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5-Day Round-Island Bus Tours - Recommended?

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5-Day Round-Island Bus Tours - Recommended?

Postby entlassen » 14 Jul 2012, 04:57

Hi, I am planning on visiting some family in Taiwan in mid-August and have my schedule planned such that I have exactly 5 days (Monday-Friday) to myself. I've already been to most of the places in the Taipei area (Danshui/Bali, Jiufen, National Museum, etc.) but have never explored any of the rest of the island before. I was considering one of those 5-day bus tours like this one here:

Tour #14: http://www.edison.com.tw/dailytours_T.aspx
More detailed (PDF): http://www.edison.com.tw/images/2012%20 ... %B8%AD.pdf

I was wondering if anybody had any experiences with 5-day round-island bus tours like this, and if they thought it was worthwhile. I imagine it'll be many hours of sitting on the bus, speckled with brief stops at the touristy locations. I don't mind breath over depth in this case as I want to see as many different things as possible if even just for 30 minutes, but if anybody has gone on one of these things before and could give a review of their experience that'd be great! Any random tips would be nice (e.g. if the buses travel extensively on curvy mountain roads that cause nausea/vertigo/vomiting).

The only other thing I have to worry about is that these bus tours always charge a ton extra for applicants who travel alone (b/c of single room hotel vs double). In the example above (Edison Travel), it's NT$ 15,900 for a double and an additional NT$ 6800 if you go as a single. Is there any way around this? Will the travel agencies help "match" stray single applicants together (put them in the same double room) to save costs?

Thanks!
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Re: 5-Day Round-Island Bus Tours - Recommended?

Postby tommy525 » 14 Jul 2012, 10:59

id say no. Five days? Maybe just do an overniter to taroko and spend the rest of the time in Kending.

Train down to Hualian, visit gorge, stay overnite, then next day train to Taidong, stay at royal chihpen hotel (awesome) , then next day train to fangliao (near Kending) or bus to Kending. . Stay two nites there at a nice hotel, then bus to Kaohsiung and stay a night in kaohsiung and visit that city.

Then HSR back to taipei.
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Re: 5-Day Round-Island Bus Tours - Recommended?

Postby Icon » 14 Jul 2012, 12:35

I've taken several tours, like in Taroko, Penghu and stuff -got company discount- and sincerely, I am not impressed. I would say most places, aside maybe -and this is a long maybe- Sun Moon Lake, are better on your own. I mention Sun Moon Lake because of booking the boat across the lake and accommodation and other stuff. But really, as Tommy says, on your own would be most pleasant. And karaoke free. And no shopping pit stops.
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Re: 5-Day Round-Island Bus Tours - Recommended?

Postby entlassen » 14 Jul 2012, 13:36

Thanks for the advice so far. I can't read/write Chinese, so would I have a hard time navigating on my own or is it fairly doable? Also, would I need to book hotel rooms in advance, or can I wing it and reserve the day-of (again, this is mid-August, don't know if tourism season has died down yet by this point).

Any other tips or insight about bus tours & self-tour would be appreciated. :D
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Re: 5-Day Round-Island Bus Tours - Recommended?

Postby Icon » 14 Jul 2012, 13:45

entlassen wrote:Thanks for the advice so far. I can't read/write Chinese, so would I have a hard time navigating on my own or is it fairly doable? Also, would I need to book hotel rooms in advance, or can I wing it and reserve the day-of (again, this is mid-August, don't know if tourism season has died down yet by this point).

Any other tips or insight about bus tours & self-tour would be appreciated. :D


lonely Planet is your friend. And they have quiosks for tourists at Main Station, where you can book your train tickets. I prefer train, but across from the train station you have the Big Bus Terminal, and they also can get you fixed. Might not be the best English in the world, but with patience and a smile you'll be on your way. And this is not a big tourist trap, no problem with tourism season. Sun Moon Lake is filled up most of the year, anyways.

have a look here: viewtopic.php?f=55&t=111536
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Re: 5-Day Round-Island Bus Tours - Recommended?

Postby tommy525 » 14 Jul 2012, 13:50

entlassen wrote:Thanks for the advice so far. I can't read/write Chinese, so would I have a hard time navigating on my own or is it fairly doable? Also, would I need to book hotel rooms in advance, or can I wing it and reserve the day-of (again, this is mid-August, don't know if tourism season has died down yet by this point).

Any other tips or insight about bus tours & self-tour would be appreciated. :D


If you are not choosey bout hotels you can generally take a chance and walk around town in Hualian and get a room, but its better to see whats on offer online and pick a place and reserve. Your hotel in Hualian usually has a nice and not expensive day tour if you must be on a tour?

I would definitely book the ROyal Chihpen hotel as that gets booked . But its not cheap. And down in Kending there are lots of hotels of various pricing and amenities. It would be good to research online and maybe make a booking this way. And book the trains in advance if possible. Get someone to book for u, they get crowded.

book taipei to Hualian on the Taroko express (nicest train on the east coast) . and then a TzeChiang train from Hualian to Taidong. And then take a bus (probably easier and more runs for the 3 hours or so ride to Kending.

Once in Kending you should best rent a scooter, but you should have an international license . Because they want licenses nowadays. The local bus is infrequent.

If you dont want to rent a scooter or cant . but have money to spend then stay at a hotel with a beach. LIke the Caesars park or right next door at the Howard Plaza.

Then u can bus it from Kending to kaohsiung easily. Buses run 24/7 and takes about 2 hours or so.

Stay in Kaoshiung (Gaoxiong). lots of hotels with various prices.

do some research. Make some net freinds before u arrive is even better. Its always better to travel wiht a few buds rather then alone.

But if you gonna do it alone, be open to ADVENTURE.
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Re: 5-Day Round-Island Bus Tours - Recommended?

Postby asiababy » 14 Jul 2012, 21:41

I'd say give Topology Travel a look. Their tours come recommended by friends. http://www.topologytravel.com/
Family-friendly events and destinations Taiwan-wide. http://kidzone-tw.blogspot.com/
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Re: 5-Day Round-Island Bus Tours - Recommended?

Postby entlassen » 15 Jul 2012, 02:13

asiababy wrote:I'd say give Topology Travel a look. Their tours come recommended by friends. http://www.topologytravel.com/


Any ideas how expensive these guys are? I couldn't find any prices listed on their site for their basic 5-day trip, which I wouldn't go on anyway since Days 1-3 are spent in Taipei/Jiufen (which I said I've already been to) and Day 5 is "Do It Yourself". Can't imagine how pricey their "Customized" 5-day package would be.

Thanks!
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Re: 5-Day Round-Island Bus Tours - Recommended?

Postby asiababy » 17 Jul 2012, 08:23

I've asked the guys at Topology to give an idea of their costs. They do run walkabout tours and other daytrips that don't have a charge to them, but I know that's not what you are looking for.

BTW, regarding buses, I always get sick on Taiwan long-haul buses. They tend to smell of air freshener or toilet, and go on windy roads at fairly high speeds. I always try to take the train or go by car.
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