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8-day Itinerary in Taiwan in May 2012: Advice Needed!

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Re: 8-day Itinerary in Taiwan in May 2012: Advice Needed!

Postby GaaraOfTheSand » 16 Mar 2012, 00:29

tango42 wrote:Alishan is a nice area to visit if you have time to stroll, but the sunrise is a waste of time and terrible let down.


Which places in Taiwan could we go to see beautiful sunrise and sea of clouds?
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Re: 8-day Itinerary in Taiwan in May 2012: Advice Needed!

Postby gnaij » 16 Mar 2012, 00:39

GaaraOfTheSand wrote:
tango42 wrote:Alishan is a nice area to visit if you have time to stroll, but the sunrise is a waste of time and terrible let down.


Which places in Taiwan could we go to see beautiful sunrise and sea of clouds?


I think the sunrise at Alishan was certainly worth the trip. You need to take one of those tours going to Yushan National Park. Perhaps tango42 visited on a bad day? What you can see will depend on the weather so no guarantees that you won't be disappointed.

However, I would avoid Sun Moon Lake. Imagine a mainland Chinese travel destination (big crowds, tacky souvenir vendors, loud tourists in tour groups) transplanted to the middle of Taiwan. That's what it is, and you're 4 years too late. Swap Sun Moon Lake of Chingjing/Hehuanshan (you may need to taxi it once you're there) or spend another day in the Taipei area visiting Jiufen/Jinguashi/Pingxi Railway.

Alishan town is good for just sleeping. Don't expect too much out of it, as the real scenery is a short car trip away. The "sea of clouds" is weather dependent - you can see it from any high mountain, not just Alishan, though Alishan has the best infrastructure to get you there.
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Re: 8-day Itinerary in Taiwan in May 2012: Advice Needed!

Postby Abacus » 16 Mar 2012, 00:41

GaaraOfTheSand wrote:That's the type of vacation I would like... not going to too much places.. just taking time slowly to appreciate a small area. But alas! My travel mates prefer more varieties and places :(

Maybe when I'm travelling alone in future, or if I could find mates who feel the same way as me, I could try that.


You don't need to go slow. You can still go a lot of places but instead of taking multiple 1/2 day trips to go halfway across the island you can take a 1 hr trip to the next town on the list. I think that for most of your trip you will either have to leave by noon to get to the next city at a reasonable time or you will arrive late at night after skipping dinner. I'm not sure if your friends know this or not but it sounds like an exhausting trip where you basically live on the bus/train.

For example: you're going all the way to Alishan to spend the morning there since you are going to Taichung that night. And you plan on doing something in Taichung that night. More time in transit than actually doing something.

Day 1 (Wed, 2 May):
Arrive at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport at 11:55am.
Take public transport to Jiayi and then Alishan.
Stay over at Alishan.
Question: Do we have sufficient time to get to Alishan within half a day via public transport?

Day 2 (Thu, 3 May):
Catch sunrise at Alishan.
Forest trails at Alishan.
Proceed to Jiayi and then Taichung.
Fengjia night market, etc.
Stay over in Taichung.
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Re: 8-day Itinerary in Taiwan in May 2012: Advice Needed!

Postby GaaraOfTheSand » 16 Mar 2012, 00:58

gnaij wrote:
GaaraOfTheSand wrote:I think the sunrise at Alishan was certainly worth the trip. You need to take one of those tours going to Yushan National Park. Perhaps tango42 visited on a bad day? What you can see will depend on the weather so no guarantees that you won't be disappointed.


My friends would be happy to see that. Although I'm confused already haha...
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Re: 8-day Itinerary in Taiwan in May 2012: Advice Needed!

Postby GaaraOfTheSand » 16 Mar 2012, 01:04

Abacus wrote:For example: you're going all the way to Alishan to spend the morning there since you are going to Taichung that night. And you plan on doing something in Taichung that night. More time in transit than actually doing something.


Then what would you suggest so that we are able to cover Alishan and Sun Moon Lake and either Cingjing or Miaoli or any farm stay in 3 to 4 days, plus 1 day for whale watching, so that we could reserve at least 3 days for Taipei?
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Re: 8-day Itinerary in Taiwan in May 2012: Advice Needed!

Postby chung » 16 Mar 2012, 14:29

The OP should consider shortening the distances between destinations. As others have mentioned, it would be wise to choose a region and spend most of your time exploring instead of traveling. I'd toss out Alishan and Taichung for a few days in the rainforest. Sitting under the canopy of thousand-year-old trees is one of Taiwan's most underrated experiences. The oldest specimens in the Tamanshan cluster predate the Parthenon. They are among the oldest living things on our planet. If Taiwan were a normal country the forests around Lalashan would surely be a UNESCO heritage site.

Taipei - 3 days
Ju Ming Museum
Pingxi
Maokong
Overnight in Taipei


Taoyuan - 2 days
Cihu Sculpture Park
Dazi
Lalashan Forest Reserve + Lalashan peak
Overnight in Shang Baling - http://www.5657.com.tw/rays/blogs.aspx

Yilan - 2 days
Whale watching
Hot spring
Overnight in Wai'ao
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Re: 8-day Itinerary in Taiwan in May 2012: Advice Needed!

Postby gnaij » 16 Mar 2012, 21:39

chung wrote:The OP should consider shortening the distances between destinations. As others have mentioned, it would be wise to choose a region and spend most of your time exploring instead of traveling. I'd toss out Alishan and Taichung for a few days in the rainforest. Sitting under the canopy of thousand-year-old trees is one of Taiwan's most underrated experiences. The oldest specimens in the Tamanshan cluster predate the Parthenon. They are among the oldest living things on our planet. If Taiwan were a normal country the forests around Lalashan would surely be a UNESCO heritage site.

Taipei - 3 days
Ju Ming Museum
Pingxi
Maokong
Overnight in Taipei


Taoyuan - 2 days
Cihu Sculpture Park
Dazi
Lalashan Forest Reserve + Lalashan peak
Overnight in Shang Baling

Yilan - 2 days
Whale watching
Hot spring
Overnight in Waiao


Your suggestions require that the OP drive or hire a driver. Car rental costs $1500-2000 per day; car with driver costs $4000 per day.

Jinshan, Yeliu, Ju Ming Museum, Keelung (Jilong) fit into one day. Pingxi Railway, Jiufen, Jinguashi fit into another. Maokong is a half day in the other direction. These can be done without a car.

Cihu (you go there for the tomb of Chiang Kai-shek, not just the statute dumpster), Daxi old street, Fuxing, and Lalashan make for a 12-hour long sightseeing trip (could be a long full day), but this requires driving yourself or hiring a taxi. OP would need to either book a taxi or drive themselves to do this comfortably. Something to think about. I agree that the northern cross island highway is worth a visit, and definitely prefer it over Sun Moon Lake.

Keep in mind that "whale watching" involves watching dolphins if you are lucky. Whales rarely appear in these parts.

There is no need to go from Alishan to Jiayi and from Jiayi to Taichung and from Taichung to Sun Moon Lake. This is a needless loop. Hire a car to take you directly from Alishan to Sun Moon Lake (as part of the sunrise tour?) as this will take you through some spectacular mountain scenery and save you some time as well.
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Re: 8-day Itinerary in Taiwan in May 2012: Advice Needed!

Postby chung » 16 Mar 2012, 22:33

gnaij wrote:Cihu (you go there for the tomb of Chiang Kai-shek, not just the statute dumpster), Daxi old street, Fuxing, and Lalashan make for a 12-hour long sightseeing trip (could be a long full day), but this requires driving yourself or hiring a taxi. OP would need to either book a taxi or drive themselves to do this comfortably. Something to think about. I agree that the northern cross island highway is worth a visit, and definitely prefer it over Sun Moon Lake.


The reason I'm suggestiing this itinerary is precisely because it doesn't require a car. Aside from the excellent regular bus service, there are tourist buses to Cihu every hour from Zhongli and Taoyuan train stations. When you grow tired of the statue park you can hop on the 13:15 bus to Shang Baling. It arrives early enough (15:00) for you to make it up to the inns along the upper ridge or down to Kala before nightfall.

Complete bus details over here: http://forumosa.com/taiwan/viewtopic.ph ... &p=1005797
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Re: 8-day Itinerary in Taiwan in May 2012: Advice Needed!

Postby GaaraOfTheSand » 17 Mar 2012, 01:31

Thanks everyone for the suggestions. I'm trying to convince my travel mates to consider dropping Sun Moon Lake. But I doubt they will.

We are on a tight budget. So we will try to minimise any cost of having to hire drivers (and we don't drive). Cheaper forms of transport will always be our most preferred choice, unless for good reasons.

Anyway, everyone is welcomed to suggest alternative itineraries for our 8 days. But I think my travel mates would prefer a mix of 55-60% nature/sightseeing and 40-45% typical city activities that young Asian adults would enjoy. Museums and tombs are not among our priorities, but could be considered if convenience and time permit. I would say that the following key words matter more to us: nice scenery, good food, nature, youth fashion, budget, adequate variety.


P.S.: Hmm... would I get more responses if I post this topic in Chinese? I'm quite well-versed in traditional Chinese. It's just that it's more convenient to type in English.
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Re: 8-day Itinerary in Taiwan in May 2012: Advice Needed!

Postby gnaij » 17 Mar 2012, 05:07

If you can write Chinese, then go and post this at http://www.backpackers.com.tw/forum/

There might be a bus going from Alishan to Sun Moon Lake. See http://wikitravel.org/en/Alishan#Get_out and http://www.lonelyplanet.com/thorntree/t ... ID=2127837 Keep in mind that in hiring the car with driver you don't pay extra for extra passengers. The cost of going from Alishan to Sun Moon Lake in one sedan + driver may be comparable to four separate tickets for the minivan from Alishan to Jiayi, then the bus/train from Jiayi to Taichung, and then the bus from Taichung to Puli/Sun Moon Lake. You'd have to look up these prices though - I don't know them. The same concept goes for short spurts on taxis in Taipei: $25 fare per person for a couple stops on the MRT and a $100 cab ride covering the same distance divided among 4 people ends up costing the same in price.
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