All of our tours are fully customisable.
You can book the below tour as is or use it as a starting point to customise your own tour.
5-Day Culture Tour Itinerary
Day 1 – Taipei City and Dihua Street
- Fly into Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport near Taipei. By the time you’ve transferred to your hotel in the capital, we’ll have finalized a plan for the rest of the day that matches your interests and energy levels.
- Depending on time available, this may include a thorough look at Wanhua, one of the oldest and most interesting parts of Taipei, and home to its best known hall of worship, Longshan Temple, or a wander through the traditional neighbourhood of Dihua Street. The latter, famous for its baroque-revival architecture, is not far from the gorgeous Baoan Temple.
- Alternatively, it may be nothing more strenuous than a stroll around Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall, a landmark dedicated to the Nationalist Chinese leader who was Taiwan’s president 1949-1975.
Day 2 – National Palace Museum
- We’ll spend as much of the day inside the magnificent National Palace Museum as you want, lunching at the museum’s Silks Palace restaurant.
- The remainder of the day will be given over to touring sights in the northern part of the city. It’s a short hop from the museum to the Martyrs Shrine, where the hourly changing of the guard is a display of breathtaking precision. Then it’s off to Xinbeitou, where the 1895-1945 Japanese colonization of Taiwan left an especially heavy imprint in terms of architecture and hot-springs culture. If you’d like to take a dip in one of the area’s many springs, let us know and we’ll make the arrangements.
- If the hills near this part of the capital are calling to you, we can drive up to Grass Mountain Chateau in Yangmingshan National Park. 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.
- 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.
Day 3 – Tainan Ancient City
- In the morning we’ll zip most of the way down the island at speeds of almost 300 km/h on the high-speed railway (HSR), alighting less than two hours later in Tainan. The city served as Taiwan’s capital for more than 200 years and remains a bastion of tradition.
- Because Tainan HSR Station is located southeast of the city centre, we can show you a couple of sights on the way to your hotel. One is Xinhua Old Street, one of the best-preserved and most authentic merchants’ thoroughfares in the country. Another is Moonworld, a region of badlands utterly different to lush landscapes so common in Taiwan. Alternatively we can bring you to Chimei Museum. Built around a local tycoon’s eclectic personal acquisitions, the museum has a world-class collection of violins, weapons and armour from Asia and Europe, plus sculptures and oil paintings of international significance.
- Tainan is famous for its ‘little eats’ and we’ll explain all the options from fine dining to scrumptious street foods as we go. A craft beer on atmospheric Shennong Street or a coffee in the garden of Chihkan Tower (one of two forts built by the Dutch in the 17th century) are delightful ways to end the evening.
Day 4 – Anping
- A good part of the day will be spent in Anping, the seaside community where Tainan – and Han Chinese culture in Taiwan – began. The main attraction here is Fort Zeelandia, the stronghold built by the Dutch East India Company in the the early 1630s. It’s perhaps the best place to learn about the Netherlands’ brief but historically critical occupation of the Tainan area. Nearby stands Anping Tree House, a 19th-century warehouse invaded by huge banyan trees. This beguiling place has even been dubbed ‘Tainan’s Angkor Wat’.
- Next up is a tour of central Tainan, where the density of relics and historical curiosities is stupendous. The Confucius Temple is an austerely beautiful academy-cum-house of worship. It and several other places of interest are open until late in the evening, and especially atmospheric after dark, so it doesn’t matter if we move very slowly because you want to try as many of the street snacks Tainan is famous for as possible.
Day 5 – Wrap up
- Whatever time your flight out, we’ll help you make the very most of your final day in Taiwan. The rural south has a host of attractions which we can take you to before putting you on a bullet train at Tainan HSR Station.
- Alternatively, you can board the train at Chiayi HSR Station after taking a look at the bucolic little town of Yanshui (the Roman Catholic church is like nothing you’ve ever seen, and the private home known as the Octagon will have you reaching for your camera). For a final serving of culture before going north, we can tour the Southern Branch of the National Palace Museum, which has superb permanent displays on tea culture, Asian textiles and Buddhist Art.
- Tour duration: 5 days
- Tour departs from Taipei, Taiwan – Pick up from your hotel/B&B
- English speaking driver guide, accommodations, admission fee, daily breakfast and insurance are included.