Taiwan is one of my favorite countries for several reasons. 

One of them is how easy and fun it is to explore the island.

And there is no better way than having an epic road trip in Taiwan – especially because the roads are safe and you can reach the most beautiful parts of the island without rushing.

So that’s what I did. I went on a two week road trip drive round Taiwan.

And that was kind of an epic adventure!

1. How to rent a car in Taiwan as a foreigner (e.g. with Chailease)

Renting a car in Taiwan is quite easy and usually not a big hassle. Keep in mind that it is required to bring your passport, driver’s licence as well as an international driving permit and you’re good to go!

To find a good car for the road trip there are a few local Taiwanese car rental companies. Some of them are:

  • Chailease Auto Rental (中租租車): They are located all around Taiwan and that’s the one I used for my road trip. They were very professional, easy communication and super friendly service.
  • EasyRent (和運租車)
  • CarPlus (格上租車)
  • Formosa Car Rental (九龍租賃)

It’s easy to book the car rental online and availability can be checked via hotlines as well.

I booked the car a week in advance and just went to the pick up location, showed them my documents and I was ready to start my adventure!

Taiwan has a great public transportation system and it is possible to go anywhere. BUT to fully experience the landscapes and enjoying the coast lines and hidden spots – a car makes everything so much easier.

2. The route (2 weeks itinerary)

To fully drive round Taiwan you should plan to stay at least two weeks on the island. Taiwan has so many things to offer! Ranging from tropical forests to beautiful coast lines, hidden waterfalls and vibrant cities.

Taiwan really has it all which makes it difficult to pick the best spots but the good part? A road trip is always spontanoues and gives you the freedom to go wherever it takes you.

Nevertheless, there are some hot spots in Taiwan you definitely shouldn’t miss! So here is my 2-weeks itinerary for a perfect road trip in Taiwan:

Click here to get to the google maps link for a detailed route.

Day 1-2 Taipei:

Taipei is the capital of Taiwan and should definitely not be missed out! It has so many things to offer that you can easily spend weeks there without getting bored and it is the best place to rent your car. My highlights for Taipei are visiting the night markets, seeing the city from above of Taipei 101 tower, strolling around in the endless shopping districts, visitng the National Palace Museum and the national Chiang Kai-Chek Memorial.

Day 3: Taichung (→ 170km, 3 hours drive):

Taichung is definitely one of my favorite cities in Taiwan! it is more laid back and you can eat great sea food here. Make sure to check out the instagrammable Rainbow Village for its colorful street art installation and for adrenaline junkies visit the racing track in the outskirt of Taichung.

Day 4: Qingjing Farm (→ 85km, 2 hours drive):

For an animal lover like me, this farm was the highlight of my road trip! The drive up the mounatin is simply beautiful and rewarding. What awaits you are many cute sheeps, fresh air and a green scenery. The farm is also known as “Foggy Eden” or the Switzerland of Taiwan and it was truly beautiful up there!

Day 5-6: Sun Moon Lake (→ 60km, 2 hours drive):

Taiwan’s largest and probably bluest lake of them all is the Sun Moon Lake. An oasis to relax or to go on a bicycle tour around the lake. Prepare the whole day to circumnavigate the lake as there are many stops to make during the 30km route. If you are not much into riding a bike there is also the possibility to hop on a boat and explore the lake’s surroundings by foot.

Day 7 Alishan National Park (→ 105km, 3 hours drive):

Get up early, because the most scenic moment is during the sunrise when the clouds shine in orange pink colors between the mountains. Wake up early, hop in your car, drive to the park entrance and get a ticket for the Alishan Forest Railway. A journey you will never forget! After the sunrise you will have plenty of time to hike inside the national park.

Day 8-9 Kaohsiung (→ 180km, 5 hours drive):

Drive the scenic roads until you get to Kaohsiung. There are also many places worth stopping by on the way (hot springs, forests, hiking areas etc.). In Kaohsiung itself it’s a must to check out the Lotus Lake with it’s colorful pagodas, the art district, having a gondola ride at the love river and making a day trip to Fo Guang Shan – an impressive Chinese Buddhist Monastery.

Day 10 Kenting National Park (→ 110km, 2,5 hours drive):

Going south means swimming in the ocean! There are plenty of white beaches, caves and coral reeves to explore. It’s also home to the best seafood restaurants of Taiwan, so don’t miss them out.

Day 11 Taitung (→ 160km, 4 hours drive):

While driving up the east coast of Taiwan you will realize how different it is compared to the western coast. Definitely check out Taitung Forest Park, have a massage and relax a little bit! You can drive to Brown Road, Dapo Lake and even get to know the aboriginal tribes of Taiwan.

Day 12-13 Hualien and Taroko (→ 170km, 4 hours drive):

Driving up to Hualien will for sure take your breath away as you will pass by Sanxiantai and drive along the 21km long Qingshui Cliff. It lays 800 meters above sea level and the crystal clear blue water is mesmerizing! Going further west you will encounter the Taroko National Park which is definitely worth a full day. And latest there you will be glad having a car! Taroko Gorge is a 19km long canyon with hidden waterfalls, turquoise rivers and dark caves.

Day 14 Back to Taipei (→ 190km, 5 hours drive):

The road trip is coming to an end and I recommend to avoid the highway going back as you will finish with some epic serpentines and a last scenic drive through coconut tree forests with old beautiful temples.

3. Is it safe to drive in Taiwan?

During the two weeks driving around Taiwan I never encountered a dangerous situation. The roads are well maintained, the traffic out of the big cities is very limited and I found Taiwanese drivers to be very friendly and tolerant. Noone is taligating and in general speed limits are not really high which makes driving safer but more relaxed.

However, there are a few things to keep in mind while driving in Taiwan as not everything is the same like in western countries.

  • A rental car will most likely be automatic rather than manual
  • People drive on the right side of the road
  • There are speed cameras everywhere
  • It’s illegal to use mobile devices while driving
  • At most gas stations there will be attendants to help you fuel up
  • Always watch out for scooters when changing lanes
  • It happened a few times that cars overtook us from the right side (instead of left)

Having these rules in mind I can definitely say that driving in Taiwan in general is really safe and enjoyable. I never felt stressed. Even in the big cities I felt that other drivers would watch out for others and always put safety first. The roads in general are not packed at all.

Driving around Taiwan is a wonderful experience and I would say one of the safest countries to drive worldwide. Do not miss out that opportunity and next time when you come to Taiwan consider renting a car, explore the wild landscapes and have an epic road trip!