11D Itinerary: Hualien, Alishan, Taichung, Taipei - Pls Help

Hi all,

Need your help urgently.

We will be going to Taiwan on 21 May 2010 for a 11D/10N self-help trip. Three of us, all young adults. First-timers.

Hopefully can cover most of Hualien, Alishan, Taichung and Taipei in a relaxing, enjoyable and economical manner. Our main interests are food food food, scenaries and local culture.

Please advise on the following itinerary that we’ve drafted.

Day 1 - Taipei (arrive Taoyuan airport at 6.30pm)
-> Shilin night market

Day 2 - Travel to Yilan early morning via train (other means of transport?)
-> Farm/minsu stay at Yilan. Where to stay? What else to do?

Day 3 & 4 - Travel to Hualien via train (other means of transport?)
-> Travel to Taroko Gorge. Should we stay overnight at Taroko Gorge or just join a day tour? Where to arrange for day tour?
-> Hualien. What to do and where to stay? Anywhere with nice sea view near the eastern coast?

Day 5 & 6 - Travel to Alishan
-> Getting there. I know we could take train from Hualien to Taipei, high-speed train to Chiayi, and then rail/bus. But is there a comfortable bus route from either Hualien or Tarako Gorge to Alishan with interesting scenaries along the way?
-> Alishan. 1 to 2 nights stay at Alishan. Where to stay and should we join the guided tours/activities there?

Day 7 - Travel to Taichung via train or high-speed train (other means of transport?)
-> Taichung City. Walk around and eat, eat, eat. Should we stay overnight at the city or somewhere else instead?

Day 8, 9, 10 & 11 - Travel to Taipei via high-speed train
-> Day 8: Jiufen, Keelung
-> Day 9: Wulai hot springs, Tanshui
-> Day 10: Ximending, Shida night market
-> Day 11: What to do? We’ve about until 2pm before leaving for the airport.

So far, we’ve only booked our air tickets and accommodation for the first night. Do we need to pre-arrange the other stuffs online or we could settle when we’re there?

Btw, I could speak and read chinese.

Would truly appreciate your comments and advice. Thanks!