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This itinerary provides the perfect glimpse into Taiwan and is suitable for those who love history and culture and outdoor enthusiasts who want to spend all their time outdoors. Travel the width and breadth of the island in a compact 11-night journey!
Arrival in Taipei
On arrival in Taipei you will be met by your guide and taken to your hotel to freshen up.
In the evening, get your first taste of Taiwan’s famed cuisine at the Shilin Night Market, one of the largest and most popular night markets in Taipei. The maze of alleyways is filled with a variety of local, traditional and international snacks and nick knacks such as oyster omelettes, big fried chicken and Taiwanese soup dumplings.
The day starts with a visit to the Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall. The architecture of the Memorial Hall is inspired by Tiananmen Square in Beijing, and a highlight is the hourly honour guard display. Continue to visit the National Palace Museum, home to the world’s largest and most impressive collection of Chinese art and artefacts. The display of calligraphy, paintings, jade, bronze, silk and curio pieces is staggering.
In the afternoon head out to Yangmingshan National Park, a mountainous area north of Taipei that is famous for its beautiful scenery with traces of volcanic activity and abundant natural resources.
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 to relieve muscle pains and digestive problems.
Finally, visit Taipei 101, the tallest building in Taiwan. Get a bird’s eye view of the city from the observatory deck, 85 floors up in the air!
Yehliu Geopark, Jiufen & Shifen Waterfall
Escape from bustling Taipei to Yehliu Geopark, famous for its natural rock formations in an array of artistic shapes created by erosion and other natural forces.
Afterwards, head to Jiufen Old Village, formerly centres 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 past.
In the afternoon head to Shifen. Shifen Old Streets are a collection of lanes and alleys in and around the Shifen railway station area. With the marketplace surrounding the train station, this is a great place to try out snack and shop for souvenirs. The 40-metre tall Shifen Waterfall is nearby, with a cascade-type waterfall similar to North America’s Niagara Falls, earning it the nickname of Taiwan’s Niagara Falls.
Transfer to Taichung
This morning, drive to Taichung, a city with more than its fair share of good restaurants and museums. In addition to a modern and 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. This is one of the most famous Matzu temples in Taiwan with over 200 years of history.
Afterwards, transfer to Gaomei Wetland, an area mixed with both and sand soil textures spanning over 1,500 acres. Due to diverse geographical features, the different wildlife species here are abundant and it is an ideal spot for bird watching in the Autumn and Winter months.
Head to Rainbow Village. Rainbow Village is a veteran’s village that was being torn down house by house. One of the last village residents is Mr. Huang – one day he began to paint the empty and dying village and cover the buildings and walls with animals, dolls, airplanes and manga characters. All the vibrant colours filling the walls and alleyways.
End your day at Feng Chia Night Market, one of the most famous night markets in Taichung.
Sun Moon Lake
Today travel to the very heart of Taiwan, a sparkling body of water surrounded by verdant mountains known as Sun Moon Lake. Short trails and boardwalks close to the water’s edge are fantastic for adults and families alike. The area here is also cooler than in other parts of Taiwan, making it the perfect destination during the summer months.
Check in to your hotel, relax and enjoy your beautiful surrounds.
Alishan National Forest
Alishan is famous throughout Taiwan for its magnificent sunrise over the celebrated Sea of Clouds that rings Yushan (Mount Jade). Blue and emerald peaks rise from a grey ocean which the rising sun turns vivid hues of silver, pink and red.
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 fun diversions include several temples, a cherry garden, a deer farm and a small museum.
Transfer to Kaohsiung via Tainan
Wake up early this morning and watch the incredible sunset.
Afterwards, transfer to Tainan, an alluring town full of character with laidback hidden spots awash in tradition. The former capital of Taiwan, the town is peppered with Buddhist and Taoist places of worship. Slow down and explore the hundreds of lanes and back alleys , discovering 19th century merchant houses or semi-Baroque architecture constructed during Japan’s rule of Taiwan.
Visit the iconic Anping Fort built by the Dutch in 1624, followed by Anping Treehouse. This is a cool fusion of nature and manmade structures, where overgrown roots of a large banyan tree grow over a warehouse.
After your visits, continue to Kaohsiung, Taiwan’s second largest city. Visit Siziwan Bay known for its beautiful sunset and natural reefs. Enjoy views of the sea, Kaohsiung Port and learn about the historical significance of Kaohsiung Town North Gate.
Kaohsiung to 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 instalment made from individual pieces of coloured glass.
Afterwards, pay a visit to the Pier 2 Art Centre. This was once an abandoned warehouse buried in history, but it has been since transformed into a vibrant area where tourists and locals can come together to enjoy fine art.
In the afternoon, head further south to Kenting. Sandy beaches, abundant beaches and a year-round holiday vibe result in Kenting commonly being referred to as Taiwan’s Florida.
Kenting National Park
Today set out to discover Kenting National Park, a place where visitors can swim, surf, snorkel, dive, visit museums and hike all year round. The park is Taiwan’s only tropical national park and includes large stretches of agricultural land with a view into typical Taiwanese rural life.
You can also visit Longpan Park. As a coral limestone tableland, Longpan is rich in cliffs, caves and fissures eroded by rainwater.
Transfer to Taroko Gorge
Today you will make your way to Taroko National Park with a stop at Xiaoyehliu (Little Yehliu), an area offering a rich variety of fascinating rock formations similar to those found at Yehliu on Taiwan’s North Shore.
Hiking in Taroko Gorge
This morning, head deep into Taroko National Park. It is an area famous for its spectacular mountains and marble canyons, with a gorge that was created by a river which has cut deep into the mountains of solid marble. Trails can be tailor-made to suit all hiking levels and you may hike for as little or as long as you like!
Next visit Qixing Lake, where the lake water is clean and blue with black stones made of crystal. From here you can see the great green mountains in the distance with twisting highways in the foreground – quite a unique sight!
Later visit Ching-shui Cliff. Thi sis 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.
Finally, travel back to Taipei for you final evening in Taiwan!
This morning you will be taken to the airport by private transfer in time for your onward flight home.
our destination expert
- Hiking in Taroko National Park
- Taking a dip in Taiwan’s famed hot springs
- Experiencing a handful of Taiwan’s iconic night markets – you will not go hungry on this trip!
- Spending a few days in the capital Taipei getting a sense of the island’s unique history
- When to go:
- Time Zone:
Get in touch with our Lightfoot Travel experts and they will create a bespoke itinerary designed to your exact needs and budget.
We won't take you to the usual tourist traps, instead we'll introduce you to people that show you the true side of a country. With our contacts in each destination, we can arrange for you to meet locals away from the crowds and ensure an authentic experience.
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