5D/4N: Eastern Taiwan

5D/4N: Eastern Taiwan


This tour is all about discover local and off the beaten path, in some cases located in remote area. It's not a tour for everybody; therefore please read carefully:

► Some of the accommodations are local, simple and basic B&B. If you are expecting hotels with facilities, this tour is not for you. There are not many hotels located in indigenous and rural areas. In these areas, accommodation will mostly be in family-run guesthouses. In other areas, we can provide also 4* and 5* hotels on request (Taroko, Alishan, Sun Moon Lake).
► These tours are not synonyms of "cheap"; the price we are proposing involves many efforts to be made in advance, during and after your trip.
►You will need to bring along enough New Taiwan Dollar (NT$) in cash, as credit cards are rarely accepted and there are very few ATMs or banks.
► Basic medical care and first aid is usually available but there is rarely a pharmacy. So, bring along an ample supply of all necessary prescription and over-the-counter medication.
► Familiar food can be difficult to find and very local food can be sometimes served, please be ready to accept different/unknown flavors and if you need to refuse, be polite while doing it.
► Taking photos is not a problem in most of the cases, but respect their privacy.
► Taiwan's indigenous tribes have had contact with the outside world and mainstream society for a long time. Even in their villages, they mostly live in modern houses and dress in modern clothing.

說明 Introduction

This tour starts in Taitung and ends in Taipei.
Taitung can be reached from Taipei by airplane and Hualien is connected to Taipei by train.
Other travelling option can be arranged!

Information about the tribes which will be visited on this tour:

Amis tribe: with a population of more than 140,000, the Amis is by far the largest of Taiwan's officially recognized indigenous tribes. The mountains and coast of Hualien to Taitung are where this tribe is concentrated. Traditionally, the Amis possessed a matrilineal society. Women inherited the family property and children were named according to their mother's name. Although women were responsible for the major decisions in their individual households, the political decisions of the village were made by men, with division of labor based on a strict age hierarchy. The Harvest Festival is held in July and August to celebrate the harvest of millet, a traditional staple grain.

Paiwan tribe: the Paiwan tribe is concentrated in Pingtung and Taitung counties. This tribe traditionally possessed a strict social hierarchy of chieftain, nobility and commoners. The chieftains are responsible for preserving traditions and ceremonies and overseeing the welfare of the village residents. They are the landowners and it is the commoners who work their land, providing a portion of the crops to the chieftains for the use of the land. The Paiwan tribe is well known for the high quality of its art works and handicrafts including pottery making, wood carving and bead making.

Rukai tribe: the Rukaitribe is concentrated in Pingtung and Taitung counties, as well as in the mountainous areas of Kaohsiung City. The Rukai maintained a strict social hierarchy with a nobility and common class. Certain patterns on clothing and accessories and carved on homes could only be used by the nobility, such as human head, human figure, hundred-pace pit viper, lily and pottery vessel patterns. The lily flower denotes social order and morality. The right to wear this flower in the headdress was only granted to outstanding warriors and hunters and to young women of virtue. These symbols of honor and social standing are most evident during major ceremonies, such as the annual Millet Harvest Festival.

Sediq tribe: the distribution of the Sediq tribe is in Nantou and Hualien counties. Similar to the Atayal tribe, the Sediq once practiced facial tattooing. A woman was able to receive facial tattoos if she proved herself a skilled weaver, i.e. able to clothe her family. A man was able to receive facial tattoos if he proved himself a capable warrior, i.e. able to defend his family and village. Textiles were traditionally made using ramie; a type of Asian hemp, and woven on a horizontal backstrap loom. This was hard work, especially as many of the traditional patterns were quite complicated such as rhombuses within rhombuses which represent “the eyes of the ancestors”.

Truku tribe: this tribe originally inhabited Nantou County, but as its population grew it moved into what is today Taroko National Park in Hualien County. The highway that cuts through Taroko Gorge was expanded from a Truku tribe hunting trail. However, in the early 20th century, the Truku tribe was forced to move out of this gorge by the occupying Japanese forces. This tribe is still concentrated in villages surrounding Taroko National Park. As with the Atayal and Sediq tribes, the Truku tribe also practiced facial tattooing.


Day 1: Taipei - Taitung (Taitung City, Taimali Township, Jinfeng Township)

From Taipei's Songshan Airport, we will take a flight to Taitung's Fengnian Airport. Taitung is located in the southeastern part of Taiwan and boasts the longest coastline (nearly 200 kilometers) of any county in Taiwan. At the National Museum of Prehistory, you will gain an overview of Taiwan’s natural history and indigenous culture.

We will then head southwards to Taimali and Jinfeng townships. Both of these townships were devastated during Typhoon Morakot in August 2009. The residents have shown that the human spirit can overcome natural disaster and have rebuilt their communities.

We arrive at the first indigenous community on this tour: Xinxianglan Village. This is home to members of the Paiwan and Amis tribe. The residents of this village have revived several aspects of Paiwan culture including the youth meeting hall and hunters’ school (for teaching survival skills and tribal legends) and millet growing. Millet was once a staple food of many indigenous tribes in Taiwan. A dinner of dishes made using local millet and traditional indigenous ingredients will be served at the village’s restaurant.

Accommodation: Tjiljuvekang Art & Leisure Guesthouse (please note that it may be necessary to share a bathroom this night) or equivalent.
This guesthouse is owned and operated by Utjutj Tjiljuvekang, a member of the Paiwan tribe who is originally from Xinxing Village. However, he spent most of his working life in urban areas, recently returning to his village to become reacquainted with his roots. From the outside, this guesthouse is very striking. The white walls are painted with black murals, the subjects of which are Paiwan culture, such as the grinding of millet and hunting. Also in front of the guesthouse, there is a statue of a Paiwan male climbing a pole on which there is a hundred pace pit viper. Next to this is a stack of logs. Obtaining such a stack of logs was part of the preparations for Paiwan weddings of the chieftain clan. The guesthouse has five rooms on the second and third floors, with a shared bathroom on each floor. There is also a balcony for viewing the star-filled sky at night or the Pacific coast during the day. This guesthouse is located right within Xinxing Village and makes a good base from which to explore the area on foot.

Lunch and dinner
Tjiljuvekang Art & Leisure Guesthouse or equivalent
Day 2: Jinfeng Township - Taimali Township (Taitung) - Ruisui Township (Hualien)

We will start the day with a tour of Xinxing Village in Jinfeng Township. The residents of this village are mostly from the Paiwan and Rukai tribes. There are eight chieftains in this village and a tour will include some of their homes as well as a workshop selling products designed and produced by village residents. This village is perched on a mountain slope and from here there are excellent views of the coast and Pacific Ocean.

After the tour, we will enjoy a Taimali Township specialty, beef noodles. After lunch, we head north to Hualien County, making stops at some of the scenic places in the East Rift Valley; a valley bordered on one side by the Coastal Mountain Range and on the other by the Central Mountain Range. We will arrive in Ruisui Township. This township is home to three indigenous tribes: Amis, Truku and Bunun. It is also famous for its natural hot springs, cycling paths and whitewater raft rides along the Xiuguluan River.

For dinner, we will enjoy hot pot; a Chinese dish of broth boiled over a fire in which you add meat and vegetables. The twist here is local wild greens.

After dinner, we head to a hot springs guesthouse where you can socialize outdoors in a large pool of natural hot springs water or enjoy the soothing waters in a large bathtub in the privacy of your own room. The iron content of these spring waters makes them appear rust in color. It is safe for bathing but not for ingesting. Also, due to the metal content it is best to rinse off after bathing.  

Accommodation: Yuan Hsiang Hot Springs Homestay or equivalent.
This homestay is located in the Ruisui Hot Springs Area and has a park-like setting. The rooms include a private hot springs bathing area with an adjacent shower. Outside are tubs and a large pool for soaking in the soothing waters while looking out at the surrounding fields and mountains during the day and up at the star-filled sky at night. Bicycles are available for guests to take advantage of the nearby cycling paths. 

Breakfast, lunch and dinner
Yuan Hsiang Hot Springs Homestay or equivalent
Day 3: Ruisui Township (Hualien)/Xiulin Township (Hualien)

Today starts out with a thrilling ride along 24 kilometers of the Xiuguluan River. We will experience more than a dozen rapids along this Grade 3 river. A simple lunch will be served along the river bank about half way to the ending point.
After a shower and change of clothes, we continue our drive through the East Rift Valley to Xiulin Township, home to the Truku and Sediq indigenous tribes and the world famous Taroko Gorge. We will tour one of the indigenous communities in this township before enjoying a dinner of indigenous cuisine.

Accommodation: Crossing the Rainbow Bridge Guesthouse or equivalent.
In the traditional beliefs of the Truku tribe, only those who observe the moral code of the “gaya” will be able to cross the rainbow bridge and be in the presence of the ancestral spirits. This guesthouse is owned by Teyra Yudaw, an indigenous autonomy activist who has spoken at the United Nations. He is very happy to share his knowledge of Truku culture with guests.

The rooms are beautifully decorated and some have breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean. The water for the shower comes from clear mountain springs and is heated by solar panels. Each of the seven rooms has a different name in the Truku language such as Wili (leech) or Skadang (many molars). This guesthouse is located near the entrance to Taroko National Park. Guests can make use of bicycles for a leisurely tour of the surrounding area.

Breakfast, lunch and dinner
Crossing the Rainbow Bridge Guesthouse or equivalent
Day 4: Taroko Gorge

On this day, we explore the spectacular Taroko Gorge. We first hike the Shakadang Trail. Along this trail, local indigenous people grow bird’s nest fern, an ingredient in indigenous cuisine, and the aquamarine waters of the Shakadang River flow. After this, we will finish exploring the gorge and its natural beauty including the Eternal Spring Shrine, Buluowan and SwallowsGrotto.


AccommodationSilks Place Taroko (5*) or similar
Offering uninterrupted views of the surrounding greenery, Silks Place Taroko Hotel is located within the Taroko National Park in Hualien County. It features an indoor pool, an outdoor pool and 2 dining options. Given the range of facilities available at the hotel, including a stunning panoramic outdoor pool, tennis courts surrounded by jungle-clad mountains and two highly recommended restaurants, the luxury retreat concept begins to make perfect sense. You really will have to tear yourself away from the hotel to visit the spectacular National Park trails close at hand, the temples and grottos, hot springs and waterfalls. 

Breakfast, lunch and dinner
Silks Place Taroko or similar
Day 5: Taroko Gorge/Xiulin Township/Taipei

After leaving Taroko Gorge, we continue our cultural tour of Xiulin Township. Stops include visits to a workshop creating products from local natural stone, the Truku community of Sanzhan, and a museum devoted to the past tradition of facial tattooing. After our tour, we head back to Taipei via van along the Suhua Highway and Xueshan Tunnel (12.6 kilometers long) or the train to arrive at about 7:00 p.m.

Breakfast and lunch

注意事項 Notes

Optional for this tour: the Aboriginal Cooking Class in Hualien: Get to know special knowledge about the local, aboriginal culture, cook like an aborignal and afterwards enjoy your self prepared dishes! 


This trip is proposed as an example and can be modified upon client's expectations and requests. 

To receive a quotation please send us the following information:
1) Date:
2) How many persons (adults, kids and infants):

  Interested in this tour or need more information?   


✉ taiwan.tour@northwest.com.tw


We will contact you within 48 hours (Monday to Friday).

This tour is made in collaboration with Tribe Asia.

About Tribe Asia:

Tribe-Asia, working in partnership with responsible tour operators and indigenous villages and communities, is also developing exciting travel itineraries into Taiwan’s indigenous communities. These tours focus on the ecology and culture of these areas. It is also beginning to expand travel itinerary themes to bring attention to Taiwan's incredible diversity and hospitality.

Discover more on
Texts and pictures belong to Tribe Asia.  

About Northwest:

Founded in 1986, Northwest is one of the major travel agencies in Taiwan. With its 30 years of experience and 2 offices in Taiwan, Northwest offers a professional and multilingual service to  satisfy all the needs of our clients.Our network of specialists guarantee you to enjoy the incredible sense of hospitality that the island of Taiwan has to offer with a broad range of budgets.