Birding Taiwan

Birding Taiwan, Covid statement

If you are interested in Birding Taiwan, come and join us at Kaiyote Tours!

Birding Taiwan, The Heart of Asia

Time to Travel to Taiwan: No visa required, officially bi-lingual with English as the second language, and non-stop flights from many cities in the United States. Check out more info about our tours and travel to Taiwan: 

Taiwan is a very special place and is one our favorite places!  If you are a birder, in Taiwan you will find 27 endemic species, with over 650 species in total.  If you are a nature lover, besides the beautiful birds, you will find wonderful forests, canyons, mountains, stunning coastlines, lots of butterflies, fantastic local people, many interesting mammals and great food!!  If you are a hiker, you will find great trails through the forests, mountains and river canyons.  On this tour we will have two guides; one for birding and one for hiking and so you can choose your activities for the day.

Taiwan is a small island located 110 miles off the coast of southeastern China. Although Taiwan maintains its own independent government, it is officially: “The Republic of China”. Taiwan is about 1.5 times larger than the state of New Hampshire and has a population of nearly 24 million people. Taipei is the capital city and is located in the northern part of the country and 9.3 million people live in the Taipei–Keelung–Taoyuan metropolitan area. Artifacts dating back 30,000 years have been found on the island and the Taiwanese Aboriginals have lived in Taiwan for 6,000 years. Over the past centuries, there have been many occupying forces; the Dutch, Spanish and Japanese, with China having the most control and influence. Today 85% of the population identifies as Han Chinese. Most Taiwanese are either Buddhist or Taoist and freedom of religion is in the constitution.

Taiwan is a mountainous country with over 268 peaks above 9,800 feet across the subtropical zone.  Yushan (Jade Mountain, Mount Yu) is 12,966 ft, 3,952m.  Taiwan’s culture is a blend of indigenous, Chinese and Japanese influences that travelers can actually experience through tasting the island’s creative culinary scene. Taiwan is also an advocate for human rights and is the first in Asia to legalize same-sex marriage. Enjoy a vacation in this scenic paradise. Don’t miss out on this colorful and vibrant travel destination!

Through all the years of changes, the one thing that has not changed is the Taiwanese people's love of nature. Taiwan has 10 national parks covering a total of 1.9 million acres and every county has local forest preserves and parks. Taiwan is dominated by forested mountains and has 18 National Forest Recreation areas. The island is criss-crossed with a network of well-maintained hiking trails. Taiwan has 65 different fire-fly species, which are a beloved insect and protected in the country. Taiwan is home to abundant bio-diversity. Over 650 different bird species, 61 mammal species (including the endemic Formosan White-throated black bear), 92 reptile species, 30 amphibian species, 400 butterfly species and over 4,000 vascular plant species.

Taiwan is a very modern and developed country with all the conveniences and luxuries anyone could need. About 10 million foreign tourists visit Taiwan every year and the country has the best hotels and restaurants for a great travel experience. It is a free, democratic and progressive society. You can visit Taiwan without having to get a visa in advance and much of the country is bi-lingual with English as the second language. Taiwan has a fantastic infrastructure including a wonderful rail system with bullet trains traveling 185 mph. We will take the train several times on the Taiwan tour and it is a very nice and relaxing experience to travel on the trains. According to the U.S. Department of State, violent crime against foreigners is unusual, and overall violent crime rates in Taiwan are among the lowest in the world. Taiwan has modern medical facilities, with state-of-the-art equipment available at many hospitals and clinics. For many of the other countries we travel to, these things are not always the case and so there are no excuses not to go to Taiwan!

Birding Taiwan

  

Printable Bird List 
(Checklist of birds that we have seen on this trip)

  • Travel Dates: November 1 – 10, 2022, Taroko Gorge 5-day extension from November 10 - 14th.  Taiwan is an annual trip and dates don't change.  
  • Group Size: 10 travelers plus guides (this trip usually sells out)
  • Trip Length: 10 days or 14 days with Taroko Gorge extension 
  • Rates Rate per person = $4,380, Taroko Gorge 5-day add-on = $1,370 (based on double occupancy) 
  • Rates include: Domestic transfers, lodging, breakfast, lunch, dinner, scheduled group tours, park entrance fees and basic travel insurance.
  • Not included: International airfare, customs & immigration fees and visas, alcohol, trip cancellation insurance.
  • Adventure level:  Easy, please check "Welcome" page for definition

Special offer:  Included with your trip (one per room) is a copy of the field guide “Birds of Taiwan”, by Wild Bird Society of Taipei.  You will receive this when you reserve your trip so you will have time to study the beautiful birds of Taiwan. 

Don't miss the Blue Magpie Video at the bottom of the page

Map of the travel route here:  Taiwan Map  (this map will enlarge when clicked on, opens a new page)

If you would like to see recent photos click here:  Newsletter Archives (opens a new page)

More photos can be found here:  Photo Gallery (opens new page)

Basic Itinerary

Day 1:   Arrival in Taiwan
Flights are overnight with arrival on day one. Flights arrive in Taipei at the Taoyuan International Airport (TPE) and you will be greeted at the airport and transported to the hotel in Taipei.  Just across the street from the hotel is Da'an Park, which is a great place for walking and viewing local birds such as the Taiwan Barbet, Common Kingfisher, Black Drongo, Malayan Night-Heron, Spotted Dove, Grey Treepie, Black Bulbul, Light-vented Bulbul and Japanese White-eye.

Day 2:   Taipei 
Taipei is full of wonderful parks for walking and birding; it also has great museums and monuments.  Evergreen Shipping has a very impressive Maritime Museum, one of the best we have ever seen. The Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Park has beautiful gardens and birds:  Brown Shrike, Oriental Turtle Dove, Eurasian Magpie, Black Bulbul, Pale Thrush, Asian Glossy Starling and lack-collared Starling.  We will visit the Taipei Botanical Gardens, where we will be able to see a few endemic bird species, like the Taiwan Blue Magpie, and where a Collared Scops-Owl likes to snooze during the day and of course, to see some very wonderful plants and gardens.   In the evening a trip to the top of the Taipei 101 building, which was the tallest building in the world from 2004 - 2010. 

Day 3:  Dasyueshan
First activity for the day will be walking and birding at Da-an Park.  Later in the morning we will travel to Dasyueshan National Forest; from Taipei it is about a 3-hour drive to Dasyueshan were we will be spending two nights at Dasyueshan Lodge located within the national forest park at 6,800 feet.  Besides great birding and wildlife viewing, there are many miles of great hiking trails here as well. 

Day 4:  Dasyueshan
We will spend the day on the mountain ranging in elevations from 6,100 – 7,900 feet.  You will have options to go birding, hiking and/or relaxing at the lodge and visitor center.  There are nearly 20 endemic species at Dasyueshan and this area is home to numerous mammals including macaques, giant flying squirrels, barking deer, serow, and will we see these animals both during the daylight hours and during night time exploring.  Dasyueshan is a birding hot spot for Taiwan and also an important hiking area for locals. 

Day 5:  Guoxing and Huisun
Next lodging location on the tour is Guoxing and here we will stay at a great resort along the Pei Kong River, which has several hot spring pools and a large swimming pool for relaxing.  But most impressive here is the "sky-walk" suspension bridge, which offers a great vantage point for birding and viewing very interesting insects. Although this area is not listed as a birding hot spot, it should be.  In the evening hundreds of bats take flight from their river bank roost, while Great Egrets, Intermediate Egrets and Little Egrets come home to roost. 

Day 6:  Guoxing and Huisun
A short 30 minute drive from the resort is the Huisun National Forest Park and it is your choice to spend the day hiking, birding or relaxing at the hammock park in the forest gardens. There are numerous butterfly species here and flocks of Taiwan Blue Magpie and Gray Treepies gather to feed and bath in the gardens. Huisun is one of our favorite places in Taiwan. This area is great for endemic species and birds in general including Minivets, Fulvettas and Laughing-thrushes. There are great walking trails and waterfalls here as well. 

Day 7:  Budai
From Guoxing, we will travel to the tea growing region on Nantou County and walk and hike along the Eryanping Tea Trail and there will be time a visit a tea house for tasting.  The highest mountain in Taiwan is located not far from Nantou:  Yushan (Jade Mountain) with an elevation of 12,966 feet.  Numerous endemic birds, the Formosa rock macaque (Taiwanese rock monkey), as well as other mammals like the Formosa Black Bear live in the area of Alishan and Yushan.  In the afternoon, we will travel to Taiwan's southwest coast where we will be staying in the city of Budai near the harbor; great area for shorebirds.  Along the way we will stop at the Pheasant-tailed Jacana Education Center to view birds and enjoy a short walk, visit waterfalls and find many birds like the Yellow Bittern.   

Day 8:  Budai
The area of Budai is along the southeastern coast of Taiwan and is a bird watchers paradise with numerous marshes, reserves, canals and salt flats for viewing birds.  The gem of them all is the Black-faced Spoonbill Reserve where numerous other species can be seen including Sacred Ibis, Eurasian Spoonbill and many species of shore birds.  The activity choices for the day are birding and/or hiking.  In the evening near the oyster farms, sometimes as many as 20,000 whiskered terns come to roost and it is an amazing site to watch as the sun sets.  Budai is a close to several significant historical and cultural areas.  The day will be spent viewing birds and getting to know the Budai and Beimen townships.

Day 9: Taipei
Our travels will have brought us to southern Taiwan near the city Tainan, the oldest city and former capitol city of Taiwan, established by the Qing Dynasty in 1683.   The Nankunshen Temple, which is one of the largest temples in Taiwan, is located just outside the village of Beimen.  There will be time for birding and visiting temples.  Many of the temples in Taiwan are very elaborate Taoist Temples.  Everywhere we travel to in Taiwan, you will find birds. We will be taking the high-speed train back to Taipei, a one-hour trip.  On the last night of the 10-day tour, we will be staying at the magnificent and opulent Grand Hotel; the finest hotel in Taipei.  The hotel is at the base of a small mountain, which has many miles of great hiking and we have seen many birds, especially raptors, from our hotel balconies.  The hotel feels like a palace and has several restaurants, a shopping level and a luxurious pool and spa area.  Birds seen at this location:  Black Kite, Crested Goshawk, Taiwan Barbet, Taiwan Blue Magpie, Taiwan Whistling Thrush, Grey Wagtail, just to name a few....

Day 10:  Fly Home or Stay for 5-day Extension to the Taroko Gorge 
If you only signed up for the 10-day tour, there will be a shuttle to the airport for flights back to the States.  If you signed up for the Taroko Gorge 5-day tour extension, we will be birding and hiking the area around the Grand Hotel.  The hotel and surrounding areas have many opportunities for activities, both outdoor and cultural. 

Click here:  Bird list for Hualien and Taroko

Day 11:  Taroko Gorge
We will be taking the train to the town of Hualien.  A beautiful train ride along the coast and through seaside villages; about a 2-hour journey. We will be staying at a wonderful B&B in the town of Hualien. The B&B has a great 4th floor look-out for birding and from the house we have seen Styan's Bulbul, White-breasted Waterhen, Red-collared Dove, Blue Rock Thrush, Javan Myna and Crested Goshawk. 

Day 12:  Taroko Gorge
Taroko Gorge and National Park is one of the largest marble canyons in the world and it is spectacular.  The day will be spent birding, walking and getting to know the geological and cultural history of this natural wonder. The cutest bird here is the Little Forktail. 

Day 13:  Hualien and Taipei 
Close to Hualien is a beautiful small lake for birding and trails for hiking; we will spend the morning at the park.  Birds to see:  Tufted Duck, Great Cormorant,  White-bellied Erpornis, Black-naped Monarch, Large-billed Crow, Rufous-faces Warbler, just to name a few. Later we will visit the seaside and beach for more birding and walking the shoreline.  In the late afternoon, it is the train back to Taipei where will be staying across the street from the Da'an Park.  

Day 14:  Fly Home 
There will be a shuttle to the airport for flights back to the States

Please note:  The lodging described in this itinerary is always our first choice based on availability. Details of this trip are a little vague as it is VERY flexible. Destinations throughout the trip are based on the desires, ability and goals of the group.