Travel to Taiwan

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Taiwan

Taiwan, officially the Republic of China, was known for centuries as Ilha Formosa (Beautiful Isle) because of its towering sea cliffs, marble-sided gorges, tropical forests and beaches. This abundance of natural beauty, great food and shopping, and an efficient tourist infrastructure, combine to make Taiwan the complete tourism package. The word among avant-garde international travelers seeking the next ‘it’ place has gotten around, and, as a result, Taiwan is experiencing a boom in foreign visitors.

Taipei – the capital of Taiwan. Taipei’s skyline is crowned by a 1600 foot bamboo-shaped tower, the Taipei 101 building.  On street level there is a lively food scene, and many night markets, the most famous of which is the vast Shilin market.  Taipei is the center of Taiwan politically, economically, educationally and culturally,  and has emerged as one of the major citie of the Chinese speaking world. In addition to Taipei 101, Taipei delights visitors with various world-famous architectural landmarks such as Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial hall, Dalongdong Baoan Temple, National Palace Museum and Taipei Guest House.

Tarako National Park –  Taiwan‘s most popular tourist destination, Taroko‘s main attraction is Taroko Gorge, an amazingly narrow river gorge, 12 miles long, flanked on each side by soaring marble walls hundreds of feet high.  Waterfalls cascade down the cliffs, enormous ferns wave in the breeze – you’ll feel that you have stepped into a Chinese scroll painting.  Hike in the Park are particularly rewarding.

Sun Moon Lake – is Taiwan’s largest body of fresh water…but swimming is only allowed one day a year. The annual Sun Moon Lake Swimming Carnival is a 1.5 mile cross lake race held each September.  The other 364 days, nothing mars the calm, emerald surface of the lake. Temples and pavilions dot the 20 mile shore. A cable car ride offers a birds eye view of this stunningly beautiful setting.

Kaohsiung –  could easily win an award for most transformed city of the decade. Taiwan’s second largest city, and one of the worlds largest commercial ports, Kaohsiung used to be an industrial city lacking both clean air and charm. Today, verdant parks, waterfront cafes, edgy art galleries and museums draw visitors from all over Taiwan and the world.  The old quarters of Zuoying, Yancheng and Cijin Island offer historic sights and market stalls, while the new town boasts trendy restaurants, shops galore, and for romantics, perhaps an evening stroll along the Love River. 

Tainan – was once the capital and is now Taiwan’s center of religious celebration. A city of ancient monuments, specifically temples, Tainan sees many gods worshipped, many festivals and many rituals observed.  Anping is the center of culture in Tainan, and a visitor could spend days exploring the Chihkan, Dong-an Fang, Five Canals and Confucius Temple cultural zones.

The standard Taiwanese greeting translates to ‘have you eaten?’, and you’ll soon see that gastronomy is a large part of the day in Taiwan, where the vibrant street food scene is on a par with Singapore. With its history-steeped capital, diverse folk traditions, fabulous night markets and great shopping, Taiwan packs a mighty tourist punch in one small lush island.

 

People

Population of Taiwan is 22 million.

Language

Mandarin is the official language of Taiwan. English is understood and spoken by those in the international tourism industry, with the exception of most taxi drivers.

History

Taiwan’s early history dates back to the earliest known civilization.

The first Europeans to land on Taiwan were the Portuguese in 1544. They called the island Formosa meaning ‘Beautiful’. In 1642 the Dutch colonized Taiwan and established settlements there. The Chinese over threw the Dutch in 1683, and made Taiwan a Chinese province.

In 1895, The Chinese were defeated by the Japanese and gave control of Taiwan over to the Japan. During the next few decades Japan did much to develop Taiwan’s economy however, after their defeat in WW II, Taiwan reverted to Chinese rule.

Simultaneously, in China, a civil war was being fought between the communists and the Kuomintang. When the communists won, there was an exodus of Kuomintang to Taiwan, who established the Republic of China and ruled Taiwan for 40 years.
Democratic reforms were introduced in the 1980s and eventually led to the first presidential election in 1996. Taiwan is known as one of the Four Asian Tigers and has become a major international economy.  In 2016, Taiwan elected their first female president.

Currency

The New Taiwan dollar is the official currency of Taiwan. The currency code is TWD, and it is commonly abbreviated as NT$.
A convenient currency converter can be found at http://www.xe.com/currencyconverter/

Best Time to Travel

Taiwan enjoys a sub tropical climate with annual day time temperatures ranging from 75 – 95 degrees F. The months May through September are humid and hot. All other months are comfortable.

Health Requirements

No shots or medications are required of travellers arriving from the US into Taiwan. Please check with your travel clinic for their recommendation based on your personal health history.

Visa Requirements

US nationals are eligible for 90 day visit visa on arrival. You will be required to have a passport valid for at least 6 months from date of return and at least 2 blank visa pages.  This is subject to change without notice.

Tipping & Porterage

Tipping is expected and appreciated. A 10% service charge is usually added to restaurant bills, so additional tipping is not required.  A Tipping Guide will be provided with your final Trip Packet.

Credit Cards

Visa and Mastercard are widely accepted, American Express less so.  Cash is needed for shopping at street markets.

Electrical Appliances

Taiwan operates on 110 volts, 60 hertz and requires plug type A or B
For information on plugs and voltage, please visit http://www.worldstandards.eu/electricity/plugs-and-sockets/   

Water

Water in Taiwan is considered potable but for travellers, it is safer to use bottled water.


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This Destination

Taiwan

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