When Portuguese sailors first saw Taiwan off the starboard bow in 1544 they christened it Ilha Formosa, the 'Beautiful Island'. And can you blame them? For 400 years communists, capitalists, imperialists and everyone in between have fought over its mist-shrouded forests, soaring peaks and plunging coastal cliffs. These days it’s definitely a case of ‘come for the adventure, stay for the stir-fries’, with some of the best fusion cuisine around, top road cycling, excellent mountain trekking and world-class coffee to boot. Technically it’s known as the Republic of China, but in the last 40 years this little green island has carved out its own destiny, one that’s definitely ‘made in Taiwan’.
Taiwan Tours & Travel
All our Taiwan trips
Taiwan trip reviews
Our Taiwan trips score an average of 4.8 out of 5 based on 5 reviews in the last year.
Classic Taiwan , October 2015
TaIwan was a culture shock for me from a rich culture history and plus it was a place that I did not know anything about before I booked the tour. It's a must see place along the term of wanting to broader your horizon.
Review submitted 06 Nov 2015
Classic Taiwan , October 2015
Taiwan is very mountainous so be prepared for some walking and lots of stairs in some places. Don't let this put you off because it's worth the effort to get there. Just go at your own pace and take your time - I did!
Review submitted 02 Nov 2015
Articles on Taiwan
Why Taiwan is Asia’s next big food destination
Posted on Fri, 29 Jan 2016
From small eats (‘xiao chi’) on the street, to Michelin-starred restaurants and chefs, Taiwan has it covered.Read more
Travelling as a vegan? These are the 7 countries to visit
Posted on Mon, 16 Nov 2015
With vegan-diets becoming more common on a global scale, travellers are starting to look for an alternative.Read more
5 Reasons Taiwan is Asia’s hottest new destination
Posted on Wed, 29 Oct 2014
Seen the best of Asia? Not yet you haven't. Check our our 5 reasons why Taiwan is the continent's hottest new destination.Read more
Backstage pass: 8 of the best festivals in Asia
Posted on Fri, 26 Sep 2014
Shakespeare once said, ‘The sauce to meat is ceremony; meeting were bare without it.’ Basically this translates to, ‘Festivals, they’re pretty cool, eh?’ And those Elizabethans really knew how to party, so I’m inclined to agree with his opinion. Ceremonies and festivals are the cultural glue that binds us as people.Read more
At a glance
|Time zone:||(GMT+08:00) Taipei|
|Electricity:||Type A (North American/Japanese 2-pin) Type B (American 3-pin)|
Best time to visit Taiwan
While there’s really no bad time to visit Taiwan, some months are more predictable than others. September to November is the best time to visit, when you’ll find balmy nights, rich autumn foliage and off-peak prices. Travelling in spring (March to May) is down to luck: it could be clear skies, monsoonal rain or even a sandstorm blown over from China. Swimming is best mid-year (June to August) when the weather can heat up, but there is always the small risk of typhoons.
Geography and environment
Top 5 Attractions in Taiwan
1. Sun Moon Lake
One of Asia’s best-kept secrets, Sun Moon Lake is easily the equal of any Como, Bled or Windermere. It’s a huge blue oasis hidden among the green peaks of Taiwan’s central mountain ranges. By day it’s merely beautiful, but in the blue-gold light of dawn, with mists rolling over the water and local fisherman paddling past, it’s like something out of a fairy tale.
2. Taroko Gorge
They have to shoot a James Bond chase scene through here, that’s all there is to it. Taroko Gorge was made for the cinema. It’s a winding maze of looming marble crags, huge cut-out roads tunnelling right into the mountains, rushing river gorges and looping alpine passes. If you are ever being chased by gangsters in your supercar, you want it to be here.
3. Qingshui Cliffs
Just google an image of ‘Qingshui Cliffs’ before we continue. All done? Now you know what we’re talking about. They’re basically a 21 km stretch of sheer jungle-covered cliffs plunging straight into the East China Sea, with a tiny highway clinging on about halfway up. This is not a journey for vertigo-sufferers, but for fans of jaw-dropping natural wonders, it’s a must-do.
An easy one to tick off, since it’ll probably be your first stop in Taiwan. The northern city of Taipei is the island’s capital, and offers a beating, chaotic counterpoint to the Zen-like beauty of the southern national parks. If you think it’s crazy by day, just wait until night, when a neon glow lights the sky and lantern-lit markets spring up in the colourful Songshan district.
5. Penghu Islands
Penghu is one of Taiwan’s hidden gems, an archipelago of 90 islands between the mainland and China. They’re remote, but worth the journey, with brilliant beaches devoid of crowds, glorious temples, towering basalt columns and genuine old-fashioned Chinese hospitality. Penghu is also a windsurfing mecca and a nesting ground for rare green sea turtles. Not bad for one tiny volcanic island chain.
FAQs on Taiwan
Australia: No - not required
Belgium: No - not required
Canada: No - not required
Germany: No - not required
Ireland: No - not required
Netherlands: No - not required
New Zealand: No - not required
South Africa: Yes - required in advance
Switzerland: No - not required
United Kingdom: No - not required
USA: No - not required
Simple lunch at a cafe = 60 TWD
Dinner in a restaurant = 150 TWD
Street meal = 40 TWD
Train ticket = 20 TWD
Bottle of water = 19 TWD
For more information on insurance, please go to: Travel Insurance
Jan 30 Chinese New Year’s Eve
Jan 31-Feb 4 Chinese New Year
Feb 14 Lantern Festival
Feb 28 Peace Memorial Day
Apr 4 Children’s Day
Apr 5 Tomb Sweeping Day
May 1 Labour Day
Jun 2 Dragon Boat Festival
Sep 8 Mid Autumn Festival
Oct 2 Double Ninth Day
Oct 10 National Day
Health and Safety
Intrepid takes the health and safety of its travellers seriously, and takes every measure to ensure that trips are safe, fun and enjoyable for everyone. We recommend that all travellers check with their government or national travel advisory organisation for the latest information before departure:
From New Zealand?
Go to: http://www.voyage.gc.ca/
Go to: http://travel.state.gov/
Go to: http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/
The World Health Organisation
also provides useful health information:
Go to: http://www.who.int/en/
Taiwan Travel Tips
Intrepid is committed to travelling in a way that is respectful of local people, their culture, local economies and the environment. It's important to remember that what may be acceptable behaviour, dress and language in your own country, may not be appropriate in another. Please keep this in mind while travelling.
Top responsible travel tips for Taiwan
1. Be considerate of Taiwan’s customs, traditions, religion and culture.
2. For environmental reasons, try to avoid buying bottled water. Fill a reusable water bottle or canteen with filtered water instead.
3. Always dispose of litter thoughtfully, including cigarette butts.
4. When bargaining at markets, stay calm, be reasonable and keep a smile on your face. It's meant to be fun!
5. Learn some local language and don't be afraid to use it - simple greetings will help break the ice.
6. Shop for locally made products. Supporting local artisans helps keep traditional crafts alive.
7. Refrain from supporting businesses that exploit or abuse endangered animals.
8. Please ask and receive permission before taking photos of people, especially children.
9. When on community visits or homestays, refrain from giving gifts or money to locals.
|A Thousand Moons on a Thousand Rivers||Hsiao Li-Hung|
|Forbidden Nation: A History of Taiwan||Jonathan Manthorpe|
|Four Years Without Socks||Chris Murphy|
|Orphan of Asia||Wu Zhuoliu|