A Quick Summary

  • Day 1: Arrive in Taipei, Eslite Hotel

  • Day 2: Taipei, Eslite Hotel

  • Taipei to Taroko Gorge, Silks Place

  • Day 4: Taroko Gorge, Silks Place

  • Day 5: Taroko Gorge to Shitiping, Adagio Shitiping

  • Day 6: Shitiping, Adagio Shitiping
  • Day 7: Shitiping to Taipei, Mandarin Oriental

  • Day 8: Depart for home

Your Itinerary

Arrive: Taipei

Upon arriving in Taipei, your local WildTaiwan guide will meet you in the arrivals hall with your private vehicle on standby ready to take you to your hotel for check in. 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.

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.

Silks Palace Restaurant at the National Palace Museum

Experience a carefully crafted meal of traditional Chinese cuisine in the most apt setting possible: beside the world’s most comprehensive collection of Chinese artifacts at the National Palace Museum. The museum’s on-site restaurant, Silks Palace, marries Chinese art and cooking by taking some of the most famed pieces held in the National Palace Museum and serving them on a plate as a high-end lunch offering. Some are relatively straight forward, food-come-art-come-food-again, like the jade cabbage and dong po jasper. While others are more rooted in history, like the Yu’an Dynasty Yun Lin Goose, said to be an imperial favorite over 600 years ago in the Su Xi region.

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.

Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall

Step inside one of the city’s most iconic landmarks, the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall. Standing as a symbol of the Kuomintang and Taiwan’s first president, Chiang Kai-shek, the massive commemorative monument is said to mirror the national anthem, with its architecture embodying the “clear blue sky, white sun, and a wholly red earth.” Make your way up the 89 steps – how old Chiang was when he died – to reach the main hall that houses a bronze statue of the former leader. On the hour, watch the changing of the guards before heading back to the main square to wander down the promenade flanked by the National Theater and the National Concert Hall.

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.

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.

Drive: Taipei to Taroko Gorge

The drive from Taipei to Taroko Gorge takes around 3 hours. However there will be several stops and activities along the way.

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.

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.

Chongde Beach

Chongde beach is where the beauty of Hualien’s mountainous terrain collides with the sea. Break up the drive with a breezy beach walk or take to the water in a kayak, paddling out into the infinity of the Pacific. The dynamic landscape of Chongde beach offers spectacular sights at any time of day, from the chiaroscuro textures of the cliffs at midday to the crystalline starry night sky.

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 help you check in to your hotel at the end of the day.

Option 1: Baiyang Trail

Baiyang Trail begins a bit ominously, heading straight into a pitch black tunnel in the side of a mountain. Once inside, things are just as you’d expect in an island cavern – they’re wet. So, headlamps (or fully-charged phones with lights) and well-tractioned shoes are a must. From there, eight more tunnels await, but the end point view of the spectacular Baiyang Waterfall is definitely worth the spelunking adventure to reach it.

  • Distance: 4.1km round trip (~2.5 hours)
  • Difficulty: Easy

Option 2: 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

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).

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

Drive: Taroko Gorge to Shitiping

The drive from Taroko Gorge to Shitiping takes around 2.5 hours. However there will be several stops and activities along the way.

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.

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.

Indigenous Bunun Village

The Bunun people are one of Taiwan’s high-mountain-dwelling tribes who spent much of their time roaming from place to place, relying on slash-and-burn agriculture and honed hunting methods to survive. Immerse in Bunun traditions by learning first-hand how to climb trees to forage for bird eggs, trek through the jungle in search of boar and mark the jungle trail so as to not get lost after a long day searching for food.

Shimen Cave

Stretch the legs with a short walk ending in some light spelunking. An endless tirade of wind and water whipping against the shore sculpted the hollow archway of Shimen Cave. From inside the damp cavern, the sea and sky are framed in a rocky ovular window. Above, sink holes reveal jungle-laden skylights of various shapes and sizes.

Shitiping

Shitiping is famed for its unique geology, a terrace of pot-marked rocks carved out by prolonged sea and wind erosion. The gray slab stones can be easily traversed along the shore and at low tide form extensive tide pools. A peek inside may yield any array of temporarily-trapped sea life: crabs, starfish, sea cucumbers, hermit crabs and fish. In summer months, whales and dolphins migrate past this shore and a prolonged peer toward the horizon is a promising way to catch the arched back of some of these silent giants.

Your guide will help you check in to your hotel at the end of the day.

Indigenous Amis Village and a Coffee Plantation

Head to the northern edge of the island where lies a remote coastal village of the Amis people. You’ll be welcomed to the home of the tribe’s chief, whose charming property sits nestled in a valley and overlooks terraces cascading into the turquoise sea. Chat with the chief to learn about the history, traditions, and customs of this aboriginal tribe, then feast on a home-cooked lunch filled with tribal delicacies. Afterward, explore the misty coffee plantation and try your hand at roasting coffee beans, before taking home your own aromatic souvenir.

Option 1: Indigenous Amis Tribe Crabbing

The Jingpu Tribe also belongs to the Amis indigenous group, but where the previous tribe was mountain-dwelling, this tribe is settled near a river estuary. Instead of hunting land animals for food, their main resource is the sea and the abundance it holds within. Spend some time with a member of the tribe to learn their honed technique for catching sand crabs. Bury some traps in the sand, watching the tide wash over it to the rhythm of the ocean. After, remove the trap and see what ten-legged crustaceans hide within!

Option 2: Nighttime Squid Fishing

When night settles in and darkness blankets the island, the sea comes alive with small dots of twinkling lights. A closer look reveals each light to be a ship, strung to the teeth with lights, luring creatures from the depths of the sea to the surface. Welcome to the world of squid fishing.

Head out on a boat to learn about squid fishing first-hand, watching the squid rise toward the light and pulling one up yourself in a net. After returning to shore, indulge on a late-night local snack, squid porridge!

*Squid season is July through September. May through June is flying fish season, another Taiwanese specialty.
*Please note that this activity is not advised for those prone to sea sickness.

Drive: Shitiping to Taipei

The drive from Shitiping to Taipei will take around 4 hours. However there will be several stops and activities along the way.

Liyu Lake

Liyu Lake, also known as Carp Lake, is eastern Taiwan’s largest freshwater body of water, and WildTaiwan’s answer to the tourist-laden Sun Moon Lake. Liyu Lake is no where near as popular as Sun Moon Lake, drawing largely domestic fun-seekers and local Hualien residents looking for a watery escape. Behind the dazzling blue waters of the lake, the land-slide-scarred slopes of Liyu Mountain rise up, threatening to kiss the sky. A range of water and land based activities are available to choose from: paddle boarding, kayaking, paddle boats, cycling trails, and the likes. Take your pick and enjoy Liyu Lake your way!

Your guide will help you check in to your hotel at the end of the day.

Depart: Taipei

Your WildTaiwan guide and private chauffeur will escort you to the Taipei Taoyuan International Airport (~1-hour traffic dependent) and help you check in for your flight home.

Journey Gallery

Your Accommodations

Eslite Hotel Taipei

Eslite Hotel, Taipei

The Eslite Hotel is modern Taiwanese minimalist culture embodied. Eslite started out as a sleekly designed bookstore in Taipei, and upon gaining huge popularity among locals, began opening more locations all over the island. As the company continued to gain following, they transferred the same style into a hotel, surrounded by its own culture and creative park, a green oasis right in the heart of the city.

Expect stylishly minimalist rooms with large windows gazing out over a lush city park with the skyline of the city’s most iconic buildings framed just beyond.

Adagio Shitiping

Adagio Shitiping is an absolute hidden gem among Taiwan’s many accommodation offerings. The property is located just few meters from the sea offering spectacular views from every room. Inside, local Amis indigenous culture is at the heart of every flourish, from the cuisine to the artwork on the walls.

Prepare for a local boutique that puts local culture and guest comfort at the forefront of their mission, giving a sense of comfort and luxury while immersing fully in the surroundings.

Silks Place, Taroko Gorge

Located within the heart of Taroko Gorge, Silks Place Taroko combines modern Chinese, aboriginal and natural design elements throughout its 160-room resort.

This luxurious mountainside retreat offers a restorative and serene escape after a day of exploring the rugged gorge. Unwind on the top deck’s outdoor pool and its feng shui-inspired Retreat Lounge, with 360-degree panoramic views of the gorge’s limestone rock formations, turquoise Liwu River, and lush forestation.

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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