 5 pm

Orchid Island (Lanyu) Taiwan Guide: Scuba Diving, Tao Indigenous Culture & Flying Fish Festival | #OrchidIsland #Lanyu #TaiwanTravel #TaiwanIsland #ScubaDivingAsia #IslandsInAsia

Diving in Taiwan?

Orchid Island (Lanyu) is a diver’s paradise only a two-hour ferry ride away from Taitung. The tropical island is surrounded by coral reefs and tropical fish. Discover Taiwan’s best underwater scene!

Taitung Itinerary Examples

Taitung 2 day itinerary

Day 1: Pisirian Tribal Village (#1) eat lunch Sanxiantai (#2) Brown Boulevard (#3) Chulu Ranch (#7) Taitung City (Stay overnight) 

Day 2: Lamb soup for breakfast Railway Arts Village (#11) ride a bike Little Fishes Kitchen (#8) eat lunch Jialulan (#9) Xiao Yehliu (#10) National Taitung University (#13) Tiehua Music Village (#11) Zhiben Hotspring (#14)

Taitung 3-4 day itinerary

Day 1: Pisirian Tribal Village (#1) eat lunch Sanxiantai (#2) Brown Boulevard (#3) Dulan (Stay overnight) 

Day 2: Dulan Surfing (#5) Explore Dulan Taitung City (stay overnight)

Day 3: Lamb soup for breakfast Railway Arts Village (#11) ride a bike Little Fishes Kitchen (#8) eat lunch Jialulan (#9) Xiao Yehliu (#10) Tiehua Music Village (#11) La Wei of Forest Coffee Plantations (#12)

Day 4: National Taitung University (#13) Duoliang Railway (#15) Zhiben Hotspring (#14)

What to Eat in Taitung

What to Eat in Taitung: Shijia (Sugar Apple) | #Taitung #TaitungFood #TravelTaiwan #FoodTravel

#1. Shijia (Sugar Apple)

It seems like each county of Taiwan has its signature fruits. Sugar apple (or custard apple) represents Taitung. 

Shijia (pronounced ‘Shikeya’ in Taiwanese) in Mandarin Chinese means Budda’s Head because it really looks like it when flipped over. This pale-green fruit is fragrant and sweet. When it ripens, the flesh is creamy and soft. 

I personally do not like it because of its soft texture. It’s way too soft to my liking. (Speaking of which, hold it like a delicate egg. My fingers have poked through the fruit, trying to grab it!) But in Taitung, it’s almost mandatory to get one. You cannot avoid them as they are everywhere! 

What to Eat in Taitung: Breakfast Lamb Soup | #Taitung #TaitungFood #TravelTaiwan #FoodTravel

#2. Lamb Soup

Tainan has beef soup for breakfast. Taitung got lamb soup. While Tainan is known for its fresh beef, mountainous Taitung would have been suitable to raise lambs. So I guess it makes sense. 

Skinny’s Lamb is a famous shop. Whether you like to eat lamb as breakfast or not, the restaurant only opens in the morning. So forget about your hotel breakfast and go get in line. It is so worth waking up early!

Skinny’s Lamb 

Location: [Open Google Map]

Hours: 6:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.

What to Eat in Taitung: Rice Noodle | #Taitung #TaitungFood #TravelTaiwan #FoodTravel

#3. Rice Noodles

As you might have suspected from endless rice fields, East Rift Valley in Taitung produces top-quality, sticky, and chewy rice. No wonder rice noodles are one of the regional specialty dishes you should not miss.

Taiwanese really love eating everything chewy. Locals call this chewy texture, QQ. Many restaurants in Taitung serve QQ rice noodles, typically served with ground pork sauce and bonito fish flakes. I tried a couple of restaurants, but in my opinion, Rong Shu Xia has the best rice noodles in town.

Rong Shu Xia Rice Noodles

Location: [Open Google Map] 

Hours: 6:30 am – 1 pm

What to Eat in Taitung: Mochi | #Taitung #TaitungFood #TravelTaiwan #FoodTravel

#4. Mochi

Taitung has everything you can imagine to make out of rice. For desserts, try their mochi. 

A few famous local bakeries offer traditional or new flavors of mochi. Taiwanese will line up in these bakeries and buy boxes and boxes of mochi for themselves or family and friends. 

For non-Asians, mochi is an acquired taste. And some may not categorize it as desserts. But I have the Asian tastebuds that love mochi. Not only did I savor traditional choices – like red bean, mung bean, peanuts, matcha, etc. – but I also enjoy creative flavors – like swordfish. All that to say, even if mochi is not your thing, give it a try in Taitung. Who knows? It can be a life-changing experience.

Chan Kee Mochi

Location: [Open Google Map]

Hours: 6:30 am – 7 pm

READ MORE | Don’t leave Taiwan without tasting its famous pineapple cakes! Find the best pineapple cakes in Taiwan >>

What to Eat in Taitung: Aboriginal Cuisine | #Taitung #TaitungFood #TravelTaiwan #FoodTravel

Menu: smoked chicken in an oak barrel, salt-baked fish, and various wild mountain vegetables. Yum!

#5. Aboriginal Cuisine

Taiwan is an island country with no shortage of fresh seafood. But be sure to eat Taitung’s local delicacies, such as Kuroshio Current sailfish and flying fish. Aboriginals have their own ways of cooking these rare fishes, too.  

With the indigenous tribes in the region, these deep ocean fishes are cooked in their traditional ways. My favorite is a salt-baked fish. It looked like the chef had stuffed fish with cloves of garlic and other condiments, then doused in a thick layer of sea salt to bake. I worried about having the fish covered in salt, but the skin came right off. It is savory, not salty.

219 Aboriginal Restaurant

Location: [Open Google Map]

Hours: 5:30 pm-midnight

Things to Do in Wulai: Eat Aboriginal Cuisine on Wulai Old Street - Millet Wine | #WulaiHotSpring #WulaiTaiwan #TaiwaneseFood #HotSpringsInTaiwan #TravelAsia

Millet Wine (小米酒) might look innocent, but this sweet milky liquor can get you tipsy real quick!

#6. Millet Rice Wine

Living in Taiwan for a few years, I have heard many stereotypes of Taiwanese aboriginals. They are musically talented, athletic, and heavy drinkers. While I am not sure about these stereotypes, I suspect the latter probably originated from tribal millet wine. All Taiwanese aboriginals brew alcohol, except the Tao in Orchid Island.  

Millet rice wine (小米酒) is made of fermented rice. (rice, again, surprised?) Don’t let your guard down with this sweet, milky drink. It may look innocent and taste good, it will get you drunk pretty quickly.     

What to Eat in Taitung: Buddhist Vegetarian Meal | #Taitung #TaitungFood #TravelTaiwan #FoodTravel

#7. Buddhist Vegetarian Dishes

Eating vegetarian meals is an essential part of the Buddhist faith in Taiwan. So if you are vegetarian or vegan, whether for religion or lifestyle, you will not go hungry. 

Taidong Shi Fang Vegan Restaurant locates above the Buddhist religion shop in Taitung, which was featured many times in local media.  

My omnivore tasting buds quickly caught the “missing” ingredients from their dishes, but I have to tell you that they tasted quite good. And the chef has made an effort to “trick” you by creatively composing vegetarian ingredients to look like animal parts. For example, a teriyaki eel is made out of tofu (flesh) and seaweed (skin). It was quite entertaining for me to guess the ingredients.  

Taidong Shi Fang Vegan Restaurant

Location: [Open Google Map]

Hours: 11 am – 9 pm (Break between 2-5 pm)

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Things to Do & Eat in Taitung + Itinerary: East Coast of Taiwan for Nature Lovers | #Taitung #TravelTaiwan #AsiaTravel

Where to Stay in Taitung

The East of Taiwan is much less developed than the West. That said, you will not find many big international hotel brands here. On the bright side, you will get to experience local hospitality from independent hotels and homestay (called “minsu”). 

Many boutique hotels in this area feature unobstructed ocean and mountain views. (High-rise buildings are rare here.) 

Note: Taitung County includes an expansive area in the East Coast way beyond the Taitung City. Here, I focused on finding your accommodation near the city center for transportation and other convenience factors. 

High-End: Sheraton Taitung Hotel 

Sheraton [Book: BookingAgoda] is the only option in Taitung if you prefer an international hotel brand. This four-star hotel in the heart of Taitung City is close to major attractions. Given the amenities such as a sizable hot tub and swimming pool, relatively speaking, this hotel is an exceptional value.

Where to Stay in Taitung: Gaya Hotel Taitung | #Taitung #TaitungHotel #TravelTaiwan

Affordable Luxury: The Gaya Hotel

The Gaya Hotel [Book: BookingAgoda] is a newly built boutique hotel right off the Tiehua Music Village. This beautifully decorated hotel with impeccable service is comparable to Sheraton. The hotel offers guests a thoughtful welcome rice pack to bring home and a delicious complimentary breakfast buffet. The rooftop pool has a killer night view.

We spent a couple of nights here and loved it! Highly recommend!

Cultural: MATA Taiwanese Indigenous Cultural Resort

For cultural travelers, MATA Taiwanese Indigenous Cultural Resort [Book: BookingAgoda] would be a perfect choice. The lodging is part of the Taitung Aboriginal Cultural Center, and its interior design pay homage to the aboriginal culture. You will get to learn and experience Taiwan’s indigenous life. The resort offers a 9-course aboriginal meal with local ingredients. It locates next to the Taitung Forest Park.

City Center: The Suites Taitung

The Suites Taitung [Book: BookingAgoda] is a comfortable modern hotel in the city center. This 4-star local hotel offers comfortable rooms and amenities comparable to western-brand hotels. Some rooms feature ocean views.

City Center: Inn by the Village Taitung

Inn by the Village [Book: BookingAgoda] locates in a stone’s throw away from Taitung Railway Art Village and Tiehua Music Village, two major attractions in the city center. Spacious yet cozy rooms feature a gorgeous city view. The hotel also has an on-site restaurant and bar. Guests can request a complimentary pickup from Taitung Airport or Railway Station.   

Where to Stay in Taitung: Grand Hotel Lili | #Taitung #TaitungHotel #TravelTaiwan

Grand Hotel Lili [Book: Booking] is a stylish yet affordable hotel recently built outside the city center. If you have a car, this boutique hotel with a rooftop bar is an excellent option. I did not have any complaints while staying here.

Where to Stay in Taitung: Tiin Tinn | #Taitung #TaitungHotel #TravelTaiwan

Mid-Range: Tiin Tinn Rivershore B&B

Tiin Tinn Rivershore B&B [Book: BookingAgoda] is a 3-star B&B locates in-between the city center and Taitung Railway Station. I enjoyed my one-night stay at this cozy place. This stylish hotel offers a cozy environment with a restaurant and lounge area. Free bicycle rentals are a big plus!

A similar option in the city center includes Traveller Inn TieHua Cultural and Creative Center [Book: BookingAgoda].

Near Taitung Station: Genuinn

If you want to stay close to Taitung Railway Station, Genuinn [Book: BookingAgoda] is an excellent choice. This modern industrial chic lodging offers a spacious, stylish room with a shared kitchen.

Budget: H& Taitung Fun Trip Holiday Homestay

Looking for a simple and clean place? H& Taitung Fun Trip Holiday Homestay [Book: Booking] offers just that. No froufrou. Just comfortable basics.

Budget: Norden Ruder Hostel 

Norden Ruder Hostel [Book: BookingAgoda] is a nice cozy hostel. Unlike other hostels, you get a private room and bathroom thanks to its super-efficient floor plan. It’s an unbeatable value.

Where to Go Next in Taiwan for Nature Lovers

>> East Coast of Taiwan (Part 2): Hualien, lush mountains and stunning coastline

>> Taroko Gorge National Park: A hiker’s dream destination with a magnificent marble gorge view from a soaring cliff

>> Zhuilu Old Trail: The crown jewel of Taroko Gorge hikes

>> Sun Moon Lake: A Picturesque Alpine Lake near Taichung

>> Xiaoliuqiu Island: Swim with Sea Turtles

>> Juming Museum: A mountaintop sculpture park with the famed Juming’s artworks

>> Wulai Hot Springs: A secluded aboriginal village tucked in a mountain famous for hot spring

>> Beitou Hot Springs: An urban retreat only a stone’s throw away from Taipei

>> Best Beaches in Taiwan: Beach bums? Here are the 12 most beautiful and unique beaches in Taiwan!

Bon Voyage!

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