Taiwan: travel from temples to skyscrapers

Renowned mainly for economic misery and 'Made in' labels, the island of Formosa - or Taiwan - in fact offers everything from lush and luxuriant valleys to snow-capped mountain peaks, down to blissful beaches in the south.
  • Taïwan
    © Wang SHIH-WEi / 123RF
  • Taïwan
    © TPG Images / 123RF
Amy Adejokun
Amy Adejokun Expert destination Taïwan

Lovers of Chinese culture will find happiness amongst the patchwork of different people from across the sprawling Republic and Taipei, a capital lying at the crossroads between tradition and modernity, is the epicentre of this higgledy piggledy quilt of cultures. It has an astonishingly rich heritage, numerous green spaces and the second tallest skyscraper on the planet - certainly worth a stop-over for a few days, if not longer.

Taiwan: the key figures

Surface area : 35980.0 km2

Population : 23006000 inhabitants

  • Rich and overlapping cultures
  • One of the best culinary palettes that you will find in Asia.
  • A huge variety of mountains, plains, hills, rivers, snow and beaches.
  • Most information is written in Chinese.
  • The country is too far and too diverse for a short stay.
  • This is one expensive trip

Taiwan: what to visit?

Taiwan: what to buy?

Taiwan is a shopping paradise. Marble, bamboo, copper and cane, furniture decorated with mother-of-pearl and intricate embroidery are the pinncales of local handicraft. You will also find designer clothes and electronics at prices far cheaper than in Europe.

Taiwan: what to eat?

Taiwan's cuisine is exceptional - a refined blend of traditional cooking from continental China and Japan. The Eastern School is excellent with its fujians - omelettes filled with spiced sea food and a pinch of sugar. The Western School draws inspiration from traditions of the Hunan province in South China, whilst roast duck and sautéed vegetables come from Cantonese cooking.
As for drinks, Taiwanese wine, beer and cognac are all worth a try, whilst tea is traditionally drunk during meals.

Taiwan: what are the cultural particularities?

The Taiwanese are very attached to their customs and show the greatest respect for each and every one. They adore post cards and offer them to you with both hands and heads bent forward. They are also very punctual - an unjustified delay is considered particularly offensive. No time is lost in drinking either, as popular Taiwanese beer is light and drunk bottoms up, after saying "Campey!" (Cheers!).

Taiwan: travel tips

In Taipei, be sure to stop over at Cathay, an incredible antique Chinese market with traditional costumes and craftsmen.
Good and well-equipped trekkers should take the opportunity to make a four-day expedition to Mount Yü.
The Taoist temple of the "Jade Emperor" at Tainan is amongst the most original of all Taiwanese temples, with rites and exorcisms frequently pulling large groups of visitors to witness the spectacle.

Taiwan's Yehliu Geopark is another of its major draws. Until 1962, when Haung Tse-Hsui published a photo series entitled "Yehliu - Forsaken Paradise", the Yehliu geopark was just that: forsaken and paradisical. Nowadays, the site receives over three million visitors each year.

Divided into three areas, the park's first section is home to mushroom and ginger rocks, including famous candle-shaped and ice-cream rocks. The second is slightly smaller but with a similar geological make-up, where you'll find the famous Queen's Head, as well as the charmingly named 'elephant rock', 'fairy's shoe', 'peanut rock' and 'dragon's head'. The third is the narrow wave-cut platform that gives the visitor a glimpse at the park's looming future.

Its flag bearer, though, is the symbolic Queen's Head - a 4,000-year-old rock honed by sea water and strong winds into what locals say is an uncanny resemblance of our esteemed Queen Elizabeth II. Sat precariously atop a rocky outcrop, experts are worried that the regal rock will soon lose its head.

Taiwan: Latest hotel reviews
  • 9.1 /10
    Rated by Easyvoyage
    W Taipei
    Taipei - Taïwan
    Hotel 5 Etoile(s)

    A temple of gastronomy, the W Taipei is one of the latest jewels ...

  • 8.85 /10
    Rated by Easyvoyage
    Taipei - Taïwan
    Hotel 2 Etoile(s)

    The Grand Formosa Regent is a high standard establishment of ...

  • 8.8 /10
    Rated by Easyvoyage
    Taipei - Taïwan
    Hotel 5 Etoile(s)

    The Grand Hyatt Taipei is one of the numerous high standard big ...

  • 8.7 /10
    Rated by Easyvoyage
    Shangri La Far Eastern Plaza
    Hotel 5 Etoile(s)

    The Far Eastern Plaza is one of the many great luxury hotels ...

  • 8.7 /10
    Rated by Easyvoyage
    Taipei - Taïwan
    Hotel 5 Etoile(s)

    The Landis Taipei is an elegant "boutique hotel" located ...

  • 8.6 /10
    Rated by Easyvoyage
    Taipei - Taïwan
    Hotel 3 Etoile(s)

    The Grand Hotel is an institution in Taipei and one of the town's ...

  • 8.6 /10
    Rated by Easyvoyage
    Taipei - Taïwan
    Hotel 3 Etoile(s)

    The Pause Landis Taipei is located in Wulai, a quiet mountain ...

  • 8.35 /10
    Rated by Easyvoyage
    Taroko - Taïwan

    The Grand Formosa Taroko is ideally built among the famous and ...

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