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About your trip
This island nation off China’s east coast is a little paradise waiting to be discovered, from its modern Asian metropolises to stunning coastlines, luscious forests and epic mountain peaks. Taiwan boasts a rich cultural heritage, blending indigenous cultures with Chinese and Japanese influences, much like the country’s incredible food scene, which extends itself to bustling street food markets and authentic local restaurants. Our loop trip highlights the lot, starting and ending in the capital, Taipei. You’ll visit Sun Moon Lake and Taroko Gorge, explore the diverse cities of Tainan, Taichung, Kaohsiung and Hualien, as well as embarking on an unforgettable range of cultural, culinary and adventurous activities, from releasing lanterns to cooking classes and lakeside cycles. Not bad for just one island, right?
- Indulge on street food delights in Taipei’s night markets
- Cycle the majestic forested trails surrounding Sun Moon Lake
- Slurp down traditional beverages at a tea factory tasting session
- Dine on local delicacies in Taiwan’s underrated culinary capital
- Discover the quirky pagodas, luscious nature parks and artsy spaces of Kaohsiung City
- Traverse the epic bridges, hillside trails and surreal caves of Taroko Gorge
- Take part in a soulful sky lantern release on Shifen Old Street
- Get the lowdown on Taiwanese cuisine on a Taipei cooking masterclass
Make your way to the hotel on arrival in Taipei, where you can check-in and make yourself comfortable. The group will gather early in the evening for a welcome meeting with our Local Insider – your expert guide for the trip – and dinner at an authentic local restaurant.
Your first morning starts with a guided tour of the capital, Taipei. Our Local Insider will take you to see the Office of the President, the guard changing ceremony at CKS Memorial Hall and Lungshan Temple. There’ll be time to grab lunch at one of the variety of food court options in Taipei Main Station before we embark on our first train journey, to Taichung City. High-speed rail means we’ll barely travel an hour before reaching our destination and heading straight out on a tour of the city’s finest sights, including Rainbow Village and National Taichung Theatre. This evening we’ll visit Fengjia Night Market, one of Taiwan’s most famous markets, to experience the hustle and bustle of Taiwanese street food culture, and tuck into some delicious local delicacies.
We’ll start the day right with a stunning two-hour cycle around Sun Moon Lake – a vast body of gorgeous turquoise water surrounded by forested mountain peaks, and Taiwan’s only large natural lake. At the end of our cycle we’ll visit Xiangshan Visitor Center, a strikingly unique building that homes a delightful cafe with views over the lake. After lunch at a local restaurant we’ll head out onto the waters with a gentle hour-long cruise, followed by a visit to the hilltop Wenwu Temple, which offers a higher vantage point over the lake. The area is famous for black tea, and we’ll visit Ho Ho Cha Tea factory to experience a hand-rolling and tasting session. Having seen the lake from pretty much every angle possible, and indulged in various local delights, we’ll return to Taichung for dinner and an evening at your leisure.
Our next stop is Tainan, known by people in Taiwan as the country’s culinary capital, with an especially rich seafood culture. You can ask our Local Insider about the must-try dishes on the train, but we’ll keep your stomach waiting as we first visit the 350 year-old Confucius Temple. Then it’s off to a famous local restaurant to finally experience traditional Tainan cuisine. Our tour of the city continues after lunch, with stops at various historical sites like Chikan Tower, Anping Fort and Anping Old Street, as well as a chance for some retail therapy at Hayashi Department Store. Early evening we’ll jump back on the bus for an hour-long trip to Kaohsiung, where you’ll check-in to the hotel and have a night at your own leisure.
The modern maritime metropolis of Kaohsiung City is our playground for the day. We’ll start by visiting the city’s most iconic spots, including Dragon and Tiger Pagodas – a striking two-tower temple, one entrance guarded by a giant tiger statue and the other by a fiery dragon – Fo Guang Shan Buddha Museum and Pier-2 Art Center, a vibrant cultural artspace, teeming with amazing works of street art. In the afternoon we’ll stop at a souvenir shop for tea and snacks before being transferred to Shoushan National Nature Park, a verdant greenspace with the best views imaginable over Kaohsiung skyline. Finally we’ll return to the city to check out Formosa Boulevard Station’s famous ‘Dome of Light’ – one of the world’s largest glass artworks – before heading out for a group dinner and spending the rest of the night at your own speed.
It’s an early start this morning as we board the express train to Hualien City – equipped with breakfast-to-go from the hotel – for the longest journey of our trip (around four hours). Luckily, the route is an incredibly beautiful one, and watching the mountains and ocean views of the East Coast National Scenic Area fly past the window is an experience in and of itself – the joys of train travel! On arrival we’ll head to Taroko Gorge, stopping for an aboriginal Taroko lunch, and spending the afternoon exploring the area. Highlights include the dramatic Tunnel of Nine Turns above the gushing Liwu River, the otherworldly Swallow Grotto and the Eternal Shrine, hidden among trees and a spectacular mountain waterfall. We’ll have dinner back in Hualien and check-in to our hotel for the evening.
This morning we’ll go on one final scenic train ride, this time back towards the capital, but hopping off in Jiufen, an incredibly picturesque mountainside town just east of Taipei. Narrow old streets are packed with teahouses and street food shacks, not to mention the gorgeous old Shengping Theater. We’ll have lunch with stunning mountain views over the northeastern coast, before heading to Shifen Waterfall and Shifen Old Street, where we’ll experience the releasing of sky lanterns – a famous tradition in this part of the country. We’ll end up back in Taipei City, heading to the 101 Building for a photo opp at Taiwan’s tallest building, before spending the evening at Raohe Night Market – a haven for street food lovers.
Our last full day is all about enjoying Taipei at a relaxed pace, starting at a local cooking school, where you’ll master the art of Taiwanese cuisine and leave with a recipe or two for the road. In the afternoon we’ll visit The Grand Hotel, a magnificent red-column masterpiece and an amazing example of grand Chinese architecture. Nearby is the Martyrs' Shrine, where we’ll head to watch the changing of the guards ceremony, before popping by the National Palace Museum. We’ll round up the day with a farewell dinner at a local restaurant, where the group can reminisce on an unforgettable Taiwanese experience.
After one last breakfast at the hotel it’s time to say goodbye! After check-out you can either head straight to the airport, spend more time exploring Taipei, or continue the adventure somewhere else!
- 8 nights accommodation
- Train tickets
- 8 breakfasts
- 5 lunches
- 5 dinners
- Local Insider
- Welcome meeting
- Taipei City tour
- Taichung City tour
- Fengjia Night Market visit
- Sun Moon Lake cycle
- Sun Moon Lake boat cruise
- Wenwu Temple visit
- Ho Ho Cha Tea Factory tasting
- Confucius Temple visit
- Tainan City tour
- Kaohsiung City tour
- Shoushan National Nature Park visit
- Formosa Boulevard Station visit
- Taroko Gorge tour
- Jiufen & Shifen tour
- Shifen Old Street Sky Lantern Experience
- Taipei 101 Building photo stop
- Evening at Raohe Night Market
- Taiwanese cooking experience & lunch
- The Grand Hotel visit
- Guard changing ceremony at Martyrs' Shrine
- National Palace Museum visit
What's Not Included
- Travel insurance
- Hotel transfers (unless otherwise stated in the Included Activities section above)
This impressive hotel in the heart of Taipei’s business district, is tastefully decorated with plush accents, Baroque interiors and all of the modern features you’d expect in a trendy hotel. There is a restaurant, fitness center and outdoor event space and the hotel is near both the train station and Liaoning Night markets.
Park City Hotel (T)
This metropolitan hotel in the city centre of Taichung is within walking distance of the train station. Rooms are bright, spacious and colourful, shared spaces are open and modern, and breakfast is served in a charming Cantonese restaurant. You’ll also have full access to a well-equipped fitness centre.
In Kaohsiung you’ll be staying in the Qianjin District, at this fashion-inspired hotel. Rooms are brimming with personality, designed in different themes and each popping in colour. The trendy Kitchen X restaurant can be found on the top floor, and it’s in these youthful surroundings that you’ll enjoy a delicious breakfast. There’s also The Caffeine on the first floor, which offers coffee, cakes and light meals throughout the day.
Park City Hotel (H)
Our second Park City Hotel stay will be in Hualien City, and this branch places equal importance on creating a cosy, natural space for visitors to relax in the heart of the city. The beds are super comfy, and the room design is calming, with a lovely flow of sunlights coming in through the windows. Breakfast can be enjoyed either in the Park Cafe & Lounge or in Delicacy Restaurant, while downtime can be spent mastering your game skills in the Chess Room.
Your safety and wellbeing are our top priority, so we’ve put the following measures in place on all our TRIPS:
- Please check the entry requirements for the destination you are travelling to. Our travel experts can assist you in finding this information.
- We recommend you confirm all guidance on official government sites and check that you are able to travel with your travel insurance issuer. Your travel insurance may be invalidated if you travel against government advice. Our travel experts can assist you in finding this information.
- If you’re joining this trip between December and March, we won’t be able to partake in the tea rolling session on day three, since local farmers will be in the thick of harvest season. We will, in this case, replace the session with further tea tasting fun!
- You must be aged 25 years or over to join this trip.
- Please be sure to check whether or not you need a visa to enter the country you're travelling to. Please refer to our Booking Terms & Conditions for further information.
- If you have any pre-existing medical conditions or accessibility requirements, please notify our Customer Support team as soon as possible.
- We won't charge you extra if you travel alone – you'll be allocated a twin room with another traveller of the same gender.
- To upgrade to a private room, share a room with a friend, or book pre- and post-trip accommodation and/or airport transfers, please contact our Customer Support team.
- Please be aware that travel insurance is compulsory for all travellers.
- Please be aware that the itinerary, activities and hotels are subject to change. While unlikely, these changes can happen due to circumstances beyond our control. We will always do our best to ensure minimal impact on your experience.
- Please be aware images on this page are for illustrative purposes and may not reflect your itinerary exactly.
If you cancel 56 days or more before your scheduled departure date, you will receive a 100% refund. Otherwise, the total cost of your trip is: 100% payable if you cancel 29 days or less before your departure date. 50% payable if you cancel between 30 - 55 days before your departure date. Please note you can only book this trip in advance up to 14 days before the departure date. After this time the trip may be booked on request.
Terms & Conditions
Please refer to our Booking Terms & Conditions.