Welcome to a fun universe where bubble tea shops & convenience stores are in every street corner. A compact island where night markets stand in cheek-by-jowl with malls. Where busy cities are fringed & punctuated by pretty landscapes. This is the one & only, Taiwan.
With a land area of 35,980 square kilometers, Taiwan is among the smallest countries in Asia. Despite it being undersized, this industrious nation is a formidable economic tiger that leads the region in many innovations.
Here are some interesting things that make Taiwan a lovable travel destination & why its tourism is always on a double-digit growth. (Related Article: Ultimate Guide on Taiwan’s Night Market and Street Food)
A Dozen Reasons Why You’ll Love Taiwan
1. A scenic island packed with fun activities.
From the ethereal bed of clouds in the mountains of Alishan to the swelling waves on the eastern coast and from the distressed rocks in the northern territory of Yehliu to the graceful charm of Kenting in the south, Taiwan is all sides captivating.
Trek the marble gorge of Taroko in Hualien, take a quiet walk in the bamboo forest in Fenqihu or marvel at the luminescent underworld of Green Island. Let the long sandy shores of Ylan and Lanyu take care of your beach bumming fancies. Or simply stand on the hills of Maokong and watch the sunset as the urban fireflies light Taipei’s landscape.
2. Unbeatable safety ranking in the world.
Taiwan stands on the top ranking safest countries in the world to live. It has one of the lowest violent crime & robbery records by world standards & there are no threats of international terrorism. Tourist traps, scams & harassments do happen but they are rare incidences. The Taiwanese’ sense of orderliness is sincerely admirable.
3. Paradise for Foodies
Traveling in Taiwan is like walking into a huge kitchen! Here, street food is delightfully safe & outrageously delicious. Steamed dumplings, oyster omelets, rice tamales & stinky tofu are everyone’s favorites & can be easily scored in night markets. If you are dead serious in sampling the widest array of Taiwanese cuisine, head to the southwest coastal city of Tainan for an endless gastronomic spin. Oh, don’t leave Taiwan without bagging in its pineapple cake, mochi balls & almond nougats!
This island is also a big vegetarian-friendly nation. Here, they have perfected healthy culinary fares much adored by patrons who say no to meat.
4. Overload of chic cafes & designer restaurants.
In big cities like Taipei, Taoyuan, Kaohsiung & Tainan, cafes & restaurants are not just everywhere but they are also tastefully done. From shabby chic to vintage & from Hello Kitty cuties to weird toilet themes, Taiwanese people love to dine in style. Eating out is part of their modern-day culture & that explains why their food business is such a huge industry.
5. Efficient public transport system.
As a compact state, traveling around Taiwan is easy & made a lot easier by its excellent public transport system. Trains & intercity buses connect the entire island. On the western coast, a high-speed railway services passengers from Taipei to Kaohsiung at the whooping speed of 300 kph. In Taipei, its city subway system is laid out in a simple grid making it easy to find your way around. There are also special tourist buses that run along & stops only in popular tourist spots.
6. Amazing tourist assistance centers.
Hardly anyone gets lost in Taiwan because in all of its major tourist convergence areas like airports, train & bus stations, there are tourist assistance centers manned by English-speaking reps. They do not just hand out free maps but also answer all your travel inquiries like routes, hotel accommodations, popular activities & where to eat or shop.
In all of Asia, Taiwan has the best working tourist assistance centers.
7. Go gaga over bubble tea.
If there is one typical Taiwanese beverage that has taken over Asia’s love for sweet concoctions, it’s the Taiwanese bubble milk tea. Originating from Taichung, this mixture of fragrant black tea, milk & chewy tapioca pearls is not just fad but is part of everyday Taiwan. Flavors come in an array of dizzying choices & brand names like Coco’s & ChaTime are just among those raking in the long queues.
8. Free WIFI almost everywhere!
Beating all other technologically advanced countries, Taiwan offers smooth & working free WIFI network in almost all cities, tourist spots, subways, ferry terminals, bus & train stations, airports, malls & popular streets. Just present your passport in any tourist information center & log-on to iTaiwan.
Now with over 5,000 hotspots across the island, connectivity is never a challenge.
9. Fantastic people.
One great character that defines the Taiwanese people is its sense of helpfulness. They will really go out of their way to help you with simple matters like finding directions. While everyone is industrious, they are not a dead serious population. They love to have fun & take happiness not just as a concept but a life to live. They politely queue in everything; they don’t spit or smoke anywhere & are always willing give up a seat to those who need it. Most of all, they give importance to neat looks & fresh smell.
10. Shop ‘til you drop.
Cute trinkets, latest gadgets, electronic paraphernalia, trendy fashion, quirky items (including kinky stuff), ethnic handicrafts, food & what-have-yous, Taiwan is a big caboodle of exciting finds. Make sure you have extra luggage space & weight covered in your return ticket.
11. Well-kept historical sights.
Taiwan is the largest repository of ancient Chinese art & artifacts. It is also home to many of the finest religious shrines & museums. What also makes it a happier experience is that many of these interesting sights are either free or with very minimal admission charges.
12. Vibrant pop art scenes & nightlife.
Live performance art is everywhere in Taiwan, especially in public parks, trains stations & night markets. It is even common to find foreign tourists belting out a song or delighting the crowd with street magic. If you like to party, Taipei’s Ximending district is the most popular hub of dance clubs & bars with live band shows.
Taiwan is advantageously located at the heart of Asia, making it a convenient destination to visit. It is accessible by direct flights from many major airports in the world & by ferry from China on its western island of Kinmen. There are plenty of reasonably priced hostels & getting around is fast & comfortable. With all the ease, no wonder why Taiwan’s international tourist arrival growth is on a double-digit topping the world record in 2014.
It’s fun in Taiwan!
Recommended Budget Accommodation in Taiwan
Meci Hotel is an amazing place to stay with a good location, near the train station. Rooms are clean and nicely decorated and the staff is very helpful. They also offer good priced rafting/river activities, truly one of the best budget accommodation in Taiwan.
Best Hotel offers guests with spacious and clean rooms. The location is good as well, walking distance to the train station. A modern accommodation at an affordable price, truly one of the best budget accommodation in Taiwan.
About the Writer:
Potpot Pinili is an independent writer & the pen behind Travel Trilogy. He has lived all his life on the road & raging seas. When he’s not doodling, you’ll find him happily lost in restaurants, local trade fairs & cultural festivals.
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