Taiwan, located off the southeastern coast of mainland Asia, is an island on the west edge of the Pacific Ocean. To the north lies Japan and to the south you’ll find the Philippines. With many airlines flying to the island, Taiwan is an easily accessible travel destination.
Taiwan was formerly called “Formosa”, meaning “beautiful”, a name given by Portuguese explorers passing by on the way to Japan in the 16th century. Despite Chinese, Japanese and Dutch colonial influences, the sweet-potato-shaped island has fought to express its cultural, economic and political independence. Today the strong youth cultures, combined with the marks of more than a dozen aboriginal tribes, have created a dynamic air of self-rediscovery.Read on to discover the many reasons why a trip to the fabulous island of Taiwan provides an unforgettable cultural experience!
Taipei, the capital city of Taiwan, has changed drastically since the 1970s. Today, you will find a dynamic, modern and international metropolis with skyscrapers, modern housing developments and architecturally inspired shopping malls, as well as cultural centers, such as one of the world’s the tallest buildings “Taipei 101”, the National Palace Museum & C.K.S. Memorial Hall.
Outside of the city of Tapei, the countryside is filled with an amazing variety of beautiful and dramatic scenery. In a short period of time you can switch from tropical beaches and spectacular sea-skirting cliff roads to awe-inspiring mist-shrouded peaks, warm hot springs and tranquil soul-satisfying lakes.
If you have time to explore outside of Taipei, head to Taroko Gorge. One of the seven national parks in Taiwan, Taroko Gorge and its surrounding areas, are well known for their abundant supply of marble, leading to its nickname, “The Marble Gorge”.
The marble-lined canyon walls tower around and below you’ll witness the rushing whitewater river. Discover the human hand imprints, red-arch bridges overarching the streams below and waterfalls and pagodas, which can be reached by the many hiking trails. Even the Chinese characters written on a distant cliff fit in, with the characters looking like fine arts.
If you want to relax on pacific shores, visit Kenting on the southern coast of the island. Stay at the Pingtung hostel and view the swaying palms from your balcony, thatch umbrellas and a huge inviting swimming pool. Kending offers the serenity of the surrounding national park (Kending National Park), with its summer butterfly display, magnificent historic lighthouse, and both raucous and quiet beaches!
In terms of culture “Northern sky lanterns” and “Southern Beehive Rockets” are well-known phrases that tell the significance of the traditional festivals in Taiwan. In Pingxi, a northern-east city, thousands of sky lanterns are released as an offering to bring prosperity and peace. As the lanterns slowly rise up in the sky, thousands of visitors are always on the spot to view this magnificent and amazing scene.One of the most compelling attractions of Taiwan has been the fertile land, producing abundance of foods and, in more recent times, world-renowned tea. The food productivity, enjoyed in a variety of culinary styles, is a source of pride for the Taiwanese and a great bonus for the hungry visitor.Come to Taiwan and experience all for yourself! Check out our HI hostels in Taiwan and “Discover the real hostel experience!”