Our Compact Taiwan holiday incorporates the essential highlights, offering a tantalising teaser of what the island has to offer. Travel from Taipei’s modern metropolis, along dramatic coastal cliffs into the world’s deepest marble gorge at Taroko National Park, descending through tea plantations to the glimmering Sun Moon Lake.
At a glance
- Meander between Taipei’s historic landmarks
- Rush to the top of Taipei 101 tower
- Feast on streetfood at Shilin night market
- Hike through the grottos of Taroko Gorge
- Drive through breathtaking mountain scenery
- Cycle around the stunning Sun Moon Lake
Taipei - 3 nights
Taipei is a blend of ultra-modern and time-old tradition, where Taoist temples and Japanese-era mansions sit alongside innovative architecture in a city shaped by a fascinating fusion of influences. There’s a dazzling array of culinary options, from high-end restaurants to vibrant street food; steaks and sashimi to Shanghai dishes and bao buns. Like the food, the architecture tells its own story – evocative incense-filled temples built, grand Japanese and Kuomintang era buildings, and the towering skyscrapers of Xinyi. Its exciting cultural scene, friendliness and approachability make it a truly stand out star among Asia’s busiest cities.
Day 1 - Arrive Taipei
On arrival in Taiwan, you'll be met by your private guide, who will accompany you to your Taipei 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 - Tour of city's historic highlights
Set out for a day exploring this complex city, travelling like the locals do on Taipei’s efficient MRT (mass rapid transport). First stop is the grandiose Chiang Kaishek Memorial, Taipei’s most notable historical landmark, built to honour the late president Generalissimo Chiang Kai-Shek. Get there early to experience the memorial at its most serene, sharing the space with groups of locals who congregate here at first light to practice tai chi. Continue to the National Palace Museum, arriving before the crowds, to see the world’s largest collection of Chinese artefacts, dating back over eight millennia. Take time to peruse the museum’s treasures before heading on to the Martyr’s Shrine, dedicated to the fallen Kuomintang soldiers of the Chinese Civil War, to witness the silent, solemn changing of the guard. Walk inside and see the beautiful Chinese architecture before enjoying the rest of your day at leisure.
Day 3 - Taipei 101, Longshan Temple, Shilin night market
Take the MRT to Taipei 101, an iconic 1,666 ft high tower that was the ‘world’s tallest building’ for five years. Ride the high speed lift to the 89th floor observation deck (in just 40 seconds), to enjoy panoramic views over the city. Step back in time with a visit to the significant and atmospheric Longshan Temple, to see the colourful phoenix and dragon figures that adorn the roof, and enormous bronze incense burners fill the air with the scent of incense. Wander along Narrow Herb Alley, where a traditional market that has been here as long as the temple sells all manner of medicinal herbs. As the sun sets, head to the sprawling Shilin night market to sample tasty Taiwanese treats such as oyster omelette, stinky tofu and an astonishing array of barbecue. Shop, snack and soak up the atmosphere before returning to your hotel.
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Taroko National Park - 2 nights
Taroko National Park, on the east coast, is home to many spectacular mountains and canyons. The most famous is Taroko Gorge, the world’s deepest marble gorge with the Liwu River roaring through it; arguably the most impressive natural wonder in Taiwan. Explore the winding trails on foot, choosing from several routes through the breathtaking landscape. Take in the Tunnel of Nine Turns, the Swallow Grotto, and the poignant Eternal Spring Shrine dedicated to 450 highway workers who lost their lives nearby. Tread quietly, and you may spot wild boar, bear, deer and a wide array of birds as you wander.
Day 4 - Train to Taroko National Park via Qingshui Cliffs
Travel by train across the mountains towards Taiwan’s dramatic east coast. Disembark at Xincheng station and make the short drive to the breath-taking Qingshui Cliffs: towering coastal land that drops almost vertically into the ocean. From Qingshui, it’s just a short drive to Taroko National Park. Pause at the well-run Visitors Centre to get some background to your time here, before proceeding to your hotel in the heart of the national park, where the rest of your day will be at leisure.
Day 5 - Taroko Gorge walking trail
Spend a full day exploring Taroko Gorge’s many highlights. As well as visiting Swallow Grotto and the Eternal Spring Shrine, escape the crowds and appreciate the area’s natural beauty with a walk along one of the National Park’s numerous trails. The Lushui Trail offers fantastic views over the gorge and Liwu River from its elevated cliff-cut sections, whilst the Shakadang Trail runs along the bottom of the gorge, following an old indigenous hunting track. The Swallow Grotto Trail follows an old section of road, and presents a particularly photogenic perspective of this narrow valley carved through seemingly endless sheer cliff-faces.
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Sun Moon Lake - 2 nights
The romantically-named Sun Moon Lake - a wide body of water surrounded by Taiwan’s central mountains - has fascinated visitors for centuries. Taiwan has relatively few open bodies of water, and, at 2,460 ft above sea level, the cooler air is a refreshing change. Thao communities have lived on the lake’s shores for hundreds of years, and their traditions speak of a party of hunters discovering it while chasing a white stag through the forested mountains. Take a cable car high into the nearby hills, cycle along winding trails, and enjoy spectacular sunsets over the water.
Day 6 - Mountain drive to Sun Moon Lake via Qingjing Skywalk
Start early for a higher chance of clear skies as you drive across the Central Mountain Range, following Taiwan’s highest road across the spine of the island. Banana palms and bamboo make way for pines, then steep sided pastures as you climb higher where the views are reminiscent of the Swiss Alps. Wuling is the highest point of the highway at 10,740 ft and from here the road descends again. Pause at the newly-opened, ¾ mile long Qingjing Skywalk from where you can enjoy even more panoramic mountain views, before continuing on to Sun Moon Lake where the rest of your day will be at leisure to sink into the serene surroundings.
Day 7 - Cycle tour, private cruise, Wen Wu temple
The 20.5 mile undulating road that encircles Sun Moon Lake has been touted as one of the most breathtaking cycle routes in the world. The path is dotted with interesting pagodas and temples, small beaches and lush flora, and offers a picturesque perspective of the lake. Set off early to avoid the heat and the crowds, cycling for as little or as long as you like. Swap your bicycle for a private boat and head out onto the water, circling sacred Lalu Island and passing traditional floating bamboo cantilever fishing nets. Back on land, make a visit to the impressive Wen Wu Temple. On a hillside overlooking the lake, this temple’s dazzling orange roof affords a dramatic foreground to the azure lake, and the pagoda-clad hills and mountains beyond. The rest of your day will be at leisure to enjoy the lake.
Day 8 - Depart Taipei
Journey north to Taipei Airport in time for your onward flight.
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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|
City Suites NanxiBehind the angular exterior of the City Suites Nanxi lies a labyrinth of quiet, well-defined rooms which balance a business-like simplicity with soft, welcoming details… See more
Crossing the Rainbow BridgeRight on the doorstep of Taroko National Park, its manicured gardens set into the forested hillside, the Crossing the Rainbow Bridge is a delightful stopover spot where you can savour the region’s natural beauty… See more
Full House ResortThe chalet-like atmosphere of the Full House Resort, heightened by the sturdy hardwoods in the structures and furniture, gives this boutique hotel an appealing cosiness... See more
The LandisThere’s an agreeable atmosphere of classic European luxury to The Landis, with its Art Deco styling and between-the-wars Paris interiors. Of course, it's all contained within a relatively modern... See more
Taroko Village HotelLocated on an idyllic plateau in the midst of towering mountains, the Leader Village is a sustainable eco-retreat that offers easy access to all the natural splendour of the Taroko National Park... See more
The Richforest HotelLocated on a promontory adjacent to Yidashao Pier, the impressive wooden facade of the Richforest Hotel abuts the edge of the scenic Sun Moon Lake. The panoramic views from its glass-fronted restaurant... See more
Hotel EclatThe standards of hospitality, accommodation and dining in this fashionable boutique hotel have earned it endless favourable reviews but, for us, it’s the smaller, finer details that truly sets the Hotel Éclat apart... See more
Silks PlaceLocated in a spectacular mountain river valley, around an hour from Hualien City, Silks Place boasts a fascinating history, having originally been built in the 1950’s as a VIP hotel on the order... See more
Fleur de Chine HotelSkilfully blending Western style accommodation with elements of Taiwanese, Chinese and Japanese tradition, the Fleur de Chine Hotel is a harmonious retreat where you can explore the art and culture of the Sun Moon Lake region... 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).
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 stuffPlease 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.
- 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.
- 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 noteAll prices are correct at the time of publishing. They are liable to change and can only be confirmed upon submitting an enquiry.
FlightsWe 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.
VisaYou will not require a visa to enter Taiwan. Your consultant will be happy to advise you on visa requirements.
PassportPlease 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.
InsuranceYou 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 PreventionYou 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 ProcedureOnly 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 ResponsiblyWe 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.
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.