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Introduction to Taiwan

Taiwan is an underrated tourist destination, especially among western travellers. Located in East Asia, its neighbours include China, Japan, and the Philippines. Despite its small size, though, Taiwan has plenty to offer its visitors. With 23 million people calling it home, its lively tradition and rich culture make it the hidden gem of Asia.

It is particularly appealing to those who would like to enjoy a variety of experiences with the Asian culture. Taiwan is everything you could ask for as a tourist destination. One day you’re busy exploring the busy metropolis filled with shopping malls and restaurants. On the next day, you can be exploring the mountains, natural attractions, and hiking trails.

Indeed, you can find anything and everything you could imagine in Taiwan. It combines the vibrancy of other modern cities like Tokyo and Hong Kong with the traditional charm typical of Hanoi or Jakarta. There is enough diversity in Taiwan that would appeal to a wide range of travellers!

When talking about the diversity of Taiwan, there is no better example of that than its landforms. Taiwan offers a variety of landscapes to explore that will make a nature lover happy. About 2/3 of the country is made up of rugged mountain landscape with Chung-yang Shan range as the largest.

There are also over 200 mountain peaks offering gorgeous views to gaze at. The highest point in Taiwan is Yu-Shan and definitely worth the climb for adventurers like you. Aside from the mountainous region, the rolling hills are another major landscape feature in Taiwan and are worth admiring as well.

The Sun Moon Lake, meanwhile, is the largest body of water in the country. Beyond that, there are over 150 streams and rivers in Taiwan, most of which are concentrated in the central mountains region. Be sure to visit some of these landscapes so you can make the most out of your trip.

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Where to stay in Taipei

A comprehensive guide on finding the best accommodation in Taipei

As mentioned above, the food in Taiwan is one of the primary reasons why tourists travel to this country. It has also earned a reputation for producing the finest oolong tea in the world. Don’t ever leave Taiwan without tasting a cup!

Aside from their pearl milk tea, Taiwan boasts of many unique dishes and delicacies that are a must-try. Among the most famous food and drink in Taiwan are their beef noodles, braised pork ribs, oyster omelette, gua-bao, stinky tofu, and pineapple cakes. Taiwanese cuisine, in general, has influences from both Japanese and Chinese cuisines. This means that you will find several similar elements. Tasting each of these exotic and delicious local food items is surely a must for all tourists all over the world.

Dive into the local culture in Taiwan with many must-try cultural experiences. One of the best places where you can soak in Taiwanese culture and history is the Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall. Inside, you will find a museum that provides you with a glimpse into the life and work of Chiang Kai Shek, a notable revolutionary and military leader. You will find the memorial hall at the end of Liberty Square.

Taiwan is also home to many temples, all of which offer a unique experience and provides a different perspective about the culture. Some of the must-visit temples in Taiwan are the Longshan Temple, Dalongdong Baoan Temple, and the Taipei Confucius Temple.

Another popular tourist attraction where you can experience the cultural values of this Asian country is Jiufen Old Street. This small village in the mountains is bustling with food stalls, shops, restaurants, and more.

If you love to shop, Taiwan has got a treat for you! The capital city of Taipei offers a wide range of inexpensive shopping options if you would like to do some retail therapy. The Shilin Night Market is one of the best and biggest night markets in Taiwan.

While the streets of Taian is filled with visitors for the food, it is also a haven for shoppers wherein you can find many affordable goods and souvenirs. Another great night market to go to for shoppers is Ximending. Just like Shilin, this one combines food and shopping in one place.

However, Ximending is hipper and you might be able to find designer brands, too. This is a great place to go to if you want a mix of designer and cheap options. For more shopping in Taiwan, head to the Longshan Temple Underground Shopping Bazaar or Taipei 101.

If you want to make the most of your experience in Taiwan, there are a few travel tips that you need to know:

• Taiwan offers plenty of culinary delights – mostly for cheap. Taiwan is a foodie nation and you will find yourself indulging in the local cuisine…a lot. The best part is that food is relatively cheap in the country so you can indulge without budget guilt.

• When dining out in Taiwan and the waitress leaves a bill on your table, it means that you must take that bill to the cashier. There is no need to call them out when you are ready to pay the bill.

• Taiwan takes pride in its efficient, clean, and safe transport system. Their metro system is considered among the best in the world.

• Eating is not allowed in the train station or in the trains itself. Drinking and chewing gum are not allowed either.

• Another no-no when you ride the MRT is talking too loud. Keep your voice down when speaking (in person or on your phone). It is considered rude to be loud in an MRT.

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Where to stay in Taipei

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Taiwan has great weather all year round. This explains the growing popularity of the country as a travel destination. No matter what time of year you visit, there is something to see, do, or enjoy. But if you want the best experience, it is important to plan your travel to ensure that you can get the best weather, especially if there are certain attractions you wish to enjoy.

The high season in Taiwan is from April to June, and September to November. But the peak tourist season is from July to August. Meanwhile, the low season is from December to March (though rain might be frequent). Use this as a guideline when determining when to book your trip to Taiwan.

The weather is most pleasant during spring (April to June); you can expect a warm but not too hot climate during this time. Plus, there are also fewer chances of rain during this time. Fall is another popular season for travel to Taiwan, although occasional rain showers might be expected.

Below is some important yet basic information that you need to know to prepare yourself for travel to Taiwan:

Currency

The official currency of Taiwan is the New Taiwan Dollar.

Language

Taiwanese Mandarin is the official language of Taiwan. But the citizens also speak other languages, such as Standard Mandarin or Mandarin Chinese.

ATMs

The ATMs are ubiquitous in Taiwan. They are located at several locations in the city, which can be inside the mall, near banks, MRT stations, or in convenience shops. Getting access to cash when you are traveling in Taiwan is relatively easy.

Plugs

Standard voltage of 110V with a frequency of 60 Hz is used. This is the same as the plugs used in the US, Canada, and most countries in South America.

Safety

Taiwan is a very safe country. This is part of the reason why the tourism industry is booming. The overall crime rate is low by global standards.

Climate

Taiwan belongs to the subtropical climate zone while the northern portion is part of the tropical climate zone. The climate, therefore, varies depending on where in Taiwan you want to go. Expect the summers to be hot while the winters are mild and warm. The country also experiences a lot of typhoons yearly.