Date: Sep 14, 2013
I did my first Taiwan tour with a private tour guide using a tour van during June school holidays. I had lots of fun.
http://miniliew.blogspot.sg/2013/06/taiwan-private-tour-guide-with-van.html (click the link for previous tour)
This time, during December school holidays, we came back to visit Taiwan again, and this time, we bought along another 5 families.
We sit in A Car.
WHY WE USED A PRIVATE TOUR GUIDE WITH VAN
1. We visit from the north down to the south. The vans follow us. Our luggage always follow the vans. Sometimes, the luggage don’t even have to get down the van.
2. Van is smaller, so, we visit places where there is fun and lesser visitors. I really don’t like a lot of visitors. So, there are some exclusive touring spot which is nice, and can only be accessed by smaller vehicle. Such as the Plum Roasted Chicken restaurant on top of the hill, big bus cannot even go there.
3. When you have your own private van, you can do whatever to it. For example, my Kay Kay is asleep, so, I choose to stay in the van, and the rest went to tour the place. You can choose to stay in the van or get out of the van. It is very friendly to kids.
4. Private tour guide will basically gives you a list of places to visit. But you are the boss, so, you decide what time to wake up, what time to move out and to change the itinerary on the spot. Don’t worry, at the end of the day, those you did not visit, and you have paid for the tickets, the money will be refunded. For example, we think we wanted to stay more time at the onsen hotel, so, we did.
5. Having so many vans, we can always allocated a van and a tour guide to go different tour if you need. For example, all the old folks may be going to old folks friendly place to visit. Lesser walking.
6. Some van can choose to eat MacDonald. Some van can choose to eat traditional breakfast.
7. There are 6 tour guides to look after us, and most importantly help look after the kids.
8. When we arrived at Airport, we are 1.5 hours earlier. The tour guides didn’t just leave. Instead, Danny said, you guys go to basement and eat. We will look after your luggage here until Scoot check-in counter is open.
9. Kay Kay left his bakugan on the tour van. Danny has left the airport 10 minutes ago. He called and said, he found the bakugan on the van and will deliver to me in 5 minutes time.
He is my tour guide.
His name is Danny Hsu. But we all call him 小平哥.
Below link is his Facebook page.
His phone contact is here.
He is a retired colonel from the army. Back in the army, he responsible for logistics and supplies in 台东，花莲&垦丁.
So, he is very organised person. I am guessing that the army train him to be like that.
He is very good in all the small details. And he is very fast in grouping the team and redesigning the itinerary.
He is a tour guide, official tour guide. So, he has to explained all the things we see.
He is the tour guides leader for this mega Taiwan tour group. (to me is Mega, OK?)
These are all our tour guides.
We were given the contact info of all the tour guides. Tony is another one that has served us last trip in June.
Basic Fees: TWD$6,000 per day. From 8-9am to 8-9pm. (Pre-paid)
Accommodation: est. TWD$1,000 per day. (Pre-paid)
Tips: est. TWD$1,000 or above for per day. (Give on the last day)
The above fees will includes all the transportation to any places you like to go, includes gas, includes services.
Basically, I am the one that choose most of the hotels. And he will help me to take care of all the logistics in booking the hotels. And some times, he will collect some deposits to book the hotels. I don’t have to worry about how to book the hotel, how to pay. I do a bank transfer to his Taiwan bank after we have negotiated.
Please take a look at the below PDF itinerary file to find out how much we spend for the whole trip.
ITINERARY & OTHER FEES
I never thought Taiwan tour can be so much fun. So much thing to see. So, after that trip, I decided to come back to Taiwan again during the December school holidays. This time, I am bringing more people to show them Taiwan. Jay Jay is going Taiwan with 5 of his K2 classmates. There will be in total 6 families, 12 children, 12 parents, 7 grand parents, and a domestic helper on this trip. A total of 32 person. We will be using 6 vans, along with 6 personal tour guides. 8 days and 7 nights. We will be staying in 5 different hotels. This will be one of the memorable journey and tour for our children.
I am the tour leader who design this trip. Thank you for all the rest of parents to put all the trust in me. And I hope I have not disappointed the kids or the parents too much. I think as early as July I have put the trip itinerary together, arranging with the tour guides to plan the tour routes, to book the hotels and design our trip here. If you wish to download the itinerary, below are the links. This is version 5. It reduced from 97MB down to the size of 37.7MB. It has the pricing that we paid for all 6 families and 32 people. We spent less than TWD$757K for the trip excluding the air tickets for 8 days. So, if you divide it, it is about SGD$1K each head count.
（可以在这下载台湾私人导游包车自由行 2 的行程表与价钱报价表）
NO IPAD / IPHONE RULE
In order to make this trip successful, with so many kids around, we have to come up with strict rules. And the rule is no iPad or iPhone around when kids are gathered together. And I must say, both the parents and kids did superbly in following this rule. You can see how the kids have lots of fun during this trip.
http://miniliew.blogspot.sg/2013/12/taiwan-vacation-rules-no.html (click here to see the blog)
OK. Let’s take a look at what we have been thru for this memorable Taiwan 8 Days Tour for our small little 32 people tour group. Wahahha
Taiwan Vacation 礁溪温泉公园 (Day 1)
http://miniliew.blogspot.com/2013/12/taiwan-vacation-day-1.html (click the link or photo to read the blog)
The kids always love to play around water. But how about “hot” water? This is definitely one of the first for them. Playing with their friends at the hot spring. To the adults and seniors, this short stop has rejuvenate our energy by simply soaking our legs in the hot spring for 10-20 minutes. Makes us warm. Makes us energetic. Especially after a red eye flight.
Taiwan Vacation 宜兰传统艺术中心 （Day 1）
http://miniliew.blogspot.sg/2013/12/taiwan-vacation-day-1_10.html （click the link or photo to read the blog)
To understand a country culture, you need to visit this culture centre. Here there are history and memories of Taiwan. There is a old street mimic most of the buildings back in many many years ago. It is a place where kids can play, adults can see, can eat, and have fun!
Taiwan Vacation 吃 – 骏 怀旧餐厅 （Day 1）
http://miniliew.blogspot.sg/2013/12/taiwan-vacation-day-1_7899.html （click the link or photo to read the blog)
All these items found in this restaurant brings back a lot of memories. The food is nice too.
Taiwan Vacation – 力阿卡铁牛 Iron Cow (Day 1)
http://miniliew.blogspot.sg/2013/12/taiwan-vacation-iron-cow-day-1.html (click the link or photo to read the blog)
The kids never sit in such a tour cart before. They like this unique transportation to tour the inner city of Yilan.
Taiwan Vacation – 几米公园 (Day 1)
http://miniliew.blogspot.sg/2013/12/taiwan-vacation.html (click the link or photo to read the blog)
You have to understand Ji Mi (几米) Comics to appreciate this small little park sitting beside one of the bus/train station. I grew up by reading 几米 comics. I know the styles and I of course know the props used in his comics. And all those props are now here in this small little park.
Taiwan 民宿 – North Zart 北方扎特 (Day 1)
http://miniliew.blogspot.sg/2013/12/taiwan-north-zart.html (click the link or photo to read the blog)
I must say, It is very hard to decide which accommodation is the best during our trip in Taiwan. All accommodation has scored a flying 100 marks. Instead of staying in hotel, we will try our best to stay in Bed & Breakfast accommodation, i.e. 民宿. Like this 北方扎特 is build to be different from any of the others 民宿. It haves you a feeling that you are not in Taiwan at all. The weather is cold, and the appearance of the accommodation gives you a false impression that you are in an European country or US/Canada. The children go crazy about this first accommodation, they like the wooden feeling, and climb upstairs and downstairs exploring every inch of the 民宿.
Taiwan Vacation – 桧木 Container (Day 1)
http://miniliew.blogspot.sg/2013/12/taiwan-vacation-container.html (click the link or photo to read the blog)
During the trip, we learned a lot of new knowledge. Like this one. The container is feng shui related. And it contains a lot of 桧木 chips. It smell so good.
Taiwan Vacation – Train Ride from Yilan to Hualian (Day 2)
http://miniliew.blogspot.sg/2013/12/taiwan-vacation-train-ride-from-yilan.html (click the link of photo to read the blog)
Every trip I must insert in 1 or 2 train rides. Kids simply love to sit on the train. May be is because they find it fascinating. Today, we need to sit on a train to skip one of the most dangerous road in Taiwan, i.e. 苏花公路. We sit on the train, and our tour guides and vans will drive the road.
Taiwan Vacation – 清水断崖 （Day 2）
http://miniliew.blogspot.sg/2013/12/taiwan-vacation-day-2.html (click the link or photo to read the blog)
Taiwan Vacation 吃 － 达基力部落风味餐厅 （Day 2）
http://miniliew.blogspot.sg/2013/12/taiwan-vacation-day-2_16.html (click the link or photo to read the blog)
Taiwan Vacation – Taroko National Park 太鲁阁 （Day 2)
http://miniliew.blogspot.sg/2013/12/taiwan-vacation-taroko-national-park.html （click the link or photo to read the blog)
Ater you had a very full lunch, it is time for you to walk. There are a couple of routes to walk. So, we picked two of them. Although the sky is raining, but I am very sure that all the kids are quite happy playing.
Taiwan Vacation 吃 – 花莲的炸蛋葱油饼 (Day 2)
http://miniliew.blogspot.sg/2013/12/taiwan-vacation_17.html (click the link or photo to read the blog)
Come to Hua Lian, must eat this unique Egg Bomb onion pan cake.
Taiwan Vacation – 七星谭 （Day 2）
http://miniliew.blogspot.sg/2013/12/taiwan-vacation-day-2_17.html (click the link or photo to read the blog)
We love this beach. It is so beautiful. Although you cannot play in the cold water, but the kids seems to have lots of fun here. Throwing rocks to the roaring sea. Building huge sand castles. Very fun indeed.
Taiwan Vacation – 敦煌宝石博物馆 Precious Rock Museum (Day 2)
http://miniliew.blogspot.sg/2013/12/taiwan-vacation-precious-rock-museum.html （click the link or photo to read the blog)
Later on that day, we stopped by a precious rock Museum. It is actually a shop selling all these jewels, rubies, and so on. Some of them is quite nice.
Taiwan Vacation 吃 － 炒天下南北热抄啤酒餐厅 (Day 2)
http://miniliew.blogspot.sg/2013/12/taiwan-vacation-day-2_5211.html (click the link or photo to read the blog)
The food today is so so only.
But the fruit beers are nice!
Taiwan 民宿 – 台湾光复糖厂日式民宿 (Day 2 & 3)
I have insisted to stay in this 民宿 hotel. My tour guide – Danny told me not to. His reason is simple, it is very far away from Hualian city. It is about 20-30minutes. I think I key in the wrong address when I check the Google Map. My impression is that this hotel is near by the city, only 5 minutes.
Because of this decision. It turned out that this is one of the best hotel. Why?
The kids love it! We booked I think 9 chalets. And the kids every day visit from one house to another. It is like home visit to them. “OK, today come to my house.” “Tomorrow I go to yours.”. “Let’s play Monopoly Deal at Anna’s house”.
And some of them actually spent a night at his friend’s chalet.
This sort of fun, you seldom can get it in Singapore. So, we are glad that the kids love this!
Let’s do a Japanese bathing before we sleep, ya!
Taiwan Vacation 吃 – 阿嬷厨房 @ 台糖 （Day 3 & 4）
http://miniliew.blogspot.sg/2013/12/taiwan-vacation-day-3-4.html （click the link or photo to see the blog)
The breakfast is nice too at the Taiwan Sugar Factory.
Taiwan Vacation – Farglory Ocean Park 远雄海洋公园 （Day 3）
http://miniliew.blogspot.sg/2013/12/taiwan-vacation-farglory-ocean-park-day.html （click the link or photo to see the blog)
The Ocean Park is surprisingly fun to be there. All the rides suitable for younger kids too. This is a very friendly theme park indeed. We all had a great time there.
Taiwan Vacation 吃 – 阿美麻糬 & 活跳虾 (Day 3)
http://miniliew.blogspot.sg/2013/12/taiwan-vacation-day-3.html （click the link of photo to see the blog)
We went to buy lots of things from one of the biggest local joint of Mochi shop. We really bought boxes of boxes of Pineapple biscuits, and mochi.
I also eat live jumping prawns the first time too.
Taiwan Vacation 吃 – 梅子鸡 at 月卢 （Day 3）
http://miniliew.blogspot.sg/2013/12/taiwan-vacation-at-day-3.html （click the link or photo to see the blog)
That night, we had our dinner at probably one of the best restaurant in this trip. I like the atmosphere and the food there.
Taiwan Vacation – 乐透 Lotto (Day 3 & Day 6)
http://miniliew.blogspot.sg/2013/12/taiwan-vacation-lotto-day-3-day-6.html （click the link or photo to see the blog)
Let’s try our luck in the foreign land. And some of us did win 5th prize. Well done!
Taiwan Vacation – Cycling & Train Cart at Sugar Factory (Day 4)
http://miniliew.blogspot.sg/2013/12/taiwan-vacation-cycling-train-cart-at.html （click the link or photo to see the blog)
The Taiwan Sugar Factory also got a lot of things to play. The kids busy entertaining themselves with all these new things.
Taiwan Vacation – On The Way to 知本 （Day 4）
http://miniliew.blogspot.sg/2013/12/taiwan-vacation-on-way-to-day-4.html （click the link or photo to see the blog）
We visited the cow and ostrich.
We jumped at the tropic of cancer market park.
We eat bento.
We take picture at the 伯朗大道.
We eat Ang Mo Liu Lian.
Taiwan Vacation 吃 － 普悠玛原始部落风味美食 Puyuma (Day 4)
http://miniliew.blogspot.sg/2013/12/taiwan-vacation-puyuma-day-4.html (click the link or photo to see the blog)
Again and again, we eat nice food.
Taiwan 住 – 东游季温泉度假村 Onsen Hotel (Day 4)
http://miniliew.blogspot.sg/2013/12/taiwan-onsen-hotel.html (click the link or photo to see the blog)
All of us stay in the room that comes with private onsen. Every one is so happy.
Taiwan Vacation – Onsen Swimming Pool 台东知本温泉 (Day 5)
http://miniliew.blogspot.sg/2013/12/taiwan-vacation-onsen-swimming-pool-day.html （click the link or photo to see the blog)
After the breakfast, all the kids (except Kay Kay) go down to the warm pool, the onsen pool and have fun.
Taiwan Vacation – On The Way to 垦丁 Kenting (Day 5)
http://miniliew.blogspot.sg/2013/12/taiwan-vacation-on-way-to-kenting-day-5.html (click the link or photo to see the blog)
We arrived at Kenting.
Taiwan 民宿 – 窝垦丁 米克诺斯 Mykonos (Day 5 & 6)
http://miniliew.blogspot.sg/2013/12/taiwan-mykonos.html (click the link or photo to see the blog)
A very small warm Bed & Breakfast hotel. I like!
I fly again.
Taiwan Vacation – Leaving A Note Behind (Day 6)
http://miniliew.blogspot.sg/2013/12/taiwan-vacation-leaving-note-behind.html (click the link or photo to see the blog)
I leave a special note behind.
Taiwan Vacation – 海生馆 （Day 6)
http://miniliew.blogspot.sg/2013/12/taiwan-vacation-day-6.html (click the link or photo to see the blog)
The kids have fun in the Aquarium.
Taiwan Vacation 吃吃吃 －Ali Seafood & 南北潜水美食餐厅 (Day 6)
http://miniliew.blogspot.sg/2013/12/taiwan-vacation-ali-seafood-day-6.html (click the link or photo to see the blog)
This dinner restaurant is the only restaurant that we clear all our plates.
Taiwan Vacation – 少年Pi @ 白砂湾 (Day 6)
http://miniliew.blogspot.sg/2013/12/taiwan-vacation-pi-day-6.html (click the link or photo to see the blog)
The kids always love to play the water.
I fly again.
Taiwan Vacation – 大脚车队 Thrill Jeep Ride (Day 6)
http://miniliew.blogspot.sg/2013/12/taiwan-vacation-trill-jeep-ride-day-6.html (click the link or photo to see the blog)
Unbelievable! It is so fun.
Taiwan Vacation – On The Way to 义大世界 E-Da Theme Park (Day 7)
http://miniliew.blogspot.sg/2013/12/taiwan-vacation-on-way-to-e-da-theme.html (click the link or photo to see the blog)
The last day of our trip, we went to E-Da theme park. It is a place where all the kids will go crazy. Lots of screaming. Lots of laughter.
The hotel room is big, nice and clean. Overseeing the ferris wheel outside.
Taiwan Vacation – Going Home (Day 8)
http://miniliew.blogspot.sg/2013/12/taiwan-vacation-going-home-day-8.html (click the link or photo to see the blog)
Final day, we took Bullet train to go home.