Taiwan Nature, Culture, Beauty
Greetings and I hope everyone is Keeping Safe and Having Fun!

Covid-19 Update The outbreak first spread to Taiwan on January 21st.

As of May 20, 2020:   Taiwan confirmed cases = 440, recovered = 409, deaths = 7 

Taiwan has gone 38 days without a new local infection and 13 days without an imported case. Out of 440 total confirmed cases, 349 were imported, 55 were local, and 36 came from the Navy's "Goodwill Fleet."

Why are the Covid-19 numbers for Taiwan so low? 

Taiwan was Ready, Waiting and Acted Fast:  The main reason Taiwan’s Covid-19 numbers are so extremely low is because Taiwan was not only prepared and ready, but the Taiwan National Health Organization and Taiwan's Central Epidemic Command Center were also waiting for the next outbreak. When I first visited Taiwan in 2016, before I could get my passport stamp, I had to pass through the “health check” zone, where they are checking for people with fevers and people who appear ill.  During the current Covid-19 outbreak, passengers are not able to disembark the plane until a health check is performed. Taiwan also has one of the best health care systems in the world; no one is ever scared or frustrated to see a doctor because everyone is covered by insurance and the country has “state of the art” medical facilities. The health care education system teaches people to get treatment fast and wear a mask when you feel sick, even if it is “just a cold”. And it also greatly helps when Taiwan’s Vice President is a Johns Hopkins educated epidemiologist and an expert on viruses. 

Prior Outbreak Experience, four factors:  1) Taiwan’s close physical proximity to China, 110 miles. 2) Taiwan is technically the “Republic of China” and not a country.  3) The fact that 85% of the Taiwan population identify as Han Chinese. 4) Tourism and travel between Taiwan and mainland China is frequent and abundant; historically about 4 million Chinese visit Taiwan each year. All these factors have put Taiwan at high risk for outbreaks in the past, such as SARS.

Conflicts with China:  Although Taiwan is not considered its own country because it is a territory of China, it is still a very independent democracy and Taiwan’s “self-governing” has increasingly angered China and China has retaliated by trying to hurt Taiwan financially. In recent years there has been a significant drop in the number of Chinese tourists visiting Taiwan, due to travel restrictions place on the Chinese people; even dropping nearly 60% after Tsai Ing-wen was re-elected on January 11, 2020 as Taiwan’s president (China views her as a secessionist and disapproves of Taiwan’s good relationship with the United States). Since 2010, Taiwan has purchased over $8 billion in military hardware and arms from the United States, to the disapproval of China. And although China retaliated by limiting Chinese tourism, that huge drop in travel from China certainly helped Taiwan in regards to the spread of Covid-19 in Taiwan.

Putting Numbers in Perspective : Taiwan has a total population of 24 million people and 9.3 million people live in the Taipei–Keelung–Taoyuan metropolitan area. New York City's five boroughs (Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, The Bronx, Staten Island), have a total population of 8.4 million and a land area of 303 sq. miles. The Taipei–Keelung–Taoyuan metropolitan area is 875 sq. miles. The New York City area is about 3 times denser in population than the Taipei urban area. I have visited Manhattan a few times in my life and staying 6 feet from anyone would seem impossible. Taiwan is about 1.5 times bigger than New Hampshire, which has a population of 1.4 million people. Taiwan is about 1.6 times bigger than New Jersey, which has a population of 9 million. 

Time to Travel to Taiwan : It is one of the safest and best places to be, even in the midst of a pandemic. 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!

You can find the Itinerary with more details here: Taiwan Tour

You can find a Map of the travel route here: Taiwan Map

You can find the list of Birds that we have seen on this tour here: Taiwan Trip List
National Bird: Taiwan Blue Magpie
Red-and-White Giant Flying Squirrels
Great Food and Great People
Taroko Gorge Canyon
The Taipei 101 building currently is the 4th tallest building in the world and from 2004 - 2010 it was the tallest in the world. The shape represents bamboo with eight segments each having eight floors for good luck and prosperity. Close to the Taipei 101 is a large mountain park where we can view the endemic Blue Magpie, Grey Treepie, Crested Goshawk and many other birds and local squirrels.
Taipei has beautiful city parks, forest parks and botanical gardens that are home to many bird species, including endemics. The are small mountains surrounding the city with great hiking trails.
Don't forget your tripod...
The tropic on Capricorn crosses the southern part of Taiwan, just south of Yushan Mountain. Taiwan has a marine tropical climate and tall mountains that occasionally get snow.
Yushan (Jade) Mountain is the highest peak at 12,966 ft and makes Taiwan the 4th tallest island in the world. Taiwan has 200 peaks over 9,500 feet.
Photo of a tea farm in Nantou County. Taiwan produces 20% of the world's Oolong Tea. There will opportunities to learn about teas, enjoy a tea tasting and purchase tea.
We travel in a very comfortable mini-coach. Breakfast is buffet style with western food options. Lunch is picnic style and either eaten on the bus or at a small cafe. Dinner is always at a nice restaurant served Taiwanese family style and with both traditional local food or western food options.
Taiwan Travel Dates & Information 2020

Regular Annual Tour
  • Travel Dates: November 1 – 10, 2020. Taroko Gorge extension Nov. 10 - 13th
  • Group Size: 10 travelers plus guides, spaces left 2020 = 8
  • Trip Length: 10 days, plus 4 days at Taroko optional
  • Rates per person = $3,650, Taroko Gorge add-on = $1070 (based on double occupancy) 
  • Rates include: Domestic transfers and transportation, lodging, breakfast, lunch, dinner, group tours, entrance fees and Allianz basic travel medical insurance. 
  • Not included: International airfare, customs & immigration fees and visas, alcohol, travel cancellation insurance. 
  • Adventure level: Easy, please check "Welcome" page for definition

Special Event Tour: Taiwan will be holding its annual Bird-a-thon on December 5 - 6, 2020 and we are organizing a special tour that will include participation in this event. We attended in 2016 and it was awesome! So much fun! The complete tour dates are November 29 - December 8, 2020. This is a 10-day tour with a very similar itinerary that is posted on the Taiwan Page . Pricing and options are all the same. Please contact us for more info.

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
Taiwan has 27 endemic bird species, with over 650 bird species in total. 
Pictured are the Taiwan Barbet and the Taiwan Scimitar-Babbler.
Taiwan Photo Gallery
Birding the northeast coast
Endemic Flamecrest
Birding Hualien
Endemic Collared Bush Robin
Giant Golden Buddhas
Endemic Mikado Pheasant
Taroko Gorge Marble Canyon
The Formosa Macaque
Easy Hiking for Birds and Wildlife
Amazing paths and vistas at Taroko
Visiting the Chiang Kai-shek
Memorial Park in 2018
Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Park is a great birding area and cultural site.
Staying at the Grand Hotel 2019
Taipei Botanical Gardens 2019
Kaiyote receiving an award at the Taiwan Bird-a-thon 2016, representing "Team America". Although we didn't win, we were the first American's to compete in the competition.
Private Birding tour October 2019
Southwestern Taiwan is full of wetlands, marshes and slat flats for excellent birding. The Black-faced Spoonbill Reserve has over 200 species of resident and migratory birds listed.
Time to Sign- up for the Taiwan Tour
Video: Taiwan Blue Magpies bathing at Huisun Forest
Olympic National Park Fun, Fun, Fun!

Backpacking season starts early in Olympic National Park. There will be snow at higher elevations through early summer, but at sea-level the temperatures stay moderate and starting in March there are many great locations available for over-night trips. Check our website for a list of camping locations for any season:

Nature Tours
We have great birding and wildlife viewing year-round on the Olympic Peninsula; with over 300 different species of birds identified on the peninsula and over 500 in Washington state. We have both northern and southern migratory birds. Come visit anytime!

Olympic National Park has over 600 miles of maintained trails and nearly 70 miles of stunning Pacific Coastline. Choose your hike and habitat; rainforest, mountains or coastal routes. Hiking Tours Link

Whether you enjoy an afternoon of fishing along the river, a day on Lake Crescent or including fly-fishing with your over-night backpacking trip to an alpine lake, we will have a tour for you. Check our website for more info: Fly-Fishing Tours Link

Family Reunions and Corporate Retreats: Plan your group getaway and stay at beautiful houses and hotels on the beach. Great activities including river kayaking (float trips, no rapids) and biking on easy trails or challenging trails, biking on the beach, hiking in Olympic National Park and depending on the season, surfing and surf lessons: Group Getaways Link
International Travel Tours
New Tours
  • Sarawak and Northern Borneo: Birding and wildlife viewing, including orangutans
  • Sri Lanka: The best and most relaxing bird tour you will ever experience
  • Nepal: Birding the fantastic Himalayas and a great cultural experience
  • Mongolia: Birding the high steppes and staying in traditional "Gers" for lodging
  • Korea: Winter birding to view cranes and migrants
  • India: Birding for vegetarians, great culture and great food
  • Tallinn, Estonia for Winter Birding and New Year's Eve
  • Panama, Birding the Darien for Harpy Eagles

Still on the Schedule
  • Iceland: Great tours in May, the best New Year's Eve trip ever, and a special winter tour
  • Sweden: Christmas tour, Southwest Sweden and the Åland Islands for mid-summers'
  • Nicaragua: Our all time favorite place for birding and traveling anytime of year
  • El Salvador: Birding the best National Parks and Pacific Coast
  • Taiwan: A very special place for birding and one of our favorites
  • Colombia: Birding the Andes and Amazon, and having a lot of fun
  • Argentina: Birds and butterflies, more than you can count
  • Brittany, France: Birding the coast, great food and culture

In the United States
  • Santa Fe Birding and Opera Festival
  • Chicago Fun and Urban Birding
Your Adventure Guides
Kaiyote & Ed
Photo: Here we are in Taiwan, November 2019, riding the High-Speed Rail at 185/mph. We look forward to meeting you and showing you all the great birds and wildlife and adventures that can be found around the world, the United States and in Washington State. Call us anytime! See you soon!
Kaiyote Tours www.KaiyoteTours.com +1 970-556-6103