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Taiwan is known for its advanced economy, highly developed industrial arsenal, especially manufacturing, as well as having modern infrastructure and architecture.

But Taiwan also has a vibrant culture, colorful festivals, fascinating temples, fine museums, interesting markets and scenic coastline.

In the interior of the country one can find great national parks, attractive lakes, tropical valleys and above all impressive mountains.

Taiwan Discovery Tour 14 nights / 15 days
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Taiwan's Key Attractions
 

TAIPEI 101

Taipei 101 skyscraper, 508 meters high, holds the world record in three of the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat's height categories: tallest to the structural top, tallest to the roof, and highest occupied floor.  The outdoor observation deck had been for some time the highest in the world. It is now surpassed by the outdoor deck in the Shanghai World Financial Center as well as by the Burj Dubai, now the world's tallest tower.

The tower's design specifications are based on the number "8", a lucky number in traditional Chinese culture; it features 8 upward-flaring sections, and is supported by 8 super columns. The Jin Mao Tower in Shanghai also employs this numerology in its design.

Most aspects of the design, layout and planning were reviewed and approved by a Feng Shui master. Inside the base of the tower is the large Taipei 101 Mall. All in all this unique architectural landmark is definitely worth a visit.

 

 

CHIANG KAI-SHEK MEMORIAL HALL

Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial is an impressive monument to a great Chinese leader. The majestic hall towers over 25 hectares of landscaped gardens, graceful pavilions, and ponds. A statue of late President Chiang looks out over the city from the main building. An elegant Ming-style arch at the main entrance is flanked by two classical-style buildings, the National Theater and the National Concert Hall. The square between the two buildings is a popular gathering place during festive occasions.

 

CHINESE HANDICRAFT MART of the Taiwan Handicraft Promotion Center

Established in 1957, the Chinese Handicraft Mart is the only non-profit government sponsored organization devoted to the promotion of Taiwan Handicrafts. It is a one-stop shopping place in Taipei for gifts, jewelry, art furniture and home furnishings.

 

CHINESE OPERA EXPERIENCE

Experience the colorful world of Chinese opera at the famous National Taiwan Junior College of Performing Arts. A special program arranged by the College includes an introductory slide show on Chinese opera, a live performance on stage, and visits to the opera museum and rehearsal.

 

CONFUCIUS TEMPLE

It was erected in 1854, destroyed during the War in 1895, and rebuilt on the same site in 1925. The building and walkways  around the main temple are examples of traditional Chinese architecture, and the gardens are immaculately landscaped. Confucian Temples provide a sharp contrast to traditional Buddhist and Taoist temples. There are no statues, lanterns or other colorful decorations, no tables for food offerings, and no incense burners. The Taipei Confucius Temple is a lovely, serene place to relax or chat with friends.

 

GRAND CRYSTAL MUSEUM

It is a place that has built up a large collection of ancient glass spanning over 3,000 years or more. Much effort has been put into the academic and practical research of the still much unexplored history of glass in China.  

 

HOT-SPRING BATHING WITH BEAUTIFUL MOUNTAIN VIEW

The Tatun Mountain Range has the largest density of hot springs in Taiwan.

Among the 10 different hot-spring locations in the area, Yangmingshan Hot Spring belongs to the mild alkaline sulfuric hot springs. The water has a light milky color and a temperature of about 70 degrees centigrade. Bathing in the hot-spring water has a relaxing and refreshing effect. It helps to relieve muscle pains, nervous pains, digestive problems, arteriosclerosis and other ailments.

 

LATE PRESIDENT CHIANG KAI SHEK'S RESIDENCE

Built in 1950 after Chiang Kai Shek's retreat from Mainland China.

Partially opened to the public in 1996, it had become a popular garden for Taipei citizens. To visit there, you would find a chapel where Chiang Family used to be and a wide European style Garden with flowers in blossoms.

 

LIN AN –TAI'S OLD HOMESTEAD

Also known as the Lin An –tai Mansion, built during the Ching Dynasty in 1783.

This is a fine example of traditional architecture. Originally at Szewei Road, it was subsequently removed in 1978 and stored due to the widening of Tunhwa South Road before being rebuilt in its current location beside Hsinsheng Park.

 

LUNGSHAN TEMPLE

Taipei is home to many temples. Of these, Lungshan (Dragon Mountain) Temple is the oldest and most famous. It is also one of Taiwan's finest examples of temple architecture.

 

MARTYRS' SHRINE

It is and excellent example of classical Ming dynasty architecture, dedicated to the fallen heroes of China's wars. There is an hourly changing of the guard ceremony at the entrance which many people find interesting.

 

MONGOLIAN BAR-B-Q DINNER

Mongolian barbecue dinner is served at a popular downtown restaurant with a variety of meats, venison, vegetables, spices and seasoning. Concoct yourself and let the cook transform to perfect dinner on a huge charcoal grill.

 

NATIONAL PALACE MUSEUM

Taipei's National Palace Museum houses the world’s largest collection of Chinese art treasure. Most of the 620,000 art objects were part of the Chinese imperial collection that was brought to Taiwan for safe-keeping. The collection is too large to be displayed at one time! While many popular pieces remain on permanent display, other items are rotated regularly, making each visit unique.

 

PAOAN TEMPLE

It was built more than 230 years ago, making it one of the island’s oldest temples. It contains many ornate and intricate carvings. Visitors should look closely at the columns decorated with ferocious writhing dragons and the ceilings adorned with wood carvings of lions, flowers, and figures from Chinese mythology. The yellow tile roofs and eaves are lined with hundreds of  miniature figures. The three main deities worshipped at Paoan Temple, each with its own separate section, are Paoshen, the God of Medicine; Julaifo, the God of Luck; and Chusheng Niangniang, the Goddess of Birth and Fertility.

 

PRESIDENTIAL PALACE

The building which houses the Office of the President of the Republic of China was inaugurated in March 1919, about seven years after construction begin. Its architectural design features an elegant and majestic symmetry. Inside the building there are tall pillars, refined ornaments, long corridors and exquisite arches, which are all Baroque characteristics prevailing in Renaissance. Since the central government was relocated to Taipei in 1949, this building has been used as the Office of the President of the Republic of China.

 

SHIHLIN NIGHT MARKET

It is the biggest night market lying north of the Grand Hotel. At the Shih Lin Night Market you can hunt about for food and souvenirs till about midnight. Area restaurants serve beer, snacks, and full meals until around three in the morning.

 

TIHUA STREET

Tihua Street is a hub of history which offers a window on Taiwan’s colorful and quickly vanishing past. The narrow street has scores of shops selling a variety of traditional Chinese goods: mysterious Chinese herbal medicines, baskets and sacks of sun-dried foods, etc. In addition to the sights, sounds and smells of traditional Chinese shops, visitors come to Tihua Street to see the Hsiahai Temple, home of the City God and his eight disciples. The temple’s ceiling is covered with glowing red lanterns and incense hangs thick in the air as a constant steam of the faithful pray and give offerings to her temple deities.

 

WULAI ABORIGINAL VILLAGE

Wulai, about 10 miles south of Pitan, is the most accessible area from Taipei to view the aboriginal tribesmen who once were the head Hunters of Taiwan. Descendants of the proud tribe of Taiyals, the present-day Wulai aborigines for the most part dress and perform for the benefit of tourists.

 

YANGMINGSHAN NATIONAL PARK

Yangmingshan, the mountainous area north of Taipei City, is famous for its beautiful scenery with traces of volcanic activities and abundant natural resources. Yangmingshan National Park is Taiwan’s third national park and the one closest to a major city. All year round, Yangmingshan has attractions to offer- flowers in spring, beautiful sky in summer, fruits and maple leaves in autumn, as well as hot-spring bathing and snow in winter.

 

MINIATURE MUSEUM

This is the first one in Asia, and the second in the world! It has the second largest collection of contemporary miniature arts collection with more than 200 dollhouses made at the scale of 1:12 to present every detail parts of fine furniture and architectures.

 

PING-LIN TEA MUSEUM

Ping-Lin is in Taipei County, south of Taipei City. And it takes about 1 hour to drive to this beautiful country side with green mountains and running water and fresh air to see the tea farms along the hills and visit the Tea Museum to learn about the history of tea and the way to make tea, also to have a taste of tea in Ping-Lin.

 

CHINESE KUNG FU SHOW

Kung Fu to most of us is rather a physical practice for health's sake than martial arts for fighting skills. To conduct one’s bold minds, breath and circulation with energetic hits and actions, it is possible to reach to unimaginable levels.

 

FLOWER MARKET

On every weekend and holiday, the Jianguo Holiday Flower Market, located under the overpass of Sec. 3, Xinyi Rd. and Jianguo S. Rd., is always packed with people. With a good mood of non-working holidays, everyone wants to purchase some flowers to brighten their homes. Besides flowers and plants, Jianguo Holiday Flower Market also sells floral instruments and seeds. This is obviously a heaven for gardening lovers. The Da-an Forest Park is sited just right beside the Jianguo Holiday Flower Market; hence it is definitely the best location to admire or buy flowers.

 

JADE MARKET

The Chienkuo weekend jade market, which lies under the freeway overpass at the intersection of Chienkuo South Road  and Jenai Road in east Taipei, is a scene to behold on Sundays. On a day when the rest of the city is at its most peaceful, there is bustling activity in the elongated market. Hundreds of jade-laden tables with their proprietors sitting close by are sifted through by a steady stream of shoppers intent on finding that special piece of jade. The whir of fans, a steady hum of voices, and demure lighting create a pleasant atmosphere that comes as a welcome respite from the traffic, which still thunders past on the busy fairways running parallel to the market on either side.

 

FOOT MASSAGE

Foot Massage is acupressure points health treatment for soles, and it is touted as an ideal way to make you healthy if you are sick and make you better if you are well. It is recently a very popular therapy for health sake. You can experience such a medicine free yet need no hard exercise to improve circulations and health condition.

 

KEELUNG AND NORTHERN COAST

 

KEELUNG

Keelung, a 40-minute drive northeast of Taipei, is one of Taiwan's international seaports and transportation hubs. In the Chung Cheng Park you can view the huge statue of the goddess of mercy and also a panoramic view or Keelung Harbour.

 

YEHLIU

Yehliu is famous for its natural rocks formations which are an amazing array of artistic shapes created by erosion and other natural forces. Among the rocks, the queen's head is one of the most famous ones.

 

NORTHEAST COAST

 

CHIUFEN VILLAGE

The villages of Chiufen were once centers of gold mining in Taiwan. The gold is gone, but these quaint old villages, built of closely-packed houses clinging to steep mountainsides, continue to offer enchanting scenery and fascinating glimpses into the lifestyles of the past.

 

THE NORTHEAST COAST NATIONAL SCENIC AREA  

The Northeast coast National Scenic Area is located in the northeast corner of Taiwan. The scenic area is noted for its numerous capes and bays backed by green mountains.

 

NORTHERN TAIWAN

 

SANHSIA & TSU SHIH TEMPLE

Sanhsia, about 22 km southwest to Taipei, is a bustling town with narrow, winding streets and brick buildings at least a century old. The main attraction is the Tsu Shih (Divine Ancestor) Temple, built in honor of Sung Dynasty loyalist, Cheng Chao-ying. This temple was in ruins at the end of World War II, and a meticulous restoration project has been underway for some forty years. The temple is known for its intricately carved stone and bronze columns and statues, carved stone lions, camphor wood carvings, and exquisite bronze bas-reliefs.

 

YINGKO, POTTERY HEAVEN

A short trip to the lush countryside southwest of Taipei brings you to Yingko where hand-painted replicas of elegant Ming (1368-1644) and Ching (1644-1911) vases are produced. The small town is Taiwan’s pottery center and its narrow streets are lined with shops selling everything from earthenware tea sets to delicate statues.

 

YINGGE CERAMICS MUSEUM

Ceramic is closely related with human life and culture. Different ceramic culture features developed from different families, different people. The uncover of Taiwan’s pre-historic ceramics, the ceramic figurines and the aboriginal people’s ceramic pots has confirmed the independence of Taiwan civilization. The immigrants from Mainland China in the past 400 years followed the ceramic skills of China, the Japanese ceramic techniques brought in during the Japanese occupation period, the western industrial techniques and the development and renovation of modern fuels after the restoration of Taiwan, plus the imported raw materials characterized the development of Taiwan’s ceramics. And, the Ceramic Museum was born. Located in the center of ceramic industry, Yingge town, the Yingge Ceramics Museum is the first ceramic theme museum established by county government. It unveils a historical page of Taiwan Ceramic Development. The development goal of Yingge Ceramics Museum is to build the spirit of Taiwan ceramic culture with the joint efforts of industries, the government, and the academy.

 

SHIHMEN RESERVOIR

Shihmen Reservoir forms the largest lake in northern Taiwan. The Shihmen Dam, on the Tahan River, is nestled in the foothills south-west of Taipei. Constuction of the dam began in 1955 and was completed in 1964.

 

TZUHU

Tzuhu, which translates as Lake Kindness, is where the body of Chiang Kai Shek is entombed. The site is regarded as temporary; it is intended that the body will be returned to the mainland after China is reunited. Most of the Chinese in Taiwan and many foreigners have visited the site.

 

WINDOW ON CHINA

A hour south of Taipei, you can tour China's Great Wall, Peking’s Forbidden City, as well as the temple of Heaven, all in one stop. The place is Window On China, which captures in miniature some 100 of the best-known structures in both Taiwan and mainland China. The exhibits are populated by more than 50,000 tiny figures, all done perfectly to scale. Other attractions at the park include traditional Chinese gardens complete with ponds, waterfalls, winding pathways and a tea house.

 

CENTRAL TAIWAN

 

TAICHUNG

Taichung, the island's third-largest city, is the cultural and economic hub of central Taiwan. The city has a number of attractive parks, including Taichung Park, and Jungjeng Park. Jingming 1st Street, now known as the Taichung Commercial Center Pedestrian Area, has many interesting shops, cafes, and galleries. Taichung's two premier cultural institutions are the Natural Science Museum and the Taiwan Museum of Art, which has 24 galleries

displaying both Western and Chinese works of art.

 

SUN MOON LAKE

The poetically named Sun Moon Lake is a year-round resort situated 762 meters (2,500 feet) above sea level in the lofty central mountains of Taiwan. The lake area has many noteworthy places of interest, such as the Hsuan Chuang temple, Wen-Wu temple, Tse-En (filial devotion) pagoda and so on. Enjoy one of the loveliest regions in Taiwan.

 

LUKANG  

Located about 21 Kilometers (13 miles) from Taichung. Lukang is one of the best preserved traditional Taiwanese towns. Descendents of the hundreds of craftsmen and artisans, hired to construct the magnificent homes and temples during Lukang's heyday (1750-1850), have turned the town into a center for arts and handicrafts. Among Lukang's many superb temples are the magnificent Matsu and Lungshan temples (both designated first-class historical sites). The Lukang Folk Arts Museum offers a superb collection of Ming and Ching dynasty artifacts.

 

TAIWAN FOLK ARTS MUSEUM

It was first opened in 1983 as Taiwan Folk Arts & Antique House. The museum building dates back to the early Republican period and is a fine wooden structure in Tang dynasty style set within an oriental scenic garden. The collection of the museum currently includes over 4,000 items. The arts of Chinese dress and interior adornment are represented by traditional men's and women's clothing, stomach squares, tiny shoes for bound feet, silver ornaments, decorative pouches and mandarin squares. These vividly illustrate the wonderful handicraft skills characteristic of Chinese womenfolk of earlier times as well as contemporary tastes in dress.

 

FORMOSAN ABORIGINAL CULTURAL VILLAGE

Formosan Aboriginal Culture Village is situated in Nantou county, central Taiwan, close to the internationally renowned beauty spot of Sun Moon Lake Covering an area of 62 hectares, the park was built to preserve Taiwan's aboriginal cultures and to develop the tourism industry. It includes village environments of nine Formosan aboriginal tribes. All aspects of the layout and architecture of the houses have been completed under the guidance of learned experts, so as to convey a genuine idea of traditional aboriginal culture.

 

EASTERN TAIWAN

 

TAROKO GORGE

Taroko Gorge is one of the seven wonders of Asia that no traveler should miss.

You will be guided along a 12-mile stretch of highway built into awesome marble cliffs high above the rushing river. Your route will take you through 38 tunnels including the Swallow Grotto, Tunnel of Nine Turns and the marble bridge of Motherly Devotion.

 

TAITUNG

Relatively unscathed by the industrial development in the rest of Taiwan, Taitung was one of the island's earliest human settlements. The indigenous tribes which originally lived here vanished long ago, but the county still boasts more tribal people than the combined aboriginal population of all of Taiwan's other counties.

 

THE EAST COAST NATIONAL SCENIC AREA: BLACK SAND BEACHES

The Huatung Coastline route, designated the East Coast National Scenic Area, is noted for its scenic beauty and miles of nearly deserted black sand or pebble beaches. Points of interest along the scenic area include the marvelous coastal views from the Caves of the Eight Immortals (Pahsientung), which are an important archaeological site perched on the steep mountainside; the lighthouse and interesting seashells on the Island of the three Immortals (Sanhsientai); and the unusual rock formations and ancient banyan trees of Little Yehliu.

The Shihtiping area, just south of Chichi Bay, is known for its aboriginal village and coral reefs, as well as incredible rock formations. The Tourism Bureau manages the 170-km (106-mile) East Coast National Scenic Area and plans to develop a wide range of recreational and leisure activities along the coast, including hiking, mountain climbing, camping, fishing, and water sports.

 

SOUTHERN TAIWAN

 

ALISHAN

Alishan is famous throughout the island and parts of Southeast Asia for its spellbinding sunrise over the celebrated Sea of Clouds that rings Yushan (Mt. Jade). Blue and emerald peaks rise from a fleecy gray ocean which the rising sun turns vivid hues of silver, pink, and red. A leisurely half-day stroll along forested paths allows visitors to take in Alishan's other attractions. The enchanting Sisters Ponds are two small pools (one with a wooden bridge and pavilion) named for two lovelorn aborigine sisters who drowned themselves there. Another attraction is the Three-Generation Trees, one growing out of another, and a third from the second. Other pleasant diversions include several temples, a cherry garden, a deer farm, and a small museum.

 

TAINAN

Tainan is Taiwan’s oldest city and the fourth largest urban center on the island. The city has many ancient forts, gates and temples, relics of its long history, in which the Dutch, Japanese and Chinese have all played key roles. Many date back almost 300 years. The city's large number of temples serve to maintain a rich tradition of arts, and are some of the finest example of Taiwanese architecture. This is a city of narrow lanes, courtyards, and garden walls, as well as of cozy, chic cafes and sedate teahouses.

 

KAOHSIUNG

Taiwan's second largest city and the island's economic showcase, Kaohsiung is home to Taiwan's largest international seaport and is the only city besides Taipei with an international airport. Wide streets are fronted by modern steel-and-glass towers. But Kaohsiung is more than just a large industrial center, the city has several notable tourist attractions and is close to many others. Shoushan (Longevity Mountain) is a hill with temples, pavilions, shaded terraces and impressive views of the city from the Martyrs Shrine at the top. The beautiful resort known as Chengching (Crystal Clear) Lake is a 15-minute drive north of downtown Kaohsiung. A major attraction at the lake is the stately Restoration Pagoda. The resort also has islands and bridges, towers and pavilions, tree-lines paths, a nine-cornered bridge, hiking and golf. The seven-tiered Dragon and Tiger Pagodas stand in the water of Lotus Lake at Tzuoying near the graceful Spring and Autumn Pavilions. A nine-cornered bridge links the pagodas to the shore. Across the lake are temples dedicated to Confucius and Kuankung, the God of War. Lotus Lake is a 20-minutedrive from Kaohsiung and a tour of the lake's attraction can be done in 30 minutes to an hour.

 

CHENG CHING LAKE

The Chenching Lake has a lot of tourist attractions and is the largest lake in Kaohsiung County. A major attraction at the lake is the stately Restoration Pagoda. The lake also has islands and bridges, towers and pavilions, boating and aquariums, tree-lined paths, a nine-corner bridge.

 

SPRING & AUTUMN PAVILIONS

The seven-tiered Dragon and Tiger pagodas stand in the water of Lotus Lake at Tzuoying near the graceful Spring and Autumn pavilions. A nine-cornered bridge links the pagodas to the shore.

 

KENTING NATIONAL PARK

Kenting National Park, which was established on Jan. 01, 1948, is Taiwan's first National Park. The park is superbly located. Spanning the Hengchun Peninsula, it faces the Pacific Ocean to the east, the Bashi Channel to the south, and the Taiwan Straits to the west. Some of Taiwan's largest coral reefs lie off the coast and the forests along the park's western edge are the last of Taiwan's coastal tropical forests. The name Hengchun Peninsula says much about the area’s attractions, for it means Eternal Spring. The fantastic climate, lush forests, beaches, and reef environments make Kenting a rival to internationally famous tropical resorts like Bali and Phuket.

 

 

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