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Study Trip

A Visit to Taiwan

Thursday, 29 March to Thursday, 5 April 2018
Leader: Khun Kuan-May Jean, Member of The Siam Society

 

 

Taiwan, officially the Republic of China (ROC), with its capital in Taipei, has a population of 23.5 million people, and an economy size ranked No. 22 in the world, yet strangely not a member of the United Nations.

Before the 17th century, Taiwan was inhabitated by indigenous Taiwanese who belong to the austronesian (Greek words for South Island) language family. Some scholars even believe Taiwan to be the origin of the ancestral Proto-Austronesian language.

The Dutch and Spanish forces came to Taiwan since the early 17th century and opened door for mass Chinese immigration from mostly Fujian and Guangdong provinces. The colonies did not last long. In 1661, a loyalist to the defeated Ming court, Koxinga, led an army to Taiwan and eventually drove the Dutch out. The island was later annexed by Qing, the last dynasty of China, and was ceded to Japan at 1895 after a Sino-Japanese war. Japan controlled the island for 50 years, until 1945, following the Japanese surrender to the Allies.

After the Chinese civil war, People’s Republic of China was established by the Communist Party Chinese, Chiang Kai-Shek and his Kuomingtang followers took refuge to Taiwan. Since ROC was a founding member of the United Nations, the ROC continued to represent China at the United Nations until 1971, when the PRC assumed China’s seat, causing Taiwan (ROC) to lose its UN membership. Hence Thailand and Taiwan do not have official diplomatic relationships. Consul as well as culture and economic relations are handled by Thailand Trade and Economic Office (Taipei) and Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (Thailand) respectively.

Starting from the early 1960s, Taiwan entered a period of rapid economic growth and industrialization, creating a stable industry economy, and, thanks to its highly skilled workforce, excels in high-tech industry and currently plays a key role in the global economy.

Democratic movements since the 1970s has gradually changed the island country from a one-party dictatorship dominated by the Kuomintang to a multi-party democracy with a combined presidential/parliament system. The people enjoy freedom of speech, high standard public education, and a world class public health care system.

The culture of Taiwan is primarily traditional Chinese culture, attributable to the history and ancestry origin of the majority of its current residents, also due to the fact that ROC government imposed an official interpretation of traditional Chinese culture over Taiwan, promoting Chinese calligraphy, music, paintings, as well as Beijing Opera. Temples of Confucius are built and Confucian teachings taught in schools.  Traces of Japanese culture from its 50 years of colonization can be seen. There are also increasing Western influences in recent years.

One of Taiwan’s greatest attractions is the National Palace Museum, which houses more than 650,000 pieces of Chinese bronze, jade, calligraphy, painting, and porcelain, and is considered one of the greatest collections of Chinese art and objects in the world. The PRC claimed the collection was stolen and has called for its return, but the ROC has long defended its control of the collection as a necessary act to protect the treasures from destruction, first from the Japanese invasion, later on during the Cultural Revolution in China. A Beijing Palace Museum Curator has recently been recorded saying that artifacts in both Chinese and Taiwanese museums are “China’s heritage jointly owned by people across the Taiwan Strait.”

Religion in Taiwan is characterized by a diversity of religious beliefs and practices predominantly those pertaining to Chinese cultures. Freedom of religion is inscribed in the constitution of ROC. The 2005 census had 35% of the population Buddhists, 33% Taoists, 3.9% Christians, 18.9% not religious, and approx. 10% Confucian followers.

From winding coastlines to high mountain forests and offshore islands, Taiwan has a lot to offer in terms of scenic attractions. We will try to take our members to a few most famous scenic areas such as Sun-Moon Lake, Alishan (Mount Ali), and the Taroko Gorge.

Last but not the least, there’s the food. Chinese food from all parts of China, Japanese, native, with a gorgeous bounty of local produce, meat, and seafood. Taiwan is a country for anyone who loves to eat.

 

The tentative programme will be as follows:

Day 1: Thursday, 29 March : Bangkok - Taipei

6:35 a.m. Meet at Suvarnabhumi Airport, Row J, check in counter for Thai Airways
8:35 a.m. Depart Bangkok to Taipei by TG632
1:15 p.m. Arrive Taipei International Airport, transfer to restaurant for lunch.
Afternoon: Visit the facade of the Presidential Office Building for a few photo ops. Next up is Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall, where you can walk up the 89 steps to the bronze statue commemorating the former President of the Republic of China. Followed by an hour of free time at Taipei 101, the world’s second tallest skyscraper. If you wish, ride the elevator to the 89th floor observatory or purchase lunch (admission and meal are your own expense).
- Check in at hotel Palais de Chine.
- Dinner at local restaurant.

Day 2: Friday, 30 March : National Palace Museum - Dharman Drum Mountain - Historic part of Taipei

- Breakfast at the hotel.
9:00 a.m. Visit National Palace Museum, which boasts some of the finest pieces from the Chinese imperial collection from the Yuan, Song, Ming and Qing dynasties. It is ranked one of the top museums in the world, today.
Noon: Lunch at local restaurant.
Afternoon:

Proceed to Jinshan to visited Dharma Drum Mountain, the biggest international Buddhist spiritual, cultural, and educational foundation in Taiwan founded by Master Sheng Yen. The center includes the Dharma Drum University, Dharma Drum Monastery and Museum of Buddhist History and Culture.

After that visit some historic part of Taipei such as Dadaocheng area where Taipei began its development centuries ago to the always busy Longshan Temple, devoted to both Buddhist and Taoist deities, the Herb Alley, a narrow space stacked high with strange looking roots, branches and leaves. Here, Traditional Chinese Medicine prescriptions have been filled for many generations of Taipei residents, Ximending which was Taipei’s main entertainment district during the Japanese occupation era (1895-1945). Today, this is an area of movie theaters, cafes and shops geared towards the youth market and visit The Huaxi Street Night Market – one of the oldest markets in Taiwan. It is more famously known as Snake Alley, as this is one of the few places that you will find snake delicacies.
Evening: Visit The Shilin Night Market is a more modern night market with a dedicated foods section, where you can try just about every type of Taiwanese snack.
- Dinner at own arrangement.

Day 3: Saturday, 31 March : Taipei – Yingge - Sun Moon Lake

- Breakfast at the hotel.
9:00 a.m.

Proceed to Sun Moon Lake which is located in the middle of Taiwan and situated 762 meters above sea level in the lofty mountains of Central Taiwan.
On the way, stop for visit Tai-Hwa Pottery Factory, which produce exceptionally unique and beautifully crafted ceramics. The styles range from traditionally painted motifs from China to incorporation of abstract and modern forms from the West. Tai-Hwa serves as an “official kiln” because this is where the President’s office frequently makes purchases for diplomatic gifts.

Yingge is Taiwan's pottery capital, a small town that produces hand-painted replicas of elegant Ming and Ching vases like those that once graced the places in Peking. The old Yingee pottery street is famous for its ceramic and pottery stores. You'll have the opportunity to purchase some of these exquisite items.

After that continue to Sun Moon Lake.
Noon: Lunch at local restaurant
Afternoon: Touring round Sun Moon Lake, visit the famous Wenwu Temple, also known as Literature-Warrior Temple, dedicated to Confucius as Master of Pen and to Kuan Ti as Master of Sword, Holy Monk Shrine and Ci En Pagoda and take a boat ride in the lake.
Evening: Check in at the Fleur de Chine Hotel, Sun Moon Lake.
You can also enjoy the walking trails.
Dinner at hotel.

Day 4: Sunday, 1 April : Moon Lake – Tainan – Kaohsiung

- Breakfast at the hotel.
9:00 a.m.

Proceed to visit Tainan, the oldest city on the island of Taiwan, known as the "Capital City" for over 200 years, under Koxinga and later Qing Dynasty period.  Visit The National Museum of Taiwan History, which was opened in 2011 after 12 years of preparation.

After that we will visit some important historical sites in Tainan such as Fort Provintia, which was originally constructed by the Dutch in 1653 then destroyed and rebuilt during the Qing Dynasty and the period under Japanese rule, The Koxinga Shrine which was built in 1662 during the Ming Dynasty in the memory of achievement of Chinese Ming Loyalist Cheng Cheng Kung, Fort Zeelandia built by the Dutch East India Company during their 38-year rule of the western part of Taiwan. The original fortress was nearly destroyed by the British army during the 19th century then reconstructed by the Japanese and the famous Anping Tree House, which used to be the warehouse of the former Tait & Co. Merchant House.
Noon: Lunch at local restaurant.
Afternoon: Continue to Kaohsiung City, the second largest city of Taiwan.
Evening: Check in at hotel Grand Hi-Lai Hotel.
- Dinner at local restaurant.

Day 5: Monday, 2 April : Kaohsiung – Sandimen Township – Taitung

- Breakfast at the hotel.
9:00 a.m. Proceed to visit Sandimen Township, an aboriginal community in the western plain meet the mountains in Pingtung County. The population of the township is majority Paiwan with a substantial Rukai minority. Here we can see the traditional slate houses and some cafes and shops selling aboriginal goods and we will also visit Sandimen Indigenous People’s culture Park which offers a decent introduction of the island’s principal indigenous groups.
Noon: Lunch at local restaurant.
Afternoon: Proceed to Taitung via Southern Link Highway.
Evening: Check in at  Hotel Royal Chihpen(ZHIBEN HOT SPRINGS)

Day 6: Tuesday, 3 April : Taitung – East Coast national Scenic Area – Hualien

- Breakfast at the hotel.
9:00 a.m. Scenic drive on East Coast to Hualien. The East Coast National Scenic Area, known as "Taiwan's last unspoiled land", stretches 170 kilometers down the east coast of the island. Weathering, erosion, and accumulation have produced a wide range of landforms here.
Noon: Lunch at local restaurant.
Afternoon: Proceed to Hualien, visit Tzu Chi's Spiritual Center (靜思精舍), the most active and well respected Buddhist foundation in Taiwan. It is dedicated to the promotion of the foundation’s Humanistic Buddhism and its four major missions— medicine, charity, culture, and education.
Evening: Check in at Hotel Silks Place Taroko.
Dinner at the hotel.

Day 7: Wednesday, 4 April : Hualien – Taroko National Park – Taipei

- Breakfast at the hotel.
9:00 a.m. Visit to Taroko National Park. Taroko Gorge is an exceptionally beautiful, narrow raving created by the Liwu river which has cut deep into the mountains of solid marble.
A road carved into sheer walls of rock rewinding its way past forested peaks and cliffs towering thousands of feet above it, while hundreds of feet below a river roars past gigantic marble boulders. Visit Ci Mu Bridge, stops will be made at Swallow Grotto, Changchun Temple and Shakadang Trail.
Noon: Lunch at local restaurant.
Afternoon: Proceed  back to Taipei with a stop at Qingshui Cliff, drive through Syue-Shan Long Tunnel (12.9 Kms).
Evening: Dinner at local restaurant.
- Overnight at hotel Palais de Chine.

Day 8: Thursday, 5 April : Taipei – Tamsui  - Bkk

- Breakfast at the hotel.
9:00 a.m.

Proceed to visit Tamsui, a sea-side district in New Taipei. It is named after the Tamsui River; the name means "fresh water". The town is popular as a site for viewing the sun setting into the Taiwan Strait.
Strolling around the Tamsui old street, visit the Fort San Domingo built by the Spanish during their occupation of the North Coast of Taiwan(also known as the "Fort of the Red Heads" in Chinese), later used as the British consul's residence and once home to Herbert Allen Giles who completed some of his work on the Wade-Giles system there, the Oxford College, residence of Dr. Mackay, Tamsui College and etc.

After that transfer to airport.
- Lunch at own arrangement at the airport.
2:15 p.m. Depart Taipei to Bangkok by TG633.
5:00 p.m. Arrive Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport.

Booking

Bt. 89,000 (Bt. 92,000 for non-members). Single room surcharge Bt. 19,500. A deposit of Bt. 45,000 and photocopy of passport must accompany the booking. Your reservation will be confirmed as soon as the deposit has been made. Payment in full is required 45 days before the start of the trip (i.e. by Tuesday, 13 February 2018)

Please pay by cash or cheque payable to ‘The Siam Society’. There is a 4% surcharge for credit/debit card payment to cover bank charges. Alternatively you can deposit/transfer the money to the Siam Society travel account at the Thai Military Bank, Asoke Branch saving account no. 053-2-18000-7.  Please fax or e-mail the deposit or transfer docket to us. In case the tour has to be cancelled due to insufficient participants, a full refund of the deposit will be made.

Includes/Excludes:

The contribution includes meals as mentioned in program, airfare ticket, accommodation for two persons per room, transportations, entrance fees, gratuities and other costs incurred to make this trip possible. It excludes visa fee to Taiwan (if any), personal expenses, personal beverages, etc.

To comply with payment and cancellation policies set forth by tour agencies, and to facilitate smooth working condition between the Siam Society and the tour agencies, please read carefully the revised cancellation policies stated below:

Cancellation charge:

45 days before the start of the trip:                                         Deposit forfeited
45-30 days before the start of the trip                                     50% of the tour cost
Less than 30 days or cancellation without notice:                      No refund

Your booking will not be confirmed until deposit payment has been received.

The Siam Society reserves the right to change the programme as necessary. Seats are limited. Please book your place as soon as possible. For further information and bookings please contact Khun Prasert or Khun Supanut.