Taiwan is located north of the Philippines off the southwest coast of Okinawa, Japan. Referred to for centuries as “Ilha Formosa,” which means The Beautiful Isle, Taiwan is one of the most diverse regions on the planet. It boasts a picturesque chain of mountains running from north to south through the island’s centre, as well as tropical forests, marble-walled gorges, and towering sea cliffs. Taiwan is also home to east Asia’s tallest building, the Taipei 101, named after the city in which it is located. The building offers outstanding views of the Island and is just one of many impressive landmarks in the region.
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Taiwan was inhabited by indigenous Taiwanese prior to its colonisation by the Dutch and Spanish in the 1600s. After it was taken by the Qing Dynasty in 1895, it remained under Japanese rule until 1945, when the Republic of China took control of the Island. Because of this diverse history, Taiwan’s cultural heritage is a blend of Japanese, traditional Chinese, and Taiwanese.
Taiwan's glorious scenery, friendly residents and abundance of things to see and do draw travellers from many different countries each year. Below are some of the top attractions and activities one will find in this colourful part of the world:
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Weather in Taiwan
Taroko National Park
The Taroko National Park is Taiwan’s most popular park according to holidaymakers and locals alike. One of Asia’s favourite natural wonders, it features the infamous Taroko Gorge, which literally divides the park into halves. It is a must-see for any nature lover.
Sun Moon Lake
Those looking for a relaxing retreat should not miss a trip to Sun Moon Lake. The lake is home to a shoreline brimming with cultural interest, calming views, cool breezes and multiple nature trails.
Old Town Lugang
Another famous landmark is Taiwan’s most attractive historical town, Old Town Lugang. The region boasts centuries-old architecture, handicraft stores stocked with items made by local craftsmen, and an abundance of food stalls serving delicious snacks.
Taiwan is also home to more than 150 hot springs, most of which are situated amongst mountainous landscapes. There are also several resorts in Taiwan that feature their own paths to springs of this kind.
National Palace Museum
Museum lovers should not miss a trip to the National Palace Museum, which is the world’s 6th most visited museum. It houses an impressive 696,420 exhibits that showcase over eight centuries of Chinese art.
East Coast National Scenic Area
From the expansive beaches in the south to the north’s towering cliffs, Taiwan’s east coast is a combination of aboriginal cultures, as well as a scenic feast for the eyes. However, holidaymakers need a full morning or afternoon to completely explore this breathtaking area.
Chung Tai Chan Monastery
Many Taiwan landmarks look quite small when compared with the enormous Chung Tai Chan Buddhist Monastery. Featuring innovative architecture, elegant shrines, and packed with artistic gems, the Monastery is a must-visit location.
Outstanding Hiking Opportunities
Despite its fairly small size, Taiwan offers a multitude of hiking opportunities. With nine national parks from which to choose, visitors can hike on splendid trails, such as the one that leads to Jade Mountain–northeast Asia’s highest peak
Taiwan’s legendary stretch of Pacific shoreline offers terrific surfing opportunities, with plenty of typhoon swells and countless breaks to challenge both serious shredders and beginners.
Night Markets of Taiwan
Although shopping opportunities abound in many areas of Taiwan, night markets definitely steal the show in this region. These brightly lit, hustling, bustling marketplaces, such as the Shilin Night Market, appeal to virtually any visitor. There are approximately 300 markets from which to choose, making Taiwan a shopper’s paradise.
Dining in Taiwan
Delicious fare is available in numerous regions of Taiwan, but the cities of Jiufen and Taipei are top choices amongst holidaymakers in search of sumptuous cuisine. Famous must-try dishes include steamed or fried dumplings, fish balls, squid stew and oyster omelettes. Bubble tea, tofu, and Taiwanese meatballs are also top favourites amongst both visitors and local residents.
Best Time To Visit
Travellers can expect a mild, tropical climate in lowland Taiwan, where summers are humid and hot. The average temperature is above 30° Celsius from the middle of June through the end of September. Winters are somewhat chilly, especially in the northern region, and the average winter temperature is 8° Celsius. October through December is considered the best time to visit Taiwan.
The combination of urban city energy, dramatic landscapes, night markets and colourful culture make Taiwan an interesting and exciting place with which few holiday destinations can compete. Anyone who chooses this unique island for a getaway will remember it for decades to come.