A Quick Summary

  • Day 1: Arrive in Taipei, Mandarin Oriental

  • Day 2: Taipei, Mandarin Oriental

  • Day 3: Taipei, Mandarin Oriental

  • Day 4: Ruifang Day Trip, The Gaia Hotel
  • Day 5: Beitou, The Gaia Hotel
  • Day 6: Taipei to Taroko Gorge, Liiko Hotel

  • Day 7: Taroko Gorge, Liiko Hotel
  • Day 8: Taroko Gorge to Kenting, Gloria Manor

  • Day 9: Kenting, Gloria Manor

  • Day 10: Kenting, Gloria Manor

  • Day 11: Kenting to Kaohsiung to Taipei, Depart

Your Itinerary

Upon arriving in Taipei, your local WildTaiwan guide will meet you in the arrivals hall with your private vehicle on standby to take you to your hotel. The drive from the Taipei Taoyuan International Airport to downtown Taipei takes ~1-hour (traffic dependent).

First Stop: Taipei

Welcoming and cosmopolitan, with an enticing fusion of Chinese culture and Southeast Asian, American, and Japanese undertones, Taipei is an alluring metropolis with surprises around every corner. Nestled amid a collection of rolling mountains, the city is a study in contrasts – centuries-old temples backdropped by glittering skyscrapers and bustling night markets waiting to be explored after a day spent lazily whiling away the hours in a tea house. Not to mention Taipei’s delectable culinary scene. From food-stall stinky tofu and pork buns to a delicious array of Michelin-starred restaurants, the Taiwanese capital is a veritable foodie paradise. Add in a compelling creative streak and you’ve got a dynamic city filled with history, heritage, and plenty of charm.

Your guide will meet you in the lobby of your hotel at 11:00 am to start the day.

Din Tai Fung

The legend of Din Tai Fung needs no introduction; it’s a must-eat for everyone who visits Taipei. Waiting is part of the experience here, so take a number and explore the surrounds, but rest assured that once inside Taiwan’s most revered specialties await. Though Din Tai Fung has become a global dumpling sensation from humble beginnings as a Taipei hole-in-the-wall, it has remained true to its roots and never let slide its impeccable attention to detail, from the lucky 18 folds in each dumpling to diligent customer service.

Taipei 101

The world’s tallest building from 2004 to 2010, Taipei 101 is a towering testament to symbolism and sustainability. Traditionally, the number 100 represents perfection, so adding another floor (100 + 1) represented a further breakthrough, of going beyond perfection. The 508-meter-tall skyscraper was also named the world’s greenest building in 2011, after receiving a Platinum rating (the highest) under the LEED certification system. Taipei 101 stands in the Xinyi District of Taipei, and its pagoda-like design has become iconic around the world. Admire the building from without and within, as its first few floors are home to a multi-story shopping mall with some of the swankiest shops in town. Then shoot up to the 89th floor for 360-degree views of all Taipei and its surrounding mountains.

Longshan Temple

Located in the heart of old Taipei, Longshan Temple has seen its fair share of history in its nearly 300 years of existence. This colorful, lively, inclusive temple has survived earthquakes and bombing raids, largely because of the strong community that has developed around this sacred space. Wander through the active temple complex, keeping an eye out for the dragon in the lake, the young and old locals reading scripture, and the small booths of fortune-tellers.

Dadaocheng

Dadaocheng is the most historic area in all of Taipei. Here, age-worn shop fronts selling all manner of goods, produce, spices and medicines await. Dip in to a traditional pharmacy where an array of fragrant herbs sit on display, each with their own healing traits. Name an ailment and the pharmacist will compile a bespoke concoction promised to ameliorate. No ailments to speak of? Then why not purchase a hand-made lantern or a custom tea blend from the shop next door.

Ningxia Night Market

The night market that runs the length of Ningxia Road in Datong District may not be the largest or best known of Taiwan’s fabled street food bazaars, but it is one of the most authentic, with 150-meters of percolating friers and crackling woks whose intoxicating scents drift lazily into the evening Taipei air. The culinary offerings here are traditional and myriad – from oyster omelettes to papaya milk – so get ready for a mouthwatering odyssey into Taiwan’s sometimes weird but always wonderful world of food.

Your guide will return you to your hotel at the end of the day (around 6:00 pm).

Your guide will meet you in the lobby of your hotel at 9:00 am to start the day.

National Palace Museum

With 700,000 pieces spanning thousands of years, the National Palace Museum has one of the largest collections of ancient Chinese artifacts in the world. Once located in Beijing’s Forbidden City, the museum’s collection moved to Taiwan in the 1940s. Now spread across four floors and a rotating series of exhibitions, many of the most important relics of ancient China are on show for the world to admire. Breathe in millennia of history and culture while wandering through the museum’s collection of well-kept treasures.

Yangmingshan National Park

Rising in undulating folds from behind Taipei’s electric cityscape, Yangmingshan is the capital’s backyard; a verdant playground of dormant volcanoes almost entirely within the city limits. The mountains here aren’t as high as those further south, but they are replete with flora and fauna to rival their haughtier neighbors, from macaques and muntjac to boars and bamboo vipers. Throw in a generous smattering of waterfalls, hot springs and other geothermal features throughout, and it’s easy to understand why Yangmingshan is so beloved of Taipei residents.

Xiaoyoukeng

Take Taiwan’s geothermic pulse at the steaming lunar-landscape of Xiaoyoukeng, where sulphur-encrusted air vents leak ribbons of pungent steam into the crisp mountain air. Wooden walkways provide safe vantage points from which to view the smoldering fumaroles, pockmarked and fringed by crystals of yellow and green. The area is located at the corner of Mount Qixing, and the trail to Yangmingshan’s highest point starts from here.

Mount Qixing

Step onto the scenic slopes of Mount Qixing, weaving past volcanic vents and grassy glades en route to northern Taiwan’s highest point at 1,120 meters. As the sulphuric stench and steam of the fumaroles suggests, Mt Qixing is in fact a dormant volcano – the tallest of the twenty or so that make up Yangmingshan National Park – although recent science has revealed that these hills might not be as deeply asleep as once thought. There are three routes to the summit, with those starting from Xiaoyoukeng and Lengshuikeng the most popular.

Distance: Xiaoyoukeng to Mt Qixing (1.6km); Mt Qixing to Lengshuikeng (2.1km)
Difficulty: Moderate

*Exact hiking route to be discussed with your guide on the day.

Lengshuikeng

The through hike to the summit of Mount Qixing from Xiayoukeug terminates at Lengshuikeng, or “cold water hollow”, an odd designation for an area that boasts a visitor center, a café and a small building housing free public hot springs. The name actually refers to the fact that the water here is cooler than other local spots – around 40°C (104°F) – and to enter, visitors need be nude and separated by gender. For the less adventurous though, there’s also a small foot-soaking pool outside.

Your guide will return you to your hotel at the end of the day (around 6:00 pm).

Your guide will meet you in the lobby of your hotel at 9:00 am to start the day.

Yehliu Geopark

Step into the Martian realm of Yehliu, an extraterrestrial landscape of honeycomb limestone sculpted into other-worldly shapes by the cosmic power of the East China Sea. Sitting on a slender cape that reaches dramatically out into the waves, the Geopark is a beloved location thanks to its proximity to Taipei and the iconic status of its natural sculptures. Chief among these is the legendary Queen’s Head, whose ever-thinning neckline suggest that her days as the park’s monarch might be numbered.

Yinyang Sea

The coast is always a welcome sight in Taiwan, and this section is extra special. The Yinyang Sea, as suggested by its name, is famed for its inseparable fusion of sand and sea. The water’s underbelly of sand reflects to its surface in a vibrant display of rich sandy yellows caused by a decomposition of pyrite into copper and iron before deepening into the blue ocean. The Yinyang Sea is an artist’s palette of color and chaotic beauty, this is one beach not to miss.

Pass by Golden Waterfall

Witness the aureate deluge of the Golden Waterfall. This ostentatious display of nature frames the gilded grace of the water with the emerald hues of this landscape. This metallic-infused water is truly golden in appearance, but not in nature. This medley of arsenic and copper ore is one that is beautiful yet toxic.

Jiufen Old Street

Peruse the lantern-lit streets of Jiufen. This mountainside village is a cascade of teahouses, street food, and charming classical architecture. Navigating the narrow alleyways paved with cobbled steps, popping with color, and lined with a diversity of stalls feels like a real-life immersion into Hayao Miyazaki’s enchanting “Spirited Away”. Take a break from the crowds and sit down for a Taiwanese tea ceremony, a tradition steeped in the history of this now famous town.

Beitou Thermal Valley

Escape from the city in Taipei’s sensual backyard and let urban stresses evaporate at the Beitou Hot Springs. Nature is never far from life in Taipei and the Taiwanese know how to utilize it to harness all of its benefits, from developing a variety of hot spring hotels to the architectural wonder that is the Beitou Library, known as the ‘green library’, city life will melt away into a distant memory. The hot springs are comprised of different sulfur infusions, distinguished by their different colors and different healing purposes.

Your guide will take you to The Gaia Hotel for check in at the end of the day (around 6:00 pm).

Day at Leisure

Bask in the serenity of the Beitou Thermal Valley at your own pace today. While Gaia has a plethora of soothing on-site hot spring soaks and spa options to choose from, the nearby Beitou Library (Taipei’s first green library and an architectural masterpiece in its own right) is just across the street, as is the Beitou Hot Spring Museum. Or, if you’re looking to hang with the locals, walk over to the public hot springs for a bit of cultural immersion.

The Gaia Hotel Beitou Hot Spring Experience

Fully immerse in the Beitou hot springs at The Gaia Hotel. As the name suggests, this hotel amplifies mother nature’s relaxing effects of water and creates a rounded experience of aromatherapy and spa additions to completely re-energize. Housing a cornucopia of hot spring variations – both outdoor and indoor pools ranging in size and PH variations – a tailored onsen experience is guaranteed. But the luxury itself sticks to the hotel’s motto: only build on what nature has already given.

Your guide will meet you in the lobby of your hotel at 9:00 am to start the day.

Drive to Taroko Gorge

The drive from Taipei to Taroko Gorge will take around 2.5 hours.

Yilan Tea Plantation Experience

Vibrant green buds burst forth from rows of well loved and tended tea bushes. To the side of the plantation itself, an unassuming metal building houses the tea production, storage facilities and a whole wall of awards. This is the Zhengfu Tea Plantation, a multi-generation business committed to organic growing methods, Yilan traditions, and of course, the highest quality tea. You Zhengfu currently runs the place along with his father, and the never-faltering smile on his face tells you all you need to know – the man loves tea. Learn first-hand the entire bud-to-cup process, from picking the best leaves, to roasting, to enjoying a traditional tea ceremony led by the matriarch of the business. This is a true family-run affair, every step of the way.

Lunch at Su’ao Harbor

Tucked below the Suhua Highway on the outskirts of Yilan the vibrant harbor of Su’ao awaits. Step around heaps of fishing nets and wind your way through the bustling harbor, lined with an array of seafood restaurants, where only the freshest of fish make their appearance on any diner’s plate. In the water, large trawlers and small dinghies float side-by-side, proud fishermen at the helm steering them in to port where eager dock workers wait to unload the day’s catch. From record-breaking tuna to crates of red snappers, each boat’s haul holds the crews livelihood, the bounty determined by none other than the sea herself.

The Suhua Highway

Rising from the Yilan Plain at Su’ao is one of the most remarkable stretches of road on earth; a 118-kilometer highway that clings to the side of steep cliffs as it sweeps and swings its way to Hualien above the vivid hues of the Pacific Ocean below. With new vistas composed at every twist and turn, the Suhua highway – a portmanteau of its respective termini – is one car ride you won’t want to snooze through.

Qingshui Cliff

This scenic pull off is one of the best places to capture the full splendor of the Suhua Highway. Eastward, the turquoise sea deepens into a sapphire blue as the water ripples out into infinity. Westward, the towering jungle-laden peaks jut toward the horizon, the tallest of which is Qingshui Mountain, rising straight from sea level to an astounding 2,408 meters. South, along the coast, the highway carries on, disappearing into the side of a mountain where a tunnel carries the road onward. A squint to the east of the tunnel reveals the old road, crumbling and fractured from the beatings of many a coastal storm.

Next stop: Taroko Gorge

With sheer marble walls rising from a snaking aquamarine torrent below, Taroko Gorge is the crown jewel of a place with no shortage of bedazzling natural sites. The heavily jungled slopes of the canyon, the Liwu River and the 3000-meter peaks on either side make up Taroko National Park, reestablished by the island’s government in the 1980s and home to half the island’s plant and animal life as well as most of its biogeographical zones. So step forth onto one or all of Taroko’s many trails, where orchids, monkeys and sugar gliders are just a few of the unforgettable natural wonders hidden in this canyon paradise.

Your guide will take you to Liiko Hotel for check in at the end of the day (around 6:00 pm).

Your guide will meet you in the lobby of your hotel at 9:00 am to start the day.

Shakadang Trail

The Shakadang Trail is a great way to get, quite literally, up close and personal with Taroko Gorge’s marble walls and glittering turquoise rivers. The trail begins by descending a beautiful red arch bridge down to the banks of the river where it then wends into the wall of the gorge itself, the trail having been carved directly into the marble.

Distance: The full hike to the end is 8.2km round-trip (~3.5 hours), but as the hike is an out-and-back, it is often shortened to around half this distance
Difficulty: Easy

Eternal Spring Shrine Trail

The Eternal Spring Shrine, also called the Changchun Shrine, is a memorial to the hundreds of workers who constructed the spectacular Central Cross-Island Highway which ribbons through Taroko Gorge before carrying on over the middle of the island to reach the western coast. Beneath the shrine itself is a natural spring, which feeds out of the shrine arch into a waterfall, and cascades down into the Liwu River below.

Distance: 600m round trip (~40 min) to Eternal Spring Shrine
Difficulty: Easy

Variation: From the shrine, the hike can be continued straight up the mountain on the ‘stairway to heaven’ to the Bell Tower which has views of the gorge entrance and the Pacific Ocean beyond, then carries on down to meet the road slightly above where the hike started. This hike is ~2.2km total and takes ~1.5 hours to complete. *Please not this trail is often closed due to flood damage. Your guide will advise you at the time if it is open for hiking on that day or not.

Swallow Grotto Trail

Swallow Grotto trail is actually part of the old road that carved its way through this narrow part of the gorge. Unfortunately, the road was too narrow for the number of vehicles that frequented this section, and so the local authorities built a new road, leaving this one to pedestrians to enjoy. The light amble through this tight section of gorge gives a very close look at the marbled sides and their small winged residents – swallows.

Distance: ~1km (~30min)
Difficulty: Easy

Buluowan Suspension Bridge

At first glance, the Buluowan Suspension Bridge looks to be a modern installation in Taroko National Park. Having just gone up in 2020 and claiming the title of “Taroko’s Longest Bridge”, it is indeed new, but the history of the bridge and this spot is not. Human residence in this area dates back 300 years to the Taroko indigenous tribes and the first bridge here was built in 1914 by the Japanese. This first suspension bridge was so daunting that it earned the name “resignation bridge”, a nod to the many who turned around merely at the sight of it. Lucky, it’s gone through four iterations since then making it less of a scare and more of a wonder (with spectacular views to boot).

Your guide will return you to your hotel at the end of the day (around 6:00 pm).

Your guide will meet you in the lobby of your hotel at 10:00 am to start the day.

Drive to Hualien

The ride from Silks Place Taroko Gorge to Hualien Airport will take around 1 hour.

Qixingtan Beach

With its white sand, aquamarine water, and a garnishing of palm trees, Qixingtan beach is picture-perfect. The green mountainside hugs the beach from behind, its curvature providing a stunning backdrop and some shelter from the ocean winds. Soak up the ambiance at the beachside café with a warm flaky pastry and a fresh cup of coffee to the soundtrack of the waves.

Flight to Kaohsiung

Your guide will escort you to the airport and help you check in to your flight. Upon arriving in Kaohsiung, your new WildTaiwan local guide will meet you in the arrival hall holding a sign with your name on it. They will then escort you to your private vehicle and drive you to Kenting where they will help you check in at your hotel.

Next Stop: Kenting

Kenting is bursting with natural vibrancy and tropical vibes. Its national park perches on the seafront, boasting glistening white sand beaches and diverse coral ecosystems, all encased by rich greenery and trails. The crystalline beaches are an excellent opportunity to see life underwater and on-land, the jungle of Kenting National Forest Recreation Area holds a jaw-dropping variety of flora and fauna, often earning it
a spot on the world’s Top Ten Tropical Botanical Gardens list.

Drive to Kenting

The ride from Kaohsiung to Kenting will take around 1.5 hours.

Your guide will take you to Gloria Manor for check in at the end of the day (around 5:00 pm).

Your guide will meet you in the lobby of your hotel at 9:00 am to start the day.

Kenting National Forest Recreation Area

The Kenting National Forest Recreation Area boasts a jaw-dropping array of flora and fauna. The animals create a forest symphony: on the ground, the rhythmic scuttling of tiny crabs, in the trees, the rustling of branches from macaques swinging to and fro, and above, the wing-flaps of migratory birds echoing softly in the air. The landscape here is an “uplifted coral reef rainforest”, the roots of which once sat on the ocean floor. Now over 1,000 species of fauna reside in this ecosystem, from the smallest of medicinal plants to the towering Banyan Trees with their far-reaching aerial roots. The park is set up with a vast network of trails, so get stuck in and explore a diverse network of living things found nowhere else on earth.

Kenting National Park Water-Based Activities (to be booked independently)

Kenting National Park has a whole host of water based activities to choose from, surfing, kayaking, snorkeling and scuba diving being the main ones, or even just a day relaxing on the beach. Locations for most of the water sports are weather dependent, with certain beaches and coves more preferable on certain days. For those looking to scuba or snorkel, expect to see an extraordinary range of exotic fish, everything from clown fish to parrot fish to eels and seahorses!

Your guide will return you to your hotel at the end of the day (around 6:00 pm).

Day at Leisure

Enjoy a day exploring Kenting at your own pace. Your guide and vehicle will be on-call to take you wherever you wish to go, whether it be the beach for a day of relaxation or to a dive/snorkel/kayak spot for another water activity excursion.

Your guide will meet you in the lobby of your hotel at 9:00 am to start the day.

Drive to Koahsiung

The ride from Kenting to Kaohsiung will take around 2 hours, but there will be several stops and activities on the way.

Pineapple Farm Visit

The history of pineapples in Taiwan can be traced back to the early 1900s when canning facilities were set up across the island to stockpile in case of food shortages. By 1970, Taiwan was the world’s top exporter of pineapples. Though the likes of Costa Rica and the Philippines may have overtaken it since then, the island still exports an enormous amount of the tangy fruit – in 2021 alone, 20,000 tons to be exact. The roots of this phenomenon can be traced to the spiky pineapple farms, one of which is on the agenda for today. Meet the local farmers, learn about the harvest, and indulge in the final products (namely the famous Taiwanese sweet of pineapple cakes) on a deep-dive into the inner-workings of a Taiwanese pineapple farm.

Dragon and Tiger Pagoda

The Dragon and Tiger Pagodas at Lotus Lake are a symbol of Kaohsiung. When entering, it is important to start heading into the dragon’s mouth and exit from the lion’s mouth. There are strong fortuitous beliefs around these two creatures and looping the wrong way is thought to bring bad luck, so make sure you’re looking down a dragon’s throat and not a lion’s as you head in!

High Speed Train to Taipei Taoyuan International Airport

Your WildTaiwan guide will escort you to the train station to board your train to Taipei Taoyuan International Airport. Your guide will ride the train with you and help you check in for your departure flight home once you arrive at the airport. At this point your WildTaiwan trip comes to an end – we hope you enjoyed the journey!

Kaohsiung to Taipei Taoyuan International Airport, High Speed Train: ~2 hours

Journey Gallery

Your Accommodations

Mandarin Oriental Taipei

Mandarin Oriental, Taipei

Centrally located at the heart of the capital city, Mandarin Oriental Taipei’s glamor and decadence permeate throughout its French chateaux-inspired interiors and world-class service. The tranquil urban retreat away from the bustling metropolis offers a two-story spa and an outdoor pool tucked away in a garden oasis.

Enjoy five exquisite dining options, including the trattoria-style Italian restaurant Bencotto, overseen by Michelin-starred chef Mario Cittadin, and afternoon tea at the Jade Lounge.

Gaia Hotel Beitou

The Gaia Hotel, Beitou

At the base of Danfeng Mountain, nestled amidst the lush jungle foliage, sits the newly renovated Gaia Hotel. Poised in the heart of the Beitou Thermal Valley, the hotel pipes the steaming-hot white sulfur hot spring water straight into all their rooms and public, male/female-separated on-site outdoor pools. For any time not spent in a state of “pao” (soaking), the hotel also offers an indoor swimming pool, three restaurants, a spa, a sauna and a gym. T

he main breath-catcher though, is the lobby library, a Nordic-insipred floor-to-ceiling atrium of over 5,000 second-hand books, collected by the owners on their travels around the world, and available for any and all hotel guests to use during their stay.

Liiko Hotel Taroko

Taroko Liiko Hotel, Hualien

Taroko Liiko Hotel is a retreat for the mind, where everything, including the shelving, has been carefully streamlined in a gentle flow to release the mind of any discomfort. A delicate accomplishment of feng shui extends to the gardens which serve to instantly soothe.

Taroko Liiko Hotel has been designed as a meticulous art, every guest window captures the Liwu River and overhang of the Qingshui cliffs, angled to yield both the rise of the sun in the east and its magnificent setting between the canyons in the west. Here, each and every guest is gifted a night beneath the stars.

Gloria Manor Kenting

Gloria Manor, Kenting

Tucked away from the main thoroughfare of Kenting, Gloria Manor provides a tranquil immersive escape in the natural beauty of the national park. Built in 1958, it was originally used by the Taiwanese Forestry Bureau and laster as one of Chiang Kai-shek’s guesthouses. The present day Gloria Manor is one of modernistic elegance surrounded by some of Taiwan’s most breathtaking forest.

With the environment in mind, the architects installed solar panels and a natural water recycling system. Rooms are designed with views at the forefront, framing the scenery in picturesque floor-to-ceiling window frames, so guests never miss a chance to enjoy the surrounding beauty.

Additional Details

Recommended Seasons

  • Winter

  • Spring

  • Summer

  • Autumn

What’s Included

  • Services of a local WildTaiwan guide
  • Private chauffeured vehicle
  • All accommodation costs, as noted in the itinerary, breakfast included
  • All admission fees and expenses, as noted in the itinerary
  • Meals, as noted in the itinerary, and drinking water
  • Airport transfers to/from international flights at the start and end of trip, as listed

What’s Excluded

  • International and domestic flights, domestic trains, plus relevant taxes
  • Travel and medical insurance
  • Meals, apart from those included in the itinerary, and alcohol
  • Expenses of a personal nature
  • Excursions and activities not included in the itinerary
  • Discretionary gratuities for guides and drivers

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