Eli Orzessek is Travel's Digital Content Producer.

Ask Away: Visiting indigenous areas in Taiwan

Our online guru Eli Orzessek answers your travel questions.
Lalan from Lalan's House. Photo / Eli Orzessek
Lalan from Lalan's House. Photo / Eli Orzessek

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?

P. Gayle

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.

Read more:
Taipei: A night on the town
Taiwan: Vale of marble and legend
When in Taiwan, do as the expats do
Taiwan: Dancing with the dragons

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.

 Leader Village in Taroko National Park, Taiwan. Photo / Eli Orzessek
Leader Village in Taroko National Park, Taiwan. Photo / Eli Orzessek


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?

Malcolm Richardson

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.

Tweet us @NZHTravel or use the hashtag #NZHAskAway

Email your questions to askaway@nzherald.co.nz

- NZ Herald

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW

© Copyright 2016, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf04 at 02 Oct 2016 00:28:13 Processing Time: 1100ms