Taiwan culture and history escorted small group tour
This small group program for mature and senior travelers, couple or solo 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; Kenting National Park, with its 60 kilometres of coral-rimmed shoreline to the East Coast National Scenic Area, stretching 170 kilometres. Fully escorted tour of Taiwan
- 1. Enjoy a performance by present-day Wulai Aborigines, once the head hunters of Taiwan.
- 2. Enjoy a morning strolling through Yehliu Geo-park, famed for its stunning rock formations
- 3. Stand on Taiwan's southern tip in Kenting National Park, adorned with 60 kilometres of coral-rimmed shoreline.
- 4. Discover Taipei with its impressive Taipei 101 Tower and National Palace.
|12 September 2024 |
Ends 22 September 2024 • 11 days
|11 September 2025 |
Ends 21 September 2025 • 11 days
Small group tours Taiwan | Culture and History Tour
Odyssey offers easy, convenient, and relaxed escorted small group tours across Taiwan. We explore Taiwan’s natural beauty, its ancient and Imperial heritage, its World Heritage Sites, and famous city, 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. Odyssey Traveller's small group Culture and History tour to Taiwan takes in many amazing cultural festivals, temples, and shrines. Be amazed by breathtaking natural wonders, bustling night markets, magnificent cuisine, and hospitable people. Join us on this unforgettable educational experience.
This fully escorted 11-day Taiwan small group tour is limited to a maximum of 15 participants. Our program leader will draw on professional local guides to share their knowledge of Taiwanese culture, history, and natural beauty. This is perfect for the mature-aged and senior traveller looking for this travel style that combines sightseeing with education.
Small group tours Taiwan Itinerary
Our small group tour includes a stop in Taipei, with its impressive Taipei 101 Tower. While here, we also visit the National Palace Museum, which houses the world’s largest collection of Chinese art. In addition, we visit a local village to enjoy a performance of traditional dancing. This dance illustrates the mythical origins of the Taiwanese people.
We also spend a morning at Yehliu Geo-Park on the island’s north coast, strolling around its famous rock formations. Here, we view the lunar-like landscape and rock formations. After lunch, we drive up into the hillside villages of Chiufen. These villages were once centres of gold-mining. These days, the gold is gone but the quaint old villages of closely packed houses, clinging to steep mountainsides, continue to offer enchanting scenery and fascinating glimpses into past ways of life.
Other highlights of our Taiwan Tours
Other highlights 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. This building the world’s tallest of classical Chinese design. While in Taipei City, we also see the Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall, and the National Theatre and National Opera House, situated within the grounds.
Another highlight is our time in Chihu, the final resting place of Chiang Kai-Shek. We also have a chance to explore Sanhsia, a bustling town with narrow, winding streets and brick buildings at least 100 years old. In addition, our time in Yingko allows us to see the hand-painted replicas of elegant Ming (1368 – 1644) and Ching (or Qing) (1644 – 1911) vases.
Taiwan's Natural Wonders
Our 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. 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.
Accommodation during this program is 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.
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.
Day 1: Taipei
Accommodation: Riviera Hotel or similar
Upon arrival at Taipei Taoyuan International Airport, we will be transferred to our hotel. After checking in, we will have free time until early afternoon when we will have an orientation discussion. Following this, we will visit Yanhmingshan Park and Dr. Sun Yat-Sen’s Memorial Hall. This evening we will have a welcome dinner.
Note: Arrival transfer included for those travelling on Odyssey’s recommended flights only.
Day 2: Taipei
Accommodation: Riviera Hotel or similar.
After breakfast we drive to Keelung and Yehliu Geo-Park on the island’s north coast. Here we will view the lunar-like landscape and rock formations. We then have a lunch break and drive up into the hillside villages of Chiufen. The villages of Chiufen were once centres of gold-mining. The gold is now gone but the quaint old villages of closely packed houses clinging to steep mountainsides continue to offer enchanting scenery and fascinating glimpses into past lifestyles. On the way back to our hotel we will visit the Shilin Night Market.
Day 3: Taipei
Accommodation: Riviera Hotel or similar.
This morning we have a tour of Taipei City, including 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, with the National Theatre and National Opera House within the 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. This evening, weather permitting, we will go to the top of Taipei 101, one of the world’s tallest buildings.
Day 4: Taipei
Accommodation: Riviera Hotel or similar.
Driving out of the city after breakfast, we will travel southeast to the Yilan National Centre for Traditional Arts. Here we may also have our lunch of local food. In the afternoon, we continue on to Wulai, the nearest location to Taipei where we can see the aboriginal tribesmen who were once the head hunters of Taiwan. Descendants of this proud tribe of Ataiyals, the present-day Wulai aborigines perform, for the most part, for the benefit of tourists. However, they still offer a glimpse of their past, more traditional lifestyle. On the way home to our hotel we will visit Longshan Temple in the city.
Day 5: Taipei
Accommodation: Riviera Hotel or similar.
Today’s itinerary takes us first to the Martyrs’ Shrine and then the National Palace Museum, which displays works of 5,000 years of Chinese art. We will have an early breakfast and leave the hotel at 8:30 am, in time to be at the Martyrs’ Shrine for the changing of the guard at 9:00 am. At the National Palace Museum, after an introductory tour with our guide, we can spend a few hours strolling through the exhibits, pausing at our leisure. As there is a restaurant in the complex, we will stay until early afternoon. On the way back to the Riviera Hotel, we will visit the impressive Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial. We will then return to our hotel after a delicious dinner of traditional dumplings.
Day 6: Yilan
Accommodation: Riviera Hotel or similar.
After breakfast, we say farewell to Taipei and transfer to Hualien by train. The journey will take about 3 hours. On arrival, we will be taken to visit the Taroko National Park and the Taroko Gorge. The Taroko Gorge is a beautiful, narrow ravine created by a river which has cut deep into mountains of solid marble. A road carved into sheer walls of rock snakes its way past forested peaks and cliffs towering about 1,000 metres above it, while below, a river roars past gigantic marble boulders. Peaks in the area reach 3,700 metres above sea level. Stops will be made at the Eternal Spring Shrine, Swallow Grotto, Tunnel of Nine Turns, and Marble Bridge.
Day 7: Taitung
Accommodation: 1 night at Silks Place or similar.
This morning we will drive eastwards through the mountains to the coast and then south to the city of Tainan. On the way we will stop for lunch at a restaurant where you may experience aboriginal fare. In the afternoon we stop at a tea plantation.
Day 8: Kaohsiung
Accommodation: 1 night at Naruwan Hotel or similar.
Before leaving Taitung this morning, we will visit the National Natural History Museum. We then head for Kaohsiung via Kenting National Park to experience the beautiful scenery of the east coast. Kaohsiung is Taiwan’s second largest city and its main seaport.
Day 9: Sun Moon Lake
Accommodation: Lalu Sun Moon Lake or similar.
This morning we will visit the Fo Guang Shan Monastery, considered to be the largest Buddhist monastery on the island. We then head towards Sun Moon Lake, stopping in Tainan for lunch and also at the old Dutch fort and its museum. We then continue on to Sun Moon Lake, its name deriving from its shape – the northern part is in the shape of the sun, while the southern part resembles a crescent moon. It is especially beautiful at dawn, when it looks almost poetic with its veil of mist, and at dusk, when the water reflects the golden light of the setting sun. The lake area is lush with vegetation and vibrant with wildlife, including egrets, president fish, butterflies, fireflies, and more. This area was used by Chiang Kai-shek as a personal retreat, and where he also entertained overseas dignitaries.
Day 10: Sun Moon Lake
Accommodation: Lalu Sun Moon Lake or similar.
As usual, we breakfast at the hotel. We then head off to Puli town and visit Guang Xing Paper Factory to have a hands-on experience of creating our own art with DIY paper. From there, we will continue our day with a visit to the Formosa Nine Village and in the evening have our Farewell Dinner.
Day 11: Sun Moon Lake
This morning we will have free time to stroll along the lake, hire a bicycle, or walk in the nearby town before lunch and checkout. In the afternoon we will take a lake cruise before our 3-hour bus transfer to the airport.
- Maximum group size of 18.
Includes / Excludes
What’s included in our Tour
- Touring by air-conditioned coach and train.
- Transport, lectures and field trips as indicated.
- Services of a Tour Leader.
- Detailed Preparatory Material.
- 10 nights Deluxe hotel accommodation in en-suite rooms.
- Applicable entry fees and services of local guides.
What’s not included in our Tour
- Comprehensive travel insurance.
- International airfares and taxes.
- Items of a personal nature
- Meals other than specified
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.
Make it a private tour
Easing your journey
Crossing international borders with restrictions
The list of requirements to travel internationally has changed and will continue to change for several years. Odyssey is here to assist you in managing your way through these requirements:
For more information see our Crossing international borders with restrictions page.
Book With Confidence
If less than 30 days before your tour starts you are unable to travel as a result of Government travel restrictions, Odyssey Traveller will assist you with a date change, provide you with a credit or process a refund for your booking less any non-recoverable costs.
See Terms and conditions for details.
Peace of Mind Travel
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.
See Peace of Mind Travel for details.
Reading List Download PDF
Taiwan: A Political History
For centuries, various great powers have both exploited and benefited Taiwan, their designs for this island frequently clashing with the desire of local inhabitants to control their own destiny. Such conflicts have shaped Taiwan's multiple, and frequently contradictory, identities. Denny Roy contends that Taiwan's political history is best understood as a continuous struggle for security. Eschewing the usual emphasis on the high politics of the recent era, he offers a comprehensive narrative of the island's political history from the first Chinese settlements to the Chen Shui-bian presidency. Roy covers the political system constructed by the KMT during the Cold War, the opposition breakthrough, the presidency of Lee Teng-hui, and the DPP presidential victory in March 2000. Roy's approach allows him to integrate his understanding of Taiwan's domestic politics with its foreign affairs―particularly the relations with mainland China. He reveals how the interplay between political forces within and the influence of foreign countries from without has shaped Taiwan. His is a balanced account, incorporating up-to-date coverage and presenting many indigenous voices. Taiwan: A Political History illuminates the origins of the island's often-troubled domestic and international political situation.
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.
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.
Forbidden Nation: A History of Taiwan
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.
Accidental State: Chiang Kai-shek, the United States, and the Making of Taiwan
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.
Why Taiwan Matters: Small Island, Global Powerhouse
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.
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.