Taiwan is a small island nation located in the Pacific Ocean east of China with Japan to its northeast and the Philippines to the south. Its vibrant cities and markets as well as beautiful parks and picturesque landscapes make Taiwan a popular destination among international tourists. Here are five fantastic places to visit during your Taiwan travels.

Best Places to Visit in taiwan

1. Taipei

Taipei is the capital of Taiwan and though it's 300-years-old, it is certainly a modern metropolis. Its busy streets, shops, and fabulous dining options make for a fun destination for a getaway. The crown jewel of the city is the over 1,700-foot tall Taipei 101 skyscraper, which has an observation deck offering incredible views. Travelers looking to learn more about the city's history should visit the National Revolutionary Martyr’s Shrine, Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall, the Longshan Temple and the National Palace Museum. To get up close and personal with some local animals, head to the Taipei Zoo, which you can access by a gondola.

2. National Palace Museum

The National Palace Museum is located in Taipei, but it gets its own “must-visit” because of its amazing treasures. Though built in Taipei in 1965, the museum was more recently completely refurbished in 2002 and 2007. While the building is very impressive itself, the thousands of artifacts, which include paintings, porcelains, bronzes, tapestries, books and more from over 10,000 years of history, are sure to awe visitors.

3. Kenting National Park

Kenting National Park is the perfect destination for outdoor enthusiasts. Located at the southern-most area of Taiwan, this region enjoys plenty of sunshine and little rain year round. Its coral reefs attract scuba, fishing and snorkel enthusiasts while its dense tropical forests invite hikers. Interestingly, more than 1,200 species of plants grow in this fertile area of Taiwan. Enjoy an active outing at Kenting National Park.

4. Taroko National Park

Taroko National Park is another one of nature's playgrounds in Taiwan. This popular park is located outside of Eastern Taiwan’s largest city, Hualien City, which is a popular tourist destination. Taroko National Park is one of the most popular spots where visitors can see stunning landscapes and an abundance of great wildlife, plants and trees. Home to the Central Mountain Range and 11-mile-walled Taroko Gorge, get your camera and sunscreen ready and enjoy Taroko's beautiful scenery.

5. Yangmingshan National Park

Yangmingshan National Park is a stunning park located less than an hour drive north from Taipei. Its close proximity to Taipei makes the park an especially popular destination among the city's tourists. Here, tourists can explore volcanic landscapes and hot springs while spotting unique wildlife. Keep an eye out for its diverse array of birds.

Photo Essay: Five Things to Do in Taiwan

This article was written by Cameron Lafontaine.