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Popular Tourist Destinations When You Visit Taiwan

Despite the very small geographical size of the country, Taiwan is still one of the most interesting Asian countries to visit. Truly, it is a “small but terrible” country in a way that it can offer a lot of amazing sights to see.

Taiwan is known before as Ilha Formosa meaning “Beautiful Island.” It is located in East Asia in the western Pacific Ocean. It is located in southwest of mainland China and Japan, and north of the Philippines. During the World War II and the succeeding years afterward, Japan and Taiwan have been fighting over control and possession of this small country. However, after the Second World War, Japan renounced all of its claims to the sovereignty over their former colonial possession. This resulted to a number of unending political claims and controversies over the country.

taiwan map

Nevertheless, Taiwan was able to grow and develop economically which made it an industrialized developed country. Because of this, the country was also included as one of the Four Asian Tigers. This rapid economic development is known as the Taiwan Miracle. Today, Taiwan is regarded as one of the richest and industrialized countries by international organizations.

Taiwan boasts of a lot of tourist destinations that one can visit when going to the country to better know its culture. Here are several of them.

Taipei 101

There are a lot of building and museum attractions in Taiwan. Taipei 101 or Taipei World Financial Center which is located in the Taipei, Taiwan was is considered as the tallest skyscraper in the world from 2004 until 2010 with the building of Burj Khalifa in Dubai. It is comprised of 101 floors and was architecturally created to symbolize the evolution of technology and Asian traditions.

National Palace Museum - Taiwan

Another popular attraction is the National Palace Museum which is home to more than 650,000 pieces of Chinese bronze, jade, calligraphy, painting and porcelain. It is considered one of the best places of Chinese art and objects in the whole world. You can also see Fort San Domingo, which was originally a wooden fort built by the Spanish during the 1600s Century built by Spanish conquistadors. It has served as a place for refuge, consulate offices, and now an important historical museum.

Kenting National Park Taiwan

There are also available national parks in Taiwan which you can visit. One of the popular parks is Kenting National Park, which is the oldest and southernmost national park in Taiwan. This national park is a great place to visit as it is known for its tropical climate and sunshine, scenic mountain and beach Another thing one can enjoy here is the annual Spring-Scream, an outdoor musical rock-band festival held every March. There is also the Tarako National Park, which is well-known for the abundant supply of Marble that this place has to offer. This park offers great views of mountains, tunnels and rivers.

These are only some of the exciting and interesting places one can experience in Taiwan. This proves how Taiwan was able to go a long way from being a destructed and disputed country to an independent and economically functioning state.

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Night Markets in Taiwan: Great for your Tongue

For most people, sunrise signifies the start of the work day. It is the time when employees hurry to their respective offices and establishments open for customers. It is basically when business happens. At six pm when everyone else is busy either finishing the day’s work or scurrying home, some Taiwanese vendors are just starting to get busy.

Night Markets have become famous these last couple of years all over the urban parts of Taiwan. They are basically sidewalk vendors and street stalls that operate at night. They are the perfect to be because the products sold are varied and are usually inexpensive. Goods sold range from clothes, toys, jewelry to household materials, however night markets are best known for its xiaochi or street food. It is said that the best authentic Taiwanese food and drink only be experienced here.

Stinky Tofu – Locals say that you have never been to Taiwan unless you’ve tried this specialty. Its biggest issue? You could say the name says it all. Although a typical fermented tofu, it possesses a strong odor that make it unpalatable for most tourists. However, if you can get past the deceiving smell you’d taste the rich flavor that makes up for its reputation.

Pearl Milk Tea – Made popular in western countries, this drink actually originated from Taichung in Taiwan. It is tea mixed with milk and small chewy tapioca balls that is a great thirst quencher either hot or cold.

Oyster Omelet – This is considered a very popularly delicacy all over Taiwan. Beaten egg coated with potato starch to make it thicker is fried with fresh oysters and vegetables, then serve with a special sauce. This dish is definitely uniquely Taiwan!

Shilin Super Size Huge Chicken Cutlet – This is one of the most popular street foods and easily the most recognizable because of its size. This Taiwanese fried chicken is marinated in a special mixture of spices and herbs before frying to give it its delicious signature taste that you wouldn’t find elsewhere.

Pig’s Blood Cake – You heard it right. Sticky rice is combined with pig’s blood that is then formed into rectangular pieces and cooked. Not the first choice among the faint hearted, this delicacy calls for the strong will as well as the strong palate.

So whether you are a seasoned tourist or a first timer in Taiwan, the Night Market experience is definitely something you should try. Do it for the food.

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Attractions You Shouldn’t Dare Miss When You Visit Taiwan

Taiwan is only a small country with about 36,000 square kilometers or roughly about 14,400 square miles in land area. Because it lies in the pacific ‘ring of fire’, it undergoes continuous tectonic movements which have created the majestic peaks, rolling hills and plains, basins, coastlines and other natural wonders that the country boast. Also, the tropical and sub-tropical climate makes it ideal for a diversity of species. So, if you’re planning to visit Taiwan, here are some of the attractions that you must see when you go there.

NATIONAL SCENIC AREAS

The country is indeed blessed by nature with its long stretches of coastlines and mountain forests that is why you must try to visit some of the tourist attractions that are located in national scenic areas, national parks as well as those that are in the forest recreation areas. As a matter of fact, Taiwan has 13 national scenic areas such as the Dapeng Bay Scenic Area and Southwest Coast National Scenic Area where you can enjoy looking at lagoons and waterfalls. If you want to explore the homeland and culture of the Rukai Aboriginal tribe, you can drop by the Maolin National Scenic Area. Aside from that, there are other outlying islands in the country that’s yet to be discovered like the distinctive terrain of the Penghu Islands and the sea-eroded rock formations in Matsu located at the Taiwan Strait.

RECREATION FARMS

If you want to be amazed at the beauty and rich ecological attractions that Taiwan has to offer, then be sure to visit one of the eight recreational farms in the Central regions of the country such as the Qilan and Mingchi forest recreation areas in the north and the Fushou Mountain in the central region. The place is endowed with terrain, landscape as well as plant and animal ecology that lets you experience the power and mystery of nature.

FOREST RECREATION AREAS

Outdoor recreation plays an important role in the sustainable development of the tourism industry in Taiwan. In fact, 60% of the island is covered with forest and different landscapes as well as natural resources. A diversity of animal and plant species is present because of the tropical, sub-tropical, temperate and sub-frigid zone climate in the country. So if you visit the country, you might drop by some forest recreation areas that are open to the public such as the Taipingshan in the north, Dashuishan in the central region, Alishan in the south and Zhihben in the east.

There a lot of things that you can explore and discover when you visit Taiwan. You can always choose to visit national scenic areas, recreation farms as well as forest recreation areas. Go nature tripping in one of these recreational sites and have the opportunity to get closer to the wonders of Nature, the Taiwanese way.

 

 

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Top Five Taiwan Products You Should Bring Home

Aside from all the sites and attractions that you get to enjoy when you visit Taiwan, you can also indulge your taste buds in the rich and vibrant taste of the food that the country has to offer. Although Taiwan is a relatively small country, each different region provides a wide variety of local goods and products that you can try. These products can be packaged, making it more convenient should you decide to buy these products as gifts to your family and friends when you get back home.

TEA

Taiwan is considered as a Tea Empire mainly because of its topography and climate which makes it an ideal place to grow tea plants. There are four mainstream teas that are available in the country: Wenshan Baozhong, Dongding Oolong (Wulong) Tea, Pekoe Oolong Tea and the Tie Guanyin. You could also choose to buy a wide variety of teapots that are readily available in the market. For instance, if you are looking for a porcelain teapot, you could go to Yingge, the ceramics capital of Taiwan. Aside from that, you could also purchase teabags if you prefer enjoying a cup of tea in a more convenient way.

PEANUT BRITTLE

Another Taiwanese specialty product that you can buy is the peanut brittle. These are made of peanuts that are cooked in malt sugar and then afterwards left to cool and harden. Then they are cut into small bars, wrapped and then package in gift boxes and plastic bags. The most famous place where you can buy peanut brittles is the small island of Kinmen which has fresh air, good water quality and rich soil making the peanuts produced there superior than anywhere else.

PINEAPPLE CAKE

Pineapple cakes are another widely produced food in Taiwan. These cakes have a sweet and sour taste to it, in addition to the soft outer skin of the cake which makes it seem as if it melts in your mouth. Aside from that, Taiwan is also known for producing canned pineapple, pineapple drinks as well as pineapple jams.

SHAOXING AND GAOLIANG WINES

If you are into wines, then the Shaoxing and Gaoliang wines are definitely a must-have in your list. The golden yellow Shaoxing wine is made by fermenting glutinous rice, penglai rice, wheat and other ingredients. This wine is made in the Ailan Plateau where the water is said to be pure and sweet. On the other hand, Gaoliang wine is produced in Kinmen, a place in Taiwan that has a hot, dry weather and has an unpolluted environment, ensuring that the wine has a fine taste and is superior in quality.

CANDIED FRUITS

The candied fruits are also ideal gifts for your friends at home. People from Taiwan usually call these preserved fruits salty, sour and sweet. The salty taste comes from the salt that was rubbed on them; the sweet taste coming from the sugar that was used to ferment the fruits; and the sour taste which was caused by the fermentation. There is a wide variety of fruits that you can choose from including mangoes and plums among others.

You should definitely buy some of these local products when you go back home from your visit to Taiwan. Whether you choose to buy tea, peanut brittle, pineapple cake, wines or candied fruits, your family and friends will definitely love it. Not only are they perfect as gifts to your loved ones back home, but they are also a representation of the rich culture and tradition of the country.

 

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Popular Traditonal Festivals in Taiwan that you probably should attend

Taiwan, for its minuscule size of an island nation, celebrates a wide variety of traditional festivals. These festivals are based on the lunar calendar, an old calendar system that traces its roots back from nearby mainland China. These festivals are a striking and good reflection of Taiwan’s colorful culture.

To help you learn more and know what make these Chinese traditional festivals so unique and fun, here is a short list of some of the more popular festivals:

Chinese New Year
Considered as one of the most enjoyable of the many Taiwanese festivals, the Chinese New Year brings a lot of inspiring Chinese values as its main highlights. But the first thing that attracts the most attention in this festival is the great and noisy Chinese firecrackers. The main reason why such noise was created in this season was because of the belief that firecrackers would scare away evil spirits and ghosts.

An important part of the Chinese New Year is the night of the eve itself, when families would come together and have dinner. For some families, preparing “chiao tzu”, a dumpling shaped like a gold ingot, would welcome luck and wealth for the incoming year.

The festive atmosphere of the Chinese New Year is not only found within Taiwanese homes. Street performances, such as the energetic dragon dance, can be watched and enjoyed throughout the entire city.

Lantern Festival
Considered as a “second new year”, the Lantern Festival is a bright and colorful Taiwanese festival. Lanterns of all shapes and sizes are paraded out in the open, to adorn and spread goodwill around. A stimulating activity that is practiced in this festival is the incorporation of lantern riddles. These brain-teasers, inserted in some lanterns, offer a fun and educational aspect for everyone to participate in.

Ghost Festival
This spooky yet interesting Taiwanese festival is to offer praise and guidance for the dearly departed. Lanterns are also used in this festival, wherein they are believed to guide ghosts from warding off to the realm of the living. A thrilling yet dangerous game played during this time is the “chiang ku” competition. This energetic game involves participants stacking sacrifices on top of each other. The tower like contraption of the sacrifices makes it difficult for the participants to stack a new batch of gifts, forcing them to climb. The final performance of the Ghost Festival is the “chung kui” dance, where a monk’s graceful movements are said to lead remaining ghosts back into the underworld.

These are just some of the unique and joyous traditional festivals one can experience in Taiwan. The country’s love for their culture is so great, that certain steps are implemented to retain the unique and original feelings. Hope you get to experience a traditional Taiwanese festival when you get the chance to visit this wonderful country.

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3 Beaches in Taiwan that you probably haven’t been to

Now, how can a tiny Asian island hold a lot of beautiful secrets? You may be asking this question if you do visit Taiwan. Located just off the southeastern part of China, this country is known for its warm people, diverse food delicacies, and – surprisingly – its beaches. Though typically not a place people have in their lists to spend their summer vacations, you may want to reconsider after finding out about some of Taiwan’s beaches. Think of it this way – Taiwan’s beaches, because of their exclusivity, may be the nearest thing of experiencing a virgin beach paradise.

To help you out on finding more about these secret hideaways, here are a few of Taiwan’s best beaches:

Tongsiao Bathing Beach
The largest bathing beach in central Taiwan, Tonsiao bathing beach is a destination sought off by many. Bird lovers are in for a treat with this beach as a popular hangout for local and migratory birds. The bathing beach is also 500 meters away from Tongsiao Marine Life Park, where all sorts of marine creatures are exhibited. The area between Tongsiao Bathing Beach and the Tongsiao Marine Life Park is a beautiful forested area, so you’ll be sure of having and experiencing the best of nature’s beauty.

Baishawan Beach
This beach is known for its pristine white sand and quiet ambiance. Beach bums will get to enjoy just lounging around the peaceful ocean side location. Just be sure to bring your own chair and/or beach umbrella. The beach is so peaceful, that there isn’t a single building or establishment in it. Baishawan beach is also known to be a popular hang gliding area. Be prepared and amazed if you’ll see wonderful gliders drifting along the sky.

Kenting Beach
This beach wouldn’t be given the title “best beach in Taiwan” for nothing. Sporting beautiful sands, crystal clear water and lots of fun beach activities, Kenting beach is a secret worth sharing (or not – depending on how you’d like your beaches to be). This Taiwanese attraction is the perfect place to go to if you enjoy diving, surfing, water-skiing – or just like to have the perfect tan on the perfect beach.

Don’t judge a small island’s beaches. You’ll never know the surprises in store for you. And don’t miss out on the fun. Enjoy these beautiful Taiwan beaches, and experience waves, sun and sand like never before. Have a wonderful beach splashing time, you beach bum!

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Famous Taiwanese movie personalities worth knowing

Taiwan is famous not only for having a population in love with movies. It’s also famous for having one of the most talked about Asian movie personalities to make it big in Hollywood. From the sexy to the hunk, to acting and directing, Taiwan is home to movie magic talents. Let’s get to know some of Taiwan’s most famous movie personalities.

Shu Qi
This Taiwanese actress showed the world that there’s more than meets the eye. First starting out as a softcore pornographic actress before making it big in both local and international movie circuits, Shu Qi showed that her good looks can only match with her immense acting talents. She’s so diverse, that she can do action (So Close), drama (Beijing Rocks), comedy (Gorgeous) and romantic (If You Are The One) films. Just because of her silver screen appeal, Shu Qi was invited to appear (and consequently, star) in several Hollywood films. Some samples of her Hollywood blockbusters are the omnibus selection of New York, I love you, and the action-packed, Jason Statham-starrer, The Transporter.

Takeshi Kaneshiro
A half-Japanese, half-Taiwanese, full-blooded charm of a man, Takeshi Kaneshiro’s good looks and powerful acting skills pale in comparison to his humble and shy personality. His unique and handsome looks made him a favorite of auteur directors, especially the great Wong Kar Wai, that Kaneshiro is often asked to reprise memorable roles. This can be seen in the Chinese films Chungking Express and Fallen Angels, where Kaneshiro plays similar police characters in each. His mixed heritage and hard work on learning new languages also helped him land Hollywood roles. Kaneshiro appeared in the artsy film Too Tired to Die, and on the English videogame, Onimusha.

Ang Lee
Just as the two previous Taiwanese stars look good on the silver screen, Ang Lee makes sure that a film looks great by working behind the screen. The Taiwanese director is known for his success, by winning both local and foreign film awards. From award winning Chinese films such as Eat Drink Man Woman, and the ever-popular Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Ang Lee transitioned then onto Hollywood blockbusters. Some of his popular Hollywood projects are the comic book fantasy Hulk, and the complex romantic film, Brokeback Mountain.

Taiwanese movie personalities show that even a small spot of an island can hold some of the best talents in the film industry. Shu Qi and Takeshi Kaneshiro showed that their good looks and talented acting skills are worthy for Hollywood releases. Ang Lee showed the world that his films are worth watching. Get hold of these talents’ works and experience great Taiwanese movie talents.

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English in a Taiwan Office – doing a crouching tiger, hidden dragon

Vincent, an American overseas student doing some research in Taiwan, couldn’t believe his luck. His once dreaded thought of heading over to a small island somewhere in the western Pacific Ocean was a blessing in disguise.

Apparently, Ang, his Taiwanese room mate, owns a video rental store, strangely named Taiwan Office, just a few houses from their apartment. Ang’s encyclopedic knowledge on Chinese pop culture and Vincent’s love on Chinese wuxia films made them close friends. So close, that Ang gave Vincent free access on watching all of the Chinese martial arts films in the video rental store, whenever he chose to.

To augment his expenses, Vincent worked part time as an English teacher. To his surprise, Taiwanese people happen to be very receptive and smart individuals genuinely having a passion on learning a language, in that he soon found himself juggling his time from the many students he had acquired. Ang, noticing how his wuxia-warrior of a friend seems to be in trouble, even with Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon showing on TV, offered his services again. By converting a small space of the Taiwan Office into an actual office, Vincent now had the space to teach his many students at the same time.

Vincent, who wanted to show how grateful he is to his friend, had a plan. One normal day, after a typical English session in the Taiwan Office, Vincent led Shu Lien, one of her bright, if not beautiful students, into the video rental store. Ang, uncomfortably quiet with having a cute woman in front of him, seemed to duck in the comfort of his store counter. With Vincent smiling, he left the cute girl and his geeky friend alone.

Shu Lien decided to break the uncomfortable silence. Taking a deep breath, she said, “Would you like to have some milk tea? There’s a new store just around the corner. I’d enjoy it if you’ll come with me.” Saying her short piece, confidently and with the kind of grace that only cute girls can accomplish, Shu Lien made a big smile.

Ang, not believing on what he saw or heard, could only nod in agreement. Seeing the two then future lovers get some bubble tea, Vincent smiled, turned off the lights and locked the door of the Taiwan Office.

Teaching English in Taiwan, just like what Vincent discovered can be not only profitable, but culturally rewarding as well. Breaking down the communication barrier, and bridging the gap between two cultures, teaching English in Taiwan can be the best decision you’ll ever make. Check online on how you can apply for an English teaching job in Taiwan. Who knows, you just might have your own Taiwan Office!

 

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3 simple – but exciting – things you can find in Taiwan

Sometimes, the simplest things can actually give you the most memorable experiences. Let’s take being in Taiwan as an example. This small country just south of China contains some of the best – if not overlooked – things and activities in the world. Let’s check out some of the most simplest yet fun things to do in Taiwan.

Bubble Tea Galore
Do you know that the popular Bubble Tea delicacy actually came from Taiwan? This sweet nutritious drink, which is apparently enjoyed all throughout Asia, has a distinct and wonderful taste that will make you go back for more. Being the origin of this cool drink, Taiwan of course has the best of bubble tea tasting and making. Just try visiting any of Taiwan’s local markets. Vendors of this great refreshment can let you have all the different kinds of bubble tea to choose and taste from.

It’s a wonderful Beach world
Taiwan also holds some of the best, hole-in-the-wall (if this term’s applicable) beaches in the world. Kenting beach is a favorite spot for locals and tourists alike. The white sand beach and crystal clear water is the perfect place for all of the beach activities that you dream of. Want to snorkel down and see colorful fishes? Check. How about duking it out with the locals for a great game of beach volleyball? Check. Maybe you’d want to glide down a beachside hill and experience life as a sea gull (weird, I know). Check! These, and other simple yet fun activities can be done in the great beaches of Taiwan.

Moving Pictures are Pretty
If you consider yourself a movie junkie, then Taiwan’s just the place for you. This country is home to some of the best Asian movie stars and directors to have made it big in the world. Remember Shu Qi, the nimble and sexy co-star of Jason Statham in “The Transporter”? She’s Taiwanese. Or maybe you’re familiar with Takeshi Kaneshiro, famous for his multicultural movies like Wong Kar Wai’s Chungking Express? Again, he’s from Taiwan. Or perhaps you know of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (I mean, who doesn’t? It’s a great wuxia film!) and Brokeback Mountain? These award-winning films are all directed by a Taiwanese director, Ang Lee.

Taiwan holds a lot of secrets. From having started the Bubble Tea craze all over the world, having some of the world’s well-maintained and beautiful beaches, and creating Hollywood stars like Shu Qi, Takeshi Kaneshiro and Ang Lee, Taiwan has everything at its best. Visit Taiwan and discover more secrets!

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