Friday, April 20, 2012

Taiwan: 11 Days Round The Island Taiwan Trip Itinerary

My blog's traffic has increased significantly after my last post on Taiwan trip sampler, I should get busier with more Taiwan posts for the obvious reason.

Synopsis of my Taiwan trip

I was originally expecting a slow start of the trip and gradually increasing the momentum to allow time for my mom to adjust to my pace in my previously proposed 11 days Taiwan northern central-west trip sampler.

It turned out to be the opposite way, it was a frenzy start and gradually slowing down at the end of the trip.

Again some very last minute rearrangement of my trip this time I traveled East coast and went all the way down to Southern side of Taiwan after being convinced by Willy, the backpacker hostel owner in Taipei, that we should get more out of the journey to the East at this time of traveling.

Taipei 101
The weather was unpredictable, we got a Sunny warm morning with about 25 Degrees of Celsius, all of sudden the sky turned gloomy and the temperature would drop to below 20 Degrees with strong breeze of cold wind.

We spent a few great nights in Taipei, then setting foot in Hualien and Taitung along the East line before finally settling down in Tainan skipping Kaohsiung and Kending for some reasons.

A few places we covered while we were in Taipei City 台北市.
  • Taipei 101 台北101
  • Ximending 西门町 (Young & trendy district)
  • Longshan temple 龙山寺
  • Natinal palace museum 台北故宫博物馆
  • Dihua street 迪化街 (one of the oldest street in Taipei)
  • Zhongxia east road 忠孝东路(东区 Shopping heaven)
  • Wufenpu 五分埔 (Best shopping place)
  • Yangmingshan national park 阳明山公园
  • Xingtian temple 行天宫
  • Raohe night market 饶河夜市

There's no particular reason why some destinations were skipped from the original plan, it's just my own preference and last minute decisions from the optional travel list.

From the sight of the buzzing cities with the third tallest building in the world to the magnificent of the natural and historical landmarks, Taiwan never came short of my expectation about her.

I'm amazed especially by Taiwanese's rich culture and politeness, their extraordinary friendliness electrifies me, the people are full of love and most are highly spirited!

Ilha Formosa, The Beautiful Island, claimed by the Portugese sailors centuries ago when they first saw Taiwan, is truly one of the most beautiful travel destination you can not miss!

These pictures will tell us how diverse is Taiwanese cultures are.

Zhongxiao road, one of the most concentrated & busiest streets in Taipei

Xingtian temple 行天宫

七股龙山庙 Qigu Longshan temple near Tainan
Yangmingshan 阳明山

Jiufen old quarter, 九份老街 is the reminiscent of Sapa in Hanoi, about 1.5 hours away from Taipei city centre by bus, Jiufen old quarter is an old quarter situated at the far hilltop near Keelung city. Avoid any weekend trip, this place is flocked by travelers!

We traveled by light rail to Shihlin station and transited with public bus to Jiufen. I'd recommend to spend a few nights staying at Jiufen to use some quiet moments, there are many cheap and remarkable B&B (Bed & Breakfast local house converted hostel, 民宿) providing comfortable accommodation.

Jiufen old quarter 九份老街 is one of the signature of Taiwan

Temple at the entrance of Raohe night market in Taipei 饶河夜市

My favourite Taiwanese signature food is no other than the minced pork rice, 卤肉饭.

Minced pork rice 卤肉饭
It's not until we reached Hualien 花莲 we found out about how magnificent it was about Taroko National Park 太鲁阁国家公园, one of the great wonders in Asia according.

The park is located towards North of Hualien Country, a full day tour to Taroko gorge, 45 minutes from Hualien township with bus or motorbike, is the favourite destination for many hikers and cyclers.

The stunning gorge is known for its sheer marble cliffs, deep, winding tunnels, and the Liwu River which flows through the craggy landscape.  We stopped at the Swallows Grotto, where the section of the highway runs through tunnels carved into the marble vertical sides of the gorge.

One of the few highlights are:
  • Taroko Skadang Tracks 砂卡当步道
  • Swallow Caves 燕子口
  • Tunnel of Nine Turns 九曲洞
  • Eternal Spring Shrine 长春寺
  • The Bridge of Kind Mother 慈母桥
  • Tiansiang Lodge 天祥
Entrance to one of the Asia wonders, Taroko, it means magnificent and beautiful in Truku

Taroko Gorge's remarkview from Skadang tracks 砂卡当步道风景

The East line train has the panoramic views of the East coast beaches and agriculture farms, mostly are paddy fields.

Paddy field along the East coast line
We stopped at Tainan 台南 after Taitung 台东 and traveled out of town to Taijiang National Park 台江国家公园 for the marine life of the famous lagoon.

The dense of mangroves and salt fields near the inland sea of Qi-gu 七股 are also the highlights where we unexpectedly met by troops of locals celebrating the God's birthday where the locals marched and danced their Gods out from their respective temples to greet the birthday of another God.

Celebration of God's birthday

Taijiang roadside where the gentle wind welcomed us
Fort Provintia 赤崁楼 in Tainan
Taiwan Round The Island Trip Itinerary

It covers the Northern, Central-east and Southern part of Taiwan.

Day 1 - Arrival in Taoyuen > Taipei
Day 2 - Taipei
Day 3 - Taipei > Jiufen
Day 4 - Taipei
Day 5 - Taipei > Hualien
Day 6 - Hualien
Day 7 - Hualien > Taitung
Day 8 - Taitung > Tainan
Day 9 - Tainan
Day 10 - Tainan
Day 11 - Tainan > Taoyuan > Kuala Lumpur

Main Attractions

View [Taiwan] Backpack itinerary sampler in a larger map

Overall Expenditures

Living standard in Taiwan is considerably OK, Taiwanese beer is as cheap as TWD$450/500ml per can! Well that's my simplest correlation, haha!
  • Accommodation - TWD$400 - 700/night/person
  • Motorbike rental - TWD$500-600/day
  • Food - TWD$250-500/day/person
We spent most of the nights at backpacker hostels, they are generally clean and with highly passionated hostel helpers sharing all the tips required for your trip. 

Information about a city is easily available as the travel info center usually being setup at train or MRT stations.

Rental of motorbike at certain cities are highly recommended to save traveling time, the providers are all over the place near train stations. 

Resourceful Reference

One of the handiest reference site I've visited frequently when I was studying about Taiwan is Kafkaesque's blog, the 30+ year-old European blogger who moved to Taiwan couple of years ago is really thorough about Taiwan.

There is a great Chinese forum giving every little good tips about the best deals and hot travel spots in Taiwan, Backpacker Taiwan Forum. Forumers are very helpful in recommending amazing places for visit, best deal of your packages and accommodation with humble reviews through their own experience, the discussion goes beyond Taiwan to other regional countries as well.

Well, until we meet again in my next blog, I should say that Taiwan is truly remarkable, a livable place as described by my good friend, Derek. And no doubt, Taiwanese is one of the warmest people on the planet you'd want to meet.


  1. hey, can you briefly suggest a few cheap accomodation places which you have experienced?

  2. It depends where you want to go. I'll be posting them in future but you can always check them out at Backpacker Taiwan Forum if you understand Chinese writing.

    Otherwise I suggest you go to, this site is quite handy at times of desperate haha.

    Here are some hostel I stayed, they are direct links to their Facebook pages.
    - Colorful in Hualien
    - Fuqi in Tainan
    - Taitung

  3. Hi there! Thanks for mentioning me. I'm happy my blog helped you to plan your trip. I still have so many posts in draft and no time to update... too busy.

    Glad you had fun here :)

  4. Hey! I just have a quick question about the camera that your using. The pictures that you took are amazingly nice! I'll be getting a new camera soon and was wondering what camera you used. Is it a DSLR camera? And I'll be visiting Taiwan soon for the first time and thanks so much for sharing all this information. Thanks once again!

  5. Hi Jody, I'm using Nikon DSLR - D90, it's an old model but it's sufficient for me to do some wonder in my small photography world of collection =) Glad that my blog helps you for your coming trip, enjoy!

  6. hi,u say that one "Backpacker Taiwan Forum"..can you give me the link..cos i want have a look..and if i plan to stay in Taichung for 1 night you have any recommendation for the place or what? thanks a lot ya..hehe

    i am han hong~

  7. Hey Hanghong, the link is at the last section of this article.

    I've written about there to go in Taichung in another article -

    Taichung is famous for its largest night market, you can take a walk in the city for a night.

    However, travelers usually take the opportunity to travel to the nearby cities and towns like Dajia and Lugang as mentioned in the another article. You can google the names it will give you a lot of pictures and info.

  8. Hi Andrew, I'm quite interested in Jiufen (partly because of Chen Qi Zhen's song, haha). I'm planning a 5D4N family trip in Taipei, so I'm just wondering if you would recommend staying in Jiufen for a night?
    Great information anyway! This has been a great start for my trip planning. =)

    1. Hi weiting, I personally would recommend you to spend at least a night at Jiufen to appreciate the old town at the fullest. I'm updating a Jiufen post soon and hopefully it would help. Glad you like the blog, thx.

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  10. hello! mind to share your taiwan full itinerary with me? eg:including details of transportation, etc...

  11. Hi andrew, really anjoying reading your blog and feel so awesome! i would love to travel to taiwan next year for 11days. Do you have any advice or reconmand hostel at taipei city area which is easier to take train to other places?hope to get your reply soon. =)

  12. Hi, do you think if it is alright travelling to Taiwan this May?
    As in the weather...OK?

  13. Hi Andrew,

    Your post was so helpful to me! I am going to Taiwan for the entire month of July and am doing research for my own itinerary. Your feedback assisted me in deciding places to visit etc. Great pictures too!

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  16. Hi, when you rent a motorbike, you need an international license right? What if we dont have international license? Are there any convenient transportation we can hop on to save time on travelling from city to city?