Taiwan has absorbed cultures from Japan, Korea, China and after World War II from Western countries. I expected traditional Chinese culture when I landed in Taipei, what I found was a perfect cultural combination that I never witnessed anywhere else.
Taiwan is a country that exceeded expectations in its economic growth and became the fastest growing economy in Asia. But it does not reflect in vacation as Taiwan is one of the cheapest countries I have ever travelled in. It has rich, sophisticated cities, vibrant national parks and daring mountainous ranges giving everyone something to enjoy. I tried everything out because I wanted a taste of it all.
A big city in southern Taiwan, this is heaven for photographers and pious individuals. The city is full of aesthetic temples and monasteries that are spectacular and left me speechless. The pictures I took still drive me back to the feeling of being in the city.
- Kenting National Park
The southernmost national park in Taiwan, the huge park is full of surfing beaches. With a square area of 333 kilometers, the national park is a late addition to Taiwan’s parks. Full of extraordinary scenery forested land cover and is visitable throughout the year. There’s an entry fee, but I find it trifling as compared to what it offers.
- Alishan National Scenic Area
Another great site for nature lovers, this area extends across four Taiwanese townships in Middle East Taiwan. With an afforable entry fee, one can ride the forest railways and also enjoy climbing the highest peak in Taiwan: Tower Hill. I spent three days exploring the place and if I ever go back, I will surely spend more time here.
- Torako National Park
This park shares lands with Hualien county, Nantou County and Taichung City. I visited it in summer, and this place is a perfect respite from the sweating heat.
- Torako Gorge
Situated inside Torako National Park, this breathtaking land is a mesmerizing scene. It is like the river cut through the land like a knife. The tunnel of Nine turns, is in fact one of the best things to visit in this national park.
- Green Islands
It is also known as the scuba diving island and is located around 30 kilometers from the city of Taitung. Also called as Ludao, the island is a perfect place for soaking in the sun and relaxing. Although, it is not my kind of a place, I recommend it to travelers who enjoy isolated islands and outdoor springs.
- Sun Moon Lake
I have heard about this lake a lot, and I made sure I visit this place. In Nantou County, the very shape of the lake is beyond imagination. It is circular in the east and tapers into a crescent moon shape. The lake-side area is full of amazing hikes that are not very difficult and can be tried out by everyone. It is said that the lake is the heart of Taiwan and from what I have seen, I can attest to that. Admissions are cheap, a bargain for what you are witnessing.
- Yangming Mountain
In my travels, I realized that I have explored through the country and not once did Taiwan failed to enthrall me in its beauty. The Yangming Mountain is north of Taipei and lies on a Teutonic plate. Thus, there are volcanic peaks and hot springs which contrast everything I have mentioned so far.
- Penghu Islands
Situated between Chinese coast and Taiwan, this collection of small islands spreads across 141 kilometers. The markets in the island contain a collection of amazing coral art pieces and souvenirs. I bought enough souvenirs that I ended up gifting my entire family and friends at the price of about two cocktails in New York.
- Matsu Islands
They give the traditional Taiwanese culture. It is a true heritage for all those who wish to see the military history of the country. These are near the developing modern city of Xiamen, another great place to visit.
- Missed New Years at Taipei 101
Also called as Taipei business centre, this is the second tallest building in the whole world. I was not lucky enough to see the New Year Eve’s celebration there, but it is said that it is one of the best in Asia, even the world.
- Pay Respects at Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall
The immortalizing of Dr Sun Yat-Sen is a serene place; I hardly feel this relaxed at anyplace. Spread across 29000 square meters, this structure in downtown Taipei is worth a small visit.
- Ximending Shopping
Another downtown Taipei, this tourist attraction has the latest fashion and brands. If shopping is your bucket list then this is it, I didn’t do much shopping here because I’m not a shopping fan.
- Explore Palace Museum of Taipei
The museum contains more than 700000 Chinese artifacts that were shipped and stored during the Second World War. The museum is not as cheap in comparison with the other places I mentioned but surely worth it.
- Have a Hot Bath at Beitou
Situated near Taipei, it is a luxurious place full of hot springs. Perfect if you want to get out of the city for a day and come back.
- Shida Cafés and Cheap Food
I was under the impressions that Taiwan will lack good caffeine. I was surprised to find such excellent Cafés that were so cheap that I could spend entire day’s time there and still not run out of money.
- Listen to Live Music
This is the last thing I did when I was in Taipei. The live music I heard in different bars was amazing, clearly trying to be better than the cultures that influenced it.
There you go, the best time I had in my life, and it was because of Taiwan. Go ahead and have fun, create your own list of the fun things you did when in the country.