I hope to travel to an area in Taiwan where indigenous tribes are. Do you know whether I can go there by myself or if there are guides who take tours?
I was in Taiwan around this time last year and visited several indigenous areas. My trip was part of a tour organised by the Government in which I was bused around with a whole lot of travel agents. Unless you know the area a tour would be best, as many of these locations are quite far out in the countryside - and locals always know the best places to visit anyway.
Andy Thompson of House of Travel Takapuna advises that private touring is the way to go in Taiwan - mostly because it's more of a destination people go to visit friends and family.
A travel agent can organise a private tour guide to take you to the areas you'd most like to see. Fathom Asia also has a number of tour options, from one to 10 days plus.
However, if you speak Mandarin or Cantonese, you're more likely to be successful getting around as a solo traveller, as there are fewer English speakers the further you get from the cities. As most of the tourism comes from mainland China, you could always join a tour catering to this group.
The indigenous areas I visited were mostly around Taroko National Park in Hualien.
Lalan's House, an attraction operated by the Amis tribe (the largest tribe in Taiwan) is a great place to learn about the culture - Lalan himself explains the matriarchal society in a very entertaining way, plus there's a great lunch at the end.
I had my best meal of the whole trip at the nearby Dageeli Tribe Restaurant, which also has a gift shop where you can buy authentic handmade crafts.
The food is extremely fresh, with produce sourced from local farmers.
It's also worth stopping at Leader Village in Taroko for a look at the wooden statue of Taiwanese NBA star Jeremy Lin - they repaint his jersey whenever he changes teams.
Taiwan really is a fantastic place to visit, with plenty of beautiful scenery, great shopping, amazing food and interesting culture - I highly recommend it.
I am going on a cruise to Asia in a few months. The problem is, the fare is per person, twin-share. As I will going by myself, apart from buying two tickets, is there any way to get around this problem?
I asked Shelley Hibbert from Cruise Connections about this one - she says some cruise lines do offer a reduced single supplement on various departures. Other lines have cabins specifically for single use, which are smaller and cheaper than paying for a twin-share cabin.
Sometimes she is asked for "share with a stranger" deals, where you're matched up with a fellow traveller of the same gender, but obviously, this isn't for everyone. It's a long time to be stuck with someone you might not get along with - and we don't want to see anyone end up overboard.
If you need further help, contact Cruise Connections and they can help you find the best line for solo travellers.
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