Tantalising food, lush views, tranquil temples and sweet black tea

Breathtaking coastline, lush green landscapes and tranquil temples are only the beginning on this 11-day adventure through tantalising Taiwan. Squeeze between food stalls and medicine pedlars in narrow alleyways. Get behind-the-scenes glimpses (and hands-on experience) in local industries. Taste some of the most innovative dishes in Asia, from oyster omelettes to taro balls. Perhaps best of all? Discover the misty mountains and rugged coastal forests that have captured the attention of so many powers throughout history and earned Taiwan the name ‘the beautiful island’.


Start
Taipei, Taiwan
Finish
Taipei, Taiwan
Destination
Taiwan
Style
Original
Theme
Explorer
Code
CJSA
Physical rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 12

Why you'll love this trip

  • Discover Taiwan’s food culture by collecting oysters in Wangong, sipping black tea at a plantation, cooking farm-fresh spring onion pancakes and touring the island’s only whisky distillery.

  • Hike through lush mountain foothills to climb the 12-storey pagoda that overlooks Sun Moon Lake, and later kayak on its serene waters.

  • Spend time slinging Taiwan’s favourite root vegetable with Taipei’s ‘Sweet Potato Mamas’, local women supporting their families one spud at a time.

  • Wonder at Taroko Gorge, then follow the aquamarine river along Shakadang Trail on a hike past marbled cliffs and immense boulders.

  • Explore the stalls pilled with dried fruits, herbs and medicines housed in a mixture of modern and historic buildings on Dihua Street.

Is this trip right for you?

  • We use mainly private transport between destinations on this trip to enable us to pack as many highlights as we can into each day. When in Taipei you can expect plenty of walking and to make use of the efficient metro system. Between Taipei, Hualien and Yilan we use local trains.

  • Due to geography and road infrastructure we need to return to Taipei on Day 6 of our itinerary before exploring the west coast.

  • There are a number of opportunities for hiking, cycling and kayaking on this trip. While these are not strenuous, they do require a good overall level of fitness.

Itinerary

This itinerary is valid for departures from 01 Jan 2019 to 31 Dec 2019.
View the 2020 itinerary
Welcome to Taipei! Your adventure begins in the densely-populated, beautifully located capital of Taiwan. You can arrive at any time today, as there are no activities planned until a welcome meeting at 6 pm. With the formalities out of the way, head out for an optional dinner with your fellow group members this evening. If you arrive with time to spare in Taipei before the meeting, perhaps visit the hot springs at Yangmingshan National Park.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
It’s very important that you attend the welcome meeting as we will be collecting insurance details and next of kin information at this time. If you are going to be late please let your travel agent or hotel reception know. Ask reception or look for a note in the lobby for more information on where the meeting will take place.
Explore Taipei this morning by foot and via the city's excellent metro system. Begin with a visit to Sweet Potato Mama, a social enterprise managed by the Genesis Social Welfare Foundation and your introduction to the wild popularity of the root-vegetable-cum-street-snack in Taiwan. Join the local women who have started their own street food businesses, learn how to prepare the spuds and sell them to hungry locals. Next, stroll through Dihua Street to get a sense of Taipei's merchant past as well as see how young 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. Enjoy free time for the rest of the day and night. Perhaps check out the Shilin Night Market.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Taipei - Dihua Street walk
  • Taipei - Sweet Potato Mama Urban Adventure
  • Taipei - Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Leave Taipei behind today and take the train to Hualien (approximately 2–3 hours), best known for its beautiful natural surrounds like the rift valley plain and a rocky seashore overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Visit the Danong Dafu Forest Park, 11 hectares of reforested ground with spectacular views and plenty of birdlife. The diligent reforestation efforts have led to the reappearance of a number of species. In the evening, explore the night markets of Hualien. Some local specialties are coffin bread (fluffy French toast with fillings), ‘exploding’ chicken rolls, spring onion pancakes and oyster omelettes. Hualien has the largest indigenous population in Taiwan, so you can also find specialties favoured by some of Taiwan’s original inhabitants like bamboo rice, wild bore, birds nest fern and flying fish. You certainly won't go hungry here!
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Hualien - Night Market
  • Hualien - Danong Dafu Forest Park
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Visit the Qingshui Cliff, a long stretch of coast that drops almost vertically into the sea. Continue to Taroko National Park, named after the epic Taroko Gorge, which you’ll stop to see before heading further into the park. Set out along the Shakadang Trail, which follows an aqua stream to a Truku village (approximately 4 hours return). Entry to the village isn’t permitted, but there is sometimes a small market outside selling indigenous foods and handicrafts. If you’ve got energy leftover after your return. There may be time to explore one of the park’s other trails. Your leader can give you advice on the one that’s right for you. Return to Hualien for some free time in the evening. Maybe grab a foot reflexology massage after the hard walk today.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Hualien - Qingshui Cliff
  • Taroko Gorge - scenic hike
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Travel to Yilan. On 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 produce and then learn how to cook them into the beloved Taiwanese snack pancakes. Continue to the King Car Distillery, the island's only whisky producer, for a tour and tasting of their award-winning Kavalan single malts. The final stop today is the local hot springs, so make sure you have your swimsuit handy, so you don’t miss out on a soak. Your evening is free to explore to relax at your hotel in Yilan.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Yilan - Spring onion farm & cooking demostration
  • Yilan - Whisky distillery
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Head out on the water this morning on a cruise around Gueishan (Turtle) Island (approximately 3 hours). From March to September it’s possible to spot pods dolphins and even the odd whale during the boat tour. Back on land, drive to the former gold mining centre of Jiufen, said to be the inspiration for the town in the film Spirited Away. Explore the Old Town at your leisure, perhaps strolling around the beautiful old buildings lining the hillsides, relaxing with a cup of tea at a 100-year-old teahouse or visit the quirky Kite Museum. Some specialty snacks you should seek out while you’re in town are fish balls, molasses cakes and taro balls. Return to Taipei tonight.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Jiufen - Old Town walk
  • Turtle Island - Boat tour
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
Due to geography and road infrastructure we need to return to Taipei today before exploring the west coast of the island. Please speak to your tour leader if you wish to leave any luggage at the hotel and travel with smaller bags.
Leave Taipei behind today and travel approximately 3 hours by private bus to Sun Moon Lake, perhaps the most iconic destination in Taiwan. The only natural lake in Taiwan is so named for the shapes it’s outline forms. Take a walk through the forested foothills of the mountains around the lake along the Ci'en Pagoda Trail (around 1 hour). The end of the trail offers views over the lake, as well as the chance to climb to the top of the eponymous, 46-metre-high pagoda that marks the end of the trail. Later, choose whether to partake in an optional cyclin excursion along some of the scenic paths that trace the lake shores (approximately 1–2 hours). Tonight, relax in your guesthouse in Puli.
Accommodation
  • Guesthouse (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Sun Moon Lake - Bike Ride
  • Sun Moon Lake - Ci'en Pagoda Trail walk
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
After breakfast this morning, embark on a kayaking trip on the serene waters of Sun Moon Lake. Back on land, continue to the Chung Tai Chan Monastery in Puli. Though it was built just 20 years ago, the unique combination of Chinese and Western architectural styles makes it an impressive sight. Take a guided tour with one of the resident nuns. Continue by private vehicle to the Hugosum Tea Farm for insight into the production of Taiwan’s beloved black tea. 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 the Puli guesthouse tonight.
Accommodation
  • Guesthouse (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Puli - Hugosum Tea Farm
  • Puli - Chung Tai Chan Monastery
  • Sun Moon Lake - Kayaking
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
Please note that in the colder months from November to March, we will make tea bags from dried tea at the farm as there are no fresh tea leaves available during this period.
Today, head to the flat and fertile land of Changhua County, sometimes known as the ‘breadbasket’ of Taiwan. Visit Longshan Temple and explore the beautiful gardens on site. Continue to the fishing village of Wanggong, where you will have the chance to go oyster picking and discover water birds, fiddler crabs and mudskippers. There will also be the chance to sample local seafood like clams, crabs and oysters. In the afternoon, travel to Taichung. Your accommodation this evening is close to the Fenchia Night Market, a great place to head or dinner or a snack this evening.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Lukang - Longshan Temple
  • Wanggong - Oyster picking
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
In warm, dry weather there may be a chance to stop at Lukang for a short walking tour of the heritage buildings. If this excursion takes place, you will visit a local family who still produce handmade noodles using traditional methods. You can even grab a few packets to take home with you – they’re even more delicious once you realise all the hard work that goes into making them.

Before returning to Taipei, stop at the Rainbow Village and learn about the beautiful story behind the incredible murals that cover every inch of the town. If you are lucky, you may just catch the artist Huang Yung-Fu (96-years-old and counting!) sitting outside his house and enjoying some sunshine. Return to Taipei from Taichung, arriving around midday. After checking into the hotel, spend the afternoon at the National Palace Museum, home to the world’s largest collection of Chinese art. Your evening is free. Perhaps meet up back with your leader and group for an optional dinner, or maybe visit the Taipei 101 Observation Deck for a magnificent view over the city at night.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Taipei - National Palace Museum
  • Taichung - Rainbow Village
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
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 after check out.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast

Meals

10 breakfasts, 2 lunches

Transport

Private Bus, Metro, Public bus, bike, Boat, Train

Accommodation

Hotel (8 nights), Guesthouse (2 nights)

Included activities

  • Taipei - Dihua Street walk
  • Taipei - Sweet Potato Mama Urban Adventure
  • Taipei - Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall
  • Hualien - Night Market
  • Hualien - Danong Dafu Forest Park
  • Hualien - Qingshui Cliff
  • Taroko Gorge - scenic hike
  • Yilan - Spring onion farm & cooking demostration
  • Yilan - Whisky distillery
  • Jiufen - Old Town walk
  • Turtle Island - Boat tour
  • Sun Moon Lake - Bike Ride
  • Sun Moon Lake - Ci'en Pagoda Trail walk
  • Puli - Hugosum Tea Farm
  • Puli - Chung Tai Chan Monastery
  • Sun Moon Lake - Kayaking
  • Lukang - Longshan Temple
  • Wanggong - Oyster picking
  • Taipei - National Palace Museum
  • Taichung - Rainbow Village

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Important notes

1. A Single Supplement is available on this trip. Please speak to your booking agent for more information.

Essential trip information

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