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Taiwan Essentials:
Taipei, Taroko National Park, Sun Moon Lake,
Tainan, Kaohsiung, Lukang, and Sanyi
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Known for centuries as "The Beautiful Isle," Taiwan teems with dramatic landscapes. Uncover its treasures via this itinerary that combines explorations of both cities and nature.
ACCOMMODATIONS
•2 Nights Taipei
•1 Night Taroko National Park
•1 Night Sun Moon Lake
•1 Night Tainan
•1 Night Kaohsiung
 
INCLUSIONS
•Arrival & Departure Transfers
 Per City
•Overland Transfers Per City
•Taipei City Tour
•Taroko Gorge Tour
•Sun Moon Lake &
 Monuments Tour
•Walking Tour of Tainan
•Confucius Temple Visit
•Fo Guang Shan Monastery Tour
•Lukang Monuments Tour
•Sanyi Woodcarving Village Visit
•Daily Breakfast
 
 
Arrival in Taipei:
Upon arrival, transfer to your hotel by car or van. Rest of the day at leisure. Consider using a One-Day Metro Pass for unlimited rides on the Metro system, in order to visit attractions of your choice.

(Accommodations, Taipei)
Taipei:
After breakfast, pick up by English-speaking guide for the Half-Day City Tour. Places visited: the National Palace Museum, the finest collection of Chinese art in the world; the Martyrs' Shrine, built in grand style reminiscent of the Imperial Palace in Beijing, and observe the Changing of the Guard Ceremony; a local Chinese temple; the Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall, a monumental memorial to the first Leader of the Republic of China; and a visit to the Handicraft Center, a one-stop shopping center for Chinese handicrafts, jewelry, and furniture. Later, drive by the Presidential Building before returning to your hotel. Afternoon at leisure.


(Breakfast, Accommodations, Taipei)
Taipei to Taroko:
8:30 a.m. pickup by English-speaking driver/guide for half-day transfer to Taroko National Park. The first stop is at Qingshui Cliff, a spectacular cliff face composed of gneiss and marble, and rising over 2,500 feet straight up from the Pacific Ocean. Continue along the scenic coastal road to the main area of the Park, characterized by mountains, marble canyons and waterfalls. We drive through the beautiful Taroko Gorge Gateway and Eternal Spring Shrine, proceeding on to the Swallow Grotto, where we can walk along the pedestrian path above the Liwu River gorge, observing the cliff faces that rise straight up from the river.

(Breakfast, Taipei; Accommodations, Taroko)

Taroko to Sun Moon Lake via Scenic Mountain Road:
After breakfast, we take the cross-island Scenic Mountain Road westward to Sun Moon Lake. First stop is at Mt. Hehuan Visitor Center, at 9,800 feet providing spectacular views. We continue to Sun Moon Lake, visiting Wen Wu Temple with its beautiful view of the lake. Located in the middle of Taiwan, at an elevation of 2,450 feet, this is the only natural large lake in Taiwan. The lake is renowned for its many species of birds, including black-crowned night herons, green-winged teals and many more.

(Breakfast, Taroko; Accommodations, Sun Moon Lake)
Sun Moon Lake to Tainan:
In the morning, we visit these famous sights around the lake: Holy Monk Shrine, Tehua Village, and Tse En Pagoda. Then we drive to Tainan, the ancient capital of Taiwan. In 1661, the Chinese military leader Cheng-kung drove the Dutch from the island and established his administrative center here. Tainan was the political, economic and cultural center of the island up to the late 19th century, and thus is home to many historic sites. We take a walking tour around Anping Fort, built by the Dutch in 1624. It was the Dutch administrative center for 40 years.

(Breakfast, Sun Moon Lake; accommodations, Tainan)

Tainan to Kaohsiung:
In the morning, we visit Chikhan Tower, built by the Dutch in 1653 as Fort Provintia; this is a good place to learn more about the colonial history of Taiwan. We continue on to the Confucius Temple, Taiwan's largest, built in 1665.

In the afternoon, we drive towards Kaohsiung, stopping for a visit at Fo Guang Shan, the largest Buddhist monastery in Taiwan. We visit the main shrine and the Buddhist Museum. At this stop we will have a light vegetarian lunch. After the visit, we continue on to Kaohsiung, the largest city in southern Taiwan, and check in at the hotel. In addition to its mild marine climate, Kaohsiung is known for its night markets, fine cuisine, and historic attractions. Rest of the day at leisure.

(Breakfast, Tainan; Lunch, Accommodations, Kaohsiung)

Kaohsiung/Lukang/Taipei:
In the morning we visit the Dragon and Tiger Pagodas, built in 1976 on the shore of Lotus Lake. Nearby we visit the Spring and Autumn Pavilions, four-story octagonal pagodas built with yellow walls and green tiles. You will have some free time to walk around this area and have a coffee break or other refreshment.

At 11:30 we depart for Lukang, the former economic and transport hub of central Taiwan. Located on the western coast of Taiwan, Lukang historically has been an important trading port, and thus it has a great diversity of immigrant cultures, particularly in its cuisine. Our first stop here is at Lungshan Temple, built in the late 18th century and an excellent example of southern Taiwan temple architecture. Be sure to see the famous carved dragons as well as woodcarvings of many other animals.

In the afternoon we continue north along Taiwan's west coast to Sanyi Township. Historically a center for wood carving, Sanyi has the only museum in Taiwan devoted solely to woodcarving; the town is still a center for furniture-making and other types of woodcarving. You will want to take some photos here.

Finally at 7:00 p.m. we arrive at Taipei's International Airport. Here your tour ends as you head for your next Avanti destination!

(Breakfast, Kaohsiung)
 
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