9 National Parks to Visit in Taiwan

Taiwan is truly a place of outstanding natural beauty. Stunning beaches and coastlines juxtaposed by spectacular forests and towering mountains; the country’s diverse landscapes are a huge part of what makes Taiwan great. Taiwan has nine must-visit national parks, each offering their own unique nature-rich experience. Here’s a rundown of each of them and their highlights. 

Yangmingshan National Park (陽明山國家公園)

Nestled between Taipei and New Taipei, Yangmingshan National Park is one of Taiwan’s most popular outdoor escapes. Hiking trails, cherry blossoms, and hot springs, Yangmingshan has to be on every visitor to Taiwan’s bucket list. The park is home to a rich variety of flora and fauna, while the smell of sulfur deposits fill the air as you climb Seven Star Mountain (七星山), Taiwan’s tallest dormant volcano. At the foot of the park is the Beitou hot spring district where you can soak your feet in the public springs or enjoy something a little more private at one of the area’s many hot spring hotels. (Read more: The ultimate hiking guide to Yangmingshan National Park)

Yangmingshan is one of the most popular national parks in Taiwan.

Taroko National Park (太魯閣國家公園)

On the east coast is Taroko National Park, home to the stunning Taroko Gorge. Possibly the most beautiful place in all Taiwan, Taroko Gorge has incredible marble cliffs which you can marvel at while hiking one of the local trails, such as the well-maintained and very accessible Lushui Trail (綠水步道), or the Shakadang Trail (砂卡噹步道) along the clear waters of the Shakadang Stream. The park is also home to the indigenous Truku (太魯閣族) people whose village you will pass (but cannot enter) along the Shakadang Trail. (Read more: 8 days around Taroko Gorge and Eastern Taiwan)

The magnificent marble cliffs of Taroko Gorge.

Yushan National Park (玉山國家公園)

Accommodating several sections of Taiwan’s Central Mountain Range, Yushan National Park in Nantou is a hiker’s dream. With more than 30 peaks over 3,000m tall, Yushan is rich in biodiversity due to its subtropical and cold zone ecosystems and is also a great place for spotting butterflies. The park’s main attraction is Mt. Jade (玉山), which is Taiwan’s tallest mountain, standing at an enormous 3,952m. Farmland, forests and various small townships, as well as its many mountains, Yushan is an amazing place to experience Taiwan’s natural diversity and scenery at its best. (Read more: A first timer’s guide to Yushan National Park)

Taijiang National Park (台江國家公園)

Not far from Taiwan’s old capital Tainan is Taijiang National Park. Established as recently as 2009 – making it the country’s youngest national park – Taijiang’s seaside setting makes it home to a wide range of fish, mammals, crustaceans and birds, as well as areas of wetland. A popular highlight of the park is its area of salt flats, which were once a huge part of a thriving Taiwanese salt industry. The Black-faced Spoonbill is a protected bird here and even has its own conservation center which is open to visitors. (Read more: The Tainan that is more than history)

Boat tour in Tainan's Taijiang National Park
You can take a boat trip at Tainan’s Taijiang National Park.

Kenting National Park (墾丁國家公園)

At Taiwan’s southern tip is the wonderful Kenting, a national park best known for stunning white sand beaches, and its breathtaking forested areas. Tropical all year round, it is one of Taiwan’s most popular spots with tourists, thanks to its laid-back beach vibes and variety of water sports offerings. However, if you can drag yourself away from the beach (which is easier said than done) make sure you also visit Kenting National Forest Recreation Area (墾丁森林遊樂園區), home to 17 scenic spots and around 1,000 varieties of trees and other plants. (Read more: A first timer’s guide to Kenting)

Kenting beach Taiwan
Beaches, forests, and laid-back vibes, Kenting National Park has a lot to offer.

Shei-Pa National Park (雪霸國家公園)

Spanning across Miaoli County, Hsinchu County and Taichung City, Shei-Pa National Park boats Taiwan’s second-highest mountain, Snow Mountain (雪山). 3,386m high, Snow Mountain in the winter is one of Taiwan’s most beautiful places, and, as it’s a multiday excursion, it requires camping/renting accommodation along the way, as well as a permit to hike. Brimming with rivers, creek valleys, forests, and a whole host of different animal and plant life (you may even spot a bear!), Shei-Pa is yet another fine example of Taiwan’s natural beauty, offering both wonderful forest walks and mountain hikes. (Read more: A winter hike on one of Taiwan’s most beautiful mountains

South Penghu Marine National Park (澎湖南方四島國家公園)

Found in the southernmost part of the offshore islands of Penghu County, South Penghu Marine National Park is great for people who want to get away from Taiwan without actually getting away. Here you have the chance to spot dolphins and whales off the likes Donji Island (東吉島) and Xiji Island (西吉島), as well as around 240 species of fish amongst the surrounding coral reefs. Penghu County itself consists of 90 islands and islets, making it Taiwan’s smallest county, but there is no shortage of things to do and places to visit, including beautiful beaches on Jibei Island (吉貝島), Qing Dynasty houses on Wang’an Island (萬安島), and a variety of watersports such as surfing and banana boating. (Read more: A quick guide to Penghu island hopping)

Kinmen National Park (金門國家公園)

Way off the west coast in the Taiwan Strait is Kinmen, another of Taiwan’s island counties and home to another of the country’s national parks. Established in 1995, Kinmen National Park is one of the best places in all Taiwan for birdwatching, while the Eurasian otter is also a protected species here. There are great beaches, a four hiking trails to tackle on Taiwu Mountain (太武山 ), fascinating examples of local religious practices, and even a network of underground tunnels to visit, giving you a glimpse into the area’s wartime past. (Read more: A first timer’s guide to Kinmen National Park)

Take a hike up Kinmen’s highest peak, Taiwu Mountain.

Dongsha Atoll National Park (東沙環礁國家公園)

Perhaps the least well-known of Taiwan’s nine national parks, Donsha Atoll National Park is found on Pratas Island (administered as part of Kaohsiung’s Cijin district 旗津) in the South China Sea. Home to a marine park and with a distinctly tropical monsoon climate, the waters around this national park are a habitat for all sorts of marine life, ranging from squid to jellyfish to sicklefin lemon sharks. Pratas is the larges of the South China Sea Islands and is currently an area with lots of military activity. 

Embrace more of Taiwan’s nature…