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Suggested itinerary: Taiwan in 21 days for independent travellers

Day 1: Arrival in Taipei

Leave your suitcases at the hotel and go see the most iconic building in the city: Taipei 101. If you arrive early and are not very tired, you can do the famous Xiangshan trail, and climb the mountain to see spectacular views of the skyscraper and the city at sunset. Dine at the famous Din Tai Fung and try its exquisite Xiao Long Baos. Night in Taipei.

Day 2: Taipei

In the morning visit the impressive Chiang Kai Sek Memorial. Eat on the lively Yongkan street. In the afternoon visit the monumental Longshan Temple and walk through the photogenic Bopiliao Historical Block. At sunset, stroll and dine at Ximending. Night in Taipei.

Day 3: Taipei

Start the day at the National Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall, where you can take wonderful photos of Taipei 101. Walk through the trendy Zhongxiao district and visit the super hipster Huashan 1914 Creative Park. In the afternoon, stroll down Dihua Street, one of the oldest streets in the city. Watch the sunset over the river in Dadaochen and dine at the Ningxia Night Market. Night in Taipei.

Day 4: Taipei and Beitou

In the morning visit the interesting Confucius Temple and the wonderful Dalongdong Baoan Temple. Take the metro to Beitou, where you can stroll and bathe in the hot springs. In the evening, dine at the lively Shiling Night Market. Night in Taipei.

Day 5: Shifen and Jiufen

Travel by train or car to Shifen. Take the little walk to its beautiful waterfall and then go to eat in its old street. There you can see the train that passes through the middle of the town, and you can make fly one of the traditional lanterns. In the afternoon go to Jiufen, where you can see incredible views of the sunset and stroll through its wonderful night market that winds through the town. Night in Taipei.

Day 6: Taroko National Park

Travel to Taroko. Along the way, stop to see the Qingshui and Shimizu cliffs, which offer spectacular views of the coastline. Once in Taroko, do the Baiyang Trail to see waterfalls and go through the underground waterfall. On the way back, walk the Tunnel of the 9 turns and the Swallow Grotto Yanzikou Trail, where you will have the most impressive views of the Taroko Gorge. Sleep in Taroko's park.

Day 7: Taroko National Park

In the morning do the Shakadang Trail and hallucinate with the turquoise color of the river. Later visit the wonderful Changchun Shrine which is crossed by a waterfall, and then do a short trek from the Changchun Temple (with its huge golden Buddhas) to the Bell Tower. Drive to Hualien and have dinner downtown. Night in Hualien.

Day 8: Hualien: Emerald Valley

In the morning visit the Wanyue Gorge and bathe in the crystal clear waters of the river. In the afternoon visit the Emerald Valley and do a small trek through the jungle to the Zimu Fall. Night in Hualien.

Day 9: The East Coast and the Rift Valley

Head south, stopping at Baqi Rest Stop to enjoy the views, Xin she Rice Terrace to see rice fields facing the sea, and Shitiping to climb its impressive rock formations. From here, go to the Butterfly Valley Resort and take a bath in its hot springs surrounded by forest and mountains.

Day 10: Yushan National Park and Luye Highlands

In the morning walk Walami Trail in Yushan National Park, where the famous (and rare) Taiwanese black bear lives. The waterfalls and rice fields along the way are beautiful. At sunset, head to the Luye Highlands to see the hot air balloons. Dinner at Tiehua Music Village. Night in Taitung.

Day 11: Taitung

In the morning visit the Fushan Fish Reserve and eat at one of its riverfront restaurants. Along the way, you can stop at Xiaoyeliu and Jialulan to admire the views of the coast. In the afternoon, head to Kenting and dine at its lively night market. Night in Kenting.

Day 12: Kenting

Go trekking through Kenting National Forest Recreation Area. Take a bath in Little Bay. Watch the sunset at the Eluanbi Lighthouse. Night at Keting.

Day 13: Liouchiou

Transfer to the Dongliu pier, to take the ferry to Liouchiou Island (Lambai Island). Before boarding, eat at the Huaqiao Fish Market. In the evening, dine at one of the traditional Taiwanese barbecues. Night in Liouchiou.

Day 14: Liouchiou and Tainan

In the morning, go around the island and snorkel at different points where in addition to corals and all kinds of fish, you can see sea turtles. In the afternoon take the boat back and go to Tainan. Dinner at the Garden Night Market. Night in Tainan.

Day 15: Tainan

In the morning, visit the Former Tait & Co. Merchant House in Anping (eastern district). This ruined house has been literally squatted by wonderful Banyan trees, Taiwan's little Angkor Watt. Then go visit Anping Old Fort and eat on Anping Old Street. In the afternoon, go to visit the Chihkan Tower and have dinner in the wonderful Shennong Street where you will not be able to stop taking photos of its lanterns. Night in Tainan.

Day 16: Tainan

In the morning go to visit the famous Chimei Museum. In the afternoon, rent a bicycle and visit the Museum of Contemporary Art, the old Hayashi Department Store, the National Museum of Taiwan Literature, the Tainan Confucius Temple, the Great South Tower and finally the curious Blueprint Culture & Creative Park. Night in Tainan.

Day 17: Eryanping trail and Alishan tea fields

Way to Alishan passing through Eryanping, where you can make a pleasant path to see the famous sea of clouds and stroll among tea fields. Get to Alishan and take the train to do the path that follows the old train tracks to the giant tree of Shuishan. Night in Alishan.

Day 18: Alishan National Forrest

If you don't mind getting up early and the weather forecast is good, you can trek to see the famous Alishan sunrise. Afterwards, return to the hotel to have breakfast and rest. Take the train to Zhaoping Station, and from here, walk to the Jiemei (Sister) Lakes, the impressive Shouzhen Temple, the Giant Tree # 28, the Sacred Tree, and the Giant Trees trail (this is where the trees are most impressive). End the day at Ciyun Temple to watch the sunset.

Day 19: Sun Moon Lake

Start the way to Sun Moon Lake, the sacred lake of the Taiwanese. If you still want mystical trails along old train tracks surrounded by fog and giant trees, along the way you can stop to do the wonderful (but busy) Tefuye Historic Trail. Follow the path to Sun Moon Lake, where we recommend visiting the Wenwu Temple and doing the small trail of the Nine Frogs. Dine in the lively Ita Thao market. Night at Sun Moon Lake.

Day 20: Sun Moon Lake and back to Taipai

In the morning we recommend you to walk to the Ci'en Pagoda and climb to the top floor to admire the views of the entire lake. Then you can rent bicycles in the Xiangshan area and do the path that goes to Shuishe, the other town on the Lake, where you can eat with beautiful views. If you don't mind arriving a little late in Taipei, on the way you can make a stop in Taichung, and visit its famous (and photogenic) Rainbow village. Night in Taipei.

Day 21: Flight back home

Transfer to the airport to take the flight back home. We hope you have enjoyed our route through Taiwan!