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.
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.
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.
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.)
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.
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.
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 entitled ‘My 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?