aiwan is a small island off the coast of Asia that has been mostly ignored because tourists think it has little to offer. Even though the earliest explorers only described Taiwan as a beautiful island for its volcanic landscape, steep coasts, and lush greenery, the island was created in a way that offers much more than meets the eye.
If you’ve ever been to Taiwan, you know that it exhibits a rich and exotic culture without being overbearing. It also boasts a bustling cityscape, insane night markets, tongue-tingling street food, and the friendliest of locals. If this small explanation of Taiwan gives you any inkling of wanting to explore its diverse landscape, use the guide below as a headstart to planning your ultimate Taiwanese experience.
Taiwan has been colonized numerous times before gaining freedom. The Portuguese initially ‘discovered’ it, the Dutch and Spanish colonized it, and Japan even ruled it for a number of decades. Given its fascinating history, you can expect a vast amount of various cultural influences throughout.
Due to its mixture of historical land claims, the Taiwanese culture is unlike any other. The island is now fully back in the hands of Taiwanese people and ripe for tourists’ visitations. As a direct result of fewer tourist attractions compared to that of their Asian neighbors, the culture has stayed relatively intact.
The Night Markets
After dark, the Taiwan market takes on a new form; truly coming alive with an explosion of energy. With a bustling market at nearly every corner in the country, there is no lack of nightlife on the island.
Tourists who travel to Asia usually long to experience the stereotypical Asian markets. Winding alleys, red lanterns, and bustling vendor stalls are not limited to Thailand and Vietnam. In the 300+ markets in Taiwan, you’ll find regional delicacies that spark even the smallest of taste buds.
Whether you indulge in the baobing, shaved ice, red bean cake, squid on a stick, or stinky tofu (as funny as it sounds), it takes no effort to get a taste of the culture and enjoy the Taiwanese street food. In addition to the food, there is also no shortage of carnival games, live music, and dance performances.
While polite bargaining is a staple in Asian countries, you are still expected to pay an adequate price for affordable clothes, souvenirs, unique gizmos, and cultural delicacies.
Complementing Blend of Heritage and Urban
Taiwan is a beautiful little country that has terrific scenic spots, perfect for your Instagram feed. You’ll find cloud-piercing skyscrapers alongside religious temples — a sight that will prove hard to find anywhere else. Taiwan’s mix of historical architecture and modern landscapes makes the tourist experience truly unique.
As far as modern buildings go, Taipei 101 ranks as one of the first skyscrapers to be built with such architectural flare. Taipei 101 was once the tallest skyscraper in the world and is located in the capital city of Taiwan. In addition to the large buildings, they have the odd experiences that you can’t find anywhere else. Take the ‘poop cafe’ for instance. The restaurant called Modern Toilet Theme Restaurant has made a name for themselves for serving dishes in a small toilet that looks like poop. As unappealing as that sounds, it is a must-see spot that boasts excellent reviews. For dessert, you can check out the Rainbow Family Village, cat cafes, and Snake Alley — all perfect gram-worthy collections of beautiful urban variation.
The Enchanting Taiwan Islands
Taiwan has stunning landscapes with beautiful national parks littered around the island. In total, there are nine national parks, but few are known as tourist hotspots. The most popular parks seem to be Taijiang National Park, Taroko Gorge National Park, and Sheipa National Park. So if you want to stay away from the majority of the tourist crows, maybe stick to the other beautiful parks.
Depending on the activities that look appealing to you, one of the other parks may be better suited for your experience. Head to Sun Moon Lake for kayak tours or Kenting National Park for surfing. In addition to the activities, you can head to the Yangmingshan National Park to see the hot springs. Let us not forget that the highest peak in East Asia can be found in Yushan National Park!
The Cultural Cuisine
The street foods sold at night markets are delicious but not necessarily the most traditional. Typical Taiwanese foods that should be experienced include the famous soup dumplings. Anthony Bordeaux had very high praise for the dish.
“A DEEPLY RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE”
In addition to the dumplings, braised beef noodle soup is also very popular among locals. If you’re feeling open to the cultural belief in medicinal cuisine, give the special blend of herbs a try. They are said to heal who ingests them to promote a healthy immune system.
The Gadget Geek Paradise
The six-story Guanghua Digital Plaza is perfect for tech geeks who yearn for the newest electronics at the best price. With multiple stores at your will, it will make you feel like you’ve died and gone to heaven.
Living In Taiwan
It seems that everyone who has been to Taiwan talks about how friendly the locals are and their willingness to help out. The Taiwanese are big on culture and are glad to share. Several tours on the Taiwan islands give you the ability to experience the Taiwanese culture in all its glory. Activities such as crafts at Meinong Folk Village, and dance performances at Formosan Aboriginal Culture Village, are great examples of traditional activities that tourists can partake in.
Festivals in Taiwan are as colourful and diverse as the people themselves. The yearly lantern festival is absolutely stunning to watch and the Dragon Boat Festival is very entertaining and can be enjoyed with the whole family.
Taiwan may not be on most peoples bucket list of places to travel to which is truly unfortunate. Hopefully after reading this article, it will rank much higher than before and may even be your next holiday destination. Don’t miss out on this hidden gem and book your trip!