If one journey could be said to sum up the contradictions and joys of travel in Taiwan, it’s the twenty-minute cable-car ride from the capital, Taipei, into the surrounding hills. As the skyline of the pulsating modern city gives way to the tops of fir trees, a tranquil world of temples, ornamental gardens and tea houses takes over. Seated on a stone-lined terrace, you can gaze through gaps in the swirling mist at the distant metropolis over a bowl of sweet plums and cup of finest Chinese tea, poured from terracotta pots with bamboo handles.
Contrary to the country’s hi-tech image, traditional Oriental pleasures tend to provide the defining moments of trips to this distinctive island, located off the coast of southeast China... Watching shaven-headed monks lighting incense in ancient Shinto shrines; admiring the afterglow reflected on the glassy waters of Sun Moon Lake; tracing the arc of an eagle’s flight high above the marble crags of the Taroko Gorge, or sampling pungent “thousand-day eggs” beneath the two-thousand-year-old cypresses of Yushan mountain.
Suggested tours to Taiwan
Tailor-made Tour 16 days from £4700 per person
This 16-day trip covers Taiwan’s scenic and cultural highlights, starting in Taipei and preceding in a clockwise direction around the island. With a generous three nights in the capital, you’ll have plenty of time to marvel at the Imperial Chinese tr…
Group Tour 11 days from £1755 per person
This trip around Taiwan showcases the best the island has to offer, with a vast range of scenic and cultural attractions. Take in the frenetic city of Taipei, explore the spectacular Taroko Gorge before continuing on to soak in the hot springs at Chi…
Taiwan Places and Experiences
On the northern side of the island, Taiwan’s high-rise capital is a pulsating, modern metropolis of 2.7 million, but one still very much in touch with its natural and spiritual hinterland. Ridges of green mountains surround the city, provid…
With a history of international trade dating back more than four centuries, Tainan, in the southwest of the island, has retained more of a period patina than other Taiwanese cities. It was founded in 1624, when the Dutch East India Company…
A deep trench between snow-capped mountains, the Taroko Gorge will come as a big surprise to anyone who comes to Taiwan expecting wall-to-wall skyscrapers. You can drive up it via a route carved along the foot of the mighty marble crags by…
Sun Moon Lake
Numerous hiking and biking trails thread through and around the forested shoreline of Sun Moon Lake, where hotels, restaurants, temples and shrines vie with each other for the best views of the mountains. Tiny Lalu Island, in the centre of…
Alishan National Park
Renowned for its 2,000-year-old cypress trees, the Alishan National Park is situated at the foot of Jade Mountain (3,952m), the highest point in northeast Asia. A metalled road runs all the way to Alishan itself, but a more atmospheric way…
Encircled on three sides by the ocean, Kenting National Park occupies the windswept Hengchun Peninsula in Taiwan’s far south – a promontory famous, above all, for its wonderful golden sand beaches and clear, coral-fringed seas. You can dri…
Fo Guang Shan Monastery
The northeastern outskirts of Kaohsiung City are home to the country’s largest monastery complex, Fo Guang Shan. Comprising a huge assemblage of ornately decorated prayer halls, gardens and shrines interconnected by bougainvillea-lined walk…
On the far northeastern side of the island, the Yehliu Promontory extends 1,700m (5,577ft) into the Pacific – a giant layer cake of sedimentary rocks which the waves, wind and rain have eroded into a phantasmagoria of weird shapes. Outcrops…
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