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First time to Taiwan Advice

Seattle, Washington
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First time to Taiwan Advice

Hi--my husband and I are going to Taiwan from Jan. 13-28. We'll be doing a 7-day silent retreat at Chung Tai Monastery near Puli from the 19-26. We are thinking we'll stay in Taipei for 3 days, then take the train to Hualien, spend 2 days at Taroko, and then get to the monastery and then back to Taipei for 2 days. My questions:

1. It looks hard to get to and from the gorge except through Taipei, but it looks gorgeous! Worth it to visit? And if so, can you get from Hualien/Toroko to Puli (where the monastery is) or should we just plan to go back to Taipei and then to Puli? Has anyone rented a car and driver to go from Taroko to Puli? The road sounds treacherous and uncertain.

2. Has anyone bicycled in the gorge in January? Wondering about weather and difficulty. We thought about going with a tour the first day and then hiking/biking on our own the second day.

3. Any must sees in Taipei, other than the national museum? any thoughts on how we spend our 2/3 days at the beginning and the 2 days at the end would be most welcome.

4. What is the best way to get to Puli from Taipei, if we don't end up going straight from Taroko to Puli?

Thanks so much for the help!

Pramila

1. Re: First time to Taiwan Advice

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Taipei Taiwan
Destination Expert
for Taiwan, Taipei
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2. Re: First time to Taiwan Advice

HI

If you have an International Driving License you can drive-many people have done it. Taiwan Road -same as US-Left hand Drive.

Or Hire a Cabbie in Hualien who can take you around Hualien for a day to the Gorge and other sites (Search Taiwan forum for Hualien Cabbie-and they can also take you across the Cross Island Highway to Puli-If that is of interest then you can search the forum or ask anyone who can point you in the right direction for an English speaking driver

Taipei Taiwan
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for Taiwan, Taipei
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3. Re: First time to Taiwan Advice

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Seattle...
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4. Re: First time to Taiwan Advice

Thank you everyone, this is really helpful! I'm getting more info on driving from Hualien to Puli, that would be the easiest if it is do-able. I've read on TripAdvisor that the Bayview Hotel is highly recommended place to stay but it is out of Hualien. Is it better to stay right in Hualien or on the beach? The seaside bike riding sounds beautiful.

Also, has anyone been in January? Sounds like it might be rainy and cold?

Finally, is it necessary to book train tickets ahead of time or can we just book when we get there?

thank you for all the great advice!

Lunenburg, Canada
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for Saint John, Foz do Iguacu, Iguazu National Park
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5. Re: First time to Taiwan Advice

Hi Seattle!

Yes and no.

We visited in January. Taipei was in the midst of a week of rain, with high temperatutes around 50 F. January in Seattle, to coin a phrase.

Down south, though, we found the sun in Kaohsiung and Kenting, with the mercury topping out at 70. If the north is gloomy, try the south.

You don't need to get Taiwan High Speed Rail tickets in advance. The tickets are sold in machines in the terminals, like subway tickets in North America. When we rode, we found lots of seats. It's incredibly fast, of course, but so smooth that you hardly notice your velocity, except that a panel at the front of the car displays your speed in kilometers/hour. I still prefer to drive, although cars can only go about a third the speed of the train!

David

Seattle...
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6. Re: First time to Taiwan Advice

thanks, David! very helpful!

7. Re: First time to Taiwan Advice

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