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5-Day Classic Tour Itinerary
Day 1 – Arrival at Taipei International Airport and explore Taipei
- Fly into Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport near Taipei.
- Depending on time available and weather, this may include a look at Taipei Botanical Garden, a visit to Taipei 101 and its observatory for sunset views over the city, a soak in a hot spring, or a stroll around Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall (a landmark dedicated to Taiwan and Nationalist China’s former leader).
- Visiting the fabulous National Palace Museum is an option, especially if you’re arriving on a Friday or Saturdays when it stays open to 9pm (closing time on other days is 6.30pm ).
Day 2 – Explore areas surrounding Taipei
- If you’ve already seen the magnificent National Palace Museum, then we suggest a thorough look at the living-and-breathing culture that’s visible in Wanhua, one of the oldest and most interesting parts of Taipei. Here we can find the city’s best-known hall of worship, Longshan Temple.
- If the hills are calling to you, we can drive up to Yangmingshan National Park via Martyrs Shrine, where the hourly changing of the guard is a display of breathtaking precision. On Yangmingshan we can enjoy the view over coffee and cake at Grass Mountain Chateau.
- If you’re in Taipei on a Monday, Wednesday, Friday or Saturday, taking in a show at Taipei EYE is an option. To finish up the evening, we can bring you to that most Taiwanese of places: A local night market, where tasty snack foods are sold by outdoors vendors. A former residence of Chiang Kai-shek, it was built in 1920; even after a complete renovation less than a decade ago, it continues to look thoroughly Japanese, right down to the sliding doors
Day 3 – Taroko National Park
- We recommend making a reasonably early start and eating a hearty breakfast because we have a four-hour drive ahead of us.
- The journey can be broken with a stop at the hot springs park in Jiaoxi in Yilan County, or a walk on the windswept Pacific-facing beach at Dongao. A good option for lunch en route is the acclaimed aboriginal restaurant Dageeli.
- Arriving in Taroko National Park around 2pm will give us time to visit the Eternal Spring Shrine and the Yanzikou Trail (Swallow Grotto) before checking into our preferred hotel at 4pm. The property has excellent food and spa services, outdoor and indoor pools, and is a short walk from Xiangde Temple.
Day 4 – Sun Moon Lake
- After breakfast, we’ll head into the higher reaches of Taroko National Park, stopping if you like for hot ginger tea at Bilu Sacred Tree, a 50m high, 3,200-year-old Lunta fir.
- We’ll make regular stops, including one at the road’s highest point (3,275m above sea level), so you can photograph the gorgeous scenery and stretch your legs. Lunch can be a feast of roast chicken and mountain vegetables – or a simple picnic nearly two miles above sea level.
- We expect to get you to the lakeshore around 4pm, in time for a delightful boat cruise around Sun Moon Lake to enjoy views of the water and the surrounding mountains.
Day 5 – Wrap up
- Whatever time your flight out, we’ll help you make the very most of your final day in Taiwan. Almost everyone agrees that just after daybreak, as the sun climbs up over the nearby peaks, is a splendid moment to appreciate the beauty of Sun Moon Lake.
- Depending on your schedule, we’ll visit Cien Pagoda and perhaps a pair of temples that preserve relics associated with Xuan Zang, a Buddhist monk revered for traveling from China to India in 7th century and translating religious texts.
- The drive from the lake to Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport takes around two-and-a-half hours, and from the freeway you’ll see a mix of rural and urban environments. In Taiwan, you’re never very far from the city, nor are you ever far from nature.