AITO: The Association of Independent Tour Operators
Self Drive Taiwan

Self Drive Taiwan

Self Drive Taiwan Overview

Self Drive Taiwan Experience the freedom of a self-drive road trip in Taiwan. Explore bustling cities, historic villages, scenic lakes, mountains and meet the friendly and hospitable Taiwanese people. This suggested itinerary is to fire your imagination and help create your own unique and unforgettable self drive experience

Best time to self-drive: April, May, October, and November. Enjoy the romance of Sun Moon Lake and witness sunrise at Alishan Cultural exploration of Tainan Drive along the Spectacular East Coast Scenic region Explore and take a soft trek in the breathtaking, world-renowned Taroko National Park Admire the picturesque Qingshui Cliff, the largest coastal cliff in Taiwan

Day 1: Arrival Taipei

Arrive in Taipei – clear immigration and customs. Take an airport taxi to your choice of hotel. This evening, we suggest a visit to Raohe Night Market. One of the oldest night markets in Taipei, the Raohe Street Night Market is a must-visit destination! The epitome of a traditional Taiwanese night market, this 600-metre path along Raohe Street in Songshan District is packed with fun and interesting night foods and snacks, quaint shops and stalls, and carnival games with prizes. Overnight in Taipei. Airport to Taipei City centre: 51 km, 45 minutes by car

Day 2: Taipei exploration

Start the day with a visit to the Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall, home to several classical Chinese buildings, including the stately memorial itself as well as the National Concert Hall and National Theater. The architecture of Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall is inspired by Tiananmen in Beijing. Another highlight is the hourly honour guard display. Continue the visit to the National Palace Museum. Home to the world's largest and most impressive collection of Chinese art and artefacts. Be amazed by the display of calligraphy, paintings, jade, bronze, silk and curio pieces that are often rotated to make each visit unique. Time permitting, make a visit to the Confucius Temple. The building and walkways around the main temple are examples of traditional Chinese architecture, and the gardens are immaculately landscaped Later visit Taipei 101 Building & Observation, the tallest building in Taiwan. 85 floors high, get a chance to catch a bird’s eye view of Taipei on the observatory deck. Finish the day at Shilin Night Market, one of the largest, most popular night markets in Taiwan with regard to food, and also one of the most popular points of Taipei nightlife among visitors. The maze of alleyways is filled with a variety of local, traditional, and international merchandise that attracts locals and foreigners alike. Overnight in Taipei.

Day 3: Taipei - Lukang - Sun Moon Lake

Your self-drive vehicle will be delivered to your hotel this morning. Drive to the historic town of Lukang. Lukang was Central Taiwan's most important port and second-largest city from the mid-17th to the 18th century. Its small and winding streets still preserve the look and feel of southern Chinese architecture. Sites to be visited include the old street, the Tien Hou Kung Temple, the Lukang Lungshan Temple and the Lukang Folklore Museum. Make a visit to the Lukang Osmanthus Alley Artist Village to create your own dough figurine. After Lukang, turn west to the mountains and beautiful Sun Moon Lake. Overnight in Sun Moon Lake. Distance and journey times: Taipei to Lukang: 191 km, 2 hrs. Lukang to Sun Moon Lake: 85 km, 1.50 hrs.

Day 4: Sun Moon Lake, boat trip and Maolanshan Tea Plantation

Wake up early this morning to appreciate the sunrise. Take your time and enjoy a refreshing breakfast by the lakeside. After breakfast, take a private lake cruise directly from the hotel's pier and visit Lalu island and the Tse-en Pagoda.

Time permitting, go on a Maolanshan Black Tea Farm Hiking Trail.

Overnight in Sun Moon Lake.

Day 5: Drive from Sun Moon Lake to Alishan

Enjoy the morning in Sun Moon Lake before driving to Alishan.

Stay 2 nights at Alishan House

Distance and journey times: 141 km, 3 hrs.

Day 6: Sunrise at Alishan

Wake up very early in the morning. Enjoy a ride on the Alishan Forest Train to see the sunrise at Chu-Shan.

As sunrise time varies in different seasons and every day, the schedule of the Chushan Sunrise Watching Train is adjusted based on the sunrise time and the number of passengers each day. In summer, the first train departs at about 4:00 a.m.; and in winter, it will be rescheduled to 6:00 a.m. The actual departure time in the next day will be announced after 16:30 each day. Afterwards, take a soft trek along forest trails and return to your hotel for breakfast. Rest of the day at leisure for independent exploration.

Suggested sightseeing using the Alishan Forest Railway

Your afternoon tour of Alishan Forest Recreation Area begins with a visit to a 3,000-year-old cypress named The Sacred Tree, struck dead by lightning in 1947. Tour the village museum, The Two Sisters Pond, Three Generation Tree as well as Ali Forest Park.

Overnight at The Alishan House.

Day 7: Drive to Tainan for exploration of this cultural city

Drive via Chiayi to Tainan, Taiwan’s oldest city and its cultural capital. Tour the cultural riches of Tainan city, with relics from the Dutch and Qing colonial periods.

Take a bamboo raft ride through Sicao Green Tunnel which served as the entrance to inland waterways during the Japanese Era. Visit Sio House, a century-old house with a rich cultural history. Stroll along Anping Old Street lined with traditional rammed earth houses and modern mansions. Visit Fort Zeelandia, the oldest fortress in Taiwan. Head to the Chimei Museum with its large collection of art. Other sights not to be missed are Koxinga’s Shrine and Chikan Tower.

Take a leisurely stroll along Fuzhong Street, next to the first Confucius temple in Taiwan. At the end of a busy day, take a healing soak at the geothermal Guanziling Mud Springs.

Overnight in Tainan

Distance and journey times:122 km, 2.30 hrs.

Day 8: Drive to Fo Guang Shan and Kaohsiung

Drive to Fo Guang Shan Buddhist Monastery, the most famous Buddhist sacred place of southern Taiwan. Here you will learn about Buddhism during the monastery walking tour to visit “Buddha Memorial Centre” and communicate with some of the monks and nuns during the visit. Afterwards, drive to Kaohsiung City, the second-largest city of Taiwan.

In the evening, enjoy a walk on the Love River Bridge and visit Liuhe Night Market. Every night, Liuhe 2nd Road is blocked off from traffic and becomes a prosperous pedestrian market. Specialising in seafood, bring an appetite, pick out the freshest ingredients and sit back and relax for dinner while watching the bustling nightlife unfold.

Overnight in Kaohsiung.

Distance and journey times: 86 km, 1.30 hrs.

Day 9: Kaohsiung to Kenting

Recommended sightseeing: Visit Cheng Ching (Clear Crystal) Lake resort area renowned for its lover’s bridge, ornate pavilions and the Chung Hsing (Restoration) Pagoda, one of the best-known landmarks in Taiwan. Visit the Lotus Lake area, site of the newest Confucian temple, which houses the Spring and Autumn Pavilions. Drive to Kenting National Park, located at Taiwan’s southern tip. Suggested sightseeing stops are Oluanpi lighthouse, Maopitou coastal scenic area and Longpan Park. Overnight in Kenting Distance and journey times:107 km, 2 hrs.

Day 10: Kenting National Park

A day to explore the Park Start your day with a walk through Longpan Grassland. Follow the coastline and explore the sea-eroded cliffs. Stop to admire the lighthouse marking the southernmost point of Taiwan — Eluanbi. Carry on to Hengchun Old Town and plan to end your day witnessing the spectacular sunset at Guanshan.

Overnight in Kenting.

Day 11: Drive to Taitung

Drive to Taitung via Southern Link Highway for an overnight stay at Chihpen. Enjoy the natural hot springs here. Chihpen.

Distance and journey times: 115 km, 2 hrs.

Day 12: Taitung to Hualien

Take the scenic route along the East Coast National Scenic Area. Known as "Taiwan's last unspoiled land", it stretches 170 kilometres down the east coast of the island. Weather and erosion have produced a wide range of landforms here. Suggested sightseeing stops Siaoyeliu -On this beach, you'll find 'tofu' rocks.

Sanxiantai - The name means "three immortals platform", referring to the island with three large standing rocks

Shitiping - one of the most famous attractions in the east coast, known for its special geology including the wave-cut platforms, uplifted coral reefs, cliffs and the potholes.

Fuyuan Butterfly Valley and Liyu Lake, 20 km from Hualien City, this is the largest lake in eastern Taiwan.

Continue to Hualien for 2 nights stay at Taroko National Park.

Distance and journey times: 176 km, 3.30 hrs

Day 13: Hualien

After breakfast, visit Taroko National Park. Taroko Gorge is an exceptionally beautiful, narrow raving created by a river which has cut deep into the mountains of solid marble. A road carved into sheer walls of rock snakes its way past forested peaks and cliffs towering thousands of feet above it, while hundreds of feet below a river roar past gigantic marble boulders. Suggested stops: Eternal Spring Shrine, Swallow Grotto, Nine Turns of Tunnel, Marble Bridge, Tienshiang and Marble factory. Take a mini trek along at Sakadon Trail. Overnight in Taroko.

Day 14: Hualien to Taipei

After breakfast, drive to Taipei. On the way, visit Chingshui Cliff. Chingshui Cliff is one of the most spectacular sights on Taiwan's Pacific coast. The cliff is more than 1,000 metres high and drops almost vertically into the sea. The highway snakes along its curving face more than 20 kilometres, with the sheer cliff rising on one side and a sheer drop to the ocean on the other. Tour Taiwan's Northern Coast and Yehliu Yehliu is famous for its natural rocks formations which are an amazing array of artistic shapes created by erosion and other natural forces. Among the rocks, the queen’s head is one of the most famous ones. Afterwards, drive to Jiufen Old Village. The villages of Jiufen were once centres of gold mining in Taiwan. The gold is gone, but these quaint old villages where closely-packed houses cling to steep mountainsides, continue to offer enchanting scenery and fascinating glimpses into the livelihoods of the past. . Located in the Pingxi area, Shifen Old Streets is a collection of lanes and alleys in and around the Shifen railway station area. With the marketplace surrounding the train station, Shifen is a great place to grab some snacks and souvenirs. The 40-metre tall Shifen Waterfall is located 30 minutes away by walking northeast from the train platform area on either side of the tracks. Because of its bedrock slopes in the opposite direction of the water flow, Shifen Waterfall is a cascade-type waterfall similar to North America's Niagara Falls, earning it the nickname of Taiwan's Niagara Falls. Overnight in Taipei. Distance and journey times: Hualien to Yehliu: 179 km, 3 hrs. Yehliu to Taipei: 33 km, 1 hr.

Day 15: Departure

Take a taxi to the airport.
Find out more about the Self Drive Taiwan