5 Reasons to Love Taiwan

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Sunset, Alishan (Ali Mountain)
5 Reasons to Love Taiwan
5 Reasons to Love Taiwan

Taiwan is a small island rich with culture and tradition that is often overlooked as a destination on Asian travel itineraries. It may be small, but if you take the time to explore this wonderful island, you will soon begin to realize that this tiny island, shaped like a sweet potato, has an abundance to offer. I have compiled a very long list of reasons to love Taiwan. This post includes five of those reasons.

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The ‘Gods’ doing a dance performance

The Culture

From witnessing temple celebrations to attending lantern festivals, from participating in Chinese New Year festivities to releasing sky lanterns in Pingxi, Taiwan has proven again and again that it is rich in culture and traditions. And the plus side of it all is foreigners are welcomed to partake with open arms.

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Strike a Pose!

The People

Taiwanese are very friendly and will go out of their way to help you without expecting anything in return. They will take the time to explain aspects of their life, culture, and traditions. They will teach you how to do something through the use hand gestures and body language. They will always willing to offer a smile and tell you your Chinese is great, even though you used the wrong tone and said something totally different to what you wanted to communicate. They will make you feel at home even though you are far away from everything familiar.

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Stinky Tofu

The Food

Taiwanese is heaven for an adventurous foodie or for those looking to try something different. Dishes, snacks, and drinks can be purchased at anytime during the day. If you want to sample local cuisine, check out the night markets and roadside stands. There are several snacks and dishes to sample and try. Some are quite ‘out there’ (like stinky tofu) but there is something for everyone. Go on a ‘culinary crawl’ at any one of the several night markets scattered around the cities and towns throughout the island. (I plan to do some extensive food posts soon, so watch this space.)

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Ta Ta Jia (This picture was taken an hour before freezing rain started to fall)
Hehuanshan (Hehuan Mountain), Taiwan
Follow the path – Hehuanshan (Hehuan Mountain), Taiwan

The Mountains

To breathe in the fresh mountain air, to feel the wind in your hair, to challenge yourself, and to feel like you are on top of the world, the mountains in Taiwan are a perfect escape from every day life. They are the ideal location to see the clouds sitting on the mountain peaks and the perfect spot, actually one of the few spots in Taiwan, to feel cold during those hot and humid summer months when you think your body has hit melting point. The hiking trails (especially in central Taiwan) can be quite strenuous, especially with the air so thin, but the views are spectacular and the accomplishment of completing such a huge challenge is really rewarding.

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HSR (not the best picture but I was afraid the doors were going to close)

The Convenience

Convenience stores located on every corner, night markets creating a shopping heaven for customers looking for great deals, and restaurants opened until the wee hours of the morning, Taiwan can clearly be labelled the ‘the country of convenience.’ Not to mention the extensive and reliable public transportation network – there are bus systems in every county and city, a subway system in Taipei and Kaohsiung, a train system connecting the entire country, and the High Speed Rail whizzing people from north to south.

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Choosing the right path

Now, Let’s Get Down To Business – The Reveal

Last Wednesday, I included a guessing game in one of my blog posts. Thanks to all those who read the post entitledMy Initial Impressions of Taiwan and who took the time to answer the question and play along. I appreciate each and every one of your comments and guesses.

From Blog Post ‘My Initial Impressions of Taiwan’

During the winter on 1999, one of my best friends and I decided to embark on the journey of a lifetime – to live, work, and travel around Asia. We considered three options – Korea, Japan, and Taiwan. Korea was eliminated fairly quickly; however, we found making the decision between Taiwan and Japan rather difficult.

So the trivia question is (a guessing game again):

How did we choose Taiwan over Japan?

~1~ A coin toss (38% of the votes)

~2~Paper, scissors, stone (or Rock, paper, scissors) (38% of the votes)

~3~ We thoroughly researched both locations and made the decision based on facts (24 % of the votes)

A Little Explanation

After much debate back and forth without a clear winner, we did what any intellectual student would do; we allowed our faith to be decided by a quick game of paper, scissors, stone. (Intellectual may be questionable but a display of youth was definitely a factor.) It was (and still is) great to be young without a care in the world.

And that’s how Taiwan was declared the country of destination – Paper, Scissors, Stone!!

So, if you guessed #2, then kudos to you! You are absolutely right!! Give yourself a round of applause and a pat on the back.

Now, it is your turn! What is the most important thing you look for when deciding to live or travel to a particular place?

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Eye-level with the clouds!
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46 thoughts on “5 Reasons to Love Taiwan

  1. I would agree with your five reasons for liking Taiwan. After living here for the larger part of 10 years I consider Taiwan a second home for all the reasons you mentioned plus the ability of traveling around the Island and the ease with which to travel from Taiwan to other Asian countries. In our time here we have traveled and stayed for a week or more to over 25 places. We first came to Taiwan when my wife Jane Ingram Allen (www.janeingramallen.wordpress.com) was awarded a Fulbright grant from the U.S. Federal Government. During the first year and one half my wife and I traveled and stayed at 14 different places. You may find more information on this by going to http://www.janeingramallen.com/residency/Taiwan/expanded_grant/Made_in_Taiwan1.htm
    The remaining years were spent mostly in Taichung with Jane continuing her art curating, exhibition, and writing activities with numerous arts and environmental organizations throughout Taiwan and other parts of Asia. Although I retired from teaching full-time for Hsuiping University of Science and Technology in Taichung in 2012 we return to Taiwan every year and thoroughly enjoy being back with our many Taiwanese friends and acquaintances.
    I would encourage everyone who considers coming to Asia for travel or business to come to Taiwan. When you come plan on seeing more than Taipei – there is a reason why Taiwan’s former name was Formosa, (Beautiful Island).

    1. Thanks for sharing all about your experiences in Taiwan and including a link to your wife’s work. I hope you have enjoyed your trip to Taiwan!! Sorry I didn’t get to attend your photo exhibition but maybe next year (be sure to let me know in advance)!!

  2. I didn’t guess again, I thought you chose Taiwan and not Japan after a coin toss, never mind! 🙂

  3. I missed the guessing game, but am glad you chose it over a game of rack, paper, scissors! I always choose to go to a destination if it has a combination of nature, beaches, culture, history and GOOD FOOD! I’d love to make it to Taiwan one day! Sounds right up my alley, and I’m sure your food posts will push it up the list. 🙂

  4. I’ve already heard sooo many stories about Taiwan. SIngaporeans love to visit there especially for the food and shopping so it’s definitely one of the places that I cannot wait to get to. 🙂

    1. Yes, I have met many travelers from Singapore, especially around Hualien. And I truly understand why they come here – the food is amazing and it is a shopping paradise for people looking for cheap to luxurious finds!

  5. I couldn’t agree more with the reasons to love Taiwan. I was going to do this list but it ended up being like everybody else. Then again, people repeat these reasons, well, for a reason.:)

  6. I’ve never really ever known too much about Taiwan, but your post definitely makes me want to go there now! I would especially love to try all the foods 🙂 Thanks!

  7. Great post! It reminds me what I love China for :)!!! It’s great to see that Taiwanese people are so friendly and hospitable. It’s amazing to see people smile in the street every day. As for the food, I’m the biggest fan of Asian cuisine so I guess I would love Taiwanese food a lot. I often buy some Taiwanese products in our Chinese local supermarket. They have colorful fizzy drinks and delicious spicy canned fish :D!!

      1. Given that this happens with powerless labourers who work in terrible conditions, have no family or money for entertainment I let it go.

        However when it happens with anyone who I think might actually lay a finger on me I am not as calm

  8. Great post. I’ve also had my fair share of encounters with stink tofu here in the mainland. But I’ve never been to Taiwan before. Is it anything like Hong Kong?

    1. I think Taiwan and Hong Kong are quite different, especially when you get out of the cities and start exploring the mountains and the countryside. I highly suggest you make a trip to Taiwan if you can and maybe you can sample so stinky tofu as well!!

  9. I think you totally nailed the Top 5 reasons, Hualien is still my favorite part of Taiwan. And the people are definitely very friendly. THE FOOD!! Of course, the food!! Hehe….

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