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Overview

Travel overland from the capital city, Taipei to the southernmost tip Kenting and back on this classical Taiwan journey. With nature hikes up mountains, visits to sacred temples, beach retreats and eating through the iconic night markets, this trip has it all!

Trip Highlights

Classic Taiwan

See famous sites in Taiwan

From the Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall,  Dajia Jenn Lann Temple,  to the Dome of Light public art installation in Kaoshiung see the amazing sites in Taiwan.

Travel through Taiwan’s history

Get a chance to travel through Taiwan’s history on visits to ancient 16th century Dutch landmarks and 19th century Japanese-built architecture.

Nature and wildlife discovery

Travel to the south to Kenting National Park and be amazed by the teeming tropical wildlife and azure blue waters.

Itinerary

1

Arrival in Taipei

Taoyuan International airport – Taipei City (approx. 46 km): 40 min *Depends on local situation (the weather/construction/traffic jam, etc…), may take longer

Welcome to Taiwan. Upon arrival, a guide and driver will be waiting to provide transport into the Taipei city and to the hotel.

Taipei, Taiwan’s capital is a city of perfect proportions – big enough to delight those who stay a week or more, yet so compact very little time is wasted getting from ancient temples to the hipster youth enclave or to the glitzy malls.

Make the most of each day by spending mornings exploring the hills that surround the metropolis, the afternoons viewing manmade attractions and the evenings indulging in the city’s fabulous cuisine. Taipei (which simply means ‘north Taiwan’) is a city of broad boulevards and sleek office and apartment buildings.

Overnight in Taipei.

2

Taipei

The day starts with a visit to the Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall. This memorial hall is home to several classical Chinese buildings, including the stately memorial itself as well as the National Concert Hall and National Theater. The square between the two buildings is a popular gathering place during festive occasions. The memorial Hall is located in the heart of Taipei City. The architecture of Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall is inspired by Tiananmen in Beijing. Another highlight is the hourly honour guard display.

Continue the visit to National Palace Museum. Home to the world's largest and most impressive collection of Chinese art and artifacts. Be amazed by the display of calligraphy, paintings, jade, bronze, silk and curio pieces that are often rotated to make each visit unique.

Then, be transferred to Yangmingshan National Park, a mountainous area north of Taipei City that is famous for its beautiful scenery with traces of volcanic activities and abundant natural resources. Indulge in attractions on offer – flowers in spring, beautiful sky in summer, fruits and maple leaves in autumn, as well as hot-spring bathing and snow in winter

Next enjoy a Hot Spring Bath at the Tatun Mountain Range, the largest density of hot springs in Taiwan. Soak in the hot-spring water and have a relaxing and refreshing feeling. It helps to relieve muscle pains, nervous pains, digestive problems, arteriosclerosis and other ailments.

(Please note: The hot spring bath is a public hot spring experience.)

Later visit Taipei 101 Building & Observation, the tallest building in Taiwan. 85 floors high, get a chance to catch a bird’s eye view of Taipei on the observatory deck.

Finish the day at Shilin Night Market, one of the largest, most popular night markets in Taiwan with regard to food, and also one of the most popular points of Taipei nightlife among visitors. The maze of alleyways is filled with a variety of local, traditional, and international merchandise that attract locals and foreigners alike.

3

Taipei

Begin the day with a visit to the Confucius Temple. The building and walkways around the main temple are examples of traditional Chinese architecture, and the gardens are immaculately landscaped. Confucian Temples provide a sharp contrast to traditional Buddhist and Taoist temples. There are no statues, lanterns or other colourful decorations, no tables for food offerings, and no incense burners. The Taipei Confucius Temple is a lovely, serene place to relax or chat with friends.

Noted: Confucius Temple is closed on Mondays.

Next visit to Ximen Red House and Ximending. Located in west Taipei, Ximending is one of the most popular tourist spots among both local and international travellers. Ximending features a wide selection of fashionable clothing and accessories in many styles include Japanese, Chinese and Western.

Next visit Longshan Temple. Taipei is home to many temples. Of these, Longshan (Dragon Mountain) Temple is the oldest and most famous. It is also one of Taiwan’s finest examples of temple architecture. Longshan Temple is not only a temple, a sightseeing attraction, but also a second-degree historical site. There are traditional streets/shops, antique shops, Buddhists article shops, and Chinese medicine shops surrounding the temple. These places are great to visit due to their richness in folk art.

For the best view of Taipei City, take a hike to the top of Elephant Mountain (Xiangshan). The best time to hike the mountain is during late afternoon, this way there is a chance to catch the sunset as well as both the day and night time views of the city. The hike takes a total of around 15-20 minutes to the top and includes lots of stairs! Remember to take a left at the fork in the path. After around 8-10 minutes, there will be a landing area with facilities and restrooms where the path branches off in multiple directions.

(Please note: The trail tends to get relatively crowded during the weekend.)

At the end of the day, visit Raohe Night Market. One of the oldest night markets in Taipei, the Raohe Street Night Market is a must visit destination! The epitome of a traditional Taiwanese night market, this 600 metre path along Raohe Street in Songshan District is packed with fun and interesting night foods and snacks, quaint shops and stalls, and carnival games with prizes.

Overnight in Taipei.

4

Taipei

Escape from the bustling city of Taipei to Yehliu Geopark. Yehliu is famous for its natural rocks formations which are an amazing array of artistic shapes created by erosion and other natural forces. Among the rocks, the queen’s head is one of the most famous one.

Next, transfer to Jiufen Old Village. The villages of Jiufen were once centers of gold mining in Taiwan. The gold is gone, but these quaint old villages where closely-packed houses cling to steep mountainsides, continue to offer enchanting scenery and fascinating glimpses into the livelihoods of the past.

Optional: Transfer from Jiufen to Ruifang Nanzilin Trail. While most mountain hikers are not familiar with Nanzilin in Mandarin, they know it very well by its Taiwanese name, Nan-a-min. The Nanzilin Hiking Trail is only 990m long and a round trip only takes an hour. Along the way, enjoy rare views of a lush green low-altitude mountain range. Enjoy panoramic views from the mountain top and don’t forget to drop by the Nanya Settlement for its graceful little bridges and stream of waters, green shades and traditional stone architecture.

Next visit Shifen. Located in the Pingxi area, Shifen Old Streets is a collection of lanes and alleys in and around the Shifen railway station area. With the marketplace surrounding the train station Shifen is a great place to grab some snacks and souvenirs.

The 40 metre tall Shifen Waterfall is located 30 minutes away by walking northeast from the train platform area on either side of the tracks. Because of its bedrock slopes in the opposite direction of the water flow, Shifen Waterfall is a cascade-type waterfall similar to North America's Niagara Falls, earning it the nickname of Taiwan's Niagara Falls.

(Please note: that the waterfall is located on the right side, and those who walk on the left side will have to cross the tracks again further down the path.) 

Option: Experience the tradition of a sky lantern. Create a Chinese lantern with a wish written on it and set it into the sky. Presenting the sky lantern is traditionally believed that it will bring the people’s prayers to the heavens above.

Back to Taipei. Overnight in Taipei

5

Taipei - Taichung

Today be transferred to Taichung, officially known as Taichung City, is a special municipality located in center-western Taiwan. Taichung has been officially ranked as Taiwan's second most populous city.

A city with more than its fair share of good restaurants and museums, Taichung now has a population of just over 2.6 million. In addition to a modern, vibrant urban core, the municipality includes aboriginal and Hakka settlements deep in the hills, thinly-populated coastal areas and possibly Taiwan’s most influential religious site: the 280-year-old Dajia Jenn Lann Temple.

First visit the Dajia Jenn Lann Temple. Dajia Jenn Lann Temple is one of the most famous Matzu Temples in Taiwan. It has over 200 years of history. It is filled with pilgrims all year long. The inspection tour held in March every year has become a world-famous religious ceremony. It is a scenic spot that best represents Dajia. The violet jade Matzu of Jenn Lann Temple and the Golden Matzu in the basement of Matzu cultural museum are the treasures of the temple. Now, Matzu is considered one of the three treasures of Taichung. It is a scenic spot to visit in Taichung.

After the temple visit, transfer to Gaomei Wetland. Gaomei Wetland located on the south of the mouth of Dajia River is a land mixed with both sand and soil textures and comes in 1,500 acres. That explains why it has complicated yet rich wetland ecology and possesses the largest group of Bolboschoenus planieulmis in Taiwan. Due to diverse geographical features, the species of its ecology is quite abundant. Every year around fall and winter, large flocks of migrating birds would come here for either short or long stay over the winter, serving as the best spot for bird-watching.

Next visit Rainbow Village. Rainbow Village in Taichung is one of these veterans’ villages. It was already being torn down house by house. One of the last village residents is Mr. Huang. One day he started to paint the empty and dying village. He painted animals, dolls, airplanes, manga characters, etc. … All with vibrant colours, filling the walls and the alleys.

Then, end the day at Feng Chia Night Market. One of the most famous night markets in Taichung. The snacks in the night market will make you drool. The clothing is unique and fairly priced. In addition, the most fashionable mobile phones are also the cheapest in Taichung.

Back to hotel. Overnight in Taichung.

6

Taichung - Sun Moon Lake

Today travel to the very heart of Taiwan, a sparkling body of water surrounded by verdant mountains draws sightseers from across the world. Riyuetan or Sun Moon Lake, a favourite with Taiwanese honeymooners in the 1960s and 1970s, is now one of the island’s top-five destinations.

Be amazed by the calm turquoise waters. Short trails and boardwalks close to the water’s edge is available for hiking options. The area also has far cooler weather than other parts of Taiwan. The lake area has many noteworthy places of interest, such as the Hsuan Chuang temple, Wen-Wu temple, Tse-En (filial devotion) pagoda and so on. Enjoy one of the loveliest regions in Taiwan.

Situated 762 metres (2,500 feet) above sea level in the lofty central mountains of Taiwan travel to Sun Moon Lake Resort.

Overnight at Sun Moon Lake Resort.

7

Sun Moon Lake – Alishan National Forest Area

Alishan is famous throughout the island and parts of Southeast Asia for its spellbinding sunrise over the celebrated Sea of Clouds that rings Yushan (Mt. Jade). Blue and emerald peaks rise from a fleecy gray ocean which the rising sun turns vivid hues of silver, pink, and red.

Today, take a leisurely half-day stroll along forested paths to discover Alishan. The attractions include the enchanting Sisters Ponds, and the Three-Generation Trees. Other pleasant diversions include several temples, a cherry garden, a deer farm, and a small museum.

Overnight at Alishan National Forest Area.

8

Alishan – Tainan - Kaohsiung

Wake up and watch the sunrise if time allows.

Then, transfer to Tainan, an alluring town full of character with laid back places awash in tradition. The former capital of Taiwan, the town is peppered with many Buddhist and Taoist places of worship and the locals affectionately describe that ‘Tainan has a small shrine every three steps, and a major temple every five steps’.

Kickback the pace and explore slowly the hundreds of lanes and back alleys where the past seems to live and breathe. There are many discoveries at every corner whether they are refurbished 19th-century merchant houses or semi-Baroque architecture constructed during the Japan’s rule of Taiwan.

Visit the iconic Anping Fort built by the Dutch in 1624. Learn why the fort was called ‘Fort Zeelandia’ before and marvel at its architecture which is the very historical replica over three hundred years.

Then, visit Anping Treehouse, a cool fusion of nature and man-made structures literally intertwined with one another. Be amazed by the unusual sight of overgrown roots of a large banyan tree over a warehouse. Walk around the pretty grounds and admire the power and strength of nature.

Transfer to Kaohsiung. Kaohsiung is Taiwan’s second largest city.

Visit Siziwan Bay known for its beautiful sunset and natural reefs. The area includes scenic spots like the Siziwan Beach, Seaside Park, and the former British Consulate at Takao. Enjoy views of the sea, Kaohsiung Port and learn about the historical significance of Kaohsiung Town North Gate.

A visit to Kaoshiung is not complete before a visit to Liuhe Night Market. Every night, Liuhe 2nd Road is blocked off from traffic and becomes a prosperous pedestrian market. Specialising in seafood, bring an appetite, pick out the freshest ingredients and sit back and relax for dinner while watching the bustling nightlife unfold.

Back to hotel. Overnight in Kaohsiung.

9

Kaohsiung – Kenting

Start the day with a visit to the Dome of Light created by renowned artist Narcissus Quagliata. The dome is the world's largest public art installation made from individual pieces of coloured glass.

After the Dome of Light explorations, pay a visit to the Pier 2 Art Center. Kaohsiung Pier 2 Art Center was once an abandoned and forgotten warehouse buried in history. However, with a group of persistent artist who injected waves of creativity and inspiration into the area, the Pier-2 area was reborn with vitality and liveliness making the region a place where tourist and locals can come together to enjoy fine art.

After the center visits, transfer to Kenting. Kenting is Taiwan’s Florida: Sandy beaches, abundant sunshine and a year-round holiday vibe. Kenting

A popular pit-stop on the way is the little town of Hengchun notable for having preserved most of the 19th-century city wall which protected it from bandits, rebels and head-hunters.

Hengchun Old Town, located in the heart of Pingtung County, is the entryway to Kenting National Park offering world-class bird-watching, carefully protected coastal ecosystems and a gorgeous, unspoiled hinterland. With a location in the southernmost tip of Taiwan, Hengchun has a mild weather year-round. It is also the home to some of Taiwan’s most valuable cultural treasures and heritages.

For late-afternoon arrivals coming from Kaohsiung or points north, it is recommended to take a detour to Guanshan. This ridge isn’t especially high, but it’s perfectly positioned for watching the sun sink into the placid waters of the Taiwan Strait. It is also a wonderful spot for an overview of the coast line. A temple on Guanshan called Kaoshanyan has caves formed by coral reefs. Walk through the cave to discover the Flying Stone and Divine Turtle Rock through the west side path of the temple. Learn about their natural formations and the local people’s believes. 

Arrive at Kenting. If time allows, visit Kenting Night Market on the main road filled with both local and international travelers in the evening.

Overnight in Kenting.

10

Kenting

Today, set off to discover Kenting National Park. Kenting National Park attracted massive attention after being chosen as one of the settings for Taiwanese director Wei Te-sheng’s hit movie Cape No. 7 in 2008, and later for Ang Lee’s Life of Pi in 2012.

However, visitors have long been coming to draw in flocks of visitors who came to swim, surf, snorkel and dive, visit museums, hike and enjoy a little nightlife – all year round. The average January temperature is 21°C and it's usually warm enough for you to swim. In July it can get to a scorching 38°C.

Kenting National Park is Taiwan's only tropical national park. It includes large stretches of agricultural land with a view of typical Taiwanese rural life. In addition, the national park includes mountains, forests, pasture, lakes, sand dunes, beaches, and coral reefs a haven of Mother Nature. 

Visit Longpan Park where there is a wide range of grassland, a spacious place for visitors to watch the sunrise, sunset, and the stars. As a coral limestone tableland, Longpan is rich in slumping cliffs, caves, and fissures eroded by rainwater.

Overnight in Kenting.

11

Kenting - Hualien

Today, be transferred to Taroko National Park while stopping by the following places.

The first stop is Xiaoyeliu (Little Yehliu) located at the 159-kilometre mark near the southern end of the East Coast National Scenic Area, It offers a rich variety of fascinating rock formations similar to those found at Yehliu on Taiwan's North Shore. Unlike the rest of the Philippine Plate that determines the geology of this area, the rock of Xiaoyeliu is sandstone. This prompts geologists to believe that it originated somewhere else. You should first study the detailed explanations of the geological displays in the Visitor Center before going to the seashore and examining the tofu rock, honeycomb rock, fungus rock, and other strange ornations there. On clear days, get to see Green Island from the shore at Xiaoyeliu.

Sanxiantai is a geological rock that turned out to be a headland. Gradual erosion cut the neck that is connects the mainland to the main island, and thus became offshore islands. Tourists who used to visit this place could only reach the island during low tide. In 1987, the government completed the eight cross-sea arch bridge that crosses over to the island. It was designed in the shape of waves, like a prostrate sea dragon and connects Sanxiantai with Taiwan Island. It has become the most famous landmark on the East Coast.

12

Taroko National Park - Taipei

This morning, take a tour of Taroko National Park. Taroko Gorge is one of the seven wonders of Asia that no traveller should miss. It is famous for its spectacular mountains and marble canyons. Cliffs and canyons stretch along Liwu River. Swallow Grotto (Yanzikou) and Tunnel of Nine Turns (Jiuqudong) are the most impressive natural scenes in Taroko and the canyons here are the narrowest. Taroko Gorge is an exceptionally beautiful, narrow raving created by a river which has cut deep into the mountains of solid marble. A road carved into sheer walls of rock snakes its way past forested peaks and cliffs towering thousands of feet above it, while hundreds of feet below a river roars past gigantic marble boulders. Stops will be made at Evergreen Shrine, Swallow Grotto, Nine Turns of Tunnel, Marble Bridge, Tienshiang.

Next visit Qixing Lake (Qixingtan/ Chihsingtan Beach). The beach there has an elegant arch shape. The seawater there is clean and blue. The black stones there are crystal. From here visitors can see the great green mountains afar and the twisting highways. Qixing Lake is a poetic name in Chinese. There are sea valleys formed by faults and elegant bays with rich natural landscapes and cultural resources. From Qixing Lake can look over the Chingshui Cliff. At night, people can appreciate the lights of the new city and Zongde District.

Later visit Ching-shui Cliff. Chingshui Cliff is one of the most spectacular sights on Taiwan's Pacific coast. The cliff is more than 1,000 metres high and drops almost vertically into the sea. The highway snakes along its curving face more than 20 kilometres, with the sheer cliff rising on one side and a sheer drop to the ocean on the other.

Transfer back to Taipei.

Overnight in Taipei.

13

Taipei Departure

Taipei City - Taoyuan International airport (approx. 46 km): 40 min *Depends on local situation (the weather/construction/traffic jam, etc…), may take longer

Wrap up this Classic Taipei tour with a transport to the airport for the departing flight.

Important Information

  • Accommodation in selected hotel
  • Meals as mentioned (B= Breakfast, L= Lunch, D= Dinner).
  • English speaking guide (for other languages supplements apply)
  • Tours and transfers as mentioned by private air conditioned vehicle
  • Entrance fees for mentioned visits
  • Other meals than mentioned
  • Other services than mentioned
  • International and Domestic Flights
  • Laundry, telephone calls and expenditure of a personal nature
  • Tips, Travel insurance

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