Taiwan Lantern Festival small group tour

A small group tour for senior couples and solo travellers to Taiwan. Held annually on the first full moon of the lunar calendar, the Lantern Festival is one of the most fascinating festivities around the globe. The Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival is part of this spectacular Festival. Our Taiwan Lantern Festival program includes Taipei and its Sky Lantern Festival and its impressive Taipei 101 Tower.

From £4,753GBP

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Highlights

  1. 1. Visit the Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival in Taiwan.
  2. 2. View the treasures of the National Palace Museum.
  3. 3. Explore the culinary delights at Raohe Night Market.
  4. 4. See the natural beauty of Sun Moon Lake and stay in Taiwan’s most iconic hotel, the Lalu in Sun Moon Lake.
Taiwan Lantern Festival small group tour itinerary

Departure Dates

Departure Date Price
11 February 2025

Ends 21 February 2025

£4,753 Twin

£5,635 Single

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Small group tours Taiwan | Taiwan Lantern festival

Odyssey offers easy, convenient, and relaxed escorted small group tours across Taiwan and beyond into Asia. We explore Taiwan's fairy-tale sculptured natural beauty, its ancient heritage, and world famous city and museum, all with some truly spectacular scenery along the way. This and more is all waiting to be explored on one of Odyssey’s small group tours of Taiwan, designed for the senior traveller, and led by experienced, and enthusiastic like minded people.

The Taiwan Lantern festival small group tour takes in amazing cultural festivals, temples and shrines. You will witness breathtaking natural landscapes, bustling night markets, magnificent cuisine and hospitable people. Join us on this unforgettable educational experience.

The fully escorted Taiwan Lantern festival small group tour is for 11 days with a maximum of 14 participants. The program leader draws on professional guides to share their knowledge of the culture and history as well as the natural beauty of Taiwan.

Small group tours Taiwan Highlights

Our small group tour includes a stop in Taipei for a city tour with its impressive Taipei 101 Tower. You visit the National Palace Museum, which houses the world’s largest collection of Chinese art. Whilst touring the island you also visit a local village and enjoy a performance of traditional dancing illustrating their mythical origins.

We spend a morning at Yehliu Geo-Park on the island’s north coast, strolling around its famous rock formations. Here we will view the beautiful scenery of the lunar-like landscape and rock formations. After a lunch break we drive up into the hillside villages of Chiufen which were once a gold mining town. The gold is now gone but the quaint old villages of closely packed houses, clinging to steep mountainsides, still offer enchanting scenery and fascinating glimpses into past lifestyles.

Highlights also include a tour of Taipei City. Here we take in the Grand Hotel, built on the instructions of Chiang Kai-Shek primarily to house visiting foreign dignitaries. It is the world’s tallest building of classical Chinese design. We will also see the Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall, which includes the National Theatre and National Opera House within its grounds.

In the afternoon we will drive to Chihu, the final resting place of Chiang Kai-Shek, and then on to Sanhsia, a bustling town with narrow, winding streets and brick buildings at least 100 years old. A short trip further on brings us to Yingko where hand-painted replicas of elegant Ming (1368 – 1644) and Ching (or Qing) (1644 – 1911) vases are produced.

Natural Wonders

The Taiwan small group tour also includes many of Taiwan's natural wonders; from Taroko Gorge, one of the seven wonders of Asia, to Sun Moon Lake, Taiwan's largest lake. We also visit Kenting National Park for a walking tour. The park has 60 kilometres of coral-rimmed shoreline. The East Coast National Scenic Area stretches for 170 kilometres.

During the tour, accommodation is typically in first-class hotels, including the Lalu Hotel, which has been voted among the top 50 resorts in the world.

This Taiwan small group tour is suited for the mature-aged or senior couple or solo traveller.

Note: Due to the 7.2 magnitude earthquake in April 2024, the Taroko Gorge National Park suffered significant damage to its infrastructure including roads, trails, and visitor facilities. Our itinerary will be adjusted as required until the park is fully operational.

Get in Touch about Odyssey Traveller's Taiwan Tours

For more details, click the ‘Top 5’ or ‘Itinerary’ buttons above! If you’re keen to experience this tour, please call or send an email. Or, to book, simply fill in the form on the right hand side of this page.

Our article Questions about Taiwan may also help you as you finalise your travel plans.

Itinerary

11 days

Day 1: Taipei

Accommodation: 3 nights at Hotel Cham Cham or similar

Today we will arrive in Taipei and come to the hotel individually. We will meet our tour leader in the late afternoon in the hotel lobby for a briefing and welcome dinner.

(D)

Day 2: Taipei

Accommodation: Hotel Cham Cham or similar

Today will be one of the highlights of our trip as we attend the Lantern Festival, or as it is called in Chinese, the Shang-Yuan-Jie.

On our day trip to Pingxi we’ll first pause at the hillside villages of Chiufen. Both the village of Chiufen and the neighbouring township of Jinguashi in Taipei County were once gold mining centres. These quaint old villages of closely packed houses cling to steep mountainsides, offering enchanting scenery and fascinating glimpses into past lifestyles.

In the afternoon, we continue to Pingxi where we’ll attend the Lantern Festival, in a small township nestled among the mountains, an hour’s drive from Taipei. We will witness thousands of sky lanterns with wishes written on them released together into the night sky on the first full moon of the Chinese New Year. The spectacular Lantern Festival is truly a joy to behold.

(B,L)

Day 3: Taipei

Accommodation: Hotel Cham Cham or similar

We will embark on a full-day tour of Taipei. We will start our exploration with a visit to Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall, a significant landmark which was built in 1980 to commemorate former Taiwan President Chiang Kai-shek.

Next, we visit the National Palace Museum, which is home to the world’s largest and finest collection of Chinese art, spanning 5,000 years of Chinese history. If time allows, we will also visit contemporary Chinese art master Chang Dai-ch’ien’s Memorial Residence.

After lunch, marvel at the modern architecture of Taipei 101 (excluding observatory deck access) before indulging in the culinary delights at Raohe Night Market and paying a visit to the nearby Tsiyao Temple.

(B,L,D)

Day 4: Taipei - Chihpen

Accommodation: 2 nights at Hoya Hot spring Chihpen 4* or similar

After breakfast, we’ll take a train to Hualien station and then trainsfer to Taitung along coastline.

We’ll make a few stops along the way and visit Baxian cave and at Dulan and learn about the legend of the Terrace of the Three Immortals at Sansien Tai.

On arrival at our hotel we have time to enjoy a relaxing hot spring bath and in the evening we’ll enjoy buffet dinner in the hotel.

Note: The visit and stay at Taroko Gorge has been removed for 2024/25 as the park was severly impacted during the 7.2 magnitude earthquake in April 2024 and most of its infratrucure has been compromised.

(B,L,D)

Day 5: Chihpen - Taitung - Chihpen

Accommodation: Hoya Hot spring Chihpen 4* or similar

Today we explore Taitung including a visit to the National Museum of Prehistory, which has its origin daring back to 1980, when during the construction of the new local train station an important archaeological site was discovered – Peinan site, the largest cluster of slate coffin graves in Southeast Asia and Circum-Pacific Belt. In response to calls for the preservation of the cultural heritage of this site and others, the Main Museum of the NMP was built to the south of the Kangle train station.

In the afternoon we make our way to the rural town of Chishang, famous for its rice paddy grown with the pure local water. We have a chance to enjoy a bicycle ride on roads along the rice paddies.

(B,D)

Afternoon visit Chishang and experience bike ride.

(B,D)

Day 6: Chihpen - Kaohsiung

Accommodation: Grand Hi-Lai Hotel or similar

After breakfast, we will head for Kaohsiung, which is Taiwan’s second largest city and the largest industrial harbour in Taiwan. It is also the second busiest port in Asia. We’ll visit Cijing Island in the morning and explore Foguanshan in the late afternoon, home to the beautiful Fo Guang Shan Buddha Museum.

(B,D)

Day 7: Kaohsiung - Tainan

Accommodation: The Place Tainan or similar

Today we will drive to Tainan, which is the ancient imperial capital. We will see the Chihkan Tower, which is known originally as Fort Provintia, and we will also see the Fujian-style Koxinga Shrine. We’ll also visit Anping Castle and Anping Old Street, immersing ourselves in the rich history and culture of Taiwan’s oldest city.

(B,L,D)

Day 8: Tainan -Sun Moon Lake

Accommodation: Lalu Sun Moon Lake or similar

Today we will travel to the beautiful resort of Sun Moon Lake. Its name derives from the shape of the lake–the northern part of the lake is in the shape of the sun, while the southern part resembles a crescent moon.

Tonight we will stay at the one of the top 50 resorts in the world: the tranquil Lalu Resort. It was designed by award-winning Australian architect Kerry Hill. The hotel, which overlooks Taiwan’s largest lake and features an impressive mountain backdrop, was the place where Chiang Kai-shek entertained his overseas dignitaries. The guest house was painstakingly relocated, brick by brick, into the Garden of Lalu and is now a museum commemorating Chiang Kai-Shek’s era.

Day 9: Sun Moon Lake

Accommodation: Lalu Sun Moon Lake or similar

Today’s highlight is a visit to the Lantern Festival. In the morning, we will take a private motorboat ride around Sun Moon Lake. We will also visit the Holy Monk Shrine, dedicated to Buddhist monk Xuanzang, who led an epic journey from China to India in 629. He returned 16 years later with hundreds of scriptures and scrolls, and had a profound influence on the spread of Buddhism throughout China.

After lunch, we will visit the Antique Assam Tea Farm. Later this afternoon, we will travel to the venue where the Lantern Festival is held and enjoy the spectacular lantern exhibition.

Day 10: Sun Moon Lake/Taipei

Accommodation: Hotel Cham Cham or similar

After breakfast, we will continue our journey to Taipei. On the way, we will stop at Chiang Kai-shek’s mausoleum, where we will hear stories of his ambitious plans to return to mainland China. We will view the Chiang Kai-shek Statue Park, home to hundreds of his statues collected from all over Taiwan, to mark the end of an era. This evening will feature a farewell dinner, to be held at our hotel’s restaurant.

Day 11: Taipei

Our tour will end after breakfast. We will have time to pack and look around Taipei at our leisure.

Tour Notes

  • Due to the earthquake on 3April 2024, the Taroko Gorge National Park suffered significant damage to its infrastructure including roads, trails, and visitor facilities. Our itinerary will be adjusted as required until the park is fully operational.
  • Please note Lantern Festival site gathers large crowds and the group will be standing for long periods of time.
  • Tour itinerary is indicative only and is subject to change due to local conditions and date of festival.

Includes / Excludes

What’s included in our Tour

  • 10 nights hotel accommodation including breakfast.
  • Meals as indicated on the itinerary.
  • Travel is in modern, air-conditioned coaches.
  • All field trips and associated entry fees as per the itinerary.
  • Gratuities and necessary tips.
  • Services of a tour leader for the duration of tour.

What’s not included in our Tour

  • International airfares.
  • Comprehensive travel insurance.
  • Items of a personal nature such as telephone calls and laundry.
Level 2 - Moderate

Participants must be able to carry their own luggage, climb and descend stairs, be in good health, mobile and able to participate in 3-5 hours of physical activity per day, the equivalent of walking / hiking up to 8 kilometers per day on uneven ground.

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The safety of our travellers, tour leader, local guide and support staff has always been our top priority and with the new guidelines for public health and safety for keeping safe for destinations around the world, we’ve developed our plan to give you peace of mind when travelling with us.

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Reading List Download PDF

Taiwan’s China Dilemma: Contested Identities and Multiple Interests in Taiwan’s Cross-Strait Economic Policy

Syaru Shirley Lin

China and Taiwan share one of the world's most complex international relationships. Although similar cultures and economic interests promoted an explosion of economic ties between them since the late 1980s, these ties have not led to an improved political relationship, let alone progress toward the unification that both governments once claimed to seek. In addition, Taiwan's recent Sunflower Movement succeeded in obstructing deeper economic ties with China. Why has Taiwan's policy toward China been so inconsistent?

Taiwan's China Dilemma explains the divergence between the development of economic and political relations across the Taiwan Strait through the interplay of national identity and economic interests. Using primary sources, opinion surveys, and interviews with Taiwanese opinion leaders, Syaru Shirley Lin paints a vivid picture of one of the most unsettled and dangerous relationships in the contemporary world, and illustrates the growing backlash against economic liberalization and regional economic integration around the world.

Amazon

Taiwan: A New History

Murray A. Rubinstein

Since its initial publication in 1999, Taiwan: A New History has established itself as the book of choice on the history of Taiwan. Conceived as a cohesive and interconnected set of interpretive and narrative essays, it is the most integrated, comprehensive, and accessible history of Taiwan published in any Western language. The contributors are the very best people in their specialties, drawn from North America, Europe, and Asia. This new edition expands the coverage from where the first edition ended in 1995 to 2006. It includes new material on democratization, party politics, and the independence movement. Collectively, the chapters take the reader from the geographical and climatological setting, through the stages of premodern history and contact with China and the West, through the Japanese occupation, to the successful establishment of a modern state.

Amazon

Forbidden Nation: A History of Taiwan

Jonathan Manthorpe

For over 400 years, Taiwan has suffered at the hands of multiple colonial powers, but it has now entered the decade when its independence will be won or lost. At the heart of Taiwan's story is the curse of geography that placed the island on the strategic cusp between the Far East and Southeast Asia and made it the guardian of some of the world's most lucrative trade routes. It is the story of the dogged determination of a courageous people to overcome every obstacle thrown in their path. Forbidden Nation tells the dramatic story of the island, its people, and what brought them to this moment when their future will be decided.

Amazon

Accidental State: Chiang Kai-shek, the United States, and the Making of Taiwan

Hsiao-ting Lin

The existence of two Chinese states―one controlling mainland China, the other controlling the island of Taiwan―is often understood as a seemingly inevitable outcome of the Chinese civil war. Defeated by Mao Zedong, Chiang Kai-shek’s Nationalists fled to Taiwan to establish a rival state, thereby creating the “Two Chinas” dilemma that vexes international diplomacy to this day. Accidental State challenges this conventional narrative to offer a new perspective on the founding of modern Taiwan.

Hsiao-ting Lin marshals extensive research in recently declassified archives to show that the creation of a Taiwanese state in the early 1950s owed more to serendipity than careful geostrategic planning. It was the cumulative outcome of ad hoc half-measures and imperfect compromises, particularly when it came to the Nationalists’ often contentious relationship with the United States.

Taiwan’s political status was fraught from the start. The island had been formally ceded to Japan after the First Sino-Japanese War, and during World War II the Allies promised Chiang that Taiwan would revert to Chinese rule after Japan’s defeat. But as the Chinese civil war turned against the Nationalists, U.S. policymakers reassessed the wisdom of backing Chiang. The idea of placing Taiwan under United Nations trusteeship gained traction. Cold War realities, and the fear of Taiwan falling into Communist hands, led Washington to recalibrate U.S. policy. Yet American support of a Taiwan-based Republic of China remained ambivalent, and Taiwan had to eke out a place for itself in international affairs as a de facto, if not fully sovereign, state.

Amazon

Why Taiwan Matters: Small Island, Global Powerhouse

Shelley Rigger

Now in an updated paperback edition, Why Taiwan Matters offers a comprehensive but compact introduction to a country that exercises a role in the world far greater than its tiny size would indicate. Leading expert Shelley Rigger explains how Taiwan became such a key global player, highlighting economic and political breakthroughs so impressive they have been called "miracles." She links these accomplishments to Taiwan's determined society, vibrant culture, and unique history. Drawing on arts, economics, politics, and international relations, Rigger explores Taiwan's importance to China, the United States, and the world. Considering where Taiwan may be headed in its wary standoff with China, she traces how the focus of Taiwan's domestic politics has shifted to a Taiwan-centered strategy. All readers interested in Asia and international affairs will find this an accessible and entertaining overview, replete with human interest stories and colorful examples of daily life in Taiwan.

Why Taiwan Matters

My Fight for a New Taiwan: One Woman's Journey from Prison to Power

Hsiu-lien Lu (Author), Ashley Esarey (Author), Jerome A. Cohen (Foreword)

Lu Hsiu-lien's journey is the story of Taiwan. Through her successive drives for gender equality, human rights, political reform, Taiwan independence, and, currently, environmental protection, Lu has played a key role in Taiwan's evolution from dictatorship to democracy. The election in 2000 of Democratic Progressive Party leader Chen Shui-bian to the presidency, with Lu as his vice president, ended more than fifty years of rule by the Kuomintang (Nationalist Party).

Taiwan's painful struggle for democratization is dramatized here in the life of Lu, a feminist leader and pro-democracy advocate who was imprisoned for more than five years in the 1980s. Unlike such famous Asian women politicians as Burma's Aung San Suu Kyi, India's Indira Gandhi, and Pakistan's Benazir Bhutto, Lu Hsiu-lien grew up in a family without political connections. Her impoverished parents twice attempted to give her away for adoption, and as an adult she survived cancer and imprisonment, later achieving success as an elected politician―the first self-made woman to serve with such prominence in Asia.

My Fight for a New Taiwan's rich narrative gives readers an insider's perspective on Taiwan's unique blend of Chinese and indigenous culture and recent social transformation.

Amazon

Articles

Taiwan - Changchun temple and waterfall at Taroko National Park

Questions about Taiwan for Senior travellers

Escorted small group tours for mature and senior travellers to Taiwan. Designed for couples and solo travellers who like to explore and enjoy learning as they travel.

14 Sep 19 · 2 mins read
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