East Asia

Best Taiwan farm stays for an interactive holiday in nature

Catch your own dinner, harvest your own veggies or maybe even sheer a sheep during your holiday escape into nature at one of these Taiwan farm stays.

A weekend in Taiwan means mountains swathed in mist and palm trees, vibrant night markets fragrant with chilli oil and coal-roasted yams, hiking trails through lily-covered hillsides and mountain-top teahouses over tumbling springs. Taiwan was once named Isla Formosa (beautiful island) for a reason, and with daily non-stop flights from Singapore, the mountains are calling to be your next long weekend destination.

From farms where you can feed the sheep to friendly minsu (homestays) where you’ll dine on organic veg plucked straight from the garden, you’ll have plenty of options to choose from when looking for a Taiwanese farm stay. If you’re wondering where to go in Taiwan, we’ve put together a list of green retreats from the northern tip of the island to its southern sub-tropical jungles. We’re talking about immersive experiences you won’t find at a traditional hotel that will make your Taiwan farmstay one for the memory books.

Taiwan farmstay that's thrived for four decades

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Toucheng Leisure Farm in Yilan County was founded in 1979 with a focus on sustainable and environmentally friendly methods, putting it way ahead of the curve. It’s just a 90-minute drive from Taipei, and with a free shuttle midweek from Guishan Station, it’s easy to get to. The vibe here is welcoming: Madam Cho, who runs the place, wants you to feel like you’ve come home to your grandmother’s house. You’re encouraged to interact with all the animals on site, from cows to goats, and when night falls you might even spot fireflies as they dance in the dark.

Choose from different packages for guided tours of the farm, winery trips and tree-climbing expeditions. You can even plant rice seedlings in the paddies and pick fresh veg from the gardens. Food-focused tours are also available, where you’ll sample traditional Taiwanese cuisine. You can look forward to staples such as healthy green bean soup and mouthwatering mince pork noodles.

Rooms at Toucheng are simple yet comfortable, with modern amenities like free Wi-Fi, flatscreen TVs and fridges, as well as en-suite bathrooms. Nearby, you can wander through a fruit orchard, a bamboo grove and along a natural creek. For an even more in-depth experience, sign up for a working holiday to get a real taste of what it’s like to work on a Taiwanese farm.

Hotel Toucheng Leisure Farm

7.9 Good (35 reviews)
Excellent Service 8.5 / 10
WiFi in rooms
Parking garage
Pets allowed
Restaurant
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European-style chalet as your Taiwan farmstay

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For a slice of Europe without leaving Asia, look to Cingjing Vienna Pleasance Cottage. This minsu is a rustic wooden chalet hidden amid tree-covered hills. While it’s just off the main road near a small plaza with a mini-mart, food stalls and restaurants, it feels a world away from any big city – especially since the altitude here is 1,748 metres. The views of the valley as it tumbles below are definitely worthy of a post to your social media.

With seven rooms, the cottage has a friendly feel – great for meeting other travellers as well as getting to know the host. You can stroll around the grounds, including the organic vegetable garden, where produce is picked for meals in the cosy, wood-trimmed restaurant. You’ll be served typical Taiwanese dishes such as an aromatic hot pot – a communal meal of steamy, spicy broth into which you dip fresh vegetables, shaved meats and seafood to cook on the spot while you chat with your fellow guests.

Rooms at Cingjing Vienna Pleasance Cottage are spacious, with some featuring four-poster beds for a touch of grandeur. You’ll have cable TV, but you might want to skip sitting inside in favour of lying out on your private balcony to soak up the panoramas of the surrounding mountains. If you’re here for the hiking, a great nearby walk is to Jade Lake, named after the otherworldly green colour of its sparkling water.

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Cingjing Vienna Pleasance Cottage

8.1 Very good (1049 reviews)
Very good Service 8.4 / 10
WiFi in rooms
Parking garage
Pets allowed
Restaurant
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Farm stay with a spa for a touch of luxury

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The Shangrila Boutique Hotel is a leisure farm with a plush twist. From the windows of the main building, you can look out onto the manicured grounds, complete with quirky windmill and palm trees for a distinctive scene, or pop up to the terrace for a vista view across the surrounding plains. Head outside for a walk in the Southern European Garden Yard and you’ll see eye-catching water features, from a lotus pool to a mosaic-lined fountain, as well as sunbeds dotted around the grass for reclining with a book under the boughs of stately trees.

To really get back to nature, there’s a fishing pond – rods are available to borrow from reception – where you can try your luck at catching dinner. Or, if you’d rather take part in a little self-care, there’s a spa on site where you can pamper yourself with a relaxing treatment before plunging into the hotel’s pristine pool.

Food is another extravagant experience at Shangrila Boutique Hotel, with meals eaten under sparkling chandeliers in opulent dining rooms with high ceilings. Opt for Mediterranean-inspired dishes in Capri European Restaurant or get your fill of fresh Japanese-style sushi and sashimi in the main buffet restaurant. Having been colonised by Japan for 50 years, Taiwan’s cuisine rivals that of Japan itself. Rooms, meanwhile, have an old-world exoticism with Persian rugs, polished wooden floors and mahogany furniture. Top off the relaxation of a day in the countryside with a long, soapy bath in your personal en-suite.

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Shangrila Boutique

7.8 Good (159 reviews)
Very good Service 8.4 / 10
WiFi in rooms
Parking garage
Wellness center / Spa
Indoor swimming pool
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Farm family-friendly fun

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Fairy Story Organic Farm is a homestay where you can make the most of Yilan County’s great outdoors, whatever the season. From sipping on fragrant organic fruit tea while feeding the koi and carp, to learning how to make green onion pancakes to raising silkworms, there’s plenty of nature-focused fun to be had.

If you’re bringing the kids with you, choose a family room with built-in play centres – including slides – and colourful characters on the walls. There’s plenty to please parents, too, like spa baths, roomy beds and balconies overlooking vibrant green fields. If you prefer your décor a little less bright, you can opt for a room or bungalow with teak floors and knotted pine walls. In the surrounding grounds, you’ll find hammocks for swinging lazily to the sweet song of a babbling brook.

Organic meals here are made with ingredients harvested from the land, such as a signature pasta dish made with homegrown mulberry sauce. If you’re looking for things to do in Yilan, head to Luodong to try out the snacks at one of Taiwan’s iconic night markets, just a 10-minute drive away. The pungent aroma of the local specialty chou doufu (tofu) – fills the air here and will definitely make for a memorable moment. Sample this fermented dish or pick up treats like steamed dumplings filled with hot meat broth, followed by gooey deep-fried Oreos, while the kids join in night-market games like paper-net aquarium fishing.

Fairy Story Organic Farm

7.7 Good (29 reviews)
Excellent Service 8.5 / 10
WiFi in rooms
Parking garage
Restaurant
Air conditioning
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Taiwan farmstay made for animal lovers

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You’ll find Cingjing Farm Guest House inside Cingjing Farm, one of Taiwan’s most well-known agro-tourism destinations. The area is affectionately called ‘Foggy Eden’ because of the mist that often covers the forested mountains. You’ll have views of these scenes from your balcony when you book the Moonlight Quadruple Room for breathing in that fresh air even when you’re not exploring the farm. Your space will also feature an eco-friendly fridge for keeping local dragonfruit, guava and passionfruit fresh, which you can savour in your spacious lounge. For prepared treats, there are food stalls around the farm where you can pick up meaty wild boar sausages or spicy, aromatic braised beef noodle soup – Taiwan’s national dish and an overall favourite.

During your visit to the farm, you can watch sheep being sheared in the Green Green Grasslands, see how tea is grown on terraced plantations or wander past LED sunflowers offsetting natural red maples in the small Swiss garden just a two-minute walk from the hotel. If you feel like some unique entertainment, there’s an impressive horse-riding show by skilled Mongolian acrobats. Afterwards, you and any kids in tow can feed the animals.

To learn more about the local nature, head to the Biological Experience Garden, home to a butterfly garden, bird-watching pavilion and beetle garden. You can book a tour to learn more about these insects and winged creatures, or simply wander at your own pace. Come in spring if you’d like to see the bright pink cherry blossoms flourish over the guesthouse grounds – an ideal background for snapping a family selfie. To make sure you get the most of the fleeting cherry blossom season, there’s a dedicated path to follow called the Sakura Trail.

Cingjing Farm Guest House

WiFi in rooms
Parking garage
Pets allowed
WiFi in lobby
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Colonial-style mansion of dreams

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Villa of Permaculture in Hualien, a locally known east-coast gem, is a colonial-inspired mansion with friendly service against a rural backdrop. It’s got rooms overlooking Dream Lake – a jewel-green body of water visible from choice rooms and terraces – and comical chickens roaming around the gardens. You can feed the resident goat, go fishing or bird-watch for brightly coloured barbets among the trees.

Breakfast is a tasty home-cooked affair at the villa, where you can pick from options like European-style crispy bacon and eggs or savoury Chinese porridge. Whatever you choose, it’ll come with aromatic, freshly brewed coffee – just the thing to set you up for the day ahead. When you head to your room, swap your shoes for provided slippers and pad through your marble-floored, high-ceilinged space while enjoying in the country air. Extra-long beds accommodate guests from far-flung places, so you can settle in for a comfortable sleep in your soundproofed room. Before you head in for the night, though, we suggest that you unwind with a film on the projector in the living room.

Should you find yourself with extra time around the villa, you can sink into a hanging chair or hammock among sweet-smelling flora. Or, relax your muscles in the hot tub after a local hike. After all, Taroko Gorge, Taiwan’s most well-known national park, is only a 90-minute drive away.

Villa of Permaculture

Shoufeng Township, 7.8 km to Hualien Farglory Ocean Park
8.8 Excellent (48 reviews)
Excellent Service 9.3 / 10
WiFi in rooms
Parking garage
Pets allowed
Restaurant
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