A Distinct Experience in Taiwan
Here’s what’s in store for you: spring rolls with peanut butter, bean curd in red sauce, sweet and sour spareribs, oyster omelette, or shark’s fin chicken.
You can actually have all these in Taiwan, plus a whole lot more dishes. The country may have some disputes with China, but its food culture boasts of the history they once shared.
Taiwan is a unique Asian country with a vibrant nightlife, interesting tourist spots, and of course a wide collection of sumptuous food. Have your bags packed and be ready for an adventure of a lifetime.
Where to go
More than 3.71 million foreign tourists visited Taiwan in 2007. Some of the more popular tourist destinations were the Chung Tai Chan Temple, National Palace Museum, Tainan, and the National Palace Museum.
Chung Tai Chan Temple
This is the international center of culture, arts, and academic research on Buddhism. Chung Tai Chan Temple attracts lots of foreigners, many of which are Westerners, to live in the temple and teach nuns and monks English. Unlike other temples, religious and ritual Buddhist practices are not the only reasons for visiting this place. You can go to this temple for a historical and cultural tour.
Tainan is known as Taiwan’s temple town. Located on the southwest coast, this provincial capital consists of temples like the East Mountain Temple, where you can communicate with dead relatives; Mito, where the 1000-armed Kuanyin statue is located; and Kaiyuan, where there is a temple with numerous pagodas.
In the suburb of Luerhmen, you can witness the rivalry of three temples to become the biggest temple in Taiwan. They continually outdo each other in size.
National Palace Museum
This museum houses important Chinese art that reaches as far back as the 10th century.
Anyone who stares into the marble-walled canyons, cliffs, and lush vegetation will surely include Garoko Gorge as one of the must-see spots. This is a huge park with high mountain peaks all around featuring the Liwu River cutting through valleys and waterfalls. Hiking enthusiasts can take the trails to hot springs, vistas, temples and shrines.
What to Do
For gourmet lovers and epicures out there, get a taste of the different Chinese cuisines and local delicacies around town.
You can party and enjoy the nightlife. There are definitely a lot of choices when it comes to entertainment. If you are looking for western-style entertainment, there are several clubs, discos, cinemas, and restaurants around Taipei. If you like to work your vocal chords, enjoy KTVs or sing-along clubs. There are open-air beer houses in the northern district of Tienmu. Tea houses are also just around the block.
You can soak in a hot spring. Taiwan survived numerous volcanic eruptions in the past that fortunately left not only destruction, but geothermal reserves as well. Today, there are more than a hundred mineral springs around the island that you can bathe in for a healthy skin glow.
You can also snorkel or dive around Green Island located off the southeast coast. Admire the coral, play in the waters, and explore what’s underwater.
You can paraglide too. The steady winds and precipitous terrain of the country offer opportunities for you to hang-glide and paraglide whatever your skill level. While in the air, you can enjoy the scenery of Green Bay on the North Shore and the Luye Plateau in Taitung County. (Learn how to paraglide)
You can also hike. Yu Shan or Jade Mountain is a famous national park in Taiwan, as well as the highest peak in Northeast Asia. Mountain climbers usually aspire to climb to the peak of this challenging mountain.
You can shop ’till you drop. The country has several unique souvenirs you can bring home. Get them from malls and markets around town. Examples are paper umbrellas, bamboo wares, glass art, aboriginal handicrafts, candied fruit, and tea.
What to Remember
In Taiwan, chopsticks are mostly used. Though you can find spoons and forks or silverware in some restaurants, chopsticks are still the staple utensils used. If you eat at a food vendor’s stall, you are faced with no other choice but use them, unless you can find a way to use your hands to eat without looking barbaric. (Tips on how to use chopsticks)
Taiwanese toilets are usually ceramic holes in the ground. You may need to get used to squatting instead of sitting. Don’t worry, as most toilets have flushable water and a splash guard.
Most Taiwanese do not speak English. You can learn a few Chinese sentences or phrases to guide you in recognizing some commonly used items or places such as the toilet or computer shop.
Although Taiwan has adopted the Chinese culture, the country, through its distinct foods, entertainment, and other aspects, is unique in its own way.