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Exploring Taiwan
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After the first group of mainland travelers leaves for Taiwan on July 4, a large number of mainlannders are expected to visit the island in the near future. Travelagencies have recommended several package for tourists heading for the island.

Tour one: A 10-day round-island tour

Day 1: from Guangzhou to Kaohsiung, Taiwan’s second-largest city

Hotel check-in and rest.

Day 2: from Kaohsiung to Tainan, the oldest city on the island.

Visit Fo Guang Shan Mountain (Buddha Lights Mountain), Tsoying Spring and Autumn Pavilion, Chengching Lake and then Sizihwan Bay. Tour to Eternal Golden Castle, Anping Ancient Castle and the Chamber of Red Hill in Tainan.

Day 3: from Tainan to Ali Mountain and Sun Moon Lake. The tour proceeds to Ali Mountain and to scenic spots in the resort. After lunch, tourists visit Sun Moon Lake, one of the top eight scenic spots in Taiwan.

Day 4: from Sun Moon Lake to Taichung and Taoyuan. The tour continues to Wenwu Temple to visit Tehua Village. After arriving at Puli Town which is well-known for its springs, tourists visit Shaoxing alcohol distillery and then go to Sanyi County to visit a woodcarving village. In the afternoon, the tour continues to Cih Lake and Jiaobanshan Mountain by coach.

Day 5: from Taoyuan to Taipei.

Visit the Palace Museum in Taipei and then tour the Shilin Official Residence and Yangmingshan Park.

Day 6: from Taipei to Keelung.

Visit the Dr. Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall and Teng Li-chun Cemetery and tour the Yetliu Scenic Area in the afternoon. Go shopping at a night market in Miaokou, Keelung.

Day 7: from Keelung to Yilan and Hualien.

Tour to Northeast Coastal Scenic Area and, after lunch, proceed to Yilan.

Day 8: from Hualien to Taitung

Visit Taroko Gorge Gateway. After checking in at the hotel in Taitung, visit the natural open spa.

Day 9: from Taitung to Kending and Kaohsiung. Continue on to Kending to visit Maopitou and Oluanpi. Tour Hengchun Ancient City and then enjoy some free time after arriving in Kaohsiung.

Day 10: departure from Kaohsiung to Guangzhou.

Travel tips

Before the journey

Sign-up: It takes 15 working days for a mainlander to get a permit to Taiwan for the first time. Residents who want to travel to Taiwan should consult a travel agency two weeks in advance because there are quotas on the number of mainland visitors and the number of flights between the mainland and the island.

Applying for a permit: Mainland applicants should apply to the immigration management department of his or her hukou and provide a work certificate from their employers.

Entering the island: Every traveler to Taiwan is allowed to take only NT$8,000 (2,000 yuan) and US$1,000 according to the regulations. The currency amount should be declared when entering the island.

Currency: Exchange RMB for US dollars or HK dollars before entry.

In Taiwan

Communication: Apply for international services from mobile services providers before leaving so that travelers can call the mainland from Taiwan on their mobiles at 12 yuan per minute. Telephone IC cards in Taiwan cost from NT$100-200 and the charge is NT$12 per minute.

Others: Travelers should take voltage transformers to Taiwan as the residential voltage in Taiwan is 110V. Toothbrushes, toothpaste and slippers are not provided at hotels.

Palace Museum in Taipei

Located in the northwestern part of Taipei City and surrounded by trees and rolling hills, the Palace Museum was constructed as a replica of the Beijing Palace Museum with an area of more than 10,000 square meters.

The museum has a collection of some 700,000 historical items and works of art representing 1,000 years of Chinese civilization.

Sun Moon Lake

The largest natural lake in Taiwan surrounded by green mountains, Sun Moon Lake is the pearl of Central Taiwan and a year-round resort with beautiful scenery.

The eastern part of the lake is round like the sun, while the western part is shaped like a crescent moon. In the middle of the lake is an island called Lalu which has long been a sacred place for the Shao people and off-limits to visitors. Only the Shao people can go there to worship their ancestors.

From the lake, tier upon tier of countless peaks can be seen rising into the sky. Seven trails are available for hiking. The Hanbi Trail, Dachuhu Lake Trail and Tzuen Pagoda Trail are strongly recommended.

Ali Mountain

Located in the northeast of Jiayi in Taiwan Province, Ali Mountain is the general name of the 18 hills including Zhu Hill and Tower Hill. The highest peak is Tower Hill with a height of 2,663 meters.

Ali Mountain is renowned for its five rare sights including the sunrise, the Ali Mountain forest railway, the famous Alishan sacred tree, the grand sea of clouds, and fragrant cherry blossom.

Kending Park

Thrilling discoveries are endless for nature-trippers at the Kending Park on southern Taiwan's Hengchun Peninsula. Mother Nature at the park has a wonderful story to tell every step of the way from the marine environment to the coral reefs to the grasslands.

The bays, lakes, rivers, primeval forests, grassy plains, wetlands and the coral reefs, which are so rich in flora and fauna, go through seasonal changes making every visit a wonderful experience in ecotourism.

The abundance of botanic life makes the Kending Park “a museum of nature” and also a virtual pharmacy of natural medicinal treatments for all kinds of diseases.

Other tour packages

Tour two

Five-day Taipei and Kaohsiung tour

Day 1: from Guangzhou to Kaohsiung

Day 2: from Kaohsiung to Taoyuan

Day 3: from Taoyuan to Sun Moon Lake and Chiayi

Day 4: from Chiayi to Tainan and Kaohsiung

Day 5: from Kaohsiung to Guangzhou

Tour three

Six-day round-island tour

Day 1: from Guangzhou to Taipei

Day 2: from Taoyuan to Sun Moon Lake and Chiayi

Day 3: from Chiayi to Tainan and Kaohsiung

Day 4: from Kaohsiung to Hualien and Keelung

Day 5: from Keelung to Taipei

Day 6: from Taipei to Guangzhou

(Shenzhen Daily June 30, 2008)

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