A Taste of the South

Our Taste of the South journey showcases southern Taiwan’s vibrant cultural heartland and tropical beauty. From Tainan’s plethora of temples, head inland to the mud hot springs at Guanziling, visiting small communities in the fertile plains of the ‘banana belt’, and finish in historic Kaohsiung: Taiwan’s second largest city.

At a glance
  • Discover the stories in Tainan’s temples
  • Soak in Guanziling’s soothing springs
  • Paint a parasol in Meinong
  • Feast on hearty Hakka cuisine
  • Wander through Taiwan’s largest Buddhist monastery
  • Cruise down Kaohsiung’s Love River
Itinerary
Price & Hotels

Tainan - 2 nights

Taiwan’s oldest city, Tainan, was the capital from 1683 to 1887, and remains rich in history. Known as ‘Taiwan's Kyoto’, this ancient city has more Buddhist and Taoist temples than anywhere else in Taiwan, and holds an important position as a de facto gatekeeper of traditional culture. Explore centuries-old architecture, such as the well-preserved Dutch colonial Fort Proventia, and the 17th century Confucius Temple; meander through the university campus which is full of bookshops, cafés, and restaurants clustered in the leafy streets; and investigate Tainan’s growing reputation as top foodie destination.

Day 1 - Arrive Tainan

On arrival in Taiwan, you'll be met by your private guide, who will accompany you to your Tainan hotel.

Welcome to Selective Asia! This level of personal service (such as private transfers, private tours etc) is what you can expect throughout your trip. A few services (eg boat cruises) will be shared, but we'll always make sure you're aware of these.

Day 2 - Old city walking tour, traditional dinner

Includes:

Set out on a morning walking tour around the old city, wandering through winding lanes between ancient temples. Each has its own story to tell: the serene and russet red Confucius Temple is Taiwan’s oldest, while the nearby Lady Linshui Temple is considered lucky by couples hoping for a child, and the sombre Dongyue Temple is where families go to commemorate their ancestors. Your afternoon will be at leisure to continue your exploration of the city independently or simply relax until heading out for a multi-course Taiwanese dinner. Tainan is renowned for its cuisine with an astounding number of eateries and regional specialities. Settle down in an atmospheric local restaurant to try a smorgasbord of local specialties including danzai mian (bamboo pole noodles), the disconcertingly named 'coffin bread' (in fact a comforting chicken-stew-filled toasted loaf) and delicious shrimp rolls served with pickled ginger.

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Guanziling - 1 night

Guanziling Hot Springs, nestled in the foothills of Taiwan’s Central Mountain Range, lay claim to being one of only three places in the world to boast ‘mud’ hot springs. The waters contain a diluted ,fine clay which give them a cloudy appearance, and a heavy concentration of natural minerals deemed particularly beneficial by the Japanese who built the area’s first hot spring resort. Enjoy a soothing soak in the warm waters, take a stroll through the village, and explore a number of small, local restaurants serving the regional specialty - clay pot fire roasted chicken.

Day 3 - Travel to Guanziling Hot Springs via Anping

Includes:

Head out early to Anping, Tainan’s oldest district, home to an array of fascinating temples and historical structures. Visit the ornate Matsu Temple, the Dutch era fort, and Anping Treehouse, a colonial warehouse which has become engulfed by a gigantic banyan tree. From Anping, it’s a short drive out of the city to the Guanziling Hot Springs. Check in to your resort, and enjoy the remainder of your afternoon at leisure soaking in the soothing hot spring waters and checking out the local cuisine.

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Meinong - 1 night

Meinong is a picturesque region famed for its exquisitely painted paper parasols, and home to a predominantly Hakka population, who were some of the earliest non-aboriginal settlers in Taiwan. Sample some traditional, hearty Hakka dishes, full of slow-cooked pork and fresh vegetables; visit the small, well-curated museum of Hakka culture; and cycle along the town’s quiet roads, past farms and green rice fields, enjoying the gorgeous backdrop of undulating hills and gently swaying bamboo. Browse Meinong’s renowned craft stores, including a 4th-generation shirt tailor, and a parasol makers workshop, where you can painting your own miniature parasol.

Day 4 - Drive to Meinong via Fire Water Cave & Dongshan coffee farm

Includes:

Leave Guanziling and head south, making a short detour to the extraordinary Fire Water Cave, where natural gas bubbles ignite as they reach the surface of a small pool, creating flames on the water’s surface! Follow the Dongshan Coffee Road through one of Taiwan’s premier coffee growing regions, soaking up the expansive views and stopping en-route to sample a brew at a local farm café. On arrival in Meinong, head out to explore the area, visit the museum and enjoy the local cuisine.

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Kaohsiung - 2 nights

Kaohsiung, on Taiwan’s southwestern coast, has been a hub of activity in the region for thousands of years, with archaeological studies finding prehistoric artefacts from as far back as 5,000 years ago. In modern times, the town has grown from a small fishing village into the country’s second biggest city, and largest port, making it the political and economic heart of the south. The urban landscape is full of leafy parks, laid-back cafés and cultural venues, with two beaches and a lush forest right on its doorstep, and the Love River flowing through the city to the harbour.

Day 5 - Drive to Kaohsiung via Indigenous People’s Cultural Park & Fo Guang Shan monastery

Includes:

Head south towards Kaohsiung, making several stops along the way. Pause at the small village of Santimen, on the edge of Maolin National Scenic Area, where you’ll find the excellent Indigenous People’s Cultural Park. This beautiful outdoor museum depicts all aspects of traditional indigenous life in Taiwan, including historic buildings moved here from elsewhere on the island. Drive to Fo Guang Shan, one of the island’s biggest Buddhist monasteries, where you’ll be guided by one of the resident nuns or monks through the highlights of this vast complex, including the 36-metre tall Great Buddha statue and new Buddha Memorial Centre, built to house a relic of the Buddha’s tooth. Continue on to Kaohsiung, where the rest of your afternoon will be at leisure. If the mood takes you, hop aboard a boats to cruise up and down the river, gazing upon historic structures along the banks.

Day 6 - Cookery class, Lotus Lake

Includes:

Spend the morning learning how to cook classic Taiwanese dishes in the modern kitchens of Chill Chill Kaohsiung – a local project with a focus on Taiwanese culinary culture and quality local produce. Under the watchful eye of the project’s professional chef, you’ll be introduced to key seasonal local ingredients, and use them to prepare and cook three traditional dishes. The proof is in the pudding, as they say, and you'll be enjoying your own creations for lunch. Make an afternoon visit to Lotus Lake to see the impressive temples and pagodas that dot the shoreline. The rest of your afternoon will be at leisure to wander the banks of the Love River, take a boat ride in the harbour, or check out the edgy arts scene at Pier 2.

Day 7 - Depart Kaohsiung

Includes:

Your day will at leisure until your onward flight from Kaohsiung Airport.

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We only provide privately guided holidays - meaning that you will not be expected to share guides or transport for the duration of your visit. You can also start on any day you choose.

Please click on the hotel category buttons below to view hotel details. These are recommended properties only - we have many alternative options for you to choose from if you would prefer. You can mix hotel categories throughout your holiday.

Hotel class Price per person (based on total # travelling)
2 persons 3 persons 4 - 5
First Class £2,216US$2,903 £2,118US$2,774 £1,724US$2,258

La Plaza Hotel

A smart good value hotel conveniently located in central Tainan, the La Plaza is well presented and within easy walking distance to many of the city’s key sights... See more

Toong Mao Spa Resort

The Toong Mao resort is very conveniently located for guests wishing to enjoy the hot spring resort of Guanziling, in Taiwan’s central mountains... See more

Zhongzheng Lake B&B

Surrounded by rural countryside and flower fields that are awash with colour in the winter months, Zhongzheng Lake B&B stands out against a backdrop of forested mountains... See more

Ambassador

Behind the grand urban edifice of Kaohsiung’s Ambassador hotel is a treasure trove of cosy suites and intimate restaurants creating a warm refuge from the city’s rush… See more
Superior £2,413US$3,161 £2,315US$3,032 £1,921US$2,516

Tayih Landis Hotel

At first sight, the Tayih Landis Hotel may appear a little stark - a grey concrete multi-storey block in the heart of the ancient city of Tainan. However, once inside there’s no mistaking the grandeur of the place... See more

Toong Mao Spa Resort

The Toong Mao resort is very conveniently located for guests wishing to enjoy the hot spring resort of Guanziling, in Taiwan’s central mountains... See more

Zhongzheng Lake B&B

Surrounded by rural countryside and flower fields that are awash with colour in the winter months, Zhongzheng Lake B&B stands out against a backdrop of forested mountains... See more

Grand Hi-Lai Hotel

Offering convenient and comfortable accommodation in central Kaohsiung, the Grand Hi-Lai is an excellent base for exploring the city’s renowned museums and temples... See more
Deluxe £2,659US$3,483 £2,561US$3,354 £2,167US$2,838

Shangri-La Far-Eastern Plaza

Tainan may be Taiwan’s historical hotspot, with over 50 sites officially designated as national treasures, but it’s also a city full of modern verve and vigour... See more

King's Garden Villa

The Kings Garden Villa is not, as the name would suggest, a small home-from-home style villa, but an expansive hot springs resort comprising of impressive spa facilities and ... See more

Zhongzheng Lake B&B

Surrounded by rural countryside and flower fields that are awash with colour in the winter months, Zhongzheng Lake B&B stands out against a backdrop of forested mountains... See more

Grand Hi-Lai Hotel

Offering convenient and comfortable accommodation in central Kaohsiung, the Grand Hi-Lai is an excellent base for exploring the city’s renowned museums and temples... See more

Solo travellers are always welcome - please contact us for a tailored quote.

These prices are shown in GBPUSD.
Selective Asia is a UK-registered company, but our client-base spans the globe, so we bank in both GBP and USD and can therefore provide a fixed price in either currency.
We also have payment facilities in Canada, New Zealand, Australia and the EU, and can typically offer better-than-bank exchange rates on the date of payment in these currencies (against a booking priced in GBP).

Itinerary additions

At Selective Asia we specialise in creating unique, tailor-made experiences. The holiday itineraries provided on this website are intended to help you visualise what is achievable in your destinations of choice, over a given period of time and at an intended budget.
Whilst many clients are happy with of our recommended itineraries in the current form (and at the price quoted), there are those that wish to personalise their holiday in some way, whether it be a change of hotel, an additional destination or even start from scratch. This is when our tailor-made specialists come into their own; with many years of experience both living and working in the region they are ideally equipped to advise on alternatives and to facilitate any necessary changes.

The important stuff

Please note: During high season periods (such as Christmas & New Year and Chinese New Year) hotels often levy a surcharge and these are not included in the above prices. Your consultant will be happy to advise you of these.

Inclusive:

  • English speaking, local guide
  • All accommodation listed
  • Land transportation by private air-conditioned vehicles
  • Any domestic flights listed (unless marked otherwise)
  • All admission fees at attractions, temples and activities as mentioned in the itinerary
  • All meals listed
  • International flight reconfirmation.

Exclusive:

  • Flights to/from Asia. We are an ATOL bonded operator and can arrange flights for all our clients, regardless of whether you are departing from the UK or from almost any other worldwide destination.
  • Entry visas
  • International airport departure taxes
  • Any meals not listed in the itinerary
  • Drinks, other than water on activity days
  • Personal expenses (laundry, telephone, drinks, tip...)
  • Travel insurance
  • All other services not listed in 'inclusive'

Please note

All prices are correct at the time of publishing. They are liable to change and can only be confirmed upon submitting an enquiry.

 

Extras

Flights

We will arrange all internal flights used within our holiday itineraries. We can also arrange discounted flights from all UK airports to Asia and we are a fully bonded ATOL operator. If you would like a quote for your international flights then please complete the required section on the enquiry form.

Visa

You will not require a visa to enter Taiwan. Your consultant will be happy to advise you on visa requirements.

Passport

Please ensure that you have a valid passport with at least 6 months validity remaining after your return date. You will also need at least one blank page for each of the countries you are visiting.

Insurance

You will require a comprehensive travel insurance that covers you for medical costs associated with hospitalisation, emergency travel and repatriation back to your home country. We offer our customers a specially discounted insurance policy, ideally suited to the needs that a trip such as this creates. Tick the insurance box in the enquiry form and we will send you a quote to suit your needs.

Vaccinations and Malaria Prevention

You will undoubtedly require vaccinations for your visit to Asia. Please consult your doctor or a vaccination clinic for the most up-to-date advice. They will also be able to advise you of the most suitable anti-malarial medication if required. It is important that you do this well in advance of your departure date.

Booking Procedure

Only once you are completely happy with any holiday itinerary we create for you will we ask for a payment. In order that we can secure availability for your booking we would typically require a deposit of 20%.

Travelling Responsibly

We care about the places and the communities that you will travel through. It is important to us that we travel as responsibly as possible throughout Asia and that we are giving something back to the regions and the people that make these journeys so special. Full details on our approach to responsible travel can be found on a dedicated section of this website.

Make it yours!

Call us on 01273 670 001

Get in touch

Make it yours!

Call us on 01273 670 001

Get in touch

Our tailor-made service costs you no extra

This itinerary is designed to work straight off the peg, but we'll happily tailor it until it's a perfect fit for you, to ensure we’re making the absolute best of your time and funds. All you need to do is ask...

Your own private guides & drivers

You'll typically have your own private guides & drivers throughout your trip. When you will be sharing a service (eg a boat cruise) with others, we'll always let you know.

Book With Confidence

For peace of mind when booking your future holiday to Asia, we have introduced flexible booking conditions & full financial clarity.