Rail Tour of Taiwan

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Fly with EVA Air, an award-winning 5 star airline on this adventure to Taiwan. Start your holiday n style with a choice of three classes of cabin service: Royal Laurel Class  (complete flat bed Business Class), award-winning Premium Economy Class and Economy class. Personal seat-back state of the art touch screen, audio/video on demand entertainment systems. 

Taiwan’s fast and efficient railway system links the country from north to south, east to west. The clean and modern network offers 4 classes to suit any budget and a genuine alternative to the delays and frustrations of airports. The joy of rail travel in Taiwan lies outside the carriage, in the stunning alpine and coastal landscapes rolling past your window. Towns and cities appear, only to emerge again into timeless pastoral scenes; great mountain ranges loom, then part to reveal deserted, black sand beaches, the glittering sea beyond. Smaller trains wind through seas of cherry blossom, up beyond the clouds to reveal tumbling mountain rivers, glittering lakes.

Best time for this itinerary is April, May, October, and November.

Touring style: Self-guided adventure by rail.

Rail Tour of Taiwan at a glance
  • Day 1 Arrival into Taipei
  • Day 2 Taipei sightseeing
  • Day 3 Pingxi Historic Railway Line
  • Day 4 Yangmingshan and Tamsui sightseeing
  • Day 5 High speed rail from Taipei to Taichung and Sun Moon Lake
  • Day 6 Sun Moon Lake touring
  • Day 7 Train from Taichung to Chiayi and Forest Train to Alishan
  • Day 8 High Speed Rail to Kaohsiung
  • Day 9 Kaohsiung sightseeing
  • Day 10 Kenting National Park touring
  • Day 11 Kaohsiung train to Taitung
  • Day 12 Train travel from Taitung to Hualien
  • Day 13 Taroko Gorge touring
  • Day 14 Taroko Express to Taipei
  • Day 15 Northern Coast and Yehliu touring
  • Day 16 Departure from Taipei
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Day 1 Arrival in Taipei

Arrive Taipei and take a private transfer to your hotel.

Distance and journey time: 48 km, approx 45 mins

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Day 2 Taipei sightseeing

This morning, you will enjoy a  private tour of Taipei City and The National Palace Museum.
Taipei-the name means North Taiwan is the principal cultural and economic metropolis. The tour affords a glimpse of Chinese culture and the bustling city. It includes a visit to the Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall dedicated to the late President, passing the Presidential Square en route. Watch the Changing of the Honour Guards ceremony at the Martyrs' Shrine and onwards to the National Palace Museum which houses the world's largest and most priceless collection of Chinese art treasures. Also included is a visit to the Taiwan Handicraft Centre before returning via Grand Hill.

Day 3 Pingxi Historic Railway Line

Take a taxi to the Taipei Railway Station for the short train ride to Ruifang station.Connect to the Pingxi Line using your one day pass.This pass will allow you to hop on and off at any of the 12 stations on the route. This 8-mile long Pingxi Line is steeped in history and was originally built to transport coal. Admire the scenery on this route that goes pass green mountain cliffs, waterfalls, small mining towns, country hamlets. We suggest that you ride the train to the end of the line at Jingtong and decide where to stop on the return journey. Pingxi and Shifen are two villages of interest and there are also hiking trails that led up into the hills.

Overnight in Taipei

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Day 4 Yang Ming Shan National Park and Tamsui sightseeing

Transfer to Yang Ming Shan for an overnight stay at a Hot Springs Resort.

Sightseeing tour of Tamsui - visit Shihsanhang Museum, Fishermen's Wharf, Hung-Mao Cheng, Tamsui Old Street and Guanou Nature Park.

Overnight in Yang Ming Shan.

Distance and journey time: 12 km, 40 mins

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Day 5 High Speed Rail from Taipei to Taichung

Transfer to Taipei Railway Station and take the High-Speed Rail to Taichung. On arrival, transfer to Sun Moon Lake for 2 nights at the superb LALU Resort.

Distance and travel times:

Yang Ming Shan to Taipei HSR Station: 18 km, approx 40 mins

Taipei HSR Station to Taichung HSR Station: approx 45 mins

Taichung to Sun Moon Lake: 64 km, approx 1 hr

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Day 6 Sun Moon Lake Tour

Full Day Sun Moon Lake tour.

All rooms at the Lalu face the Lake, and you may want to wake up early this morning to appreciate the sunrise. Take your time and enjoy a refreshing breakfast at the lakeside. After breakfast take a private lake cruise directly from the hotel's pier and visit Lalu Island and the Tzi-an Pagoda.

Overnight in Sun Moon Lake.

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Day 7 Train to Chiayi and Forest train to Alishan

Private transfer to Taichung TSR train station for a train to Chiayi TSR Station. From Chiayi, depart for Alishan by Forest Train. As the entire Alishan Forest Railway has not been restored, the current service is available from Chiayi to Fenqihu. The 3 hr journey climbs slowly through the mountains via a series of switchbacks.

Your afternoon tour of Alishan Forest Recreation Area begins with a visit to a 3,000-year-old cypress named The Sacred Tree, struck dead by lightning in 1947. Tour the village museum, The Two Sisters Pond, Three Generation Tree as well as Ali Forest Park.

Overnight at The Alishan House.

Distance and journey times:

Taichung to Chiayi by train: approx 1.15 hrs

Chiayi to Alishan by Forest Rail  approx 3 hrs

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Day 8 High Speed Rail to Kaohsiung

Early morning catch the famous Alishan Chushan Train to watch the sunrise. As sunrise time varies in different seasons and every day, the schedule of the Chushan Sunrise Watching Train is adjusted based on the sunrise time.

Afterwards, take the bus or train to Chiayi HSR station for the High-Speed Rail to Kaohsiung, an international seaport located on the south-west coast of Taiwan. 

Overnight in Kaohsiung.

Distance and journey times:

Alishan to Chiayi by bus: approx 2 hrs

Chiayi HSR to Zouying HSR: approx 30 mins

Zouying HSR Station to Kaohsiung: 8 km, approx 30 mins

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Day 9 Kaohsiung sightseeing

Visit Cheng Ching (Clear Crystal) Lake resort area renowned for its lover’s bridge, ornate pavilions and the Chung Hsing (Restoration) Pagoda, one of the best-known landmarks in Taiwan. Visit the Lotus Lake area, site of the newest Confucian temple, which houses the Spring and Autumn Pavilions.

Overnight in Kaohsiung.

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Day 10 Kenting National Park sightseeing

Drive to Kenting National Park for a full day excursion. Hengchun is the gateway to Kenting National Park. The city itself was once completely surrounded by a city wall; now about half of the wall remains intact, as well as the four city gates. Kenting's rugged coastline provides some of the area's most spectacular attractions such as Eluanbi Lighthouse, the rock formations of Maobitou and the Longpan grasslands.

Overnight in Kaohsiung.

Distance and journey time: 107 km, approx 2.30 hrs each way

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Day 11 Kaohsiung to Taitung

Transfer to Kaohsiung TSR train station. Take the train to Taitung.

Overnight in Taitung.

Distance and journey time by train: approx 2.10 hrs

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Day 12 Train to Hualien

Transfer to the train station for train to Hualien. Stay for 2 nights.

Distance and journey time by train: approx 2 hrs

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Day 13 Taroko Gorge touring

Tour the amazing Taroko Gorge, a stunning, awe-inspiring river gorge lined by sheer river-carved cliffs of marble. The visit includes stops at the Swallow Grottoes, the Marble Bridge, and the Eternal Spring Shrine. Leave for Taipei via the Hsuehshan (Snow Mountain) tunnel. Overnight in Hualien.

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Day 14 Train from Taroko to Taipei

Transfer to the train station for the tilting Taroko Express train to Taipei. Arrive for 2 nights.

Distance and journey time: approx 2.30 hrs 

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Day 15 Northern Coast and Yehliu touring

Proceed to Keelung to visit Chung Ching Park where you can view the huge statue of the Goddess of Mercy and also a panoramic view of Keelung Harbour. Continue to Yehliu Geopark famed for its numerous rock formations resembling a Queen’s head, Fairy Shoe, and Lover’s Rock. Drive to the Northeast Coast, visit Pitou Cape and Nanya Rocks Formation then onward to Chiufen Village. The villages of Chiufen were once centres of gold mining in Taiwan. The gold is gone, but these quaint old villages, built of closely-packed houses clinging to steep mountainsides, continue to offer enchanting scenery and fascinating glimpses into the lifestyles of the past.

Overnight in Taipei.

Distance and journey time: 42 km, approx 1 hr each way

Day 16 Departure

Transfer to the airport for departure.

Distance and journey time: 48 km, approx 45 mins

 

Do you like the freedom of travelling by train? Then this Rail tour of Taiwan is for you. This suggested itinerary will cover the main sites. It is your choice to choose to visit different sites or not to visit some.  Please get in touch with us to discuss. We are ready to help.

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Highlights

Alishan Forest Railway

The Alishan Forest Railway meanders to the summit of Mount Alishan, one of Taiwan’s most stunning and revered natural wonders

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Hualien: Gateway to Taroko

Taroko National Park is set among spectacular mountain scenery, foaming rivers, winding marble canyons.

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Kaohsiung Fo Guang Shan Buddhist monastery

In the shade of Monkey Mountain (Shoushan), the old city of Zuoying nestles in a bend of the Love River.

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Kenting National Park: lakes, dunes, beaches and coral reefs

Kenting National Park is an extraordinary microcosm of Taiwan’s natural riches.

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Sun Moon Lake in Taiwan’s mountainous centre

The southern section of Lalu Island is shaped like a new moon, giving the lake that contains it, Sun Moon Lake, its name.

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Taichung: gateway to the mountains and lakes

Located centrally in western Taiwan, Taichung - the country’s 3rd largest city - enjoys a temperate year-round climate, and a thriving cultural scene.
Historic sites - lost elsewhere in the country in the name of progress - have been preserved in Taichung

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Taipei glittering 21st Century skyline

Taiwan’s capital, Taipei, is as varied as the island named by the Portuguese as Formosa, meaning ‘beautifully formed’.

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Taitung and the East Coast

Located on the delta of the Beinan River, at the southern tip of Taiwan’s rift valley, Taitung County’s natural beauty justifies the name local people have bestowed upon it through generations, ‘The Garden of Taiwan.’

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Tamsui: magnificent sunsets

Formerly occupied by the Spanish, Dutch, Portuguese, Chinese and Japanese, Tamsui – now a district of Taipei – enjoys a rich cultural history.

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Yang Ming Shan National Park

Experience natural hot springs shrouding the countryside in gentle mists, a temperate climate, and stunning mountain scenery in this beautiful national park.

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Yehliu Geopark

Experience deserted, rocky shoreline, fine beaches, natural hot springs, steaming rivers, tumbling waterfalls, other-worldly rock formations – lake, island and mountain scenery, all in a day.

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Accommodation

Mt Ali, Superior Class
Alishan House

Located on a slope of Mt Ali, the highest peak in south-east Asia, the charming Mt Ali Forest Railway lifts you through the clouds to this stunning and unique property.

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Beitou, Superior Class
Grand View Resort Beitou

Located close to Taipei, the hotel is set serenely on a wooded hillside with views across The Danfeng Mountains.

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Hualien, Deluxe Class
Silks Place Taroko

Located amid stunning mountain scenery, the property, combining modern Chinese and traditional Taroko architecture, is set within the Taroko National Park.

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Hualien, Speciality Lodging
Leader Village Taroko

Located on the Bruwan Plateau in the Taroko National Park, the traditional home of the indigenous Taroko people, the hotel is set idyllically among stunning mountain scenery.

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Kaohsiung, Deluxe Class,
Grand Hi-Lai Hotel

Located in the bustling Central Business District, at 186 metres high the hotel, designed in a neo-Classical style, commands panoramic views across the city.

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Kaohsiung, Superior Class,
Howard Plaza Hotel Kaohsiung

Located in the heart of the Central Business District, and conveniently placed for road and rail links, the hotel is also a pleasant walk from the celebrated Liuho Night Market.

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Kenting National Park, Deluxe Class
Caesar Park Hotel

Located at the very southern tip of Taiwan, on the tropical Hengchun Peninsula, the hotel is set between the imposing Mt Dachien, and a secluded, palm shaded path that leads to Hsiaowan Beach.

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Kenting National Park, Deluxe Class,
Chateau Beach Resort

Located on a pristine, white sand beach overlooking the Taiwan Strait, the property is set within the natural beauty of Kenting National Park.

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Sun Moon Lake, Deluxe Class
The Lalu

Constructed in 1923 on the orders of Crown Prince Hirohito of Japan, on the shores of the lake, and later used by President Chiang Kai-Shek to entertain foreign dignitaries, the property today is a fabulous and historically important resort hotel.

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Sun Moon Lake, Standard Class
Hotel Del Lago

Located on the shores of Sun Moon Lake, a minute’s stroll from Shueishe Wharf, the hotel’s architecture is a delightful fusion of western minimalism, serenely in concord with its pristine environment, and authentic aboriginal detailing.

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Tainan, Deluxe Class,
Shangri-La's Far Eastern Plaza Hotel, Tainan

Located at the heart of downtown Tainan, the hotel is conveniently placed for the city’s temples, and significant historic sites. It is also ideally situated in terms of transport links, and for Tainan’s signature FE21 department store.

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Taipei, Deluxe Class,
Landis Taipei Hotel

Located at the heart of Taipei’s Central Business District, the hotel is conveniently positioned for airport, MRT and road links. It is also an easy walk to many of the capital’s attractions, including Xinsheng Park, Xingtian Temple, and the Taipei Fine Arts Museum.

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Taipei, Deluxe Class,
Palais de Chine Hotel

Located in the heart of old Taipei, the 5 Star property is a happy fusion of eastern elegance and western chic, with stunning views across Taipei West.

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Taipei, Superior Class,
Hotel Quote Taipei

Located at the heart of Taipei City, a short walk from the MRT and Taipei Arena, and a 6 minute drive only to the airport, the hotel’s contemporary wood and metal architecture is a fusion of traditional Taiwan architecture, with the Modern.

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Taitung, Deluxe Class,
Formosan Naruwan Hotel & Resort Taitung

Set within lush tropical gardens, against a stunning mountain backdrop, the hotel’s architecture is an extraordinary fusion of western post-Modern, and traditional Taiwanese aboriginal. Soaring sandstone and glass elevations house arts and artefacts from the Lu-Kai, Dao, Puyuma, and Amis people, to fine effect.

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