For our October holiday this year, we decided to make use of the Taiwan Visa Shanhong had, to visit Taiwan for the first time. Knowing nothing about the country, we booked to join a coach tour – and although everything ran very smoothly – I think I can say we won’t be joining group tours again!  Anyway, this is the first of the reports from the trip!  We landed in Taipei and were transferred to a local hotel in Taoyuan, giving us a chance to go out, explore and find food!

The following morning, we joined the group and headed first for the bullet train ride into Taipei and our first stop, at the National Taiwan Democracy Memorial Hall, erected as a memorial to Chiang Kai-Shek, first President of Taiwan.

Next stop was the Martyr’s shrine, to watch the changing of the guard. Very precise choreography – but I must confess I missed the pomp and bands of the London version!

It was now time to start the journey around the island – so we hopped on the bus, stopped off at the ‘miniatures museum of Taiwan’ and headed to Jiufen. The area became famous when gold was discovered and nearby gold mines were opened. Now it is very much developed as a tourist attraction with retro-Chinese style cafés, tea houses, and souvenir stores bearing the name "City of Sadness".

The final stop on Day 1 was Nan Fang Ao, a fishing harbour with a famous temple.  After stopping here for photographs and a bathroom break, it was the long drive around the coast, past the beautiful beaches of Cisingtan to Hualien for our overnight stop.

Do you like the shirt Shanhong bought me?! ... and the cute little bug?     Take care…  Trevor, Shanhong & Teddy xx