Taiwan

A world apart from Mainland China, here the skylines are free from smog and protesters fearlessly hit the streets. Taiwan is blessed for its duel trait of culturally dense cities and untainted natural reserves. Taipei may have a cosy population, but lovers of lights will die for the night markets and food.

The countryside is strewn with such beauties as Yehliu, the cape of mystical formations, and Sun Moon Lake, the eerily shaped and spectacular-at-sunset waterbody. For a new take on Chinese culture, experience the magic of Taiwan.

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Tour TypeTrip NameNo. DaysBookingsPrices per person
Adventure TourTreasures of Taiwan11From $4,855.00

Treasures of Taiwan

From bustling Taipei to the cool blue streams of the Shakadang River, this nine-day journey drops you into some of Taiwan’s most spectacular scenes.

You’ll encounter the breadth of Taiwanese culture, from the minority indigenous tribes of Sun Moon Lake to the friendly merchants of the urban night markets. Not to mention natural wonders like Yehliu National Geo Park.

Itinerary  
Day 1: Taipei

Welcome to Taiwan! Your adventure begins in the capital, Taipei. The city sits in an ancient lakebed basin, enclosed by mountains and teeming with hot springs. Home to nearly 4 million people, Taipei is one of the most densely populated urban areas in the world. Whether you want to roam around world-class museums, laze about the hot springs or try the local delicacies, Taipei will keep you entertained for days. You can arrive at any time today, as there are no activities planned until a welcome meeting at 6pm. Your leader will leave a note for you at reception detailing the time and place of this important meeting. Tonight you’ll head out on a first Taiwanese dinner with your group.
Hotel: Sonnien Hotel or similar

Special Information
Although we return to Taipei later in the itinerary, we recommend arriving a couple of days early to make the most of this fascinating city. You could take an optional drive outside of Taipei and visit Yangmingshan National Park, (Taipei's Backyard Garden). Yangmingshan is known for its hiking trails, natural hot springs, sulphurous rocks and volcanic openings. You could also discover the up-and-coming art scene in Taipei, and taste hundreds of delicious Taiwanese dishes at the Ningxia Night Market.

Day 2: Sun Moon Lake

This morning you’ll drive to Sun Moon Lake, the largest body of freshwater in Taiwan (approximately 3-4 hours drive). Sun Moon Lake is divided in two by Lalu Isand, with one side of the lake taking the shape of the sun and the other that of a crescent moon. The beauty of the place means it’s a traditional destination for newlyweds to honeymoon. The area around the lake is home to one of Taiwan’s indigenous tribes, the Thao, and you’ll enjoy a traditional aboriginal meal for lunch. In the afternoon, take a boat ride, cycle or walk around the lush mountainous scenery that surrounds the clear water lake. If you decide to the bike, the scenery will make the 3-hour ride more than worth the effort – past sparkling water, locals fishing, colourful boats, little beaches, rice paddies and all manner of trees. Tonight you’ll stay in a comfortable guesthouse, where dinner is included.
Hotel: Guesthouse, 2 nights

Day 3: Sun Moon Lake

Journey north to Nikko for a visit to TOSHOGU SHRINE and its famous Have you ever dined in a tree house? Today's your chance. Tree Top Restaurant, in the New Era Art Resort, is a highly regarded restaurant that serves Japanese cuisine from a chef's tasting menu. Incorporating living trees that weave through its multistory interior, the Tree Top Restaurant offers exceptional dining in bamboo-inlaid nooks amid the aroma of native trees.

After your meal, visit the Japanese style wooden train station, Checheng, which was built to transport wood during the Japanese occupation of Taiwan. Next, a tour of the Shuili Snake Kiln will take a look at the unique form of traditional pottery turned in this region.

During free time in the afternoon, either relax back in your hotel or explore more of Sun Moon Lake.

Day 4: Puli - Ming Ging Farm

Begin today by visiting Chung Tai Chan Monastery. You will be guided by a local monk or nun. The construction of the building combines both Chinese and Western styles.

Thanks to the quality of the woods surrounding Puli, the town was long known as ‘the hometown of handmade paper’ in Taiwan. You’ll learn more about the process yourself today at Paper Factory.

As Taiwan is famous for its tea, you’ll also stop by a local tea factory and enjoy a tasting session of loose-leaf oolongs, black teas and green teas. Spend the night at Ming Ging Farm (approximately 90 minutes from Sun Moon Lake), located on the edge of a mountain and boasting spectacular views of the plunging valleys and idyllic countryside.
Overnight: Ming Ging Farm

Day 5: Taroko Gorge - Hualien

Today you’ll drive approximately 4 hours to the east coast and Hualien, Taiwan's largest state, from where you’ll explore the majestic Taroko Gorge. The gorge stretches out over 18 kilometres, with marble walls that climb hundreds of metres above the Liwu River. Its spectacular scenery makes it a popular walking and hiking destination. Taroko (named after the Truku tribe that once populated the surrounding river valleys) was formed over millions of years by the erosion of marble by the path of the river. With dramatic scenery and an abundance of wildlife, Taroko Gorge is a natural splendour that covers 92,000 hectares and is undeniably one of the highlights of the trip. Photographers are sure to get some dramatic landscape shots while walking around the gorge. Be prepared though as, as one Taiwan's most popular sights, the area can get busy. You’ll enjoy a one-hour hike on the Shakadang Trail around the lush surrounds, following the crystal clear Shakadang River as it winds through the marble canyons. The walk is not on a steep incline so anyone with a reasonable amount of fitness will be fine on this trail. You’ll then travel to Hualien for the evening, perhaps for a spot of shopping and a visit to the local night market for dinner.

Day 6: Hualien

Visit an Aboriginal Tribe Farm for an encounter with another side of Taiwan. Through organised activities such as fishing and hot pot cooking, learn about the lifestyle of Hualien's aboriginal people. Next, travel on to beautiful Liyu Lake, perhaps taking in its surrounds on an optional bike ride or swan boat outing. The night is spent back in Hualien.

Day 7: Yilan

Continue your journey north to Yilan county for an afternoon spent exploring Lo-don Forest District and the National Center for Traditional Arts (approx. 3 hours). Created to showcase traditional Taiwanese life and culture, this centre contains in its complex numerous examples of everyday life, from conventional grocery stores to folk arts, merchants and eateries. Live shows of colourful costumes and acrobatic acts parade through the streets, and you can browse the stores for traditional Taiwanese arts. While here you’ll also stop to see a Chinese puppet show, ceramic glaze making, fabric dyeing, and a host of other cultural artisan crafts, each providing an insight into the past society of the island.

Back at the hotel, unwind with a soak in the Jiaoxi Hotspring. Because they're not of the sulfur kind, these springs are pleasantly odourless. And, being rich in naturally occurring minerals, are renowned for their skin-heeling properties.
Hotel: Guan Xiang Century Hotel or similar

Day 8: Yilan - Taipei

Consider kickstarting your day a different way with a nip of Kavalan whiskey at the King Car Distillery, the country's only whiskey distillery. After learning how this golden drop is produced, those seeking to start their morning more conventionally can enjoy a cup of the distillery's own coffee roast, Mr Browns Coffee.

Continue your tour of local flavours with a lunch at the Bajia Fish Farm. The natural spring water in the farm, which is located in a lovely garden complex, cultivates sweetfish that tastes extraordinarily tender and flavoursome. Salt-roasted or fried, the sweetfish and their caviar are a unique local find for seafood fans.

Continue on to the Candied Fruits, where you can try your hand at making a traditional Taiwanese dessert. Next, work off all that delicious food with a leisurely afternoon stroll through the lush surrounds of the Linmei Shipan Forest Trail. Return to Taipei (approx. 1 hour), arriving in time to round out the day’s food theme with dinner in the city's night market.
Hotel: Sonnien Hotel or similar, 3 nights

Day 9: Juifen - Taipei

Today travel the short distance (approximately 1 hour) out to the north coast and Yehliu National Geological Park. The park has stunning views across the bay and is famous for its hoodoo stones (isolated free standing rocks) and thin spires of rock that were formed by sea erosion, wind and the movement of the Earth. It’s easily possible to spend a couple of hours here gazing at the rock formations – many have been given names like “Ice Cream Rock” and “Candle”, with the most famous being the “The Queen's Head”.

The next stop is the Gold Rush town of Jiufen, founded late on in the Qing Dynasty (the 1890s) and located in the hills of north-eastern Taiwan. This town was once a major hub during World War II due to the mining of gold and copper that was used by the military. Discover the hidden corners of Jiufen Old Street, where the structures are built into the side of the coastal hills. Here locals and visitors explore the small stores and dine in the many restaurants along the quaint streets, Take a tour of the first movie theatre in Northern Taiwan. After enjoy a local snacks in Jiufen and return to Taipei once again for the night.

Day 10: Taipei

Your last full day is dedicated to checking out the sights that Taipei itself has to offer.
First stop is the Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall. The building was erected in memory of Chiang Kai-shek, former President of the Republic of China. The national flag is raised here every morning, and the memorial consists of a large bronze statue of the former President, a museum detailing his life, and gardens where locals gather at sunrise to practise martial arts.
Next, be treated to almighty city views from the 89th floor observation deck of the 508-metre high, 101-floored Taipei 101 building. Once the world’s tallest building, it was designed to represent the growth and flexibility of bamboo rising from the earth. Discover the history of one of the world’s most famous thinkers as you visit the Confucius Temple, which is also a beautiful example of Taiwan architecture and local decorative arts. Also a must-see today is Bao-an Temple, dedicated to the god of medicine and a recipient of a Unesco Asia-Pacific Heritage Award for both its restoration and revival of temple rites and festivities. Tonight you’ll say goodbye to your leader and group with a farewell dinner.

Day 11: Taipei

There are no activities planned for today and you are able to depart the hotel at any time. If you choose to extend your stay here we can assist you with booking additional accommodation.

Inclusions 
Meals: 10 breakfasts, 9 lunches, 6 dinners
Transport:Airport Transfers & Private Bus
Accommodation:7 nights in Hotels & 3 nights Guesthouse
Guide:Local English Speaking Guide
Entrance Fees & Touring:Entrance fees & activities as per itinerary