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Get Your Smartphone Ready when Visiting These Locations!

Taipei 101
“Taiwan’s most notable feat of modern engineering”

Most tourists visiting Taiwan come to the capital, Taipei, even if only briefly, and most of these want a look at the country’s tallest – and currently the world’s 8th tallest – building (508m). A challenge for photographers without wide-angle lenses is how to get the whole structure into one frame when standing close to it. A solution is getting down on the ground and shooting upwards. You will also get a more interesting angle this way. A good spot to shoot the tower is right at its base (a bonus is the popular and much-photographed bright-red “LOVE” sculpture at this spot). Another option is hiking up Elephant Mountain (trailheads near MRT Xiangshan Station), to the tower’s immediate south, recommended especially in the late afternoon, when you’ll get breathtaking sunset shots.

Ximending
“One of the hippest places for the younger generation”

Ximending is the premier place in Taipei to capture the youthful vibe of the city. You’re certain to encounter youngsters sporting daring hairdos, avant-garde fashion statements, and intricate tattoos. There are a number of narrow streets lined with graffiti-covered walls, ideal for fashion-model-type selfies. Visit in the evening to capture the distinctive streetscape, illuminated brightly by the forest of colorful neon lights.

National Palace Museum
“The amazing exhibits …provide the best Instagram shots”

Another can’t-miss Taipei tourist attraction is the National Palace Museum, home to hundreds of thousands of ancient Chinese imperial artifacts. Among the best known of these invaluable treasures are the Jadeite Cabbage and the Meat-shaped Stone. If you want to take Instagram photos of these two, come as early as possible in the day, because these top attractions naturally draw big crowds. On a clear-blue-sky day the museum’s stately buildings, with their sand-brown walls and turquoise-tile roofs, are also compellingly photogenic. The adjacent pleasant Chinese gardens are ideal if you’re looking for an old-China setting, complete with swallowtail-roof pavilions and swan pond.

Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall
“This is a spot where Instagrammers can spend a whole day”

Grandiose CKS Memorial Hall and its Chinese-palace-lookalike neighbors, the National Theater and National Concert Hall, are easy must-have picks for tourist photos. Be respectful when taking photos in front of the stoic, motionless honor guards, who keep their eyes peeled on the constant stream of visitors. There is a changing of the guard ceremony at the top of each hour during the day, with the soldiers performing an elaborate ritual before the solemn, imposing large statue of Chiang Kai-shek, former political and military leader of the Republic of China.

Jiufen
“A must-visit spot for any tourist looking for a day trip from Taipei”

The most popular spots for taking photos in this hillside tourist hotspot on the Northeast Coast, once a prosperous mining town, are the old, narrow alleys, teahouses in heritage buildings, and of course the breathtaking view down to the rugged coastline, especially dramatic during sunsets. If you want to see the town from a distance and from higher up, hike up nearby Mt. Jilong. It’s a steep 40-minute walk (no shade!), but you will be rewarded with stunning views of Jiufen, the coastal mountains, and the sea.

Rainbow Village
“There’s nowhere in Taiwan as colorful as the Rainbow Village”

One of the charms of naïve paintings is the generous use of bright colors without much attention paid to subtlety. Mr. Huang, a senior-citizen resident at this central Taiwan military dependents’ village, one day started to paint the deteriorating walls of his neighborhood and didn’t stop until virtually every spot was covered. He certainly won’t be compared to Monet anytime soon. But his outdoor-art project has attracted thousands of Instagrammers, putting Rainbow Village firmly on the must-do list of smartphone-toting tourists.

Alishan
“Get up in time for that spectacular sunrise”

It might take a bit of luck to be on hand at just the right time for the Alishan Forest Recreation Area’s incredibly beautiful scene of the sun rising above a bed of fluffy clouds. Weather is unpredictable after all. If you happen to take the area’s narrow-gauge train to the sunrise lookout spot in the wee hours only to find that thick mist is blocking the view, don’t fret. Alishan is a wonder world of photo ops, and you might instead get great Instagram photos with blooming cherry trees (in winter), the bright-red narrow-gauge trains (with wooden carriages sometimes pulled by steam locomotives), and tree giants many centuries old (all times of the year, natch).

KMRT Formosa Boulevard Station
“One of the truly stunning pieces of man-made beauty found in Taiwan”

one of the truly stunning pieces of man-made beauty found in Taiwan” Compared to the Taipei Metro, Kaohsiung’s counterpart, the KMRT system, has stations less busy and less bright and colorful. But there is one station that stands out, and which is arguably the most impressive of all metro stations in Taiwan – Formosa Boulevard. Its pièce de résistance is the Dome of Light, a remarkable work of glass art designed by Italian artist Narcissus Quagliata. Thirty meters in diameter and made of 4,500 glass panels, it is massive. Bring your widest-angle lens (perhaps even a fish-eye if you own one) to capture it all in one frame.

Kenting National Park
“Where you simply can’t fail to find an amazing spot for your Instagram feed”

Covering the southernmost part of the island of Taiwan, Kenting National Park has fine-sand beaches, stretches of rocky upraised-coral coastline, and a mountainous hinterland covered with tropical forest. There are many great spots to get your perfect Instagram shots. One of the best beaches for summer-vibe photos is at Baisha (White Sand) Bay. To avoid the crowds, come early, and preferably on a weekday (the beach is usually packed during the summer-vacation season, and on fine-weather weekends).

Taroko Gorge
“A place of stunning natural beauty”

Last but not least, and without doubt the most stunning natural and scenic wonder Taiwan has to offer: Taroko Gorge. Apart from visiting tourist hotspots in the gorge, such as the Tunnel of Nine Turns and Swallow Grotto, be sure to take the time to explore more of Taroko by following some of its numerous trails. Among the easier ones providing you with scenic wonders galore are the Lushui Trail (highway and river seen from higher up) and Baiyang Trail (waterfalls and a water-curtain tunnel). If time allows and you are not afraid of heights, consider hiking the Zhuilu Historic Trail (permit application required), certainly one of the most spectacularly scenic hikes you will ever chalk up!

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