The small republic of Taiwan has long been overshadowed by its giant neighbor, China, but it is a fascinating country in its own right, where the ancient blends with cutting-edge technology. Officially it is known as the Republic of China (Taiwan), is located in the West Pacific between Japan and the Philippines and covers an area of 36, 197 sq. km. including the outlying islands.
Taiwan is a state in East Asia.
Area: 36.197 sq. km.
Population: 23.52 million (2016)
Currency: Taiwan New Dollar
President: Tsai Ing-wen
Official language: Standard Mandarin
There are many good reasons to visit Taiwan: perhaps you´d like to learn more about Taoism, Buddhism, or one of the numerous other religions that are practiced in Taiwan or would like to sample authentic Chinese food that many say is better than that of China, or maybe you´re hunting down the newest of the new computer gadgets – it´s all here. Taiwan may not yet be high on the list of most visited destinations, but it has everything tourists could want in terms of scenery, culture, and warm-hearted people.
Taiwanese tend to congregate in big cities, millions of them (people that is!). That means that there is plenty of unspoiled nature, and many natural attractions and cultural gems away from the crowds. The countryside is surprisingly varied for such a small country. The centre of the island is mountainous with crystal-clear lakes, hidden waterfalls and plenty of opportunities to hike or camp. Along the windswept east coast, the rugged cliffs are punctuated by deserted, sandy beaches.
The best time to visit the island is anytime outside the hurricane season! From mid-August to early October, huge areas of low pressure build up over the ocean, bringing with them the risk of hurricanes. Just before a hurricane makes landfall, the weather is usually sunny and clear as the low pressure sucks all the clouds towards it. This exceptionally good weather is known as “typhoon weather”.
Taipei is ultra-modern, yet exists side by side with ancient Chinese traditions in this city of millions, and that makes for an extremely interesting visit. Given the volumes of traffic and huge numbers of people that fill the city from morning to night, the atmosphere couldn´t be anything else than hectic. The jungle of neon lights, ever-increasing numbers of western-style cafés and shopping malls with their glass, mirrors and muzak all add to the general buzz.
Many of Chiang Kai-Shek’s statues have been removed, but the bombastic Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall is still standing. Here, you can learn all about him and take a meditative stroll through the park with its well-manicured lawns.
Taiwan is famed for its excellent cuisine, and the best spot to grab a mouth-watering meal for next to nothing is at one of Taipei´s crowded night markets. That´s the place to head for. Treat yourself to fresh fish at the Keelung Miaokou night market, or experiment with stinky tofu at the big Shilin night market.
Longshan Temple in Taipei is the Taiwanese equivalent of the Forbidden City in Beijing and is a”must see” for any tourist visiting Taipei.
New Taiwan dollar
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