I recently returned from a one week cross country tour of Taiwan hosted by Journeys by Escapes, Air Canada & the Taiwan Tourism Bureau. Over the course of the week I fell in love with its beautiful culture, delectable cuisine, stunning natural surroundings and its vibrant cities! Read on as I take you on a highlights tour of this stunning destination! Part 1 takes you from Taipei to Taitung, Taiwan.
Day 1 – Vancouver to Taipei, Taiwan
Air Canada offers non-stop service between Vancouver (YVR) and Taipei (TPE) aboard the state-of-the-art Boeing 787 Dreamliner. The direct flight from Vancouver to Taipei has a travel time of 12h 50m.
This was the longest direct flight I have ever taken and I was a bit nervous how comfortable I would be in the plane over such a long flight. Luckily, the Dreamliner had very comfortable seats (even in economy) and plenty of leg room (I’m 6’1″) and an in-seat entertainment system to stay comfortable during the trip. I really liked the tall cabin which lets you be able to stand up from your seat to stretch without banging your head on the overhead storage bins.
Arriving in Taipei, Taiwan
After arriving in Taipei and getting through customs our group was met by two representatives from the Taiwan Tourism Board and our tour bus driver who were to be our hosts for this jam packed week.
After such a long flight we were all eager to get some dinner and check into our hotel. We stopped at a local restaurant called Shin Yeh in the Zhongshan District of Taipei City.
After dinner we checked into the Regent Taipei for a good nights sleep.
Regent Taipei Room Tour
Located in Zhongshan district, Regent Taipei is situated in the bustling heart of the city, offering the best of Taipei. The hotel offers an unparalleled stay amid five-star luxury, embraced by an atmosphere of elegance and prestige.
Regent Taipei Breakfast Buffet
The breakfast buffet at the Regent Taipei was amazing! It had every Asian & Western breakfast item you could think of and then some.
After breakfast we all met in the lobby for our train trip to Hualien.
Day 2 – Hualien & Taroko National Park
We left the hotel in Taipei at about 8am in the morning to catch our 9am High-Speed Train to Hualien. Our bus had collected our luggage the night before and had left early in the morning to be able to meet us at the Hualien Train Station.
Taroko National Park
Taroko National Park is one of the nine national parks in Taiwan and was named after the Taroko Gorge, the landmark gorge of the park carved by the Liwu River. The park spans Taichung Municipality, Nantou County, and Hualien County.
We spend the entire day in Taroko National Park exploring the Qingshui Cliffs, Shakadang Trail, Changchun Shrine, Swallow Grotto, Yanzikou Trail and the Baiyang Waterfall Trail. In all we walked about 12km of trails throughout the park.
Hiking in Taroko National Park
Taroko National Park was a definite highlight of the trip and shouldn’t be missed if you are planning a trip to Taiwan. My favorite part was walking through Swallow Grotto and hearing the birds chirping throughout the gorge and Baiyang Waterfall.
Silks Place Taroko
Silks Place Taroko is part of the Silks Hotel Group, under the Silks Hotel brand.
Away from the city center, this mountainside hotel, located in Hualien County, is the only 5-star hotel within the Taroko National Park.
Silks Place Taroko is designed with Modern Chinese style, combining Taroko’s cultural and environmental characteristics, creating “elegant and sophisticated resort life style” with exclusive services.
Silks Place Roof-top Lounge & Pool
Silks Place Taroko also has the most amazing roof-top pool I have ever laid eyes on!
Silks Place Breakfast Buffet
We had breakfast the next morning at the Wellesley Restaurant at Silks Place Taroko.
The restaurant offers indoor and outdoor dining options with international cooking techniques complemented by fresh local ingredients that lets you experience something new and full of surprises as you dine among the beautiful mountainous landscape.
Day 3 – Taitung, Taiwan
We left the Silks Place Taroko hotel at 8am after breakfast for our drive to Taitung. On the itinerary today was a visit to the Tropic of Cancer Marker Park, Jiaming Tea Garden, Wu Tau Rice Culture Museum, Brown Boulevard and an over night at the Century Hotel in Jhihben Hot Spring.
Tropic of Cancer Marker Park
The Ruisui Tropic of Cancer Marker is a monument marking the Tropic of Cancer in Ruisui Township, Hualien County, Taiwan.
The Tropic of Cancer, the circle marking the latitude 23.5 degrees north, is the Northern Hemisphere’s furthest location from the Equator that can experience the sun being directly overhead. Every summer, on June 22, the sun is directly over the Tropic of Cancer. This “shadowless” effect that takes place at noon is the Tropic of Cancer’s unique astronomical phenomenon.
Jiaming Tea Garden Tea Tasting
Mr. Gao Wei and his wife have been producing tea in the region for over 30 years. Mr. Gao Wei explained the history of their tea company and the cultivation of their teas.
We then got to sample over 20 different types of teas which are grown in their plantation.
Brown Boulevard is a road between rice paddies which was named from the ads of Brown coffee. At the start of the road there is spots where you can rent a bike to ride down the boulevard or you can walk.
This was the one day in Taiwan that we got a downpour. It unfortunately happened right when we were walking down Brown Boulevard so we had to race back to the tour bus to avoid getting drenched so I didn’t get that many pictures.
Century Hotel in Jhihben Hot Springs
Century Hotel is situated in Jhihben Hot Spring. The hotel surrounded by a natural landscape making it a perfect getaway from the city.
Only a 12 minute drive from Jhihben Railway Station and 30 minutes from Taitung Airport, Century Hotel is within easy transportation range to anywhere from Jhihben Hot Springs.
Regular shuttle bus service is available to and from Jhihben Railway Station, for guests to easily enjoy wonderful moments in Taitung.
Century Hotel Room Tour
Century Hotel Roof-top Hot Spring
Jhihben is known for the wonderful hot springs and the Century Hotel has an amazing roof-top hot spring pool area with mountan views for guests to enjoy.
The roof-top Hot Spring Spa is a traditional Japanese style Onsen bath, which means no clothes allowed while bathing. The roof-top hot spring has separate areas for men and women to enjoy and upon checking in you are provided a towel & locker.
If you aren’t ready to go in the buff, you can also enjoy a hot spring bath in your room. The bathwater in all the rooms fill with water from the hot spring.
Having a soak in the hot spring before going to bed was a highlight of staying at this hotel. Especially after another long day exploring Taitung!
Century Hotel Breakfast Buffet
After a quick breakfast in the hotel lobby were were off early to our next destination!
Stay tuned to this space and Journeys by Escapes as we take you further into Taiwan in part 2 coming soon!