Price is based on double or twin hotel room occupancy and includes accommodation, transfers, car/driver, English-speaking guide, activities and entrance fees, breakfasts and some casual lunches while touring. High-Speed train ticket from Taipei to Taichung, Taichung to Kaohsiung and Kaohsiung to Taoyuan are included. Any flights and optional special activities will be quoted separately. Personal expenses, including dinners, alcoholic beverages, spa treatments and gratuities can be paid on the spot while traveling. Prices may vary depending on season, choice of accommodation and other factors.
Take the whole family to Taiwan for an adventure packed with engaging hands-on activities, exotic fun snack foods, historic and culturally significant sites, and bustling night markets that stimulate all the senses. Taiwan is a small island nation with a unique culture shaped by its intertwined history with China and Japan and the existing aborigines. Its friendly people, modern cities and dramatic mountainous terrain makes Taiwan ideal for families seeking a trip with entertainment and education that imparts valuable lessons and lasting memories. In the capital city of Taipei, taste and make iconic pineapple cakes, see the world’s largest damper in action, get a lesson on Taiwan and China’s joint history at the Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall. Release sky lanterns, challenge your imagination with rock formations, and see the labyrinthine village that inspired Ghibli Studio’s acclaimed Spirited Away. Head south to Taichung and see a giant squid, make bubble tea where it first started, and eat ice cream at an ophthalmic hospital where you can learn about the Japanese occupation and how it shaped modern day Taiwan. Discover Taiwan’s aboriginal culture at one of the nation’s most beautiful scenic areas, Sun Moon Lake. In the coastal Kaohsiung, engage in the flourishing southern Hakka culture by painting on paper umbrellas and pounding traditional tea, and learn how pineapples grow and pickle them, too. Who said learning couldn’t be fun?
Arrive in Taipei, the capital city of Taiwan, and meet your private guide at the airport. Check in to the Mandarin Oriental hotel and freshen up. Begin your family’s exploration of Taiwan by beginning with Maokong, a quaint village located at the top of a mountain, well known for its high quality tea. After a long flight, unwind at one of the many teahouses with a cup of hot tea while taking in the mountain air and breathtaking views of Taipei city. Stretch your legs and let the kids expend energy as you stroll the little lanes lined with shops and walking trails, old routes used by farmers to take their tea and rice harvests to town for sale. Hop aboard a gondola to descend the mountain and enjoy a leisurely ride over rolling green hills with sweeping views of the city. The daring can opt to take one of the crystal gondolas with glass floors. Return to the hotel and relax for the evening. For a unique dinner experience sure to delight the kids, try an indoor shrimp fishing restaurant where you catch your food and cook it, too!
Start the morning with a hands-on experience making your own delicious pineapple cakes, the iconic favorite sweet snack amongst Taiwanese locals. Kids will have fun whipping up the batter, forming the pastry, and designing their creations - not to mention eating their crisp cakes fresh from the oven. Head to the very top of Taipei 101, the landmark skyscraper, for soaring views over the city. See the world’s largest damper sphere weighing 660 tonnes, a lesson to the kids about how tall buildings deal with strong gusts. For lunch, head downstairs to Din Tai Fung and try the kid-friendly, famed soup dumplings so good it was awarded a Michelin star. Stop at Longshan temple, originally built in 1738 by Fujian settlers, for a glimpse of religion and history. Visit the Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall and get a history lesson about how the Communist Party of China chased Chiang Kai-shek and the KMT to Taiwan. Stroll Ximending, a vibrant pedestrian entertainment area likened to Tokyo’s Harajuku. Popular with the city’s youth, the streets are packed with shopping, restaurants, street performances all brightly lit with fluorescent lights and signs. In the evening, opt to experience the best of Taiwan’s nightlife and the favorite local activity - snacking at night markets. Parents and older kids can try adventurous eats such as oyster noodles, pork feet noodles, and the infamous stinky tofu, while young ones will be happy with treats like shaved ice with pudding and BBQ pork buns.
Today, leave the city for day trip to nearby sites in northern Taiwan. A cape on the northern coast, Yeliu Geopark is a landscape of unique eroded rock formations. Have fun trying to visualize the image of the object or person for which the rocks are named, such as the Queen’s Head and Fairy’s Shoe rocks. Next, head to the scenic town of Jiufen, a maze of narrow lanes and alleyways rich with history and culture. This decommissioned gold mining mountain town is now a bustling town packed with retro-Chinese style cafes, tea houses, souvenir stores, and snack foods galore. Finally visit Shifen Old Street, a stop along a railway originally built to transport coal. Running along both sides of the track are rows of shops, grocery stores, and eateries. Enjoy the laid back scene of residents chatting and socializing while sitting in front of their homes, visit the majestic Shifen waterfall, see nearby Nanshan Village’s all-blue homes, and capture a picture of the train that runs through town. Kids will especially enjoy the village tradition of writing wishes on a sky lantern and releasing it along the old rail track. Return to Taipei for the evening, and if you wish, head out to more night markets. Shilin Night Market is Taiwan’s most famous and boasts more than 500 stores, Ningxia is Taiwan's first night market and specializes in oyster and egg omelets, and Raohe offers pepper meat buns and traditional handicrafts.
Depart Taipei this morning to Taichung, a short 40-minute journey away by high speed train. Upon arrival, visit the quirky and colorful Rainbow Village, a veteran village saved from demolition by a resident who taught himself to paint and covered the entire village in his whimsical paintings which drew widespread attention. At Miyahara, snack on refreshing ice cream while exploring the restored ophthalmic hospital founded during the Japanese occupation. The whole family will enjoy a visit to the National Museum of Nature and Science which houses a massive Palaeoloxodon elephant skeleton, a preserved Giant Squid, a tropical rainforest greenhouse with live huge Arapaimas and Giant Piranhas, an IMAX Space Theatre, and much more. Spend the evening at the Millenium Hotel, a modern luxury hotel conveniently located in the heart of the city with easy access to shopping, entertainment and dining areas. For dinner, consider taking the kids to a robot-themed restaurant or a quirky restaurant where chairs, tables, utensils even hotpot bowl are all made of cardboard.
Start the morning with a visit to the place where the phenomenon began and learn to make your own cup of bubble tea. Enjoy your delicious handmade drinks during the scenic two hour drive to Sun Moon Lake, a beautiful, picturesque mountain lake in the center of Taiwan. Hop on bikes and take in the fresh mountain air and the enchanting scenery. The lake derives its name from its shape; whereas the east of the lake is rounded like a sun, the west resembles a long, crescent moon, separated in the middle by a tiny island called Lalu. Make your way to Shuanglong Waterfall, passing terraced fields, plum trees and a suspension bridge. Hinged on a steep cliff, the waterfall’s upper and lower fall look like two dragons in the sky, hence the name. If you wish, take a dip in the cool waters. Overnight at The Lalu, Chiang Kai Shek’s former beloved summer vacation spot with superb panoramic views of the lake.
Take the shuttle boat to Lalu island at the center of the lake, home to the ancestors of the aboriginal Thao people. The area is famous for its local handicrafts, fresh seafood, Aboriginal cuisine, and Assam tea - originally brought to Taiwan from India during the Japanese occupation. Move on to Ita Thao, another old village of Thao people where you will find an abundance of street food, souvenir shops and restaurants. Enjoy the fantastic views of the lake from above while on the ropeway to Formosan Aboriginal Culture Village, an outdoor entertainment and educational area with aboriginal dance shows, 3-D theatre, artistic fountain, cultural square, and joy rides. End the day at a traditional tea factory sampling the different locally grown flavors.
Today travel back to Taichung and catch the high speed train down to coastal Kaohsiung, the second largest city in the nation. Visit Lotus Lake, a famous scenic area noted for its numerous temples, rich with Buddhist and Confucius culture and religious sculptures. Kids will particularly like the Dragon and Tiger Pagodas where entrance is through a large dragon’s mouth and exit out through the tiger’s mouth, said to turn bad luck into good fortune. Stop at a local cafe for a refreshment break where kids will enjoy pounding the Hakka tea while dressed up in period costume. Next door, learn about the history and art of the handmade oil-paper umbrella, a staple of the Hakka culture that migrated to Taiwan. See how the parasols are made, then let your creativity flow as you paint your own design on a paper umbrella to take home. In the evening, opt for a cruise down the Love River under a series of colorful bridges and appreciate the atmospheric river scenery, various cafes and restaurants along the riverbank, and rainbow light show projected on city buildings.
Visit the grand Fo Guang Shan Temple, the largest Buddhist monastery in Taiwan. Walk the impressive Way to Buddhahood path flanked by the Eight Pagodas, and reach the Buddha Memorial Center, topped with the world’s tallest bronze sitting Buddha. Here tradition embraces technology in an interactive way, making religious education more interesting for the young ones. Send prayers to Buddha electronically by writing wishes on a touch screen and receive Buddha’s blessing as neon blue light projected onto your hands. For a stunning light show, head to an subway station to behold the world’s largest glass installation piece called the Dome of Light. Designed by an Italian artist, the impressive stained glass ceiling is made of 4,500 panels and is sure to mesmerize viewers of all ages. Head out to a local community farm for a hands-on lesson on pineapple planting or harvesting, and learn how to pickle the fruit, a unique local way of preserving pineapples. Take the last opportunity to eat local snacks and spend the evening at Liuhe night market.