Star Cruises will let passengers discover Taiwan’s cultural, historical and scenic treasures when SuperStar Virgo takes guests from Hong Kong to Keelung(Taipei), Kaohsiung and Taichung this summer.

Star Cruises, the leading cruise line in Asia-Pacific, will showcase the many facets of this “Treasure Island” during SuperStar Virgo’s 4D3N Kaohsiung / Taichung and the 7D6N Keelung(Taipei) / Kaohsiung / Taichung cruises sailing from Hong Kong between 7 April and 26 October. The extensive selection ranging from cultural to historical, educational to shopping, and religious to scenic is tailored to suit every taste.

Keelung (Taipei): where history meets modern life

Taipei is a metropolis adorned with natural wonders. On the Yehliu & Jiufen Tour, travellers will visit Yehliu Geopark, a cape stretching approximately 1,700 metres into the ocean and formed as geological forces pushed Datun Mountain out of the sea. A distinctive feature of the cape is the hoodoo stones dotting its surface. A number of rock formations have been given imaginative names based on their shapes. The best known is "Queen's Head", amongst others such as "Fairy's Shoe”, “Candle”, “Bean Curd” and “Dragon Head”. After admiring the impressive seascape, travellers will go to Jiufen, a village next to the mountain blessed with a gorgeous sea view. The former gold mining centre is now rife with cozy teahouses and souvenir stores beloved by tourists and locals.

History and culture enthusiasts should not miss the National Palace Tour which will take them to some of Taiwan’s most notable landmarks. The National Palace Museum houses one of the world's largest collections of Chinese treasures. Most of the museum's 620,000 artifacts were part of the Chinese imperial collection, which dates back to 1,000 years ago from the early Song Dynasty. Dr. Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall is a place of remembrance for the respected national hero. It also encompasses the functions of cultural and artistic education, leisurely recreation and academic research. Shoppers may also pamper themselves with gifts at the Taipei 101 Shopping District packed with designer boutiques from around the globe. To get a bird’s eye view of the vibrant Taipei City and beyond, an optional visit to the observation deck on the 89th floor of Taipei 101, one of the tallest buildings in the world, is highly recommended.

The Pingxi Tour takes travellers to tourist hotspots Jiufen, Jintong Train Station, and the Ching Tong Mining Museum. At Pingxi, you can make a wish by lighting a sky lantern with your loved ones. Other splendid Keelung(Taipei) excursions include the Taipei Historical Tour with stops at the Yingge Ceramics Museum, Sanxia Old Street and Qingshui Master Temple; the Taipei Cultural Tour covering Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall, the Martyr’s Shrine and Ximenting; and the North-Eastern Coast Tour featuring National Center for Traditional Arts, Beiguan Tidal Park, Nanya Rock and Keelung Night Market.

Kaohsiung: multidimensional southern charm

Kaohsiung, Taiwan’s second largest city, possesses the unique charm of folk and religious activities. The 100-hectare Fo Guang Shan Buddha Memorial Center is one of the must see attractions of Kaohsiung. On the Fo Guang Shan Tour, travellers pay a spiritual visit to this Buddhist cultural, religious and educational complex purportedly houses one of the tooth relics of Gautama Buddha, the founder of the Buddhist faith. At E-Da World, Taiwan’s first outlet mall situated in a top-notch resort, visitors can find the best of both shopping and recreation. It is home to discount stores of more than 300 international designer brands.

Chijin is a popular destination for city dwellers looking for beachside relaxation. The Chijin Tour encapsulates the best of this island west of Kaohsiung. The Chihou Lighthouse commands a beautiful panoramic view of the Port of Kaohsiung and its surroundings. The Chihou Fort, built at around 1711, is a Chinese-style fortification replete with engravings and many other traditional designs. The heavily visited Tianhou Temple is dedicated to the goddess Matsu. In 1979, it was designated as a grade three historic site. The Chijin Wind Power Park is the first wind-powered recreational area in Taiwan. It combines tourism, leisure and environment friendliness. In front of the seven uniquely shaped 3-blade wind turbines, there are viewing platforms and a performance square where artistic events are held.

The nearby city of Tainan is the window into Taiwan’s native culture. Join the Tainan Tour to visit the well-preserved Chikanlou, a mansion built in the Ming Dynasty, and Guoxingye’s Shrine, built in memory of the Pioneer King of Taiwan Cheng Cheng Kung. Travellers may also choose from the array of shore excursions including Sizihwan Tour to Sizihwan, the Former British Consulate at Dagou, 85 Sky Tower Hotel and Kaisyuan Night Market; the Kaohsiung Highlight Tour to Lotus Pond, Dream Mall and the Pier-2 Art Center; and the Culture Park Tour to Taiwan Indigenous Peoples Cultural Park, Qingdao Beer Brewery and Liu-He Night Market.

Taichung: a showcase of cultural and natural heritage

Sun Moon Lake is the largest fresh water lake and one of the 13 national scenic areas in Taiwan. The eastern part of the lake resembles the sun and the western side is shaped like a crescent moon. Take the Sun Moon Lake Tour to marvel at the breathtaking alpine lake by boat and visit the lakeside Wenwu Temple and Xuanguang Temple. The contemporary Paper Dome is an elegant contrast to the tranquil lake. The church made of paper tubes was designed by renowned Japanese architect Shigeru Ban in 1995 after the Great Hanshin Earthquake. It was moved to Taichung post the 921 Earthquake in Taiwan. It now serves as a venue for religious, art and cultural activities. As the night falls, shoppers can look for their next favourite items at Fengia Night Market, one of the biggest of its kind in Taiwan.

Once a major seaport, Lugang’s glory in the old days is evidenced through its well-kept historical buildings. The Historic Tour offers sightseeing and visits to the Lugang Folk Arts Museum which used to be the residence of one of the five most prestigious families of Taiwan. The museum holds more than 6,000 artifacts including masterfully crafted household, travel, recreational, religious and celebratory items. Valuable historic articles can also be found at the sublime and solemn Lugang Tianhou Temple dotted with elegant murals and paintings. On Lugang Old Street, you may browse at local souvenirs while admiring the period exteriors of shops on both sides. To take in the beauty of Changhua, visit the Great Buddha Statue sitting atop Bagua Mountain. The 86-foot hollow statue features vivid dioramas depicting the life of the Buddha.

Other recommended Taichung excursions include the Chun Tai Chan Monastery Tour to Chun Tai Chan Monastery and Taiwan Times Village, where you can get an insight into the Taiwanese, Hakka and Aboriginal cultures through performances, food and the study of architecture; the Shopping Tour to Taichung Park, Shin Kong Mitsukoshi, Eslite Bookstore and Chun Shui Tang; and the Educational Tour to the National Museum of Nature Science and the 921 Earthquake Museum of Taiwan.

From 7 April to 26 October, you may cruise on SuperStar Virgo with any of the three exciting Hong Kong-based weekly itineraries—the 4D3N cruise to Kaohsiung and Taichung, the 4D3N cruise to Sanya and Halong Bay, and the 1-night high seas cruise. Holidaymakers wishing to extend the trip and prolong the fun can go on a monthly 7D6N cruise to Keelung (Taipei), Kaohsiung, and Taichung.

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