Instagrammable Places in Taiwan - finding the most photogenic spots in the country

Whilst Taiwan isn’t really known for its Instagrammable spots, like Vietnam or Bali it definitely has its fair share of photogenic places. With stunning forests and gatorade blue rivers as well as temples and old streets which feel like taking a step back in time. No matter what you like to photograph, there should be a spot on this list for you.

Here are our favourite Instagrammable places in Taiwan.

Elephant Mountain, Taipei

Top of the list is the rightly famous lookout just 15 minutes out of Taipei city centre. You might need to climb 500 steps to get here but it will definitely be worth your while. It’s a popular spot so it’s highly likely you’ll have to queue for this photo, especially if you go at the most photogenic time of day, sunset.

It’s worth noting that due to the fact the photographer needs to be on another rock just in front of this spot, you can’t get this shot with a tripod. Bring along a willing accomplice and snap away.

Here’s everything you need to know about all the lookouts at Elephant Mountain.

Read next: An action packed 7 day Taiwan itinerary

Jiufen Old Street

Now this is another incredibly popular place near the city of Taipei so you can approach it one of two ways. If you don’t want lots of people in your shot you need to arrive early, before 8am or take a night shot after 8pm.

If you don’t mind crowds and think it adds some atmosphere then around 5-6pm is a good bet.

This spot is the top of the entrance way to the Old Street and is the place most favoured by Instagrammers.

Check out some other great things to do while you’re in the Jiufen area.

Sunrise at Xiaoliyuanshan Lookout, Alishan

As well as being a totally gorgeous spot, this was also one of our favourite mornings in Taiwan. Yes you need to be on that train out of Alishan around 5am but you definitely won’t be regretting it when you see the sky turn on a show at this lookout.

You can’t see it in this picture because we were taking landscapes early on but it was easily the most colourful sunrise we had in over 9 months of travel this year.

There is only one good spot to get a shot that includes a person in this one and it’s the rock just in front of the lookout platform. Grab it before someone else does, it also made for the best place to watch the sunrise without being jabbed by various selfie stick wielders on the main lookout platform.

Here’s all you need to know about getting to the Xiaoliyuanshan Lookout.

Forest of Forgetting Sorrow, Fenchihu

Now for us this walk was the highlight of our entire month in Taiwan. It really was like walking through a movie set. The bamboo just blew us away.

Our favourite section, the Forest of Forgetting Sorrow is towards the end of the walk but if you don’t want to hike that far then don’t worry because the bamboo forest actually begins around 10 minutes from the trail head.

We spent 6 hours hiking through these forests and only saw two people in that whole time so you don’t need to worry about time of day for this one.

Here’s the low down on the trail to the Forest of Forgetting Sorrow which forms part of the Fenrui hike.

Read next: Teapot Mountain - an epic hike outside of Taipei and Yangminshan - Volcanoes and hot springs

Zhaowu Pier, Sun Moon Lake

Now unfortunately you need the weather on your side for the best shot here and it wasn’t playing ball for us. To the left of this shot are far larger mountains than you can see in our picture, but they remained stubbornly under cloud on our visit.

The second shot is the one that will work best for wow factor if the mountains are visible.

If you aren’t in luck like we weren’t you can just take a shot to the right hand side where there are still a few smaller mountains for interest. The best time of day for this shot without question is sunrise, it provides beautiful soft light and far less crowds.

Here’s our thoughts on the other main attractions at Sun Moon Lake.

Shakadang Walk, Taroko Gorge National Park

This water really does look that colour, there’s no photoshop trickery here, it’s a wow. This spot is around 1.5km from the trail head along a flat, paved path. Unfortunately due to said flat paved path it’s a wildly popular walk with Chinese tour buses. They begin arriving at 8am, make sure you beat them to it.

You’ll need to wander off the path just past the drinks hut area, you’ll see where other people have gone before you. There are signs to stick to the path but we couldn’t resist a shot with that amazing blue water. Make sure you stick to the shallow area where there is no fast flow for safety.

Here are more details on the whole Shakadang walk and other trails in the Taroko Gorge National Park.

Baiyang Waterfall, Taroko Gorge National Park

This shot was a bit tricky as the bridge railing is quite high and doesn’t make it easy to spot the person, but we still think it is an amazing place.

It’s towards the end (around 2km in) of a yet another flat walking trail #winning! The area is much more majestic than one photo can capture so it is well worth fitting this one into your itinerary.

It’s a busyish track but we found that people moved on fairly quickly so timing is not so important for this one. The bridge is just beside the final tunnel taking you towards the Water Curtain Cave.

Tiger & Dragon Pagoda, Kaohsiung

We thought these temples made a pretty picture around sunset, although it’s technically a sunrise spot so if you can drag yourself out of bed for yet another early start it will be even better. The shot is taken from the pagoda looking out to the Tiger and Dragon pagodas. You can reach it in around two minutes from the Tiger and Dragon along the boardwalk.

It’s a popular spot but people come and go within minutes so timing is more about the light you want. We’ve seen this shot where the pagodas have been enlarged in photoshop, which if you have the skills does look better. The shot you can see here is the reality.

It’s worth noting that we didn’t rate Kaohsiung as a destination, we may have in fact pronounced it dull, dull, dull, so if you have no particular reason to go we’d suggest skipping this one. We still wanted to include it in our list as it is one of Taiwan’s most popular Instagrammable spots.

Read next: Taiwan Budget - what to expect

Rainbow Church, Cijen Island

I remember seeing this on Instagram and thinking it looked like such a gorgeous shot. Unfortunately it is one of those places that looks much more impressive in photos than in does in real life. If that doesn’t bother you then it is definitely one of the most Instagrammable places in Taiwan.

We heard there can often be queues waiting to take this shot so we went early in the morning and there wasn’t a soul there. I actually think that you could probably go anytime of day and it wouldn’t be too bad. Don’t arrive too early, before say 8am, as the arch is in shadow and it won’t work so well for the photo.

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Our Camera Gear

Our brand of choice for camera gear has been Canon for many years and we love their L-Series lenses. Whilst they are heavier than some other brands, the image results are worth the additional weight. We’ve also used a few drones in our time (check out our guide to which drone to buy here) but currently own a DJI Mavic Pro.

Here’s the camera gear we use the most:

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