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When Europeans first reached Taiwan, they called it "Formosa" - Portuguese for beautiful. Today Taiwan remains a stunning island to visit and one that everyone should put on their bucket list when visiting East Asia. Taiwan is a place with many rewarding places that first-timers shouldn't miss out on. It is a developed East Asian island with a rich history, eye-watering landscapes, and rich cuisine.

As Taiwan is an island, those with their own self-guided tours should complete a circuit around the island. For those who would like a guided tour, there are plenty of tours on offer around the island (some are surprisingly affordable). A good amount of time to get a good idea of what Taiwan outside of Taipei has to offer is a five-day guided tour. This is enough time to see most of the main highlights of the island.

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Taiwan - A Gem Of East Asia

Taiwan is a fairly small (but densely populated) island being only around half the size of West Virginia but larger than the state of Maryland. So it shouldn't take too long to reach one's destination.

  • Size: 13,800 Sq Miles or 35,800 Sq km2
  • Capital: Taipei
  • Population: Approx. 23.9 Million

The eastern two-thirds of the islands are dominated by mountain ranges, while plains dominate the western third of the island. The western plains are highly urbanized and home to most of the main cities on the island.

Taiwan has been inhabited for at least 25,000 years, while the ancestors of Taiwanese indigenous peoples settled the island around 6,000 years. It was in the 17th century that large-scale Chinese immigration came to the island under a Dutch colony.

Related: A Guide On How To Enjoy The Best Of Taiwan's Incredible Night Market Food

Take A Five-Day Guided Tour Of Taiwan

One of the best ways to explore Taiwan is with a guided tour. The capital, Taipei, is often the main attraction on the island, but it is far from the only attraction. Consider going on a 5-Day tour around Taiwan and visiting the numerous temples, shrines, hot springs, and national parks of the island. Get out of the hustle and bustle of Taipei and see another side of Taiwan.

  • Duration: 5 Days
  • Accommodation: 5-Star Hotels (4x Nights)
  • Meals: Includes Breakfast
  • Included: Entrance Fees And Transportation
  • Price: From $624

The tour explores stunning natural landscapes like Sun Moon Lake, Taroko Gorge, Kenting National Park, and the East Coast National Scenic Area. Notable religious sites include Fo Guang Shan Monastery, Wenwu Temple, Holy Monk Shrine, and Tse-En Pagoda.

The tour starts with a pick-up from one's hotel or at a metro station in downtown Taipei.

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Itinerary Of The Five-Day Tour Of Taiwan

Day One

The first day begins with tours of the temples of Sun Moon Lake, including Wenwu Temple, Holy Monk Shrine, and Tse-En Pagoda. Sun Moon Lake is the largest freshwater lake in Taiwan and is home to the Thao people (Taiwanese indigenous people). Sun Moon Lake is one of the top destinations on the island.

Day Two

On the second day, visit the Fo Guang Shan Monastery and the night market of Kaohsiung. Kaohsiung is the largest city in southern Taiwan, while the Fo Guang Shan Monastery is a big Buddhist monastery founded by Master Hsing Yun in 1967 and has the tallest bronze sitting Buddha statue in the world. See the massive statue of Buddha Amitabha with its golden color that can be seen from miles away. In the evening, try out traditional Taiwanese food at the night market.

Day Three

Come day three, visit Kenting National Park and explore the unspoiled coastline of Taitung’s East Coast National Scenic Area. Kenting National Park is famous for its coastal geologic features and landscapes, as well as its marine biodiversity due to crustal deformation and tropical climate. It is also popular with surfers and divers. Spend the night in a 5-star hot spring resort in Chihpen, Taitung.

Day Four

The fourth day is spent exploring Hualien and nearby Taroko Gorge, where visitors marvel at the towering marble cliffs that dominate Taroko National Park.

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Day Five

On the fifth and last day, explore some of the island's most stunning coastlines and the largest marble canyon in the world. The marble cliffs soar up as much as 1,100 meters high (3,300 feet) and stretch for 21 kilometers, nearly vertically dropping into the sea. Take a walk along the Shakadang Trail or Lushui Trail and watch the river flow through the marble boulders.