Explore Taiwan

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Explore Taiwan

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Description

Welcome to one of Asia’s most exciting up-and-coming destinations. Breathtaking coastline, lush green landscapes and tranquil temples are only the beginning of this eclectic adventure. Kick off in Taipei, where heritage charm meets cosmopolitan buzz, and make your way to the idyllic Sun Moon Lake. The city of Hualien boasts mountain trails, marble gorges and Pacific Ocean panoramas right on its doorstep, while Yilan is a wonderland of creative farms and hot springs. Along the way, get behind-the-scenes glimpses of local industries, enjoy hands-on activities, and experience an older, slower Taiwan – from Jiufeng’s timeless old streets to the traditional noodle making village of Lukang.

Trip Name
Explore Taiwan
Last Updated
2019-09-18
Days
11
Capacity
12
Highlights
  • Get behind the scenes of Taiwan's exciting food culture – go oyster collecting in Wangong, sip Yuchih black tea at a plantation, and cook spring onion pancakes with your own hand-picked ingredients
  • Become a 'Sweet Potato Mama' as you join a street-food merchant on their daily routine. This is both a unique experience and a great cause, with proceeds going to the Genesis Social Welfare Foundation
  • Hike, ride or kayak at stunning Sun Moon Lake - Taiwan's one and only natural lagoon
  • Named after the local Truku word for 'magnificent' and 'splendid', Taroko Gorge more than lives up to its name. The Shakadang Trail is a hiker's dream, a shadowy world of coastal cliffs and marble canyons
  • Eat till you drop at Taiwan's many and varied night markets - no one does street food like the Taiwanese!

Itinerary

ITINERARY CHANGES: Our itineraries are updated regularly throughout the year based on customer feedback and to reflect the current situation in each destination. The information included in this Essential Trip Information may therefore differ from when you first booked your trip. It is important that you print and review a final copy prior to travel so that you have the latest updates. Due to weather, local conditions, transport schedules, public holidays or other factors, further changes may be necessary to your itinerary once in country. The order and timing of included activities in each location may also vary seasonally to ensure our travellers have the best experience. Your tour leader will keep you up to date with any changes once on tour. OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES: A selection of optional activities that have been popular with past travellers are listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This isn't an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only for some of what might be available. Prices are approximate, are for entrance only, and don’t include transport to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. All activities are subject to availability, and may be on a join-in basis. It may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination, so some pre-planning for what you are most interested in is advised. When it's recommended that travellers pre-book these activities, look for a note in the Special Information section of the day-to-day itinerary. For most, they can either be organised independently on the day, or let your leader know you are interested and they can assist. Where activities are considered medium or high risk, we work with operators whose safety and credentials we have sighted and assessed. Although it is possible that you may find the same activity cheaper with another operator on the ground, we cannot vouch for the safety or quality of that operator. Medium and high risk activities not listed above have not been assessed by us and as such our staff and leaders are unable to assist you with organising these activities. Activities that contravene our Responsible Travel policies are also not listed. Please remember that the decision to partake in any activity not listed is at your own discretion and risk.

Day 1 - Taipei
Welcome to Taiwan! Your adventure begins in the densely-populated, beautifully located capital. 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. Head out for an optional dinner with your fellow group members this evening. If you arrive early in Taipei, get out and discover the excellent museums, or perhaps visit the hot springs at Yangmingshan National Park. And of course, when the sun goes down out pop the street food stalls. Ningxia Night Market is one well known hot spot, but you can easily find vendors selling everything from pan-fried buns to pearl milk tea just about everywhere!
Day 2 - Taipei
Explore Taipei this morning using the city's excellent metro system as well as on foot. We start by visiting Sweet Potato Mama - a social enterprise managed by the Genesis Social Welfare Foundation. The sweet potato is more than just a food in Taiwan — it’s a quintessential part of Taiwanese culture. There are many sayings and proverbs about the sweet potato, and even the island is said to be shaped like one. But most of all, the sweet potato is a popular street food snack. By providing the space, training, and equipment needed, the foundation helps "Sweet Potato Mamas" to start their own businesses. The foundation also provides the first bag of sweet potatoes to women free of charge, to help get the business going. Thanks to receiving these necessities, women can typically start their own business within as little as one week. We will join the Mamas to learn how to prepare and sell sweet potatoes and have the opportunity to interact with plenty of customers who stop by. We will then take a stroll through the Dihua Street zone to get a sense of Taipei's merchant past, browse traditional local wares as well as see how new, young, hip entrepreneurs are revitalising the area. Continue to the Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall, an impressive dedication to the former president of the Republic of China. In your free time, perhaps check out the Shilin Night Market tonight.
Day 3 - Hualien
Leave Taipei behind today and take the train to Hualien (approximately 2–3 hours). Though it's the second largest city in Taiwan, it's best known for its beautiful natural surrounds - the rift valley plain which lies just besides a mountain range and a rocky seashore overlooking the Pacific Ocean. This nearby countryside is also one of the most beautiful natural environments in Taiwan. We visit the Danong Dafu Forest Park, 11 hectares of reforested ground with spectacular views and plenty of birdlife. In the evening there are more night markets to explore back in Hualien. Some local specialties are coffin bread (a thick fluffy french toast with fillings), "exploding" chicken rolls, spring onion pancake "bombs" and oyster omlettes. There are also plenty of local aboriginal foods to try such as bamboo rice, wild bore on stone plates, birds nest fern and flying fish. You certainly won't go hungry here!
Day 4 - Hualien
We visit the Qingshui Cliff (a spectacular 1,000-metre-long cliff that drops almost vertically into the sea) and then continue to Taroko National Park, where we might spot swallows nesting on the cliff. Then visit the stunning Taroko Gorge. There are several trails to choose from in this national park and Shakadang is one of the most scenic and popular ones.The Shakadang Trail, also known as the "Mysterious Valley Trail" follows a gentle stream through imposing marble boulders and a Truku tribal village. Entry to the village isn't permitted, but there is sometimes a small market selling indigenous foods and handicrafts. It’ll take about 4 hrs to complete the course and if you are still energetic afterwards, it may be possible to check out some other viewpoints and hiking trails too. Swallows Grotto offers a great view point and Lushui trail is also an alternative to explore. Your leader would be able to suggest the best to go depending on the weather. Return to Hualien for some free time in the evening and you might feel like a foot reflexology massage after the hard walk today.
Day 5 - Yilan
Travel to Yilan. After arrival, visit a spring onion farm to see how one of Taiwan's favourite ingredients is grown. Don some gum boots and get grubby in the fields to pick some spring onions and then learn how to cook them into delicious pancakes; this is a beloved Taiwanese snack. We'll then stop at a the King Car ("Kavalan") Distillery, the island's only whisky producer, for a tour and tasting. King Car are also coffee roasters, so you'll definitely have a few beverages covered! Our final stop for the day is at the hot springs, so make sure you have packed your swimmers. We stay in a hotel in Yilan tonight.
Day 6 - Turtle Island - Jiufen - Taipei
Head out on the water this morning with a boat trip around Gueishan (Turtle) Island. From March to September it's possible to spot dolphins (sometimes even in their hundreds!) and more rarely, whales. The boat trip usually lasts around 3 hours. Back on land, drive to the former gold mining centre of Jiufen, whose architecture is said to be the inspiration for the town in the Studio Ghibli film, Spirited Away. The Old Town here is full of beautiful old buildings lining the hillsides. Sit down with a cup of tea at a 100 year old teahouse, visit the quirky Kite Museum or just browse the snack and craft shops. Some specialty snacks to try are fish balls, herbal or molasses cakes and taro balls. Return to Taipei tonight. 
Day 7 - Sun Moon Lake
Leave Taipei behind again today and travel approximately 3 hours by private bus to Sun Moon Lake, perhaps the most iconic destination in Taiwan. We will take a walk along the Ci'en Pagoda Trail (around 1 hour) to view the lake from above. You can also climb to the top of the 46m high pagoda for an extra vantage point. This beautiful body of water is the largest and only natural lake in Taiwan. Its southern part is shaped like a new moon, and the northern part is like to be a sun, hence the name. Later we will also have the chance to cycle some of the scenic paths that trace the lake shores (approximately 1-2 hours). Stay in a guesthouse in Puli tonight.
Day 8 - Puli - Sun Moon Lake
After breakfast this morning, embark on a kayaking trip on the calm, serene waters of Sun Moon Lake.Then visit the Chung Tai Chan Monastery in Puli. Built relatively recently, it is a unique combination Chinese and Western architectural styles and an impressive sight. We will have a guided tour with one of the resident nuns here. Drive to the Hugosum Tea Farm next for an insight into the production of Taiwan's beloved black tea. Not only will you see how it is grown here, but you will also have the opportunity to roll your own leaves which will then be dried and packaged on site for you to take a taste of Taiwan home with you. Spend another night in our guesthouse tonight. 
Day 9 - Wanggong - Taichung
Today, head to the flat and fertile land of Changhua County, sometimes known as the 'breadbasket' of Taiwan. Visit Longshan Temple and its beautiful grounds. Today we also visit the fishing village of Wanggong where there is the chance to go oyster picking, discover mangroves filled with water birds, fiddler crabs and mudskippers, and of course, sample plenty of local seafood including clams, crabs and oysters. Travel on to Taichung where we stay the night. Our hotel is close to the Fenchia Night Market if you are still hungry!
Day 10 - Taipei
Before returning to Taipei, stop at the 'rainbow' village and learn about the beautiful story of this former Nationalist Army soldier saved his village from the government's demolition through his art. The village now is very popular with visitors and doesn't take long to visit, but the story behind it is powerful and if you are lucky, you may just be lucky enough to catch the man of the story, Mr. Huang (96 years and counting!) sittting outside his house and enjoying some sunshine. Return to Taipei from Taichung, arriving around midday. After checking back into the hotel we spend the afternoon at perhap's the city's top attraction - the National Palace Museum. This is home to the world's largest collection of Chinese art and it's easy to spend the rest of the day here. Perhaps meet up back with your leader and group for a final optional dinner tonight. Many travellers recommend finishing their time in Taiwan with a visit to the Taipei 101 Observation Deck for a magnificent view over the city at night. 
Day 11 - Taipei
Your trip comes to an end after breakfast this morning. There are no activities planned for the day, and you're free to leave the hotel at any time. Additional accommodation can be arranged if you are extending your stay.

Trip Dates

StartEndPrice FromRoom Type
10-10-201920-10-2019AUD $ 3,102-
24-10-201903-11-2019AUD $ 3,685-
07-11-201917-11-2019AUD $ 3,720-
14-11-201924-11-2019AUD $ 3,515-
05-03-202015-03-2020AUD $ 3,415-
19-03-202029-03-2020AUD $ 3,415-
09-04-202019-04-2020AUD $ 3,550-
16-04-202026-04-2020AUD $ 3,550-
23-04-202003-05-2020AUD $ 3,765-
07-05-202017-05-2020AUD $ 3,550-
14-05-202024-05-2020AUD $ 3,415-
04-06-202014-06-2020AUD $ 3,415-
03-09-202013-09-2020AUD $ 3,415-
17-09-202027-09-2020AUD $ 3,550-
11-10-202021-10-2020AUD $ 3,550-
18-10-202028-10-2020AUD $ 3,550-
25-10-202004-11-2020AUD $ 3,550-
05-11-202015-11-2020AUD $ 3,415-
12-11-202022-11-2020AUD $ 3,415-

Accommodation

Hotel (8 nights),Guesthouse (2 nights)

Transport

Private Bus,Metro,Public Bus,Bike,Boat,Train

Map