Taiwan, a small island lying close southeast of China, is a fascinating country to visit. Its bustling capital is full of cultural treasures from temples featuring Tao, Buddhist, and Confucian traditions to a gastronomic experience in its various food stalls and shops. The country is also widely different from its bigger neighbour, as Taiwan believes in a democratic form of government. Its status, however, is recognised only by a few number of countries around the world, as China does not consider Taiwan as a free state.
Tourists going to this part of the world will find plenty to appreciate from New Taipei to the north and the Kaohsiung City to the south. Traditional Chinese structures and the green countryside await here, allowing one to enjoy different options when visiting this part of East Asia. This does not include the cultural treasures to be marvelled at here, which intrigues one to wonder how far Taiwan can go if it manages to break through China's restrictions.
What to see & do
Taipei, the vibrant capital, is a fine place to be, where one can enjoy a mix of Chinese, Japanese, and Western influences in its food, culture, and folk arts. Tourists going here can start with a visit to Bao An Temple, an ornate landmark that serves as a beautiful example of traditional decorative arts. The yearly folk arts festival it hosts is also an event not to be missed, due to the showcase of performance art shows to be enjoyed here. From here, tourists can venture to the Miniatures Museum of Taiwan where one can find in display several pint-sized replicas of Western and Eastern houses, castles, and villages. Scenes from classic children's stories can also be viewed here, which can delight the young and young at heart. After going around, tourists can check out the National Museum of History. Established in 1955, visitors will find here small exhibits of masterpieces that make up some of the best in Chinese art.
Exploring Western Taiwan is quite an experience, with the Yushan National Park to look forward to checking out. One can go through the back route trails and high-altitude forests with pristine scenery. The landscape is strikingly rugged with thick forests, deep valleys, and high cliffs. There are also rocky peaks with many rising over 3,000 metres. The highest, however, is the Yushan (Jade Mountain), the tallest one in Northeast Asia at 3,952 metres. From here, one can turn to the Ershui Formosan Macaque Nature Reserve, a 94-hectare park covering the slopes of Songbo Ridge. The Formosan macaque, the island's only monkey species, thrives here, with many of them out and about in the morning. Those who want to view more of the countryside can visit Alishan National Scenic Area, where various crops grow, such as wasabi, plums, and oolong tea leaves. The Tsou aboriginals also live here, who often provide delicacies such as bird's nest fern, tree tomatoes, ai yu jelly, and more.
Kashioung City, the largest port in the country, is also a place to visit for its modern urbanscape of shiny cafes, wide streets, and riverside parks. The Matsu Temple can be visited here, which go back to the late 17th century, when the area was newly established. Many of the excellent stone relief and pillar carvings go back to the 18th century. One can also make a detour to Ciaotou Sugar Factory, a defunct place where one can check out the old equipment. An old village can also be seen here, featuring handsome old offices designed in the Japanese Dutch Colonial style.
How to get around within Taiwan
Various types of local transportation are available for tourists when going around different parts of the country. Domestic airlines are usually the fastest option, which are supplemented by trains, buses, and boats. Those going to the countryside can use bicycles for easier navigation, while those who want to be more independent while out on the road can rent a car.
How to get there
Those going to visit Taiwan can book connecting flights to Taoyuan International Airport. Airlines serving here include AirAsia, AirAsia X, Air Busan, Air China, Air Macau, All Nippon Airways, Asiana Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Cebu Pacific, China Airlines, China Eastern Airlines, China Southern Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Dragonair, Emirates, EVA Air, Far Eastern Air Transport, Hainan Airlines, Hong Kong Airlines, Indonesia AirAsia X, Japan Airlines, Jeju Air, Jetstar Asia Airways, Juneyao Airlines, KLM, Korean Air, Malaysia Airlines, Mandarin Airlines, Peach, Philippine Airlines, Scoot, Shandong Airlines, Shenzhen Airlines, Sichuan Airlines, Singapore Airlines, Spring Airlines, Thai Airways, Tigerair, TransAsia Airways, Transaero Airlines, Turkish Airlines, Uni Air, United Airlines, V Air, Vanilla Air, VietJet Air, Vietnam Airlines, and Xiamen Air.
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