I still feel strange writing about travel when we are in the midst of the global pandemic. But recently, I had the amazing opportunity to join a special community of content creators to learn from Dear Alyne and collaborate with Taiwan Tourism Bureau, Singapore.
I am so energized by a full week of exchanges and learning that I want to share my LOVE for Taiwan and inspire your travel dreaming, and hopefully travel adventures when it is safe to globe-trot again.
1. Taiwan has many places to visit outside of Taipei
Taiwan is more than its capital Taipei! While Taipei is a wonderful city, you have so many places to explore beyond the city and experience more of Taiwan.
Do you know there are 5 main regions in Taiwan? Each of them is filled with unique cities and counties.
– Northern Taiwan: Taipei City, New Taipei City, Keelung City, Taoyuan City, Hsinchu City, Hsinchu County, Yilan County
– Central Taiwan: Taichung City, Miaoli County, Changhua County, Nantou County, Yunlin County
– Eastern Taiwan: Hualien County, Taitung County
– Southern Taiwan: Chiayi City, Chiayi County, Tainan City, Kaohsiung City, Pingtung County
– Offshore Islands: Penghu County, Kinmen County, Lienchiang County (Matsu)
I have been very lucky to have visited a few places in each region! From Alishan in Nantou County to Hengchun ancient city and Kenting National Park in Pingtung County, every area has its special characteristics and attractions and I strongly recommend traveling slowly throughout the island. You can read more the regions on the Taiwan Tourism Administration website and start planning your next trip to Taiwan.
Well, if you ask me which region is my favorite, it is probably the eastern part as I love the mountains and coastlines so much that I visited the remote Hualien County and Taitung County twice!
2. Taiwan’s stunnign nature in changing seasons
Over 70% of Taiwan is covered by greenery and the island is surrounded by gorgeous coastlines. With the gentle seasonal changes, you can experience Nature in its full glory. In the early months of the year, you can indulge in Taiwanese style of hanami (sakura viewing) as cherry blossoms bloom throughout the island. The Taiwanese sakura flowers have a deeper shade of pink.
In summer, you enjoy lazing on the beaches and doing island hopping. When the temperature drops, you can luxuriate in hot springs and even play with snow in the mountains. Over 200 of the mountains in the island’s 9 national parks and 13 national scenic areas are more than 3,000 metres high!
Nature and sports lovers are in for a treat as 2021 is the year of cycling tourism in Taiwan! The country is super bike friendly and you can ride through many scenic routes and even cycle around the island. Download this fantastic guide to cycling around Taiwan! This is my first time seeing such a comprehensive cycling guide for a country! Cycling around the island is on my travel bucket list. Let’s see if I can accomplish it one day!
I am so excited to find out that 2022 is the year of railway tourism in Taiwan! During the train rides, you can relax and take in scenic views while tucking into sumptuous Taiwanese railway bento sets.
3. Taiwan is a food paradise
Food, food, and FOOD! Glorious food is everywhere in Taiwan. Whenever I visited Taiwan, I always feel that there is too much food to try and too little time!
Ah… think of all the Taiwanese snacks that you can find in the night markets spread out all over the island. Do you know the largest night market in Taiwan is Taichung’s Fengjia Night Market? It has over 15,000 stalls and shops! You can eat and shop to your heart’s content during your trip.
Taiwan is blessed with quality fruits that grow well in the island’s conducive climate so you can enjoy fresh fruits all year round. Depending on the season you visit, you can try fruits picking and stuff yourself with succulent local fruits!
I have also heard from my vegetarian friends that they love the wide variety of vegetarian friendly dishes in Taiwan. Check out the video by Dear Alyne that shows that you can date in Taiwan and enjoy fun and vegetarian food with less than $100 a day!
There are also incredible restaurants in Taiwan like RAW, Taiwanese Chef André Chiang’s award-winning restaurant that serves an exquisite, ever-changing menu that features the freshest ingredients available on the island. “Taiwan’s cuisine has always been underestimated,” says Chef André. And I totally agree with him as Taiwanese cuisine is more than just night market food! An unforgettable gastronomical adventure awaits you once you land in Taiwan!
4. Festivals all year round
Taiwan’s calendar is packed with fun festivals throughout the year. You can join traditional and cultural festivals, music and arts festivals, sporting events, and so many more!
Taiwan’s local and indigenous communities celebrate a multitude of cultural and religious events where you can experience diverse culture and customs. There are also many big scale festivals with magnificent performances and fireworks. There’s a list of festivals in Taiwan that you can be part of for your next trip.
One of the most memorable festivals I have attended is the Taiwan International Hot Air Balloon Festival in Taitung. It is such a spectacular festival with colorful balloons soaring in the beautiful Luye Highlands (鹿野高台).
5. Taiwanese hospitality
Finally, the Taiwanese people is the best part of traveling through Taiwan. Taiwan always feels like home. Maybe because I speak Chinese Mandarin and understand a little of the Taiwanese dialect. And my favorite musician is the Taiwanese band, Mayday, and that Taiwan shares many similarities with Singapore and Japan!
I have interacted the most big-hearted people in Taiwan and experienced true Taiwanese hospitality and friendship. In Taitung, the kind Yating from Traveller Inn Taitung (旅人驛站旅宿連鎖, great Taitung hotel chain) helped to book the “notoriously difficult to get train tickets” to Taitung and offered so many travel tips. Tina from Taitung Tourism Board drove us many hours to see stars in the middle of Taitung County.
I am especially moved by the people I have the fortune to meet on Orchid Island, Lanyu. The kind family at Wandering Float (流浪浮球) restaurant is so open and generous that I ended up visiting the restaurant everyday and even joined their family dinner on my last night on the island.
Many years ago, when I was looking for opportunities to work overseas, Taiwan was one of my top choices. Even though I moved to Okinawa to join the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Program, I hopped over to Taiwan quite often when I lived in Japan. Recently, I found out about the Foreign English Teachers Program organized by Taiwan Ministry of Education to enhance English learning environment for school-aged children in rural areas. Imagine working and living in Taiwan! =D
Hope this article is useful and has provided some ideas for your next vacation planning when it is safe for us to travel.
For more inspiration, check out my first video about Taiwan! I experimented with Final Cut Pro for the first time and created this video. Please share a comment or like the video if you enjoy it!
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