Cebu, Philippines. (Image by flickr user Patrick Tumalad)
Budget Airlines have exploded on the Taiwanese travel scene in a big way in recent years and had a big impact on the travel habits of both Taiwanese and ex-pats. Whereas before regular holidays overseas were out of reach for many regular people, today it is possible for most people to explore Southeast Asia on a budget.
Now, the website Skyscanner Taiwan has revealed where people are heading. They have analyzed the searches made by Taiwanese users of their website to identify the top five short-haul travel destinations for Taiwanese people. They found some very interesting and unexpected destinations were at the top of the list and these are likely to remain popular places to visit in 2018.
Which is why we are profiling their top five places. And we have found that whether you are looking for a place to relax, take in some culture, or just a new place to do the visa run, there is something to offer everyone:
1. Daegu, South Korea
Daegu, South Korea. (Wikimedia Commons)
The most popular short-haul destination for Taiwanese people is the South Korean city of Daegu. Daegu is Korea’s fourth largest city and has plenty to offer visitors, with everything from ancient Buddhist sites and traditional markets to a great contemporary café culture and large public parks.
One of the most interesting places to visit is Donghwa Temple, which is nestled in the foothills of Palgong Mountain and dates back to the 5th century. It offers a combination of distinctive architecture and colorful murals. Another must-see is the Yangnyeongsi Market, the oldest oriental medicine market in Korea, which was established in 1658 and where you can still find everything from turtle shell and snakes to traditional herbs.
Seomun Market is the place to go for Korean street food and Otgol Village, just outside the city offer some great examples of traditional Korean village homes. If you want a more modern break, head to Café Alley for the best of Daegu’s coffee culture while there are plenty of parks you can visit to relax with Daegu Duryu Park and Apsan Park being the most popular.
You can fly to Daegu, South Korea, from Taoyuan Airport with Tiger Airlines with prices from around NT$3,800. Other carriers also travel to this destination.
2. Okayama, Japan
Okayama, Japan (Castle). (Wikimedia Commons)
Taiwan’s fascination with all things Japanese continues unabated, but it is not Okinawa, Tokyo, or Osaka which Taiwanese people are most keen to visit, but rather the city of Okayama in the west of the country. One reason for its popularity might be its role as an important transportation hub, from where travelers can head off to other places in Japan. But there is plenty to see and enjoy in the city too.
Okayama is perhaps best known for its floral beauty. It is a favorite destination for cherry blossom viewing with Asahi River Sakura Road and Tsuyama Castle (Kakuzan Park) being perhaps the best two of many popular viewing points.
The Gokei Valley is designated as a Place of Scenic Beauty in Japan, and with good reason. In Autumn, especially during November, it is home to a stunning display of colored foliage which tourists can enjoy from the specially built 600 m long promenade. And another real highlight of Okayama is the famous Korakuen Garden. It is one of Japan’s three most celebrated gardens and was created more than 300 years ago. It is a huge site and includes wide lawns, as well as ponds, hills, plum groves, and even a tea plantation. Visitors can also enjoy stunning views including of Okayama Castle.
You can fly to Okayama, Japan, from Taoyuan Airport with Tiger Airlines with prices from around NT$6,300. Other carriers also travel to this destination.
3. Da Nang, Vietnam
Da Nang, Vietnam (Hyatt Regency). (Wikimedia Commons)
Da Nang sits midway between Vietnam’s two biggest cities, Hanoi, and Ho Chi Minh City. It is a historic city with sites including the Phap Lam Pagoda, the unique pink stone Da Nang Cathedral, and popular museums including the Fifth Military Museum and the Cham Museum all attracting many visitors.
But what really pulls visitors from Taiwan, and around the region to Da Nang is its fabulous beaches. Da Nang is within easy reach of some of the best beaches in Vietnam. The famous Lang Co Beach, for example, is a palm tree-lined oasis with pearl white sands and crystal clear waters. There is some hotel development there, but it remains largely unspoiled.
If you want somewhere a little more developed, try the My Khe Beach which is packed with resorts and a great spot for water sports fans. This was a popular place for American soldiers to head for some R&R during the Vietnam War. In total, Da Nang offers easy access to more than 30 km of great beaches where every possible seaside pastime can be enjoyed.
You can fly to Da Nang, Vietnam, from Taoyuan Airport with Jet Star with prices from around NT$6,000. Other carriers also travel to this destination.
4. Sendai, Japan
Sendai, Japan – (Masamune Date statue). (Wikimedia Commons)
Sendai is a large city located in the northeast of Japan. It was the closest big city to the 2011 earthquake and the subsequent tsunami devastated the cities coastal outskirts. But despite that catastrophe, it remains an attractive destination for visitors.
It can serve as a gateway to the north of the country with bullet train connections to Aomori and Akita further north and ferries also connecting the city to Tomakomai in Hokkaido. During the summer months, the climate in Sendai is much cooler than destinations further south and there is also plenty to see in the city itself.
Sendai has a rich history, and although it was badly damaged during World War II, much of this remains. Popular attractions include the mausoleum to the city’s founder, samurai warlord Masamune Date, the ruins of Sendai Castle, the nearby scenic coastal area of Matsushima, and the Sendai City Museum. It also boasts a rich food heritage too, with calf tongue (gyutan) and soba noodles particular favorites.
You can fly to Sendai, Japan, from Taoyuan Airport with Peach Airlines with prices from around NT$5,200. Other carriers also travel to this destination.
5. Cebu, Philippines
Cebu, Philippines. (Image by flickr user Patrick Tumalad)
Cebu is the most densely populated island in the Philippines and one of the country’s most prosperous regions. It is also the hottest tourist destination in the Philippines with visitors from Taiwan and beyond drawn to its picture-perfect white beaches and stunning diving.
For the best in beaches, you need to head north to Malapascua, where you will find popular destinations such as Bounty Beach and Logon Beach. But don’t ignore the possibilities offered by the south-western coast of the island around Moalboal too.
Many visitors overlook Cebu City itself in the rush for the resorts, but it is a fast-improving city and more people are sticking around these days to enjoy its burgeoning restaurant and bar scene as well as the growing retail opportunities on offer. If you are looking for sites, then the Basilica Minore del Santo Niño and the Museo Sugbo are both worth a look.
You can fly to Cebu, Philippines from Taoyuan Airport with Cebu Pacific Airlines with prices from around NT$6,200. Other carriers also travel to this destination.